‘Noel in the Sierra’ by Christopher Bernard











Noël in the Sierra


By Christopher Bernard



They’d been traveling all day, since before the sun rose,

and now it was cold and dark and snowing,

then the car broke down and now this cracker . . .

“You just got bad timing,” the burly man had said.

“Nobody around here’s got any rooms tonight. Sorry.”

“Damn all . . .!” That was the last straw.

It was Christmas Eve, man! . . . “It’s all right, Jay.”

The girl, her small heart pounding,

looked the motel owner straight in the eye.


Sheesh! the man thought. How old are these kids?

Him, skinny, rasta hair, bitter eyes, eighteen maybe,

her, tiny, cornrows, more in control than her dude,


And what are they doing in Red Bluff?

The nearest ghetto’s in Oakland . . .

Oh no . . .   He sees the problem: the little swollen body,

the perfect little sphere at her tummy

peeking through a tatty coat. . .

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December’s Synchronized Chaos Issue: Level Up!

Welcome, readers, to December’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine. This month we’re ‘leveling up,’ moving ahead in our understanding and navigating different levels as we would after mastering a stage in a video game.

These submissions involve different shades of meaning: symbols, dreams, subconscious thoughts, and the combination of different areas of knowledge.


Tony LeTigre review Richard Brautigan’s novel Trout Fishing in America, the rambling thoughts of a wandering mind, with beauty beyond the literal text.

Joan Beebe dreams of an abundant and warm Christmas morning, a scene of welcome and comfort that harkens back to centuries ago. Another piece of hers illustrates the depression caused by unfulfilled longings, pointing out through contrast what the holidays often represent for us beneath the surface.

In Luna Acorcha’s poem, the speaker subconsciously reflects on their mother and other people close to them. Their almost mystified gratitude and appreciation for people around them comes through, even if their words are unclear.

Mahbub’s poetic speakers find themselves pulled out of everyday life by intense feelings of romantic or family love, and these powerful experiences cause them to contemplate and ask deeper questions about their role in the continuity of human existence. Yusuf BM’s piece also shows an ordinary person who works, prays, and lives as expected given his situation, yet once he’s alone at night, he’s thinking about his place in the world.


In Christopher Bernard’s fifth installment of his novel Amor I Kaos, deep existential questions lurk beneath each everyday encounter as a couple goes about their lives.  J.J. Campbell’s speakers outgrow their conceptions of their past traditional beliefs and go make their own ways in the world, to varying degrees of success.


Aremu Adams Adebisi’s speakers cannot escape the realities of war and violence, even in times of personal contemplation or when in love.  The same proves true in Abigail George’s literary, thoughtful pieces, where we see high intellectual beauty but also the memory of oppression.

In contrast to their subtlety, Jake Cosmos Aller directly confronts the chaos and violence of our world with long poems meant to overwhelm and disgust us with what we have allowed the world to become.

In her regular monthly Book Periscope column, Elizabeth Hughes reviews Stephen Patterson’s novel Rosetta, a science fiction piece touching on linguistics, biology, ecology, hard science, and the possibility of civilizations in space. Kitty Yeung, engineer and physicist and fashion designer who integrates custom electronics into clothing and believes this brings about heightened potential for creative expression, highlights the beauty of different disciplines by combining them.

Allison Grayhurst and Diane Barbarash also mix different forms of art, as Barbarash sets Grayhurst’s Pushcart Prize-nominated poetry to music. The songs they sent us to sample tell of protected pet animals and lovers – pieces of intimacy and connection.

We wish you connection and peace as you enjoy this issue and the varied submissions, and the many levels on which they can be understood.


Poetry from Jake Cosmos Aller

The Dogs of War are Howling


The Dogs of War

Have been set free

Of their cage


And are out

Howling at the moon


The Dogs of War

Have been set free


To wreck what havoc

Might be


Yes, the Dogs of War

The Hell Hounds

Have bound out of their cages


Sniffed about

And smiled


At the destruction they saw

They knew soon


They would be in their element

As the world descends into chaos

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Poetry from Abigail George

Man, with the gun
    I’ve never loved out of guilt. Don’t care
what people say or think about me. Don’t care that I live on an island.
Let’s start with what makes me happy
before I get to the unhappiness. This
is the location of the bones. They’re
found below. Underground this body
of flesh. The garden marks the road out.
Despair always created a tight feeling
in my chest. Showed a vision a Rilke
in my hands. Pictures of an unsmiling
Rilke. I’ve imagined Rilke in Austria,
France, Russia. As a pupil at a military
academy. The writer, the poet unleashed.
Rilke as the husband, the lover, the
father. For me, it was an exercise. Thinking
could he invent when inventing was
needed, dig, make repairs to. I think of seawalls, modern catastrophes, the
maths and science of distance, of
    paradise, of what lies ahead, the stigma
of substance abuse and illness. Taking
care of elderly parents, pride and ego,
insecurity and finding the motivation to write daily. This is
the age of women, so they say. Equality.
Men must stand up for the women.
Women have the vote but we must also have human rights.
People feel free to make comments
about my life. They’re like doves to
me, little earthquakes in the blood but
I keep them in the distance like the
journalists that have come to the house.
I keep them away like I keep my family away.
I think to myself that painters were kind to Mary. Jesus’ mother never
looked more beautiful or holy. I’m attentive in conversation with aunts and uncles.
I pay attention. Look closely at the mouths
of women. Their exquisite lips that enchant.
The men in my family are largely silent.
They only want to teach me. Lecture me.
In prayer, I am on my knees. When I ask
for forgiveness, I beg. When I love, there
are parts of my identity that simply fade away.
Decay is a hymn. Kissing is a hymn. Drowning is a
hymn. The asphalt jungle in which I
find myself in. It sucks the life out of me.
So, instead of hating, I cook rice. Eat
honey. Swim. Think of intimacy. Think that depression
is romantic. That it is all part of the process of becoming a writer. Thinking,
death to squalor. Death to poverty. Death to the man with the gun.

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Poetry from Luna Acorcha

A Few Years Later
And then it turns into I love it.
I love you, but I am sorry.
He is like a young girl.
But honestly, she is a bitch.


Although I am unaware
that I am aware,
I am conscious
of your consciousness
and the feeling of
apple juice
warmed on an aluminum free
making me feel
again of that time in which I was awakened
too early to recall
and too late to be rowed away
in the mug painted with
Mars, Venus, and Jupiter.
Mom, I really love that mug
and I am glad we still have it.
And mom I like talking to you.


I like this difference we have though,
it keeps us going. You get me?
Like, I want to know what thoughts of yours
will follow the thoughts of mine
that I proposed should hover
in this stretch.
Because it is expected-
a time for you to just know.
And Mom? When did you stop making me breakfast?


There are things I should do,
but, you know, I do not want to.
And I have no clue why
“Why,” has become a demand.


Now I need to ask you for a response
for someone else
because I am certainly uncertain of myself.
Friend, we do await on street
that has gathered blossoms in the gutter
for the attraction.
We remain unsure as to why
you invite us onto the velvet chair
of your front door stoop
and we become quite puzzled
when you ask again for clarification.
This illogical reassurance has
become most assuring.

Poetry from Yusuf BM

Man with Life
Helter Skelter
Morning man’s labour
Skirts and trousers on the street
Walking, running and talking
Yearning for their daily home festival.
Helter Skelter
Morning man’s mathematics
Addition, multiplication and subtraction
Equal to
Living life must strive.
Helter Skelter
Morning man’s petition
Hands and Beads hanging in air
Sacred books in man’s front
Kneeling, Yapping and Begging
For rainfall to shower his dry land.
Helter Skelter
Afternoon and Night man’s thought
Rhetorical Questions
And smooth riddles
Masking, Painting and clothing
Man with scary hues
“Who next will the world disown?”
©Yusuf BM

Author’s Biography

  Yusuf BM is a Nigerian teen author and a photographer. He’s the author of Brittle Songs  (Book of Poetry), he writes short stories, poems, essays and literary reports. He is a member of the Hilltop Creative Art Foundation (HCAF).

Cristina Deptula interviews physicist and fashion designer Kitty Yeung


Meet KtY - a creative technologist and hardware prototyper focused on programmable clothing, computational textiles and wearable devices. As a former journalist, I had the privilege of interviewing her for Synchronized Chaos Magazine about her work combining fashion with electronics.

CD: You mention that you're a Renaissance woman, with knowledge of and interest in different fields. What sorts of combinations of areas of interest do you think stimulate the interest of today's Renaissance people? Where do you see fruitful collaborations among different lines of research, where these different areas inform each other?


KtY: Renaissance masters pursued many intellectual avenues. They developed culturally, socially and politically through their endeavors in art, music, literature, science, history, etc., and people in different fields inspired each other. Today, although the society has changed drastically, the same types of intellectual pursuit are still there. Through technology, many of the fields can further collaborate and advance together. Those could be tech-enhanced performances, digital arts, online communications, faster and broader distribution of knowledge. Those could also be advanced scientific research that influences other industries such as medicine, agriculture, transportation, garment, real estate, hospitality, etc., which impact people’s everyday lives. Today’s renaissance people still look at how their work benefits the wider society and intellectually influences humanity. 

CD: How do people feel about wearing computational textiles, programmable clothing and other such innovations? Does technology in our clothes seem fascinating or invasive or some mixture of both? (Personally I see many more avenues for personal expression and consider it exciting!)

KtY: This is indeed an exciting emerging area of study, because of all the possibilities new technologies can bring. Everyone can imagine a bright future when their clothes or accessories can constantly monitor their health, adjust to comfort, communicate, perhaps also cure diseases, or give more degrees of freedom for design and personal expression. However, there are many challenges that need to be addressed before that bright future is reachable. In order for people to accept such wearables, the items must not be invasive, shouldn’t make people change their normal behaviors, and be secure with the data they collect and transfer, and should protect privacy.
Today’s technologies are not quite ready. Much effort has to be made to invent electronics that are small and flexible enough to be seamlessly embedded into textiles, new materials that can themselves be functional, batteries or other methods of energy supply that have more versatile form factors, long-distance wireless charging, computation and communication capabilities, and much more. There are also deficiencies and disconnects in the current traditional industries and ecosystems. I’ll discuss them in later questions. 
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