9.24.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.23.16

"Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Arriving Unseen Inside Light” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To see more of Bill's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we kept love from spoil with garlic and oil; we lost love frustration in lover separation; we stalked in a summer garden for an unattainable dream; we mourned innocence missed by not never been kissed; we found no satisfaction in chemical reaction; we loved to delight in that brother was right; we stood as a casualty of the Nuclear Family. It's all volatile; elements interact, explosions ensue. Ever changing dynamics 'tween we and you. ~ MH Clay

A Nuclear Childhood by Donal Mahoney

What if your parents
had never met
had never married

had never yelled
at each other
and instead had wed

someone they loved
and lived peacefully
all those years.

That would have been
their Eden but you
shaking there now

decades later
wouldn’t be with us
cursing the tremors

of a nuclear childhood
you still remember
long after they’re dead.

editors note: Fusion or fission, we are we because they were they. – mh clay


Pamela by Michael Estabrook

Now he’s gone and I find myself
strangely drawn
to the most important woman in my brother’s life –
statuesque, dark eyes, olive skin, perfect hair –
as if she’s drunk from
the Fountain of Youth (he didn’t
marry her, but almost).
And as she tells me she loves opera,
reads Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, listens
to Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Bach
I stumble for my words,
imagining his smirk and that
“I told you so” look in his eyes.

editors note: Loss brings gain; what might have been becomes a wonderful “could be.” – mh clay


My Forte by John Kross

My forte has never been chemistry
especially in matters of the brain
that delicate science eludes me
but give me a knife and I’m a pro
a butcher in a cesspool of
a drowning stagnant me
where the water under my bridge
does not flow out
but backs up tighter than
a meat packer’s drain
overflowing with bloody blobs of
broken promises and good intentions.

editors note: Heart, spleen and bowel; together well meant, somehow badly spent. – mh clay


never been kissed by Catie McLain

i’ve never been kissed
i’m 12 years old and i’ve never been kissed
so i find myself a boy, an older boy, a high school boy
he’s handsome and a little bit racist
and i kiss him on his lips
they’re soft and sweet and somewhat disappointing
but i don’t care and i don’t care about him
all i care about are my bragging rights

now i’m 19 years old
i’m 19 years old and i’m a virgin
i’m a virgin and i feel like maybe if i don’t change that soon i might become one of those spinsters i keep hearing about
so i go to a club and i dance alone
i’m alone until a man notices me
he has lip piercings and a rapidly expanding bald spot.
i go home with him and he soils my purity without a condom because i was raised catholic and am still kind of weird about sex because of it.

and now i am 22 and i have never been in love
i’ve never fallen in love and i sleep with the tv on because the silence is suffocating
so i find a man and fuck him on his kitchen table until he breaks up with his girlfriend
and sometimes when i sit at that table and share breakfast with him i find myself smiling because i like so much what my life is right now
i fall deep for him and i think he has the most beautiful hands i’ve ever seen but i can’t ever seem to say the words out loud
so instead i sleep around and then get angry when i find out that he has gotten himself a respectable girlfriend

and now i am 23 i really am in this moment 23 and trying to figure out how to wean myself from the cycle of sexual and emotional dependency
i’m 23 and i’m dependent on my phone i’m dependent on the attention of men and i depend on strangers to always tip me my 20%
right now i am here talking about my present and i don’t know what to say because i never understand anything until i’m looking at it from the rear view mirror.

editors note: Hindsight as historical fiction, too real for reality TV. What comes next? – mh clay


The Garden Outside the House by Natalie Crick

She was out there again that morning.
Talking, laughing, singing,
The garden filled with sweet birdsong
And the aroma of summer.

The sunset leaked red blood,
Annihilating him.
A love gift or a
Romantic invitation.

She had one eye, he had two.
He was waking from a fitful dream.
It soon became dark,
The sky full of storms.

He saw her solemn death dance,
Wet and electric,
An Autumn widow wearing grey.
It was starting to happen again.

editors note: And it will keep happening if we walk in that garden, obsessed with that invitation… – mh clay


I’ll Say Goodbye To You But Not To Love by Ralph Freda

The 8 a.m. zombie brigade files past me for the final time…
Neighbors, who have found too late in life that they have been slighted…
Along halls, riding elevators, and down the stairs…
(Maybe it is their seventh time around, maybe their first, maybe somewhere in the middle… I don’t care)

I have grown greedy for the gold and the fruit of angels such as Mozart and Picasso and Ginsberg and Updike…

(Remember: in this life, the selfless act of love and a woman are singularly and together the most beautiful thing; impossible to ignore)

Once I knew the joy of being alive…
Now I know the happiness of not having to live alongside you…
I say only two prayers – the first is that I don’t awaken in the fires of Hades, should they exist; the other, that should this be my first time around, or my seventh, or somewhere in the middle, I may never awaken to know the face of the Hell within which you live…
…and again see the horrible moon without mystery in the sky…

editors note: Here’s to hope; that love and mystery be eternal, suffering not. – mh clay


Aglio E Olio by Jeffrey Park

The torrid sizzle
of their meeting
could have easily resulted
in a lifetime
of congealed regret,

but fortunately
for the olive oil,
in today’s online economy
revirgination is only
a mouse click away.

editors note: There’s an app for everything. (Read another of Jeffrey’s jabs on his page, about a dog’s life – check it out.) – mh clay


THE BIG ROCK CREEPS by Hal J. Daniel III

From a lecture given in Biology 6040, “Animal Behavior,” East Carolina University, 2008

With limited intelligence and absolutely no knowledge of Biophilia
But tons of testosterone, money and privilege,
They kill our big-eyed deep water Marlin as a gaggle of local dock Creeps
Give them cheers and big bucks to do so.

None of the high testosterone Yuppies has a bloody clue
About top-predator biology, anthropocentricity or exploitation.
Some might call it the “Tragedy of the Commons.”
What if the big fish are cognitive and have feelings?

What about their being hoisted up to cheers and fist pumps,
Their last big-eyed vision being that of their upside down “high T” murderers?
What about those gut hooked and released
To swim in painful circles for the sharks to plunder?
My wife, saddened by the spectacle,
Asks if they clean and eat the “poor big fish”.
I tell her the rule of my Mississippi grandfather:
“If you kill it, Boy, then you shall eat it,” which they blissfully ignore.

I respond further by saying that the 5 hundred pound Marlins are doomed to the wall,
Stuffed, mounted and once again staring down
At those who placed them there;
Their tissue, viscera and sinew most likely going to cats, blue crabs and incinerators.

They call this type of exploitation “Ecotourism;”
Say it’s good for the economy.
They embrace the pontifications of Aristotle and Saint Augustine
And all that “humans are on top the evolutionary shit pile scala naturae Judeo-Christian nonsense.”

None have read anything about biodiversity,
Pelagic predation,
Human etiologies to the crises in the world’s oceans,
And, I am absolutely positive, nothing on the cognitive ethology of fishes.

So what do you Nawth Kackalacky students think about this Outer Banks anthropocentric outrage?
“I’ll tell you what I think.”
And what is that, Ms. Midjette?
“Dr. Daniel, you should be fired for lecturing like this!”

editors note: Used to be it was just fishing. Now, every move mangles something else. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

What's the clock say? It says it's time to feed your Need-a-Read'ness!

This week we are featuring Contributing Writer, Paul Smith and his tale titled "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"Sorry, but never say you’re sorry. It’s the word you can’t wash out of your mouth."

Here's a bit to slip you into the mood:

photo (above) "Welcome, Come In. Always Come." by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

“Did you come?”

She was quiet, laying there on her back, her eyes closed. I guessed she did. She acted that way. I was just asking. She didn’t answer. I felt stupid asking a second time, but did anyway.

