Synchronized Chaos August 2022: In the Palm of Our Hands

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand. And Eternity in an hour. — William Blake

Image c/o Виталий Смолыгин

This month, our contributors dig deep within themselves or into the details of their craft in order to understand and explore larger themes.

Tohm Bakelas travels through cities with old buildings weathered by time. He’s a hardworking artist in proudly workaday cities.

Tony Brewer digs into ordinary life: houseplants, dead batteries, date night in a small town, to show that these things matter and can be a jumping off point for thought.

Michael Todd Steffen’s piece echoes centuries of literary history in the whir of a laundromat, while Jim Meirose’s wordy mix evokes the drama of brass music. Joshua Martin breaks up words, evokes emerging oblivion, like waves crashing at sea, and Sayani Mukherjee’s multiple metaphorical vocalists come together in unison for peace.

Mark Young crafts poems through a technical process that each have an element of surprise encounter. Andrew Cyril MacDonald’s work looks at what comes after the encounter, the fading embers of passion and connection.

Image c/o George Hodan

Sara Sims’ ekphrastic poetry inspired by public sculpture art highlights the power of communication and understanding.

Dana Kinsey explores and highlights the creative processes of raising children, teaching, and writing through a surfeit of clever words. Sarvinozkhon Olimova celebrates being true to the creative process.

John Tustin illuminates the preciousness and the struggle of relationships, battered by outside forces of conflict and racism. Mohinur Askarova relishes the energy of young love while Ilyosova Zukhraxon communicates love and respect in a poignant piece about her mom.

Image c/o Anonymous User

John Edward Culp highlights the need to stop and step back from one’s ego at times to have an authentic experience beyond oneself.

Ridwanullah Solahudeen links faith and desire in a paean to spiritual love, while Michael Robinson reflects on the spiritual sustenance he receives through the compassion of Jesus. Ike Boat shares highlights of his broadcasting career amplifying messages of faith, while Chimezie Ihekuna admonishes us to remember the meaning of Christmas throughout the year.

Amuda Abbas Oluwadamilola describes his poem as reflecting how “religion is an opiate” in his country. While a comment on the specific dynamic where he lives, the piece seems to reflect the broader tension between faith that inspires and liberates and beliefs that become a comfortable distraction from important work.

Image c/o Peter Griffin

Gabriel T. Saah writes of the political and human struggle in his home country of Liberia through the metaphor of a single injured woman, while Patricia Doyne uses the language of children’s books to critique dangerous immaturity in adult leaders. Awodele Habeeb renders violence and oppression through the metaphor of wolves, while Mahbub relates the comfort found in personal relationships in a world afire on many levels.

Z.I. Mahmud addresses themes of belonging and migration in his essay on Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar named Desire. He seems to have sympathy for an unusual character who is removed from the drama’s everyday world and lives within her own imagination.

Ilyosova Fatimakhon knows where she belongs, as she exults in both her native Uzbekistan and in the joy of reading.

Christopher Bernard contributes a piece on the “opposite of politics” as other writers turn towards personal matters of the heart.

Aeesha Abdullahi Alhaji reflects on loneliness, being cast out of relationships.

J.J. Campbell speaks to the quiet despair of aging and loneliness, while Ian Copestick offers up humorous takes on what we value in people and how and why we compare ourselves to others.

Image c/o George Hodan

Hannah Greenberg shares a fresh set of her nature scenes, still and tranquil water and lily pads while Shakzoda Kodirova sends us an ode to the beauty of a rose.

We hope that you enjoy each submission like the petals of Kodirova’s rose, considering each piece and leaving comments and thoughts for the creators. Thank you for participating in our literary community.

Poetry from Aeesha Abdullahi Alhaji

Musings Of A Loner
     Aeesha Abdullahi Alhaji

  submersed into husky lines—hypnotised by nature exuberance, 

  a misfit—growing on parallel lines, ageless, awaiting a homecoming, 

  un[scathed], to the truth, my existence a bane of contention,
     ~ousted from a love quadraple~
   made my reign obsolete—happiness was not meant for (me).




Poetry from Mahbub Alam

Poet Mahbub, a South Asian man with dark hair and glasses and a suit and tie
Poet Mahbub
The Firing World

The world is firing
Firing for what?
The world is raging 
The wildlife is burning
Burning for what?
Some try to escape the fire
Some can't but accept the world
It seems to ask the question 
How are you, dear world?
The silence breaks out suddenly thundering in the sky
Blazing hundreds and thousands of lives
The cloudy sky without rain thunders and fires on the ocean and the earth
Firing for what? 

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

A Room for Love

Will you lend me your sky?
O my dear, will you?
I'll be there always twinkling in the night
Will you hold my hand?
I'm giving you my words 
We must fly on 
Make a room for love
My sleepless nights and restless days
The lively drakes and deer
O my dear, can't you see and hear
What I feel and what I face 
Would you like to join the race?
Only for the 'yes' comment
I can drive for rest of the world
The sun rises -----
I know you are watching the beautiful sunny nature
I'm standing by you looking behind.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh
Load Shedding

The season is for - ongoing load shedding
Who knows when and how it happens
Appears without notice - shedding on life to lead
Time is on and good
Time is off and bad
Yet time is not to blame
What we say can't keep it in words and deeds
Say much more than it needs
The loaded head can't move forward anymore
Burdened as the seedlings dry out in the hot rainless rainy season
We like to see the glory that is not yet uttered
The untold love like the unseen strength of the ocean
Around the green beautiful hills protecting all
O my dear load shedding!
In this hot, gloomy, suffocating room
Can you hear me?
O my dear love ------
I like to live well in the enlightened green beautiful world
Can you give me the address of my loving care?

