Synchronized Chaos December 2019: Imagination And Experience

Happy holidays! Whatever you celebrate, we wish you a warm and pleasant time that will nourish and enliven your spirit.

This month’s theme is Imagination and Experience.

Fantasy Book Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

Our returning Bangladeshi poet Mahbub’s new set of pieces highlight flights of fancy related to creativity and romantic love.

Norman J. Olson, who hails from Minnesota, shares another travelogue, this time with vignettes of Malaysia and Australia and an acpanying photo spread. As Ibn Battuta said, ‘First travel leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller.’

Iraqi-born Canadian author Ahmad Al-Khatat revels in imaginative fancy nearly as much as Mahbub, although acknowledging the power of painful memories to inspire grief and withdrawal from the world.

Ohio native J.J. Campbell’s protagonists pare ways to escape reality, or sometimes take pride in facing it.

Nigerian writer Chimezie Ihekuna’s latest relationship advice essay encourages us to make carefully considered decisions about marriage and divorce. Rather than getting swept up in infatuation or petty grievances, think through everything you do clearly in light of reality.

Imagination can guide us to better understand reality

In San Francisco Bay Area book reviewer Elizabeth Hughes’ monthly Book Periscope column, she reviews Peggy Wheeler’s novel The Raven’s Daughter, where the highly rational protagonist learns to embrace the knowledge that es from her dreams.

Sometimes experiences and objects can be gateways that inspire us towards deeper, more abstract musings.

American/Canadian dual-citizen author Michael Lee Johnston’s pieces convey atmosphere through capturing time and place. We glimpse young couples in cheap diners, New Orleans’ after- dark population, and a cracker jack box, through which we reflect on memories, aging, and the passage of time.

Brian Rihlmann’s protagonists speculate on the potential, even if inscrutable, life lessons they can ascertain from getting stuck behind logging trucks, playing Pac-Man, or their own appearance after serious partying.

Imagination can help us cope with reality

South African writer Abigail George remembers the fort she found in the small rituals at a psychiatric hospital where she received help. While there, she also took refuge in books and in our human literary heritage.

Caution on our use of imagination: There can be gaps between how nature works and how people think, and maybe nature and evolution have better ideas than our imagination.

Mark Young’s poems mind the gap between human engineering (design by mittee) and natural evolution, as well as between official language and truth.

Oregon writer Doug Hawley offers up a satirical take on how we package and sell memoir, how we make personal journeys appealing to a mass market.

Imagination can make life more pleasant

Reviewed by Ronald Primeau, Carol Smallwood’s new poetry collection Patterns: Moments In Time illuminates ordinary things, after Wordsworth, in an ‘unusual aspect,’ making them more lovely and intriguing.

From spiralsofjoy

Our social and ecological ‘imagination.’ What kind of society could we have, who could we possibly include?

Jaylan Salah, from Alexandria, Egypt, analyzes Nicholas Winding Refn’s film Drive and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin through the lenses of race and gender. Who do we embrace and include in our concept of humanity? What factors underly our own experiences, and how would our lives differ if our race or gender changed?

From Albuquerque, PW Covington’s poems explore gender through power exchange in relationships and our relationship to the natural world by remembering the cycles of seasons and how ultimately, nature and geology are humanity’s ‘landlords’ and ‘border guards.’ We should be thankful for the privilege to pass freely.

Portuguese author and artist Daniel DeCulla contributes a gentle environmental poem with a serious message about living with, rather than harming, animals.

Ike Boateng, radio broadcaster from Ghana, poetizes about Christmas as a public civic celebration of joy and unity as well as a faith-centered holiday.

Speaking of Christmas, one of our regular contributors, Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben) has released a new book for the holiday season, entitled Christmas Time!

Mr. Ben’s Christmas Time!

It’s a collection of short stories related to the holiday season, available from Pen It! Publications.

From the book’s website: Christmas Time! Is a collection of short stories that reflect the mood of the season—Christmas—as it affects the lives of people who appreciate it’s worth.  A story collection related to children and  young adults, it mirrors the ordeals people go through to observe the yuletide and reflects  the courage they summon and the inspiration and encouragement they receive in order to celebrate the season in merriment.

