Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christopher Bernard reviews Overnight at The Flight Deck, in Oakland

A Beanstalk Grows in Oakland
Overnight
Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre, Lower Bottom Playaz, Ragged Wing Ensemble, and Theatre Aluminous
The Flight Deck
Oakland
Full ensemble in Overnight. Photo by Serena Morelli

Full ensemble in Overnight. Photo by Serena Morelli

What would you do if you woke up one morning to discover that a skyscraper, all glass, steel and corporate facelessness, had appeared on your neighborhood block literally overnight, like Jack’s fabled beanstalk?

Would you question your sanity? Start a riot? Burn it down? Apply for a job there?  All of the above?

The world over, this has become hardly a fantasy in many people’s lives: in China, entire “megacities” have sprouted in little more time, some of them still awaiting their first inhabitants, ghost cities, cargo cults of the wishful thinking of bureaucrats and over-zealous developers. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dubai, Tokyo are well-known for big buildings going up with unnerving speed.

Even in the Bay Area it’s hardly an exaggeration, as entire neighborhoods in San Francisco are transformed from low-rise villages to immense forests of office and condo towers within months. Continue reading

Synchronized Chaos April 2017: Sacred Mysteries

 

ancientastrologyphoto

This is the month when Jews celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter, a time of spiritual insight. During a season when the weather is changing , we consider the way life continually renews itself and appreciate that it happens, even though we don’t entirely understand how and why.

The contributors to this month’s issue explore important questions and probe the edges of our understanding during this time of sacred mystery.

J.D. DeHart’s poems ask how much we know about our world, how much do we want to grasp, and how much this comprehension benefits us.

Gordon Hull shows through gently humorous, absurdist writing how our world throws piles of confusing information at us every day and it’s easy to get confused.

John Grochalski also explores absurdity. His speakers find themselves in uncomfortable, impossible situations that come, not from surreal imagination, but daily life in a social and economic landscape that seems inhospitable for ordinary people.

J.K. Durick’s writing probes the process of narrative creation and the consequences of devaluing truth.

Elizabeth Hughes’ Book Periscope review column highlights the long-time appeal of mystery novels. Many people enjoy the suspense and adventure of a good thrill and puzzle.

In a quirky essay about two strangers from seemingly disparate lines of work, Donal Mahoney compares editing a manuscript to surgery. Both fields involve quite a bit of art as well as technical skill, a competence that we can’t yet reduce to a set of instructions.

J.J. Campbell shoots out some raw, tough-minded advice about making the most of life, while Sudeep Adhikari points out the irrationality of destroying life here on Earth while we search intently for it outside our solar system.

Benjamin Blake crafts pieces filled with imagination and self-examination, yet grounded in our physical world by their specific locations or vivid imagery.

Mahbub’s poetry calls attention to the continuity of ordinary life. Grass grows, people love, minds think, water lets us see our reflections.

In Joan Beebe’s pieces, humans are dwarfed by the power of nature, shown in the sky at sunset and also by our emotions when we experience loss and heartbreak.

Allison Grayhurst’s poetry looks at cycles in relationships, connection and loss. Her pieces have a tribal and timeless feeling, reminiscent of the Biblical commentary in Ecclesiastes.

Michael Robinson’s pieces evoke spiritual searching, as a curious child and then as a thoughtful adult aware of the world’s hardship.

Christopher Bernard reviews the poetry collection The Territory of Dawn: Selected Poems of Eunice Odio, translated by Keith Ekiss. The poems, as he describes them, represent a spiritual quest informed by modernity and open to the findings of science. Living in the ‘real world’ does not have to mean abandoning the search for and celebration of life’s beauty and meaning and purpose.

We at Synchronized Chaos Magazine wish you a wonderful and thoughtful time as the seasons change and you welcome the new chapter of life.

MysteriousRays

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Hughes’ Book Periscope Column

 

A Fool and His Honey by Charlaine Harris

foolandhoneycover

This is a book I checked out from my local library. Charlaine Harris is the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series which became a series on cable TV. This series is the Aurora Teagarten series. Aurora Teagarten comes across many dead bodies throughout each of the series and then goes about solving the crimes. It is well written and really keeps the reader engrossed throughout the whole book. It is very hard to put down the book once you start reading. She has your attention from the very first page. I recommend this to anyone who loves Charlaine Harris books and others. This is a series in which you don’t need to read the first in order to know what is going on. You can pick up any book in the series and get interested right away. Definitely worth the read!

