Synch Chaos April: Freedom from the past – Hope for the future

Spring is usually the “out with old and in with the new” season of the year. This issue of Synchronized Chaos, Freedom from the past – Hope for the future, re-emphasizes this idea of change. There is a commonality in everyone for the need to hope. This need results from living with truth in the past, understanding the present, and seeking wisdom for the future.

Inspired by the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States, J’Rie B. Elliott was compelled to share her poem, Flower. We are also proud to include 3 poems by 2 anonymous imprisoned abuse survivors in Chowchilla, CA. Additional poetry submissions include Howling by Eric Sadler and Rag Elite by Christopher Bernard. Once Upon a Time is a poem by Cynthia Lamanna in memory of her son, Elijah.

Also featured in this issue are the following reviews and interviews:

Last but not least, be sure to check out the intriguing glowing artwork by painter Amelia Lewis and short story Vision, by Thomas Smith. Both Lewis and Smith are new contributors to Synchronized Chaos.

As always, thank you for reading and we hope that you enjoy this month’s issue! In recognition of Freedom from the past – Hope for the future, we also continue to encourage you all to donate to the relief efforts in Japan.

Gloria Balderas
Creative Facilitator/Editor-In-Chief

Poetry by imprisoned abuse survivors

Publisher’s note: The following poems were submitted to us from young, female, abuse survivors at the Chowchilla women’s prison. The first 2 poems are by the same woman, and the last poem is by her roommate. Although we are permitted to publish these, the names of the poets are anonymous.



Sometimes I think about where my life would be today if I had not been born in 1978.

Sometimes I wonder if I heard words of love, would I have learned to speak only words of love and never hate?

Sometimes I wonder, if my mother weren’t white and my father black, would they have stayed together?

Imagine that.

Sometimes my heart tells me I’m right where I’m at because in life, sometimes it feels so right, but those nights you cry alone, it’s the inner emotional fight that keeps you feeling empty and cold.

You just don’t know. Sometimes I wonder why I am even here, why couldn’t I have said I want more from my life, why couldn’t anyone hear my silent tears.

Sometimes I wonder who this person is who stands in front of a mirror looking just like me and others’ eyes can’t make the connection, that what that mirror reflects – hides the inner me.

Sometimes I listen to others full of anger and pain, thinking to myself, life is so beautiful, don’t waste it in a complaint, and yet, I, too, find myself sometimes wishing to be someone else if only for a quick minute. It’s this soul engulfed in this body that says no – and keeps me in it.

Sometimes I search in ancient philosophies to lay a foundation of which I’m destined to be. Sometimes I sit quietly alone listening to the wind sing me silent, soft songs…”Soon you’ll be home.”

And sometimes I lose tears for unselfish reasons, my heart aches with hurts from others who have suffered throughout the seasons. And sometimes I close my eyes and think really hard that if I believe hard enough, all the pain will disappear and the wind will remove all of my fears.

Sometimes this can be true.


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Short Story by Thomas Smith


Time has blurred the surroundings. Looking back I know that it was in a busy café where we met, but when I close my eyes and picture it, which I often do, all I remember is her. The simplest thing can take me back to that day, a smell, a sound, silence. My mind is primed and ready to take me back to the day I first met Suzanne.

It was just a coffee shop. It was just a day. But that day and that coffee shop changed my life. I worked hard, and played rarely as my friends would often remind me, in a job with potential. A job that required me to wear a suit and take a lot of work home with me. I won’t bore you with the specifics.

I was taking my usual fifteen minute lunch break and I would like to say that fate pointed me in the direction of a coffee shop I had never been before, but in reality I went because they had a muffin sale – not quite the ultimate romantic ideal I know. But also it was.

I walked in, occupying my own mind, and felt a burning sensation. Looking down I saw my crisp white shirt rapidly turning brown. Pulling my damp coffee sodden shirt from my body I felt the rage I would feel about twenty times a day, and I was preparing to force a smile and burry my anger deep down and wait for the ulcer to kill me, then something odd happened. I looked up and saw her. Her eyes weakened me. A serenity quashed any rage I felt, not just then but ever. I would like to say at that point I told her eyes washed away my pain like a fountain on a hot summer’s morning, but I didn’t. I didn’t speak. I smiled at her and pushed by to get a coffee that wasn’t threatening to take me to the burns unit.

Suzanne joined me at my table, forcing the entire English language to leave my brain. Taking pity on me she broke the silence my newfound inability had created “Whenever I get bored I play a game, want to play?” I managed a nod “You pick a stranger and imagine what their lives are like” Thinking of this now I can’t help but smile, but at the time I thought she was crazy. She pointed at a man stood waiting to cross the street outside the cafe “He married his childhood sweetheart, they have one son and a beautiful daughter with the cutest lisp” I looked at this man and felt jealous of his fictitious white picket fenced life. “And he’s fucking his secretary.”

Thomas Smith has written sketches/gags for Newsrevue and this is his first publication of prose. He is currently finishing his debut novel and play; Circling The Drain and On The Fringe of Failure respectively. Smith may be reached at

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Book Review: Boneyard, by Dee Allen (Reviewed by Tammra Smith)

[Reviewed by Tammra Smith]

Dee Allen writes with everyday words, but it is his observations that reach to insightful depths. What I read was plainspoken, yet enlightening, simple, and yet complex with deep understanding. He uses soul touching words to paint a picture, images and visual action. I felt like I was in every scene that he described, partaking in the experience. His poems touch on politics, religion, justice, death and human nature. I like that Dee doesn’t feed you an emotion; that is something you bring as you read his poems and songs.

Tammra Smith may be reached at

Folks can get/purchase a copy of “Boneyard: Poems Of African Struggle And Survival In The U.$.” from Poor Press by clicking on the following webpage link below:

And author-information on Dee Allen here:

Book Review: Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power by Laura Amazzone

[Reviewed by Janine Canan]

Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power is exactly what this book is about: it’s an exploration of the sacredness of the Great Goddess of India and of womanhood itself.

In its pages, author Laura Amazzone takes us on a pilgrimage to the traditional ten-day harvest celebration of Durga that takes place in India and Nepal every year. We experience each day of the ceremony, meeting the Goddess herself, along with her manifestations as Saraswati Goddess of Creativity, Laksmi Goddess of Abundance, Kali Goddess of Transformation, Taleju Goddess of Tantra, Ancient Grandmother, Kumari Girl Goddesses, Matrikas, Yoginis, and the women of Nepal.

Carefully, thoroughly, the author explains aspects and details of the puja which most westerners would be unfamiliar with. Mesmerizing descriptions of colorful devotional rituals are interwoven with well-researched information on their history and meaning, and explanations of their powerful impact on the participants’ psyches.

Amazzone’s personal journey is a search for a Goddess who can heal her from traumatic childhood abuse by a violent father. Through her account, we are allowed to share in inner experiences which are fully integrated into the sociopolitical and spiritual realms. This is empowering feminist writing at its best. Goddess Durga conveys a profound respect for women as it meditates deeply on the current condition of women, and what it means to be a “cosmological” woman.

Janine Canan is the author of Ardor: Poems of Life. Visit for more information).


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Paintings by Amelia Lewis

Amelia Lewis is a fine arts painter out of San Francisco, CA. Lewis’ work has been exhibited throughout San Francisco as well as on a national level.

Upcoming Events:

Lewis and JellyFish Gallery (1286 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103) will be producing a visual and musical event titled ‘Storybook’. Visit for more information.

  • Soft Opening :  Friday, May 06, 2011
  • Storybook Reception & Party :  Saturday, May 14, 2011
  • Rafael House Benefit :  Saturday, May 21, 2011

Click here to see more of the artist’s work.


An Interview with Berkeley gallery-owner, Alta Gerrey

[Article by Jaylan Salah]

Independent, strong and creative, Alta Gerrey of Berkeley, Californa is a true traveler in the Art Sahara. In the 1960s she started Shameless Hussy Press, the first feminist press ever created in the United States. Such a courageous step was not easy. Especially since women writers faced many struggles then, and were seen as ‘shameless’ for seeking to promote their work.

“Certain topics were not considered serious when I was young,” Gerrey says, “being a homemaker, for instance.  Others were considered shocking, such as lesbianism.  Now women can write – and publish – just about anything!”

Shameless Hussy published over 40 books in the twenty years Alta operated it, from 1969 to 1989. Most authors they accepted were women, including Ntozake Shange and Jennifer Jaffe, and they published a variety of genres, including collections of poetry and a few children’s books. And, they were located for a time in the small suburban East Bay town of San Lorenzo – where Gerrey says she felt safer from people who did not appreciate what she was doing.

Gerrey said she started the press because she and other women writers she knew were finding that mainstream publishing houses wouldn’t accept their work. To her, that was how much of the women’s equality movement got started in the United States – simply through women getting together with their friends and sharing things they noticed about their lives.

Jaylan Salah is a freelance writer and Synchronized Chaos contributor from Alexandria, Egypt. You may reach Salah at


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