Interdisciplinary journal of art, music, culture, science & literature.
Category Archives: CRAWFORD
Kahlil Crawford is a Chicago native and Illinois denizen. His writing has been likened to “a found artifact of an ancient culturally designed sacred text.”
Kahlil integrates intellectual rigor and a subcultural ethos to illuminate multiple topics with a unique, uncompromising outlook – exploring the meditative and existential qualities of the lived human experience:
“My ultimate aim is to leave an intellectual remnant for human contemplation and interpretations of our existential journey.”
Curated by Kahlil Crawford, this month’s issue features works about electronic music, the intersection of art, creativity, technology and healing, and electronic music composition itself.
We start off with Bakhora Bakhtiyorova and Tasirul Islam whom provide basic introductions to the contemporary roots of electronic music and technology. Next, Chris Esparza, provides an insider view of rave art history in the midwestern United States – a visual preamble to the upcoming Viva Acid event in Chicago – the home of House music.
Delaware artist/poet Robert Fleming‘s pop art illustrates prominent discotheques in Ibiza, Berlin, London and New York then Metariddim converses with DJ Toyacoyah about indigeneity in and around the electronic music scene. Meanwhile, Zimbabwean poet Abigirl Phiri waxes philosophic on the (electronic) music contributions of Australian vocalist Sia and South Africa’s Makhadzisa.
Not limited to music, electronica encompasses our everyday mobile devices as illustrated by Don Bormon. Sabrid Jahan Mahin takes things a step further with a deep technological discussion between father and son while Nurujjaman articulates the lifeways of music and technology on a whole.
Yahya Azeroglu explains how music nourishes the soul and provides quotes from historical figures to support this notion. Muhammed Aamir spins a tale of skateboarding, playlists and mixtapes then Jannae Jordan explores the deeper divinity of music frequencies. Tanvir Islam envisions a pro-technological future and DJ Kittenbear sonically reminds us that the beat goes on…
Whilst chronicling the history of professional bookselling and book buying, and drawing from the chevrusas (study groups) of his Hebrew youth, Jeff Deutsch passionately advocates for himself and his fellow booksellers (or les levreurs de livres) as essential in this century.
He wisely circumvents Amazon-bashing when establishing his case for a better-developed bookselling culture, which would entail a non-retail approach to selling books. Perhaps best articulated as one that would “rebuild deliberately what had first developed organically in response to the limits of space.”
Jeff aptly distinguishes between “serious” and casual book-browsing, as “exceptional bookstores both reflect and create their communities.” He postulates that the “good” bookstore “is about interiority” as he guides us through the existentiality of bookstore design and architecture:
“…the shape of the bookstore operates…akin to a literary form.”
Jeff offers several anecdotes to what this form looks like. My favorite is the bookstore as zuihitsu (following the brush); or is it ēnso – a freeing of the enlightened mind to let the body create? If so, humanity has severely underestimated the value of the bookshop for centuries now, which can explain the subpar human condition.
According to Jeff, selective uniquity is rampant in the book-buying culture. He reminds us that “book discovery…is a highly individualized endeavor” leading us to an anticipated future immersed in literary utopia. This zen and/or rapture of book browsing involves searching “the millions of grains through sheets of interrupting water.”
Yet like a book, Jeff suggests, “the imagination is…portable”. It can be postulated that the bookstore is where the two meet and, with a purchase, marry. This marriage of the “life of the mind” is sanctified and consummated by the creative ritual of book browsing.
If a book is portable why, then, does a bookstore pose “a problem of space?” Perhaps it is because books are an illusion. Oftentimes books possess the knowledge we already have within ourselves, which would qualify them as a sort of trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye). When we physically see what we already know, we feel confirmed. That is, perhaps, the greatest attribute of the book.
If the bookstore is a haven for the heterodox, what, then, is the library? Jeff hints that it can be a kind of prison for books from which the book lover must rescue them. This makes sense. A “lost” book can remain on the shelf for millennia without ever being acknowledged save from the occasional dusting alongst its spine. Bookselling, on the other hand, serves as a filtration process to provide the book buyer opinioned “essentials” within the great ocean of books (i.e. great books).
From mid-September to mid-October, Hispanic / Latinx Heritage Month is observed, celebrating the culture and history of Spanish-speakers of either side of the ocean, in Europe and in the Americas.
This month starts off with the observances of the independence from Spain of the Central American Republics – Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica – on 15 September, and Mexico’s Independence from that colonial power on 16 September. Chile celebrates its Independence and Fiestas Patrias on 18 and 19 September.
Also during this month – on 12 October – is the former Columbus Day, observed in Spain, Italy and the Americas. Now this date has different names in recognition of the Indigenous nations that populated the Americas before the 1492 Spanish invasion: Día de la Raza (El Salvador, Uruguay), Día de las Culturas (Day of the Cultures, Costa Rica), Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance, Venezuela), Día de los Pueblos Originarios y el Diálogo Intercultural (Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue Day, Peru), and Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity, Argentina).
Synchronized Chaos’ Hispanic / Latinx Heritage Month literary feast also invites the other Latin cousins – French, Italian, Portuguese-Brazilian, Romanian, Catalan – to participate.
So, come join our party! ¡Buen provecho!
In his delightful short story “Mabel’s Library,” Fernando Sorrentino portrays the love of reading and of one’s personal book collection, in both life … and death.
In “Why (Do) White French Institutions Have a Hard Time Admitting The Impact Of Racism/Colonialism In Black Serial Killers’ Psychological Damage?: The Case of Thierry Paulin”, Victoria Kabeya asks a question that is common in this “post-colonial / post-racial” world, that [former] colonial powers proclaim – whether it be France, Spain, Portugal, Britain, the US, or …
Gabriella Garofalo’s “Blue Scenes” is a suite of poems woven with blue and so many colors of lives and their trails / travails. (Read this poem aloud – the rhythm will carry you …). In “Flames in the Wind”, Andrea Soverini captures the spirit of what is life – a perfect allegory for the upcoming Día de los Muertos.
The duality of what heals us – yet poisons us is presented in Diosa Xochiquetzalcoatl’s poem, “Café de la Olla.” Meanwhile, with his pair of poems, Roberto Rocha invites us to his barrio to witness the contradictions that are the “American Dream,” and the realities versus the stereotypes of what a Chicanx is.
With his essay “When the Stars First Came Out – Carmen & Bidu,” Josmar Lopes recounts the life and fame of two great Brazilian singers: the lovely Bidu Sayão, who is virtually unknown in the United States, and the electric Carmen Miranda, who became a Hollywood star.
In “Ballad of the Checkboard”, Ana M. Fores Tamayo asks who should be stepping back – the white or the brown-skinned, pawns in a chess game dictated by a white judge. “Fishing in the Green” is a surreal landscape of different lives / lifestyles existing parallel. “Matrimony” is a celebration of love. In “The Three Fates” / “Los Tres Destinos,” Fores Tamayo meditates on the passing of time … and life.
Despite her mother’s well-founded misgivings, Linda S. Gunther gets to see her father once again, at least for a short while. This “Rockefeller Center Reunion” is a story that is well-known by many children of divorced families.
Diana Magallón‘s trio of images portray dancelike movements across multiple dimensions – trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye), hieroglyphics, and 3-D syncopations quiver with indigenous flair. Magallón and Jeff Crouch then offer a quartet of images that dispel the smoke of “100 Días de Humo” (100 Days of Smoke).
Does dancing cause one to fall into an everlasting love? Daniel de Culla answers that question for us in his poem “El Bailaré” / “The I’ll Dance.”
* This edition was inspired by the work of Fernando Sorrentino as well as the principle of Pan-Latinidad.
He sits in the corner of
the neighborhood coffeeshop.
He's on his 5th cup.
His stained white shirt hangs from sulking limbs -
cuffs folded across ashy forearms.
His timepiece is scuffed beyond repair -
it's missing a link or two and pinching his skin.
His cracked lips are curled in a permanent smirk
and his wiry grey & brown beard has seen better days -
brighter than the pale blue pupils
dug deep behind his eyelids.
He downs his last drop of coffee,
bums a smoke from the neighboring table
and walks out the side door.
lite yellow brick
@ Kimbark & 53rd:
3-levels in the trees
levitating above the
& black tar lines ⭐
inhaling the goings-on;
a circumference of
khaki mail carts,
& urgent voices.
a symphony of
vinyl soul and
at the stop sign
* “lungta” translates to "wind horse"----
My first estate sale is a recurring memory -
one of several that seem too random to
permanently occupy my mental real estate:
Is it the quaint Ravenswood setting that refuses to abandon my inner vision?
Or is it the early-mid century architecture that predominates the city's apartment dwellings?;
Perhaps it was the immaculate arrangement of imported artifacts from the deceased's Japanese homeland.
Aesthetically, this estate sale was superior to many of the city museums and most of the galleries that I frequented at the time.
It was an intimate glimpse into a life I never knew - one that my DNA will always betray.
* “Organizing relics” is to organize the relics left by the deceased. Also known as “disposal of relics”.
- A PROPHET OF RAGE -
The tidal wave rose
to reveal a rose that arose
from the ocean floor.
Right where the eagle
plucked the serpent
from the falls of fear -
The fall of man
is the fear of ourselves -
Prophetic light at
the Islamic pulpit
revealing a man -
speaking seances against
the tidal wave rising against
beyond the midnight
of low streetlights
illuminating dice games
and dicey businesses:
In the land of Mnísota (Minnesota), the “Twin Cities” consist of the Imnížaska Othúŋwe (Saint Paul or StP) and Bdeóta Othúŋwe (Minneapolis or MPLS). These two areas are noticeably different in layout and structure. Modern MPLS, like most U S. cities, is on a grid with mostly straight and narrow streets. Modern StP, on the other hand, has a plethora of curved streets and avenues.
One day, at an Irish bar in Imnížaska Othúŋwe, I was taught the reasons for this contrast (plus the finer points of Celtic barspeak (i.e. drinking a pint of “Smithwick” (pronounced “Schmi-diks”) should be preceded by the “Slainté” salutation rather than “Cheers”). Another Irish bar taught me the ins and outs of “The Troubles” and Irish nationalism, but I digress…
It was posited that the structural difference between the Twin Cities is due to their respective ethnic histories. Saint Paul was considered “an Irish town” akin to Chicago whereas MPLS was considered “a German Town” akin to Milwaukee. It was insinuated that the Irish tend to have more cyclical thinking akin to their famed Celtic knots and that the design principles of the knots are evident throughout the urban planning of StP. In contrast, Germans are often characterized as being more linear-minded which, in theory, may have contributed to the more geometric layout of MPLS.
As a Black Chicago “native” of Celtic descent, I can relate and speak more to the former. Walking around Imnížaska Othúŋwe felt more like home to me – with its pastoral vibe and statues and architecture that seem to narrate the city’s story. One statue, in particular, portrays a priest standing in a semi-disheveled state – his pants legs are wrinkled and his shoes are worn from his tireless labor:
In Bdeóta Othúŋwe, there is a replica of the “Self Made Man” carving himself into existence from a granite block using a mallet and chisel. Surely, this feat requires concise design and execution – a single mistake could render him deformed and crippled – which speaks to the geometric precision that shaped MPLS.
My highlighting of these contrasts is not a treatise on the peoples’ character – it is an illustration of the historical evolution of their towns. Today, the Twin Cities are so diverse that ethnic generalizations are irrational. Generations of race and cultural mixing, as well as ongoing immigration and migration, have transformed Minneapolis-Saint Paul into one of North America’s unique “melting pots”:
Where else can you find ᐅᒋᑉᐧᐁ (Ojibwe), Oceti Sakowin (Sioux), Latin@s, African-Americans, Southeast Asians, East Africans, Scandinavians, Germans, Irish, etc. living (and mixing) together?
The metropolis is divided by viaducts – a disparate world where aerosol art is eroded by automobile exhaust and industrial rain puddles littered with man-made debris. Much happens beneath these viaducts – from the holy to the ungodly…
Apparitions haunt passersby whose footsteps echo tales of life, death, and all else. Rumbling trains accelerate black eroded raindrops, sending soot-coated pigeons into a frenzy – protecting their dark nests tucked deep in the crevices of this elevated underworld, their crimson eyes cry forbidden songs.
Al frequently passes through the viaduct – his preferred route from the 4th-floor room he inhabits at the Y to the Blue line train that takes him to his seemingly endless stream of appointments. Today he’s going to see his therapist who seems to derive pleasure from changing his meds after nearly every visit. Al’s short on change again, so he checks for cops then hops the turnstile, feeling a rush of triumph over the pricey fare required for the two-mile ride to Six Corners.
The only thing wobblier than the swerving train car is his trembling hand – a janky side effect of the Klonopin. It thins his hair too, so he sports a grey golf cap he got for a quarter at the Brown Elephant. However, copping donated gear is not Al’s main reason for frequenting The Elephant – it’s the cashier…
Xochil has dark, shoulder-length hair that she sometimes stuffs into an engraved clip that reads “Hecho En Męxico”. She doesn’t talk much, but her fluctuating tone fills the verbal gaps. When she speaks of the weather her voice lilts up as the sun showers or down if the rain falls. She always drives her points home with pronounced hand gestures that suggest she enjoys a good dance from time to time. Xochil says that the Brown Elephant makes her feel like she’s serving the Lord in a practical way.
After his appointment, Al takes the Blue line back east then transfers to the Brown line. He’s heading to East Lakeview for his weekly social rehabilitation group at Catholic Charities. He hopes they paint today because he loves taking his easel to the park and practice painting the big Goethe statue on Diversey. There’s something calming about the smooth, earthly texture of the metal and the giant hawk perched on the knee of the protagonist. The base of the sculpture reads, “To Goethe: The Master Mind of the German People”.
Directly across the street is the Elk’s lodge – it’s always been a mystery to Al. Much more ornate than the Goethe site, its Romanesque architecture and well-polished sculptures add to its mystique.