Synchronized Chaos June 2021: Observer and Observed

Welcome to June 2021’s issue of Synchronized Chaos. We extend care to the regions of the world where Covid still rages and hope for the world to become safe and healthy.

This month, our writers and artists are seeing and being seen, observing and being observed.

Nondescript person in the shade observing a dolphin underwater in an aquarium.
Image from Paul Brennan

One of Robert Thomas’ pieces presents a narrator in a cafe who eavesdrops on others’ conversations, only to find someone else commenting on him at the end. Thomas’ other piece is a character sketch of someone who presents himself in very different ways based on the setting.

Z.I. Mahmud contributes the first installment of his thesis on Charles Dickens. He explores the symbolism and images of life, death and disease in Dickens’ work and makes a comparison to today’s fear of disease.

Zara Miller, author of young adult historical novel I Am Cecilia, also analyzes literature, pointing out that one-dimensional, less complex characters worked in Shakespeare’s plays because everyone has some people who only seem to play one role in their lives. Although we are all full three-dimensional human beings, we don’t fully experience the inner life of everyone around us, and Shakespeare’s work reflects that.

Meg Freer presents a travelogue from the Republic of Georgia where she visits sites from the country’s Stalinist past.

Christopher Bernard writes a more fanciful kind of travel story, and this month brings us the moment when the little boy traveler realizes that he’s going somewhere unexpected.

Group of silhouetted people of varying ages and heights watching a sunset through trees over a lake.
Paul Brennan

Abigail George observes her own past, reflecting further on a past relationship. J.J. Campbell also writes of the many times and ways romantic attachment can miss its mark. Jerry Durick’s poetic speakers also self-reflect, thinking on how they’re aging, running out of space, and never quite living up to their dreams.

Chimezie Ihekuna spotlights a screenplay version of his reflective memoir Experiences, sharing his early life in Nigeria with a facial deformity. Another piece of his praises the editor of this magazine 🙂

Jack Galmitz contributes some vignettes concerning how we relate to our world, how major events filter their way down to our consciousness.

Charlie Robert’s poetic speakers are immersed within one singular moment, unconscious of being observed. John Culp writes of the ecstasy of losing himself in the moment, dissolving his past and present into love and creativity.

Christine Tabaka writes of our search for our place: within our families, within our social groups, to each other and to ourselves. We want others to fully ‘see’ us and include us.

White swan on a pond, sitting on clear water and staring at ice.
Lubos Houska

J.D. Nelson’s pieces play with form and style while Mark Young speculates on the evolution of word meanings and poetic structures.

Mahbub ponders the fragility of life and the beauty of nature amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hongri Yuan and translator Yuanbing Zhang voyage again to a mystical kingdom of order and beauty in the sky while Andrew Cyril MacDonald reflects on passing eras of our lives and of human history.

Mickey Corrigan shines a glaring light on Jeffrey Epstein and others who abuse their money and powerful positions. Sheila Henry calls for the world’s police forces to show empathy for the communities they patrol and the people they arrest.

Fay Pappas, attorney and former editor of Brushing, the literary magazine of Rollins College (Winter Park, FL), reviews Michael Robinson’s latest poetry collection From Chains to Freedom, which examines the Black male experience in the urban U.S.

Please enjoy this issue.

Screenplay from Chimezie Ihekuna

Title: Experiences
Adapted from a book by Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben)
Screenwriter: Robert Sacchi

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben) Young Black man in a collared shirt and jeans resting his head on his hand. He's standing outside a building under an overhang.
Chimezie Ihekuna

Genre: Autobiography

For reviews, production consideration and other publicity, please contact us through the email addresses below:

mrbenisreal@gmail.com

rsacchi@rsacchi.20m.com

Experience, as the old saying goes, is the best teacher’. I have been thoroughly schooled through the hard knocks of life. And I am still being schooled! Each phase of my existence has been characterized by peculiar experiences that have shaped my thought process towards people in my life, my environment and the society in general.


Experiences is a collection of stories about me: my family, friends, and romantic relationships, career exploits and congenital facial disfigurement. The stories depict what I have been through in my over-three-decade period on earth—lessons learnt and what the future holds.


I have been humbled by what my experiences have taught me through the years. They have made me transcend the puerile mindset of mediocrity to reach a mature psyche of sagacity. The stories contain elements tantamount to the lessons of pain, inspiration, bitterness and hard truths borne out of the experiences I have had all through my growing years.


