Synchronized Chaos November 2020: Zoomed Out

This month’s title is a double entendre – many of us are literally ‘zoomed out’ after too many online Zoom meetings.

However, ‘zooming out’ is also a metaphor for an important psychological practice, putting ourselves in perspective by stepping back and thinking of the larger picture.

Ship floating on a crescent moon suspended in a clump of red/orange clouds at sunrise or sunset, surrounded by a dome of evenly spaced stars. Reminiscent of medieval navigation charts.

Norman J. Olson reflects on his past work in a factory making phone books in a piece illustrated with a set of evocative paintings.

While Olson reflects positively on industry and creative ingenuity, others trace less pleasant patterns in history.

Michael Robinson links today’s Black Lives Matter movement with past decades of racism in a poignant set of pieces ending with meditations on death.

Nigerian author Chimezie Ihekuna also addresses death, and his loss of fear of it.

Patricia Doyne takes a larger-scale view of our mortality, criticizing President Trump’s management of the coronavirus crisis. Jeff Rasley does the same in his excerpt from his upcoming political novel Anarchist, Republican, Assassin, a book steeped in the tensions of today.

Image of a tree with green leaves and dark black branches, possibly a live oak, up against a blue sky. Image is photographically altered to have less focus on the edges, as if the photographer zoomed out with the lens.

Doyne also mentions finding solace in nature, in walking around a nearby lake.

Other contributors turn to, or connect with, nature and our fellow species. Norman Olson sends us paintings he’s done of trees, while Joan Beebe celebrates nature, friendship and freedom through her collection of poetry.

Ross Bryant’s work evokes mental wandering during long country drives, while Spanish poet Daniel De Culla muses on the transmutation of a man to a frog and back again.

In her monthly Book Periscope column, Elizabeth Hughes reviews Marcie Brooks’ novel Four Dogs And Their Tales, a piece from the point of view of four rescue dogs who compete in agility competitions.

Not all considerations of nature are lovely or escapist: Abdelsalam Ibrahim describes illness caused by parasites in a poetic, poignant, almost supernatural way, while Coco Kiju writes pityingly of an abandoned street dog.

Bangladeshi poet Mahbub’s pieces mention human misdeeds towards each other but set them against a background of a much larger universe that includes gentle romances, flora, fauna and the stars. This juxtaposition makes human cruelty seem absurd, that whatever people fight over is small in light of the rest of the world.

Image of something blue and brown that's out of focus and unidentifiable, looks like an eyeball with a brown and blue iris and a black pupil. Image is photographically altered to have less focus on the edges, as if the photographer zoomed out with the lens.

Other writers link nature, or the non-human physical universe, to philosophy or human psychology.

Emilie Mayer describes her synesthetic experience of tasting, smelling and feeling poetry, linking her creative act to the growth within her environment. Hazel Clementine also references synesthesia in her surreal work involving her grandmother, dancing, punctuation and preparing oatmeal with cinnamon. Words become something basic, comforting, nutritive, yet challenging and sticky.

J.J. Campbell describes through sparse lines the lostness and pain of being out of place in the small town where he lives.

Chinese poet Hongri Yuan’s poetic speakers step back and take in the natural cosmos and a mystical, galactic, ordered universe. (translated by Yuanbing Zhang).

Quilt image, various kinds of fabric joined together at varying angles in a grid of squares. Pink, brown, light and dark blues, gold and yellow and pink.

Some contributors look outward to other people as a means of expanding their focus.

Italian actor Federico Wardal offers a tribute to the generous and graceful spirit of singer and actress Juliette Greco. And another to Rudolph Valentino in the form of a dramatic script, where he imagines himself about to perform, under pressure to revise his show away from his personal vision, when Valentino emerges and speaks with him before he goes on stage.

Syrian writer Moustafa Dandoush conveys the intensity and sincerity of first love, while Santiago Burdon uses dark humor to illustrate the potential consequences of insensitivity in a relationship.

Ghanaian author and radio broadcaster Ike Boat writes of his participation in a group effort to bring food to elderly people in need and also offers an overview of his work in media, nutrition and community development.

