Synchronized Chaos’ Second July Issue: Like a Flowing River

Flowing blue river with rapids over some rocks and grass on either side. Trees and hills in the distance, a few clouds in the sky. Dales of the U.K.
Image c/o Petr Kratochvil

Our regular contributor, prose writer Jim Meirose, invites Synchronized Chaos readers to review his two upcoming books. He will send PDFs to people who will provide at least 50-75 word blurbs in their blogs or on Amazon/Goodreads.

About his books:

Audio Bookies (Being published by LJMcD Communications)     – Audio book creators take on recording a book which begins absorbing them into its bizarre fictional world. 

Game 5 (Being published by Soyos Books)  –  Very experimental piece involving the efforts of residents to rejuvenate a community in decline. 


Now, for this month’s issue, Like a Flowing River.

This month’s contributions reflect how life may have ups and downs, smooth and rough patches, but mostly just keeps going.

Mahkamov Mahmudjan’s piece gives us our title. Mahkamov reminds us that life is like a flowing river, where we have influence but don’t control everything.

Nearly still river water under the Brooklyn Bridge at dawn or sunset. Sky is blue at the top and pink near the horizon, the bridge is lit up with lights and the city in the distance is lit up as well.
Image c/o Jean Beaufort

Jessica Barnabas Joseph reminds us that becoming who we are can be a journey. Mashhura Ziyovaddinova illustrates that the journey of life matters as much as our destinations. Wazed Abdullah presents a rhythmical ode to the constant ticking of time.

Alex Johnson’s poetry collection Flowers of Doom, reviewed by Cristina Deptula, explores times of change with a mixture of awe and repulsion.

Hillol Ray describes the stability and comfort he finds in his personal and intimate spirituality and how it’s developed and informed by his mixed-race heritage. Michael Robinson speaks to the solace he has found in his faith over many years. Stephen Jarrell Williams’ work addresses being lost and found again through faith and the love of family.

Muslima Rakhmonova reflects on the support and encouragement she receives from her family and on how families can both keep children secure and empower them to build their futures. Abdamutova Shahinabonu’s short story reflects the deep love and respect between fathers and their children, even as the children become young adults and leave to pursue their dreams.

Rizwan Islam evokes the joyful spirit of family celebrations of his birthday. Nigar Nurulla Khalilova offers up a son’s lament over separation from his mother. Habibullayeva Madinabonu grieves over the passing of her mother. Abrieva Umida expresses deep respect and caring for her mother. Amimova Zebiniso rejoices in the love of her family. O’roqboyeva O’roloy G’ulomovna expresses her tender love for her mother.

Stylized vintage painting of a light-skinned woman and boy in red, brown, and burgundy robes and coats which billow out behind them as they fly through the sky scattering red poppies on the land and mountains below them.
Image c/o Karen Arnold, original art by Evelyn de Morgan

Brian Barbeito finds mythic beauty in Mother Nature, in industrial areas and even a truck collision, as well as in spring flowers and colorful fungi. Naeem Aziz outlines the life cycle, diet, and ecology of the praying mantis. Turdaliyeva Muxarram conveys the simple and colorful joy of flowers. Azimjon Toshpulatov laments the passing of the warm and flower-strewn spring. Aliyeva Matluba fashions images out of natural seeds and materials while Abdulazizov Dovudbek’s home economics paper reminds us when we should let go of stored food. Daniel De Culla crafts a myth about the creation of fish and the constellation Pisces.

Tuyet Van Do’s haiku points to the uncanny mysteries of nature and the paranormal. Nahyean Taronno continues his ghostly tale of trapped spirits and children in a haunted manor. Audrija Paul illuminates the destructive power of rain during a flood and crop-destroying storm. Praise Danjuma evokes the wildness and majesty of nature with a piece on a large and scary night-flying bird. Avery Brown presents a moment of narrative tension as futuristic cowboy characters in his novel Blood and Loyalty skirt one potential conflict to race towards another.

