Synchronized Chaos September 2021: ing and Going

Public domain photo from Linnaea Mallette

Wele, 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 e from, and where are we going?

Public domain image from Anna Langova

Lorraine Caputo writes of trains in Mexico, how they can bring reunion as well as separation. Robert Thomas provides cultural mentary 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 plex 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-ing 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.

Public domain image from George Hodan

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.

Public domain image from Kevin Phillips

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 fort 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 bees something other than himself.

Michael Steffen’s speakers have to decide whether to step out of their fort 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 e from somewhere.

Poet and author Mary Mackey interviews Sacramento poet laureate Indigo Moor

Indigo Moor’s poetry collection Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something

Poet Laureate Emeritus of Sacramento, Indigo Moor’s fourth book of poetry Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something, took second place in the University of Nebraska Press’ Backwater Prize. Jonesin’ is a multi-genre work consisting of poetry, flash fiction, memoir, and stage plays. His second book, Through the Stonecutter’s Window, won Northwestern University Press’s Cave Canem prize. His first and third books, Tap-Root and In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers, were both parts of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series. Indigo is an adjunct professor at Dominican University and visiting faculty for Dominican’s MFA program, teaching poetry and short fiction. He is also co-coordinator for Open Page Writers.

Mary: Wele to Synchronized Chaos Magazine, Indigo. Let’s cut to the chase: How did you bee a poet?

Indigo: I don’t know. By birth? Circumstance? My entire life, I sought explanations, keys to what I saw around me. That’s all any artist is: someone who can’t be satisfied with leaving the rock unturned. In that sense, I have always been an artist of some kind. If you are asking when I became a practicing poet, it was 1999. What should I call that, my Prince year? I was in Cambridge, MA, trying to figure out who I was. I discovered Paul Robeson. I discovered Othello. I discovered that poetry was not only something I did; it was who I am. I made a conscious decision to dedicate a significant amount of my life to bending toward the written word. Or bending it to me.

Mary: How old were you when you wrote your first poem, and what was it about?

Indigo: As a kid, in school. Even then I knew it meant more to me than it did to many of my friends or classmates. I hungered for it. It was an awakening. But there was no avenue to get me closer. No shortcuts. No mentors. I had other paths to follow. I wrote a lot of bad poems as a child. I remember snippets of some, but nothing that could give me a glimpse of any of them.

Mary: What poets and writers have influenced you?

Indigo: Yusef Komunyakaa was the first to speak to me. He is Southern, a veteran, someone who worked through himself to rewrite the world he knew. “Blackberries” and “Believing in Iron” e to mind. Dien Cai Dau, his book about Vietnam was my introduction to arc. Jean Toomer was next. He went back to the South to write Cane, again the theme of discovering yourself. I like many poets and I read widely. But I gravitate to poets who write themselves into being.

Mary: What events in your life or in society as a whole have influenced you? For example: You are a twice-decorated Gulf War Veteran, a playwright, a Professor at Dominican University, and an Integrated Circuit Layout Designer. Do you incorporate all these experiences into your poetry?

Indigo: I have been working on a memoir, so the different parts of my life are ing together. I would say nicely, but anyone who has written a memoir knows better. Layout designer has never been something that has reached my creative side. I am often asked if there is an overlap. Not that I have noticed. There is no poetry in engineering. But the person who writes poetry can be the same person who is an engineer. And a veteran. A professor. And a person who wears bunny slippers. It all influences me. But I choose what I write about. I am relearning who I was and what I went through during Desert Storm. And as a child. It is all ing together, but not as several rivers converging. More like a dozen different flowers growing in the same planter. Some thrive and have purpose. Some are support, even dying to enrich the soil. Some having no effect, other than preventing a nothingness. That is not entirely fair. There are some things that I thought were dead, that have resurfaced as meaningful events. And others I may never uncover.

Mary: How do you get the initial idea for a poem?

Indigo: It’s usually an image. My work is very imagistic. A new phrase can do so much. Today I heard: “Avoiding the Wagon.” When I found out the wagon in question was something that takes away a dead horse it began a train that will end in a poem. I spent time on a horse farm. It is one of the most life-affirming events of my life. And the idea of this wagon ing still chills me.