“Did you come?” I asked.

“Yes! Yes!” she said in an exasperated tone. “I did.”

“Sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be sorry. And don’t ask! God!”

“I thought you did. I just wasn’t sure.”

“Why do you have to ask? I could tell you came. So did the people upstairs. So did everyone in Borneo.”

“Sorry,” I repeated.

“Stop saying you’re sorry. You are ruining everything. Just hold me.”

I rolled her over and held her. It felt good for a minute. Then I got tired of it. She smelled like she came. I was getting hungry. I looked at the clock beside the bed. I decided to hold her for five minutes. That should be enough for any woman. I started timing myself.

“You’re watching the clock, aren’t you?” she asked.

“No.”...


If you find you're also watching the clock, no worries. You're halfway there. Get the rest of your reading rocks off right here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.05.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass City Tavern!

This month we will be featurin’ loco local singer/songwriter Jake Kinnard!

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ helpin’ of musical madness from Jake, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our open mic list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

•••••••

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' Our Minds,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

9.17.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.17.16

"I only give expression to the instincts from my soul." ~ M. F. Husain

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“The Relentless Resonance of Her Nakedness” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To see more of Bill's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we hoped away our fears of those who cut with shears; we gave heart a home, packed in styrofoam; we left home to drink alone; we made an existential meatloaf; we entered a plea for refugees; we lapped up a lingo luau, Pidgin style; we strove to extract hope from a pile of despair; we lamented the loss of fish caught and fish that got away. It's a smorgasbord of words; make the meal that matters most to you. ~ MH Clay

THE BIG ROCK CREEPS by Hal J. Daniel III

From a lecture given in Biology 6040, “Animal Behavior,” East Carolina University, 2008

With limited intelligence and absolutely no knowledge of Biophilia
But tons of testosterone, money and privilege,
They kill our big-eyed deep water Marlin as a gaggle of local dock Creeps
Give them cheers and big bucks to do so.

None of the high testosterone Yuppies has a bloody clue
About top-predator biology, anthropocentricity or exploitation.
Some might call it the “Tragedy of the Commons.”
What if the big fish are cognitive and have feelings?

What about their being hoisted up to cheers and fist pumps,
Their last big-eyed vision being that of their upside down “high T” murderers?
What about those gut hooked and released
To swim in painful circles for the sharks to plunder?
My wife, saddened by the spectacle,
Asks if they clean and eat the “poor big fish”.
I tell her the rule of my Mississippi grandfather:
“If you kill it, Boy, then you shall eat it,” which they blissfully ignore.

I respond further by saying that the 5 hundred pound Marlins are doomed to the wall,
Stuffed, mounted and once again staring down
At those who placed them there;
Their tissue, viscera and sinew most likely going to cats, blue crabs and incinerators.

They call this type of exploitation “Ecotourism;”
Say it’s good for the economy.
They embrace the pontifications of Aristotle and Saint Augustine
And all that “humans are on top the evolutionary shit pile scala naturae Judeo-Christian nonsense.”

None have read anything about biodiversity,
Pelagic predation,
Human etiologies to the crises in the world’s oceans,
And, I am absolutely positive, nothing on the cognitive ethology of fishes.

So what do you Nawth Kackalacky students think about this Outer Banks anthropocentric outrage?
“I’ll tell you what I think.”
And what is that, Ms. Midjette?
“Dr. Daniel, you should be fired for lecturing like this!”

editors note: Used to be it was just fishing. Now, every move mangles something else. – mh clay


STAYING STRONG IN HARD TIMES by Bradford Middleton

I’ve got to stay strong and got to maintain
As life right now is a hard thing for me to deal with
Now she has gone and everything seems fucked
Whether it be Europe, my own questioning of life
In this town or just the thought that maybe I’ve been
Right all along and there is nothing for us
Now that it’s all fucked
Now that I’ve realised that
Love is dead
Politics is pointless and this
Life is hard
So, what is there to do but
Find a new way to live this life

editors note: It’s all we can do… But, we CAN! – mh clay


VERBAL KINE JAZZ by Joe Puna Balaz

See da old man
wit da cho cho lips
and da rat bite on his head—
Aisoos! Mongoose!
da fighting chicken wen lose
and now da buggah is dead.

Pluck all da feathers
trow ‘um in da pot
everybody like kaukau.
Poho loosah
in da ring anyway
so now we going make luau.

Everybody dance
everybody sing
everybody jan ken po.
No need fight
foa desert tonight
cause we all get kulolo.

Look at da moon
up in da sky
just like wun big fish eye.
Sit on da ground
wit wun fat opu
and no even wondah why.

New kine story
same kine smell
everybody understand.
All mix up
like wun big fruit cup
heah in da hula-hula land.

So now local lingo
is just like wun jingle
holoholo good fun razz.
Kissing da ear
making everyting clear
living in da verbal kine jazz.

Hawai’i Pidgin Glossary:

aisoos – Filipino exclamation of sighing out loud and saying “darn it” or “oh no.”
buggah – A person, especially a male; the word can also refer to an animal or thing.
cho cho lips – Fat lips.
holoholo – To go out; to go out visiting.
hula-hula – Variant of hula, a native Hawaiian dance.
jan ken po – Japanese name for rock-paper-scissors game.
kaukau – To eat; food.
kulolo – Hawaiian pudding made of taro, brown sugar and coconut milk.
luau – Hawaiian feast.
opu – Stomach.
poho – No can; waste time.
rat bite – A bad haircut that shows the scalp through the hair.


editors note: Another smidgin’ o’ Pidgin’ from Aloha Land; got a groove you can dance to. – mh clay


Near the Dog House by Cade Williams

Describing and transcribing the life of an exile makes one feel all ways but well
The sting of a quill carries the charisma of a hill
We clamor in the maze of hallways
Interconnected, but from society rejected
Looked down upon, sprayed and unpaid, the enclave is frowned upon
We pervade the yard
Step on us.

editors note: Don’t eliminate. Integrate. We all crawl the same hill, after all. – mh clay


Invention of Meat Loaf by Jeff Grimshaw

We were all present for the invention of meatloaf
I remember your black & orange high tops
And Debbie drinking her can of Cel-ray Soda
Through a Silly Straw. The DiBello twins,
Anxious to be somewhere else but never
Leaving. Onions, said Frank DiBello, if you
Chopped up some onions and worked them
Into the meat… For the love of Christ,
Said Benny DiBello, Enough of this shit,
I want to get back to the truck.
Onions would be good, though. I don’t
Remember the year. It was one of the years
When you could wear a paisley shirt, which
Benny DiBello did. That’s
How I remember years. The year of the
Paisley shirt, the year of everybody threw out
The 8-track tapes, the year of the
Shitty little dogs. Debbie wanted to add
A can of beef soup to the recipe. I told her
She was on to something but
A whole can was too much. The TV was
On but we couldn’t find the game.
That guy David who nobody liked dropped
By and told Frank, Your truck, I thought
The tires were flat? But what’s
Happening, it’s sinking? In the swamp?
You shook your head and said:
Somebody go get seasoned bread crumbs, and
I think two eggs. (In the end we only
Used one.) Yes, mixed vegetables, but only
On the side. Yes, tomato paste, although
Tomato sauce is okay. Yes. One day
Some of us will be dead, and
Another day all of us will be dead, but
(Continued Benny) right now
We are all alive, all
Here, and all of us inventing meat loaf.

editors note: Great to be alive; now we know who to blame… – mh clay


Sunset by Sarah Bonaccorsi

Just 3 days ago, in that other place, that home,
the sun set at 8:30. Now, It sets at 9:22.
Really it sets at 21:22. Everything is different here.
The accents, the company (none,)
even the sun.
On Wednesday I drank a boulevardier with family,
pet the dog, lazed the day away.
Now, I sit in a grey chair that a stranger bought,
in a studio flat that a stranger owns,
and I wait for work in a bustling office in a city far away
from my family, my dog, and my boulevardier.

editors note: That disjointed feeling when self is where the sun sets… somewhere else. – mh clay


Fit Me In by Daniel Kuriakose

The leftover brownie’s
pretty good,
‘cept I taste the styrofoam
I boxed it in.

Now I understand
the batch of people
licking trees in the park.

I taste foam
on my thoughts, is that
normal? That can’t be normal.

Get me out of here.
Don’t think I can’t
see the synaptic
packing peanuts
jetting out your window,

lodging your air
-conditioner
with themselves.

I woke up today
to the burglar alarm.
First place I checked was
my chest.

editors note: Foam to pack your china or your heart; resistant to shock, but not theft. – mh clay


Hope by Lisa Moak

Now rising, now giving, now flowing,
Winding, testing its tendrils towards the sun.
Blossoming, straining, slipping,
Secretly budding before the hollow eyes
Sense its growth, coming then with shears,
To cut down the tender stems.

editors note: Let hope shine brightly; blind the hollow eyes. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Who Needs-a-Read? You, that's who! And we here at Mad Swirl have got quite the read to fit your need... "The Wall" by Contributing Writer & Poet Harley White!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"Build yourself, make you who you want to be. See yourself shine beautifully, then crumble. Destroy yourself."

Here's a few lines from "The Wall" for y'all:

(photo "he Greatest Wall" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Like hoping, wanting, wishing—in fact I gave up as many feelings as I could get rid of.

Strange how that works. You decide—only semi-awarely—to stop feeling pain.

You put up a wall—invisible, impenetrable—surrounding you.

Seems reasonable enough. If the wall is thick enough, no one can hurt you, disappoint you, reject you.

Right?...


Ready to continue this climb of "The Wall"? 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...

Expressin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

9.10.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.10.16

"I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us." ~ Mary Oliver

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“The Dreamer’s Inconsolable Solitude” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak.

If you’ve been following Mad Swirl for a while now, we’re sure you’ll recognize the twistedly bizarre & beautifully beat works of Bill Wolak. If you missed his feature round the last time around you’re in luck because Bill’s back with more and we here at Mad Swirl can only hope he keeps this creative collection going for a mighty long time. Wolak is a multi-talented mad man hailing from New Jersey and his collage work is mostly symmetrical, sometimes phallic and always captivating. If we haven’t sparked your interest yet, maybe you’re in the wrong place. But we doubt that. So WHEN you’re Ready-Set then GO!… we know you won’t regret it! ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we shot us one son of a gun; we slipped a slow cycle, one time only; we saw the horizon in a cowboy's eyes; we felt like a jerk for living to work; we were schooled in the way of Octavio's day, women to win by quatrains; we were warned of the harm in pigs on a farm; we suffered their fussin' by paying for cussin'; we harbored our hope for what hasn't happened (yet). Dream big - wake up ready. ~ MH Clay


It Hasn’t Happened Yet by Johnny Olson

I wake up optimistic with high hopes in my heart that today will be the day that happiness, peace and love will flow our way. I day dream that by the time my head hits pillow this night and sleep slips slyly across my soul, that a smile will slide upon my lips and I will remember why I thought it was worth waking up today. It hasn’t happened yet.

I pray. I plead with God to wash upon us a wave of peace and love and understanding. I beg that He bless us one and all… all people of all colors and creeds in all places and nations, the young and old, the sick and the healthy, the poor and the wealthy, the sad and the happy, the sleeping and the awake, the warring and the peaceful, the quick and the dead. I feel my spiel is sincerely real and that if all this making good intentions and giving heartfelt prayers and creating my manifestations, if all this stuff really works, it’ll come true. But, it hasn’t happened yet.

I sit in predawn parking lot at work and write out my untarnished thoughts of the day to come. I intend to write a poem that speaks of the peaceful and easy feelings that I seek in this world of ours. I strive to find the right words and meanings that will teach and learn me the propitiousness of love. Oh, how we homo-sapiens love us some good love! But that divine inspiration that used to sit so closely to me just isn’t hanging around these days. No matter how hard I beg, she alludes me. I open my notebook to let her write her song but she doesn’t. She drops the pen and says she’ll come back again. But it hasn’t happened yet.

Too many days I wake up to hear the headline news that makes me shake my head in disbelief that we humans can be so inhumane to one another. Another white cop shoots another black man for reasons I’ll never understand. The loudmouth bullshit-inaire and the fortunate daughter cHillary throwing barbed sound bites at each other, leaving me isolated in the growing middle. Another catastrophic storm/fire/quake bubbling from something we may or may have not done. Extinguishing creatures whose fate should have never been left in our fucked up hands. My faith in my fellow man is dwindling down the more my optimistic smile turns to pessimistic frown. I pray someone, anyone (not it!) save us from ourselves! I hear my inner scream and say “OK, OK I’ll do my part” hoping a whole lot more like me are trying too and that our collective push will move this fucking needle back to good. But no matter how hard I try and as much as I wish it would, it hasn’t happened yet.

Usually, right about now when I get into these funky punky poetic moods I’ll turn it around at the end with an AHA moment so that all this “woe is me and we and he and she” that I just spewed upon your senses, is all OK. A nicely wrapped insight with a bow of hope to top this poetic puke. I’m even trying to find one now, as I tip tap these final words onto this page knowing damn straight that I got to get this write right. But, alas, this poem has ended, and it hasn’t happened yet.

editors note: Keep writing, hoping, loving, helping. Just cuz it hasn’t, doesn’t mean it won’t. Yes! (Read another of our Chief Editor’s mad missives on his page; a departure from the norm – check it out.)- mh clay


SWEAR JAR by Lindsay McLeod

Yes I know
the kiss of the thistle.
So I’ll drop another
small change sorry
into your bottomless
apology hole,
yes yes I know
so I’ll shut the Hell up
and go back to being
a lower case i,
a blind overflow
with disabled parking.

editors note: Once they’re out, they can’t come back. Two dollars, please. – mh clay


The Three Little Pigs by Chrissie Morris Brady

After the wolf had been roasted on the fire,
the three little pigs lived happily in the house made of bricks.
They grew, plump and no more little,
so they packed some food and looked for another home.
They walked up hill and down dell
until they found the perfect farm.
The rest of their story is told by Orwell.

editors note: Conflict to contentment, complacency to conquest. Watch how your story unfolds. – mh clay


If good looking men by Desmene M. Statum

If good looking men
Are going to insist
On quoting Octavio Paz
To me
I am not responsible
For what happens
To them

If you want a woman to think
About you
All damn day
Send her Octavio Paz Quatrains
She might not have even given you
A red letter thought
Up until then

Then she’ll read your poems
And think dangerous thoughts
Feel felonious feelings
All damn day.
Even if she’s vowed
To never love another artist
Or writer.