It is a condensed penned-by-me depiction of major experiences reflected in stories that I have chosen to put down in writing: moments I live to remember always.
‘’Your experience is what you have to tell about you when what you thought you knew are already told about’.’

Short story from Robert Thomas

A Hammer, A Drill, and a Black Lace Bra
By
Robert S. Thomas


I hired Jack from an ad for a handyman in the local
newspaper. The ad indicated that he had experience in
carpentry, plumbing and electronics. I only needed his
carpentry skills to repair a side yard wooden fence that had
rotted over time, leaving gaps at the bottom where the old
redwood boards were attached to the frame. Lately, local
skunks and raccoons were using the openings as a passage
to my ever-running backyard water fountain. Additionally, the
pesky critters dug holes in my garden rooting for various
grubs and other ground dwelling creatures. I decided it was
time to lock them out.


Jack was a handsome man in his late twenties or early
thirties with a slightly receding hairline. He had a brawny
muscular physic, suggesting that he often worked out with
weights at a gym. He wore a sleeveless t-shirt, exposing his
massive triceps and biceps, which rippled in tandem with his
use of tools while he worked. He seemed the epitome of a
well testosteroned male.


Jack was extremely adept with his tools. He had a stainless
steel hammer with a black rubber handle, which he used to
drive three-penny nails into the wood. His strength was
obvious by the way he was able to pound the large metal
pins into the boards with only three strokes of his arm.
He was equally competent with his use of the yellow
cordless drill. Without looking, he reached down to the
leather pouch attached to his belt, grasped a single long
screw, and blindly placed the Phillips screw head onto the drill bit.

Once the screw was in place, he pointed the drill at
the wood, using his other hand to guide the screw to the spot
where he was going to place it. With a quick thrust of his
arm the screw quickly sunk to the hilt. There was no
hesitation in his work. The alternation of hammer and drill
created a syncopated rhythm of whack, whack, whack whirr,
as he worked his way along the two by four fence frame
Jack completed his job just as dusk began to descend over
the horizon. Once finished, he held a tool in one hand,
pulled a rag from his back pocket, dripped a slight amount of
oil onto it, and began to wipe down his tools, lest they begin
to rust from the sweat of his hands. As if they were rare old
objects, he gently placed his tools into a gray metal toolbox,
and locked the lid. Holding the box in one hand, he wiped
his brow with his forearm, and turned to admire his work for
a minute or two before coming to my door to collect his fee.
I thanked him for his work, and paid him what was due. Jack
then looked at his watch, turned and quickly strode to his
van parked in front of the house. He placed his toolbox in
the back of the van, waved back at me, entered the cab, and
drove off.


Jack lived in the upper story apartment of a converted
Victorian row house not far from the Castro district in San
Francisco. The exterior was covered in contrasting pastel
colors, similar to many old Victorians in the city. His
apartment was almost overly tidy, with muted colored walls
and furnishings in the style of late Pottery Barn. Being a
movie buff, several photos of movie stars hung on the walls
of his living room, along with posters of musicals he had
attended at The Golden Gate, The Orpheum and San
Francisco Playhouse over the years.

Once inside, Jack rushed to his bedroom and quickly
disrobed, placing his dirty sweat soaked clothes into a
hamper in his closet. He headed for the shower, where he
relaxed in the heat of the hot spray as it washed over is
muscular shoulders and arms. He soaped up a good lather
and cleaned his entire body. From the shallow shelf
attached to the shower wall, he grabbed a water resistant
razor and began shearing the short stubble of dark black
chest hair that had grown over the course of a day or two.
Next he shaved his face and legs. Jack hated the fact that
he was so hairy. He often mused that his genetic
endowment derived from some clan of silverback gorillas
somewhere in the Congo, and not the Southern Italian
ancestry of his true family.


Once dried off, he went back to his bedroom, and sat at a
mirrored vanity. He stared into the mirror, examining his
face, giving particular attention to his nostrils and ears. He
took a pair of tweezers and began nipping out a number of
errant hairs. Next, he spritzed a bit of lotion on his fingers,
and gently daubed the luxurious scent on his face, taking a
moment to delight in the wonderful sweet odor of the product.
Jack’s wardrobe was sated with various articles of clothing.
He was indeed a clothes junkie and rarely left a boutique or
haberdashery without something new. However, tonight was
special, and he wanted to make an overwhelming
impression. He shifted through various items in his closet,
pulling several out, closely examining each of them. Not
good enough, he thought, as he replaced them back on the
rod.


