Book Review: Quiet Chaos, by Sandro Veronesi

[Reviewed by Bruce Roberts]

Several years ago, the brother of one of my wife’s students took his own life. The family, of course, was devastated, but his younger sister, in my wife’s class, seemed to forge right on. The mother would call, asking if the girl was distracted, emotional, falling behind, but no, she seemed to be operating normally, despite her brother’s death. Her grief—internalized—never appeared in public.

That grief takes many forms is a major theme of Quiet Chaos, a novel by Sandro Veronesi. The plot grows from one particular day in the life of Pietro Paladini, the main character; a day in which he nearly loses his life saving a drowning woman, then goes home to discover that his soon-to-be bride, the mother of Claudia, his ten year old daughter, has unexpectedly died.

He, of course, expects the worst reaction from Claudia, and to assure that he—a good father—will be there when she needs him, he decides to wait in his car across the street from her school as long it takes to see her through this toughest of times. And wait he does. Every day!  He drops her off for school, parks the car, and waits until she reemerges at day’s end. She even begins waving out the window at him as she changes classes. What she doesn’t do though, is fall apart with grief.

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

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Watercolor Paintings by Ari Bernabei

About the featured artwork:

“The drawings are studies in intimate detail of subjects that can symbolize sustenance, desire, fertility, nature (esp. human-engineered/consumed nature). The association of world maps with nature and consumption speaks to our age.”

Ari Bernabei

To contact the artist directly, please email Also, visit

Book Review: It Felt Like A Kiss, by Leena Prasad

[Reviewed by Nicole Arocho]

As I read “It Felt Like a Kiss”, Leena Prasad’s words were a contagious rhythm of artistic truths, or I should rather say, statements, for she encourages the reader to discover his or her own truths just like she did. As an artist myself, I am constantly looking at art in different ways as I keep growing up and my different experiences mold my artistic senses and perspectives. Leena Prasad accomplishes a delicate fusion between a personal essay and informative text that drives us to imagine every single place she describes, every mural or piece of art that moves her to analyze her place in the colorful Mission district of San Francisco. Her personal discovery catapults the reader to question his or her perspectives just like the author did, to internalize the different artistic venues in their town and think of their impact in their lives. Art is an intrinsic part of the Mission District, and each type evokes different emotions and thoughts in the author, which she shares with us with transparency. Each experience is shared with insights of her life, and this makes the book very real and tangible, almost as if you could be right there with her, experiencing the magnetic appeal of art by her side. My favorite “essay” was Shut Up Honky because it showed me a new way of looking at graffiti stencils as “dialogue”, not as ill-intentioned messages. Thus, they become a way of having a conversation, of showing the varied opinions and nuances of this rich community.

You can contact the reviewer, Nicole Arocho, at

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Art by Trius Fernsler

Trius Fernsler is a contemporary artist and instructor who is influenced by an array of artists, elements, and rhythmic techniques. You may contact Fernsler at



Poetry by Christopher Bernard

Bike Angel

I fly down the hill on my black bike.
I know what I love, I know what I like.
I conquer the slopes on my bike’s back
like a wild black angel, the way I like.

She’s a Raleigh ten-speed, phat and sleek,
titanium light and chrome with slick,
quick to the touch and smooth on the road,
hot and fast and rad and black.

We cut close capers, free and all,
skid on concrete and never fall,
we weave a spell as I ride tall.
The girls smile deeply, all the girls, all.

With her, I’m my own man, we weave and spin
between the traffic, and always win.
Trucks and us, we’re real close kin:
they win with big, we win with spin.

I know all the looks, I know all the moves
as I race my own shadow, the way it grooves
just ahead like a ghost, the way it proves
it’s always beyond me, like storming horse hooves.

I dream as I ride of Larissa and me,
She rode me and rode me like a demon of love.
Then one day . . . the silence went dead like the wind.
Bike and me are now steel heart in a chrome glove.

