Halloween poetry from Joan Beebe


Halloween is coming,

A bewitching night, it seems.

The parents tell the children, have no fear.

And in the dark of the night, lights from some houses gleam

Inviting you to come with your pumpkin bag to fill,

so you draw near.

Of course you have to say, “Trick or Treat”.

To all the people that you meet.

Children running or some just walking but

You see ghosts, Cinderella, space men, and more

You run and hurry to the house next door.

You behold a welcome sight

Of people holding baskets of treats

And they are standing in the light.

Halloween is fun walking in the dark

And seeing ghosts and goblins running here and there,

But parents are watching and they are in their care.

Soon, the night is over and tired children slow down

Everyone is walking at a slower pace, their

Eyes are on their home with their pumpkin bag of treats.


Synchronized Chaos October 2015: In and Out of Time

Welcome readers to October 2015’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine. Our theme this month is In and Out of Time. Our contributors explore how we relate to the dimension of time. What focuses us on the present moment, what helps us remember and causes us to forget, what gets us up and out of ourselves and our time-structured worlds.

Strong emotions such as grief can pull us out of normally structured time into a subconscious world of our own, where we go to process our losses. Michael Robinson and Sharifa Petersen eloquently illustrate the dislocation of mourning, either through literal visuals of bodies and hospital beds or more abstract images of trains and ghosts.

Unchecked anger, even when directed at legitimate social injustice, can cause us to lose our sense of historical and emotional perspective and violate commitments we’ve made, behavior essayist Ayokunle Adeleye criticizes in his homeland of Nigeria. We must not forget that we have created a society based on the rule of law and so even those we despise deserve impartial legal action and an examination of the facts surrounding their actions rather than a public witch hunt.

Romantic love and self-discovery can also draw us into another time frame, as Holly Sisson points out in her review of Patty Lesser’s new novel A Discerning Heart. Love can take us to a world all our own, as Rui Carvalho shares: a dale of flowers in our mind’s eye.

Rubina Akter depicts a longing for love which cannot be satisfied even through connection with another person, which she describes as a quest for the divine. Her speaker does not live according to his own timeframe, or even on his beloved’s schedule, but seeks something more eternal. Akter’s other pieces point out our vulnerability to pain and abuse as human beings by depicting the suffering of innocent and confused children.

Patrick Ward and Ash Gamble also call attention to our weaknesses. Ward writes of people who feel trapped in their physical bodies or by their mental states and emotions and Gamble creates a humorous vignette where our human concerns don’t translate well to other creatures.

Ryan Hodge, in his monthly Play/Write column, probes why apocalyptic and raw survival scenarios remain popular in video games and movies. He suggests that we actually crave reminders of our vulnerability. Through these scenarios we can make ourselves feel strong by vicariously rebuilding or triumphing through disaster and deprivation along with the characters, even when we don’t literally have to face starvation and gunfire. We know deep down that many live, and have lived without, many of our modern comforts and would like to think that we are also tough enough to survive without them. Having to find food, shelter and physical safety brings us out of our heads and our subconscious worlds back into the reality of our immediate situation, and perhaps we seek that refocus, that heightened awareness of what is most critical.

Ayokunle Adeleye shows another way to rise to the challenge and overcome one’s obstacles to build something enduring: start a small business and invest in land, leaving behind a legacy.

Rick Hartwell’s poetry illustrates encounters with nature that call us back into the immediate moment. Hartwell’s speaker focuses on specific sights and sounds around him, falling leaves, lizards and other reptiles. Nature operates according to seasons and cycles and creatures act differently during each season. We, too, can experience each one fully without getting too far ahead of ourselves.

Patrick Ward also describes different aspects of sound: scary, comforting and fun, depending on our mood. Listening to what is around us and paying attention to how it makes us feel can refocus us in the present. Ash Gamble also writes of the tension between miscommunication and breakthrough, memory and resilience.

Ajise Vincent shows how some acts of violence, such as the terrorism of West African group Boko Haram, shake us out of our reveries and bring us back to the moment, where we must face what has happened. Vincent’s work directly addresses and condemns brutality, exploitation, and injustice in strong terms without flowery language. Poetic grief can come later, but now is the time to speak up and be heard in the face of atrocity.

Elizabeth Hughes, in her Book Periscope column, reviews Peter Jacob Streitz’ new poetry collection Hellfires Shake the Blues. She points out how poetry can grab our attention, bringing us out of our own minds and into the world of the poem. This can happen involuntarily, arresting our consciousness like sudden sounds or motions on the horizon, and whether or not we consider ourselves fans of poetry.

Joan Beebe also gives us pieces of reminiscence and gratitude, calling us to share her fun and peaceful moments and also reminding us through her piece on the car crash how we are vulnerable to disaster and none of these moments are guaranteed.



Image from user Geralt on PIxabay.com, public domain. http://all-free-download.com/free-photos/download/clock_time_gear_214121.html


Poetry from Rui Carvalho

Green Dale of Love

My life is a dale:
A mystery of green loneliness.
A swift breathing with flowers’ flavor,
that covers with gold petals, and scattered dreams.
And the cold of the night announces sleep,
the dark olive green, always classic,
the screech owl, always alone,
But not a new life:
an enchanted and colorful brier!
All this world is a stage of love’s complaints!

The Potential: Ayokunle Adeleye’s column on entrepreneurship as a career path in Nigeria and beyond

The POTENTIAL VIII: Acquiring Land

Every good business needs its own land sooner or later. Plus, land is an appreciative asset, unlike cars, and makes for good collateral, unlike shares. But when it comes to acquiring land, it is often a case of the same person not possessing a good head and a fitting cap. Why, those of us with the tricks and nice locations do not have the wherewithal, and those with the wherewithal are either too distracted or too naïve.

Two weeks ago, I was in Lagos sourcing funds for a piece I had finally gotten the keys to after years of hoping. I thought I was offering a
good deal, well, until my calls stopped being answered or returned. Money doth answer all things. And after a decade of yes-man-ship,
you’d suppose I’d be earning the big salary by now. Oh, that I have some! But money is not all that is required, as you shall soon see.

According to the Land Use Act of 1978, persons less than 21 years old, the age of majority, cannot acquire land, save by inheritance. So,
first things first: are you old enough? Then, are you ready for the trek? The other day in the Theatre, this Doctor had a call which I had
the privilege of being privy to as his hands were busy. Someone, apparently a land speculator, was offering him land. I just pitied him.

There are simple rules to buying land, and land speculators are not in a good part of my rulebook: If you are too busy to find your own land,
you are probably too busy to own it. Location is everything. And with it comes seasonality and exposure. With the latter comes implied
costs. As I shall now explain…

Swamps tend to be dry during dry seasons; so land is best searched out at the peak of the rainy season. (Half-word suffices for the wise.)
Lands by the roadside are generally exposed, and are not only relatively expensive but are also very competitive, spatially as well
as temporally. Encroachments are not unheard of, as are reclamations and multiple sales. I personally do not think it wise to buy land that
will take you to court (over and over) or make you pay over and over.

If you ever buy such competitive land, you must be ready to finance the implied costs: extra payments for Witnesses and other signatories,
homage to the local lords and land leeches, accelerated building with/out property demarcation, and sometimes, settlements for dissenting families (or family members).

Usually, here’s what I suggest: get a good surveyor, to avoid government-acquired land, as well as get cheap(er) offers; and a good lawyer to draft an ironclad agreement – my lawyer is the best there is. These added costs save you a lot of trouble. Be careful with surveyors though. I have learnt to measure land myself, and to negotiate with the owners before I bring in my surveyor. And that is not paranoia.

(If I told you everything here, the tricks and clauses and dangers and precautions, then what would you pay me for? Locations only? Offers
only? Meeting my lawyer is for free, anyway.)

And how much land do I have to have become a speaker on the issue? I’m still waiting for my big break ni o. Nyem ego, ka’o kudi, m’owo wa;
bring money… and I will gladly test these things effortlessly right before your very eyes. Right now, I only speak from experience gathered over the years. *winks* And I know the best lawyer for these matters, just saying.

Ryan Hodge’s Play/Write column: Existential Horror


-Ryan J. Hodge

For someone who enjoys a great story, is there anything better than a narrative that engages you from the very start? Imagine a world so rich you can almost smell the scents in the air, a delivery so clever it forces you to think in a way you never thought you would. I’m Ryan J. Hodge, author, and I’d like to talk to you about…Video Games.

Yes, Video Games. Those series of ‘bloops’ and blinking lights that –at least a while ago- society had seemed to convince itself had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. In this article series, I’m going to discuss how Donkey Kong, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and even Candy Crush can change the way we tell stories forever.

What the Survival Genre Teaches Us About Existential Horror

A strange crop has risen to prevalence among independent titles. While the return of the 2D platformer in the forms of Limbo or Braid was welcomed, their reign was short-lived. There was something that seemed all the more intriguing to the indie dev: the Survival/Crafting game.

Many would probably argue that it all started with Mojang’s Minecraft (2011). A stark and graphically crude game, Minecraft nonetheless wooed players with its robust ‘crafting’ system. A ‘crafting system’, of course, is essentially just what it sounds like. Knock down a tree for timber; use that timber and a nearby rock to cobble an ax together. Use that ax to fell trees faster and create even more tools.

While it sounds simple on the surface; it gets surprisingly deep. From smelting iron to make steel to getting some friends together to build a to-scale model of the starship Enterprise.

Y’know…you can actually get paid to design and build things in real life.

Y’know…you can actually get paid to design and build things in real life.

Continue reading

Poetry from Rick Hartwell

Home, Heart

With warmth of heart entering the scalded fall day,
recall –

kaleidoscopic drifts of leaves, Brown County, Indiana,
smooth sap runnels on firs, Coos Bay, Oregon,
taunting northwest snows, Missoula, Montana;

not the perversities of a winter foretold,
rather the rheostat of transformation,
seasons’ sliding dimmer switch.

Moment to Moment

Little bird tap, tap, tapping a third floor window,
trying to access The History of England, like me.

Too few Fridays at 7 a.m., almost too early to
connect the dots from Runnymede to Agincourt.

Facing a seventh decade, back at school again;
bird taps help refocus me on staccato note-taking.

Walking meditation at break; no monkey-mind, just
bird-rhythm thoughts, bloody horrors and heritage.

Being in the present, quarrels with learning the past.


From Within Reptilian Eyes

Amber leaves depend from ebony twigs,
wet bulbous nodules animate leafy emerald trees,
visually dazzling, these intellectual incongruities,
minor befuddlements, slowly ease into apprehension.

Velveteen crows glower from within reptilian eyes,
surreptitiously trickling Doritos from their beaks,
golden flashes flipping in the autumn breeze;
scavengers of the remains of the departed –

Nothing is wasted and nothing is lost.


Richard D. Hartwell
When hate is in the seeds, you can only harvest weeds. Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
In joined hands there is hope; in a clenched fist, none. Victor Hugo, Toilers of the Sea
An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind. Mohandas Gandhi, The Mahatma

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon. He can be reached at rdhartwell@gmail.com.

Poetry from Ash Gamble

This Heart
though aged and ravaged
though full of blight
loves and beats still
writes words still about
what love used to be
The Owl Told Me
We spoke a mile on the back
porch.  He tried to teach me
how to spin my head.  I tried
to teach him how to do taxes.
We did not find each other useful.
Snow Bank
Through the ice wall
I carve my way into a place
of hidden warmth.
The Cringe
I speak and there’s
a quick cringe as response
that raises in me
uncertainties, I feel the cringe
even on my face now.