Synkroniciti is excited to welcome back poet Robert L. Dean, Jr. from the Wichita, Kansas area. He joins us with three ekphrastic poems inspired by photos by Jason Baldinger, our cover artist for the “Broken” issue. “Standard Time,” which pairs with our cover piece, “Point Pleasant, WV,” questions the emptiness along Main street–“Is this how the world ends? /One screw loose, and it all falls/ apart.” Post industrial Revolution, Midwestern towns are collapsing and there is hardly anyone around to notice. “The Hang Up” pairs with “Walkersville, WV” and has a personal cast, recalling a phone call made decades earlier that resulted in a break-up. This is “a middle of nowhere return, sanity hanging by a thread.” The connection has long since been lost. “A Well-lighted Place” pairs with “Ladonnia, MO.” Here, an abandoned and dirty stairway brings visions of Orpheus and St. Peter. Heaven and Hell are not what they are expected to be. “We brace hands against walls, try to forestall what narrows.” These existential musings are darker and more wistful than those we featured in our previous issue, “Curiosity,” but are still laced with humor and wit, if more subtly. We are so thankful to Bob and Jason for sharing their thoughtful collaborations with us–we’ll have more coming in future issues.
Experience their fascinating collaborations and visions of Americana in our upcoming September 1st issue, “Broken,” available for pre-order here: https://synkroniciti.com/the-magazine/purchase-individual-issues/.
Robert L. Dean, Jr. is the author of Pulp (Finishing Line Press, 2022); The Aerialist Will not be Performing: ekphrastic poems and short fictions to the art of Steven Schroeder (Turning Plow Press, 2020); and At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, 2018). A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, his work has appeared in Mocking Heart Review; October Hill Magazine; Flint Hills Review; I-70 Review; Chiron Review; The Ekphrastic Review; Sheila-Na-Gig online; Shot Glass; Illya’s Honey; Red River Review; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; Thorny Locust; River City Poetry; Suisun Valley Review; and Waco WordFest Anthology 2022.
Studying music composition with Dr. Walter Mays at Wichita State University before going on the road as a bass player, conductor, and arranger, Dean was a professional musician for 30 years. He played with Jesse Lopez, Bo Didley, Frank Sinatra Jr., Vic Damone, Jim Stafford, Kenny Rankin, B. W. Stevenson, and the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, also putting in a stint with the house band at the Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room in Dallas. He worked 20 years for The Dallas Morning News. A member of The Writers Place, Dean lives in Augusta, Kansas, along with a universe of books, CDs, LPs, and a couple dozen hats.