Synchronized Chaos April 2016: Escape Artistry


Tony LongShanks LeTigre a k a “GlamorTramp” here, guest writing this month’s editorial letter for the April 2016 issue of Synchronized Chaos! After a few years as a regular contributor, Cristina asked me to help out with editing duties this month and possibly ongoing. We have in mind a site makeover and enhanced graphics for the near future, as well, so stay tuned for the further evolution of this longrunning international literary webzine!

After mulling over this month’s theme, I sensed a lot of pain, longing for escape in various ways, yearning for the past and for people of the past (our former selves as well as others), the arrow of time that points forward and leaves us often looking mournfully backwards — all of this no doubt reflecting, or enhanced by, the seemingly endless strife that threatens to eclipse the better world we hope the human race can get to!

This month we have inquiries into the nature of poetry by one of the most acclaimed and dedicated American authors working today, Christopher Bernard, and of mathematics and its relation to philosophy by my humble self.

Michael Robinson graces us with three short poems that express yearning for his deceased mother, “dreams of peace without the sounds of gunfire or the cries of death,” and a sepulchral longing for death and escape. His lean lines bristle with dark emotion, inspired also by systemic racism as related to black folks in particular, drug addiction and related dolors of street life.

Nowadays it seems that humans are our own worst enemies much of the time, but an essay by Rui Carvalho covering Alejandro González Iñárritu The Revenant (2015), a film concerning “a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820” who “fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team” (per IMDb), reminds us that there was a time when humans struggled with nature and its animals as much or more than with one another. The theme of The Revenant, as distilled by Carvalho, is that “Life is like a tree: although a branch might be lost, the important is to realize the tree remains strong as long as the trunk remains firm and supports all the other branches.” Carvalho illustrates his review with original artwork, as well.

While others cry into their pillows and long for yesterday, Kristen Caven keeps things lighthearted and upbeat with some retail therapy in “Take a Walk in My Scarpa.” Her ode to the material luxury of Italian leather also raises the interesting issue of language and the dissonance it can cause when a word doesn’t sound the way we think it should.

Joan Beebe, on the other hand, finds that the best things in life are free, like “The rising and setting of the sun,” as she titles her poem celebrating our celestial mother, the way the Sun nourishes us (and never more so than on the threshold of spring, which I for one am very much enjoying right now in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A.!)

K. C. Fontaine confers upon us a melancholy painting in the form of a poem, “Slow Suicide,” about a Pakistani painter whose studio is “a shrine to her lost self,” which seems to express a desolate present moment colored by nostalgia and regret.

Finally, we have a prose poem from Bangalore by Aditya Shankar about travel and the mingled pleasure and loneliness of traveling, with reference to art work by painter  Abanindranath Tagore, which again expresses a desire for sanctuary, to be safely holed up in control of one’s creative endeavors, and the fine image of home as “a museum of achievement.”

Cristina asked me to choose an image to accompany this letter. I went to the website of the New York Public Library, which recently released 180,000 new digital images from their archive into the public domain, and searched the term “escape.” I went with a racially charged image, as you can see above. The harsh reminder of our not-so-distant past seems to me necessary in light of recent and ongoing events pertaining to systemic racism, police brutality and non-accountability.

Sorry to be so dark… I really believe we’re going to come through all this into a better world! Getting there is just going to be a challenge.


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