 

Shot Through Velvet : A Crime of Fashion Mystery by Ellen Byerrum
In this “Crime of Fashion Mystery”, Lacey Smithsonian is touring the Dominion Velvet factory in Black Martin, Virginia with her boyfriend Vic Donovan, a security specialist/private investigator. As they are touring the plant, they come upon a body tied to a spool of blue velvet immersed in a vat of blue dye. The victim is a very much despised person in upper management at Dominion. What ensues is a hilarious and adventurous story that will keep you turning pages until the end. This is another brilliant murder mystery by Ellen Byerrum.  A must read for mystery lovers. I personally loved this book.
Death on Heels by Ellen Byerrum
deathonheelscover
Death on Heels is another book in the A Crime of Fashion series. In this installment, Lacey Smithsonian, the fashion reporter for the Eye Street Observer in Washington DC, goes to Sagebrush Colorado to interview Cole Tucker her ex-fiancee, who has been arrested for the murder of three women. She doesn’t believe that he is the murderer, until during her interview in the jail, he throws Lacey over his shoulder and makes a break for it.
He takes off and explains to her that certain people are vey interested in all of his land for the minerals under the land. Now Lacey has to decide whether her ex fiancée is a murderer or just a jerk, and if she is going to help him get to the bottom of it and try to prove his innocence. This is another page turning adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. I definitely recommend Death on Heels for the mystery lovers out there.
Please request these books from your local neighborhood bookstore!

Poetry from Gordon Hull

The Boggling Facts

As my mind is boggled,

Boggled I will be,

Begging to stop the boggling of what I see,

Boggling is what they do,

Boggling me and you,

Boggling what do I mean?

Boggling you have seen,

Boggling they think we believe,

Once the boggling has stopped then life will be true,

So why are we boggled or baffled if we believe what they say,

Boggling is the governments way,

Boggle us here,

Boggle us there,

Boggle us everywhere,

So let’s stop the boggling,

Or as what our government likes to say,

Alternative fact by the way…

 

Poetry from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Gratuity Rex

 

He told his driver to take him to the airport

and since he was the driver

he drove to the airport

and he thought about tipping the driver

the conversation was friendly

enough

 

but something about the driver irked him

some people just don’t get on

 

so he decided to be polite

but firm

 

unloading his own bags

from the trunk

 

and since the airplane would not be invented

for another half century

he had to sit in the airport terminal

for quite a while

 

before his

flight.

Continue reading

Poetry from Joan Beebe

 

Universal Human Sorrow
There are times when life seems to overwhelm us
We become trapped in a world of our own and
Imperfect we are not,  but
 We still strive for peace and harmony in our home
Sadly it seems all efforts are wasted.
Our hearts cry out for love and understanding.
Time seems to stand still in this place of longing
Nothing seems to change and we become
A prisoner of a broken heart
Untitled
The day is ending but the lowering sun
Has not given up its radiant glow across the sky.
Watching this beautiful panorama before me,
I see a streak of silver as the sun reflects its
Light upon a plane causing an almost
Magical luminous effect.
I am entranced by the sight above me
And as I continue to watch that plane,
I feel and sense the awesome power of nature
Because, in unexpected ways, we are able
To witness such a blending of nature and man.

Poetry from Allison Grayhurst

 Love is not a shell
  
I tell you I am waiting for a new friend
to share these beautiful riches, to feel
safe with and to feel whole.
I tell you I am waiting for new and
permanent members of our clan – for all of us
here, striving for rich connection and finding
that most people will only go so far, most people
blend in without steam and then move on, on to where
the demands of intimacy are minimal and accountability
means making, defending, excuses.
I tell you I am happy for those who walk with me, and
my arms are open. Food is on the table.
 
 
By the edge,
  
the fire drifted from the sands
and all my tribe bit the bolt
hard. For life was hard,
and our ceremonies of perseverance,
of letting go, and of holding on
were all we had.
Shadows and senselessness walked
across our movie screen.
I put it all in our backyard –
the carcasses of mourned dead animals,
the memories of betrayal and grief, people
that never tried and those
that tried but just not hard enough.
I put them there and buried them close to the fence,
behind the evergreens, near where the sandbox used to be.
I told everyone tales of ‘true blue’
and the phone would ring
and then it would stop
and everyone of us held hands. We prayed.
We knew this was just a time of scarcity and soon
it would be a time of plenty:
We knew the joy of loving one another.
 

Continue reading

Poetry from Mahbub

If You Don’t —-

How do I move foreword

If you don’t tell me

Show me how to start

How do I do something better

If you don’t light on

How do I step right or left

If you sound less

How do I brood over

If you don’t hang me in blessed

How do I snap the glory of nature

If you don’t  accompany me

How do I laugh from heart

If you don’t open your eyes to me

Soft and see the blush

How do I think the world

If you don’t hug

All the things will run away behind

If you don’t respond

All the things are in dust

If you don’t come to me with the face of love.

