Synchronized Chaos August 2020: In All Of Our Humanity

Sometimes some of us feel like this

Welcome, readers, to August’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine.

First off, we have an announcement from regular contributor and nature poet Rui Carvalho, about the annual international nature writing contest we co-host with him.

Also, another regular contributor, poet and novelist Christopher Bernard, has established a podcast.

This issue reveals and explores different dimensions of our humanity: our bodies and looks, our emotions, our intellect and creativity, our life transitions and hopes for our futures, our personal relationships, and our broader societies, our quests for justice and how we treat each other and the natural world.

Norman J. Olson narrates the first professional gallery exhibition of some of his paintings, artistic nudes.

Judge Santiago Burdon paints a portrait of the looks and personality of a captivating woman, while Bangladeshi poet Mahbub’s work probes the mysteries of the human heart.

J.J. Campbell offers up moments of happiness and acceptance rendered through his trademark cynicism.

Shruti Iyer conveys and explores the panoply of human emotions through her variety of poetic female narrators.

Michael Steffen depicts the strength of the human personality in response to circumstances: humor, sauciness, existential curiosity, fury, and resolve.

Other days like this

J.D. DeHart’s pieces reflect the power of words and ideas. In Mark Young’s poems, the ideas as well as the words seem to hang together, even when they don’t make sense in a linear way.

Henry Bladon presents gently humorous creative frustration, where losing one’s ideas and work-in-progress becomes a kind of ‘little death.’ In a similar vein, Rachel Grosvenor contributes a sestina about the struggle of creativity over sorrow and despair.

Mike Zone writes of our epidemic of loneliness, how sometimes we try to possess each other rather than truly connecting. Syrian author Raghda Mouazen crafts pieces about isolation and enclosure, and her speakers retain the desire to comfort others.

Or even like this, with too much Zoom

J.K. Durick offers up a humorous lament on growing old.

Ghanaian performance poet Ike Boat’s pieces depict coming of age, figuring out what to do in life, and overcoming obstacles such as bedbugs. He also contributes notes from his travels, ‘On the Road with Ike Boat.’

In her monthly Book Periscope column, Elizabeth Hughes reviews Gini Grossenbacher’s Madam in Silk, a historical fiction tale of a woman immigrant from China during California’s 1850s gold rush.

James Thurgood’s poetry also expresses personal growth: the need to let go and not hoard items from the past, the inevitability of loss in life, and how, like the writer or the bird out of his comfort zone, we can make room for new ventures.

Federico Wardal extends himself creatively by allowing the development of a virtual rendering of himself who can act in films and plays, some of whom he’s written himself.

But we can aspire to this

Spanish writer Daniel De Culla renders in verse a medieval Spanish tragic tale of two timeless human concerns: love and death.

U.K. author Mark Murphy presents a set of poems about love, fascination and the inexorable force of history.

Michael Robinson opines on religion, how greed and selfishness among both the leadership and the congregation do as much as the coronavirus to drive people away from church.

Mickey Corrigan satirically criticizes those who prize their own aggrandizement over compassion for other people and the natural world.

Michael Robinson’s poetry honors the legacies of Christian faith and American Black culture as a way to survive the past and present violence Black Americans endure.

Egyptian writer Jaylan Salah writes of the gradually expanding portrayal of Black manhood in cinema, how Black men are now being shown as more complex and fully human.

Dave Douglas’ heady thoughtful poems urge us towards love for one another, while Chinese poet Hongri Yuan creates a vision of order, wisdom and beauty in his fantastical Golden City.

Nigerian author Chimezie Ihekuna’s poem expresses hope that we will overcome coronavirus.

Joan Beebe shares her waking dream of a ship, of traveling through life’s losses with an inner sense of peace.

We hope that this issue leaves you with peace, resolve, and creative inspiration.

And treasure moments such as these.

Poems from J.J. Campbell

Middle aged white guy with glasses and a face mask with facial hair and a tee shirt standing in a bedroom with posters on the wall and a dresser behind him.
at any given moment
she had the look
of a woman that
would shatter
you into pieces
and you had
nothing but
she liked her
whiskey neat
and to be
with love
at any given
all that time
came in handy
twenty-seven years
a little rain on a
tuesday afternoon
twenty-seven years
after a woman got
famous for cutting
her husband's penis
life was much simpler

back then
in the nude
purple sunshine
as the horizon
you once knew
a woman who
used to smoke
cigarettes in the
nude on her front
you always thought
she would be an
amazing lover
turns out she was
just lazy and wanted
a lover that also
did her laundry
needless to say
we didn't last long

to die in a war
i never have asked
for forgiveness
and i quit asking for
permission as soon
as i was old enough
to die in a war
i've been socially
distant for the
majority of
my life
so, staying away
isn't that big
of a deal to me
and the mask reminds
me of every bad guy
i cheered for in the
westerns i watched

as a child
finding a twenty on the ground
happiness is a bet
on the winning
a woman sleeping
in your arms after
a night of ecstasy
finding a twenty
on the ground
watching it rain
after the grass
has been mowed
listening to coltrane
after the spoon has

been emptied

Poetry from Raghda Mouazen

The Silence

Raghda Mouazen, Syria                   

A gentle beat of emptiness is heard

Among the hush that dominates all

But my ears are full of echoes,

A sharp arrow would fall

Over the heart that’s full of scars.

Arrows of hollowness they are,

Of the everlasting silence they are,

Of the hopeful heart and hopeless scar,

Of the soulless dumpness they are

And I weep, weep, weep

Till I see only blur.

A breath weighs a ton over my chest

Packed with trivial harsh memories

With senseless words of senseless beings

Aiming their arrows well for braggings

And they ache, ache, ache

With every breath and they are many!

Blood is dried and it turned snow white

No soul to break this silence, silence, silence

And replace those worthless arrows

With roses red and echoes of fluffy words.

Oh the noisy silence is the loudest, I say

But still, with hope it lulls

And I sleep on the lulls of an idle heart.

Dark Ocean    

Raghda Mouazen, Syria                         

Diving down into the deep

To lay some of the ocean’s weight,

I pick up poisounous, pale clouds

From the moonless, starless

Night like darkness.

Breathless with heaviness,

The surface I reach.

Similar souls I offer a cloud each

For I wish them not to decay.

They leave with relief

Unaware of my grief.

Heaviness still lays

Upon my deep.

Sore Jewels

Raghda Mouazen, Syria               

Wearing her man’s gifts,
The red, blue and yellow jewels,
She walks among the wondering eyes,
Hiding them all except the gray diamond ring
But the pearls he adores
And for him preserved
For the fatal reunion
When his gifts are fearfully received
From his merciless ‎monstrous hands.

A Woman’s Reflection

Raghda Mouazen, Syria            

In a mirror she looked
Frozen locks on her head
With a colorless crown
Dark brown eyes filled
With utter hollowness.

No wrinkles were visible
They only dominated the unseen part
Of her thin body
And most of her heart.

Pure white lilies she held
Watered nearly everyday.
Withered trumpet vines
Grew heavy all over her body.

Closed her eyes to flee
But pain conquered
And seized her dreams,
Leaving her bewildered.

Her voice may save her
But the sobs took over
And it would only tremble.
Again, there was no anchor.

A veil over what was left
Of her colorful hair
Cruelly stripped their color
Still, they think it is completely fair.

She had to accept it with palor
For in the end it was a gift
From her trustful amor.
It was a curse no one could lift.

Misty existence

Raghda Mouazen, Syria                

Cold white walls

Could hear a thought of vengence,

Conquering me.

A warm breath,

Various expressions,

Colour, I need.

I have waited decades

For them to decay.

On ruins I behold

Greenless, soundless, sunless being,

Poetry from Mahbub

Middle aged South Asian man with glasses and a white striped collared shirt.
Poet Mahbub


You and I, being one and ever

Want to be a myth

An existence in the heart of every lovers and beloveds

Not longing for high rank and all the amenities of the modern world

By twisting one we can spread from every ocean to the starry sky

The glittering hearts as you and I, a kingly world

With the touch of green leaves and hills

Being in touch so tight

Can spend all day and night full of passion and joy

Years after years the juice of the fruits

Is going to be fermented in the safe underground

You and I the same points of the drugs taken by

Fully addicted

Though living so far from the bars

We ourselves have turned into this addition

Let’s cheer.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

The Touching Murders

Nazmin along with her two daughters murdered

By her elder sister’s husband, Abbus

It was just from his arrogance

Abbus took this step of killing them

The innocent faces of eight-year-old girl Nusrat

And two-year-old girl Khadiza

With her mother lying on the fifth floor

In throat-cut condition

And his sixteen-year-old daughter was wounded very severely

Man can hurt to others

But this killing mission

Beyond imagination overcomes the myth

How it fails to rule the conscience?

The world becomes too hot around us

The innocent killed without any thought

Oh! What a nonsense poor killer, Abbus.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

In You

I want to live in you

I want to die for you

You are my soul-mate

I’m your whole hearted

I can say it in full faith

You see me in the mirror

I can say in bold

You always endure

While taking steps

I was standing before the glass

Without any break I just enter into.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

Every Moment of the Day

Nothing was able to kill Hercules

It was only Hera’s magic errand

Supernatural power acted on the air, water or land

Nothing could harm you without hers

One jealous of can do what it can’t be done by

Everyday every moment hundreds and thousands die and live

Bodily or mentally fall flat on the ground

Eye tightly bound to the blue sky

The hands at the back head

What they see?

Everyday every moment we only touch and lie

Moreover we again move to fight for joy.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh


The hunger spirit is burning for what?

Burning the eyes, the heart, the chest

Burning the stomach and what not!

An iron rod

Red in the fire

All fires and creates smoke

Where I step I feel like

Fire burning on the mud or sand

In this vague and smoky world I can’t have

A slash of watery land

I get lost in your love

O dear, can’t you hear?

Burning the whole body and soul

How should I keep pace in this vast world night? 

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh

Poetry from Hongri Yuan, translated by Manu Mangattu

Older Asian man standing in a green field with flowers with large apartment buildings in the background
Poet Hongri Yuan
Young middle aged South Asian man with a blue collared shirt, professional headshot
Translator Manu Mangattu
The City of Gold
By Chinese Poet Yuan Hongri
Translated by Manu Mangattu
Assistant Professor, Department of English
St George’s College Aruvithura, India
Ah! Into a pleasant hallway of gold
Thou did the crystal of the sky mould.
A shining City of Gold
Chanting unto me from far afield.
Into the golden gate I strode
A palace colossal to behold.
Without, a soaring Tower did dazzle
A towering wondrous Grand Castle.
It seemed to the past a billion years I travelled.
Perchance, a primal giant my eyes beheld;
In the breeze his sleeves fluttered.
A transparent golden Robe uncluttered;
The appearance was holy, hallowed.
With a sweet smile they bellowed
As tall as a mountain they loomed
But as light as birds they seemed.
Into a golden palace I sauntered
To regard the sacred giant
His body was like the Sun
Enveloped by a golden flame.
In the hall at the centre he sat
Where bloomed many a huge lotus
Some golden giants too were there
Sitting on the lotus flaunting a smile.
In that Grand Palace studded with gems
Hung an enormous mould of gold;
A mellifluous song lulled all along
Rumbling like thunder, causing concussion.
On the front wall I saw engraved
In a noble script, an impressive word;
Resplendent and magnificent, the whole palace
Was filled with fragrance – wonderful, intoxicating.
Clouds with golden wings
Were flying over: all a mirage
A blossoming thrice wonderful
Blooming in the garden outside the temple.
I saw a towering Castle
Like a mountain, upright in the sky
Brilliant design, gorgeous styling
As if God had built it Himself
Colourful gems shine like a mosaic,
A medley of all kinds of strange drawing;
A round gold tower
Like a forest stands in space.
A broad circular Gallery then I saw
Surrounded by the golden castle
Each column was as high as ten thousand meters
Carving out numerous exquisite images.
I walked into a great hall,
I saw some huge statues
Like a group of golden giants
Smiling unto me.
I crossed a huge arch
Into a golden hall
To see a huge picture
Hung on the hall wall.
Each portrait of a transparent flash
Could draw a Golden Paradise
As if a three-dimensional space
Magically unfolded before thine eyes
I heard a mysterious music
Which made my heart take wings
A huge picture of the holy girl
On a plucked instrument was manifest.
She sat in a huge palace
A giant circle around the ring seat
Every giant smiled and smiled
Curling around a golden flame
This girl's elegant posture
Wearing a golden dress
Body shining like a huge halo
Resembling the head of a golden sun.
A huge palace like a fortress
Outside the temple was the endless Garden
Flying golden feather bird
The garden with its pavilions, terraces and open halls
A blossoming of the wondrous exotic
Giving out an intoxicating fragrance
Like a sweet girl
With her model of elegant charm
A sparkling waterfall
Circling along from the hill
As a crystal emerald
Haunting this amazing Garden.
A group of boys and girls:
Dressed in bright and colourful clothes
Some would sit and rest in the Pavilion
Some would walk in the flowers, in the game.
I saw a huge old man
Sitting in a red cloud.
Only a crane flew around
And there was a huge Phoenix.
Another city in the sky
Far from the golden light
At a grand chic
The sky stood in layers
I seemed to hear the call of the divine
The old man came leisurely.
He lifted a huge golden book
And a kind of novel language I heard spoken
I saw a great line of words
Like a row of golden giants
They turned into a ray of light, and,
Suddenly flew into my chest.
My body was sweet and happy
The moment turned momentous
The sacred old man stood beside me
His smile filled the air of the city.
I became a golden giant
Beckoned back to the golden castle
Then came a giant
Who smiled and called out my name
Our bodies were just as big
We were like twin brothers
And Lo! This huge golden castle
Seemed to belong to us.
All on a sudden I saw a vision
I too was a holy giant
In every palace in the city of gold
I too had left my glad imprints.
3.18 .1998
Hongri Yuan (b. 1962) is a Chinese mystic poet and philosopher. His works has been published in journals and magazines internationally in UK, USA, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria. He has authored a number long poems including Platinum City, The City of Gold, Golden Paradise and Golden Giant. The theme of his works is the exploration of human prehistoric and future civilization.
 1998.3.18 北京
Stylized image of a shining golden city with clouds and mountains and a rainbow.
City of Gold

Poetry from Chimezie Ihekuna

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben)
Young black man in a polo shirt and jeans standing in front of a building
Chimezie Ihekuna

Corona Virus: Where are thou sting?

2020 came with great promises
The people planned the year on great premises
Suddenly, out of the blue, an emergence disrupted several priorities
It was a Dis-Ease that has caused untold anomalies
The disease was the projected Corona Virus

Its presence has engineered a global population minus
The disease has made the graveyard of death filled with countless bodies
Corona Virus seems to have left the living with few goodies
Though, 2019 was when the personality of the Corona Virus was announced,
 In 2020, The world never imagined its magnitude of negative havoc would be pronounced
But ‘when there is life, there’s is hope’, as the saying goes
The coming to life of humanity is what the world knows
Corona Virus, you thought
shortness of breathFeverLoss of weightWeakness and
Incessant sneezing
  are your body-impairment weapons
But you fail to realize The solution of hope;The remedy of good health;The potency of a last solution;are at the doorstep of humanity’s consciousness
Now, the question is:Corona Virus: Where Are Thou Sting?

Poetry from Dave Douglas

Love and Fear (and the Confusion in Between)

Love and fear

And the confusion

In between the lines

Of unbelief and faith

Led down a green mile

Of self-incarceration

With thickening walls

Trapped in the prison

Cells of our brains

Is the inability

Or unwillingness

To act prudently

Stumbling on shortsighted

Hope rotting and wilting

From social commentary

Swinging tongues of swords

In the mirk and mire

Of an endless grudge

Drawing lines

In the sandbox

Of prideful pillars

Or too quick to fall

Into passive holes

With frightened minds

Preying on fractured hearts

Led by false wisdom

Bowing to the gods

Of pseudo peace

And circular reasoning

Strangled by a noose

Of isolated imagination

In the wild dance across

The temples of blindness

Crying against the chaos

Lies an increasing

Chasm of fear

Blurred by fists filled

With a disturbing

Indifference for our neighbor

When all this time

On the opposing cliff

Above the confusion

“Perfect love drives out fear”