Synch Chaos April: Freedom from the past – Hope for the future

Spring is usually the “out with old and in with the new” season of the year. This issue of Synchronized Chaos, Freedom from the past – Hope for the future, re-emphasizes this idea of change. There is a commonality in everyone for the need to hope. This need results from living with truth in the past, understanding the present, and seeking wisdom for the future.

Inspired by the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States, J’Rie B. Elliott was compelled to share her poem, Flower. We are also proud to include 3 poems by 2 anonymous imprisoned abuse survivors in Chowchilla, CA. Additional poetry submissions include Howling by Eric Sadler and Rag Elite by Christopher Bernard. Once Upon a Time is a poem by Cynthia Lamanna in memory of her son, Elijah.

Also featured in this issue are the following reviews and interviews:

Last but not least, be sure to check out the intriguing glowing artwork by painter Amelia Lewis and short story Vision, by Thomas Smith. Both Lewis and Smith are new contributors to Synchronized Chaos.

As always, thank you for reading and we hope that you enjoy this month’s issue! In recognition of Freedom from the past – Hope for the future, we also continue to encourage you all to donate to the relief efforts in Japan.

Gloria Balderas
Creative Facilitator/Editor-In-Chief

Poetry by imprisoned abuse survivors

Publisher’s note: The following poems were submitted to us from young, female, abuse survivors at the Chowchilla women’s prison. The first 2 poems are by the same woman, and the last poem is by her roommate. Although we are permitted to publish these, the names of the poets are anonymous.



Sometimes I think about where my life would be today if I had not been born in 1978.

Sometimes I wonder if I heard words of love, would I have learned to speak only words of love and never hate?

Sometimes I wonder, if my mother weren’t white and my father black, would they have stayed together?

Imagine that.

Sometimes my heart tells me I’m right where I’m at because in life, sometimes it feels so right, but those nights you cry alone, it’s the inner emotional fight that keeps you feeling empty and cold.

You just don’t know. Sometimes I wonder why I am even here, why couldn’t I have said I want more from my life, why couldn’t anyone hear my silent tears.

Sometimes I wonder who this person is who stands in front of a mirror looking just like me and others’ eyes can’t make the connection, that what that mirror reflects – hides the inner me.

Sometimes I listen to others full of anger and pain, thinking to myself, life is so beautiful, don’t waste it in a complaint, and yet, I, too, find myself sometimes wishing to be someone else if only for a quick minute. It’s this soul engulfed in this body that says no – and keeps me in it.

Sometimes I search in ancient philosophies to lay a foundation of which I’m destined to be. Sometimes I sit quietly alone listening to the wind sing me silent, soft songs…”Soon you’ll be home.”

And sometimes I lose tears for unselfish reasons, my heart aches with hurts from others who have suffered throughout the seasons. And sometimes I close my eyes and think really hard that if I believe hard enough, all the pain will disappear and the wind will remove all of my fears.

Sometimes this can be true.


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Short Story by Thomas Smith


Time has blurred the surroundings. Looking back I know that it was in a busy café where we met, but when I close my eyes and picture it, which I often do, all I remember is her. The simplest thing can take me back to that day, a smell, a sound, silence. My mind is primed and ready to take me back to the day I first met Suzanne.

It was just a coffee shop. It was just a day. But that day and that coffee shop changed my life. I worked hard, and played rarely as my friends would often remind me, in a job with potential. A job that required me to wear a suit and take a lot of work home with me. I won’t bore you with the specifics.

I was taking my usual fifteen minute lunch break and I would like to say that fate pointed me in the direction of a coffee shop I had never been before, but in reality I went because they had a muffin sale – not quite the ultimate romantic ideal I know. But also it was.

I walked in, occupying my own mind, and felt a burning sensation. Looking down I saw my crisp white shirt rapidly turning brown. Pulling my damp coffee sodden shirt from my body I felt the rage I would feel about twenty times a day, and I was preparing to force a smile and burry my anger deep down and wait for the ulcer to kill me, then something odd happened. I looked up and saw her. Her eyes weakened me. A serenity quashed any rage I felt, not just then but ever. I would like to say at that point I told her eyes washed away my pain like a fountain on a hot summer’s morning, but I didn’t. I didn’t speak. I smiled at her and pushed by to get a coffee that wasn’t threatening to take me to the burns unit.

Suzanne joined me at my table, forcing the entire English language to leave my brain. Taking pity on me she broke the silence my newfound inability had created “Whenever I get bored I play a game, want to play?” I managed a nod “You pick a stranger and imagine what their lives are like” Thinking of this now I can’t help but smile, but at the time I thought she was crazy. She pointed at a man stood waiting to cross the street outside the cafe “He married his childhood sweetheart, they have one son and a beautiful daughter with the cutest lisp” I looked at this man and felt jealous of his fictitious white picket fenced life. “And he’s fucking his secretary.”

Thomas Smith has written sketches/gags for Newsrevue and this is his first publication of prose. He is currently finishing his debut novel and play; Circling The Drain and On The Fringe of Failure respectively. Smith may be reached at

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Book Review: Boneyard, by Dee Allen (Reviewed by Tammra Smith)

[Reviewed by Tammra Smith]

Dee Allen writes with everyday words, but it is his observations that reach to insightful depths. What I read was plainspoken, yet enlightening, simple, and yet complex with deep understanding. He uses soul touching words to paint a picture, images and visual action. I felt like I was in every scene that he described, partaking in the experience. His poems touch on politics, religion, justice, death and human nature. I like that Dee doesn’t feed you an emotion; that is something you bring as you read his poems and songs.

Tammra Smith may be reached at

Folks can get/purchase a copy of “Boneyard: Poems Of African Struggle And Survival In The U.$.” from Poor Press by clicking on the following webpage link below:

And author-information on Dee Allen here:

Book Review: Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power by Laura Amazzone

[Reviewed by Janine Canan]

Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power is exactly what this book is about: it’s an exploration of the sacredness of the Great Goddess of India and of womanhood itself.

In its pages, author Laura Amazzone takes us on a pilgrimage to the traditional ten-day harvest celebration of Durga that takes place in India and Nepal every year. We experience each day of the ceremony, meeting the Goddess herself, along with her manifestations as Saraswati Goddess of Creativity, Laksmi Goddess of Abundance, Kali Goddess of Transformation, Taleju Goddess of Tantra, Ancient Grandmother, Kumari Girl Goddesses, Matrikas, Yoginis, and the women of Nepal.

Carefully, thoroughly, the author explains aspects and details of the puja which most westerners would be unfamiliar with. Mesmerizing descriptions of colorful devotional rituals are interwoven with well-researched information on their history and meaning, and explanations of their powerful impact on the participants’ psyches.

Amazzone’s personal journey is a search for a Goddess who can heal her from traumatic childhood abuse by a violent father. Through her account, we are allowed to share in inner experiences which are fully integrated into the sociopolitical and spiritual realms. This is empowering feminist writing at its best. Goddess Durga conveys a profound respect for women as it meditates deeply on the current condition of women, and what it means to be a “cosmological” woman.

Janine Canan is the author of Ardor: Poems of Life. Visit for more information).


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Paintings by Amelia Lewis

Amelia Lewis is a fine arts painter out of San Francisco, CA. Lewis’ work has been exhibited throughout San Francisco as well as on a national level.

Upcoming Events:

Lewis and JellyFish Gallery (1286 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103) will be producing a visual and musical event titled ‘Storybook’. Visit for more information.

  • Soft Opening :  Friday, May 06, 2011
  • Storybook Reception & Party :  Saturday, May 14, 2011
  • Rafael House Benefit :  Saturday, May 21, 2011

Click here to see more of the artist’s work.


An Interview with Berkeley gallery-owner, Alta Gerrey

[Article by Jaylan Salah]

Independent, strong and creative, Alta Gerrey of Berkeley, Californa is a true traveler in the Art Sahara. In the 1960s she started Shameless Hussy Press, the first feminist press ever created in the United States. Such a courageous step was not easy. Especially since women writers faced many struggles then, and were seen as ‘shameless’ for seeking to promote their work.

“Certain topics were not considered serious when I was young,” Gerrey says, “being a homemaker, for instance.  Others were considered shocking, such as lesbianism.  Now women can write – and publish – just about anything!”

Shameless Hussy published over 40 books in the twenty years Alta operated it, from 1969 to 1989. Most authors they accepted were women, including Ntozake Shange and Jennifer Jaffe, and they published a variety of genres, including collections of poetry and a few children’s books. And, they were located for a time in the small suburban East Bay town of San Lorenzo – where Gerrey says she felt safer from people who did not appreciate what she was doing.

Gerrey said she started the press because she and other women writers she knew were finding that mainstream publishing houses wouldn’t accept their work. To her, that was how much of the women’s equality movement got started in the United States – simply through women getting together with their friends and sharing things they noticed about their lives.

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


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Poetry by J’Rie B. Elliott


A flower will die without sunlight
Delivering it’s warming ray.
A flower will die without the rain,
To wash over every day.

We tend flowers and tend them well
Therefore, they bloom with all their might.
We give them time, and space for rain,
And that ever needed light.

However, if the rains are slow to come,
Or the sun refuses to shine,
The flowers will die, but do not feel it.
They will be back in time.

However, we have another flower,
To which we must attend.
This flower is given for us to grow.
To feed, to love, to friend.

J’Rie B. Elliott is a poetess and ongoing contributor of Synchronized Chaos. To contact her, send an email to

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Poetry Review: The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness, by Lynn Lonidier

[Reviewed by Brooke Cooley]

The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness compiles all the poems written by Lynn Lonidier (1937-1993) between her last book and her death.  Lonidier’s humor, tenacity, and wit weave throughout her words as she experiments with Spanglais – a unique style of writing that incorporates local-Mission Spanish into her original poems that profess a woman-centered quest through the eyes of this streetwise woman visionary.

Lonidier was an unambiguous lesbian and feminist, consistently dedicated to the underprivileged, especially the children of San Francisco’s Mission district during the 1960s.  Her compassion, energy, and tenderness shines through her often angry and painfully real literary images as she explores her truths through the pages of this compilation.

The vision and creation that Lonidier depicts through the pages of this collection of bilingual poems tells a story through the eyes of an activist, teacher, artist, and mentor.  The expression of her experiences through her poetry offered me plenty of opportunities to crave and search for the wisdom and understanding that she also wanted to know and  was able to identify with many of the feelings that she described.  I was especially interested by the way feelings of San Francisco and all the flavor it has to offer were felt throughout the pages and that familiarity bled through, page after page.

Inspiring, heartfelt, and passionate, The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness brought insight into not only the life of a woman who wrote her own script, but encouraged me to continue asking what I wanted to see on the pages of my own life.  She clearly exemplified courage and strength in both her written works as well as her life, taking on challenges that enriched both her life as well as generations to come.

Brooke Cooley may be reached at

Poetry by Eric Sadler


I went howling to the Moon
And I hoped to outrun it
Before the days turn into nights
And she’s left with quite a


Of Sing, Sing, Sing
And Etta James
And Charles Mingus
And Miles Davis
And Sir Duke
Who juke out those fountains of
That saw sway saw away
Out of that golden flashing bay.

And I see
In the moonlight
The way for me
But not for
But against

And I guess she was
Dressed for quick
Double time
At the Hide-Away slime.
To chill with the yellow cats
Scratching their chairs
And lapping their beer
And having funny thoughts so queer
Until you think you’re gonna pass
From the stuff.

