Poetry by Jaylan Salah

Tears On Her Guitar

She plays the guitar
Her father talks about the tragedies of the world
She keeps playing
Her tears fall leaving burning marks in the mocha colored wood
Her father just keeps talking
The news in the background; protests and street fights
Her father speaks of the increasing prices
As she fumbles with the keys, her father throws the grocery bag on the ground
Her eyes are shut, she’s on her father’s shoulders, her arms spread like an eagle and she’s flying
She’s three again
She’s happy
Her father is a bitter old man, his stories of chalice, humiliation and betrayal like fuel to her art
She sings about love, happy couples and intimate moments in bed
Her father interrupts her singing, asks if she wants beans or peas for dinner
She’d rather live off chocolate chip cookies but he doesn’t get it
“It’s a sad era” he grunts. “This country is damned”
Through the window she could see her bare-chested ex, his hips swaying with the girl he chose two weeks before
His hair is a haven of Twix and Mars and honey
His eyes a smoldering gray, like smokes sent by gods of the outer space
Yet she plays on her guitar, trying to change the atmosphere
She plants a seed, her father ploughs the soil
She sings a song, her father turns on the TV
Her ex abandons the woman pregnant with his only son
The news fades in the background
But only her music lives and sadly, so do we

Jaylan Salah is a freelance writer and Synchronized Chaos contributor from Alexandria, Egypt. You may reach Salah at vigilante171@yahoo.com.

Poetry by Corey Mesler

Blues for Pamela Franklin

“There is always a real and an imaginary person you are in love with;

sometimes you love one best, sometimes the other.”

-Anthony Powell

I’m reading Anthony Powell
with the TV on and the sound
mum. Anthony Powell thumps
me on the cerebellum. It is al-
most autumn, almost. The
day is bright like a lemon and
like a lemon a tart, willing to
lift her splendid skirts. Or may-
be it’s just that Pamela Franklin
is on TV posing stripped for her
art teacher. I am stirred. Anthony
Powell imparts his tricky words.
I reach out for Pamela Franklin’s
perfect fundament but it is gone
now, these 42 years. I still long.
I still keep reading as the chill
enters me and pricks my sconce.

Corey Mesler has published 4 novels, 2 full-length poetry collections, and 3 books of short stories. He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and 2 of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He also claims to have written, “Coronet Blue.”  With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. Email chmesler@earthlink.net for more info.
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Poetry by Joseph V. Milford

Nest Under Lorca Aurora

I nestle in your space.

I create a nether sphere
So we can tether here
Any time under a tent

Of stars crudely drawn.
Preparing, I try to create space
For us to crescent in
Spreading the world blanket

Over the stellar broken glass
Of history so you can walk
Safely to the deli even when
You are not hungry-potential salvation.

I nightingale in your space.
You sing in mine.
A small symphony

All at the same time,
same cage, good page.
This duet from the black contract,

Cataract of the bubble chamber
and nautilus-this spiral spitting
a spore of truth, a quark or quirk.

I crepuscule and pulse in your face.
Neither neo nor nascent noir orb
Can chronicle this infamous lore.

Simply crumble.
They make tricycles out of the poets’ bones.
Children ride them all day

Down sidewalks partitioning zoos and museums.
It’s vainglorious and golden unctuous.
Hologram laurels waver among the scattering lizards.

With level heads we bevel landscapes in our own images.
Barren survivalist wildernesses nestle near our stars.
Amen. From aleph to zen, all will be well. Promise you, I’ll call.

Joseph V. Milford is a Professor of English at Georgia Military College south of Atlanta. His first book, Cracked Altimeter, was published in 2010. He is the host of the weekly Joe Milford Poetry Show, which he maintains with his wife, Chenelle. He also edits the literary journal Scythe with his wife from their shack in rural Georgia. Currently, he is happy with the Atlanta Falcons football team.

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Poetry by Lucinda Troth

In the Silence

She hides from day
And lives the night,
Her paws betray
Her padded steps.

She slinks through gardens,
Alleys, gates.
She hides from streetlight,
Drinks the dark.

Her silent grace
Knows each step
Away from humans,
Buildings, noise.

A shadow; black,
Unseen, unknown.
Her eyes glisten,
Await her moon.

A final crack
In wooded fence,
She crawls, and stretches,
Licks the trees.

Her quiet sea
Of grass, of green,
Caress’ whiskers,
talons, fur.

