Archive for June, 2011
Synchronized Chaos is pleased to present you with June’s issue Mind Over Matter, an acknowledgment of willpower and responsibility of one’s fate in the face of seemingly never-ending grumble and quarrel, and complicated obligations.
Joanna Roberts confronts interracial dating in the South, in her essay, Cancer.
In January Was The Wound, returning Word-Master Simon J. Charlton shares a complex poem that he wrote in response to reading the works of poets such as Charles Henri Ford, David Gascoyne, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and more. We also welcome new international poetry contributors, Steven Fowler and Tatjana Debeljacki.
Reviews this month:
- Kyrsten Bean on Love in a Time of Robot Apocalypse, by David Perez
- Andrew Rahal on Music Crystals Poems (1962-2008), by Hale Thatcher
- Bruce Roberts on How Much Land Does a Man Need, by Leo Tolstoy
- Floyd A. Logan on It Felt Like A Kiss, by Leena Prasad
- David A. L. Brown on Nowhere to be Home, by Maggie Lemere and Zoë West
We thank those who contributed to this month’s issue and to our readers throughout the globe for their ongoing support. Don’t forget to check out the new Synchronized Chaos Fan Page on Facebook! Click here now!
Lorette C. Luzajic is an artist and writer from Toronto, ON, Canada. Luzajic is the founder of Idea Fountain, a creative portal for freedom of expression. For more information, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The artwork featured here is from a recent series that seeks to explore repression, oppression, and suppression.
Luzajic also just released a coffee table book entitled, “A Heartbreaking World of Staggering Glorious: the visual imagination of Lorette C. Luzajic.” The book showcases over 250 of Luzajic’s works. Click here to preview the book!
[Article by Robbie Fraser]
Brian Doyle’s most recent novel, Mink River, manages to showcase the Northwest in the same way that Irish authors like James Joyce showcased their own country. It’s not a claim one lightly makes, but it is a claim that the book nonetheless deserves. While a multitude of genuinely unique characters paint a portrait of the fictional town of Neawanka in full, Doyle also manages to present a novel that is accessible to the reader in a way that writer’s like Joyce famously never did. It is a highly entertaining story in its own right, and provides the readers with a page turning presentation of events amid Doyle’s unique brand of philosophy. In this month’s issue, Doyle was kind enough to sit down with Synchronized Chaos and offer his thoughts on his novel, as well as give a little insight on his life as a writer
“In a small town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter. There’s a Department of Public Works that gives haircuts and counts insects, a policeman addicted to Puccini, a philosophizing crow, beer and berries. An expedition is mounted, a crime committed, and there’s an unbelievably huge picnic on the football field. Babies are born. A car is cut in half with a saw. A river confesses what it’s thinking…”
-Oregon State University Press
Synchronized Chaos: How long has the general idea for Mink River been floating around in your mind?
Brian Doyle: Probably 25 years. I wrote a short story in the mid eighties, published it, thought I was done with the characters, but they kept chatting away in my head – I could actually hear and see them – very odd. They are not based on anyone – they were, for whatever reasons, real to me. I tried then for years to push and see what would happen, but I am an essayist, not a novelist, and I’d stop again and again. Finally I set about just writing one tiny story a day of the town and its people, and that was the key to it – then it ran loose, and after a couple of years of one hour a morning, quite early, it wanted finally to be a Book. A wonderful soaring puzzling pleasure to have lived with those characters for so long. I miss them, actually.
Robbie Fraser is an associate editor for Synchronized Chaos Magazine. Fraser may be reached at email@example.com.
Gubi se u sivilu samoće.
Uljez saznanja-šum iz uma.
Nejasna nit, strasna, surova, bdi.
Plod nije zavera.
Ludak, genije tišine!
Približi se neizrecivom.
U šetnji, vidni stid!
U magli stepenice
Vode ka nebu.
U množini protiv rečitih,
I priznati krivicu.
Crta koja spaja,
Put u svemirski brod.
Mimoilzimo sa omalovažanjem.
Lost in the grey loneliness.
Cognition intruder – rustling from the mind.
Unclear thread, passionate, cruel, is awaken.
The fruit is not conspiracy.
The lunatic, genius of silence!
Get closer to the unspoken.
The analysis of reason- slavery!
During walking, visible shame!
Opened door, the windows,
In the mist the stairways
Leading to heaven.
In the plural against the fluency,
And admit the guilt.
The line connecting,
The road to the spacecraft.
We walk on by in dishonor.
We have no pictures together other than one. In it I am seven or eight on a family trip to a theme park. I wear a blue shirt and short jean shorts and my hair is pinned back into a bun. My mom wears an orange sleeveless shirt with her hair pinned back as well. She is thin with jet black hair that grazes the middle of her back. We are on a ride where a boat swings back and forth. I got on the ride with my mom and sister. I thought I was old enough to handle it, little did I know. As the boat rose higher and higher when it swung in the air, I yell to get off. My sister laughs at me as the conductor slows the machine down from his control station. I can’t remember the last family vacation that was actually fun like the one from the picture. Now we fight every trip we try to take together, so we have quit taking them.
That trip was the last moment I remember being happy with my mother and the only picture of us two together alone. The bickering between us began my freshman year of high school. I was fifteen, and like most teenage girls, I fought with my mother about everything, especially when my father was out of town which was often. She always nagged me about irrelevant things like cleaning my room, the bathroom or doing the dishes or laundry. My friend Courtney lived down the street, so I would always walk to her house to spend the night to get away from my mother. I was always questioned when I wanted to go to Courtney’s, partly because Courtney was a year older, but also because my mother thought we were going to meet up with boys. Courtney’s mom was a lot more lenient and would let us go the mall and movies alone. We usually met up with boys or had them pick us up from Discover Mills Mall to go to a house party, so my mother was right.
Krista Tate currently lives in Atlanta, GA, and is an undergraduate student at Georgia Southern University. Your comments and feedback are welcomed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Reviewed by David A. L. Brown]
Make Nowhere to be Home a Home on your Bookshelf
As a westerner, it is easy to condemn any government’s use of violence, fear, and exploitation against its people, yet difficult to make a lasting—or even visible—change to the status quo. One group, however, is making their mark on the world by creating a stage for victims to speak for themselves. Toward this endeavor, Voice of Witness, a relatively new advocacy group dedicated to alerting the international community to social and political injustice, recently released Nowhere to be Home, a chilling collection of accounts from Burmese refugees and exiles.
For those who have lived under the shadow of the Burmese government, there is no peace. Authors Maggie Lemere and Zoë West highlight the daily tragedy of Burmese oppression through a series of interviews with once-ordinary citizens, of whom all have either fled or been forced from their native land. It is readily apparent to readers that the authors consider no voice too small to be heard. Nowhere to be Home is the collective experience of mothers and sons, prisoners and soldiers, monks and sex workers who were forced to remain silent about their own victimization in Burma, brought to light for the first time.
From the outset, it is apparent that many of the voices retelling their experiences are undereducated, if at all. Stories are broken, fragmented accounts reflecting the fragile psyche of each individual victim. This works for the authors, constantly reminding the reader that these are not professionals reciting well-worn acts. Despite the apparent simplicity of each narrative, the stories flow easily, and are well-directed. Once a particular survivor draws you in, you feel compelled to explore every word of their story before putting the book down. Thankfully, chapters are short, concise, and striking, each leaving a new impression on the reader, and granting new insights into the lives of millions still living in poverty and fear.
JANUARY WAS THE WOUND
JANUARY WAS THE WOUND
& the sun no more than a memory
A glaze behind the eyes
A shimmering afterglow
Of days long since birthed
Of days long since ended
The clouds gathering a smothering darkness
Weaving veils of mourning tight stitched across a sky slung low & mean
Swollen with bad intentions
All the usual signatures that deaden the day
Baffling the mind against external sensation
Demanding of the imagination that it turn with ever greater urgency inwards
To wander the hallucinatory weave of worlds within
Where the rain falls its percussion of cutlery
Detonating on the scrubbed surface of a plain deal table
Where the dying man sits in the slumped light carving keepsakes & sorrows
The window is the sky that is the clouds that are the ships that carry their cargo of distance & dreams
& the rabbit vanishes down the hole to discover the orchestra aflame
Birds nesting within fragile skulls
Panthers a sinuous presence within the sighing shadows
Here to think actively against thought
To commune with the Automatic Ghost & its attendant revelations of self & other
The faceless stranger who walks always beside in a glimmer of whispers
To create a sun & a sky & a love more real for their quality of dreaming
Now is the hour when we must unpack the baggage of ashen shadows weighted beneath sleep-hungry eyes
Now is the hour when we must spill our secrets from the scarlet sack
Now the hour of the whispered dream
Now the hour of the murmur
Its inexhaustible nature
Of mountains & oceans
Of silent phones in abandoned rooms
Of inverted umbrellas gathering scorched feathers
Of the empty page & words unwritten
Paint a crimson wound across the hungering heart & discover again that realm of wilderness & fever
The west wind whispering of a sublime desolation
The beautiful ruin of songs yet to be sung
So unstitch the silence & sing…
Blood Runs Thicker
Jackson called my mother around 1 A.M. I was in my room watching TV when my mother came barging in, her brown hair uncombed around her face, more wrinkled than usual, telling me my brother had sent her a text message: “I’m sorry, Mom. I love you.” She held the phone up to my face for my response. He hadn’t answered when she texted him back.
It wasn’t a normal text because my brother isn’t a normal person. My brother was the chunky kid at the lunch table that kids taunted. When he was twelve and playing hide and go seek, he got stuck under a water bed at a kid’s house down the street and my dad had to go down and take all the water out of the bed just to get my brother out. Another time when he was in 6th grade and I was in 8th he got in a fight at the bus stop with another boy and I stood frozen watching, not knowing to stop it. I still didn’t know how to stop him.
Around the time of the text Jackson had been living with his friend Marc for a couple of months. Jackson dropped out of school the day he turned 18; two arrests and one bad drug deal gone wrong later, Jackson moved out of our house with his friend, Marc. Marc was the poster child for the kid parents try to keep their kids away from. My mother calls Marc a “lost soul” because he looks like a corpse with dark eyes, stringy blonde hair, and has grey teeth. It was no secret to my parents or me that Jackson and Marc sold drugs together. When they still lived in my parents’ neighborhood we’d have cars show up in front of our house and stay there while my brother went out and came back smelling like marijuana with his pockets filled with money. My mom would always threaten him that she’d call the cops or kick him out, but these were all just empty threats—which my brother knew.
Lauren Gann is from Georgia and is currently enrolled at Atlanta John Marshall Law School. You may leave comments here, or reach Gann at email@example.com.
[Article by Robbie Fraser]
At Synchronized Chaos, we like to focus on up and coming artists as often as we feature those who have an established place in their field. For this issue we’ve decided to turn that focus to Brent Vickers, a recent college graduate from Texas State University majoring in English, and an aspiring writer. While Vickers has a style that is uniquely his own, his story is one that many Synchronized Chaos readers are likely to find relatable. While clearly displaying his ability through the written word, Vickers is still searching for a firm place in his cultural field – the proverbial “big break” of every hopeful artist. He is a young and talented writer that is nonetheless confronting an uncertain future.
Here, we have featured a few poems that Vickers selected as a small sampling of his work, as well as a brief Q&A exploring his development as a writer, and more importantly, what the future may hold for him. With some of his poetry and fiction already published, and the promise of more to come, Vickers has managed to venture further down the road to success than the vast majority of those who have made similar journeys. With a screenplay currently in development, and an independent production company already looking to purchase the rights, it may be only a matter of time before Vickers finds his destination within view.
Synchronized Chaos: How long have you been writing poetry?
Brent Vickers: Since I was around fourteen or so.
SC: What poems or poets first inspired you?
BV: John Keats and Edna St. Vincent Millay.
SC: What is your favorite poem? Favorite line?
BV: He wishes for the Clothes of Heaven by W.B. Yeats; don’t really have a favorite line. If i had to choose I’d probably say “though lover’s be lost, love shall not/and death shall have no dominion” by Dylan Thomas or “we are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.
Robbie Fraser is an associate editor for Synchronized Chaos Magazine. Fraser may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Reviewed by Floyd A. Logan]
Prasad’s Book Has Kissed My Thoughts
“Preciously held, and publicly owned” are the words that come to mind as I leaf through this colorful book. This photojournal of murals and art of the Mission District is not long at less than 60 pages, but is rich in impact, impression and narrative. This is the sort of book that can be opened at any page in any order and there is something worth seeing or thinking about. In short, it’s light, but it’s “heavy”.
Prasad speaks to you in first person. Even though the articles are assembled without dates, there is a natural flow to her book. It is natural to look up at a mural on the side of a building, then look down at the pavement, where messages await your reaction (sometimes, your revulsion). You may then be tempted to go further down the street, into an air conditioned sunny cafe for a short break, and, perhaps an aromatic cup of Persian tea. As you sip your tea, you look around at the walls and forget where you are for just a few minutes. Prasad speaks to you in a comfortable way, sounding as one who is by nature a creative person, accomplished in some respects, but still willing to slow down and take a closer look. This narrative of sharing, provides a cheerful, vicarious partnership, as we are on a tour, led by Prasad, who knows that there is always more to be observed or proclaimed about our living in this moment.
Floyd A. Logan may be reached at email@example.com.
[Reviewed by Bruce Roberts]
Count Lyev Nicolayevich Tolstoy has long been acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest novelists, author of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, among others, in a lifetime of writing.
In 1886, he also published a short story, “How Much Land Does a Man Need.” Now newly translated by Boris Dralyuk, a Ph.D. candidate in Slavic languages at U.C.L.A., this simple story speaks volumes about the world throughout history in general, and about modern America in particular.
“How Much Land Does a Man Need” is a folktale. The characters are Russian peasants, people who actually work and derive sustenance from the land. In this story though, their simple life is complicated by a character with other motives, the Devil.
Born into Russian nobility, Tolstoy became less and less satisfied with his wealth and talent and good fortune as he grew older. He even wanted to renounce the royalties from his famous novels, feeling strongly that no man should have so much while others starved.
This renunciation of wealth is ironically the unwritten message of this folktale. The title question is a universal metaphor for greed. Pakhom, a peasant farmer, is relatively successful and content with his life—except for this question.
This featured work, Ancestors, is by Canadian painter Larry Azoth. You can see more of Azoth’s art at artreview.com.