Poetry from Christopher Bernard

Spring Symphony


By Christopher Bernard



Spring:            Oh! Hear my call, oh world, my home!


The World:      We hear your call! The traveler’s home!


O Spring, rejoice us now!


The winter’s brutal winds have gone:

The storm

Has wrecked

Its last



The birds are flying from the south.

They perch gravely on the fence;

Appraising bush and tree, they scout

A place to nest far from the cat

That watches from the windowsill.


Through the crust of snow and ice

That kept asleep her summer dream,

Earth’s eyes awake

As the sun perks up the daffodil

And turns the eyes of all to him

Until the universe itself

Beyond even his sovereignty

Breaks into music by a German old

In love with his Clara, his life, his earth

For a season; till

The trees uproot,

And the canyons wake

From their cold trance,

And the bears give birth,

And the mountains dance.


Spring:            Now, drunk on joy, let all things dance!

Oh, drunk on joy, let all things dance!


The World:      Till tizzygiddygiddydizzyfizzytizzytipsy we be,

All around

We fall down!


Spring:            And drunk on joy, now all things dance,

(So drunk on joy, how all things dance!)


The World:                 Till everybody

Finds this treasure:

Love, like life,

Is pain and pleasure.


Spring:            Drunk on joy, you’re drunk on joy!


The World:                 No, you’re drunk

As a love-lorn boy!


Spring:                        For Spring is love!


The World:                 And love is spring!


Spring:                        Dance if you know this!


The World:                  (If you don’t know, sing!)


Spring:            Drunk on joy, let’s all dance!


The World:     Oh drunk on joy, let’s all dance!


Spring:                        So drunk on joy –


The World:                  Oh, drunk on joy –


Still drunk on joy . . . !




Spring:            Oh! Hear my call, oh world, my home!


The World:      We hear your call! The traveler’s home!


All:                  O Spring, rejoice us now!




Christopher Bernard is author of two book-length collections of poetry, The Rose Shipwreck and Chien Lunatique, and is co-editor and poetry editor for the webzine Caveat Lector. His third novel, Spectres (originally serialized in Synchronized Chaos as “AMOR i KAOS”), will appear later this year, from Regent Press.


Synchronized Chaos June 2018: Metamorphosis


Welcome to June’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine. These selections explore metamorphosis: what sorts of changes people can go through, when and why we change, what inspires us to change, what sorts of changes nd losses get forced on us, and when and why we can be afraid of change.

Humans are complex, capable of a wide range of feelings and actions that may seem contradictory at first glance.

Some of this month’s narrators aren’t sure whether they care about their fellow creatures, although the entirety of their writing belies their surface lack of empathy.

JD DeHart’s poetic speakers seem thoughtful curmudgeons, yet with a soft spot for fellow writers. John Robbins gives us poems of disdain, with their grumpiness relieved by the speakers’ finding a sense of connection to fellow literary ‘pirates.’

Mark Carver’s poetry reflects a cautious mix of optimism and skepticism about human nature, while J.J. Campbell’s speaker feels disgust at human frailty and embraces death as an inevitable escape, even while feeling a bit of connection to the ‘lost writer’ he mentions.

And a few of the speakers resemble ‘lost writers,’ people on the margins who provide a vantage point through which writers can make complex observations on mainstream society, or who are themselves outside the dominant culture enough to be able to comment on it.

Grant Guy’s pieces present people who are wounded, retired, or otherwise left behind or on the edge of society without melodrama and with calm observation. Cheeta Born2Dv8 Lachender presents a wandering traveler’s tale. His character is a, thinker, somewhat of an outcast due to his nomadic, unconventional lifestyle and poverty, yet sees himself in the tradition of the great Jack London.

Being able to think in a different way can be a catalyst for personal change, as we see in Joan Beebe’s poem, where the narrator gradually shifts her thinking from self pity to hope. Chimezie Ihekuna’s first installment of his screenplay The Success Story presents an accomplished student who, over a holiday visit to his family, finds the time and space to realize that he can and must follow his true passion. Chimezie Ihekuna also contributes a set of voice-overs to this issue, experimenting with different identities as a way of finding and expressing his own.