Poetry from J.J. Campbell

Author J.J. Campbell
Author J.J. Campbell
thunderstorms this weekend?
yet another chance of snow tonight?
and then thunderstorms
this weekend?
the typical weather here in ohio?
wait ten minutes?and then be pissed off
yet again

the best medicine?
they say laughter
is the best medicine?
they obviously have
never drank a bottle
of whiskey while
taking morphine

misery and tears?
near the end of my grandmother’s life,
she looked like willie nelson?
she couldn’t play the guitar worth a shit
and certainly didn’t have willie’s weed?
but she did have his whiskers?
by this time, her mind was fucking gone?
she was reliving her childhood
in the hills of kentucky?
through the depression and wars
and eighty some years of mostly
misery and tears?
she certainly could have used
the weed

too much of an asshole?
positive thinking
never worked for me?
i’m too much of a realist
too much of an asshole
to think i am well
or the world is a better place?
i figure my father
never said he loved me?
and i have passed that gift to the world?
these cycles tend to never end

souls better than ours
another night
where the gin tastes as good as your legs
look in that black dress?
we’ll dance the night away
under a neon moon?pass
back memories of the lives
we have finally left
behind?by morning?we’ll be miles down
a road meant for souls better than ours?
but we’ve cobbled
together yet another
chance to find the love that has kept
us running for years now?may the bliss
of what could be save us before death
finally knocks down the door

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) was raised by wolves yet managed to graduate high school with honors. He’s been widely published over the last 25 years, most recently at Heroin Love Songs v2.0, Horror Sleaze Trash, Cajun Mutt Press, Rusty Truck and The Rye Whiskey Review. you can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.)

Essay from Jaylan Salah

Children of the Long Nights

Of Humans and Hybrids: Drive and Under the Skin

In a way, Drive is a very feminine movie. Feminist is actually more masculine than what masculine is. Feminism is much more interesting.

Nicholas Winding Refn

What does it take to be considered human?

In a film like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the ultimate question of what it takes to be considered human is asked. No answer is provided but according to the film’s ending; to be human is to exist as a citizen of the patriarchal system, understanding what the role expects of the individual; a cis, White, man with a female tagalong who was once an independent hybrid but now a pliant, passionate ally of the patriarchy.

When I first saw Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Drive” a masterpiece of a film about a character on the margins of society, a male whose sole purpose in life is to drive the streets of Los Angeles where he could blend with the surroundings, wearing the definition of cool in the form of a jacket with a scorpion imprint and impersonating the Hollywood antihero who rarely speaks his mind; I realized that feminist films do not necessarily have to be about a female main protagonist. Women in this film e into the male-dominated universe not as candy-wrapped fantasies only for the males to wrap/unwrap, but they exist in their own mini-verses through carefully structured bubbles where their storylines continue unmarred by those of the men’s. Whether the quiet, loving mother Irene or the voluptuous Blanche, the latter appearing for a swift moment to shift the intensity of the film but when she’s gone the audience can’t help but remember her for the rest of their life.

Movie poster for Under the Skin

In Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin” a creature taking the form of a female human being drives around looking for susceptible male subjects. In the only moment where the creature suffers an identity crisis of what it takes to be “human”, the creature loses its power, submitting to the patriarchal society which it –supposedly- studies, understanding ultimately what it takes to be a woman and a “dark-skinned” being in a world that is predominantly male and White.

Los Angeles – You can be a Criminal or a Movie Star

I was drawn to “Drive” just as I was drawn to “Heat”; two inherently masculine films that surprisingly broke masculinity with the same tactical focus through which they ascertain glorification. Both films show male characters doomed with their burden of the masculine hero/villain. Lines are blurred between good and bad, men are wrapped in their loneliness and seek solace in the relentlessly coveted city.

In a city like Los Angeles, crime is a glorious, sensational lust. Films that both imply and dissect a society wild with the need to be known or seen either decapitates or assembles the tales of those who thrived and survived on fame in the city of angels. In Michael Mann’s “Heat” and Refn’s “Drive” both films with a single word for the title; masculinity is impaled on the same shrine on which the city is worshipped. “Heat” shows an emotionally-charged finale, worthy of “Titanic”, of two men consumed by loneliness in the merciless city where they get to play their respective roles, even if it forsakes a rather successful friendship that was not and could have been, while “Drive” recounts the tale of the Night prince whose false kingdom of machismo, coolness and the ability to roam an entire city free, no-strings-attached is plicated by the fact that the only thing that means something to him is domesticity; a home with a regular-looking woman and a child. How both films deconstruct masculinity as an ominous presence, able to engulf all that es in its way; and yet something fragile as to crave the simplistic pleasure of a shelter, says a lot about the ability of their male creators (Mann and Refn) to observe the male-centric world from a realistic, humble lens.

In “Drive”, the driver does not have a name, stylistically even resembling Clint Eastwood’s fetishistic Western depiction of manhood in action. But unlike the series of spaghetti Westerns where Eastwood glorifies in the shining armor of toxic masculinity, Refn’s men eat each other, devouring and devoured by their greed and hunger for power. Even the Driver derives strength not from the anonymity which covers him jacket-to-car, but from the false dream of the domesticated American man, who returns home from war to a simple woman and a child; the perfect depiction of the American dream reconstructed.  