She rolls and mews
And takes her moon,
And lies in silver
Soft, serene.

The night flows gently
Heart is calm.
She feels the silence,
sky, the stars.

And here she feels
The earth, the air,
Beating in her
Soft and pure.

Til eyes move gently
Remember time,
The coming sunrise
Threatens her eyes.

Back through woodland
Through the fence,
Back through the gardens,
Alleys, gates.

She must return
Before the sun
Burns through her fur,
Her paws, her tail.

She shuffles in
The urban house,
Pads through the cravings,
Hunger, strife.

She climbs the stairs
Into the room,
Heartbeat racing
As the light

Slowly sets
Her fur aflame.
Awakes in hands.
In skin.

In life.

Lucinda Troth may be reached at lucinda_troth@hotmail.com.

Poetry by Linda Sheppard

The Banshee

Within the wail of the banshee…
This concept I will await
As momentarily, she touched on my soul…
but as yet, she has failed to take

A Celtic spirit, an usher proclaimed…
for those amidst us
that move to the next world

Foregone is the conclusion
that my loved ones
will be forewarned

My torment echoes
and my soul has been destroyed…
As my soul is in limbo
and my prayers for release
are being ignored.

Regardless of the Banshees silence
whilst she washes human entrails
I again get to meet my old friend
Darkness once again
The prince of darkness
The bringer of death

Again I ask my old friend
Why is my spirit in limbo
and the banshee does not wail?

Awkwardly he acknowledges
my plea…and dispositions it
as the undead of society.

Relentlessly I forgo my quest
of seeking normality
As darkness has succumbed my

Within my hopes, my dreams
and desires
My old friend darkness will
always transpire

As within the realm of light
Darkness will always prevail
As the wail of the Banshee…
Is no more

For what was once accepted
As a warning of foreclosure
Which was duly accepted and understood
This concept is no longer
Instead I still seek refuge and
Comfort in the realm of the shadows
Whilst my life is in limbo
And my feelings no more.

Linda Sheppard may be reached at angeleyes370165@googlemail.com.

Poetry by Sam Burks

Big Picture, Little Eyes

Who knows
what this all means
As I stand
with my nose
pressed against
the texterized
of humanity
at it’s most vibrant
Among the swirls of paint
both cold and warm
I try relentlessly
and hopelessly
to appreciate the beauty
from such a close range
And I see the sun
as a pin-point dot
in the collage
of information
rapidly becoming
more intricate
as the various
subplots in the heart
of my mind
Oh, how i wish
I was the artist
painting this design

You may reach Sam Burks at srburks@gmail.com.

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Book Review: Sugar Zone, by Mary Mackey

[Reviewed by Laura O’Brien]

Mary Mackey’s most recent book of poetry, Sugar Zone, is the sixth installment in her impressive body of work, which includes five collections of poetry and twelve novels. She received her B.A. from Harvard, earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, and is a Professor Emeritus of English at California State University, Sacramento. For the last twenty years, she has been traveling with her husband, Angus Wright, to Brazil for his work on land reform and environmental issues, and these experiences have shaped the dramatic and unflinching imagery of Sugar Zone. Her past work has been translated into twelve foreign languages, so it is fitting that Sugar Zone include Portuguese words and phrases as a means of deepening the complexity of its descriptions of Brazil’s alluring chaos.

The collection is divided into four parts that consistently submerge the reader in the uncertainty and beauty of Mackey’s world. Weaving throughout the poems are, to name a few, the powerful themes of chaos, love, death. In Part I: Sugar, Mackey immediately introduces the reader to the urban landscape of Brazil, which is something wholly different from American living standards. This is the place where the people use flowers ‘to dye their lips/ the color of blood’ and sing ‘of cities of blue glass/and the jaguars that prowl our dreams.’ She frequently describes the tension that results from the ‘rising ocean [that] eats the beach.’ The city is clearly at odds with the tumultuous natural world that surrounds it, and there is a constant struggle to withstand the onslaught. This chaos is also highlighted by the frequent offerings given to local deities, including Iemanja, the queen of the ocean. The natural and supernatural must be appeased to ensure human survival, but everything is tenuous. As Part I progresses, the poems become more self-reflective, and the narrator describes the internal explorations that result from living in a foreign environment. These poems drift from conflicted love to various stages of pain and death. The uncertainty is palpable, but rational and unafraid.

You can contact the reviewer, Laura O’Brien, at lauraellaroberts@gmail.com.

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