Finally, he eyed a long slinky red low cut number, thinking,
This is just what the doctor ordered, and those new tall black
patent leather stiletto heels would go perfectly with this.

Next, he pulled out a dresser drawer and flipped through a
number of frilly bras, choosing a beautiful black lacy uplifting
number that would offer him the best of cleavage. Cleavage
was all-important in his genre of entertainment. Without it
the illusion never quite becomes real. He pulled the bra
tightly against his chest, and shifted the cups from side to
side, pushing his chest skin together in the middle to form a
deep narrow slit.


Jack went back to the vanity to check himself out. Pleased
with the effect, he began to finish up on his special look;
applying cerise lipstick, pale pancake makeup, extra long
eyelashes, and an ash-blonde shoulder length wig. He
slipped into his seductive red dress, pulled on his pumps,
and grabbed a black feather boa. He headed for the door,
casually flipping the end of the boa out and over his
shoulder.

He smiled, and said to himself as he walked out
the door and down the long flight of steps, Tonight,
Jacqueline, you’re going to give those queens the best
damned version of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” they
ever heard

Short story from Robert Thomas

Una Dolce Cossa Al Caffe
By
Robert S. Thomas


There was a long line line at Peets that day, and I questioned
whether I wanted a morning coffee bad enough to slowly shuffle
forward for what looked like a lengthy wait. But then I thought,
what the heck, I have nothing else of any importance going on in
my life on a Monday morning. Retirement was that way; days of
leisure interspersed with moments of well planned activities.
Besides, one consolation was the aroma of freshly ground coffee
wafting through the air. I once read where just the odor of coffee
was enough to get those energetic endorphins going in the
morning.


In front of me was a short Hispanic man with thick pomaded hair
and a leather holster on his belt sheathing a well used pair of
clippers. Someone’s gardener, I assumed, grabbing a morning
coffee before a day trimming another yard. Hispanics tended to
dominate the landscape and garden trades in California. Just as
other ethnic groups have found entrepreneurial niches for
themselves. I learned that when Tippi Hedren, while on a USO
tour, visited a Vietnamese refugee camp in Vietnam back in the
sixties, she brought a manicurist and other make-up artists with
her. Vietnamese women were enamored with her nails. So, she
had her make-up team teach the women skills. Evidently, this
was the impetus of all those Vietnamese owned nail salons
across America.


The cafe was crowded with a myriad of people from various
walks of life, and of many ethnicities, reflecting the cultural
diversity of the San Francisco Bay area. Coffee seemed to be
the elixir of social integration.

To my left around a small cafe table were the Asian regulars,

elderly men who prattled back and forth in some Chinese dialect.

I never found the Chinese language to be appealing.

The sound was too staccato and nasal to my ears.

There was just nothing romantic about Asian linguistics.

It was whiney and overly energetic for my taste.


Unlike the two Italians sitting at a table to my right.
The Italians were an older couple. He was jauntily dressed in a
long black leather designer coat. Swirled around his neck was a
gray silk scarf with short tassels at the ends. He wore a black
fedora with the brim slightly curled down above his forehead.
Across from him sat a distinguished looking woman in a dark red
short waisted jacket. Her hair was ebony black and in a page
boy style that belied her age. I could picture the two of them
sauntering down a wide strada in the couture district of Milan.
They spoke softly to each other with an occasional flip of a hand,
emphasizing some idea or emotion.


I loved the sound of Italian, particularly the dialect of Romans. I
never forgot those mornings in Rome, listening to the lilt of
women greeting each other across the open expanse of the inner
courtyard of the flat my wife and I rented in the old Trastevere
section of Rome. Buon gioooorno Maria. Buon gioooorno Olivia.
Come sta oggii? It was not spoken, but rather sung, almost
mimicking the delicate calls of the canaries hung from balconies
below the windows. Listening to the couple, I was drawn back to
the wonderful experience we had roaming the byways and
narrow cobbled lanes, amid stained ochre buildings housing
small niches with the image or statue of some neighborhood
saint.


Continuing to gaze the crowd around the room, I noticed a
penchant for dark muted colors in clothing. It was like an
invasion of shadow puppets huddled together, heads bent
forward, and preoccupied with their smart phones. However,
something suddenly caught my eye off to the far left.