I learned how to fly the other night.
I put on my shades against the light,
and rode my angel so out of sight
I didn’t need love, I didn’t need light.

I’ve been riding for days now, for months, for years
it feels like; nobody sees me, the tears
in my eyes are like spirits, I remember the day
I left for a long ride – to forget, let’s say.

The sun in my eyes, the wind in my face,
the shadows beside me kept pace, kept pace,
till the turn at hill’s bottom and I came face to face
with a dark car. That was the end of my race.

I conquer the hill on my bike’s back
like a wild black angel, the way I like.
I know what I lost, I know what I like.
I fly down the hill on my black bike.

Christopher Bernard is a widely published writer, critic, playwright and poet, co-founder of the literary and arts magazine, Caveat Lector (, and author of the novel, A Spy in the Ruins. Contact Bernard at

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Book Review: In the Palace of Creation, by Janine Canan

[Reviewed by Jaylan Salah]

Oh, what sweet torture.

This sentence sprang to my mind the moment I began reading Janine Canan’s inspirational poetry collection “In the Palace of Creation.” Why I felt that way will be explained in the paragraphs to come.

“In the Palace of Creation” contains selected poems by Janine from the years 1969-1999. It is divided into 8 sections. Section 7 contains poems translated from other poets’ works and the last section contains the conclusion to all the mystery and enquiry of the previous poems. The thing with good poetry is that it always leaves the door open. It never gives us direct answers or puts a full stop at the end of the sentence. It’s a spontaneous process of living the experience without expecting anything from it. That’s what I felt with Janine’s poetry.

In the beginning, you stand at the door of Canan’s “Abandoned Garden”. You are hesitant and afraid, unsure of what to expect. But as you go through the lines and immerse yourself in the exquisite beauty, you realize that you’re just a pilgrim, finding your Mecca at Janine’s feet. She is the Goddess, the Mother of All and we’re all praying females, drinking from the river of her individuality and strength. Throughout the whole book, you lose your materialism and turn into one of Canan’s birds. You’re the Eagle in “Two Eagles”, losing your shyness and flying away into the sky. You’re the woodpecker that drums upon the hemlock tower in “Forest Temple”. You will scream your lungs away as a peacock in “Stubborn Rose”.

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

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An excerpt from Tunnel Road: A novel by A. Paul Cartier



A. Paul Cartier

1. The View

This was no time to agonize over the decision. H had to make it quickly, really soon, like NOW.

The car was stopped, along with many, many others on the 101, under the shadow of San Bruno Mountain. He had seen the brake lights ahead, blooming in the growing gloom. He started braking to slow, hoping no one plowed into him from behind. But suddenly his controlled braking sharpened as it became clear that this was a full stop ahead, not a creeping caterpillar of cars.

He knew that a storm was on its way, but this was something else. A quake, maybe? You didn’t necessarily feel a quake if you were in a fast-moving car. He’d missed feeling several that way. He turned on the radio. Static. Punching the presets, then the scan button. Lots of static, and distant, whispery voices, like announcers way off around the curve of the planet.

– Daddy, why are we stopped? I need to get home. I’m tired. I’m sweaty. Hungry! I got homework up the…

– Yeah, me too, Boo. But there’s a hangup somewhere ahead. Nobody’s moving. What is weird is that I can’t get anything on the radio. Can you check traffic on your phone? See what it is. We just passed an exit. If we can get off this thing here, maybe…

He looked back and around the car. Locked in, but still could probably get off the road. His freeway claustrophobia was starting to kick in.

– We’ll wait a few minutes first. These things often clear out after a few…

He drummed his fingers on the wheel. Not going anywhere soon; might as well as shut off the engine. He paused. Should check ahead to see if anything’s happening. People were starting to honk impatiently.


A. Paul Cartier is an artist and writer based in San Francisco, CA. To see Cartier’s artwork and contact the artist, click here.


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