Lidia Popa’s piece reminds us of the mystery and wonder of poetry. Dilnura Rakhmanova poetizes about love, writing, and tulips. Kylian Cubilla Gomez’ photography captures moments of color, surprise, and interactions with the natural world. Isabel Gomez de Diego’s photography draws on themes of nature, history, and the wonder of childhood. Kande Danjuma reclaims the joy and wonder of her childhood. J.D. Nelson peers at life like a child glancing up at labels they can’t quite make out on a top shelf in his monostich poetry. Emeniano Somoza likens the moon to a lonely child drifting through the treacherous school hallways of space.

Luis Berriozabal speaks to loneliness, aging, and the power of words in his poetry. Duane Vorhees’ poetry probes themes of sensuality, romance, writers’ block and the timeless Mideast conflict.

Dilnoza Xusanova outlines the literary contributions of Erkin Vahidov to Central Asian and world literature. Abdunazarova Khushroy poetizes on the beauty of the Uzbek language. Ibrohim Saidakbar highlights the humane spirit and literary legacy of Central Asian writer Gafur Gulam. Otaboyeva Ominakhon examines Mark Twain’s use of satire in his literary works. Noah Berlatsky spoofs errors in proofreading in a humorous piece.

Silhouette of a person in profile looking off to their left. Inside the silhouette are stars and a nebula.
Image c/o Mohamed Mahmoud Hassan

Ziyoyeva Irodakhon reviews the contributions of great Uzbek teacher and writer Abdulla Avloni to Central Asian and world scholarship and pedagogy. Salomova Dilfuza makes suggestions to help people optimize their learning. Guli Bekturdiyeva offers best practices for how educators can design syllabi. Abdusamatova Odinaxon offers recommendations on the best use of interviews as a tool for sociological research. Burikulova Shakhnoza remembers an inspirational teacher who motivated her to set high goals and work towards them. Sobirjonova Rayhona praises the dedication of her favorite teacher.

Axmatova Shakzoda outlines the unique opportunities and hardships of student life. Aziza Karimjonova Sherzodovna highlights the accomplishments of Uzbek students and scholars and the greatness of the nation.

Adiba Shuxratovna reviews Hossein Javid’s drama “Amir Temur” and outlines how the play highlights the nation-building work of Amir Temur through depicting both political and domestic moments of his life. Aziza Saparbaeva depicts a dramatic moment in the life of medieval Central Asian leader Tamerlane. Marjona Kholikova outlines the accomplishments of various historical Central Asian military and political leaders.

Adiba Shuxratovna’s poetry extols the virtues of the new Uzbek constitution and its respect for human rights. Mamadaliyeva Aziza celebrates Uzbekistan’s rich history and its present and future promise. Eshbekova Xurshida Anorboyevna evokes the mythical beauty and grandeur of Samarkand while Dr. Reda Abdel Rahim reminds the world of the archaeological treasure of Egypt’s Royal Tombs of Tanis and encourages us to preserve and study them. Graciela Noemi Villaverde expresses her pride in Argentina’s history and flag.

Ruxzara Adilqizi’s poetry celebrates her love for nature, her partner, her country, and her heritage. Mahbub Alam flies into the sky at sunrise on the wings of love. Elmaya Jabbarova draws on classical references to convey the intense experience of having a lover stare into one’s eyes. Maja Milojkovic finds gentle and poetic love in a garden. Mesfakus Salahin speaks to the emotional and spiritual union of a couple in love.

Silhouette of two lovers in front of the gray moon at night with stars and galaxies off in the distance.
Image c/o George Hodan

Lilian Dipasupil Kunimasa speaks to the futility of hiding one’s emotions. Usmonova O’giloy whispers poetry about the gentle grace of her dreams. Paul Tristram crafts vignettes of human experience from a large-hearted and compassionate place. Taylor Dibbert’s poetic speaker points out a detail that speaks to the depth of his mourning for his departed dog and thus the depth of the love they shared.

Alan Catlin’s poetry reflects the fragmented thoughts of memory and grief. Vernon Frazer adorns paper with shapes and shades of color and words in various fonts at precarious angles. Mark Young’s images play with shape and color and seem to almost represent various objects.

Nosirova Gavhar relates how music can serve as medicine for the human spirit. Sayani Mukherjee describes the sensations and images she experiences listening to classical music.

Joe Byrd’s new novel Monet and Oscar: The Essence of Light, excerpted this month in Synchronized Chaos, gives us a look at the groundbreaking Impressionist artist through the eyes of his gardener.

