Archive for May, 2011
May’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine features a wide variety of creative talent, from free-flowing poetry by David Cicerone and Dave Douglas, to dramatic and highly imaginative children’s book illustrations by Elena Caravela. In this case, Energy in Imagination is intended to denote a vibrant spirit, boldness, and even uncertainty.
We are excited to publish the poetry of 2 new SynchChaos contributors: Stephen Labovsky and Jessi Finn. Their work is naturally curious and relatable as they present several descriptive pictures for the reader.
Check out the spiritual writing from returning contributor, Blanca E. Jones. Jones was inspired to write this piece after reading bible scripture, Matthew 26:67-68.
Book reviews this month include:
- J’Rie B. Elliott on Jack the Kitten is Very Brave, a children’s book by Tabitha Smith, illustrated by Mindy Lou Hagan
- Bruce Roberts on In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez
- Kyrsten Bean on In The Spirit of We’Moon – Celebrating 30 Years – An Anthology of We’Moon Art and Writing, from Founding Editor, Musawa (and other writers)
- Nicole Arocho on The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness, by Lynn Lonidier
- Sarah Melton on Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon
In tech news, Bart S. Alvara recaps Metaio’s corporate mixer held on March 27, 2011, in San Francisco, CA. Metaio is a growing leader in the fascinating field of visual recognition software.
Thank you for reading this month’s issue. Enjoy the last few weeks of spring and have a great Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day!
[Reviewed by J’Rie B. Elliott]
If the word ‘adorable’ was looked up in the dictionary, it would have a picture of Jack the pirate kitten as a definition. The children’s book, Jack the Kitten is Very Brave, written by Tabitha Smith and illustrated by Mindy Lou Hagan is a winner. The story begins with a small tabby kitten named Jack who longs to be a brave and fierce pirate. His only problem is his distinct fear of the water. How can Jack be a brave pirate and be scared of the water? His brother Machu loves the water and his brother too and while taking a bath decides to end his brother’s fear. This is a wonderful tale of courage, brotherly love and how to overcome what ever fears you are facing.
The illustrations in the book are ‘spot on’. They are detailed and colorful with a childish flair that makes children want to read the story to go along with the pictures. One picture that I found to be cleverly done is a reflection picture in the middle of the story. The reflection in the rippling water is beautiful even from an adult standpoint.
I was asked to review this book, and eagerly accepted the task. However I did not feel completely qualified to review it alone as I have not been a child for years. This being the case I shanghaied some of the intended audience to assist me in this endeavor; my own son and daughter. I gave them Jack the Kitten is Very Brave before they retired for bed and let them read it; without telling them any details or reasons why. The next day I asked “What did you think of the story?” My son–whom we call ’Professor’– began to tell me the story and how he liked the details of the illustrations within the book. He liked how the letters changed colors–half white, half black–when printed across a pirate flag. After my son’s explanation I turned to my daughter, who told me the story–again in amazing detail–and then asked me a question of her own, “Can I keep it?” From other children this may not sound like much, but she changes library books weekly and rarely wants to keep a book after she is finished with it. I asked her why she wanted this particular book. Her answer spoke volumes, “I liked it.”
The reviewer, J’Rie B. Elliott, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the below links to purchase the book.
[Article by Bart S. Alvara]
On Thursday March 27th, a bold new vision of the future was being unveiled at the staff offices at Metaio. While music played and drinks were shared visitors to the San Francisco outlet of the independent company were captivated by a new visual recognition software that may change how we view reality.
Augmented Reality combines the real and the visual world in real time 3D placing the viewer in the center of an interactive digital world. In non tech-genius speak, a camera is programmed to look only for a certain image, when this image is recognized, a stored illustration is activated and the display reflects that overlapping illustration on screen. Or as the staff at Metaio can state better, “we connect any object to additional, digital information. Our vision is the seamless and easy integration of the virtual into the real world.” Essentially it’s a private green screen, like a movie special effects studio, that can be run from an something as small as a cell phone.
While that might be hard to understand, the applications are not. Imagine if your cell phone could simply look at a product and suddenly on screen all the information relating to it popped. Or your cell phone could display whose trending on twitter or Facebook in your immediate area. This digital interactive advertising was once thought up only in sci-fi movies, yet with the technology provided by Metaio, it may become the standard for the 21st century.
Elena Caravela has worked as an illustrator, instructor, and fine artist. Caravela’s illustrations were featured in award-winning children’s picture books, The Birds of the Harbor and A Night of Tamales and Roses.
Caravela states, “My inspiration comes from the challenges and promises of growing up and I want to acknowledge and respect the confusion, wonder, pain, and magic inherent in the process.”
Learn more about the artist and her work at www.elenacaravela.net.
Selections from poetry collection, “Read The Book–See The Movie–Shoot The Hostages”
They’ve engineered a manhunt for my alter ego!!!
I’m running on the fumes of reason & being force-fed sanity as supplement to a steady diet of nothing
Watching myself regress to a hippie in toenails only as necessary illusion replaces reason as that which sets man apart from beast
As Stephen Hawking reads the Kama Sutra to audiences awestruck to the point of lockjaw
As those who want to “find themselves” begin to look down shotgun barrels
As talkative parents are spoonfed the same laxatives better used on international playboys in full fertility mode
As people slowly but surely come to understand that the only naivete in this world is thinking it’s ever possible to be certain of anything, & that the point of life is to avoid at all costs becoming that which you have always hated-
As the grunt recedes into the death mask
As personal sins stack themselves high as houses of cards
As the condemned man demands carrot juice & applesauce for his final meal
While world leaders cannibalize gangrene & tarantula cupcakes in lieu of dolphin fondue,
Having hunted the world’s most dangerous game since they were old enough to refuse dessert–
As the line to the fountain of youth remains as long as the one to the movie theater’s latest celebrity slasher
As the great woman behind the great man becomes the man in drag
As germ warfare remains as incomprehensible as a midget’s voyeur tactics
As teenage atheists confuse “rapist” with “one who murders monks”& as the best answer to the question “what have YOU done for the human race lately?” becomes “I’ve removed myself from it,”
The most depraved among us stalk ever-onward into tombs of our own making,
Scrawling decadent epitaphs in as unforced a prose as a death letter–
Encyclopedic as any faulty lobotomy & as collaborative a will as any used to defeat a common enemy
David Cicerone is a poet based out of North Carolina. Cicerone may be reached at email@example.com.
My mind’s eye burns up the road,
Until it hit a blind cold shoulder;
My focus spins out of control
Onto a thin sheet of icy candor.
Storms in my brain lose their power,
The flames in my heart drown out,
As the gravity of forged caution signs
Drops a detour of a deadly route.
No laws will dodge the washout,
No amount of cunning is enough,
The only hope to save this thought
Rides in the bones of the risen Sheriff.
I accelerate over streets too rough,
The tarmac, an extension of soul -
I do not dread a curve of sarcasm!
Skin is not of concern, but my role.
Dave Douglas © 2011
Dave Douglas may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Reviewed by Bruce Roberts]
Once we have taken care of life’s essentials—food and shelter—life can be a lot of fun. The day-to-day patterns of life can get comfortable, enjoyable, rewarding in all their small pleasures.
Sometimes, however, we must risk losing these comforts. Sometimes, we are pulled to think not just of ourselves, but of our friends, our neighbors, our whole country. And we must rise up out of our familiar, comfortable lives and fight for a greater good.
This is the premise of In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez, the novel selected for THE BIG READ in 2011. Based upon a real event in the closing days of Dictator Raphael Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic, this fictionalized version traces the growth and development of the Mirabel sisters, four girls of a middle class, yet rural family, who have a good life.
Yet day by day, from their teen years on, friction develops between this good life and their whole country’s life under a brutal dictator: people informing on their neighbors, people being jailed, young women taken for the whims of “El Jefe” Trujillo, people disappearing—never to be seen again!
Their good life of planting and harvest and cooking and celebrating ends when their father is suddenly arrested—presumably because Minerva, the most rebellious, the most politically active of the sisters, has refused El Jefe’s advances. The need to fight against Trujillo before he destroys the country spreads through everyone they know like a wildfire.
Bruce Roberts is a poet and ongoing contributor to Synchronized Chaos Magazine. Roberts may be reached by at email@example.com.
An Inspired writing from the reading of Matthew 26:67-68
Matthew 26:67-68 (from The One Year Bible for Women NLT, New Living Translation)
(67) “Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, (68) jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”
(From the NIV, New International Translation)
(67) “Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him (68) and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”
Oh my dear Heavenly Father,
That you loved us so much
That you sent us your Son Jesus
To bear the weight of our sins!
These people you created
With such love and longing
With such care and unfathomable wisdom!
These people who questioned your commands
This race, so easily persuaded
To look away from the One
Who sent us His one and only beloved Son
That whoever believed in Him would be so blessed!
That they not perish but have eternal life!
Oh my Lord God,
As I read these verses,
The realization of what these people had done!
Striking out at You
Spitting at You
Oh my Father God!
That yet today mankind continues to do the same!
My sweet Heavenly Father
I am at a loss for words.
How can we be so blind!
Oh my sweet Lord,
Those who fall at your feet
Whose hearts know the truth
Whose Spirit is alive
With your presence!
Those whose Spirit radiates your light
And conquers the darkness
Who thirsts for your love
Hungers for your teachings
Delights in your touch
And yearns for your kingdom!
Bless us my Lord
That we shall not waiver
But remain rooted in faith
That we shall not fear but rejoice
Not question but know
Not be silent but sing in worship!
That we shall not hang our heads
But gaze upward with outstretched arms
The Day You Take Us Home!
Blanca Jones is a past contributor to Synchronized Chaos. Jones may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Reviewed by Kyrsten Bean]
“In The Spirit of We’Moon – Celebrating 30 Years – An Anthology of We’Moon Art and Writing” is an anthology documenting thirty years of We’Moon calendars and is filled to the brim with women’s art and poetry.
The idea for the original We’Moon calendar originated out of the women’s liberation movement of the 60′s and 70′s. It germinated at Kvindelandet in Denmark, amongst a group of women who were teaching themselves to live on the land in harmony with the earth’s seasons and the planetary cycles of the universe. The idea started to spread to women from all over the world who had an interest in the earth, the planets and the female plight.
The publishers of We’Moon (meaning women in the collective dialect of the calendar) have gathered poetry and art from the thirty years of the publications history to produce this labor of love. The publication has always been centered on women specifically, and celebrates wholeness, struggle and different voices from across the earth.
I remember vividly traveling as a teenager and stopping at one particular gas station in the Midwest. Driving along the freeway that day had been nuts. The gas station was filled with crazy energy. I looked up and it was a full moon. My fellow travelers and I lamented that the moon cycles seemed to cause such a stir in energy on the planet. That was my first recollection of the moon affecting the earth on any grand scale.
Lunar cycles affect everything: From the tides, to women’s monthly cycles. We’Moon celebrates the alignment of the planets and stars in relation to earth’s female energy and has documented the changes over the last thirty years through the collective unconscious of women everywhere.
Kyrsten Bean is a Staff Writer for Synchronized Chaos. She may be reached at email@example.com.
[Reviewed by Nicole Arocho]
Lynn Lonidier’s poetry drives you through a rollercoaster of poignant emotions that leaves you breathless and wanting more of her quirky use of bilingual vocabulary and unconventional metaphors that constantly surprise the reader. She writes poetry, but she doesn’t let poetry forge a specific structure on her work. She switches effortlessly from short, minimalistic stanzas to prose poetry. Even though Christmas Kitty in Bilingual and, Or What I did this Year read very differently from, say, Happy Doris On Her ‘69th, they are equally powerful. Her work is greatly influenced by her lesbianism and by the work she did in the Mission District in San Francisco as a teacher. Both elements are woven beautifully in the unique style she sometimes utilized, a construction of thoughts rather than complete phrases or sentences.
As a bilingual myself, I enjoyed very much Lonidier’s use of both Spanish and English to convey the multicultural space that is the Mission District she so much refers to in her poetry. With her Spanglish we get a better sense of the mix of cultures that color her San Francisco, California. Some of the words may seem random and spelled or grammatically incorrect, but each one of them is conjures a meaning, an essence, a philosophical idea that Lynn Lonidier wanted us to examine, to taste in our reading, to sense in our minds when thinking of her poem afterward.
Her prose poetry is very experimental and fresh; her stylistic choices make her pieces fun to read for the reader but they are also a challenge that Lonidier interposes to this genre and to the reader. The structure plays itself like a metaphor of the development of her own identity as a lesbian and member of the Mission District community. Overall, this book is very unique and a rare combination of wit, passion, flamboyant language and situations, unexpected comparisons and images that reveal, little by little, the realities of two communities (lesbians and the immigrants) who are brought together thanks to Lonidier’s insight and personal connection to both of them.
You can contact the reviewer, Nicole Arocho, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Reviewed by Sarah Melton]
In hindsight, I may have been the wrong person to review a book such as Gordon’s gritty, dark tale of corruption in the world of equestrian racing, circa 1970’s Virginia. For instance, I wasn’t fond of horse racing to begin with. Not that this story argued the already long-ingrained belief I had about the abuse of horses for the sake of money and prestige – in fact, it accented that issue throughout – but some of the terminology and references to the sport weren’t really made clear to those who didn’t follow racing to begin with, and the use of it made the overall plot of the layers of conspiracy and betrayal between the main characters that much harder to figure out.
Also, the writing style – in particular, the absence of any quotation marks or other signifying punctuation to separate one speaker from another (or a speaking character from their own internal thoughts) made the novel a particularly difficult read. I had to read several paragraphs of dialogue over and over, just to figure out who was talking, then again (if they were talking about racing in technical terms again) to figure out what they were actually getting at with their conversation. I realize this was an intentional style by the writer, perhaps to make the conversation seem to flow to the reader, but to this reader in particular, it had exactly the opposite effect. Not every reader will feel this way – in fact, the very fact that the novel has won a National Book Award shows that someone (likely even a majority) would find this particular writing style much more favorable than I did. Perhaps I’m just set in my ways as far as formatting and style goes, or need it spelled out for me to figure out who is saying what in any given conversation…or perhaps, as I originally thought, the very style of the dialogue was so perplexing that it detracted from the heart of the story – the characters themselves.
Men Were Growing Up through the Flowers
Men were growing up through the flowers
at a speed that none of us could capture.
Their bug-eyed faces crushed the stalks,
leaving behind mounds of ruinous dirtscape,
as their arms brought with them a wind
that pulled their chests above the tree line.
Young oaks were slain, as were caterpillars,
whose nibbles had done little harm.
They were men with gorgeous, bug-eyed faces,
two strikingly young, two marvelously old,
growing far too fast for us to believe
that it could be more than boredom’s trickery.
Yet they endure, giant above us.
They drink the rain straight from the sky.
The sun has tanned their stunning faces
around their eyes, now ceaselessly closed,
as we, slouch-backed and thirsty,
push their mighty ankles that will not yield.