Jonathan Hine’s piece illustrates the moment when, during a physical and psychological journey, one realizes that one has changed. Allison Grayhurst presents a panoply of reflections on potential transformation: people who find themselves changed through embracing committed love and partnership, people who fear and draw back from that type of experience, and, finally, the very basic and life-altering moment of giving birth. Jeongeui’s paintings of natural scenes symbolize interior personal journeys, as she explains through her artist’s statements, and Liz Hughes, in her monthly Book Periscope review column, reviews stories of survivors. M.E. Hinton’s protagonist, in the novel Brothers, a Roman Empire slave boy, escapes multiple times in attempts to change his circumstances, while Marcy Browning details her treatment for and recovery from breast cancer in her memoir Better Days are Coming. 

Several contributors are in search of something, which they may or may not ever find. In the prologue to G.X. Chen’s new novel The In-Laws, a wife and son lose track of time while mourning the sudden death of their husband and father in an auto accident. Poet John Sweet offers up a string of memories of losses: romances and lives that have passed away. In a piece from her upcoming poetry collection Perfection, translated into Serbian, English and Japanese, Tatjana Debeljacki ruminates on the loss of a deep romantic connection.

Ryan Flanagan stretches the humor in his vignettes to the point of absurdity, then offers up praise for childhood, when that sort of thinking would have been more natural and enjoyable. DS Maolalai’s speakers seem always to be thinking of elsewhere: the play someone’s girlfriend creates at work, the breakfasts they order away from home, the view they could enjoy if only they had more of a view out their window.

Mahbub returns with a set of pieces where the love the speakers seek is idealized, inspirational, and just out of reach. And Bhavani Rao speaks to the elegance of vintage housewares and antiques, reminiscing in a way about a lost past made more beautiful because it is distant.

We hope that these pieces will inspire you towards your own journeys and reveal to you the capability you have towards positive transformation.



Poetry from Jonathan Hine

I-80 Nevada


i was stretched

tight across the

wide open vistas

& high desert plains

but the feeling of

impending catastrophe

had passed

i had finally

lost my grip


i knew about myself

was gone &

never coming  back

Excerpt from G.X. Chen’s novel The In-Laws

In-laws-Cover ebook


It was a dreary winter day in Boston. The gray sky was brewing up yet another storm that could cement the snow already on the sidewalks into banks of ice that wouldn’t disappear until late spring. A funeral home that hadn’t been renovated since the early fifties sat on the corner of a run-down street. It had a dark and damp interior, and the heat was anemically generated by a space heater. Shivering since she had walked into the room with her son, an eight-year-old wearing a pair of glasses that looked too big on his small and angular face, Emily Shi sat with her hands clasped tightly around her knees, trying to suppress the constant urge to scream and cry. She had been trying so hard and for so long that her fingers were stiffened into the likeness of the claws of a bird of prey.

Shy and timid, the boy sat close to his mother, glancing up at her constantly and anxiously. Emily was wearing a black jacket with hand-knotted buttons and a matching pair of black pants; her face was deathly pale and expressionless, as of a marble statue. He had tried to grab one of her hands but failed miserably because they were clasped as tight as iron hooks, so he had resigned himself to taking hold of her sleeve.

Staring at the closed casket in front of them with a pair of startled eyes, widened further by the confusion of a child who couldn’t get his mother’s attention, Peter Shi trembled. He had hoped to see his father, who hadn’t been home for the last several days, but with the coffin firmly closed, he didn’t know what had become of him. Was he inside? He knew his mother had brought along his father’s best outfit because she had thought there would be a public viewing.

It was a secondhand suit that Emily had bought from a thrift store in the neighborhood. Peter vividly remembered his father’s reaction when he first saw it, black with thin gray stripes.

“When will I have the occasion to wear a suit?” Rob Shi looked at his wife incredulously. He had been working as a chef at a Chinese restaurant since his family had migrated to the United States.

“Plenty,” Emily replied, counting on her fingers. “First of all, you’ll need it for the wedding of your friend’s son.” The wedding had been scheduled for the following month, and the Shi family had all been invited. “And then there’re Peter’s graduations.”

“Graduations! He’s only eight years old! Besides, I can’t wear a suit for the wedding because the banquet will be held at the restaurant where I work. Have you ever seen a chef in a suit while cooking?” Because he was the chef, the owner had given his friend a 20 percent discount.

“It doesn’t matter,” his wife said dismissively. “In a few years, Peter will graduate from primary school and then middle school, high school, and college. It’s the custom in this country that the father of the graduate has to wear a suit to attend the ceremony.” She looked down pleasurably at the ensemble that had been laid out in their bedroom. “It was only ten dollars, and the color looks great on you.”

G.X. Chen’s The In-Laws is available here. 

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Poetry from Tatjana Debeljacki











This is an excerpt from Tatjana’s upcoming collection, Perfection, where poems will be translated into English, Serbian, and Japanese.





Togetherness disappears.

We are lost while leaving ourselves.

It’s too late for finding symbols.

The expression is a form of research

at the entrance of voice ventricles.

We sacrifice slow reasons to the quick words.

Parting is a chronicler with no chronicles.

Interpretations are hinted in the meanings of values .

Let’s not torture the lions with the inner space of the sky.

We have lost the gemstone.

The search is wasted effort.

We nurture the faith of case circumstances.

Cheek shows the traces of palms.

For too long we dream the threats of responsibility.

Ironic solution of doubting we have left for the end.

We demise traces for the orphans.

God was praised, unfortunately.

From the scriptures we take out when needed.

We did not realize that all is prone to cease.

And a deep gap between the kisses,

We did not admit.


Link to the book will be available soon! Here’s Tatjana’s author page. 


Critical review of Perfection: 

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Serialized drama from Chimezie Ihekuna: The Success Story

We’ll include a bit of this piece each month until we showcase the entire play.


The Success Story

by playwright Chimezie Ihekuna


Chimezie Ihekuna

Chimezie Ihekuna


Greg has just finished writing his last examination to mark the end of second semester of his first year at the University of Perth. Having excelled in his first semester with an average grade point of 4.4, he looks forward to a better academic session. At school, Greg is the cynosure of all eyes. He is the point of academic reference by his lecturers and priceless by his colleagues at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is the overall best student all through the first-year level at the College of Engineering.

There is a two-month break period to be spent before the next academic session begins. Greg is revered by his parents, Mr and Mrs Smith. They are the happiest parents on earth! His academic excellence is an inspiration to his younger siblings, Jane and Andrew, both seeking admission, hopefully into the same university.

Despite his success and popularity, however, Greg feels really concerned about his future…



At Home…Greg’s Residence

Greg is intending to spendthe holiday with his family; to be with his two younger siblings, whom he hasn’t seen for over a month, and his parents…Greg arrives home after a 6-hour journey from school. He is being welcomed by Jane who can’t help but to express her happiness seeing her big brother return home in good health.

Jane (seventeen-year-old High school graduate, fair-complexioned, slim-looking and outspoken, hugs Greg): Welcome back home! You’re looking very good!

Greg (looks stressed but expresses his happiness.): Thanks Jane. You’re looking prettier! As they say, ‘The Young shall grow’

Jane (Smiles): It’s in the blood…Wise man indeed!

Greg realizes Jane is the only person that got to the door of the apartment to receive him after pressing the Door’s Bell.

Greg (Feels concerned): Are you the only one in the house? Where are the rest?

Jane (chuckles): Relax, big bro. You’ll know. You just coming back from school…

Greg moves in the Living Room, with his bag resting on his right shoulder. Jane takes it off him to his room and briefly arranges it properly. Sited on the largest sofa of the Living Room, his eyes are glued to the changed orientation. The changed louvers, paintings, Center Table with an aesthetic Monumental Cup on it, new pictures of her mom, dad, and his siblings, electronic gadgets, especially the 32-inch TV and the latest digital decoder, among many other things, are looking like wonders to him.

Greg (talks to himself gently as his pair of eyes gazes at what is making him wonder and Jane is about tidying up his room): Wow! It’s been a while! I remember before leaving for school, the louvers everything used, maybe the change of painting…from blue to white, have all been obsolete. Look at the pictures, except for mine, Jane, Andrew, Mom and Dad, all have their pictures all changed. I will do the same! Happy to be home at this time!

Greg takes a look at his wrist watch and notices that Jane is yet to show up. So, he calls her attention

Greg (shouts her name): Jane!!!

Jane (replies audibly): I will be with you in a jiffy!

Jane rushes down to the sitting room to sit very near her brother. She has to run to meet up because of how somewhat distant Greg’s room is from the Sitting Room

Greg (calls her attention to his question again): Jane, you haven’t answered me. Where are they?

Jane: Relax big brother. They’re all good where they are. First, how has YOUR UNIVERSITY treated you in the past few months?

Greg (answers loosely): Well, it’s been the good, the bad and the ugly. School is…you, know, what you make of it!

Jane: I’m sure you wooed those campus girls, right? Don’t tell me you didn’t

Greg (laughs): You funny, little sister! What makes you think so? I concentrated more on my studies. Remember, I have to come out with good results

Jane: The genius of the house!!! I am proud of you. So…

Greg (cuts in): Where is Andrew? Where are mom and dad? You’ve not answered those questions. I did answer yours. Please answer mine!

Jane stares at him in the face with a mild contempt. She suddenly assume a smiling facial look within a split second!

Jane: Andrew should be at his friend’s place. That should be the next house. Mom and dad went for an occasion. They told us they’ll be back in the next two hours. You didn’t inform me, neither did you inform Andrew of your coming. It’s more likely you didn’t inform mom and dad

Greg (apologizes): I’m sorry I wasn’t able to inform you before time. Reason being that I’d earlier planned to spend the holiday with Harp, a close friend of mine and colleague at school. He had told his parents about me and they really wanted to know who the genius their son has as a friend. But I chose to come spend it here! Nothing like family! But I will sure pay him a visit during the holiday

Jane (inspired): What a remarkable statement. You’ve really made my day… First things first family, then other things come secondary.

Greg stresses the need to see Andrew. Jane is about turning on the TV but Greg calls her attention…

Greg: Can you call Andrew for me?

Jane drops the remote control for switching on the TV to get her phone on the center table. Greg looks on

Jane: Sure. Let me call his number 1234900

The phone rings…Jane places the call on her phone’s Loudspeaker for Greg to hear. It rigs five times before the call is being returned. There are voices at the background of the call as the recipient replies…

Recipient: Hello, who is this?

Jane: It’s me Jane, Andrew’s sister. Is Andrew around?

Recipient: Yes. Hang on there. Let me take the phone to him

The background voices of young guys communicating with each other. Greg and Jane both hear the recipient yell at Andrew’s name, telling him his sister is on the call and wants to speak with him

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Poetry from Marc Carver




My mother always put on a posh voice when she answered the phone

unless it was his sister

Your sister is on the phone she would say.

His face would light up

like at no other time

and he would run out to the phone.

Grab the phone and put his hand straight down his pants.

Big smile on his face

He never put his hand down his pants when he talked to anybody else.

Guess he really loved his sister.



The young Polish girl on the beach told the same story to the young man she had just told to the polish girl

the only difference being that she told her in Polish.

All I heard was the pepperoni and the salami but it was enough.

The clouds have rolled in from the sea now

and I get up to go.

Just as well I have no desire to hear that story again

In English

or Polish

Pepperoni and Salami

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