editors note: Gentlemen? Are you paying attention? – mh clay


Work by Hector Ortiz

Wear and fatigue have claimed me
Losing track of the time
Modern day slavery
Just to make ends meet
80hours a week just to make sure we eat
All work no sleep
Gettin up in the morning
Dragging my feet
Do I really wanna live like this
Wanna scream at the supervisor fuck you
Wanna tell Uncle Sam fuck you
Tired of this routine
I just want something new
Stuck in a corner don’t know what to do
Instead of loving another sky blue
I just think ok just get through
This 8hours
Clock in clock out
Stuck in a cage
Lost in a rage
8hours a day
12hrs a slave
They say hey it’s ok
You have a job at least you get paid
Working to live
Living to work
Is my hourly wage really my worth
All the miraculous events that led to my birth
Have brought me to this place I call work
In these walls someone calls the shots
In these halls they grow a pair of balls
They’re the shit I leave in these bathroom stalls
Fuck it

editors note: The hero’s anthem. Sing it while you work. – mh clay


Body Language by Sharon Frye

there it is again
the tilting back of the head

the three-syllable laugh
like the father’s

a renaissance cowboy
without a ranch

see the lost horizon
in his eyes

the lonestar in the wood
sailing stones across the sand

editors note: A wild wester in a civilized land – mh clay


Irreversible Cycle by Peycho Kanev

In the framed picture
on the mantelpiece
sits a snapped moment
of an old woman
getting younger in
the past.
Light shifts from
east to west slowly
as a glacier.
Close your eyes with me,
it will not happen again.

editors note: Mortal amusement. – mh clay


The Devil and Jim by Jesse Doughty

fire in the trees on the side of the road
broken glass and a dead man’s home
as children play and grown men run
a bottle of gin and a son of a gun

a murder of crows flee from his bones
a drink and a dance and the devil’s last chance
an old guitar plays a dusty song
well the devil is waitin but it won’t be long

the clouds are full and the moon is gone
thunder and wind and the battle for sin
the dust is cryin as the rain rolls in
an empty bottle and six gun Jim

shadows of women and a fiery light
swan song killer and a pillar of stone
a ghastly sneer and a ghoulish grin
in O’Leary’s bar stood the devil and Jim

a thousand years had come and gone
his garden of lies truth despised
but before the dawn he would retire
the devil spoke a word and the word was Fire

Jim was murder and murderous Jim
was tall and clean quick and mean
he wore leather shins and a colt .45
twas the last the devil saw out his good right eye

the bullet danced out the back of his head
it left a wilderness of blood and mess
and there stood Jim crowned King of Hell
well the devil had his day but on that night he fell

so fallen angel on a cold wooden floor
colt .45 back at Jim’s side
and with morning’s glory yet to come
a bottle of gin and a son of a gun

editors note: It’s a cowboy movie ’bout a son of a gun… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read then need no more! Mad Swirl's featured short, "Earth Angel" comes from Russ Dymond & it just might the groove you need to feed ya'.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

Will you be mine? If the answer is yes and we catch someone falling from the skies, it’s nothing but love to keep dancing until death.

Here's a few notes of "Earth Angel" to get this groove goin':

(photo, "Angels Bid Thee to Thy Rest" by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Soon after it happened, police cars swarmed in, followed by a fire truck and an ambulance. She watched them all evening from her second floor window that looked out over the parking lot, red and blue and green lights swirling through the darkness like kaleidoscopic searchlights. Around midnight, upset and nervous, she went to bed, wondering if she should check out and disappear, wondering when the knock at the door would come, if she didn’t; wondering why emergency vehicles never seemed to turn off their motors.

The next morning, first thing, she turned on the TV. The man was 76. His name was Edward Norwiski. He was a retired engineer, single, lived alone. His billfold was missing so the suspected motive was robbery.

A couple of police cars still remained in the parking lot. She thought about going downstairs for the free breakfast, but then decided against it. Instead, she brewed a pot of coffee in the room and sat down in the chair by the window, wondering how long it would take them to find her. The motel, after all, had cameras on every floor. They would know.

So what would she say? How could she make it credible? The more she thought about it, the more she realized that it didn’t matter. They would never believe her anyway. If it hadn’t happened to her, she wouldn’t believe it herself...


Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

(photo courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez. See Dan's whole collection from this past month here)

All we here at Mad Swirl have gots’ta say about this past 1st Wednesday is Awww! OK, we have a LOT more words to share, what with ALL the poets & musicians and pics & links & tags & whatnot’s we gots…

A HUGE shout-out to our NEW mad mic home, downtown Dallas’ badass’d City Tavern​!

A HUGER shout-out to our feature, loco local poet, Desmene Statum, who delivered us a one-two poetic punch with a heaping’ helping of some UHhhhh! We never doubted that Dez would rock our worlds and did she ever!

(if you couldn’t make it to the show and wish you coulda, here’s some live video of Desmene’s feature set)

Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

Feature:
Desmene Statum

Hosts:
Johnny Olson​ & MH Clay

Swirve:
Gerard Bendiks, Chris & Tamitha Curiel

Mad Cast:
Chris Zimmerly
Opalina Salas
John May
Victory
Carlos Salas
Reverie Evolving
Gabe Mamola
Aye Nero
Gnadia Wolnisty
Maggie Smith
Elliot Pickens
Eileen Simeonov
Becky Sanvictores
Jen Bochenko
Catie McLain
Eli

HUGE thanks to Swirve for taking us to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

Thanks to all who came out to the City Tavern & shared this beat-utifullest night of poetry and music with us!

and last but NOT least…

HUGEST thanks to The City Tavern’s proprietor Joshua Florence for blessing us with our new digs and welcoming us mad ones with open arms and giving us a swirl’n space we can call home.

May the madness swirl your way ’til next 1st Wednesday…

Your Mad Googily-Eyed Guy

P.S. Interested in performing? If you are a mad poet, musician, actor, singer and/or performer (circus freaks and Elvis impersonators always welcome) & live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come to The City Tavern & strut–yo–stuff.

P.P.S. Got questions? E-mail us at openmic@madswirl.com for further details that may not be listed here.

P.P.P.S. The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

•••••••

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...

Gettin' Saved,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

9.04.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.04.16

"A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds." ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Tesla” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we imagined a trip past oneupmanship; we took a lonely spin on growing thicker skin; we loosed some licks on a painted prick; we read a disclaimer for an animal tamer; we sought self good in the deeper wood; we fanned the fire of sleeping desire; we saw the future for all our babies - it sucks; we suffered no scorn for blowing our horn. Blow, Baby, blow; long and loud. ~ MH Clay

You Told Me To Blow My Own Trumpet… So I Did (Ignoring Your Sarcasm Completely!) by Paul Tristram

I’m really glad that I took your bitchy advice
… I might never have left
that little bum-fuck Town.
Missed out on my travels, adventure & glory.
I might have remained there in a job I hated,
the same council house for years,
life nothing but a practical monotony… sigh.
Living solely for the unfaithful weekends
where I could pretend that I was hot shit again
for a few pathetic, desperate hours.
Then crawl home shamelessly to my other half,
hating them for reminding me, constantly,
that I had settled in life like the coward I would be.
No, I’m glad I stood up as you mocked
and bravely blew my own trumpet
whilst you merely resigned yourself to that fate!

editors note: Practical monotony or impractical autonomy? Choices, choices… – mh clay


Premonition by Bhargab Chatterjee

Indian child development minister is thinking that she
must extend the maternity leave for working women.

Afternoon naps improve my health,
I don’t care how we spend our baby moon at Miami.

The baby in the perambulator smiles at me.
Sex is hushed up. Let’s talk about love, buddies.

She wore a plunging black gown for her music promo.
She sang for raising her baby twins after divorce.

Americans name their babies after guns –
‘a nightmare on elm street.’ After the party

she pretends all is over – a ‘million dollar baby;’
though I have an infighting against mediocrity.

Pro-industry GDP doesn’t impress voters.
A gross environmental product will breast-feed them.

editors note: For all us babies, the future is one big teat. – mh clay


Unquenchable by Nalini Priyadarshni

… then you entered
smiling
with a cigarette dangling from your fingers
and unhinged my grip
from the frame
my life had settled in.

