6.27.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.27.15

“Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.” ~ Lucille Clifton

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Stay Syrbarite Stay” (above) by featured artist Paula “Pd” Lietz. To see more Mad works from Pd, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we regaled a walrus blue reflection, sedated by a calm injection; we paused to pine o'er a heart-spattered shine; we mourned our fly-found lost-love buzz, now bound by balled socks, silent; we loved a life, recounted on page, with avalanche jams, uncounted by age; we peered through a blur of snowfall, pure by default; we lived a day unsparkable, neither niggling nor remarkable; we found profound truth, wearing a Double-D. All sizes, shapes and sounds; life profound, lived profoundly. ~ MH Clay

Universal Truths by Contributing Poet Donal Mahoney

When Bill was a lad
his parents preached that
Scripture was the truth.

Decades later now
Bill still believes that.
In college, though,

his professors told him
science was the truth.
Bill still believes that, too.

But there’s another truth
that Scripture and science
never clarified for Bill.

At age 13 he saw it
scratched on a wall
in black graffiti

above a public urinal,
a universal truth he had
just begun to understand.

The message was
“Big tits are the greatest!”
a truth he still believes as well.

June 27, 2015

editors note: Yes! Intelligent Design; faith for the faithless. – mh clay


One Day by Bruce McRae

One day nothing remarkable occurred.
No rivers ran red or economies collapsed.
Not a single sparrow seemed out of place,
the sky still blatantly apparent,
some rather ordinary clouds banking in ranks,
the black-eyed mouse in its usual kitchen.

People prayed for a good harvest, naturally,
or for salvation, or for Jenny’s sore to heal –
as they had since time first began
its long slide towards oblivion.
Women still looked at their men and wondered
whatever had become of them,
entropy’s sleeve continuing to unravel.

And then one day even that didn’t happen.

June 26, 2015

editors note: The day when absolutely nothing happens; ’twill be a truly remarkable day. – mh clay


Snowflakes by Sylwia Borkowska

I look through the softly falling snowflakes
All I see is white cloudy blur

I try to see through it
But, it’s all the same,
White cloudy blur

The snowflakes with the growing falling speed
Begin to look gray
As they mix with the modern city living

But, all that I try to see
Looks pure anyhow…

June 25, 2015

editors note: Opacity begs acceptance at face value. Try to see through… – mh clay


MY LIFE by Contributing Poet B.Z. Niditch

Life is ageless
full of charades
whether played
on soprano sax
or jazz fiddle
drawing ink portraits
it’s a mind bender
in the middle
of the road
on back alleys
or city hallways
in front of jams
traffic or music,
against a mountain
of winter storms
or in an avalanche
of sunshine
by paper flying cranes.

June 24, 2015

editors note: His life, every life; ageless, lived best in all ways. Thanks, BZ! – mh clay


Travel Plans by Contributing Poet Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Fly in the suitcase, why have you died on me?
We still had many good hours together
pestering one another, but secretly in love
me with a rolled newspaper, you playing hard to get
the ceiling fan spider oscillating third wheel jealous…
fly in the suitcase, did I forget to pack oxygen?
my scatterbrains spilling out over my shoulder onto my shirt
so yours do not have to
the hydro company now buzzing
for you
out along the high wire
fly in my suitcase, let me ball up
my socks beside you
let customs ask their many inane questions, my friend,

no need to
answer.

June 23, 2015

editors note: The best plan; preserve your true love, packed, always present. Let those questions come… – mh clay


untitled by Contributing Poet Jesse Doughty

The heart should hang
always
from a high wire
in the elements
ready to slip
and fall
heavy
and
final
and burst
and trampled upon
even then
unnoticed
but
for some little mess
it leaves
on the bottoms
of strange
shoes.

June 22, 2015

editors note: Love is a no-net, high-wire act; big miss, big mess. Noticed only by janitorial staff – maybe. – mh clay


THE STORY WHICH NEVER GATHERED AGAIN by Tapeshwar Prasad

Inject ‘calm’
through sedative drops
to my blue veins
And
shield wounded core
holding hard
to my fragile life

Bemused
by the cough of life
bruises, caused
to lick those unspoken words

Night walrus
with tough wrinkled skin
along the long tusks
fought flippers whole of night
creepy and insane, till
the ‘day’,
broke me down:
Calm of space
and reigning clouds drifting around

Injecting calm
to the blue of sky,
the story which never gathered again!

June 21, 2015

editors note: Broken by denizen of deep? No story here… (goo, goo, gajoob) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then you’ve come to the right place ‘cos we got just the read to feed your need!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale "Ten Minutes and One Second" from longtime Contributing Writer Jim Meirose: "Think about how you articulate what you really love and want, and know that language fails every time, all time. Day-to-day, our words fail and all we have left are our actions, our passions, and what we leave for the ants to eat. "

Here's a couple minutes worth of "Ten Minutes and One Second":


King’s Dominion, July 28, 2009, 5:50 PM.

Sharp beaver claws and teeth gnawing, grasping; broad flat tails slapping.

They walked along on the crowded hot blacktop.

What a day we have had here don’t you think?

Yes—I’m pooped.

Gnaw—gnaw the wood. Must have wood. Must have lots of wood. Find wood.

Look—a Fudge and Fun stand. Want to have some?

The sun beamed down from low over the buildings across the way.

Oh yes—we need some dessert—here—here let’s walk in the shade it’s hot.

Logs vertical across the stream spaced apart; logs and branches horizontal between the logs tight from the bottom to the top to stop the water. Mud. Slap on mud.

One smirking, one frowning, they went toward the Fudge and Fun stand through the sun between the gaps in the shadows.

Come on! Let’s hurry before the stand closes—

All right.

Slap mud on the dam more sticks more twigs more mud good and tight the slap of the tail the water rising. The water rises spreading out and deeper. A pond forms quickly. Deeper, wider. They watch. But must gather sticks; must gather sticks and branches and brush for what’s next.

Reaching the stand, they joined the long line standing in the sun.

This line moves so slow—I hope they don’t close.

I know. Me too.

The line moved forward and they stepped into shadow.…


Get the rest of the minutes right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl at the NEW Absinthe Lounge this 1st Wednesday of July (aka July 1st) at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month now for OVER 10 years! This month we are featuring the dynamic musical duo of John Kelley & Stefan Prigmore!

After our feature set we urge you stick around to get yourself a spot on our list… first come, first on the list! Which means… get there early!

Come one, come all! Mad poets, musicians, actors, singers, circus freaks & other miscellaneous loco locals… come-n-strut-yo-stuff. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.

Mad Love,
Googily-Eyed Guy

P.S. If you can’t be here LIVE, you can view the whole show via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel! Just click here at 8:00pm (CST) and watch the mic madness swirlin’ live.

P.P.S. AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin’ madness. Here’s who we will be featuring next month:

August: PW Covington

•••••••

The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Livin' It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.20.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.20.15

“That's one of the great things about poetry; one realises that one does one's little turn - that you're just part of the great crop, as it were.” ~ Paul Muldoon

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Impulse” (above) by featured artist Paula “Pd” Lietz. To see more Mad works from Pd, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Mad Swirl is proud to bring back longtime Contributing Poet & Artist, Paula “Pd” Lietz. Pd isn’t a newcomer to our Mad Gallery (3x now), but she certainly keeps us excited each time we get to sneak a peek! This time around, we sense a loose theme – lots of wings & allusions to nature & trees. But like usual, Lietz’ anything but usual works is mysterious (a windshield with bullet holes… how? why?), and although presented through an array of mediums, we still catch a breath of the same chilling energy. Pd’s work really has a way of shaking you slightly – and yet it somehow leaves you wanting more. Check it out for yourself and see what kinds of questions arise for you… ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we rhymed sublime, survived to strive; we bridged the gaps, transcended loneliness with exclamation; we raved in rants for the (old folk's) right to dance; we jumped into the Hole of an ocean of soul; we lay languid and lazy, being honest and crazy; we swallowed the pills, jumped the abyss, calmed our ills to reach mental bliss. Better living through poetry! ~ MH Clay


Side-Effects: A Sonnet by Tom Hall

When the psychiatric Chorus yearns to learn,
The answers to questions for mind pain, so far,
Well intentioned treatments are slowly adjourned,
When probability falls within the bell jar.

Never so uncertain as when dispensing pills,
And conjured up cures come in percents.
That the tiny tablets we swallow when ill,
Reveal side-effective supplements.

Know the sum of these might irritate,
as they spark to soothe the troubled mind.
Regurgitating, hallucinating, even organs mutilate,
Trembling hands and eyes caught in the blinds.

So ask for help – step in the abyss.
Cause you never know what you might miss

June 20, 2015

editors note: Beneath the bell or in the blinds, observation imposes control. Step out and step in! (We welcome Tom to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of Tom’s madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay


A Little Crazy by Kathy Lohrum Cotton

in those days
on the psych ward
where everyone was
a little crazy
she was happy, she says

it was the pure honesty of it
everyone easy about
being off-center
a relief to be herself

now, on the wide outside
of locked windows and doors
she says she doesn’t know
who to be
in this other world
where everyone works
so hard to hide
being a little crazy.

June 19, 2015

editors note: Okay to be off-center in the heart o’ the Swirl. Here, all are welcome; crazy boy and (this) crazy girl. – mh clay


MY SOUL by Chiranjibi Niroula

My soul would be a rock,
It wouldn’t give me a throbbing pain,
And I wouldn’t shed tears,
As the mother who lost her warrior son in a snare,
It wouldn’t feel the reflective ache of raped girl,
Nor it would get the twinge of bereaved persons
Who lost their kith in the war!

My eyes would be sightless,
I wouldn’t see the injustice,
I wouldn’t see the torture of the weak,
Nor I would glare at the imbalance of power of people,
I think I would feel the sameness,
In the stride of my voyage,

My ears would be deaf,
I wouldn’t hear the story of pain,
Nor I would be listening to explosions
On women and children,

My soul would be white snow.
I would be a glacier
and stay at the peak tops,
Where explorers would make an account of greatness,
I would be cleansing the filth,
From the acme to the chasm,
The world would be anew
with unique hotness and coldness.

My soul would be an ocean,
I would play with the Blue Whale,
I would bring a different Tsunami,
I would take off the prejudice under me,
That never would come up again!

My ear would be the Black Hole,
I would have all the dirty games assassinated.
The world would be an Eden,
Let my soul be the Black Hole,
Let my soul be an ocean!

June 17, 2015

editors note: Yes! Rock my soul in this bosom; bring a new “hotness and coldness” to this world. – mh clay


White Hairs Dance the Zambra by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Who might have thought that white hairs,
With thinning scalps, could prove old crowns more precious
Than downy, babies’ heads?

Why would wrinkled rapscallions dare thump castanets,
Or dance Fandango, Siguiriyas, Son Jarocho, maybe Zambra,
Instead of sipping soda on the sideline?

Where in the world would faded recollections,
Along with tarnished memories, vibrate like mighty throstles
Among crab apple blossoms?

What’s wrong when our populous lets lock-
Downs be governed by pejoratives, by rigid pigeon-holes,
Perhaps also stupid typecasts?

June 16, 2015

editors note: Heads up, Young’uns! Sit this’n out and let some senior Swirlers show you a thing or two. – mh clay


Loneliness by Bhargab Chatterjee

Luminous cantilever bridge connects
Between the two edges of night.
How does light travel faster than me
When she is a wintry night?

The broken fossil stone
Nakedly shows the impression
That resembles a Brahmi script on a stupa.
Moths of darkness
Incongruously flock around me
And groan like chanting Pali hymns.

On the other side of luminosity
Forgotten foot-steps rock.
Heavy moments fall
From the dilapidated wall
Like tired voices over my phone.

Packs of handshakes,
Skinny smiles,
Profound stammers,
Robust whims,
Sticky glances

Perniciously define me on a podium.

Now I play an important role. I have to teach people with illustrations on
How to stand on a podium balancing on the two feet – light and darkness.

Two entities
Are two schools of architecture
That integrate.

Energy and mass remain constant
In the roadside car-park.

Migratory waits,
Since early Stone Age
Blow horn
When we meet in her neighborhood’s café.

At the coffee table
Every “!”
Proves the limit of our freedom.

June 15, 2015

editors note: More “!”, more freedom. No limits! – mh clay


REDEMPTION by Thomas L. Holderfield

I was cast out upon a gray whale-dotted sea
amidst rolling waves from a storm-wrought breeze.
Upon a floating piece of ship’s debris I did seize
and paddled my way toward a green isle of trees.

Upon the sandy shore I made my tired way
and thanked God for giving me another day.
I would survive this trial; I’d find a way!
And when I was found I’d know what to say.

Thank you, Lord, for letting me survive
and not only that but actually to thrive!
The mere fact that I am still somehow alive
is reason enough to do my best and strive…

Strive to be a better man, a better lover
and not to seek excuses and run for cover.
Always around my wife and child will I hover.
Who knows what together we may discover?

June 14, 2015

editors note: Thank your lord or fate or chance. Make life and love from happenstance. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good! We got just the tune for ya'!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale "THE WEDDING SINGER" from longtime Contributing Writer Carl Kavadlo: "What to do when you live a life deep in madness? Well, you profit, of course."

Here's a few notes to get the tune stuck in your gourd:

photo by Tyler Malone

Frankie Mann operated a small, Brooklyn music office. He often hired a junkie sax player named Freddie. Frankie’s father, Mambo, was a gangster down in Florida. He financed Frankie as a front. He also used a fat singer named Peter Vallone, who told jokes, usually with an Italian accent.

Now Doctor Frankel stared kindly at Brown. Frankel sat erect in his chair. The speaker went on. “It’s their wedding night. They”re in the mother”s house in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The guy has four toes missing on his left foot. The bride, who he sometimes calls Maria, sometimes calls Josephina, comes running into her mother’s room. The old man had died a year ago and supposedly they never slept together, the bride and groom; and they never even disrobed. Maria shouts, “Mama, Mama. Ah Gino! He’s got a foot and a half.” The mother says, “Ah, you wait here, baby, and I go in and I talk to him!” And right at the punch line, when I”m about to strike the bass drum to accent the humor, this drunken guitar player Carmelo Lugo, half Italian, half Puerto Rican, the worst mixture of those two hot blooded races, kicks a hole in my bass drum, God Damn it, and says, “Mother fucker, you missed a cue on an earlier Jobim bossa nova and screwed up my solo!” Ironically, the song was called So Nice.”

