Children’s book illustrations by Elena Caravela

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.

Poetry by David Cicerone

Selections from poetry collection, “Read The Book–See The Movie–Shoot The Hostages”

By
David Cicerone

Worldwise

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 dpc0729@hotmail.com.

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Poetry by Dave Douglas

Cold Shoulder

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 carpevelo@gmail.com.

Book Review: In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez

[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 brobe60491@sbcglobal.net.

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An Inspired writing from the reading of Matthew 26:67-68, by Blanca E. Jones

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,

The Sadness

The Pain

The Anguish!

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

The devastation

The loss

The gain!

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!

So confused!

So twisted!

So lost!

Oh my sweet Lord,

Forgive us

Bless us

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 blancaejones@gmail.com.

Book Review: In The Spirit of We’Moon – Celebrating 30 Years – An Anthology of We’Moon Art and Writing

[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 kyrstenb@gmail.com.

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Review: The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness, poetry by Lynn Lonidier

[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 narocho3@gmail.com.