This month’s submissions represent literal or metaphorical conversations: snippets of overheard or spoken dialogue, responses to cultural ideas or to others’ writing, or poetic tension among various ideas or emotional states.
Some contributors directly show people talking, or interacting in different ways.
Joe Balaz offers up two poems written in the dialect of Hawaiian Pidgin, intending to preserve the language and illustrate its capacity to convey thoughtful poetry. His poetic subjects talk conversationally to readers, expressing confidence in their hunting prowess and in everyday life.
Tony Nightwalker LeTigre contributes poetry about non-judgement and being happy in the moment, enjoying skate parks and memories and hot chocolate. His work reminds me of another local urban character from San Francisco: Lisa Demb, the creator of the ‘Happy Armageddon’ street art series, colorful pieces about how change, even the supposed ‘end of the world’ that we fear, could be viewed as a source of wonder and adventure rather than simply destruction.
Tony’s other piece this month provides character sketches of folks out and about in Portland, Oregon, in various real and imagined encounters.
Joan Beebe’s poetry honors the strength of married love, which can be seen as one long conversation. Another piece honors her pilot nephew Kyle.
Some ‘conversations’ are less literal and come across as dialogue between seemingly opposed ideas.
Mahbub’s short poetic lines convey bursts of thought, illustrating the continual tension between love and fear.
Donal Mahoney’s character sketch grapples with the seeming opposites of life and death and ultimately celebrates life through showing an older man who interacts more naturally at wakes than parties. He’s found a way to make peace with mortality, although perhaps not the eventual loss of his much-loved wife.
J.J. Campbell’s poetry evokes a sense of loss, as pieces show heartbreak or a diminished belief in himself and those around him. The lack of capitalization and short lines of his writing further emphasize the somber mood. Yet he still believes in himself enough to create, to not give in to total obliteration.
Other writers create pieces in response to other cultural ideas, review books, or draw on other writers’ thoughts to convey their own.
Vijay Nair critiques strains of Western feminism that he believes focus only on female sexual self-expression to the exclusion of other aspects of female and human life.
Christopher Bernard finishes up Trumplandia, his poetic sequence where he channels the energies of departed poets in the canon, including T.S. Eliot, Basho, and Emily Dickinson, to respond to the absurdity of the U.S. political situation.
Bernard also reviews San Francisco’s Curran Theater production of the musical Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel of the same title, which comments on family, sexuality and secrets through mordant (and morbid!) wit.
Randle Aubrey speculates on how the USA may be ripe for the rise of a new political party focused on the interests of labor and the working classes.
Christopher Bernard provides a review of Mary Mackey’s novel The Village of Bones: Sabalah’s Tale, taking a thoughtful look at her book’s hypothetical Goddess-worshiping, Neolithic European society while acknowledging its beauty.
We encourage you to join the conversation by reading these submissions and leaving comments for the writers.
Also FYI for Bay Area folks, you are invited to Synchronized Chaos Magazine’s upcoming winter gathering, which will take place Saturday February 18th at 6pm at Cafe Flore (2298 Market St). https://www.facebook.com/events/1854729918104002/
RSVP appreciated but not required, all welcome, all ages, light snacks provided, bring books to read from and sell, bring something to read in the open mic, or just bring yourself and enjoy the night!