Continue reading

Poetry from Sudeep Adhikari

 

Ethics of Space Exploration

So I finally learned the ethics and politics

of space exploration.

 

Try to find life at the far corners

of unforgiving solitude. Shoot the kids

in Yemen and Afghanistan.

 

Go bonkers about the discovery of habitable

planets. Bomb the shit out of Aleppo

to make it  look like poor people’s Mars.

 

Hope the aliens from space are nice

and friendly. Kill the brothers from another country

if they drink beer in your bar.

 

So the space moralists told me,

“Nobody owns the moon”.

 

Damn fucking right!

I told them nobody owns Earth either.

 

Sudeep Adhikari is a structural engineer/Lecturer  from Kathmandu, Nepal.   His recent publications were with   Red Fez , Kyoto  , Your One Phone Call, Jawline Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Yellow Mama, Fauna Quarterly, Beatnik Cowboys, After The Pause, Poetry Pacific, Silver Birch Press and  Vox Poetica.

Poetry from J.J. Campbell

 

temptation
 
that gnawing ache
 
complaining about
pain makes some
people believe you
are crazy
 
temptation makes
it so easy to want
to make them feel
your pain
 
swallow your pride
and become a martyr
 
i’ve heard good
things
————————————————————————
the responsible one
 
i have always felt
like the stranger
in a strange land
 
i so want to believe
that i’m actually
allowed to be happy
 
but i have no fucking
evidence at all that
happiness is even
a fucking option
 
this is what happens
when a father decides
that work is more
important than family
 
there is no joy in
being the responsible
one making sure this
bloodline fucking
dies
—————————————————————————–
call it art
 
spill some
paint on a
canvas and
call it art
 
up is down
 
low is high
 
you may
zig and i
will not
zag
 
i have no
desire to be
better than
you
—————————————————————————
a chunk
 
the nagging aches
and pains of getting
older
 
the years of being
care free and living
life always find a
way to take a chunk
out of you before
it’s all over
 
a homeless guy once
told me that he never
trusted any fucker
interested in having
a pretty corpse
 
i passed him a bottle
of whiskey and said
amen
—————————————————————————–
all you need to hear at your high school graduation
 
seek out
the truth
and let the
monsters
roam free
 
there are
no special
snowflakes
 
embrace
death and
only then
will you
understand
the
importance
of now
————————————————————

 

Christopher Bernard reviews Territory of Dawn: The Selected Poems of Eunice Odio

Celestial Objects

Eunice Odio

Eunice Odio

 

 

Territory of Dawn: The Selected Poems of Eunice Odio

Translated by Keith Ekiss, Sonia P. Ticas and Mauricio Espinoza

The Bitter Oleander Press

$20.00

 

A review by Christopher Bernard

 

It has often been said that modern man is in need of a new religion, of a new God, that the old religions and old gods, apparently resurgent throughout the world, are in fact in a battle to the death with a vision of the universe offered by modern science that differs so greatly from that of the Great Axial age from which most of the world’s great religions emerged that they cannot hope to remain relevant for long.

Either they will die, or they will destroy the scientific vision of the world, and by so doing, since they will find themselves unable to renounce the instruments of power science has made possible (though, to be consistent, they should renounce both subatomic theory and nuclear bombs, the theory of evolution and the internet, climatology and drones – but when has a fear of logical inconsistency ever stopped a martinet more powerful than a schoolmaster?), they will destroy the world, or, if not the world, civilization, and thus bring the human experiment to a spectacular end, to say nothing of the Final Judgment that a number of religions have long portended.

There is another way to our own suicide, and that is through a form of radical secularism fomented by the scientific worldview itself, a view purportedly hostile to religion of all kinds—seeing religion as irrational, intellectually presumptuous, morally hollow, hostile to knowledge, reason, and humanity—and yet which turns out to be itself irrational, cruel, presumptuous, hostile to reason, humanity, and even science.

Continue reading

Poetry from Michael Robinson

Conversations

For Angie

When I was little, I would talk to God

Waiting for his response.

“God is listening!” said my foster mother.

 

I wanted to live with God,

Just like the black women would say—

To go home to Jesus.

 

Wondering if black boys could go to Jesus,

Or did we just go to jail,

Or just lay in the gutter alone.

 

When the Doors Close

In the darkness of the night,

I seek the light of the moon,

Coming to greet my soul.

In the darkness of the night,

I pray that God will hear my heart,

In the darkness of the night.

In the darkness I smell the candle burning,

I’m safe with the burning candle in the darkness of the night.

Continue reading