A glint of bright orange flashed from between two dark forms, like a firefly
in the night. I could not see who it belonged to, as the person’s
view was blocked by two larger individuals. As the line
advanced, I intermittently glanced over to see if I could get a
clearer view, but each time people stood in the way. Finally, as I
became the next customer to be served, the veil of secrecy
parted, and a lone young woman stood out in a bright orange
flower print dress. I was taken aback by her colorful presence
among all of the darkness around her.


She glanced up and around the room, eventually making eye
contact with me, as she noticed my looking at her. I quickly
averted my gaze, not wanting to appear gauche in an era of “Me
Too”. However, I found myself drawn to her over and over again,
as I took surreptitious peeks of her over my shoulder.


Her jet black hair was neatly braided in rows of tight bands,
extending from the top of her head, and down around the right
side above her ear, and to the back of her head, culminating in a
multi looped bow, with the ends dangling down along the back of
her neck. The braiding was highlighted by shiny gleams of light
that reflected off them. Beneath hipster dark rimmed glasses, her
eyes were framed with a thin layer of mascara drawn out to a
small point on either side, making her eyes exotically Egyptian.
She had high cheekbones and rounded cheeks of flawless pecan
skin, and her lips were tinged in orange-red. Her nose was not
large, but slightly pugged in a cute sort of way. The orange print
dress was an off the shoulder peasant style, exposing her
beautiful shoulders and upper clavicles. There was only a slight
hint of cleavage. The dress was blousy around her breasts, with
a narrow bodice. The fabric pleated out across wide hips and
flowed down to the top of her knees.


There was something uniquely alluring about her, as she stood


out among the others in the room. She seemed confident in her


surroundings, unencumbered by the need to update the latest

social media script on her cell phone. She was engrossed in reality,

and the people around her.


I ordered a medium house blend, paid the clerk and strolled over
to the condiment bar hoping for a final coup d’oeil. I set my cup
down and slowly filled it with Splenda and half and half, glancing
at her from time to time.


Surprisingly unable to contain myself, I turned to her and said, “ I
am usually not this forward, but I just have to tell you that you
look stunning in that dress. In fact I find your whole look quite
alluring, from your beautifully braided hair, the dark rimmed
glasses and the orange off the shoulder dress that exposes your
lovely brown skin. Yes, girl you’ve definitely got it.”


After a short moment of silence, during which she most likely
tried to assess my intention, she responded in a coquettish
manner with a demure smile. As she fluttered her long
eyelashes, she whispered in a slow soft southern drawl, Why
thank you very much.


I bowed my head in recognition, smiled and continued placing
the lid back on the paper cup. As I turned to leave, I felt a tug on
my sleeve. I looked around, and found her hand outstretched
with a business card held tightly between two long glossy
fingernails. I took the card, and looked at the name; Shanna
Benton, CPA. Not only was she attractive, but she was also well
educated, and knew an opportunity when she saw it. I thanked
her for the card, bid her a good day, and began to leave. As I
departed I heard an older woman standing next to Shanna utter
in a terse and sarcastic manner, ‘My god woman, he could be
your father, if not your grandfather.’ To which Shanna replied,
“Honey, with a rap like that, I don’t give a damn.”

Thesis, in installments, from Z.I. Mahmud

                                                                   Abstract

Two autobiographical Dickensian fiction, notably, David Copperfield and Great Expectations are the subject matter of this thesis: written to entertain book reviewers. As part of the book review competition, the integrity of the thesis explores literary criticism or critical appreciation that vindicate these narratives as best sellers or classics.

Chapter 1 discusses Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield from the realistic criticism and  psychological view: psychoanalysis and psychoanalytical theory. Glimpses of life and death, goodness and evilness or redemption and damnation, wealth and poverty or capitalistic society and proletariat society, justice and injustice prevailing in Victorian England. Furthermore, readers or reviewers will be intrigued by the social critique in Chapter 2, which discusses Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations unveiling a repertoire of literary and figurative language. Literary fiction lovers will be introduced to the themes of allegorically satirized legislative intervention or laissez faire policies concerned with reformation or amendments. Macabre of mass grave crisis, extravagance and ostentation of burial funerary before the passing of parliamentary bill has been Dickens’ radical or satirical self anathema. This book review emphasizes Miss Havisham, Pumblechook, Satis House guests but perpetually examines the icon of angelic sweetness and purity-idealized Estella, the heroine. Estella’s ironically Dickens’ seraphic sister-in-law, Mary Hogwart whose unforgettable memories: death, grief and mourning recollection-“I cannot bear the thought of being excluded from her dust…It seem like losing her a second time.” Sarcastically, Great Expectations’ Estella memorializes David Copperfield’s Agnes if  holistic or thoroughly evaluated. Gratitude and indebtedness to the journal of Anna Foley in this paraphrase of quotable quote. Emily’ was in fact, Agnes’ resurrected commemorative “so perfect a creature never breathed…”she had not a fault.” Dickens fictionalized characters in autobiographical genre and evolves the discussion of a symbiotic relationship linkage in fantasy. The erudite pageantry is in fact, a testamentary to the humour: Miss Havisham’s will of inheritance legacy

Twenty pounds to Georgiana. Twenty five pounds to Sarah to buy pills for her wind and five pounds to the Raymonds or Camellias to buy rush light to keep spirits high in the night

                                      Tension between life and death or acceptance and grief of the Charles Dickens’ literary canon can be a tender personal experience: with the post or ultramodern cosmopolitan unprecedented legislative measures lockdown amidst pandemic’s outbreak; blighting twenty first century’s humankind or genteel characters with the malediction of unemployment and famine.               

                                 In valedictory opinion, the concluding book review: William Shakespeares’ As You Like It can be traced to the 1563 epidemic diseases: contagious plague that devastated the colossal London. What had really happened to the legacy and fortunes of Shakespearean drama performed or exhibited in the Lord Chamberlain’s Theatre? Mystique and critique readers will be merely breathtaking and awestruck to establish textual references to present coronavirus pandemic contrasting Elizabethan plague. I don’t have the nerve to dissect the mummified 16th century buried bereaved souls… Ironically I have garnered the audacity with assiduous spirits or formidable resilience to revisit, reevaluate and reexamine: themes, plots and twists, motifs, characterization with perspectives to literary techniques or figurative language. I am grateful and loyal to the copyright of different stellar critics and wondrous essayists throughout the three narratives.    .                                                                                                                   

                                               Contents

Chapter 1 Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield Wordsworth Edition Review- A Psychological Novel With Perspectives of Critical Realism               

Chapter 2 Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations Penguin Classics Edition- A Moral Fable Appeasing Rhetoric With Laughter’s Appeal

Chapter 3 William Shakespeare’s Theatrical Drama: Elizabethan Comedy: As You Like It Book Review

                                Dedicated To My Dearest Wonderful Educators Inscribed In My Heart

                     Mr. Md. Humayun Kabir & Ms. Shaila Nasreen

                 Faculty of English

                 Ms. Razia Akter

                 Department of Psychology

                                  I am really blessed by these luminaries’ and guardian angels’ overwhelming smile, heartfelt encouragement, inspirational teaching’s charisma and motivational counsel. They epitomize incredible philanthropic hearts and embracing warmth fostering blossoming rapport.  Inevitably, as a humble student, I had been privileged with intellectual or emotional support in visitations to   teachers’ lounge, library, lecture theatres or tutorial coaching. These were conducive to my academic pursuits or extracurricular prospects of Bangladesh Air Forces Shaheen College, Tejgaon, Dhaka.        

                   Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield Wordsworth Edition Review- A Psychological Novel With Perspectives of Critical Realism

                                     1. Introduction

                                     David Copperfield Penguin Classics and Wordsworth editions of yesterday, today and tomorrow have emerged as hallmarks avant-garde of Charles Dickens. Literally, Dickensian prose: David Copperfield’s rhetoric and diction exhibit reminiscent of the novelist memorabilia recollections. Penguin and Wordsworth Editions are admired noteworthy amongst communities of multilingualism and multiculturalism diaspora, acknowledged globally as bestseller biographical literary fiction. Bookstores, saloons, parlors, coffee shops, magazine stores, souvenirs and gift shops selling at different retail prices UK pound and US dollars respectively.    

                                      2. Background Genesis

                                      Epochs of Victorian England have envisioned  reflective testimonials: critical realism decades of 40s and 50s (after the sunset of romanticism movement) in the historical context of 18th century English Literature repository. Charles Dickens appeared  enchanting spirits with incarnation of a social critique amidst 1849-50s, which were monthly installments of newspaper extracts anthologized by David Copperfield’s publication. 

                                     “Whether I shall turn out to be a hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by somebody else, these pages must show”. Dickens caricatured David Copperfield as flavoursome  biographical fiction, social satire, realism and fantasy, romantic and psychological thriller genre.

                                                Dickensian characterization in David Copperfield impersonate varieties of fictional persona including David Copperfield, the narrator and heroic protagonist, feminine personalities Emily Pegotty and Dora Spenlow, Agnes Wickfield, the paragon of paramour and heroine, Miss Betsey Trotwood, guardian angel, the Berkeys amiably hospitable household of Yarmouth seashore, Mr. Murdstone, David’s misery whose stone heart step parenting entrenched David into the down-in-the-dumps wine factory, Uriah Heep and Mr. Wickfield’s diseased love (Agnes becomes more than a simple infatuation or obsession for these minor characters), heartwarming and affectionate Micawber family, Uriah Heep, the usurper’s hypocrisy and villainy and feigned love or consummate immoral romance for Agnes, Tommy Traddles, the fidelity of true acquaintanceship, James Steerforth, the bad angel or antagonist, Sophie, the fiancee of Traddles and so on.

                                           Characters mysteries open secrets (moneybox of Pegotty or Mrs. Berkis) , widowhood and single parenthood’s overprotection and obsession, the tyranny of educational institutions, misery of child labour harbouring grimace in the grueling and grotesque conditions, treachery and hypocrisy, dilapidated debtors prison, Victorian femininity of household comfort and domestic bliss and prejudices of gender and caste disparity inevitably themes of holistic examination. Archetypal or stereotypical descriptions formidably juxtapose with the contrasting idealism. Entitlement and epitaphs of character significance have influenced readers or critics in adulation of coquetries, sycophancy of honeyed words, witty gimmickry. Mr. Wickfield’s  allusions referenced Dickens bed night stories of Mr. Vicar of Wakefield (whose sensitivity and overprotection regarding the family eventually endanger the household in iniquitous circumstances, sinking into abject despair and damnable downfall). In the following manner, Mr. Wickfield’s obsession or infatuation for Agnes results in sardonic overprotection and fortuitous disappearance from the novel.

                              Dickensian figurative languages in English Literature surpasses criticism with allusions to Biblical references, paraphrases from classics, Shakespearean philosophy and so on. Victorian Era’s colloquialism “Good Heavens” appeals enchanting minds of modern readers or interpreters of the narrative as modern English language expression of dialectal creole: anticipatory connotation of “huh!”. David Copperfield’s mother Clara showed resentment in surprise or disapproval in disbelief at the end of the statement when asked whether Pegotty acknowledges in affirmative mood. “Good heavens! cried my mother, “you’ll drive me mad.” Pegotty’s counsel and advice of remarriage was quite adversary which is why frustrated Clara referred her as “cruel or unkind creature.” “I wouldn’t buy myself a new parasol, though the old green one is frayed the whole way up, and the fridge is perfectly mangy.” Euphemism is a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. Miss Clara’s understatement of genteelness of gentry or politeness juxtaposes or contrasts  unraveled or worn green umbrella, scabious or yucky fridge with shaved head, blackened or disfigured self image respectively.

                                      “I turned my head towards the window, thinking of her calm seraphic eyes, he made me start by muttering as if he was an echo of the morning: “Blind! Blind! Blind!” These lines emphasize or illuminate the angelical divinity of celestial cherubic beings. Agnes’ eyes contextually alludes to the symbolic tradition Christian angelology as belonging to the ninefold celestial hierarchy, associated with light, ardour and purity. Agnes filled David’s heart with resolutions strengthening his weaknesses shedding light and ardour as emerald as the sister of boyhood. The light was essential in Dickens’ life to be awakened of the bad or evil force analogous to the premonition of forbearance or prohibition from James Steerforth’s satanic companionship. 

More next month!

Poetry from Sheila Henry

Blue Stain

Slavery was abolished in America almost 200 years ago
but the system refuses to relinquish a sad history
binding young black men as they remain prey
and are locked up in a system to perform free labor
blue mood cops the modern day crackers
the new age slave hunters to capture them.

They clip black wrists in handcuffs
the updated version of chains once
used to shackle down the slaves 
for transport on market days
now they fill prison cells to work for
masters whose guns are trained 
on their backs just in case they should run.

The traffic stop a gold mine to capture new blood
a broken taillight, a freshener on the rearview mirror
tinted windows will get a white male a ticket or warning
will get a black male maimed, killed or imprisoned
driving while black/brown the underlying crime.

I can hear their deceitful voices in my quiet mind
thirsty cops wanting to get their
fix of blood on their hands excited
to get their bragging rights and to pump
their chests ‘I got another nigger today’, they boast
laughing at their conquests.

Stop resisting they shout while punching
and kicking a responsive body to pain.
How can one not move receiving such an assault to
one’s body and with punches to one’s face and head?

What a bunch of evil men are Chauvin and his kind 
may their souls cry out from the heat that awaits them
when they meet their master—grateful for all the
blood they’ve collected for him through the merciless 
killings they performed on black livesafter all these years reminding us againthat unfortunately black lives just don’t matter. 
They say reform of tactics is needed for the bad seeds, 
but how about reforming the entire broken structure and adding
some empathy to go along with that please?

The cry “Black Lives Matter” not a threat to a nation
is actually a cry for respect, compassion, empathy
it’s to spotlight the cruelty and inequity
placed on a group of people seeking to overcome
the knee on their necks to get the same treatment
as everyone else.


Sheila’s writing style can best be categorized as Visual Poetry, blending emotion and vision into a poem or story of color. Her poems and short stories are featured at Spillwords Publications, Literary Yard,  Sweety Cat  Press Anthology, I, The Writer, and Youtube Poetica2 series, cafelitmagazine.uk and Clarendon House Publications  Anthology Poetica 2 and 3.

Poetry from Charlie Robert

Don’t Eat the Blowfish

Tastes like chicken but like everything else it’s not.

The liver is Nagasaki.

The lungs Hiroshima or Jesse James and

Dear Old Death comes to us all but

the quiver is fantastic.

Like lips full of bees.

Like a bucket of glue and no one but you.

Hey Toshi! It’s Number One on the Hit Parade!

Who cares that The Deal is about to go down the Crapper.

Or that we may have to eat the pets.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom it is dark but this is the Shit.

This is the Rush.

Like finding Jimmy Hoffa in the attic.

Like kicking Mother Theresa in the teeth.

Like fifty-fifty at best with tubes in the chest and second cousins eyeing the Will.

Saxophone Heaven

Sidemen crouch in stairwells.

Waiting to make their move.

Microphones hiss.

Like snakes on the take.

Parker crushes his smoke and

Raises the Horn.

This is a Gig Baby and the liquor is Top Shelf.

Remember that time when he played the Grafton?

It was plastic but his reeds were Ricos shaved pussy thin and he blew us all away.

Those were the years of the Arm and the Needle.

When the lights were low and it was all Chalameau and any

God would drop their drawers for a taste of that

Junk Dope Smack Shit.

They are Gentle and Kind and sleep between sets like infants.

Knuckle Work

It’s the End of the Roadshow and

Grace she’s a No Show so it’s

Heidi versus Hitler.

Hello Kitty now a Kittler.

Kill your engines.

There are scorpions between the sheets.

Red liver and organ meats.

Dead Aunts who can see you.

The Furnace below the belt.

You are the first to leave.

You are the last to leave.

Feel the planet move.

Somewhere someone is doing everything.

Show them how to take a punch.

Nighty Night

She lies there.

Choking her pillow.

Breathing.

Scuba Tube.

If I should die before I wake.

She lies there.

The windows are black.

No one sees out.

But something sees in.

Her Beasts.

Her Kin.

Don’t eat me please eat me.

A shatter of glass.

Blood in the throat.

She lies there.

Eyes like the dolls

she hides in the attic.

What Lies Ahead

Most of the birds are swifts.

Once it grows light they slip into trees.

Rattling their leaves like

cheap party favors.

Colton Notch is true north.

Distant and blue.

Waiting to be made.

The light in between honey on glass and

there are men in the fields.

Cows eating grass.

Grateful.

Violent.

Deep in the center of the land.

They have their own Wounded Knees.

Their own Thermopolis.

These humans know nothing of the Wooden Ramp.

The Hammer between the eyes.

They bend to the ground.

Scraping the earth with their metal.

Seeing the sun in their heads.

The swifts bursting out of their beds.

Buzzing the beasts like Spitfires.

Drawn to the circumference of those who know.

What lies ahead.