Sterling Warner evokes atmosphere, time, place, and memory with his poems on the Midwest, fungi, flora, and fauna, and the overzealous self-diagnosis made possible through pharmaceutical commercials.

"Life is just a game, play" written in chalk on a blackboard. Blackboard is framed in wood and resting on a wooden table.
Image c/o Gerd Altmann

Christopher Bernard critiques neoliberal philosophy for breaking down social order with its emphasis on one’s rights to the exclusion of one’s responsibilities to respect others.

Dr. Jernail S. Anand urges us to set aside extravagant philosophizing and simply live our lives. Santiago Burdon satirizes those who carry their principles beyond the point of reason with his piece on a vegan vulture.

Heather Sager takes joy in gentle, quiet moments of middle age, even as she feels off kilter and knows her body and life are slowing. Roberta Beach Jacobson’s haiku expresses observations on human nature taken from ordinary and surprising moments of everyday life.

Hillol Ray wonders about the future of humanity, if our compassion and solidarity can grow and develop alongside our technology. Mashhura Usmonova decries people who obsess over their phones to the detriment of flesh and blood relationships.

Faleeha Hassan urges others to recognize her common humanity although she’s in a traditional Muslim head covering. Bill Tope’s essay traces the changing attitudes towards the LGBTQ community in America over the past 60 years. Z.I. Mahmud outlines how Amrita Pari illustrates the isolation and longing of a queer woman in a modern city in her novel Kari. Jacques Fleury reviews a production of “Witch” at Boston’s Huntington Theater and reflects on how witches can represent those treated as “others” by modern society for various reasons.

Overturned car on fire, bent telephone pole, smoggy and cloudy sky, broken pavement and dirt covered in soot, buildings bombed out and barely standing. Photo is mostly gray and slightly surreal.
Image c/o Kai Stachowiak

Mykyta Ryzhykh speaks to the horrors of war and the destruction of innocence and the environment. Gozalkhan Samandarova highlights the indiscriminate destruction often caused by war and urges humans to work for peace. Bill Tope’s story highlights the senseless terror of a school shooting by portraying an incident from a child’s perspective.

Ana Bogosavljevic reminds us that even great pain and evil will not last forever and can be outlasted with patient goodness. Shaxzoda Abdullayeva takes joy in her current life and her hopes for the future, as David A. Douglas celebrates the power of community and kindness to overcome despair.

Poetry from Muslima Rakhmonova

Central Asian teen girl with dark hair in a bun, brown eyes, earrings, and a blue jacket and white collared shirt.
Roots and Wings

In the heart of a home where love resides,
A family stands strong, like the ocean tides.
Roots run deep beneath the earth’s embrace,
Wings spread wide in life’s vast space.

A mother’s touch, so gentle and warm,
Guides us through life’s fiercest storm.
A father’s strength, steady and sure,
Builds a foundation, solid and pure.

Brothers and sisters, laughter and tears,
Sharing dreams, and conquering fears.
Through joys and sorrows, thick and thin,
The bond of family lies within.

Grandparents’ stories, rich and wise,
Teach us to see through loving eyes.
Traditions passed from old to new,
A tapestry woven, tried and true.

In every smile, in every cheer,
In moments of doubt, in times of fear,
Family’s the anchor, the guiding light,
Through darkest days and brightest nights.

So here’s to the hearts that hold us tight,
Through every challenge, every flight.
For in the arms of family, we find
The roots that ground, the wings that bind.

Muslima Rakhmonova was born on November 2nd, 2007, in Turaqo'rg'on district. She is currently a 11th grade student at the Is'hoqxon Ibrat Creative School. She has a strong passion for reading literary works, drawing, and playing musical instruments.  She holds an IELTS certificate at B2 level in English and a Goethe certificate at A2 level in German.

Poetry from Ruxzara Adilqizi

Central Asian woman with curly blond hair, a blue coat, and a white frilly blouse in front of the Turkish flag.