Somewhere between the cycle of
awakening and surrender
I stepped out of myself
into the tapestry of chaos
woven with longing.

And now, everything’s a blur
except those moments when we are together
forging new language
to seek each other’s shallowness and depth
retrieving lost worlds
in primal and perennial conversations
with new fluency.

Desire is a light sleeper
that stretches across miles
when awakened
follows primeval rhythm
of skin and soul
memory and anticipation
until two solitudes bridge over
and smoulder into unquenchable.

editors note: Didn’t know I was thirsty until you brought cool water. – mh clay


Of the Deeper Wood by Ken Allan Dronsfield

A madness descends upon one to attend
the clock on the wall after those who recall
the hiding or seeking and soft squeaking
in a dilapidated cottage of the deeper wood.

Harlequin colors within an irrational swirling
find a mind spinning in the haze of red wine
and I can’t find my way through night or day
blinded by the tock, as the tick seeks to rock.

Standing there bare, while the cat’s on the chair
dizzy and fading while the clock sings a sonnet.
Feeling no pain within a numbness of the brain
salvation’s a meal, confined in a maniacs creel.

Dance by the fire, whilst absorbing warm desire
within the fistula of life, a steamy purge of strife
moving with a gallop through the life of a trollop
cast spells in the dark, to a stars reddish quark.

I am whom you think, wasting away in the stink;
listening to “Lunatic Fringe”, on tape in the parlor
readying the knife, I’ll dissect your wretched life
within a dilapidated cottage of the deeper wood.

editors note: A little weekend get-away for personal reflection and relaxation. (We welcome Ken Allan to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


MARIE by John Grey

She was a nature lover
who never thought me green-blooded enough,
who figured my pale skin
should be more the color of dirt.
I remembered she was Marie
but the names of trees eluded me.
I picked a wildflower for her.
She informed me that I’d killed it.

She loved to ramble through the
woods for hours.
She despised the city.
Too loud, too busy, too smelly,
she said.
These were all my argumenta in favor.

She was as beautiful though
as the downtown at night after a rain shower,
soft and neon-colored,
sparkling where you’d least expect.
This comparison stayed with me.
Silent praise knows when it’s well off.

Once she took in an injured owl,
nursed it back to flying.
This is why I never understood it
when she tried to clip my wings.

editors note: Animal husbandry; never easy for the animal. (Read another mad missive from John on his page; about making more than keeping – check it out.) – mh clay


Painted Prick by Peggy Flora

He is nebulous and poetic with a delicate comprehension
He fucks with his tongue and speaks with his dick
He’s got toys in his eyes and tickles with his lips
He’s a prick, painted in disguise, utilized, he’s quick
He’s slick, he’s fearful, he’s the antidote for no shit
He’s fever in strength; he’s the burning candle
He answers in quips as he rattles
He’s heard and listened, settled and peddled
All the words a chick can handle
He’s vague in defeat and noticeably discrete
He devours everything he desires
He’s the love destroyer of flowers
He’s drama with a penis and a tiara.

editors note: A romantic rebuff or political opinion piece? Hmmm… – mh clay


Tough Hide by Irena Pasvinter

They’ll do you in
With such thin skin.
Please, dear, I count on you:
Tighten your hide
For a bumpy ride,
Grow it an inch or two.

Girls, they’ll cut
Through your mild heart.
No, darling, this won’t do:
Turn it to stone
And make it known
Rock is softer than you.

Crooks will pretend
To give you a hand.
Take care, I’m begging you:
Weaken your trust
If you want to last,
Beware, whatever you do.

So, with tough hide
On this bumpy ride,
With heart, harder than stone,
And with zero trust
You’re bound to last —
So what if you die alone.

editors note: Survival need not be solitary. – mh clay


EXPLOIT IMAGINATION by Saloni Kaul

Equality’s rare
In most regimes, most regiments, work or pleasure,
Where hierarchy comes into play
But in what counts, in combat fair
Giving measure then for measure
They levelly beat the lights out of day.

Sophistication, elegance reigns
In the upper class like sugar crunch caviar munch
Till it’s time for one upmanship
Ah then who cares
It’s punch for punch
All whole swing, free for all, all unzipped.

Exchange of ideas
On the other hand as it ought
Like conversation cool
Is meted out gentlemanlike to peers
Thought for thought
Where we play by the rules.

Businessmen and marketeers
Exploit imagination’s stream.
Silver or gold plated
There they go selling dear
Dream for dream
To all (and sundry) unmitigated.

editors note: Bottom line growth is nothing funny. Imagination – equality, sophistication, ideas – are great if they make money. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well today is your lucky day 'cos we got just the golden story to rock ya a bit & get you groovin' into the weekend. Winner-winner!...

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"Our bodies are cages we hopefully learn to enjoy with time, but we choose our own neon prisons with great pleasure."

Here's a bit of "Vote" by Contributing Writer Dennis Milam Bensie​ to get you goin':

(photo "Out!" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

The flyers up around the gayborhood didn’t say much: no date, no time, and no location. They just say VOTE: A NEW GAY DANCE CLUB – COMING SOON. It’s rumored to be inspired by Studio 54 back in its heyday—you know, when the bouncer handpicked the hot and important people outside the club.

The address everyone is passing around is an old Circuit City building out by the mall: an abandoned electronics store from the ‘90s. There’s a commotion and I turn around and see a guy coming out of the building with a bag. He’s methodically making his way through the crowd handing out golden tickets. No one over thirty is getting a ticket. He isn’t giving tickets to women or fat guys, either. I suck in my belly and march right up to him and smile. He hands me a golden ticket. I’m so fucking excited I can’t stand it!

Blaring club music from down the street is getting closer and closer. A beat up school bus painted black with the VOTE logo on the side pulls into the Circuit City parking lot. A man steps out of the bus dressed in a form fitting rubber suit and chauffer’s cap. Very cute. The crowd goes wild as all of us chosen men with golden tickets climb aboard.

The bus windows are painted black and there are no seats. We’re all crammed together standing up. It smells like sweat and cologne in here. The bus moves but I have no idea where they’re taking us...

Quite a cliffhanger, eh? Well if you wanna find out where this bus is goin' (and trust us, you DO!), you'll just need to click here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.07.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass City Tavern! (The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street)

This month we will be featurin’ on of our loco locals & a true mad sista to all of us Mad Ones, poet Desmene Statum! Can we get a big ol’ “UHhhhh!”? YES! What we are really tryin’ to say is: You. Do. Not. Want. To. Miss. This. Show. Exclamation. Point! So…

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ “UHhhhh!” helpin’ of some Desmene, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

Fo' mo' info' visit our Open Mic page!

Attention Facebookers: Get on the pre-list at our event page

•••••••

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...

