Passing on the word from a SF Bay Area community group: Drive to assist Burmese Refugees

Reposted from a San Francisco Bay Area Craigslist post:

If people are interested I will call in the morning for more information about the group to which the donations are going and what they do. I personally know people from Burma and they have lived through the situation described in the Wikipedia blurb with political repression, poverty, violence, and fear.

Also, the situation with the Dineh tribe being forced off their land for a mining project which has yet to financially benefit the impoverished tribe members which Dee Allen describes in one of his essays is real also. I used to volunteer with UC Davis’ Whole Earth cultural/environmental festival and they brought in elders from the Dineh tribe as well as people who had worked with them…just received an email from the festival people concerning the Dineh tonight. Encourage readers to read up on the situation in the Southwestern U.S. and to consider providing at least moral support for a fair solution with respect for all involved.

Hello all,
We’re looking for clothes, canned or packaged food for Burmese refugees that are living here in the bay area. The people living in Burma have been under military control for the last 40 years or so, and many of the citizens have been victims of false imprisonment, torture, and murder by the military junta. The rest of the world witnessed how bad conditions are there after the 2007 Cyclone, when the government left 1000’s of dead bodies to rot in and around living area’s, causing disease and infection to spread throughout the villages. There are a few lucky enough to have escaped to the U.S, but these people are finding it very tough to survive here due to the language barrier. It’s very hard for them to communicate enough to find jobs or other services they need.
If interested in donating I can pick up or you’re welcome to drop off any donations. Unfortunately I can only make pickups around San Francisco. The drive ends May 1st. Any donations are appreciated.
You can call or email for donations.

Thank You,


Synchronized Chaos May Issue: Finding Your Place in the World


Friends, family, and fellow-travelers, welcome to the May issue of Synchronized Chaos! Happy Mother’s Day, Feliz Cinco de Mayo, and congratulations to all the students on the semester system graduating this month.

As a gentle reminder, a whole bunch of us contributors, Creative Facilitators, and outside writers, scholars, business people and industry experts have been brainstorming ideas, values, and business/publicity models for this magazine to help us succeed as a publication and provide a service to the community as a whole while furthering the goals of each contributor. Everyone’s welcome to share thoughts and give their input into these conversations…please go ahead and leave a comment to this post or in the ‘About’ section if you would like.

What we’ve come up with so far is that Synchronized Chaos is a joint publicity and social marketing effort that runs on honor and mutual respect. People submit work and get published, and then come back to see how their work related to the other artists’ pieces and the monthly theme. They then get to see everyone else’s work and get to know the other artists and writers.

After awhile the exposure and networking helps contributors land jobs/gigs/agents/publishers etc. We here love to let professionals and everyone know about Synchronized Chaos and all of our contributors, and take plenty of opportunities to talk up everyone’s efforts.

Once someone we have featured comes across a new career opportunity as a result of our group networking, we definitely encourage them to drop the names of a few other artists featured in Synchronized Chaos to spread the word and network on behalf of each other. And, if you come across something not directly relevant to your own work but which might be great for someone else, please do take the time to email the other contributors directly or just email the magazine at and we can pass on the word for you. For example, if you write free verse poetry but happen to know a gallery owner taking prints for a landscape or abstract exhibition, please pass the word on to our visual artists! This will maximize the flow of opportunities and help make participating in this magazine effort worthwhile for the artists and writers who take the time to send digital images, get interviewed, create pieces, etc.

Now for our monthly theme – Finding Your Place in the Universe. This month brought in a wide variety of submissions in many different formats. For the first time we have a graphic artist, a poet, musicians, short story writers, and a filmmaker all in the same issue. One thread common to many of the work was the desire to be heard and acknowledged, and the right to live as one chooses without unnecessary interference. There was also a sense that the world is a large place, with room enough for everyone if we are mindful of each other.

A home, physical or metaphorical in terms of membership in a group, can serve as the proverbial first random stroke across the canvas which gets the painter started. One begins to build a life in response to one’s surroundings, making the most of whatever opportunities present themselves, working within the constraints of whatever it takes to survive in that or another environment. We see this process among the community of people influenced by Berkeley ‘street survivor’ Yume in Claire Burch’s film, where he and others take part in a subculture which aims to be supportive of all living beings even while facing challenges to personal dignity in their own lives.

Not every subculture fosters respect for all life; some groups of outsiders build identity or attempt to defend themselves against injustice or discrimination by turning against others. A group may become exploitive while being exploited itself, which performance poet and essayist Dee Allen comments on in his selections. He writes of minorities victimized by a fear-driven, media-driven culture within the general society…yet also critiques trends within minority subcultures which lead to replicating the same kind of fearful over-generalization and isolation. One can and sometimes must stand up and speak out to demand one’s rightful place in the world – but with awareness of the larger context of one’s actions and of other groups of people seeking acceptance.

As we have seen, finding or maintaining one’s place can involve many levels of struggle. Maryann Lerch and Ned Mock’s short story “Chance Meeting” highlights the power of one or a few quick choices to throw someone out of a carefully constructed home/place/lifestyle. This proves true for people across the socioeconomic spectrum, and it can take another lengthy process to rebuild what was lost, if that is even possible. We have some freedom – but also the blessing and curse of responsibility for our actions, in a very real as well as existential sense. Also, our homes/places/identities can be fragile and uncertain…the potential downside to having the ability to change one’s situation.

Where, and how, can we find a sense of belonging and community without creating a structure which isolates people into competing subgroups or traps them in situations they wish to change? Claire Burch’s film presents a relatively open, yet cohesive group of acquaintances…and the bandmembers of Alma Desnuda touch on this question when they explore the spontaneous community formed among a diverse crowd at a rock show. People can respect each other while working or having fun together in the moment, without the pressure to change each other or do everything the same way. Perhaps spontaneous communities can be a starting point for longer-lasting associations? Also, the development of any band involves finding its own sound, something unique while acknowledging its influences. Alma Desnuda has found its own place in the musical world with a nod to the music of the sixties and seventies and the San Francisco culture.

Finally, some of our works celebrate and highlight the concepts of home/place and belonging through non-literal artistic expression. Nigerian writer and engineer Emmanuel Nwodo acknowledges that God has created all living beings, and thus welcomes and has a place for each one. Finding one’s place, and allowing others to take their places, can begin with acknowledging through philosophy or faith that we can all belong here. Since there is a place for everyone – it could theoretically be possible for you to find your own place. California graphic designer and writer Kristie also celebrates finding a home through art centered on nesting as a metaphor…creating a home by creating a space to help others find their places in the world.

Very impressed by the diversity of submissions and by the ideas explored – thank you to everyone who has followed the Synchronized Chaos journey!

He Made All Things – poetry of Emanuel Nwodo




Emmanuel Nwodo is a Nigerian poet who writes in his native language and in English. He can be reached at

Artist’s Statement:
My name is Emmanuel Ikenna Nwodo. Born at Agbani in Nkanu West L.G.A of Enugu State, Nigeria; May 27th 1987 into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Bethland Nwani. I am the fifth son of five. My father died when I was six months old. Before he passed on, he was a butcher, though with formal education. He was diagnosed with poisoning and … well the dead are dead. I had my primary education partly in my village (COMMUNITY CENTRAL SCHOOL EZIOKWE AMURRI) Then rounded up at OGBE-ORIE PRIMARY SCHOOL ASABA, THE CAPITAL CITY OF DELTA STATE, NIGERIA. Which was also where I began my secondary education ST. AUGUSTINE COMMERCIAL SCHOOL ASABA and then I rounded-up at KINGS AND QUEENS COLLEGE UBIAJAH, EDO STATE, NIGERIA in the year 2005.

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Dee Allen: Autobiographical Essays from an Activist’s Life



_____________________________________________________                                    I’ve been against this military occupation of Iraq before it began. I’ve always been strongly anti-state and anti-military, since my seniour year in high school. “President Bush had already committed troops to Afghanistan”, I thought, “And now he wants to start another war in the Middle East.”


        Before coming to San Francisco from Atlanta 5 years ago, I never went to any protests. The extent of my political activity was doing politically-charged spoken word at houseparties, coffeehouses, nightclubs and “open mike night” at bars. In January 2003, I went to my first street demonstration ever. It was in opposition to Bush’s plans [or rather, the Project for a New

Amerikkkan Century’s plans] to invade Iraq. Acquiring petrol and United $tates political/economic dominance were the reasons why the Bush-Cheney regime wanted another war and I was in the streets, with literally thousands of aggrieved folks, resisting it.


               Despite scores of anti-war demonstrations across the globe [including the February 16, 2003 2000-person breakaway march that led to my summary beatdown, arrest and week-long stay at San Francisco County Jail], Bush waged war anyway. The people’s voices were ignored. On the rainy afternoon of March 19, 2003, while playing houseless tourguide to 3 visiting Kansas University students for the Coalition On Homelessness, I attended a massive anti-war march.


We joined the march from a Food Not Bombs public serving under a blue coffeestand canopy in United Nations Plaza. Once the march stopped in front of 24th & Mission B.A.R.T.,  a pickup truck parked sideways in the middle of Mission Street, to serve as a makeshift stage. Three speakers each stood on the back of the pickup truck to deliver the same news to the public:



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Dee Allen: Poetry to be Read and Heard

 Dee Allen is a California performance poet who speaks out on a variety of social issues, from war and race relations to security and state control over citizens. He explores the role of individual and collective fear in separating people from one another and enabling the continuation of injustices and group prejudice. In Dee’s work, the mass media, intentionally or not, can help create a climate for violence against and negative treatment of certain minorities by presenting material in a context which is likely to leave people feeling powerless, afraid, and defined by limiting stereotypes. In contrast, his work explores how fear and isolation as social constructs can be seen as the true enemies, rather than members of any particular race, ethnicity, or minority or majority social group.

Dee may be reached at and lives in San Francisco. He enjoys speaking live and has performed at a variety of charity events, including a Food not Bombs benefit last March in the Mission District.


The man who prays to the East

Is not my enemy.

Neither is the person

Who wears a cloth upon

Their head or face out of tradition.

Neither are those who arrive here

From arid desert lands.

The family that attends

Mosques and worship Muhammhad & Allah are

No more a threat to me than

The middle-aged shopkeeper whose

First language is Farsi.

The Palestinians & Afghans do not terrorise

My neighbourhood and the

Lebanese do not make the streets on my block

Unsafe to walk through at night.

The Egyptians do not occupy my home or any

Amerikkkan’s homes with their

Presence, uniforms, weapons & neo-colonialist law.

Critical thinking is under attack at

Higher learning institutions besides mine and

It’s not the Syrians who are kicking out

Instructors one by one.

The Iraqi people

Aren’t deserving of my detestation & rage.

One Fallujah*

Is not enough.

All of the Middle East’s progeny did not

Make war with me or grab the land beneath my feet

Or called the petrol within it theirs.

The Middle Easterners & Muslims did not

Stage outright bombings, shootings and jailhouse

Torture on me in my town.

But that’s what

The United $tates have done to them.

Again & again.

The real Fascism is homegrown.

W: 10.25.07

[In response to “Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week”.]

*A city in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq, where an anti-colonial rebellion took place against the U.$. military’s curfew over the area. On April 31, 2004, after U.$. troops opened fire on Iraqis at a closed-down school 3 days earlier[resulting in 17 dead and 70 wounded], Iraqi rebels fought back by attacking a convoy and dragging & burning 4 Amerikkkan military contractors from Blackwater.



Red line

Separates you

Where you stand

From another race of man

Red line

Separates you

From what is vital

To your own survival



Scorned by the rest of the world



From one another

No line should hold you back [ from what’s needed ]

Just step over

W: 8.31.08

[Inspired by the music of Godflesh.]

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“A Chance Meeting” – short fiction by Mary Ann Lerch and Ned Mock


Mary Ann Lerch is a Northern California financial analyst who loves aerobics, faith and family, and probing the mysteries of human psychology through her writing. She may be reached at and seeks publication for her short stories, including this piece, which she co-wrote with Ned Mock.

A Chance Meeting – by Maryann Lerch and Ned Mock

Folding himself in the large first class seat Harry yelled, “Up, up and away. Flying is great, so fast and safe. Excuse my manners, I’m Harry Hopkins and you are.”

“John Adams.”
“I’m going to Miami, how about you.”
“Miami,” John replied with a slight tremble.
“That’s great! We can have a three hour visit. Take off time. I’m buckled up and ready.”

John nodded but said nothing in reply. The plane left O’Hare and John held tight to the armrests. His knuckles became white. Holding his breath, he leaned forward.
“So what about you? You got business in Miami?” Harry inquired.
“Yes.” John looked out the cabin window.

“I live in Chicago. Going to Rio to sign a contract on a large suspension bridge. Been working on it for a year. Guess you can tell by my banter I’m a salesman,” Harry said hurriedly.
No response from John. He looked out the window at the disappearing skyline of Chicago.

“My friends call me Butch. At the office I’m HH249,” said Harry
“Mine is 14117.”

“Why did you hold on to the armrests and hold you breath on takeoff?”
No response. John picked up a magazine.

Finish the story here:

Interview with the Southern California band Alma Desnuda


Alma Desnuda is: Paul Suhr, Tony Glaser, Chris Bryden, Joe Glaser

1.      What distinguishes you from other musicians…what do you feel makes your sound unique?


I think the biggest distinguishing factor of Alma Desnuda from other musicians is our connection to something bigger than amplified notes. Alma D is all about the music, don’t get me wrong, but it’s more than just sound. We use music to connect to what’s around us, like our friends, families, and community, as well as each other and especially this Earth. The music is our connection to that Alma, the soul; we just try to breathe into it.Our unique sound flows from our individual influences and styles into an eclectic harmony, which I think our upcoming album, Middleway, will show. It’s all Alma.

We get a lot of inspiration from the San Francisco Bay, our home, where icons of the Woodstock era, like the Grateful Dead, Simon & Garfunkel, CSNY, Santana, CCR, Sly Stone, and so many others came together and inspired generations to come.

 The parallels between then and now, with the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam, and now our own deterioration of community, consciousness, and the increase of unjust war, creates a fire in our beings that finds an outlet through the connection of music. In that context, I think you could say we’re continuing that conscious revolutionary spirit in a fresh San Francisco sound.


2.      Where do you get your song ideas? Share more about your process in composing. Music or lyrics or concept first? (As a writer I tend to start with a concept first.) 

(Chris) Song ideas strike anywhere and anytime. I let them emerge at their own pace. Sometimes it’s a lyric that comes, sometimes a melody, sometimes a riff. Each song is it’s own creation. My only job is to stay open and listen. Topically, I am drawn to write songs that weave the personal and universal together and that challenge the listener to wake up and see our lives through a larger perspective. Mothers are scolding children all over the world, people are falling in love every day, someone finds their life looking up while another loses a job.

Everything is in constant flux but operating under universal themes. The more I dive into my own experience and pay attention to others’ lives, the more I see that we are all working  with the same experiences and emotions. Writing about those experiences through a personal lens brings relevance to the songs and allows people to connect with universal existential issues through Alma Desnuda’s particular frame of reference.   

3.      Did/do you have a mentor with whom you worked to develop your music?

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