Let me bend my love into your love, 
Let it not be based on the pleasure of my love, 
Let me give up on love, let me not hear, 
Don't let it be based on the pleasure of my love! 
Take away the ovary of my heart, 
Your capacity is abundant, remember me, 
Let it snow, rain, shine in the sun, 
Don't let it be based on the pleasure of my love! 
You are my hearth of hope, my trust, 
O poet to my life, I know the feeling, 
Everyday the wind blows into my soul, 
Don't let it be based on the pleasure of my love! 
Let me close your eyes, let me look at you, 
From the demand, you become bored, you become embroidered, 
My dear, let me be your blessing for life, 
Don't let it be based on the pleasure of my love! 


Yad, I have no eyes on Özzgən's soil, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
O I who turn back and forth in the land, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
I don't want grapes, hazelnuts, pomegranate vineyards, 
The heart desires the sky plateau, the mountain of shish, 
The land to which I speak, my shadow falls, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
Flowers would grow on my lawn, 
There the nightingale sang more loudly, 
My thighs would kiss my lips, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
Əsən mehi shallow pull telimə, 
Its origins are sometimes different, 
Waterfalls rose into my slice, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
At the end of the article, we would flee to the pasture, 
We had learned to bala-yaga, to ski, 
The tulip gave color to the cheeks, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
I was a mother, my mother was there too, 
My will was sensitive to my eyes, 
My prince would wash my feet, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
I was valuable in my hand, and in myself, 
That's why I said "homeland", 
Wherever I look, the sign is in my eye, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 
Quickly turn away, let the son go to longing, 
My heart is in need of attention, compassion, 
I'm sorry, what's your name, fame, 
I want my own homeland where I was born. 


Envər Pasha of our Turan army, 
Look at the power of his love, 
His love is across the seas, over the mountains, 
This spirituality is only Turkish! 
He gave great importance to the nation and the country, 
Joined in jihad, escaped from the flames, 
“Transformation as a victorious commander, 
Or let me be a martyr!” - choose your slogan! 
Time colliding in the room, 
The letter he wrote to Nacibé Sultan, 
Even though the sultan's heart was saddened at that moment, 
It has become a source of pride for a lifetime! 
“I love you, my praises Raise me with my job!”- he wrote,
 “Write the names of the villages in history, 
Martyrdom is a mark!” - wrote... 
“To protect our country from the enemy, 
Mustafa Kamala, possible help, 
The day that should be from him, 
“One dimension, my sons!” 
The one that comes to life before your eyes, 
He kissed her gentle fingers and left... 
The one that makes hearts happy when you remember it, 
He entrusted tomorrow to God... 
A mill carrying this spirit has collapsed, 
And your truth guides, the path they follow! 
It precipitates the oil, but it does not absorb much of it, 
As long as there is one mill and two states! 
He joined the Turan party, 
Now what kind of Pasha has arrived? 
The great men of Great Turkestan,
Come on, Victory, our heads are high! 

Essay from Aziza Karimjonova Sherzodovna

Central Asian teen girl with black hair in a ponytail and a flowered dress in front of a park with a stone building and trees.
Uzbekistan, Uzbek

XXI century. After ages, times, centuries, we have reached these days. Mir Alisher Navoi, who recognized that world, "we are living in the age of mirror worlds, self-moving iron slaps brought by Farhad and Shirin. If we don't leave the house for a day, we feel as if we are not aware of the news happening in the whole world. Yes, because every day, every hour there is news, research, discoveries in some corner of the Earth. Today's demand is to keep pace with the world.

Indeed, the future of the country is in the hands of the young generation. Of course, there are no young people in our country who can introduce our country to the world. As a proof of my word, let's take Javahir Sindorovov. He is a chess master despite his young age. He grew up with chess from a young age. He is learning the secrets of chess and taking the milestones. 

As a clear proof of this, let's remember the great success of the past year 2022. At the international chess competition held in India, five players from Uzbekistan won the highest positions and bravely defended the flag of our country. The President congratulated them on their victory by phone. Javahir Sindorov was among them, of course. We have many such young people. They are all worth being proud of. Another one of our youth, eighteen-year-old Parviz Tuksanov. He scored 8.5 points in the international assessment system of English language proficiency and managed to set a record among the youth of Uzbekistan by scoring 1560 points in the SAT exam. It will make your heart happy to hear such news! For information, the SAT exam is also one of the international exams. He is one of our young people. As long as we have such young people, Uzbekistan will never stop developing. 

I envied my compatriots, got the best result in such exams, and intended to make my contribution to the development of our country, even if it is small.

Such achievements are, of course, a clear proof that the head of state pays close attention to the education system. Our President, who took the words "attention to education, attention to the future" as his motto, is making a lot of educational investments and innovations for our youth. 

All these efforts are our future for the generation! Not only education, but also other fields are developing in our country. Examples of these are sports, art, and medicine. There is a wonderful saying in our people that "Nothing can make a country famous for sports". Our athletes are as usual

We have no choice but to admit that they are raising the national flag to blue.

In fact, at the root of all this is education, manners, concepts. There is a famous saying of Abdulla Awlani, one of our Jadids who made a significant contribution to the development of our nation. Let me quote below with your permission: "Education for us is a matter of life or death, salvation or destruction, or happiness or disaster." In our country, if you see a person with a smiling face and two hands on his chest, believe me, that person is an Uzbek! You say, the reason is that our grandparents and parents taught us this. By the way, drink green tea!

Aziza Karimjonova Sherzodovna was born in 2008. Now, she is 16 years old and 10th grade at Is'hakhan Ibrat creativity school. She can freely speak in English, Russian, and Korean languages. Her stories were published in many foreign journals.

Essay from Naeem Aziz

Closeup image of a green praying mantis insect on a leaf.
The Life of a Praying Mantis: Nature's Stealthy Predator

The praying mantis, an intriguing insect named for its prayer-like posture, has a life cycle that showcases the marvels of nature. Here's an in-depth look into its journey from egg to adult.

Egg Stage:
A praying mantis's life begins inside an ootheca, a frothy mass created by the female to safeguard her eggs. The ootheca hardens, providing a secure environment for the developing embryos. Depending on environmental conditions, the eggs hatch within weeks to months.

Nymph Stage:
Upon hatching, mantis nymphs resemble miniature adults but lack wings and reproductive organs. From the start, they are voracious predators, hunting small insects. They go through several molts, shedding their exoskeletons as they grow larger.

Adult Stage:
The final molt marks the transition to adulthood, during which the mantis gains wings and reproductive capability. Adult mantises are solitary and skilled hunters, using their excellent camouflage and swift reflexes to catch prey with their raptorial forelegs.

The mating process is notable for the potential cannibalistic behavior of the female, who may consume the male after or during copulation, providing her with additional nutrients for egg production.

Ecological Role:
Praying mantises are vital in ecosystems, controlling insect populations and serving as prey for larger animals. They are valued in gardens for their role in natural pest control.

Though not endangered, mantises face threats from habitat loss and pesticide use. Conservation efforts focus on preserving natural habitats and reducing chemical use.

The life of a praying mantis is a testament to adaptability and survival. From egg to adult, each stage reveals the mantis's role in maintaining ecological balance. Their presence in nature reminds us of the intricate beauty and complexity of the natural world.

Md. Naeem Aziz is a Bangladeshi Author, Writer, Poet, Engineer and Photographer. He is best known for his writings and photography. He was born on 10th December 1998. He is from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Story from Rizwan Islam

South Asian preteen boy standing in front of a gate to his school. Wall behind him is yellow and brick-colored. He's in a white collared uniform shirt.
My Birthday Party 

Birthday is a memorable day in one's life. This is the day when a person was born. Children around the world celebrate the day in different ways. My birthday is in March. Every year, I celebrate the with my friends. My parents ask my friends to come to our home and have a party. My parents decorate the house nicely. My father orders birthday cake. My mother usually buys me a new dress. In the afternoon my friends come. They bring gifts for me. 

The cake is placed on a large table. Candles are placed on the cake. When the programme begins, my friends stand around the table. I blow the candles and cut the cake. My friends sing the birthday song and wish me. On this occasion, my mother 36, prepares delicious dishes. We enjoy the food. We have a lot of fun. My birthday is one of the memorable day for me.

Md. Rizwan Islam (Talha) is a student of grade six in Harimohan Government High School, Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh.

Story from Nahyean Taronno (continued from last month)

Read Nahyean’s first chapter here.

Young South Asian teen boy with short brown hair and a white collared school uniform tee shirt.
Echoes of Ravenswood

Part 2: The Descent

The friends landed with a thud, their flashlights flickering as they hit the ground. Groaning, they picked themselves up, realizing they had fallen through a trapdoor into a hidden basement. The air was damp and musty, the faint sound of dripping water echoing through the darkness.

"Is everyone okay?" Jake asked, his voice echoing slightly.

"Yeah, I think so," David replied, rubbing his sore shoulder. "Where are we?"

Emily shone her flashlight around, revealing a narrow corridor lined with old, rusted pipes and crumbling brick walls. The atmosphere was even more oppressive down here, the weight of the earth above them adding to their growing sense of dread.

"We need to find a way out of here," Sarah said, her voice trembling.

They began to move cautiously down the corridor, their footsteps echoing eerily. The whispering voices seemed to have followed them, growing louder and more insistent. It was as if the walls themselves were alive, watching and waiting.

As they turned a corner, they came upon a series of doors. Each was marked with strange symbols and covered in a thick layer of dust. The friends exchanged uneasy glances, the sense of foreboding growing stronger.

"Should we open one?" Emily asked hesitantly.

"Do we have a choice?" Jake replied. "We need to find a way out, and this might be our only option."

They chose a door at random, Jake turning the handle slowly. The door creaked open, revealing a small room filled with old, rotting furniture and stacks of yellowed papers. In the center of the room was a large, ornate mirror, its surface tarnished and cracked.

Emily approached the mirror, her curiosity getting the better of her. As she wiped away the grime, she gasped. The reflection showed not just their group, but also shadowy figures standing behind them, their faces twisted in expressions of agony.

"Guys, look at this," she whispered, her voice shaking.

The others gathered around, their faces pale as they saw the ghostly figures in the mirror. Suddenly, one of the figures moved, its hand reaching out towards Emily. She stumbled back, her heart racing.

"We need to get out of here, now," David said, his voice urgent.

They backed out of the room, closing the door behind them. The whispering voices grew louder, now accompanied by faint, ghostly laughter. Panic began to set in as they hurried down the corridor, desperate to find an exit.

After what felt like hours, they came upon a set of stairs leading upwards. Relief washed over them as they climbed the steps, hoping to find a way back to the surface. However, as they reached the top, they found themselves in a large, circular chamber.

The chamber was lined with ancient, decaying bookshelves, and in the center stood a stone altar covered in strange, ritualistic markings. The air was thick with the scent of old, damp paper and something else, something metallic.

"Where are we?" Sarah asked, her voice barely a whisper.

Before anyone could answer, the door behind them slammed shut, and the room was plunged into darkness. The friends huddled together, their flashlights casting eerie shadows on the walls.

Suddenly, the altar began to glow with a faint, otherworldly light. The markings seemed to come alive, writhing and shifting like living things. The ghostly laughter grew louder, echoing through the chamber.

"We need to destroy whatever this is," Jake said, his voice filled with determination.

They approached the altar, their flashlights flickering as if the very air was trying to extinguish them. David picked up a heavy book from one of the shelves, intending to use it to smash the altar. As he lifted it, the room seemed to pulse with energy.

Just as he was about to strike, a figure appeared before them. It was a woman, her face pale and her eyes filled with sorrow. She seemed to be made of mist, her form shifting and shimmering in the faint light.

"Please, help us," she whispered, her voice filled with despair.

The friends froze, unsure of what to do. The woman reached out a hand, and they could see the marks of chains on her wrists. She seemed to be pleading with them, her eyes filled with a desperate need.

"Who are you?" Emily asked, her voice trembling.

"We are the lost souls of the Blackburn Mansion," the woman replied. "We were trapped here by a curse, bound to this place for eternity. Only you can set us free."

"How?" Jake asked, his voice filled with a mix of fear and determination.

"Destroy the altar," the woman said. "It is the source of the curse. Break it, and we will be released."

With a determined nod, David brought the book down on the altar with all his strength. The room seemed to explode with light, the air filled with a deafening roar. The friends were thrown back, their flashlights clattering to the ground.

When the light finally faded and the roar subsided, the friends found themselves lying on the cold stone floor. They groaned and slowly sat up, their heads spinning. The room was now eerily silent, the oppressive atmosphere lifted.

"Is everyone okay?" Jake asked, helping Emily.

Nahyean Taronno is a student of grade eight in Harimohan Government High School, Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh.