Synkroniciti has a striking new cover! We are thrilled to announce the winner of our “Broken” cover contest, Pittsburgh based photographer Jason Baldinger’s “Point Pleasant, WV.” We’ve featured Jason’s thought-provoking (sometimes haunting, sometimes humorous) collaborative work with poet Robert L. Dean, Jr. in “Curiosity” and they both will be returning for “Broken.” Inside this issue, “Point Pleasant, WV” is coupled with the poem “Standard Time.”
You might expect Vincent Price or Rod Serling to walk across the frame with its uncanny angular juxtaposition, devoid of human presence. This world feels on the edge of apocalypse; horror, or at least a gritty bit of noir, is just around the corner. Black and white photography amplifies our attention to shadow and texture, feeling unreal and unrelenting in its gaze. Jason travels midwestern American towns and cities with his camera, capturing places hit by the death of manufacturing and industry. Sometimes the places are trashed and shabby, others are clean but empty, locales that time forgot. Here we see one of the latter, presided over by an ominously broken clock, its hands fallen uselessly. No time is marked here. There are fewer and fewer people alive who can read such a clock, with its Roman numerals and non-digital face. The analog clock has been Synkroniciti’s logo since the beginning, before there was even a magazine, and we are surprised that this symbol didn’t surface sooner. It is all for the best, as this cover packs a punch. No right turn? Is that an acknowledgement of limited options in general, or a comment on the illegality of actions on the right side of the American political spectrum? Big Brother is watching via traffic camera, even if the area is deserted. You probably won’t get away with it.
Point Pleasant lies on the border with Ohio, at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers and is the seat of Mason County. There was a battle here during the American Revolution, and in the Civil War, Mason County voted against secession–a deeply unpopular vote in West Virginia. It’s famous for the Mothman, a red-eyed human-bird figure, as well as the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge, which killed 46 people. There is horror and noir in that history, just below the midwestern pleasantness.
Jason Baldinger is a poet and photographer from Pittsburgh, PA. He’s penned fifteen books of poetry the newest of which include: A History of Backroads Misplaced: Selected Poems 2010-2020 (Kung Fu Treachery), and This Still Life (Kung Fu Treachery) with James Benger. His first book of photography, Lazarus, as well as two ekphrastic collaborations (with Rebecca Schumejda and Robert Dean) are forthcoming. His work has appeared across a wide variety of online sites and print journals. You can hear him from various books on Bandcamp and on lps by The Gotobeds and Theremonster.