Doctor Frankel continued to look kindly…


Can't just stop there, could ya? Well don't miss another beat, get the rest of your read on here!

•••••••

The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Sowin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.13.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.13.15

“The work of art is a scream of freedom.” ~ Christo

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Technicolor Thought” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we attempted an atomic bond, bombed instead; we succumbed (again) to the suck of love's swirl (you could have stepped back, girl); we searched to secure sure love with elusive verse; we omitted invitation for an elderly aunt with a condescending rant; we found a flash of memory to crash in a thunder of tears; we created some talk on the talk of creation; we flipped through frequencies on our dial of memories. Read to remember; write to dream. ~ MH Clay

Mementos
by Kenneth P. Gurney

Paul reached into his curiosity
for a chocolate chip cookie
but found a bicuspid the tooth faerie dropped
back when he was six or seven.

Paul placed the recovered memories
of being six or seven
in a box in the basement
without sorting them in any manner.

Somehow, this liberated a small pair
of sky blue flip-flop sandals
that tracked nineteen sixties beach sand
across the living room carpet.

And the echo of playgrounds passed
kept coming out of the speakers
when the radio tuner glided passed
ninety-eight point six on the dial.

editors note: Savor those stations on your memory dial. Save the sand in your pockets. (We’re glad to see this mad missive from Kenneth, a long time Contributor to the Swirl. Read another memento from him on his page; about fire and a kicking cow – check it out.) – mh clay

June 13, 2015


art
by Carl Kavadlo

creating it is always
fresh.

talking about it is always
stale.

editors note: Still, a breath mint before speaking attempts the illusion. – mh clay

June 12, 2015


Thunder
by Brittany Zedalis

those days spent gliding through the streets
rubber on concrete and distant laughter
with the sun bearing down on our backs
you once told me you loved me
on a trip to an infamous amusement park
shortly before your sickness began
we saw funny hats and there were no long faces
then it came like a landslide
your steps grew slower and each breath more hoarse
and on a night where the sky opened wide
the rain fell like thunderous sorrow
your smile echoed through my screaming soul

editors note: We are the thunder, heard after Death’s lightning strike. (We welcome Brittany to our crazy congress of Contributing poets with this submission. Read more of her madness, including another new one, seeking sparks, on her new page – check it out!) – mh clay

June 11, 2015


REQUEST
by Stefanie Bennett

My love, best not invite
The dowager again
This Easter.
Realise how
Such an incessant
Conversationalist
Will have
The bone china
Reheat its fare,
The flue
Choke yellow,
And the pennyroyal
Cry foul.

And, come nightfall, she’ll
Sup and marinate
The marquee
Into a ballroom;
Fan raised
Warding off
Attackers…

Mark my words,
The agitation
Of the Un-merry Widow
Won’t stop there.

editors note: Change the locks, pull the shades; better house empty than upended. – mh clay

June 10, 2015


Spatial
by Sheikha A.

The carnival is long gone
and I’m still waiting in line

to buy me a love poem
by poets who still remember

what these are; can it be spoken
about dreams that bore your face

or ought they best be buried
in code in poetry I should learn

to master the art of divulging
without really telling;

or should I speak eloquently
without slipping over my words

with the tongue of a tot
clumsy but of what you manage

to hear, believe the words
since they may be like fragments

on sand hard to recover,
but they’ll carry waves of the air

unseen, without definite form
but complete like the night

that never shows without a moon.

editors note: A pome booth, like kisses for a dollar? No! More – special. – mh clay

June 9, 2015


Swirl on Repeat
by Nilanka Maldeniya

Done with the promises
pitch it to me all you want
not going down that rabbit hole
or looking glass
or whatever other magical doors.
Stop just stop
the tears
the stories
the fireworks just ain’t
worth
the thrill of the ride
into the vortex of chaos.
At least some lessons learned
that last time
though always ready
to crumble like sandcastles at the tide
as memories of us in our own private shell
reel me back to the edge of that mad swirl
when I should have known to step back
from you.

editors note: More of love’s caprice; titillation and torture. Step up, step up. – mh clay

June 8, 2015


Inevitable
by Scott Thomas Outlar

A nuke for a lover
strapped on tight
going deep
into spaces that mutate
around the smoky edges
of a mushroom head
that pushes and pushes
until it wins
every time

editors note: Ah, capricious love! He went for fusion; got fission, instead. (We welcome Scott to our conspiratorial confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay

June 7, 2015

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then, we got just the read for that need!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale ”Clinical" by Michelle D'costa: "Each one of us is a product in so many horrible ways. Just because you’re born, you’ll die. Your very blood is spiked with failure and all sorts of folly and insanity. Know that, believe that, and make the most of it. Live, dammit. Live!"

Here's a taste to tease you with:


My Mom was the first candidate to be subjected to those medicines. It wasn’t voluntary. We had no choice. I was tied to my imaginary chair, hands tied behind my back. Can’t I stop them?

As a child, Mom had protected me from any harm, when a neighbor boy had bitten my arm, she told me I didn’t deserve this and that I had to fight back.

Now she can’t fight them, so I should, right?

It began with a slight twitch in her eye. Then when I asked her about it, it irked her.

She said, “Why does everyone bother about my twitch? As if I can’t handle a little twitch.”

Those words didn’t strike me as odd. But when she had taken tweezers to pry out her eye because of the twitch, a month later I knew something was wrong. But not everything had gone wrong, not yet, anyway.

She then said, “Voices made me do it. They made me feel guilty for having the twitch for so long.”

I took her to the clinic, to them. They said she would be taken care of.

I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have…


Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Blog •••


MH Clay, Mad Swirl's Poetry Editor extraordinaire with that madman flair is globetrottin' and is sharing his overseas affairs! Check out his "An Editor Abroad" blog series where we find him fully immersed in the poetic waters of the Poetry International Festival 2015 in Rotterdam. Give it a look-see for yourself right here AND here!

•••••••

The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Screamin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.07.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.06.15

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” ~ Bill Moyers

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“In Lightened” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we nipped never in its blundered bud; we arrested the processional of an immigrant professional; we upheld the perdition of self-definition; we ordered universal ambivalence alphabetically; we raged at the injustice of meter winks and the drone who enforces, but never thinks; we bypassed enough to have more, then nothing; we tried to snatch now from the ultimate snatcher. Time is what we have, what we spend and what will tell in the end. ~ MH Clay

PREDATOR

For winter’s twisted trees there is no escape.
The Earth turns, no longer at the centre,
A mere speck in the sandstorm,
The sun knowing what power is, unlike
Those under a warm comfort of snow.
Trees writhe, oblivion short lived
As the agony begins and roots stretch.
Icicles slowly die, drip by drip.
The distorted trees squirm, the thrash
Of each bud, the struggle to stay asleep.
The sun, relentless, hammers the heat
Into shape, jerks the worm from its bed,
Pulls flowers apart, rips the clouds
Wide open, summer’s tears weeping
Over leaves and sheaves of wheat
By the shade of spent trees
Buying time until autumn.

- Derrick Gaskin : June 6, 2015

editors note: Time wrests Now from our grasps. Hold tightly or relax grip; this predator devours all. (Read another mad missive from Del on his page; a bit o’ star gazing – check it out.) – mh clay


Rapier (In Protest of Fracking)

Injected venom shoots
through her veins
daggers shove deep

in soft folds of belly
Womb scraped
then scrapped

tainted and splintered
take all her honey
drain her of lifeblood

Still, thrust deeper
Frack her and fuck her
Mine her and maim her

Smother her screams
till quakes are her cries
and death is her dream

- Sharon Frye : June 5, 2015

editors note: We just won’t stop until enough is all gone. (Read another mad missive from Sharon on her page about the OKC Bombing – check it out.) – mh clay


10 pm. Stopped. Frisked.

One Man cries I Am I Am
in ecstasy and terror
as the Lord cried
to Moses. Three men
decline to listen
ignoring a sensibility
behind prophesy. A nearby
parking meter winks
metallically on a lightless
street corner. Witnessing
nothing. Glittering
after dark. Stands
like a watch
-tower going senile
totteringly decadent
on duty to collect
poised to pinch
the nickels and dimes
the irrevocable fines
the regular tariffs
blind to the charges of citizenship.

- Darryl Lorenzo Wellington : June 4, 2015

editors note: Nice! Dylan said this, too, “Don’t follow leaders – Watch the parkin’ meters” (We welcome Darryl to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


Zeno’s Quest for Zero (an ABC Poem)

Avowedly bold celestial
Dabblers
Error faithfully.
Gnostic hounds
Inspire jesting.
Knowledge lures metaphysicians. Nurtures other people.
Queries rage strong.
The universe,
Vying wisdom,
Xenophobically yields zeros.

- Mike Fiorito : June 3, 2015

editors note: We don’t count in the universal tally? That celestial opinion amounts to zero by mine! – mh clay


my philosophy

I am simple
aye, I am simple
and the half of everything
can remit my ardour
I am a boat made of paper
half sunk and half lofty
and I have dreamt and dreamt
not once
of existing
and not existing
purgatorial essence
is the essence that defines me
an arch-angel
an arch-fiend
nay I am not avoiding thee
O thee who are besieging me
thee who defines faithfulness
By mere presence
and thou who shout
“what a crime
What a crime”
When someone sees beauty
In a marvel
that is half lame
and half sublime
What a nonsense!
My philosophy is not thine
I am my own definition
I am mine
I am mine

– ilhem issaoui : June 2, 2015

editors note: Self-definition; divine, not defiant. – mh clay


SYLVIA

woman in her parlor.
legs pressed together,
arms folded

framed document on the wall,
a degree in dentistry

speaks with a thick accent,
reads newspapers in Croatian

she wants to practice but can’t get certified,
so she cleans hotel rooms,
up before dawn,
tired by midday

her eyes are red with bloody dust,
her hands are gravel rough

any more sitting, thinking,
and she’d be tight and thin
and hard as a drill-bit

so sometimes,
she sits before the mirror,
tilts her head back,
tells herself to open wide

- John Grey : June 1, 2015

editors note: We don’t make it easy here. Getting that job pulling teeth can be harder than pulling teeth. – mh clay


Tragicomedy

Your need
Is my need
Is not
Our need
Or not need now
If ever
No
I can’t say never
Was it you
I thought I knew?
All that murk
We blundered through –
Youth, inexperience, no common language,
Adrift in seas of unplumbable depth –
And now, on the shore,
I take step after step.
Don’t look back, I think.
What was, is not.
And yet,
I can’t forget
What might never have been.

- Ann B-D : May 31, 2015

editors note: Step lightly or blunder boldly; need never, but does. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Do you need a read really baa-aa-aa-d? As long as you're not kidding us right now, we got just the one that will get your goat!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale ”Getting My Goat" by Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White: "Sometimes, love is b-a-a-a-a-a-a-d, but sometimes the mess is just what we need."

Here's a taste to tease you with:

photo by Tyler Malone

Long ago I had the bittersweet pleasure of briefly sharing my domicile with an unforgettable being. I had cohabited with cats all my life, yet I never would have envisioned myself the owner of a goat. The word owner doesn’t exactly apply. Not regarding these recalcitrant ruminants. Nor perhaps is it valid for any living creature, unruly or otherwise. Whatever the case, no one really owned Gilbert, apart from himself.

“The Americanism ‘to get one’s goat’ means to reduce a person to frustration and rage,” as well as “to annoy to the point of provoking an action or outburst.” How true that appropriate proverb was to prove!

Getting back to Gilbert, he had smooth sleek hair of a lovely shade of brown that took on a copper tone when shone on in the sun. There were discreet white markings extending over his lean body all the way to his short perky tail. His angular countenance often bore a dewy, contemplative, deceptively docile expression. Thus his appearance could lull one into a dangerous state of relaxed trust, an attitude that turned out time and again to be disastrous. Ah, with such a persuasive visage as Gilbert’s a human could quite likely conquer the universe!

Crowning this noble demeanor were delicately curved horns, alas and alack, for like all members of his particular mammal family he had indomitable impulses to butt with them from behind, not to mention in front— there would be the warning, if one knew him, of that espiègle look in his eyes and the set of his posture, after which, following in speedy succession, would come the charge.

As for his distinctive smell, apropos of its mephitic reputation, I did not find this pungent odor offensive. In all honesty, I came to love Gilbert. And his aroma was part and parcel of his nature— a nature bedevilingly full of contradictions— both beautiful and beastly, endearing and infuriating, also wise, quick-witted, shrewd (a genius at getting his way), as well as exhibiting obtuseness to the point of absurdity (or did he just play dumb, as I always suspected?)— all at the same time.

Anyhow, I shall leave such half-grokked analyses for scholars of these matters and proceed to relate some of his peculiarities and the incidents that marked that epoch of his and my shared history.

Did that taste grab ewe by your scruff? Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness! We were Skype’n, UStream’n, and word around the Lounge, Periscopin’ too! Why all this video streamin’? We needed to get the Emerald Isle closer to Dallas because we featured Irish Poet Brendan McCormack! And what a feature it was…

As Swirve started their jazzy madness, the crowd found their way into and filled the VIP lounge with their heads boppin’ and their fingers snappin’. As the last notes were fading away, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay dropped the movie screen (aka a white sheet hung over a pipe), turned on the camera & projector, and opened up the stage to the mad man across the pond, Brendan Mc Cormack. As his image swayed in the A/C breeze, it was quite reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz. Brendan’s booming voice and Irish brogue, those who witnessed this electric and eclectictic show were mesmorized. If you were there, you know what we mean. If not, well… your loss. But no worries, you can still view it on our Mad Swirl UStream channel.

After a brief intermission, the mic got opened up to the mad ones who filled the Lounge and what a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music ensued! Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

(to view more mad mic pics from Scott Wayne McDaniel, please click here)

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay
Chris Zimmerly

Feature:
Brendan McCormack

Mad Cast:
Victory
Roderick Richardson
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Dan Evans
Suza Hep Kat Mama
BA
Kristine Jessup
CJ Critt
Tamitha Curiel
Kelly Cheek
Holiday
David Crandall

HUGE thanks to Swirve (Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks, and Tamitha Curiel) for keeping the beat til the wee hours of the night. We got taken to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin Christensen, owner of Absinthe Lounge, who has given 125 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!

We look forward to ALL the m-adventures to come! Stay tuned for...

July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore
August: PW Covington

•••••••

The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Piercin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

5.30.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.29.15

“If a guy's got it, let him give it.” ~ Benny Goodman

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Now” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we met a man mole with an ass whole; we remembered our fallen, furled in flags; we reminisced on Summer's bliss; we watched moon preside o'er night's demise; we turned away from Winter's tug to recall Autumn, warm and snug; we snatched at strings from apron to kite; we bought a book of words to rhyme with life. A wondrous week of remembrances, written to make us strong. ~ MH Clay

OCCURRENCE IN THE BOOKSHOP

for a very long time
i wanted to have a dictionary of synonymous words
simple reason – i want to know more
and it offers you an opportunity to speak just like you’re castin’ a spell

and so
few days ago
i visit a bookshop
and while wandering there
i see the book i wanted for so long:
Caravanskiy’s Practical Dictionary of Synonyms,
Fourth Edition.

And so i take this book
and go to the salesgirl

and she looks just like i feel:
– pencil skirt
– BJ-specs
– no bra
(but i saw the book called “Bra” near her)
And she smiles to me A LOT
in different manners:
– mock smile, shy smile, grateful smile, playful smile
and this famous enigmatic smirk
– she smiles so much – you can draw a study of smiling from her

– she has this strange presence
you know – something in her style that shows me
– there must be a Pulp song in the air

so i give her the book –
and she says:
“one moment, i’ll go to the backroom and look for another copy…”
She goes there
and resumes the conversation:

“…You know,
years ago –
when i was in high school –
i hated dictionaries
and always tried to tear them to pieces
and then kindly reassemble them into something more pleasant to me
you know – chaos reigns”

and i say “yeah, i know that”

and she laughs and returns from the backroom with another copy
and continues talking while holding the book before me:

“you know –
i still think
they make you go in circles
instead of moving forward –
i know it’s not my business
but i can have a certain kind of influence on your vocabulary experience…”

And so she takes a bottle with a blow-gun
and perfumes the book with some dizzy flavor

And then she gives it to me and says “Have fun”
indeed i have – A LOT –
I can’t flip a page without smelling it
and gettin’ really dizzy.

BUT i think it’s all right.

Now reading this dictionary is like diving
You need to hold your breath
You have a very limited amount of time
And you need to stay very focused –
You need to get to the point – period.

And somehow she knew i needed it.
I guess she got it just by looking in my eyes.

Nevertheless,
Another tremendous achievement of the kindness of strangers.
A weird manifestation of concern and care.

- Volodymyr Bilyk : May 30, 2015

editors note: Here’s to the joy of continuing education – and book shop smiles. (We welcome Volodymyr to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


CHAN

Chan chain smoked Camels.
He wore Aqua Velva.
He loved Bebop Jazz.
He was a Marine.
He fought in The Battle of Guadalcanal.
He used to fuck my mother.
My mother was a cunt.
Chan taught me how to fly a kite.

– Larry Jones : May 29, 2015

editors note: A father figure to fly above mommy issues. – mh clay


AUTUMN

The leaves sail away.
Time skirts by, spilling over the cracks where
blankness gathers in the bruised cuts.
I start to roll an extra skin upon my flesh,
shaking yellow and gold specks torn out of the sycamore boughs,
flinging the tail ends into dispersed air.
Neither wild veins of winter
nor clover-scented grass take refuge in my bones,
but the startling cold carts off the promise of early autumn warmth
that would draw relief across the nearly frozen pond.
Breaths become tinged with plumes of white cotton,
bleak and dry,
scarfing over the back of my neck
as the last dregs of summer melt into the limbs,
the inner barks, the perennial roots.
Pearl droplets with newly formed shells dance across my head,
coast on pale wings.
I sense and hear the raw congealing,
like fractured earth hardens over shaky ground–
my ankles wade low in transcendental drifts,
where, from their chill-bound delicate turns –
faint, fluttery strains of the autumnal song
yearning for a sunflower summer.

– Lana Bella : May 28, 2015

editors note: Let warm recall thaw frozen bones in impending winter’s now. – mh clay


Sunrise after the Solstice

the stars are gone with the black

without a trace
without footprints to follow

where they fly

starlings are already bright at their perch
singing spells to raise the casing of day

watercolors, salmon and pink, paint
impressions of mountains and cloud-scapes

dreams waiting to be awakened and real

nearby, lumbering shadows flee my room
deserting to the silent hallway

soon, the sun will intercede
the sky be crowned

pure, firm, fearless like fire wild

and there, the slivered Moon, once her own
glory will lose her iridescence

yet, stay at her post

as if she were called to be matron
the sun’s sole pale attendant

– Michael Parker : May 27, 2015

editors note: The daily duel; sun triumphant, subservient moon. – mh clay


Summer pome

My summer pome,
like sunlight off the pavement
hurtin your eyes,
but the trees are singing
and kids in the park
playing ball
and smoking
like mad.
Sometimes I remember
so much about my life
that it seems I’ve
been alive
forever,
always wanting
to start over
or at least
with different memories
and such.

And despite everything
I think it’s possible
to be free and easy,
like bugs and grass stains,
if you believe
in nothing
you’ve ever heard
and just go.

– Bud Faust : May 26, 2015

editors note: Dealing from a deck of shuffled memories; every hand, a new beginning. – mh clay


Johnny Never Came Marching Home Again

Johnny never came marching home again

But he did return.

He arrived in a box with a star spangled​
and blood striped flag, draped with care.

When Johnny didn’t come marching home again (so long, so long)
They gave him a funeral welcome then (so long, so long)…


​A warrior’s funeral.​
​Complete with a 21 gun salute,
​a lonesome rendition of ​
Taps, and a
​finely folded​
consolation flag. The same flag that came draped on Johnny’s
​coffin.

The boys held back tears, the men stood tall,
The ladies, one by one they called​…​


They mentioned Johnny’s name on the news.
They remembered his life and honored his memory.
They said they would always remember their hometown hero.
They all felt the loss

when Johnny didn’t come marching home.

Johnny didn’t enlist to be a cog in the great war machine.
​But he knew the ultimate price
​might have to be paid
when he raised his right hand and said:

“I, Johnny Citizen, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

​When his Country called, he did his duty.
With a lump in his throat and with pride on his side,
Johnny went off to ​fight.

Let reverence and remembrance reign this day (so long, so long)
Remember the ultimate sacrifices made (so long, so long)…​


He prayed.
​​
He prayed every day he awoke alive,
and doubly so at night,
to live to fight another day​, so help him God.

God was there on Johnny’s lips as he took his final breaths.
​So were the fading memories of home.
So were mom and dad.
So were brother and sister.
So were friends and lovers.

And so was this final scene –

​A warrior’s funeral.​
​Complete with a 21 gun salute,
​a lonesome rendition of ​
Taps, and a
​finely folded​
consolation flag.

This is what Johnny saw as he looked up
at foreign skies.

He never asked why.
He knew this was his time.
​He knew this was his duty.
Johnny said his last prayer
and his final goodbyes.
​No fanfare, no fame.
Just another life given,
a sacrifice made
in ​this deadly game
named ​
freedom.​

So may we do our patriotic part (so long, so long)
Be grateful and thankful for this warrior’s heart (so long, so long)…

And remember the meaning of this day,
When all the Johnny’s didn’t come marching home.


- Johnny Olson : May 25, 2015

editors note: Here’s to the day when no new boxes come home, no new flags are draped and folded, no new tears are wrenched from newly aching hearts. Thanks to Johnny O for these Memorial words! May we learn, at last, to practice war no more. – mh clay


CU@909

*[Enter a] Laid back “Chia-Pet” from way back… (Face plant)
I ate off of con men like “no trade back” place mats.

From Gabe’s moon’s orbit to dark projects morbid
there’s no forfeit.
“…Get absorbent or get to being corpses…”
I’m as horrid as foreign… Check the pass portage.

“Call security Doug!”
(No part’s part of your club.)

If I was made in Taiwan, my guidon would fly on
a pillar of “hi Moms,” Micro minded. (Mental ion)

I’m on, but not on my own shit, like shape shift
Grendel flies.
…Single minded…
“Nay say and intake eight dicks!”

I can see they hate this…
…can’t fade this… (No chop shop)
Eraser faces get nibbled on like hot wings or pork chops.

(Ride on by at 9:09.)
“My oh my… Why oh why?!?”

*Animal farm [and] Caesar’s got a clever trying to dine on swine.

My life story’s an allegory
and so gory. [It’s] Animorphing.
(After forming)
I’m left to find the room to make them ambulatory.

I’ve got every piece flat of my bright orange race track.
Even the round-about that I stole from the kid around the way. (Man…)

…In other words I’m all in…

[I] Missed the boat but crawled in…
…Doggy paddled my way passed my grave
while greased wheels spin.
I low fived Poseidon.
*Ray Liotta style
“Good looking out though…”

My name isn’t Johnny but the pipes keep calling me out though.
*Lifted (also)
*Smashing high notes (like I was an alto.)

“…The tight rope’s far from parallel.” (I’ll be damned if I fall though…)

“This shit sucks!”
[It] Grasps at straws like greedy love birds…

“Gather girly!”
*[Enter] the rather burly fury of Mother Hubbard

*Expose the gun show
(with romance novel structure –
– I’d prefer to keep the main attraction under covers –
– to tickle imaginations)
Imagine your infatuation.
You probably picture me as an amber jaded animation.

Slice antiquated magazines for jagged placement
[of] collaged features, just don’t expect any affirmation.

I’m a virtuous patient staying patient because it’s a virtue.
I’ll hurry up and wait, nod along like I really heard you,
ignore the curse clues and even except the absurd, too.
(Just don’t ask me to accept that my life decisions concern you.)

There’s not a piece of me that will reside peacefully
in a scenery as passive as the greenery.

Equally, I feel a fool while out of touch,
being a black smudge and throwing my hands up.
(half drunk)

Passed what was once my goals.
Passed my prime (passed warm) like ash coals.

[I have] A past, cold.
[I] look like a man. (With a crab’s soul.)
“Ass hole?” – I’m a whole ass that laughs bold.

“Mole man?” I’m deeper then Marilyn Monroe’s
mole.

[I’m] A man mole living deeper then you’re daring to go.
[I’m a] Cave creature wearing a skull that’s apparently gold.
[Wielding] An obsidian limb conditioned to carry and hold.
*Wave it at the prime meridians of invalids (who go –
too far from their homeland of “do what you’re told.”)
I’m outlandish.
[I’m] Proud actions mixed with passion.

If you get to clashing, I’ll get my can of whoop-ass and
chug deep.

*Punch meat (like Rocky Tiger Eyes.)
…Hit you where my lighter lies and leave you seeing stars like fireflys.

“’Bout time to retire”
*I pack up my crops in a box
(I call them props and load them up on a packing mule or an ox)

- Vincent Olson : May 24, 2015

editors note: A lot to pack in a box here; crazy meandering ox here. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? "Echoes" by A.K. Sartor sure packs quite the emotional punch in just under 1,000 words.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "The last person on the planet will still look at a dead black telephone and hope it won’t ring, and that’s happiness."

Here's a couple hundred bites to tease you with:

photo by Tyler Malone

Ralph got the phone call around 3:00 pm. The sun was at that place in the sky where it always seemed to hit his eyes the hardest. He had gone inside to take the call, a welcome relief from the afternoon heat. The relief didn’t last long. The voice was dripping with prepackaged compassion, and the official tone made the message seem all the more empty. After hanging up, there was nothing he could do but walk back into the heavy summer air waiting for him outside.

Ralph went to the front of his barn, which seemed so big and empty. Bales of stacked hay loomed over the entrance-way like somber prison guards. He began to intently pace the aisles, unsure what he was looking for, but sure it was there, somewhere. The pens were vacant, the wood rotted. He tried to remember the last time he heard a noise in the barn, a sign of vibrant life. He could not. Traces of the animals remained; food troughs with scattered feed left clinging to the corners, stains on the floor that never quite got wiped up, stray hairs and clumps of fur that obstinately stuck to the gates.

Ralph looked up into the rafters. The barn seemed so tall, so hollow—like an ancient cathedral, a taunting reminder of the faith he had lost. Not even a crow cawed in the dusty gloom. This was not the barn he had once seen as his refuge. It couldn’t be, and it never would be again.

As he left the darkness of the barn, Ralph cringed against the glare of the sun, lifting a weathered hand in front of his face. He began walking, past the fields of lonely horses and angry cows, past the future miscreants of neighbor children, past the dirt road that went to nowhere.

He stopped at the simmering and stagnating pond, staring at the algae growing on top—a cruel imitation of life. Mosquitoes and gnats swarmed the area, transforming the pond into a toxic zone; like a vat of boiling acid rather than the peaceful body of water it had once been. The stones lining the pond resembled death row prisoners waiting for their execution, peering in, searching for the ones who had gone before them.

“Mr. Martin?”…

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl at the NEW Absinthe Lounge this 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.03.15) at 8:00 sharp, when we Swirlers & Swirve will whirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month now for OVER 10 years! This month we are featuring Irish poet, writer, & McMad man, Brendan McCormick (via Skype)! If you haven’t had the pleasure to catch Brendan on the Crazy-Frantic-Transatlantic-Mad Swirl-Up’s we’ve done in the past, you are in for quite the McTreat! To say the quality of craic is gonna be thru the roof is an understatement…

After our feature set we urge you stick around to get yourself a spot on our list… first come, first on the list! Which means… get there early!

Come one, come all! Mad poets, musicians, actors, singers, circus freaks & other miscellaneous loco locals… come-n-strut-yo-stuff. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.

Mad Love,
Googily-Eyed Guy

P.S. If you can’t be here LIVE, you can view the whole show via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel! Just click here at 8:00pm (CST) and watch the mic madness swirlin’ live.

P.P.S. AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin’ madness. Here’s who we will be featuring next month:

July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore
August: PW Covington

•••••••

The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Givin' It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

5.23.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.23.15

“Although idea and form are ultimately paramount in my work, so too are chance, accident, and rawness.” ~ Martin Puryear

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Radiance in Blue” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we wound up words in Wednesday, recounting lost love; we sought celebrity in multi-colored constructs; we floated faith in the failure of scholarship; we indulged an elderly recall of life lived before flesh's fall; we acquiesced (to a teacher's fit) with grammar stressed (not lighted, but lit); we tripped to a time, technologically enabled, of talking dogs in a Faustian fable; we spoke, unheard, into Time's black hole. No light, but what we say. No life, but what we pay. Our words are wealth untold. - MH Clay

A conversation with TIME

Time looks at me
for a long, uncomfortable while
turns its head and spits
quasar star-birth, black hole words,
language as a road map through existence.

I say I ain’t got no place to go,
that it hasn’t happened yet,
which is the truth from where I’m looking.

He reads me back my lines,
nothing has ever happened
you aren’t even here, and I am not this.

But, that’s not what I say, I say,
and it’s never been heard.

- Tom Pescatore : May 23, 2015

editors note: Can’t win this debate. Best keep those questions rhetorical! (We welcome Tom to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page.) – mh clay


Two Thousand Sixty

While digging in the backyard one day
Faust’s dog Clyde, dug up a funky old box.
A time capsule from the year
Two thousand fifteen appeared.
In it was a primitive smart phone.
“What hast thou done, Dog Clyde?
Hast thou dug up the past with thy digging?
What say thee?”
“Nothin”, replied Clyde

As he examined that funky old piece of junk
He came upon the following observation.
“Back forty five years ago
The phones couldn’t grow
Arms and legs on them.
They couldn’t scratch your back,
Drive your car, do the laundry,
Do the cooking, do your homework,
Curse you out for being stupid
Wow the ladies,
Pat’em on the butt for you,
None of the above things
How could the people live under
Such primitive conditions?”

Dog Clyde replied,
“See thee, Master Faust,
Technological plateaus force their
Own redevelopment when
Advancement becomes obligatory.”
“Huh?” replied Master Faust.

– Robert L. Martin : May 22, 2015

editors note: Is this pathetic, or prophetic? Gonna name my dog Clyde, just in case. – mh clay


let there be light

One lousy packet exchange
and I knew it was going to be
a long semester;
he busted my ass for writing
“lighted a cigarette”—

“it’s lit,” he wrote. “lit!” “lit!” “lit!”

For whatever reason
this really seemed to piss him off,
perhaps he was having
a bad day,
problems with the wife
or maybe my short story
had put him in a foul mood.

I thought about standing
my ground,
telling him that Patricia Highsmith,
whom I admired
a hell of a lot more than him,
often used
“lighted a cigarette”—

But I didn’t want to start any shit
with the guy;
what with student loans and all
he pretty much had me
by the balls.

So I changed every
“lighted” to “lit”
per his request,
printed up the revised copy
and slid it in a 9×12
manila envelope.

Then I kicked back
on the sofa,
cracked open a cold beer
and
lighted a cigarette.

– Ben Newell : May 21, 2015

editors note: Editor’s eye-candy, this. Ben tossed us this tasty bone – we bighted. – mh clay


Seasons Within

“But I’m only contemplating…leave me alone.”
she whispered.
Pulling the old, comforting shawl closer
about her salt & peppered hair.
The aching pain became almost unbearable
each second they stood there watching.
She started to rock back and fore, cross-legged
upon the cold, wooden floorboards.
She closed her eyes and listened to the cello’s
playing mournfully within her veins of blue.
Felt the tickle and rustling of the tiny empty nest
perched delicately inside her heart
as the biting winds of her conscience brushed by.
Her brain had long ago given up
upon the agony/humble puzzle…and was instead
busy weaving lengths of longing
into fishnets for catching daydreaming stars.
Temper caught nicely and finally nailed beneath her
as the owl of her soul blinked its eyes slowly
and started recounting the oak ring circles
of the many different Seasons Within.

© 2015

- Paul Tristram : May 20, 2015

editors note: Rotations, rings, recollections; the older the owl, the more to remember. – mh clay


Surfacing

I wade into the waves, wondering
if Columbus was right. I lie
back, arms splayed, give myself over
to nature and the possibility the scholars
are still wrong. I exhale, and my body becomes
weightless, relaxed. I believe the waves will carry me
somewhere towards true understanding.
Tangible knowledge requires fearless faith,
and possibly a hint of wished-for death.

- A.J. Huffman : May 19, 2015

editors note: Risk assessment; dangerous ideas, impotent ignorance. Which? – mh clay


I Could Be A Celebrity

Too many trees these days
Are getting notoriety–

Too many rivers
Walking into a room

And pitching its calm on a stone–
Too many clouds

Are venting aloud
For rainfall they’re commissioned to hold–

So I wish to be a rainbow doing it solo!

– Jason Visconti : May 18, 2015

editors note: Celebrity is its own reward. Go big, go bright! – mh clay


Return

Today familiar scents perforate
like hazy voices from distant places,
turn away from the dank cave
of scarred feelings. Today
scents flank expectations
that embrace promises
cloud-shaped in the eddy—
smelling of truth perfumed
in the delicate touch of words—
your fragrance filling my heart
hands that eternalize myths
that make the hours hum
the certitude in bloom
or Wednesday the making
and unmaking of another history
of love loving the afternoon
when lovers confess
to themselves they are
like water—name-petalled,
flowing, surpassing
the gauge of days.

Today here I am, smiting
the common pith of sorrow,
finger-spelling
the crazy numerics
of your return in the country
of my mind.

- Lawdenmarc Decamora : May 17, 2015

editors note: All our truths; love, expectations, promises; made more fragrant when “perfumed in the delicate touch of words.” – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Who doesn't! Howsabout one that has some teeth to it? Don't let the sweet title fool you, "Thumbelina" by Contributing Writer and Poet Addie Soaraki, has quite the bite!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale : "The revolution will not be Tweeted, even if there’s full-out war out our windows. And there is. There always is."

Here's a lil bit to tease ya:


Toys. That’s what the roughly painted graffiti read. Crumbling bricks that had once served as a retaining wall provided the so-called canvas. It was a hard-core fact that most who wandered past the beat-up apartment complex that perched like a dying whale just off I-70 in the Granite City neighborhood, not exactly one of St. Louis’s finest, figured the graffiti was merely the product of some twelve-year-old’s unimaginative imagination. No, it was far from that.

Toys. And plenty of small children. Easy. Right? Unsurprisingly, the biggest clue to the one-word tag sat directly behind the disheveled retaining wall: A nicely-painted 1994 baby blue Cadillac. In this neighborhood? One would have to be kidding themselves to believe that.

The third clue to the great Toys mystery happened to be the owner of the Caddy: A lumpy, roughly dressed Hispanic man who carried a beer or even a bottle, and whose name was Pablo. From the looks of things, Pablo and his brothers (all of them lived in a small efficiency) could never have afforded the gas, not to mention the Cadillac, but no one paid them any attention. The trio of possibly undocumented guys worked at a nearby Mexican restaurant, and all day long that shining Cadillac sat parked behind the retaining wall that displayed the word, Toys.

The complex was a haven for seemingly broken-down Latino families. Plenty of small kids rambled and scrambled the decrepit lot, and some were openly friendly while others, like Pablo and his running buddies, were not. Everyone on the outside thought Pablo and Co. laid up drunk all day and then sauntered into work in the evenings. Odd things, however, seemed to be happening around the complex.

Think of all the Halloween-like nights you—yes you!—have wandered all through the deadest parts of town, frantic to find some coke, some good coke, not ground-down crack, but the real coke, simply because your typical dealer had already snorted and shot hers; you, pushing down strange and possibly dangerous sidewalks, a white boy walking past the catcalls from the black boys and girls wandering from one house party to the next, and then you see the traffic, the nice cars, the wonderful, shiny cars, and you realize that—yes!—the college students know where all the good shit is, and so you go in.

Get the rest of your read on right here!

•••••••

The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Bein’ Raw,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

5.16.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.16.15

“I want a language that speaks the truth.” ~ Studs Terkel

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Electric Love Plug In” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we lapsed in the memory of musky sweet, singing springs, forget, forget...; we wafted a leaf-loosed, gentle sigh for tree and twig and life gone by; we swam in the slew of the primordial stew; we joyful, jabbered in crazy, crazy; we manned no art in cables, constructs conjoined with crows; we abided no oracle, no bawdy bard, silenced in his cups; we shed no tears over spilled wine, love abandoned, sweet memory, sad sweet memory. Recall, recount, resume, resume. - MH Clay

A Red Bordeaux

We met neath frost laden boughs
in the stealth of stolen moments
in the middle of December.
Your breath my breath
warm and urgent against our skin.
Our footsteps merged and melted
in virgin snow, our dance within
a speckled snow globe.
My red scarf slipped
leaving my shoulder bare
I shivered when you placed bold lips there.
Sun shifted and it was time to go,
Did we make promises, no.
you said you owed that to your wife.
Three decades have passed, to some
a lifetime, to others the time of their life.
Your name I’ve kept close and whisper
each new year in a silent toast.
The memory vibrant and even now
I see that yarn of red laying in virgin snow
an emblem of my life, a spilt red bordeaux.

- Pd Lietz : May 16, 2015

editors note: A sorry loss for a stupid cuss. I’d be a wino for that bordeaux. – mh clay


THE MAGICIAN’S ASSISTANT

I see a drunk out of his mind on life
Who thinks he’s the magician’s assistant
He gazes upon a beauty at the street corner
And decides to flaunt his thing
Hoping she’ll give him some free trade
He begins to entertain the street
The only problem being there ain’t anyone else around
He demonstrates his drunken dancing skills
Hoping for a freebie ’round the corner
The street walker hopes for some genuine business
As her baby lies sleeping at home
Her boyfriend probably still stoned
And she’s starting to get a craving
That won’t disappear until it’s vanquished
Embarrassed she turns but on he ploughs
Unaware of his failure, she prays he goes home
But round these ways prayers aren’t answered
Cos god ain’t listening no matter how loud you ask.

- Bradford Middleton : May 15, 2015

editors note: Sometimes an imbecile assistant is exactly what a magician needs to see the truth. (Read another one from Bradford on his page; a satisfying conclusion to his missive from March 10th – check’em out!) – mh clay


Cables in the air

They stumble, they knot
Roughing up their plumage soft
Fate caught a few, some others duck
Like fizz appearing when corner greets
Staining a burn as they suddenly retreat
Sag they do with burden of guilt
Tethered they live with cuffs of steel
Moans culled whilst staring deep
As feathery friends of theirs collide
Oft they swing to a solace trivial
A murmur of peace in a life unfair
Nurtured in vain by men artless
Who foisted these cables
High up in their filthy air.

- Sudha Srivatsan : May 14, 2015

editors note: If our constructs could speak, they might tell us this. Listen closely… – mh clay


Joyce

Feeling just a little bit crazy
that light-headed, delicious, walking on sand without sandals, crazy
that caught up in it, can’t get enough of it, samba, crazy
that never wanting it to end, Ipanema wave, crazy
cresting parabolas in the curve of the bay, crazy
sounding its movement on the one high note
insistent, rhythmical and time exact,
again and again
so you.

- Neil Leadbeater : May 13, 2015

editors note: Yes, let’s rejoice – re-Joyce. – mh clay


Sea Poem

A treasure of time – wide canvas of the sea
Where life was formed from silver gills and a snail‘s cry
And baptized by fleets of stars
Blazing across the sky
An ocean of time
With its relentless song
Carried by seabirds with seashell wings
Skimming across watery crescents
To follow northern lights to tomorrow
And come back to yesterday

Deep down blink ocean eyes
That saw Noah’s rainbow
Fall into the breathing bubbles of life
And saw jellyfish with opaque tails
And ethereal umbrellas
Sinking to nocturnal depths – And beyond
Where swim fish with sword teeth
In the deepest dark of Neptune’s children
Rolling about on the ocean floor
Amongst Atlantis bangles
And gold bars encrusted with algae

Silent, still, spectral, the ocean eyes
That see to the depths of white-ice sands
Where wooden maidens with water-logged breasts
Broken loose from a ship’s bow
To sink to the decades of a rusted anchor
Holding time to the ocean floor

Powerful oracle; fathomless ocean
Born after genesis
But before Vesuvius wore a crown of Sargasso pearls
In nets webbed across waters
Time was caught and carried
To scorched sands of other shores
Where the sun closes purple eyelids on twilight
To open them on melancholy nights

- Susandale : May 12, 2015

editors note: Darwin told us life started from the sea. This poet tells us the sea started from poetry. Yes! – mh clay


Fallen Before The First Fall

A leaf
In its prime
Green
In its shine
Shuddered and fell
Time couldn’t tell
Kissed the earth
A final goodbye
Swaying
With a gentle sigh
Unheard.. unknown..
Silently gone

Amongst many that hold on
To the tree that stands tall
The first that fell before the fall…

- Sagorika Chakrabort : May 11, 2015

editors note: Lives of leaves, leavers of life; some hold, others… – mh clay


Details

I’ve almost forgotten
how the crisp autumn air felt
when you pushed your fingers
in my hair,
the flat yellow eye of the sun
glaring through the windshield,
the musky scent of your perfectly
pressed trousers,
the high shine on your black shoes.
I’ve almost forgotten the rhythmic
squeak of rusty springs
at the shifting of weight, the sharp
intake of breath,
the sudden lapse of movement.
I’ve almost forgotten you.

- Charlotte Hamrick : May 10, 2015

editors note: I can hear those springs a-squeakin’. No back seat voyeurs peakin’. (Another mad missive on Charlotte’s page – don’t skip it.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well need no more because we got just the read to fit that need! And that read is "Apuleius" by Robin Wyatt Dunn!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale : "Most of us would be so lucky to be transformed into an ass and see the things an ass would see, say the things an ass would say, live the life an ass would live. The only trouble is finding someone who loves your ass."

Here's a lil bit to tease ya:


My best friend wears the head of an ass. It’s not an easy situation, but it’s one we can deal with. The head of the ass gives him access to the super-temporal realm, i.e., makes him a total nutball.

He is, without question, great at parties. People are sad here in the developed world these days, we’re whining about ideologies, and war, and all the other uglies. Not enough smoothies… we know it’s tough. But my friend, with that donkey head, he is the antidote. The pharmakon!

He is so funny. I just work at community college you know, an adjunct, which means I have a little free time but not much money, so I just invite people I like over to stand on our porch and drink cheap wine and shoot the proverb, cause what else we gonna do? I ask my friend Joe, “How’s business treating you?” and my pal with the ass’s head says to me and Joe: “I’d like to eat off your face!”

Get the rest of your read on right here!

•••••••

The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Speakin’ Truth,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor