Synkroniciti is pleased to welcome back poet Jonathan Yungkans, this time with some wonderfully edgy social justice and political pieces. “Batman Came Out and Clubbed Me” takes us back to the 1992 Rodney King riots. Los Angeles police officers Koon, Briseno, Wind, and Powell were acquitted of using “excessive force” in the savage public beating of Rodney King after he led police on a high-speed car chase, a beating which left King with broken bones, skull fractures and irreversible brain damage. After the jury’s ruling, there were riots in South LA, as well as looting at Frederick’s of Hollywood and nearby shops in fashionable West LA. Media coverage focused relentlessly on South LA, painting an image of lawless blackness while dropping the unpalatable story of white looters. Standing at the corner of Vermont and Manchester, which was on fire that day thirty years ago, Jonathan contrasts Batman and Jesus, demolishing the commercial white savior trope. We still haven’t dealt with the reality on the street or stopped the devaluing and destruction of black bodies. “Let’s Take a Commercial Break Here” is a darkly comic piece about how Internet profiling makes a mockery of humanity, reducing our needs and wants to useless merchandise. “There are Always Those Who Think You Ought To” is an acerbic look at the January 6th Insurrection and the man who egged it on. It brings us back to the presence of white supremacy in American culture and the double standard that exists when we talk about rights, protesting and violence.
Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer who earned an MFA from California State University, Long Beach while working as an in-home health-care provider, an occupation he still practices. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and was published in 2021 by Tebot Bach.
From our last issue “Flow,” available here, this is “Duplex: The Old Man Looks Strangely at the Sea.” This is quite a contrast to the political poetry in “Empowered.” That’s a testament to Jonathan’s talent and range as a poet.