Mary: You are a poet who “weaves together historic truths.” How do the poems in your new book Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something demonstrate this?

Indigo: History does not represent the past. Not to me. Taken as an “event,” anything can be glossed over, any moment. What I strive to find is the emotional event, the moment on one person’s life that history changes. A person decides to shoot up a church. As they sit in the car, what is going through their mind? A farmer hears of Trayvon Martin, how does it affect them? A woman receives a saxophone from her estranged mother. A painter tries to undo the Twin Towers falling on his canvas. History is only history when we forget it is more than a factoid. When we refuse to hold it in us, keeping it at arm’s length.

Mary: How has your poetry changed over the years?

Indigo: I believe my poetry changes as I do. As my lens focuses on different aspects of the world, so does my poetry. How I write changes because I learn different techniques. Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something contains poetry, prose poems, flash fiction, flash memoir (did I make that up?), and stage plays. The entire book is one interlocking poem about the danger and draw of the American dream. Ten years ago, none of these poems, nor the concept of the book would have made sense to me.

Mary: Tell us more about Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something.

Indigo: I wrote Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something to explore my own understanding of the American Dream, which cannot be defined. We are all the heroes of our own stories. The American dream distorts depending on where the desire is spawned. The book is multi-genre because not all desires are best represented in poems.

Bethany Humphries, Editor-in-Chief of the American River Review said, “[Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something is] no white-washed children’s textbook treatment of U.S. history. . . . It requires the reader to witness the offender’s hand reaching up Lady Liberty’s coppery skirt, to both confront abusers, and to empathize with a litany of memorable victims and survivors. . . . Utilizing a stunning variety of forms to explore a myriad of facets of human desire, from floating tercets to prose to dialogue-heavy scripts to a poetic table of historical footnotes, Indigo Moor delivers unforgettable images like chains ‘hanging like man-o-war tendrils, / like a trembling curtain of almost lynchings.’ There may be times you want to look away, but there are many moments you will want to return to, again and again.”

Mary:  What are the three most important poems in Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something? Why?

Indigo: There is never an answer to that question. Different poems have different meanings at different times, even to me. “Love Letter to Dr. Ford, from the Patriarchy” gave me a chance to step into the shoes of an institution I detest. To look atrocities as necessary to the survival of an America I am forced to walk through. The play “Catching a Cotton Ball” follows a couple at odds with each other as well as the country that doesn’t accept them. Veterans of Foreign War’s is more personal, pertaining to my own brother and how losing him is an everyday emotionally charged event. I like the range of these three pieces. Such different forms. Different agendas.

Mary: You were the Poet Laureate of Sacramento from 2017 to 2019. How has your involvement in the Sacramento literary munity influenced your work?

Indigo: I don’t know if working with any organization influences my work. There are some fractured, but necessary groups in this region. Sacramento Poetry Center has been a stalwart in this munity. I think what I am reminded of is that the munity and serving the people is what matters.

Mary: If you could ensure that one of your poems would survive to be read 500 years from now, which poem would it be, and why have you chosen it?

Indigo: Yes, I can choose a poem, but only because it means something to me. “Metal: The Tow Truck Driver’s Lament,” from Tap-Root. It was the first poem where I tackled who I believed I was at the time. I think poems are asymptotic to the truth, at best. It speaks to stress and pressure, the belief of being alone in handling far too much. Of the hard road of the past and steam building. It worked for me. Perhaps a little too long to read. But certainly, a cathartic piece.

Mary: Thank you, Indigo. This has been fascinating. Do you have any uping readings or classes? How can people get in touch with you?

Indigo: Thank you, Mary. I’ll give you some contact information and you can post it at the end of this interview.

Contact Information for Indigo Moor and links to his writing:
Website: https://www.indigomoor.org
Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something: To Order
For appearances: Workshops and Readings: https://www.indigomoor.org/appearances
Read Indigo Moor’s essay on how he became a poet: “A Long Overdue Apology” (part of the Marsh Hawk Press Chapter One Series)
And read “A Riotous Anodyne,” his brilliant open letter to the City of Sacramento on the occasion of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

Poet Indigo Moor

Essay from Ike Boat

Life In Greater Accra.

LIGA Series1 By Ike Boat

Photo of the city of Accra, Ghana, from Ike Boat

The LIGA Series describes real-life story of a creative artiste ‘Ike Boat’ and what have been his battles, challenges and struggles in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, West Africa. He conceived the idea to write this ‘Arti-Blog’ based on what he narrates as being a bane of joblessness, homelessness and sleeplessness in this part of Ghana, as he’s been a stranger to natives of the munities where he finds himself – Author : Dennis Mann

In this Series 1 of LIGA he writes about his decision to be in Accra and how life is treating him on daily basis and how he’s coping else facing such harsh conditions as realities, beside the issues of making a living.

LIGA 1

LIGA – Quite such an interesting similarity of the abbreviation or acronym, thus LIGA with regard to the Spanish football premier league dubbed La Liga or the German premier League Bundes-Liga. Well this real-life story as article-blog is not in any-way or means associated or connected with the Spanish soccer i.e.(sport) association, institution or organization in Spain. But on the contrary, it’s exact reflection of acronym used as title of this real-life personal story with regard to happenings to me in Greater Accra region as I made both bold and faith oriented move here a couple of months ago. Whether it’s step in a right direction or not, this really unfolds some aspects of daily life as a bitter-pill to swallow, beside pukes or problems and challenges in this capital city of Accra, Ghana. (West Africa).

Life In Greater Accra (LIGA) the capital of Ghana has generally not been easy with me at all even as I try to be positively busy every day. Unimaginably, I have been trying harder and harder from actual to virtual mediums or mean to ensure that the talents, skills and abilities bee useful to individuals and panies I establish contact with but it like throwing punches in the air. However, there have been no positive results or responses. Countless number of employment applications to media panies and individual employers but all seem Cos-90 move. I presume of the reasons being rich achievements on Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume, so some panies or business owners think it difficult to agree on particular payment satisfaction. More-so, another application view or presumption is such that some human resource personnel or highly positioned staff members feel unfortably they’ll lose their role or position when accepted into the establishment based on multi-skills or talents I possess.  Obviously, there have been hectic and realistic times trying harder with heart of hope and faith to in relation to every-day perseverance in ensuring breakthrough success and progress in the Arts industry. To be precise, as far as the God-given talents, gifts and skills coupled with prospects and potentials of daily hustle and bustle are concerned in this cosmopolitan city of Ghana, West Africa. Factually, the struggles and sufferings have nothing to do with being lazy or act of laziness as a chap with positive dreams, realistic ambitions and holistic aspirations to make life bearable before departure from this earth. Of course, being in Accra has been a long time heart-yearn during my teen-aging years back in Takoradi, where I born and grew up.

         On 19th March,2021 I arrived in Accra from Kasoa precisely the perching residence at Estate Top and Blue Top Estate respectively, thus in house owned by the former International footballer in the personality of Mr.Owusu Afriyie currently based in Deutschland (Germany). The first move was primarily as a result of an invitation to feature as guest on Awake TV program dubbed Pillow Talk hosted by Lady Sherry Nyarko. Graciously, I had generous fund support from a noble figure outside of Ghana as a means of sponsorship for the transportation and acmodation. Indeed, it’s aided the fare and lodging at Mavis Hotel as I did several munications with the management and leadership in charge of this hospitality firm within Asylum Down suburb of Accra. Well, on the aftermath I engaged in thought-processing creative writing in terms of Blog and Vlog 233 Concept for online publication purposes.

         Of course, ups and downs of this LIGA also bring to bear realistic characters of some people being ungenerous in heart even if a person is on the verge of death due to certain harsh human conditions. A clear case study, of personally approaching a man who has stayed in Britain for years (expatriate) in times of dire need to eat and him turning me down with sheer ignorance even though everything show he’s able to provide as little as five (5) Cedis to buy food. It’s quite unconvincing and unbelievable his reason for refusing to show sense of generosity as I called on him at his residence in Asylum Down area of Accra. However, on one occasion I received a good surprise of fifty (50) banknote courtesy madam Harriet Quardey, the boss-lady, owner and prime operator of Mum’s Corner pub, where I have been MC a couple of times. Undoubtedly, it was one hunger day like a stranger who’s uninvited to her house and needed food to survive.  Well, one evening whilst walking on the newly tarred road I came across two (2) Cedis wrinkled banknote on the floor and mine oh, mine oh, it’s time of singing praises of hallelujah choruses unto God as I had nothing to eat the next morning.

         Lo, from one lodging place to another I have been dislodged and slept at unusual wrong areas suffering the night bites of wanton mosquitoes with unfortable restlessness leading to state of insomnia. For weeks, I have been sleeping at the wooden structure drinking bar of St. Sam Hotel here at Asylum Down in Accra. Factually, borrowing and owing as a promising artistic talent makes curious minds and conscious masses think differently about supposed star fellow in this infotainment age of technological advancement. e to think of behind the scenes mock by some in secrecy!

Your guess is as good as mine, oh mine, oh mine – LIGA! There have been countless times of being at food selling joint without money to buy food and quite shamefully begging and pleading to get food and pay-back later. Oh, gosh, hmm – LIGA! The unpredictable times at kenkey and fried-fish with grind pepper selling joint, porridge with sugar and bread selling joint, fried-rice and chicken selling joint, just to mention but a few. Having said this, chef Peter Agombire and assistant Isaac Adobo have consistently contributed to aid my hunger condition as I continue to find lasting solution to such a bane of LIGA. Lest I forget, the one-on-one deep-life conversations with Madam Anna Cole coupled with her rollicking circular designed rice and stew with cooked egg offer at her family residence in Tabora, also remains unforgettable thus in relation to appreciation with grateful heart of gratitude in this LIGA Series.

         Reader, better-still I really don’t take for granted or refuse to express heart of gratitude the supportive manner and care of Mr.Harrison Nii Quaye the professional Real Estate agent (Realtor), who has bought food for me and given to me on several occasion, especially in my critical low moment of being so hard-up and broke, beside hungry in angry times like hum-ani i.e.(human-animal) figure on unfamiliar habitat. At times, escorting him to places such as Achimota, Osu, Labadi, Nima , James Town and other suburbs of Accra onboard a car he drives also has exposed and taught me lots of things about different areas with different arrays of life-style in relation to culture and livelihood as far as this LIGA is concerned. It also needful to mention as appreciable recognition of Mr. Earl Mantey, the Programs Manager of Happy 98.9 FM and Mr. Francis Cann (Dr.Cann) Presenter of Happy 98.9 FM as they have also contributed generously by way of buying food for me and giving token of money at certain point to aid the LIGA hardships. I’m so grateful as well for the media related interactions with them being staff of Global Media Alliance – GMA brand.

         In narrating LIGA, the sob-story of an Italian old-man who passed away at Mavis Hotel also brings about gracious nature of God’s gift of life to us in this part of Africa, Ghana to be precise. Well, one may wonder and ask why didn’t he kick the bucket at his homeland, Italy?  I remember, him dying on same room and bed that I acmodated my first week in Accra and I together with other three men carrying his lifeless body to a police car to the morgue/mortuary. It also reveals how and why as humans we need to thank God on daily basis. Pathetically, this man by first name Andrea in his fifties slept and didn’t wake-up again. And, it’s unknown to none of us at the hotel for days and by the time we realized his body on verge of decay in the room, thus same bed I slept on for days. Of course, together with Mr. Harrison Nii Quaye and Mr. Emmanuel Annan it’s to and fro at the Adabraka Police Station in Accra. Indeed, making realistic report of such death-case in this CoViD-19 times and brought about further investigations. Hmmm, it’s another solemn LIGA moment!

???????? Indeed, Life In Greater Accra (LIGA) without stating the following VIPs as worthwhile recognition of gratefulness towards their continuous Mo-Mo Support remains inplete in this Series 1. Thus, notable acknowledgment of appreciation to Mr. Kenneth Anim, Mr. Dennis Agyeman and Mr. Agabus Asmah all have continually given to my state of uncertainties in coping with LIGA coupled with the Acmodation bane. Also, some distinguished International figures that have helped to cope financially with regard to LIGA includes: Mr. Andy Estrada #Dad & Mrs. Julie Estrada #Mom in USA, Madam Aja Pugh in USA, Minstrel Stella Addo in USA,Madam Dagmar Erb in Germany, Madam Lilian Aduka in Nigeria and Madam S.B Jabini in the Netherlands.

To Be Continued In LIGA Series 2 !

Real-Life Art-Blog Written By Ike Boat @ Asylum Down, Accra (Ghana).

Email Address: ikeboatofficial@gmail.

Whats-App Number: +233267117700

Direct-Call Number: +233552477676

Poetry from Henry Bladon

Your Hands Have Blood on Them

From: The Bird of Paradise (RD Laing – 1967)

Men can destroy the humanity of others,

remember your hands have blood on them

you’ve been told as much

that will corrupt you and destroy you

with unadulterated passion.

How do you plug a void?

Just don’t ask for trouble

remember your place in the hierarchy

and that last desperate clutch.

Do not despair – the soul dies before the body.

Thanatophobia

When the writer from Rio

lost his treasured notebook

his head started to feel

like a blood-filled bath.

It wasn’t the loss of shopping list

or the plot for his next novel

that most preoccupied the mind,

just the writerly thought about the

paper-based metaphor for death.


Henry is a writer, poet and mental health essayist based in Somerset in the UK. He has a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Birmingham. He is the author of several poetry collections and his work can be seen in Pure Slush, Lunate, and Synchronized Chaos, among other places.

Short story from Mike Zone

Snow Crash

By Mike Zone

Months ago before all this began during the harsh winter storm that brought down frozen tears in well maintained suburban houses and somber smiles of a fierce yet humbled resilience which crumbled into a just as fierce breaking and an anxiety of a crippling nature behind the closed doors of the homestead. Barry Klatt sat by the window of in his reading chair dressed especially dashing in tweed green slacks with a brown sweater over a cream dress shirt, hoping a car would crash into a tree, that maybe there would be a lone survivor, preferably a pretty woman with an unblemished face with no recollection of who she was before the accident.

HE WOULD NURSE HER BACK TO HEALTH.

They would fall in love or at the most dismal grow to a romantic carnal affection.

There would be mutual moist kisses and permissive penetration of any God given orifice but first he had to dress to impress and make sure to take photographs to document what a gentlemen he was never to lay hand upon her until a sweet declaration of love.

What if the survivor, were a child?

If it was a female nearing puberty he could care for her like a daughter, raise her into womanhood and a share natural matrimony as she grew to age.

What if it were a male of any age?

Let them burn.

He’d even pour gasoline onto the car and produce a match if needed.

He preferred blondes.

Gentlemen preferred blondes. Ergo, he was a gentlemen.

He selected a book from his secondhand cornflower blue bookcase. A paperback of Japanese death poems though he considered by Charlotte Bronte, he didn’t want to hammer away at a pletely implausible simulation. He was the scholarly type who just happened to be a man’s man of the heart with the soul of a poet but didn’t want to venture into type of terrain where he would start questioning himself again.

FIRE IN THE SKY.

A meteor shower was forecasted on the weather channel. He wished upon multiple falling stars. There was a minor tremor and crunching thud, heard moments ago.

Barry Klatt sat in his chair, reading the same poem after half a dozen times or so waiting for his bruised and bloody celestial angel.

Freshly shaved, pink pletely shaved bullet shaped head and horn-rimmed glasses with a barely self-contained smile across his lips, slightly tasting the hair from his sandy goatee. Barry’s mind wandered into a sensation of uneasy serenity dwelling in a cave with a monk finding enlightenment envisioning cherry blossoms falling to the ground but only for a moment when a sudden knock at the door broke his trance.

He casually put his book down and cleared his throat as his hand clasped the knob of the door. He had to brace himself for what would follow, whoever it may be…

And just like that a Hollywood wet dream came true, like Hitchcock’s Vertigo or a Harryhausen spectacular like Earth vs. Flying Saucers…you know one of the good ones?

SHE stood at the door, trembling with a dazed incredulous look on her face. Eyes as wide as flying saucers, seemingly dizzy with a heavy case of vertigo, she gasped and fell into his arms.

A FRENCH BLONDE WITH PROMINENT CHEEK BONES. EYES ROUND AS ALMONDS.

Klatt could barely contain his raging boner as the heaving bosom beneath the open ski jacket pressed against his belly and golden locks with red droplets, smoke and scorched metal scented flooded his nostrils and invaded his optic nerves causing a nervous organic jolt throughout his body.

Was it electrical or was it something more otherworldly like ghostly tentacles not quite intangible stroking his atoms trying to rip him apart like amputee haunted by phantom limbs?

He desperately prayed, she did not remember who she was or where she had had after the great awakening. Should he just her place on the couch outstretched, prepare a meal and wait or was it capable of manifesting itself into a dire panic-stricken situation which would require duct tape over the mouth and the emergency shackles placed near the bed with silky pajamas down in basement?

Klatt didn’t think of himself as a monster, but some monsters had good ideas and he was acting with most noble intentions, so how could he even be considered a monster when he was merely following the path of a preordained divine love?

HE WOULD LAY HER ON THE COUCH.

If she woke up screaming?

How could she? He was about to make a big heaping bowl of mashed potatoes with chives. It would rest near her steaming and if screams were to be uttered and stuff so full of buttery carbs, she’d fall asleep full content and satisfied…after initial terror and despair from the unknown.

He removed the jacket and her trendy boots, setting her on the side with her facing him. Let her find something plain, soft and calming if she were to arise from her disoriented state, it may settle her mind allowing the brain to percolate a bit before going off the rails in an alarming fashion.

Also hanging above the couch was a gold print by Georgia O’Keefe, who could lose all rational posure when taking in the stunning visual of an all-enpassing desert flower?

            When things used to go awry with your grandfather Barry, I’d just close my eyes, tip my head back and picture flowers blooming… his mother would often say, staring off into a place where she seemed to believe space existed but all there was, was a wall painted cornflower blue.

Klatt couldn’t help but admire her classic hourglass shape and almost aged out classic movie star unintentionally seductively cascading hair as he looked over the island of his cramp checkerboard floored kitchen.

            “Is this love?” he wondered aloud, imagining a sense of tranquility in a blank slate mind alongside the impact of Cupid’s arrow as he grabbed the whisk along with his bone white mixing bowl transfixed by a sky seemingly littered with falling stars among the reign of thousands of snowflakes.

THEN IT HAPPENED…

As soon as Klatt jubilantly slammed a sack of red skin potatoes on the counter, flaming white heat crashed into blinding white snow and mesmerized by the sound of silence and what should have been blind light, Barry soon found himself out in his backyard, snow half way to his knees, not thinking about wet socks and the warped leather of loafers, trudging almost instinctively toward steaming snow melted crater, finding a shimmery silver sparkling albino octopi , weakening tentacles flailing about searching for even the dimmest hope of survival.

Klatt immediately took the creature and cradled it carefully in his arms, not dismayed but confused as to why he was taking such an action with self-inquiry. Did love really have the ability to bestow such courage?

Sometimes sentinels are sent to die… His heart seemed to sing the statement in mind through the rhythm of life sustaining thumping.

He washed the extraterrestrial cephalopod in the sink with tepid water. It was limp. He waited a few moments.

Would chunks of intergalactic octopi of a standard nature be wele in these spuds he would mash for his lady love?

The stable butcher knife in his trembling hand didn’t answer his question as he drove the blade into the creature’s head and swiftly split it down the middle, as a milky liquid spewed forth running down his hand being absorbed into his pores as he drove his free hand into the octopi’s head crushing some sort of pulsating organ into its palm.

On the other hand, sentinels resting between the borders between entropy and infinity have a much better grasp on how the universe works and if there just happens to be a tear in the fabric of being in time and new worlds open, isn’t it time for a bit of trans-dimensional perusal and genetic acclimation for exploration? Moaned Klatt’s veins being cleaned out by piano wire.

Something starting breaking and snapping inside Klatt as his knees shattered and organs slide up his chest, a cold thrust rushing up an out of his mouth immediately being caught in a deluge of black celestial charged ink projected from the octopus in the sink, as it lay dying, yellow eyes wide open locking onto Klatt’s own ocular orbs.

The duo’s pupils dilating, filling the eyes eclipsing blues and yellows, liquifying and emulating the alien ink being spurted about the room, each one seeing and experiencing what the other had in each his respective world…

Klatt could taste the color of music emanating from stars long burnt out, a kaleidoscopic spectrum of swirls and rays containing white heat hazes normally perceived by three dimensional receiving creatures as universal dark void but nothing as it seems as the void is a reflection of infinite potential the source of universal chaos and genesis entropy. Tentacles suctioned to the energy of time and space, tearing it asunder to explore new worlds outside their own realms causing ever more variances subverting the nature of time and reality itself…could universes branch out and eventually stretch to a breaking point where all of us and everything could exist at once never really being full living beings but a mass entity of existence growing on a tree being devoured by these beauty sleek, silver lined creatures with yellow star shining eyes who could pick a random body, form it to its needs akin to terraforming and implant its consciousness within, so it live through an eternity?

Klatt saws worlds die and be born in intergalactic fire and rain, wondering if this is how he was meant to die without feeling self-satisfied individualized romantic love…

KROMM STARTED TO BREATHE THROUGH THE VARIOUS ORFICES OF KLATT….

The octopi was essentially what would be considered a point for his people. He slung himself into Barry Klatt’s mouth, gradually shoving himself inside.

 Words entered Klatt’s mind, at first booms as they faded away with what he felt was his existence.

            You yourself will never know how you were meant to live and die, Barry Klatt except for what befalls your Terran mind and body in these moments. Part of your mind shall survive as will your body but you as an entity shall not. I shall retain how little you’ve lived along with certain characteristics which gradually erode along with the memories your mind has recorded. I wish you well in a place you shall never journey to for the existence of a world outside life has alluded us for tens of thousands of epochs. Probability is an objective god of a neutral source and you shall find no mercy as trillions of creatures born to die in various natures have not.

 There was an explosion of ink, blood and human male organs splattered on the wall.

Something crawled toward the couch where a beautiful slightly bruised woman rustled around in her sleep. The creature that was not yet fully Kromm yet inpletely Barry Klatt gazed down at her as it stroked its newly sprouting sixth tentacle, eagerly awaiting the other two, secreting something between ink and saliva as it reached a tentacle to stroke majestically golden hair.

Would it eat her?

Love her?

Essay from Kahlil Crawford

WHITE EARTH REFLECTION

In the land of Mnísota (Minnesota), the “Twin Cities” consist of the Imní?aska Othú?we (Saint Paul or StP) and Bdeóta Othú?we (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 Imní?aska Othú?we, 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 Imní?aska Othú?we 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:

Archbishop John Ireland, a native of Contae Chill Chainnigh in éirinn (County County Kilkenny, Ireland) developed much of modern (not contemporary) Saint Paul. In the wake of the 1862 Sioux Uprising, he founded the Irish Catholic Colonization Association which settled over 4,000 Irish Catholic immigrant families on 400,000 acres of farmland in Mnísota. (Photo Credit: Jon Platek)

In Bdeóta Othú?we, 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.

(Photo source: Reddit)

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 ????? (Ojibwe), Oceti Sakowin (Sioux), Latin@s, African-Americans, Southeast Asians, East Africans, Scandinavians, Germans, Irish, etc. living (and mixing) together?

Poetry from Charlie Robert

 There’s an Addict in the House
 ?
 There’s an Addict in the House and they’re
 Cracking Down all over town.
 We have programmed him to report at First Light but 
 Confidence is running low.
 Hey Man!
 Given the opportunity he will ruin our scene.
 Somewhere his ancestral home still stands.
 Let’s stash him there.
 In the place where the wind es up from the Lake.
 Where Elders drive by and Mourners high-five.
 Where resolutions are covered in cellophane.
 Cold in a bowl.
 What will happen to him is anyone’s guess.
 Caesar felt the first knife and thought it was the last.
 ?
 ?
 The Funcle
 ?
 I like hanging with the Funcle.
 He knows the waitress from Woolworth’s and can
 Charm her at Will.
 On cue he gets cheese with his pie.
 Someday soon he will cup her breasts.
 His brothers are evil.
 The women they date are 
 Shiny and Pink.
 Someday soon they will win First Prize.
 ?
 I like hanging with the Funcle.
 Once we caught a pickerel the length of a gar.
 Its bony teeth bit phantom steel and we
 Smashed its Head on the State Line Bridge.
 His brothers are virtuous and
 Join the Choir.
 Their signs light up the dark.
 Who was it that told them The End Is Near?
 ?
 I like hanging with the Funcle.
 He’s writing a poem called Saxophone Heaven and
 Posting a Selfie when the Big Hand hits Twelve.
 His brothers have delusions of adequacy.
 Their history bleeds out whenever it can.
 ?
 ?
 Epiphany
 ?
 Razor Sharp.
 In their Clarence Darrow clothes.
 Guilty was their game.
 Turn and Fire on the Count of One.
 Did you do it?
 No.
 Are you certain?
 No.
 Darkness at dawn.
 The cell is as hot as the Devil’s Coat.
 Down the hall.
 Old Sparky.
 Licking his chops.
 Hissing. 
 Throbbing with Juice.
 Did you do it?
 Yes.
 Are you certain.
 Yes.
 I roll up my mattress.
 Wait for the tray.
 Eggs.
 In the shape of a noose.
 A turd on the edge of the plate. ?
 ?
 ?
 Take That mie Shrimp Dick
 ?
 Beans in the Bunker.
 Back on the Menu.
 Mambo Sweet Papi.
 Havana Cigar.
 We’re Deep Underground.
 We’ll never Be Found.
 Take That!
 mie Shrimp Dick. 
 Both Bobby and Jack.
 Love Marilyn Monroe.
 It’s Time to Attack.
 Get On with The Show.
 Whose Rockets are Hard?
 Who’s Let Down their Guard?
 Take That!
 mie Shrimp Dick.
 Back in the Bunker.
 Havana Cigar.
 Your Bomb was a Clunker.
 Didn’t even Make Par.
 There’s Lice in your Beard.
 Top Secret.
 We’re Cleared.
 Take That!
 mie Shrimp Dick. ?
 ?
 ?
 Check Please
 ?
 Front Door.
 It’s locked.
 It’s locked.
 I think.
 It’s locked.
 Knock Knock.
 We’re in 
 The Pink.
 The Lights.
 Bark Bark.
 They’re on.
 They’re off.
 They’re on. 
 King Kong. 
 The Lights.
 Ping Pong.
 The Stove.
 Dear Friend.
 We’re at 
 The End.
 It’s on.
 It’s off.
 Let’s check.
 Zoloft.
 ?
 Metal.
 ?
 Ticking.
 ?
 Heat.
 ?
 Cherry Red.
 ?
 They’ll find me in the morning.
 ?
 Gripped in pain they will wonder.

Charlie Robert is a writer and poet living in Silicon Valley. His work is Punchy. Stark. Peopled with characters heroically flawed. Addicts and Taoists. Heidis and Hitlers. Beasts. Caged and uncaged. He has been published in various Literary Journals / Small Press Anthologies including Milk and Cake Press, Iconoclast, NOMADartx, Rat’s Ass Review, The Rye Whiskey Review, Synchronized Chaos, Sacred Chickens, Orchards Poetry Journal, Pikers Press, and is forthing in others. Find him at: https://www.charlierobert.com/