Singin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

8.27.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.27.16

"Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race." ~ Johann Georg Hamann

••• The Mad Gallery •••

(click here to to hear the accompanying track to this piece)

“Surveillance” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we grieved on paper true, bleeding ink from red to blue; we pulled the lever of atomic never; we lost everything but the weight which pulls us down; we danced in the street in a prismed crown; we sheltered in the eaves of clinking leaves; we wondered at the word of a mystery bird; we slipped in the slur of a cataract blur; we avoided inane talk by an honest jaywalk. Every day we wake in the steps we take. ~ MH Clay


the jaywalker by John Grochalski

we’ve lived in the same building
going on eight years now
see each other in the hallway
the laundry room
in the basement when i’m throwing out
the cat litter, food scraps and booze bottles
on this long street we pass each other
maybe three or four times a day
going nowhere good
me to work or the liquor store or to the grocery
and he to go and sit
in the laundromat or citibank vestibule
and with each passing it’s the same thing
how’s it going?
have a good one
each time we meet in the apartment, too
there are these customs we have
a head nod, a tip of the hat
i don’t know which one of us started it
eight years of these trite greetings
and no other conversation, thank god
well, yesterday i was coming down the street
coffee and a bagel and a wicked hangover this time
and he was coming up the street
we both looked steeled for the same old same old fate
when suddenly he broke between two parked cars
hustled his old ass across the street away from me
with angry people honking their angry horns
leaning their heads out windows to curse him out
on their way to church
not even a head nod my way
eight years broken in one bold move
and as he limped off toward wherever
i watched him
not angry
not sad at being shunned as such
but feeling happy and full of grace
that someone in this world
had finally taken the time to get to know me
and what i really wanted
after all of these silly
wasted years
on such hollow kindness.

editors note: Honesty for false honors? Good trade! – mh clay


Cheap Trick by Jonathan Beale

One slight; one night; once among the neon
and the bar room noise
The chaos
Seemed to be alien vaguely relative, somehow familiar.
The action something invisible something unreal
Although important for need of mankind
The need for when all else has drained
Down away away away…

All their eyes were distracted by
The neon, billboards, and garbage blowing about
Now forgotten
Yesterday’s wants now gone – bellies empty
Unrequired – yet to cut out as a cataract
To forget the image.

editors note: The impossible trick; to unsee a thing. – mh clay


Bird Songs by Christopher Minton

I passed you every morning, for we had a routine
And like a good New Yorker, I kept my head down
I did not look at you, not even once
But I listened, for it was impossible to avert my ears

You spoke to me, uninvited, every time I went by
The things you said were maddeningly inconsistent
They rained down, a chaotic soup of judgments
That I was left to wrestle with in my own time

One morning I heard you smile even before you spoke
“You know what I like about you?” A pause.
“I like the way you make yourself laugh when you’re all alone.
That is,” you pronounced, “cute and quite endearing.”

Another morning your voice wasn’t as soft
“You know what’s really sad?” Silence.
“What’s really sad is how much energy you expend
Worrying about what other people think of you.”

We carried on in this manner, you and I
How many days or weeks or months I could not say
I clung to your sing-song voice throughout the day
Despite my self-admonitions to do otherwise

And then one day, as I approached your nest
I stopped and looked up, making eye contact for the first time
And there you sat, surprisingly beautiful in your knowing
You laughed and the sound echoed across the years

I knew then who you were, and I relished my understanding
Your mouth opened and let fly no words, only a bird song
It was joyful, and I knew what you were telling me, and I believed you
“Now,” you sang, “we’re getting somewhere.”

editors note: “I’ll bet you think this song is about you.” – mh clay


September Journal: Monday, September 30, 2013 by Don Mager

As earth rolls the horizon up and
away from the sun’s unflinching glare,
the long-armed light splashes shifting patches
of sparkling margarita lime high
across the clinking leaves at the tops
of trees. The breeze shakes variegated
pom-pom shimmy-shammies. Short skirts fluff
and shiver their pleats. As they giggle
in irrepressible voiceless
childish glee, miss and hit flutters of
spiraling unhurried leaves drift through
the dark cavernous lower branches
to hide among shadows blanketing
earth. Earth’s roll moves on as the dark ascends.

editors note: Arboreal ecstasies, last minute mayhem before dark. (We welcome Don to our crazy conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page.) – mh clay


Muscovite by Sheikha A.

it was like doing the cha-cha on a sheet
of glass; the side street was carpeted
by pebbles,

I could as well imagine walking my feet
on tiny rubies, emeralds or diamonds
crunching and grunting

but the watchmen’s children invented a game
substituting marbles cleverly

their laughter filling the air like the sun
sparkling on thin windows, the light
falling on their hair like a crown of prisms

their beams reaching to the sky
telling the birds to join in the play

maybe it had rained stones
the night before
or snowed grey/black crystals –
nothing can be a bad thing
happiness can be transparent, after all –

editors note: Pebbled and child-laughter happy. No darkness on that street. – mh clay


i do not want to lose by Carl Kavadlo

my keys
my mind
my favorite trapeze
a guitar string
the warmth of coffee
friends of the past
nor my coat
nor my hat
in the snowy blizzards
nor the functioning of
the a.c. in the summer
the buttons to my shirt
nor the hair on my head
loved ones

just
the one
immovable
that doesn’t
budge: weight.

editors note: An endless conundrum; let go, hold on. – mh clay


Caution of an Atom by Mike Fiorito

When the bed’s miserly corners
Consort with the ceiling to enfold you,
You reach for the lever – never
Did you think?
Life could shrink
So small that you couldn’t count Angels within its walls?
So small
Air strangles in one last breath.

And near death,
You reach for the lever – forever
Is a long time to dangle your feet off –
Of a sun crushed to the caution
Of an atom.

editors note: Even then, still hope for one ionic bond. – mh clay


High by Katie Lewington

went to the cemetery –
hoping to dig my own grave
look at all these people –
buried away
sky was overcast –
tears were swept back
it seems peaceful and comforting
not at all like death in his early years

well, now look I’ve written some lines
a poem from other people’s dead lives –
current was blocked
that no doctor could stop

I’m writing in red –
unable to find the pen that writes in blue
as b4
habits bespoke –
there is something more than silence something worse –
coming out –
the ticking of the clock
like the train from the tunnel
the sudden light fierce –

books should not be this quiet
they should be crying from the shelves –
life should not be passed should be encountered –
and still that clock ticks

alone with blonde librarian
imagine the romantic possibilities
triumphing any of the stories
in these novels –
I bet

mum of a girl I once knew comes
inside for a look
I know you wouldn’t recognize me now
I think
nobody ever does –
I haven’t changed –

found blue pen.

editors note: So high one can go with the right color of ink. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

It's Happy Need-a-Read Day! Let's cheers to that. Howsabout a lil Hennessy on the rocks? And let's make that a double, another for this week's featured short story, coincidentally-not titled "Hennessy on the Rocks" by Samonni Devine.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"Drop your foot, lay roots, then pick up and see what of you is left behind. Live like this and see what’s left and then call it humanity."

Here's a sip to whet your read thirst:

(photo "I like my marriage like I like my drinks: on the rocks." (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

I know this older lady who left her soul in every barstool across the city. She appeared to be this beautiful shade of lost with just a hint of recognition. Her eyes told this alluring story that I was interested in finding out, and I eventually did. The night I met her she told me she dreamt of being a musician. She told me everything—everything that led her to her pain and her self-inflicted demolition. And I felt for her.

“Excuse me, may I get you ladies anything?” asked the bartender.

“Two double shots of Hennessy on the rocks, please.” I replied.

Meanwhile the woman continued to confide in me like I was a new generation guardian angel who wasn’t going to damn her for being marked with a little sin. Sin for being herself. Sin for being hurt. Sin for being lost. Sin for being broken.

“And he broke me,” she continued. “He broke me.”

And I don’t know which broke my heart more, the stone dead look that appears on a human beings face after the fifth double shot of Hennessy, or the pain that lingered in the air once she spoke of him and said his name...


Lift your drink, take another sip & get the rest of your reading buzz on right here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.07.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass City Tavern! (The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street)

This month we will be featurin’ on of our loco locals & a true mad sista to all of us Mad Ones, poet Desmene Statum! Can we get a big ol’ “UHhhhh!”? YES! What we are really tryin’ to say is: You. Do. Not. Want. To. Miss. This. Show. Exclamation. Point! So…

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ “UHhhhh!” helpin’ of some Desmene, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

Fo' mo' info' visit our Open Mic page!

•••••••

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' It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

8.20.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.20.16

"Thus, the poet's word is beginning to strike forcefully upon the hearts of all men…" ~ Salvatore Quasimodo

••• The Mad Gallery •••

(click here to to hear the accompanying track to this piece)

“Houdini” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we flew the coup for a bird's nest soup; we griped and groused o'er the odds of the house; we marked a mundane story of life in purgatory; we ran real-estate life with a styrofoam wife; we copped to a post-coital deconstruction; we filled a hole with forbidden fruit; we wrapped our world with a bonnie girl; we neared Nirvana nearly well, seeking sanctuary to Get Out Of Hell. Near perfection, perfectly near. ~ MH Clay

Leave by Contributing Poet Kenneth P. Gurney

My Buddha wears a red dress, spiked heals
and a Chicago Cubs tramp stamp.

My Quan Yin appears both as a sparrow
and a mockingbird.

Morning’s acolytes speed away from me
wearing bright colors and the latest running shoes.

If I gave you my Get Out Of Hell Free card,
would you give me your veteran’s burial right

so I may rest eternally under the sycamore shade
of Antietam’s national cemetery?

By now the coyotes have dragged
last night’s white tail deer road kill into the wood,

so you may exit the house without witness
of that particular mechanized savagery.

Even the worst part of me loves you,
forgives you, for the oblique issues we howled last night,

each of us too lone wolf under a full moon
to hear the hunger and loneliness deep in our bodies.

The worst part of you, takes my Cubs hat
and wears it to keep your hair out of your eyes

as you work on the pickup truck’s engine
or on a walk in the rain that inspired Noah’s toil.

editors note: Knickers nabbed in Nirvana. Ommmm (my)! – mh clay


Bonnie by Guest Poet David Ratcliffe

You, the scene changer
add color to sullied days;
quirky, cute, undignified,
as unconventional as
a kept secret, turning partial
imperfection to complete
emancipation.

My crystal paperweight, warping
lies into virtual truth; Bonnie Parker
in ribbons and scars, more
worthy than those worthless
troubles wrapped within
humdrum days.

Totally insane
to be normal in these times of
turmoil you say with a lisp as
crisp as a cut-glass vase.

Bringing life to the graveside of
horizontal fools, where
I take your hand, dance upon the
twice dead, content to be
unsettled, while settling for
unnatural immortality.

editors note: The perfect mate with whom to navigate this graveyard life. – mh clay


For Lily In The Garden by Guest Poet Jack D. Harvey

If one apple
were eaten

before eating
think innermost

when unzipping

how a skin
has a sweet life

how a depth reached
leaves a hole.

editors note: Said serpent to sylph. Yet, here we are again. Think… – mh clay


AntsBirdsCoffee by Contributing Poet Charlotte Hamrick

Coffee is pooling under the coffee maker
with little bits of grind like ants swimming
around. It’s been leaking for weeks while

I ignored it as I’m trying to do you.
My life, too, is spilling out around the edges.
I try to contain its dark liquid, try to maintain

my balance on the high wire in my head
whirring with chirping birds flying
in a frenzy, wings batting and tiny bones snapping.

Every day a little bit more of something seeps out,
every night I wipe it into my sleep,
holding it behind tightly closed eyes, willing

it down deep where light is swallowed.
But every sunrise it’s back, pushing through
cracks, birds swooping and ants crawling

in the seepage. Another day, another potful
of crazy, another push of the lava swell of lies
down my throat swimming
in a bellyful of you.

editors note: Reflux recurring; love lost, but lingering. – mh clay


The Real-Estate Developer by Contributing Poet Ryan Quinn Flanagan

He is up each morning
the real-estate developer
building sandcastles on the beach below
with a purple pail and a yellow plastic shovel
his work tools, the tools of his trade
and halfway out the front door
on his way to work
he stops to kiss a hat rack with a styrofoam head
on the cheek
(his wife of many years)
before taking the elevator
down.

editors note: Maybe he will run for president… or king. – mh clay


Purgatory by Contributing Poet Ann B-D

He comes home and she circles around him
Rubbing the pain into the wound
Have you eaten, was it nice
Did the car drive well
Monosyllables or no syllables
The stare straight ahead
The slight nod
And she stops talking.
Flow of air
Motes of sun
The snap and hiss of the open beer cap.
The evening begins.
The tv crackles on, it’s the bottom of the fifth
Bases loaded but lots of time to play
As he slowly eases down
And pries off his shoes.
The couch
The beer
The game
goes on.

editors note: Dante’s revenge on the working class. – mh clay


EITHER WAY, THE PENNY DROPS by Guest Poet Dean R. Boic

I throw money at the slots,
The casinos,
Trying to make an honest income
But it doesn’t stick
Nothing does
I say to the machine,
“Come on, give me something,
I need it, for my wife and kids”
I savour my beer
And smoke my cigarettes
I put one out
And light another
And try some more
But it doesn’t budge
Some irritating man
Parks his behind
In the chair next to me
And starts watching me
Trying to gauge
If I’m winning or not
And he ruins my buzz
Altogether
I don’t like people
And now there’s a person
Right next to me
Too close for comfort
I hear him breathing
And I’m put off
I go from winning to losing
Going down
And going up again
To feeding money
And getting nothing back
Eventually I get up
And leave
The irritating man
Immediately sits at my machine,
Shoves some notes in
And boom
He wins
The jackpot
Either way
The penny drops
It’s my loss…

editors note: The odds always favor the house (or that irritating man). – mh clay


SWIFTS ARE MAD BIRDS by Guest Poet David A. Thompson

Swifts are mad birds
They never sleep
But can close down half their brain for a snooze

Swifts are mad birds
They fly at 60 miles per hour
And throw themselves at
Walls and tiny holes

Swifts are mad birds
Building nests of spit and insect legs

Swifts are mad birds
As soon as they can fly
Having never ever flown
Take off and immediately head for Africa

Swifts are mad birds
Because they fly 5000 miles to spend a Northern Irish summer

But – humans are even madder
Who eat swift spit, mud and insect carcass

And call it birds nest soup

editors note: All trade protected by the Bird’s Nest Soup Lobby. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Who Needs-a-Read? You, that's who! And we here at Mad Swirl have got quite the read to fit your need... "Who’s Who" by Contributing Writer John Lewis!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"The world’s a small town and you never know who’s on top of who no matter how well you think you’re on top of them."

Here's a few lines from "Who's Who" for you you's:

(photo "A Nobody" (below) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Mr L.K.J. Portland was in shock. He couldn’t put his finger of what he’d done wrong. Well, to be truthful, he had done wrong—he’d taken an illegal turn and collided with an old car driven by a young woman. A nobody. That was what troubled Mr. Portland. The nobody was but a fly yet she stood her ground when he swatted her. Who did this Akeela Banks think she was?

L.K.J. Portland or Port as he was popularly known to the rich who dwelled above the law knew this little incident seemed to be getting out of hand.

Miss Banks had challenged the accuracy of the accident report given by the police which transferred the fault from Mr Portland to Miss Banks—from the affluent to the working class. The absence of a lawyer at her side was further cause for Port’s disgust. He felt that his credentials deserved much better. In the past had he not won in the face of greater odds? Port knew he did.

He had his lawyers mail his demand for repair costs to his top model car but the nobody Akeela Banks insisted that it was he who must repair her car because he was at fault in every respect. The next thing that angered Port was a call from the magistrate who asked in a feminine but assertive voice him to drop the case. The magistrate, in her off-the-record conversation, knew that Port was using the law as a ship to satisfy his ego. What does this bitch know? thought Port...


Who wants some more of "Who's Who"? You do, that's who! 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...

Strikin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

8.13.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.13.16

"Great art is the expression of a solution of the conflict between the demands of the world without and that within." ~ Edith Hamilton

••• The Mad Gallery •••


(click here to to hear the accompanying track to this piece)

“Cars” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

Our newest featured visual artist, Dallas-based Suza Kanon, is quite the multi-talented one! But if you already know Suza you already know this. But if you don’t, surely you will know now! Suza brings us collaged mixes of dark images with sharp and scribbled words to match. These scribbles and hand-written edits serve her form quite finely too. A view at her works almost feels like we are perusing something straight out of a secret and guarded notebook that we shouldn’t be peeking through. But try as we must, we can’t look away. Something tells us this self-proclaimed ‘unrepentant scribbler’ might not mind us having a peek at what’s going on in her not-so-secret notebook. So if Suza’s opening it up to us, we’re gonna take a gander! And we think you should sneak a peek for yourself too! – Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we reposed in the regrets of war; we walked a new way to discern the same day; we looked through the sun to the bliss of two as one; we plumbed the depths of death to hear a poet's dying breath; we tried to hide from the carnival ride... of love; we dirtied not beliefs hard bought with clean soap and free thought; we tempted fate to make death wait; we wrecked the whole thing on the seeds of a dream. ~ MH Clay

SEEDS by Helen Harrison

1

On a Sunday in mid-summer
Right at the edge of the park
You come to me;

Talking future plans,
Shining eyes,
And a heart that dared.
We saw ourselves

Buying a car to travel
Down to the coast
Whenever we took the urge

All planned out under the elm
Of eager spreading roots.
Many seeds scattered

Ideas with wings on the breeze
Hope floating all the way
Towards the sea along winding
Open-windowed roads.

2

Smashed in spring – the last
Season you inhaled;
Lying singing on the back seat.

The front driver’s side was saved,
Letting me drive
To dreams that died.

Dreams have a way
Of coming at you by the front
And leaving by the back door.

I pass it now, the car
In the scrap yard
At the edge of the town
It’s only half now.

August 13, 2016

editors note: These unplanned stops; who can bear them? Keep driving toward your dreams. (This poem comes from Helen’s collection The Last Fire. You can find it on Amazon here.)- mh clay


Let us die of a slow life by Fabrice Poussin

Counting the seconds on the hour glass is no hobby,
while the fluffy cumuli keep on their carefree flight,
slowing time, while listening to a relentless rhythm,
the conductor imagines his dancers in slow motion.

Dos and Res and Tis float as if from the autumn tree,
lines in the air, scars in the sand alike are no trap
to the eternal invincible freedom of the symphony;
let us this die of a slow life as we make our arts.

There will always be time for your handsome flesh
to slide off those charming bones I know so well;
no need for you to look down to the speedometer,
you may slow a little and see a scene not so blurry.

Death can wait, immortal, we need not worry;
her scythe may rust just a little more for our sakes;
we will die of a slow life, for you and I can rest;
the sunsets and moonrises do take their time you know.

Smile my love, with all your pearls, let your heart sing
the melody written on the dimensions of the galaxies;
there is room for you, for you too are the size of a dream;
no need to rush, run, take your time to my grave.

There is laughter to be heard, smiles to be painted;
the canvas stretched seems limitless in your soul;
mind not the colors for they have lost their taste;
breathe in my love, and slowly walk to be with me.

August 12, 2016

editors note: Suspend each grain in the palm of your hand. Hold it for as long as now will stand… – mh clay


The Void by Michael Marrotti

Living a life
void of belief
is like using
an anonymous
bar of soap
to scrub away
the unbeknownst
filth of the earth
in a lukewarm shower

Dirty towels
dry away
unguided souls

No transcendence
or declension
when the elevator
is out of service

Not knowing
is not caring
And living a life
free of indoctrination
is a life
of free thinking

August 11, 2016

editors note: When we don’t know what we don’t know… Well, which way IS up? – mh clay


Slight of Hand by Rafael Andrade Garza

Nothing I write
satisfies my heart
I long to reach the end
of my novel shore
where the sun barely touches ocean
like when I circle the curls of your hair
lost in your loop
taking me back to the carnival of love, again
with its endless magic and tricks
your illusions and all
caught in your spell
mesmerized as if I’m seeing you pass me again
for the very first time

© May 4, 2014

August 10, 2016

editors note: Ahhh! True Love… so mysterious; before we learn the truth of it. (Read another Mad missive about love on Rafael’s page – check it out.) – mh clay


The verses by Milenko Županović

Apparitions
death
disappear
in a fog
recollections
verses
dead
poet
hidden.

August 9, 2016

editors note: The ensuing void we would fill with words. – mh clay


The Movement by James Brown

Looking up through the sun roof; the illusion delighting to the mindset, gravity has the hold, movement of the clouds divulge the delusion.

When you wake paint me in your reflection as the mirror emulates and the mind subsists as we exist in a love abyss.

August 9, 2016

editors note: A brief, sweet forever… – mh clay


Walking 5th Avenue by Ally Malinenko

I needed a change of pace,
of footfalls and a different shade of face
on the people I weave between
on my long journey from home to here

so I moved up one avenue,
just to see what else there is to see
and when I crested the hill at the old cemetery
and Manhattan spread open like a hand
begging for me to take it,

I realized that I was so small
on this hilltop
on this island
on this planet
in all that black space

and that being small has so many advantages.
I stood still for a moment thinking I could feel the planet turn
but it was just a seagull passing
hanging for a moment above me,
before screeching and moving on

August 8, 2016

editors note: Small enough to go unnoticed by passing calamity. – mh clay


Summer Unveils my Woe by David O’Brien

Arising the troops
steadying the streams
cleaning the battleaxes
rinsing the shields
saddling the needy steeds
testing the waters
preparing for the barricades
calming the nervous
calling the duties
tying the ropes
rehearsing the wartime speeches
thinking the tactics
listening to the commands
ignoring the conscience
repairing the instincts
mapping the routes
expecting the sieges
spotting the brand new battlefield
disbelieving the sight
targeting the enemy
relaying the others
trapping the ill witted
ensnaring the timid
burning the bridges
building the walls
anticipating the backlash
praying for the non faithful

mourning the friendships lost
regretting, as you walk the other way

August 7, 2016

editors note: Aggression breeds revulsion. Why not walk away first? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read then need no more! Mad Swirl's featured short, "Henry Showed Wendy His Paintings" comes from Contributing Writer & Poet, Donal Mahoney & it just might leave a chill up your spine!


Henry and Wendy Throckmorton had been married a week when Henry took Wendy to his garret 100 miles south of their estate in posh Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago. Wendy thought she was going on a delayed honeymoon. Henry had never told her that he was a painter by avocation. She knew only that he was a successful patent attorney and had a large, profitable practice.

There was a heavy snowfall that evening and it made the trip for Wendy, looking out the window of the car, all the more beautiful. They arrived at the garret around midnight and walked up three flights of stairs in the dark. It was good that Henry had brought his flashlight. He used three keys on a long silver chain to open three locks on the steel door. Once inside the garret, Henry turned on the light with triumph.

“Voila!” he said as he turned slowly in a circle with arms outstretched.

Wendy was certainly surprised. There were paintings all over the walls. Other paintings, half completed, sat on their easels waiting for Henry. He explained to Wendy that she was the first person to see his work–his work of a lifetime. He had never shown his work to anyone before but now that they were married, he felt she had a right to see it.

“Wendy, you are the one person I know who is qualified to see my work and I am very happy about that.”...


Get your show-and-tell 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...

Expressin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor