Welcome, readers, to September’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine. This month’s submissions invite us to consider our trajectories as individuals, social groups, or even as a species inhabiting the planet.
Some philosophers and social theorists see the development of civilization as a forward march towards greater moral and material progress. Others view how human societies develop over time in a less linear way. To them, societies take some steps forward and some backward, and sometimes make changes that are just changes, not advancements or declines. And others see societies as capable of simultaneously advancing in some areas yet declining in others.
This month’s contributors ponder where we are moving as individuals or as larger societies. Where have we come from, and where are we going?
Lorraine Caputo writes of trains in Mexico, how they can bring reunion as well as separation. Robert Thomas provides cultural commentary and observations through the lens of two different restaurant dinners, and Sandeep Kumar Mishra writes thoughtful and poetic reflections on travel, exile, loss and the complex humanity of the third world and its residents. Kahlil Crawford outlines the cultural and ethnic history of the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. Ike Boat writes of a hardscrabble up-and-coming life as an artist in urban Accra, Ghana. Poet Mary Mackey interviews Sacramento (California)’s poet laureate Indigo Moor, whose recent collection Everybody’s Jonesing for Something explores the hope, dreams, death and injustice involved with the American Dream.
Mark Young and Charlie Robert intersperse bits of history into clever poems. Mark presents fresh mechanically generated pieces starting with ‘found writing’ in literary and non-literary texts, and Charlie Robert echoes American history with scat-like chant pieces.
Dr. Thomas Fink’s poetry considers what happens when we look at organic life and impose our ideas of what progress means, while Andrew C. MacDonald writes of rural life and the passage of time.
Some philosophers posit the existence of a ‘human nature’ that includes some psychological characteristics that stay relatively stable across cultures and throughout time. To them, people and societies face perennial questions and challenges. Several of our contributors speak to tensions that have been considered part of our nature.
Binod Dawadi encourages people to choose peace and tolerance over materialism, greed, prejudice and exclusion. Henry Bladon writes of the journey of death, physical death and soul-death through harming others. Christopher Bernard’s monthly installment of his story The Ghost Trolley presents through a childhood heroic adventure a conflict between those who seek a simple and humble life and those who wish to dominate and control others. Chimezie Ihekuna’s monthly screenplay preview showcases a drama about a corrupt business manager – and those under him who must choose justice or revenge. Z.I. Mahmud, in his monthly installment of his thesis on the works of Charles Dickens, illustrates how Dickens uses literary devices to advocate for humane values in David Copperfield.
Others among our contributors also speak to questions humans face and seemingly universal aspects of the human condition, but on a more personal and individual level.
Hongri Yuan, in poems translated by Yuanbing Zhang, uses imagery to evoke our pursuit of transcendence amidst our difficult and mundane lives. Jack Galmitz speaks to how we see each other and how we might wish to be remembered. Mahbub rejoices in various forms of love as a comfort during personal or political tragedies. R.P. Verlaine sings of love lost, memory, and remonstrance. Mike Zone writes of a man who loses, or gives over, part of his humanity through love and imagination, and becomes something other than himself.
Michael Steffen’s speakers have to decide whether to step out of their comfort zones to learn and grow, while Mark Blickley presents a man who rethinks his behavior. J.J. Campbell’s short e.e. cummings-esque poetic pieces look at the dangerous and dull places our minds can go when left alone. Elizabeth Hughes reviews Vincent Hollow’s poetry collection Swan Songs of Cygnus in her monthly Book Periscope column, which draws on astronomy and cosmology as a metaphor for the emotional journey of love and grief.
Sushant Kumar celebrates the hard work and devotion of mothers. As he reminds us, we all have someone who birthed and who raised us, we all come from somewhere.