Eva Petropolou expresses her love and gratitude for her mother as well as the disembodiment and emptiness of heartbreak, losing part of oneself as well as another person.

Christopher Bernard also writes of the absence of a relationship, that of his children, as he decided not to be a parent. Yet, absence can be another kind of presence, when the lack of someone inspires thought.

Literary writer Denise David reviews Carol Smallwood’s new poetry collection Thread, Form and Other Enclosures, highlighting how the poems reflect and uncover the importance of women’s contributions to our world.

Image of planets and moons out in space superimposed against an image of an aerial nature scene of green trees and land taken from above. Effect resembles quickly crashlanding to Earth from space.

Two contributors focus in on the attitudes we need to maintain a healthy perspective. John Culp urges us towards the courage to try new adventures and of the joy we can find in the world, while Ahmad Al-Khatat illustrates the negative effects of staying stuck in pride and letting oneself stagnate rather than asking for help when needed, and the contrast of that attitude with true, mutual love.

Mark Young’s artwork is bold, thoughtful and expressive, with nets of intertwined lines and splashes of contrasting color.

And, finally, Charles J. March’s art piece, with the timeless words of the 23rd Psalm cut apart and scattered over a notebook, reminds us of our searches for wisdom within faith and tradition.

Poetry from Moustafa Dandoush

“Wo ai ni!”

Teach me how you dealt

with our relationship after what happened.

Teach me how I can talk to you

Without expressing my love feelings to you.

Tell me who is the reason

You, me or our fate?

Now, if I don’t have a heart,

That because you were my heart.

Then We were torn apart

No doubting, you and your thoughts beat me.

Teach me please how else I can say;

I will love you till the day I die.

“Spontaneous girl”

Doing things spontaneously

Makes me fall in love with her spontaneously.

Thinking in a spontaneous way

Makes me love her more in a spontaneous way.

Changing her eye-colours spontaneously

Makes me note the changing time spontaneously.

Expressing her spontaneous feelings

Makes me give her all my spontaneous feelings.

Spontaneously, I’m into this spontaneous girl.

“So don’t!”

I loved you in a way

That it might hurt myself

I loved you until

I’ve seen your flaw became privileges

I’ve told them

That you’re special

So, Don’t humiliate me

I love you

And, I don’t know!

What are my love limitations?

I never want to lose you

But, I will love you forever.

Poetry from Ross Bryant

Here the windows open onto sky’s grazing,
Tumbling through the landscapes with ultraviolet features
And upturned eyeballs.
Brushing the chipped shoulders of 7-day lotharios,
Barking at houses and uniting in a chorus of frayed knots.
The rosy squeals of the pig pen were never far away,
Chin deep in soapy water and mimicking the superstars of daytime television.
Showers screaming.
Can we seek the relief of 2:00am blackouts?
The wilderness in two miles of personalised number plates?
I left my head treading cathedral yards,
Pondering the value of Exe.
I never liked how broad those shoulders could be.
Another flock torn into motorway stations.
Waxing gibbous and the occasional telegraph pole
Bristling with prickled declarations,
‘Untangle all the lanes and burn the views’
Until then we’ll peruse the wristwatches and altered states of appearance,
Asking only questions, but were we ever still alive?
20/09/2020 Exeter, Devon

.who in the stops of 12-19 Fore St.
Shrugged off the silvery inevitable
And the bitterness
Of the glitter box granite.
Pressed with a deadpan disdain for modern life
Is this the greatest thing you’ve (n)ever scene?
(Pylon to B4) A tension within the gambit,
Shaving a min. or two from the GRN root
Until ‘The End’
Preserved itself a little differently.
Over phished clouds pass like cattle,
Brewing car stock for shovel headed storeys
And increasing the chances of reign fall.
OR in constant use.
Please advise.

(…) blend ‘Blue no.5’ with screwdrivers,
It will crawl through the yards, the postcards, and heels.
Plugging holes in the carpets with its broken jawed azure,
Pondering cord progressions,
The cut ’n’ paste never (may contain salt).
From its amber lit pockets were the kwik tongues of hermits
Stitched to the din of its hot tin lining. ON SALE@public addresses.
‘Was it time to feel electric?’ – whoeveryouare
It processed the rhythms of future folklore,
Screwed another ribbon into the barking purple.
Seldomly bobbing over radio waves
And for Displaying Purposes Only.
Beyond were the fruits of circa ‘43
Ripening in the synonym: streets,
Temporarily built to last
With bottled capped receptions at the
PAYE.SLOT.CASH. Trespassers will be prosecuted.
W/duvets in the whistle stoop,
Showers in the bistros,
Tyre tracks up the backs of lonely harts,
The wrong side of a set of showroom curtains.
Trespassers will be prosecuted
So stockpile you’re remaining darlings
//bad homburgs remain adjacent
Dazzlingly nettle skinned and wandering.
Were you just as scared as I was?

Elizabeth Hughes’ Book Periscope

Four Dogs and Their Tales book cover. Two small brown and white dogs sitting down on a green lawn next to white posts in the ground. Author name and book title on the top and the bottom.

Four Dogs and Their Tales by Marcella Bursey Brooks is a delightful story about four dogs, Topaz, Kissie, Kawdje and Michael Archangelo. They have funny conversations with each other. They all meet when their human parents take them to dog agility classes and competitions. What follows are funny adventures of the dogs and their wit and wisdom talking with each other.

It is absolutely perfect for any age group. It is also a wonderful book to escape from the sheltering in place and everything going on today. I personally loved curling up and escaping into their adventures after the news is turned off. it would make a wonderful gift for yourself or a friend.
— Elizabeth Hughes, of Synchronized Chaos Magazine

Marcella Brooks’ Four Dogs And Their Tales is available here.

Poetry from Eva Petropolou Lianoy

Metaphor of hearts
The bird said if you ever decide to love me,
I hope you have two hearts with you to give me one ... The last one who told me that he loves me so much, deeply entered my old heart, made it fall apart and melt away ..
Since then, I fly high without a heart with the clouds of the company ..
So, if you love me, keep that in mind, I'll need a heart ... a loan heart ...
 Mother is the doctor for any sickness 
Mama is the country that everyone loves
without conquering
 Mama is joy and sorrow Mama the power
Mama the forgiveness 
One word was created by God To forgive people
 Say it every day
 Call her if they put chains on you
To sweeten it the wound
To bring  peace
My mom, you're unique
 You never told them you were upset With gold I will cherish you 
Chosen person 
 I crown you My mother
 My sun
My compass

Eva was born in Xylokastro where she completed her basic studies. She loved journalism and attended journalism school at ANT1. In 1994 she worked as a journalist for the French newspaper Le Libre but her love for Greece won and returned to her sunny home. Since 2002, she has lived and worked in Athens.

She works as a web radio producer reading fairy tales at Radio Logotexniko Vima every Sunday. Recently she became responsible for the children’s literary section in Vivlio Anazitiseis Publications in Cyprus.  

Her other books include: I and My Other Avenger, My Skia Publications, Saita Zeraldin and The Elf of the Lake in Italian and in French, as well as The Daughter of the Moon in ​​English and Greek. The Daughter of the Moon was published by Ocelotos four times and received best reviews for writing style.

She is a member of the Unesco Logos and Art Group, of the Writers of Corinth, of Panhellenic Writers Association. Also her work is mentioned in the Known Greek awards encyclopedia for poets and authors, Harry Patsi, page 300.

Her books have been cleared by the Ministry of Education of Cyprus.

Eva’s recent work includes The Water Amazon fairy called Myrtia, illustrated by Vivi Markatos, dedicated to a girl who became handicapped after a sexual assault, and the translation of stories of Lafcadio Hearn, Fairytravel with Stories from The Far East, an idea that she worked on for more than six months illustrated by Ms. Ntina Anastasiadoy, a well-known sculptor and painter in Greece.