Under the Skin – Driving around with a Shell of a Woman

A lot can be associated with Scotland, but to be human is not one of them. To understand the choice of shooting “Under the Skin” there would be to decipher one of the film’s multiple mysteries. Is it about alien invasion? Is it a gender-reversal where Snow White bees the Huntsman and the Big Bad Wolf is essentially a woman?

Or is “Under the Skin” a gender, sexual and political statement in the face of patriarchy and capitalism? If so, why did the creature break when it tried to examine what it takes to be human? The unnamed creature rebelled against the purpose of driving around in a van, luring male victims into a black abyss where their energy is sucked into a greater alien being.

In “Under the Skin” a trick is played using an icon of modern feminine sexuality such as Scarlett Johansson to play a highly sexual but non-sexualized character. A creature, agender, bound by no form takes the shape and the sexual physicality of a woman to help its camouflage from the land it inhabits. With all the murder and the mayhem, the creature drives around in the van, using the vehicle as a false armor for the fragility of the feminine in patriarchy. Unable to prehend the icicle thin presence of being a female, the creature abandons the cold, detached driver status to immerse itself in the fragile and flawed world which it tries to take apart one male passerby at a time.

The creature’s predatory attitude is plicated by the fact that when it shelters itself from the emotional mayhem through which gender coexist, it succeeds in being the dominant, alpha presence. Only when it succumbs to exploring what it means to be a female human trapped in a female body, does the creature’s suffering begin. The rape scene at the end, where the creature is both hurt and sexually violated for being a woman, then for being a dark-skinned being, only reveal a glimpse of what it takes to have the upper hand in the human world, and the price to pay when the societal privileged positioning is lost. When the hunter bees the hunted, the Creatures face demise.

Unnamed Drivers – Masculinity and Femininity from a Lens

In “Under the Skin” and “Drive”; both drivers are unnamed, roaming the roads without much of a purpose for the driving. Unlike “Baby Driver” where the getaway driver uses his position as a purpose to explore his moral pass and his ing-of-age in a criminal, bloody verse where he chooses to escape through constantly listening to music. “Drive” is a film –as Associated Press reporter Christy Lemire states- not about actual driving, the getaway driver is, in fact, a getaway plot twist to trick viewers into believing they are about to watch an action movie, only to discover a layered, character study of male vulnerability in the city of angels. “Under the Skin” uses driving a van as the trap that most men in the real world wield to hunt for their female prey, the faux lure of a sheltered vehicle being at times a coffin, or a wheeled metal box to contain the screams and pleas. And yet when the creature decides to rebel against the same power and privilege that it exerts over the human subjects, it bees human and thus exposed and naked to all things evil that humans act against each other. The Creature is molested and subjected to a horrifying rape attempt because of its disguise as an attractive White female. In the end, The Creature is burned to death because it is revealed as a dark-skinned being, highlighting the fear of the White, cis male of all things dark-skinned and non-conforming to pre-constructed gender and racial politics. A White, lost woman in the dark forest would be raped; a dark-skinned, agender creature might be killed. 

Both “Drive” and “Under the Skin” use their leading stars’ power to deconstruct the Hollywood perfect image of beauty and sexuality;

Johansson’s first nude scene is deprived of any sexual metaphors, with her self-reflection a shoutout to the male gaze behind the screens, as if daring them to observe with her a body that would soon be dissembled, and not for the ritualistic catharsis for the man lurking in the darkness of the movie theater, waiting to be enamored by the violence against the woman onscreen, but more of the haplessness that is shared between the audience which beholds a sexual crime taking place; unable to stop it or actively participate in lifting off the injustice that befalls the woman in question.

Ryan Gosling boasts darkness and mystery in “Drive” that has nothing to do with the glamorous Hollywood male stars; the “silent types”. He is vulnerable. He resorts to violence only when his safe “nest” is in harm’s way. Yet, he doesn’t get the girl or get anything at the end. There are no steamy sex scenes or mind-blowing relationships. The Driver is there to suffer, only interlocking paths with the few items that give his sheltered, meaningless life peace. Gosling plays it down to the base with a nuanced performance and an air of undeniable cool. Yet there is nothing extravagant about him or his character.

Both drivers use driving purposelessly. Driving is not an integral element of the plot, nor a plot twist. The drivers here are trapped within false skins; the cool silk jacket with an embroidered scorpion for The Driver, and the lace stockings, mini-skirt and denim jacket for The Creature. Both are garments for false anonymity, which both protect and break their senses of security and gender power when they are undressed.

Author Jaylan Salah

Short story from Doug Hawley

         Professor Haines On Strayed’s Wild

Prof. Haines – As announced previously, today’s lecture covers “How to get an interview or endorsement from Oprah”.  As you know an appearance with Oprah, or her endorsement can mean millions of book sales.

First is there anyone here who has not read the reading assignment “Wild”?  OK, you two can leave.  Don’t hurry back.

What gets Oprah to notice you?

            Sex – Enough said.

            Drugs – People want that vicarious thrill of watching a train wreck.

            Abuse – Builds sympathy.

            Tragedy – We are glad it happened to someone else.  We may feel real empathy.

            Spouses – Hate them, love them, we can all relate.

            Social status – We like the extremes of society.  Trailer trash and celebrities or the rich are exotic to most of us.

            Redemption – After all of the tragedy, we want a feel good e back.

            Good writing – Always helpful.

            Therapy – Scores well with the touchy-feely types.  It doesn’t hurt that Oprah is our therapist general and a huge segment of the population gets its guide to life from self help books, talk show hosts and columnists. 

Social media use – It is the 21st century.

Previous success – Always good.

Truth  – Check out the trouble that James Frey and Greg Mortenson got into with alleged fibs in their memoirs.

Supporting cast – No one operates in a vacuum.

Closure – Do we know how the author feels at the end of the story?  Are loose ends tied up?

Let us see how “Wild” scores on these points. 

Sex – Based on her Googled photos, Ms. Strayed is attractive, although she downplays her looks on the trail.  Her encounters with Joe, her Portland guy and heroin addict, and Jonathan the handsome man she met in Ashland are not graphic by current standards, but then if they were they would qualify her for the Penthouse Forum instead of Oprah.  She appears to be a sex positive feminist, who could turn off conservatives, but her descriptions probably appeal to most of the straight population and maybe some of the “other”.  Men can imagine they are among her no strings pickups.  Women can imagine that they are her having impersonal sex with her hot pickups, and later having a happy married life.

I give her a B for Sex.

Class – Why the paucity of writing about sex with Paul?  Mr. Henderson?

Mr. Henderson – Professor Haines, throughout literature, no one cares about married sex.

Prof. Haines – Good Answer.

If she had been having sex with family or animals and could not write, she would be Springer material.

Drugs – Heroin goes with the overall tenor of the story.  It is kind of a hipster drug and fits well with her sadness.  Meth and coke might be too serious and marijuana not serious enough.  The shot to the ankle just before her hike was a good touch.

I give her an A.

Question for the class – would her story have been better if she was addicted rather than a user.  Ms. Anderson?

Ms. Anderson – Professor Haines, I think that if she had been addicted, the PCT hike would not have made much sense.  How does she get her fix on the trail?

Prof Haines – Good point.

Abuse – Her father was despicable.  Certainly others have had worse abuse than her, but hers was bad enough.

Call it a B.  Move on.

Tragedy – A lot of bad things happened to her, but some have claimed using the new cliché that they were “first world problems”.  That seems harsh to me.  It wasn’t just one thing – her mother’s death was the worst, but then her family and marriage falls apart.  She is set adrift and adopts an extreme and unusual solution.

I give her an A minus.

Questions?  None, OK moving on.

Redemption – Thousands of people have hiked the PCT and other long trails.  Many people have achieved amazing journeys.  Most of us have huge losses in life and love.  So why does “Wild” work so well?  The key is in the subtitle “Lost and Found”.  We want to hear about those who have struggled and yet managed to triumph over their obstacles.  Her critics plain about her extreme sadness over what is not that unusual a situation.  They point out accurately that in some ways she was less organized for an eleven hundred mile hike than a normal hiker would before a ten mile hike.  She had not tested her shoes or pack before starting.  I could, in the cliché of our former president, feel her pain intensely.

As a sometimes backpacker, I’m surprised that she did not refer to the difficulty of dumping environmentally in the woods.  It may have too much ick factor to be mentioned, but she mentioned urination, menstruation, but not defecation.  Personally, tents have usually outsmarted me.

Given all that, would she have a best seller with only the loss part, or with only the found part?  I think not.  We have to keep in mind stories about perdition and redemption go back into the mists of history.  Think Ulysses.  He screws up big time, but is the hero at the end of the story.  Oprah laps up this stuff.

Solid A.

Ms. Creech – Professor, she did refer to the difficulty of shitting in the woods fairly early on in the book.  She mentioned how difficult it was to dig in the ground and how she almost fell into her own crap.

Professor Haynes – Good catch, sorry I forgot that passage.

Spouses – We don’t know much about either one from the book.  We can get info on the current husband from the internet, but not much from the book other than he was handsome and ready to give up promiscuity.

Usually in these types of books the author is dumped, keeps marrying the wrong person, or gets to trade up to a better model.  What happened here?  Throw out some ideas.

Ms. Grant – I wanted her to get back with Paul.  He was such an understanding guy.

Mr. Krasny  – I liked the charming bad boy Joe, but hanging with him could have cost her her life.  Whatever happened to him?

Ms. Fenton – I would have guessed that she would hook up with somebody from the trail after the hike.

Ms. Anderson – Without knowing more about Paul, I’d say she traded up.

Prof Haines – I’ll give her a C for spouse based on what little we know.

Social Status – Clearly she starts at the deprived end of the spectrum.  Her housing is rustic at best.  Finances are limited.  Of course if she had been a celebrity, no pain or achievement would be required to write a best seller.

Although not the worst of circumstances, I give her a B for social status.

What is the status of her life now?

Ms.  Shandon – With her current fame, money and semi-celebrity husband, any memoir based on her life post 2012 would have to be celebrity writing.  My God, according to her website she wrote on an island off Brazil and will be a part of a writer’s workshop in France.  She could, however, mine earlier times before the celebrity phase.

Good writing – She is a trained writer and a good one.  Her integration of the hike and the tragedy is very good.  The pain and the triumph both work.

Another A

Therapy – Her reference to therapy is very short.  We don’t know who performed it or when.  This snippet appears to underline her “male” approach to sex – she finds an attractive guy and gets it on.  Another thing we don’t know if her attitude changed after her mother died, or if that was always the way she was.

Make it a B, good relevance, but very limited.

Social media – Her website lists Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumbler. 

Let’s call it a B – she must be missing something.

Previous Success – Her popular novel “Torch”, which is clearly closely related to her nonfiction, was a natural setup for “Wild”.  At that time, she had no other full length books, so give her a B.

Truth – So far she has not been “Freyed”.  Note taker that is F-r-e-y-e-d, a reference to James Frey, not f-r-a-y-e-d or s-t-r-a-y-e-d.

No one has questioned any of the book and in fact it would be difficult to do so.  We don’t the real names of most of the people in the book outside the family and most events are undated.  The details which could be verified are incidental.  We can’t check on her abortion, various sex partners or heroin use, so even if she has lied we would not know.  Mr. Tyne?

Mr. Tyne – Sir, she said early in the book that her backpack “Monster” weighed half as much as she did.  In a later interview or FAQ, she said that she did not know what it weighed.  Then how could she know it weighed half as much as herself?

Prof. Haines – Good catch, I’ll give her a pass on a minor goof.  Make it an A.

Sidebar – She seems very insistent about condoms, but gets pregnant with Joe.  Ideas?  Ms. Shandon again.

Ms. Shandon – She got pregnant before the trail, so maybe she learned her lesson.

Prof Haines – Mr. Grant –

Mr. Grant – Given her loss and regret for her infidelity, maybe she was looking for pain or punishment?  Maybe it was the heroin clouded her judgment?  What do you think professor?

Prof. Haines – Either or both of you could be right.  If brain research has taught us anything, it is that our actions frequently can’t be rationally explained or understood.

Supporting Cast – This may be the weakest part of the book.  Even granting that it is her memoir, except for the family we don’t get to know anyone well.  We get few details about people that she meets on the trail.  Even the family, other than the mother, is very thinly described.

Other than being a saint, giving her all the space she needed and taking her away from heroin, and a flake, flipping between Ph.D. and guitar player – Paul is a cipher.  Did he favor the divorce, acquiesce, or appease Cheryl?  What happened to him in the twenty years after the divorce?

Lisa is a friend.  That’s about it.

As previously noted, Joe charmed her into sex and heroin.  That’s about all me know about out him.

Can’t give her better than a C

Sidebar – One thing that makes me a little happier about humanity is that none of the characters in her book have tried to leverage their closeness to celebrity to write their own tell all book.  We know that relatives of Joan Collins, Sylvester Stallone and so many others have exploited the fame of relatives.

Closure – She is found, she can go on with life.  She has bee more her true self again than changed.  She forgives herself, but I’m not clear on how a hike does that, and what exactly she is forgiving herself for.  The abortion, infidelity, the inability to save her mother or her family?  Maybe the pain and single mindedness brings clarity.  Sometimes we can run away from our problems,

Call it a B.

Overall, a great Oprah Book.  Nothing below a C.  Most books get a number of inpletes.  An A overall despite some low individual scores.  

Postscript – The fame or notoriety of her story has inspired a tour pany to sell coed “Divorce or Loss PCT Hikes” including porters, camp setups, happy hours and condoms and private tents for those that hit it off.  Prices to be announced depend on length of hike, but don’t expect them to be cheap. 

I hope that we have had some fun today and not taken it too seriously.  You will never get an Oprah endorsement, but you might shoot for a local rave.  Despite my disdain for Oprah and Oprah types, Oprah might be an actual human being behind the mega corporation fa?ade, hard to tell.  If you can’t get an Oprah look, you can claim that your readers don’t want an “Oprah Book”.  It could help with the literary snobs.  I’m fairly certain that Cheryl Strayed had some reason for writing her book other than hanging out with the big O.

Another little postscript, I’m thinking about restarting the 50 mile walk craze that started when JFK was president.  I don’t intend to seriously prepare for it, at least not publicly.  I still  have to work on motivation, the deep underlying cause.  Coincidentally, I’m up for tenure.

Next class, “How to have your memoir turned into a movie”, same text.   Assignment is to take basic ingredients of “Wild” and turn it into a Rom- pitch with lots edy, no tragedy and your ideal cast.

Any Questions?  Mr. Franklin?

Professor, to me this is just white people whining.  Is there any relevance to people of color?

First of all, do you have any idea what “people of color means”?  Is that just a catch phrase implying that people of non color are the oppressor class?  Are people from India of color?  Japanese?  Middle Eastern?  Or are people of color PC for colored people?  My rant is over now.

We can assume that Ms. Strayed’s family was all white based on the cover art.  Paul is probably white.  The race of Joe and Lisa are unknown.  If they were, say, black it might have been racist to mention it.  I will admit that the book in no way addresses race issues, but that was not what it set out to do, so I see no problem.

Anyway, to paraphrase Joe South, before you accuse or abuse her walk a few hundred miles in her ill fitting shoes.

We’re out of time, see you next class.

Professor Haines – I hope that you remember the assignment from our last class – Take the bones of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and e up with a Rom- pitch, soon to be a major motion picture.  Has a novel ever been turned into a minor motion picture?  Has a TV show ever been partially new?  Sorry, I got off track for a moment.

Somehow, you have to take the major elements of “Wild” and manufacture a story which is funny and the “right” people end up together.  So, you have to have a mother dying, a marriage breaking up, an 1100 mile trip on the PCT and “Cheryl” or whatever we call her in the Rom– happy at the end.

What do you have people?

Ms. Schoonover – First we emphasize the break up, downplay the mother.  This is a romance, not a tragedy.

Mr.  Sheen – I felt sorry for “Cheryl’s” husband “Paul”.  “Wild” says nothing about how he ended up.  What little we know of him from “Wild” he really tried to make “Cheryl” happy.  I think he could have corresponded with “Lisa”, “Cheryl’s” friend and after a long correspondence they discover that they have more in mon than their concern for Cheryl.  He visits Portland, they end up in love.

Mr. Grayson – The trail is a problem in the original version.  We have to dial down on the things that go wrong and find the funny.  Let say she trips and falls on somebody’s crotch.  Maybe there is a mismatched couple on the trail that always fights, but always ends up making up in their tent at night.  A guy that drinks, and seems really slow, but ends up the fastest hiker?

Ms. Schoonover – One of her food deliveries ends up being paste instead of pasta?  She might meet some guys to get her out of her dilemma.

Professor – Who does she end up with?

Mr. Franklin – It can’t be the same guy she met after the hike.  That would violate the rule that you have to meet the boyfriend / husband early in the film.

Mr. James – If we wanted to lean towards a women’s channel movie we could enlarge the threat from the Bear hunters in “Wild”.  Maybe some handsome guy could have save her and lead up to a romance.

Mr. Sheen – I could see her hooking up with “Joe” the bad boy that introduced her to heroin.  In the original book, she hoped he got cured.  In the rom- version they could stay together after he goes through the cure.

Ms. Steel – How about she gets a job waitressing in Portland and her trail stud Jonathan show up at the restaurant.  He turns out to be an executive from an outdoor wear pany, they start to talk about her hiking equipment and romance blooms.


Ms. Reyes – Any pretty faces from some TV series.  Somebody from “Gossip Girl” or from one of those movies on the women’s channel.  They couldn’t afford anybody very expensive, because who wants to see “Wild” turned into a rom-.

Professor Haines:  This isn’t real life; just pretend the movie was never made.

Mr. Tyne:  None of the younger actors have made any impression on me.  From watching Turner Classics, I’d go with a young version of Janet Leigh for the Cheryl roll and maybe a young version of Jack Lemmon for Paul.

Professor Haynes:  I see that our class time is only half over, but let’s get an early start on spring break.  See you in two weeks.

Appeared in Down In The Dirt

Poetry from Ike Boateng

Father Christmas

Father Christmas,

Known by his unique colours

Made up of white and red.

Which is like the ones of ours,

And not the black beards of Alfred.

Father Christmas,

Walks to and fro the neighbourhood

Better-still, out and about in falling snow.

With gifts and items like food,

Some open his parcels to see and know.

Christmas Father,

Is a festive season care giver

Seen occasionally and sensationally.

Sometimes seated on a horse with the lever,

Ready to play with kids fantastically.

Christmas Father,

es with message of hope, peace and love

And some are often ready to voice out His songs.

In order to know His good tidings e from above,

Where the bright morning star and angels belongs.

Christmas Is Here

Christmas is here,

How can I be there?

Let’s all e together,

With a merry hearts as we gather.

In one accord, we can rejoice

Even as we sing with our voice.

Different kinds of carol songs,

To know where He belongs.

Thus, not in the dirt of the manger

As some thought He’s a stranger.

Christmas is here,

So let’s go to where?

Well, it’s time to celebrate.

Aside, interact and corporate,

With those who understand the season.

And accept it purpose and reason

In order to walk His paths and ways

For us to cherish debts He still pays.

That’s why we speak about His goodness,

On such special moment of His loveliness.

Christmas And Carnival

Christmas and Carnival,

Walk hand in hand like lovers.

In one accord, their intimacy bees occasional,

As masqueraders are the shakers and movers.

Christmas and Carnival,

e with joys of the season.

Even with some mask shapes being oval,

Like an egg ready to fry and make a dinner it reason.

Christmas and Carnival,

On the streets of our city and suburbs of our munity.

It makes us feel the pleasantries of being sensational,

And the delights of feeling its felicity.

Christmas and Carnival,

Bring about the carols of brass-band.

Acpanied with singing and dancing with heart of renewal and revival,

In the space of time, as we trod on the land.

Christmas and Carnival,

Is about Christmas realism and secular paganism.

To the ordinary mind, it’s just crucial and cardinal,

As it brings about day and night enthusiasm.

Yuletide For Me

Yuletide for me, 3x

YFM, on 97.9

The young at heart,

Will dance like the flying butterfly.

With colours of this fine art.

Yuletide for me, 3x

YFM, it for you.

I mean you, the listener.

As your ear has been yearning to hear,

Imagine when we’ve the Christmas dinner.

Yuletide for me, 3x

YFM, we have known.

It’s time of His birth celebration,

Which we’ve enjoyed the singing of ‘Joy to the World’ 3x, Jingle Bells 3x …..

As we cruise in citations of His felicitation.

Yuletide for me, 3x

YFM, let’s e together.

After all, the elections have been peaceful,

Besides, the victory is for all to climax this year.

In oneness of heart and mind in love as we gather.

It’s Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve,

Lo, not about Adam and Eve, I believe.

It es every year,

That’s how our eyes see and ears hear.

It’s Christmas Eve,

There’re some gift items to receive.

As we prepare his birth celebration,

With our hearts of felicitation.

It’s Christmas Eve,

Almost around the globe, I perceive.

Of course, the times look different,

Although, we can’t relent but rent.

It’s Christmas Eve,

No need or news to deceive.

By virtue of His good tiding,

Which bring some by flight landing and sounding.

It’s Christmas Eve,

Prior to His birth Mary conceive.

Thus, knowing it’s 24th December,

And worthwhile to remember.


Isaac Adjei Boateng as his original birth certificate name. Preferably, known by many as ‘Ike Boat’ due to its simplicity to mention both locally and globally in the field of Arts, by virtue of the poetic lifestyle. He’s born on 11th June, 1984 in the city of Takoradi – south western part of Ghana in West Africa. He had both his primary and junior secondary level education at ‘Bishop Essuah Catholic plex’ which he became school prefect at all the levels. He then pursued General Arts course at St. Johns School which he pleted in 2002 at Sekondi, Western Region of Ghana. Having developed the passion and enthusiasm for writing and publishing online, he became song-writer thus posed a song for the ‘OM Ships Ministry’ dubbed ‘OM All The Way’ which is featured on YouTube via: ??????????? ???????????????????????

In the space of time, he also developed the habit as well hobby for writing poems which he later became a ‘Spoken Word’ performer as a Poet on various platforms and even radio programs. In the year 2014, he’s sponsored and supported to study German at ‘Goethe Institut’ which he passed with Average marks, thus being able to converse bit by bit in the German linguistic. He’ll often states “Ich Sprache ein Bischon Deutsch” literally “I speak a bit of German”. Whilst learning, he never stopped his heartily writing routine which led him to write poems in note-books and other sheet of papers. He likes to ink oftentimes about matters of the country’s economy, politics, societies, organizations and several other topics in relation to poetic lines as he seldom writes and publishes articles. In 2014 and 2015 he became the first African to be short-listed as Nominee with regard to the ‘National Poetry Awards – NPA’ of USA. And in 2016, he won the ‘International Poet of the Year’ category of the ‘National Poetry Awards’ held in United States of America. He’s won other Poetry related awards via online platforms.


His prime vision is to tour around the world and share on platforms through organized events as well as corporate functions or programs in relation to poetry recitals as well as personal stories to impact lives.


His prime mission is to educate humanity through all forms of Arts as in Literature and world of adventure to nurture both youths and adults.

Poetry from PW Covington

Down Fall

Forsake me, lover; and all my sins
You know that must be leaving again
Like that country song we used to sing
The highway never ends

I bury sunflower seeds in the summer
And mums sprout back every spring
When the Monarchs e through and the temperature drops
I’ll have blooms in my garden, again

Red mountain finches and white wing doves
C-130’s and perennial loves
Head south for season, and lives fly by
And, I’m aching and seeking a way to stay high

Most of the poets give birth in the spring time
With hope and recollection

Tomato cages and high desert rain
I finally stopped chasing hurricanes
I’ll harvest my thoughts and catch up on my prayers
When sunny morning chill fills the autumnal air

Alpha Red

She knows how to hurt me

 yet, never harm

How to torment and tease

 when I plead, “Please”

To smile with red lips, empowered, Alpha

 as the welts rise

As tears well in my eyes

She takes and locks away

That hidden little piece of me

 I save for only her to see

As reparations

For all the nights she’s had to sleep unrequited

As the satisfaction of her lover

Pooled and cooled

And soaked into the sheets

Beneath her

No more

Neither mortal time nor distance can deny her

Heat and steel resolve

She holds me firm

Oh, my sacred fuck,

She knows how to hurt me

And never bring me harm

Even in tender moments

When we both lay most exposed

The Queen needn’t be reminded

 of the power in the flame

That drew me near

The Furs of Venus never scorched as tender

As when she calls to me

Petitioning surrender

In those few dark and perfectly formed moments

      when the storm has barely quelled

When she slowly brings me back from inner space

Her Alpha lips

Those dark, deep, eyes

That ecclesiastic face

Multiple Re-Entry

The greatest
Customs and Immigration officers
I ever saw
Stood guard
Atop the bluffs
At Belinda Beach

Salt cedars, twisted
???? redwood sentinels
????????? and eucalyptus (immigrants, here, themselves)

Roots and branches
Wood and leaves
Bring you back to things terrestrial
For half a mile after that
Grey-washed, rocky cove

They inspect your senses with aromatic
???? late spring, wele
And, slowly, as you declare yourself
With destinations of concrete and real estate
The ocean’s never ending,
Lunar tune grows muffled

Here, at this landing
On this shore
At this organic checkpoint of the soul,
These green-clad,
???? towering,
????????? ancient agents
Stamp every sun-blessed, fortune-kissed, trans-Pacific
Pilgrim’s heart that passes
???? as
????????? ‘multiple re-entry’


That chick that was crashing at Lisa’s place
Mexican Lisa, used to live off Central before she caught that case
Shows up with two big ass bottles of pills
Never tells me where she got ‘em
And I didn’t much care
Said we should get right tonight
Said she’d suck my cock

Long tablets, scored once,
Sickly yellow like crusty linoleum
Like chalk
You put three or four in a large spoon, a tablespoon
Give them a cold water rinse
Crush and soak the pills
Stir that slush in the spoon
With the little plastic end off the plunger 
Use the BD brand, with UltraFine tips
Throw in a little piece torn from a cigarette filter
Draw it up into the barrel. You’re loaded
If shit’s gone right, you end up with a one mL shot of yellow liquid that looks like fresh piss
Knock that fucker into the crook of your arm and take a little break
Maybe a nap.

When you wake up, if she’s still there.
Start soaking another round of pills.
See if she’s still down to suck
Scratch your nose. Find your lighter. Blaze that cigarette.
Ask that chick that was crashing at Lisa’s place if she wants a drag or two
From the one with the torn filter

Someone should probably scrape the fucking spoon clean
Before we hit that shit

Poetry from Mahbub


The Inventor and the Discoverer

I don’t know what you know

You don’t know what I know

We don’t know what they know

But one thing is right

I am the inventor

You are the discoverer

After that

I am the technician

You are the mechanic

What an engineering world!

Till the end of the dream

When it es to end?

My Travel

Night besets

In this sleeping world

We sleep in the bed

The trees outside

Rivers and oceans rising so high

Sometimes roar and soar

I float on the voice of the silence

Travel the world

How wonderful!

How enlightening the shining sky!

I find myself beside you

My heart swells

The burning blood imbues

I flow on you

Nothing to hide

In the meantime morning birds begin to sing.

I am flying

I am flying in the sky

The clouds are light in the sun

The blue is glowing

Flying over the land surrounded by the trees

Towns, cities or oceans

Feel like somewhat dizzy

While I spread my wings

My friend, what are you doing?

Are you sitting under the bamboo tree?

And taking rest after hard work?

I am flying in the blue over and under

Where I go I do not

Soaring higher and getting lower

Passing time and space

I fly and fly.

The Doves beside My Glass

The sun is rising

The world is waking

I see the bird cuckoo

Singing cu-o

Noting to heal and calling me under the open sky

Where nature waits to wele

Where the two doves beside my glass

Busy to love entering the beak to other

Passion lies there

Passion invites rather

What a heaven they built!

The nestlings e closer spreading the little wings

Over the mother’s back

To get warm of love we all find to be there

We all find our lovers

How bond the love for us to each other!

Life is only for life’s care.