But her dress was Green
And I was in Black
And she was bathed in
The spotlight of the Moon
And I was drenched with
Howling sweat.


Please send any questions or feedback to Eric Sadler at


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An Interview with San Francisco Visual Artist, Anne Eunice

[Article by Cynthia Lamanna]

I recently engaged in a refreshing and candid phone interview with artist Anne Eunice, who currently resides in San Francisco. I was drawn in by this winsome, light yet sincere young woman, intrigued by her simple, poignant answers to some specific and open ended questions regarding her art, and the creation thereof.

Without a lot of fan-fare and drawn out explanations or reflections, she was humble, yet assured and matter of fact.

When asked how long she had been creating art, she answered “all my life.” She implied that over the last six months, she has taken more of an active interest. Currently part of a weekly art group, Eunice views drawing as a catalyst for inner healing. “When you make art, you can see that there’s still good, still love, still some happiness inside yourself.”

When asked how her art has evolved, she spoke up without pause. “I think it’s still evolving.” As the succinct answers and conversation weaved and flowed, with a sense of order and purpose, I was processing an image of an unpretentious sort who might be far too modest in her own appraisal of her gifts. Yet she seemed far less concerned with the grandiose, and final product, and more aware of the beauty of the journey, in the process, and expressed with an earnestness and conviction how she would like to continue her education in art, improve upon and develop herself as an artist.

What came across too was the fresh fascination of creating, emulating or re-creating beauty, and an enduring child-like wonder. I had not yet viewed her art at the time of the phone interview, and was curious, using my trusted imagination in place of other senses, to envision and/or capture in part, an essence, as it were. I invited her at her own pace to express herself, give a birds’ eye view, and somehow convey a prominent or primary message as well as visual, in telling a story about her art.

Cynthia Lamanna lives in the East San Francisco Bay Area, and is a regular contributor to Synchronized Chaos Magazine. You may reach her at

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Chanticleers Theatre’s production of Lend Me a Tenor

[Reviewed by Bruce Roberts]

Having acted in local theater before, I know it’s rare when a performance goes off without a single hitch. That’s why I was so impressed with the Chanticleers’ flawless performance of Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Chanticleers have been performing community theater in Castro Valley, California for 62 years. Tony Award-winning Lend Me a Tenor debuted on Broadway 22 years ago. That they finally got together is a wonderful treat for the audience.

This is a high energy comedy. Two side-by-side rooms provide a double set for parallel action. Within those two rooms are six doors, which of course present multiple possibilities for entrances and exits that keep this comedy of errors, and errors, and more errors, fast-paced, lively, and hysterical, a tribute to the directing of Sue Ellen Nelsen.

This cast had not a weak link anywhere. Everyone was on cue and over-the-top. With parallel sets, there was no wasted stage time for anyone either. If the focus was on one room, the actors next door would still be moving, mugging, gesturing. The audience had to watch every part of the stage to catch all the character nuances of this rich performance.

In this play, Max-well-played by Jeffrey Morrill–is an assistant, apparently not the leading man. Well-cast as the diametric opposite of an Italian opera superstar, Max expands the breadth of his role impressively as the play proceeds. To start, he is a toady, panicky, his stressed-out voice squawking into falsetto at every downturn of events. As the play moves on though, he reveals a marvelous operatic voice, plus great knowledge of the opera in question, Otello, and the stage presence to pull off an amazing charade. This allows the subsequent confusion that carries the second act, with him growing into leading man stature, and getting the girl at the end.

In short, if you’re ever in Castro Valley, California, check out Chanticleers Community Theater-small, intimate, unpretentious– and see what excellent show they’re running then. If you’re ever in need of a belly-laugh, find a theater playing Lend Me A Tenor. You won’t be disappointed either way.

Bruce Roberts is a poet and ongoing contributor to Synchronized Chaos Magazine. Roberts may be reached by at