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

Poetry from Sayani Mukherjee

 By Sayani Mukherjee

Sugar palm hands  
Of a bohemian soul
Need jagged patting
To keep a straight face. 
A mahogany beach and oomph 
Of nothingness
Squabbles hard over 
Empty nothings. 

What do i seek now
Do i think in music? 
As happens within 
An earthen pot
The pure sunken smell
Jellyfishes, coconuts
A slippery witch 
And two quarters of
A ghetto revolution? 
Fathomless and 
A slow moving sensational pitch
As happened in jazz blues
The stringing soulful siren
A collective unison
For peace and justice
Human endeavours on earth like tree. 
Over two three degrees
And office clad suits
Cats and dogs game
A material show buzz
Of a pitching ballad. 

Poetry from Tony Brewer

All Green Thumbs 


You can trick a houseplant

into believing it is outside

by gently brushing your hand

softly against the leaves

bending the stems as if

they are out in the breeze


Strangers clustered

in a strong wind

at a stop


for the bus to come


Battery Heaven


Hard to tell batteries apart

lying loose in a box in the back room


The bad eventually crust over

but there’s no way to determine the good

without popping one then another

into the remote


Try a different pole

Try rolling one then the other

around with your thumb

whatever it takes

desperate for signal


Get the angle right

Get close enough & there

is enough juice to get through



No negotiating with a spent cell

but power predictions are possible

& frequently wrong


The pizza place in town that takes

dead batteries has a slot

in a 5 gallon bucket lid for them

Who knows where they go from there


Battery heaven is filled

with cheapies that come with toys

very obviously of lower quality

than the ones bought at the store


Do it wrong & kill a car

The smoke detector cheeps

until the corpse is removed


Even the rechargeable don’t

last forever


My advice



is to get out

of this town before you turn 20

Otherwise the broken store fronts

start to worry you

You might transmogrify

into a lamp post

become a fixture around here


Not like Gary who inherited

the hardware from his dad

George Bailey-ing his way

through his 50s as girls

softball coach & people love him


More like Sandy who will never

leave – there’s too much

out there she wants & feels

she doesn’t really deserve

but there is always just

a little less than what

she needs right here

It’s fine – it’ll be fine


The train doesn’t publish

it’s schedule so the terrorists

can’t formulate a plan

but it always seems to roll

through right when you think

maybe I shoulda left that one time

& then it’s gone & the crickets

return in the night certain

everything will be just fine

& it is, isn’t it?


Our first date





Took Mindy to see Platoon

We both liked war movies

Empty theatre perfect

for making out except

one angry vet

sobbing down front

in the horrible fog

They killed the good guy

is the only lesson learned

Too stunned even

to hold hands

we liked it

yeah – great film

Barber’s Adagio for Strings

swelling & enveloping

me later when

Mindy takes me

into her mouth

on a gravel road

next to some field

my hands clutching

air just like

Willem Dafoe


Waiting for the future



to arrive as advertised

I hear a juvenile hawk

in the dense canopy

of the abandoned house

across the street

1000 years wheel

across the starry starry

until something different

happens & is it?

Every hill is always

the one we choose to die on

My car narc’d on me

now I’m too scared to drive

killing machines with fascists

Clock sounds digitized

making “simmer down” motions

with their useless hands

Everything is late late late

can’t happen soon enough

Even waiting is a waste

of time and energy

in the midst

of a long-haul dream

Let us then toast

to the ever-under-construction

freeway & pour one out

for all the dumb bugs

wending wayward into death

against the grills & shields

of inevitability

Waiting for the 20 years

implicit in the next advance

turn signal on too early

been on the last 100 years

I awake resembling something

extinct & pissed off about it

Not false Not spiritual Not grief

Anticipation & the wearing

down of might cliffs

to something manageable

A fun time on a wild ride

left with penetrating desire

to go go go


Tony Brewer is a poet and foley artist from Bloomington, Indiana. he has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and his latest book is Pity for Sale (Gasconade Press). He is executive director of the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival and co-producer of the Writers Guild Spoken Word Series. More at

Poetry from Chimezie Ihekuna

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben) Young Black man in a collared shirt and jeans resting his head on his hand. He's standing outside a building under an overhang.
Chimezie Ihekuna
The Feel of Christmas

Every day is a celebration day
But on this day, it’s a Special Day;
the feel is just not ordinary

Every day is a merry-making day
But on this day, it’s in itself a Merry Day;
the feel is just not a ‘’normally’’

Every day is a reflection day
But on this day, it’s a Stand-out, Sober-Reflection day;
the feel is just not temporarily 

Every day is a gift-exchange day
But on this day, it’s a memorable Boxing Day;
the feel is just not materially

Every day is a should-be ‘’Christmas’’ day
But on this day, it’s actually a Christmas Day!
the feel is just not a mere Christmas frenzy!

Poetry from Christopher Bernard

What Is the Opposite of Politics?

A shift of rain in the trees.
A snow globe in a sandbox.
My cousin's scuffed knees.

What is the cost of mercy?
A spade of silent rust.
You'll never know if justice
is less refined than dust.

Who is that fellow singing?
I never knew his kind.
You say he's rough and tender.
I hope to live forever
if heaven is his mind.

Christopher Bernard’s most recent book is A Socialist’s Garden of Verses, winner of a 2021 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and named one of the “100 Top Indie Books of 2021” by Kirkus Reviews. He is founder and a principal, with Ho Lin, Steven Hill, and Jonah Raskin, of the webzine Caveat Lector.