The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.25.16

“Do whatever you do intensely.” ~ Robert Henri

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“To Everyone” (above) by featured artist Fabrice Poussin.

Allow us to introduce you to Mad Swirl’s newest featured artist, Fabrice Poussin! Fabrice’s photos exudes quite a dreamy noir vibe. Utilizing shade (like the frail detailed limbs of a tree dancing along the shutters of a building, being my personal favorite), Poussin captures light in a unique way, in a real way, and in that way which you can’t help but feel an unsettling air when you look at them. Much like they’re captured in that fine moment of calm just before the storm. Darkness can be spooky, but something about it can also calm you down, if you let it. Something about Poussin’s work manages to accomplish both. If those kinds of visuals spike your interest, and we’ve got a feeling they do – then click here to see the shadows for yourself. ~ Madelyn Olson

To view more our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we purloined a peak at paradise, a misplaced pearl; we resurrected a rodent; we boinked (we wish) a babe from the Man in Black; we were chilled by a chopper; we tipped a truth topper; we stayed dry in a drenching; we lost poet's poise in a too big noise; we reveled in romance, a deepening dance. Paradise, again. ~ MH Clay



The healing table laid just so. Jug of
Ice water, cooling pleasantly. Two
Different painkillers, both within easy
Reach. TV remote controls, all three
Of them, just to the right.


If you missed any of that, there’s more:
A Nixon book one foot away, easily grasped –
And something else on the Long March
Nearby, on the closest shelf. You can
Tell Rachel was raised by a nurse,
But if you can’t, beneath my healing
Table is a discreet unmarked brown
Puke bucket.


Love shoots out and manifests itself in
The world as it would. Checking it is like
Checking Niagara Falls; you can do it
But your success would be short-lived
And fruitless.

Menuet I

The anesthesiologist who met Rachel knew
She was up against a force. “I can tell….”
She said, trailing off. In my mind I finish
Her thought: “I can tell this woman is,
Despite herself, deeply in love. Nothing
Bad can happen to you while she is here
Or thinking of you. Nothing on earth escapes
This. She will protect you from all fates.
In heaven her light will make stars scarlet
With jealousy. In hell she will draw the shades,
Run the coldest shower, and stand there until your soul
Can rest.”

Menuet II

Funny how she could tell all that from your
Eyes, which were bluer than usual and red-shot,
Doing your best to look bored. You could tell
I wanted out, now, and tried to act like I could
Handle it. I couldn’t. I wanted to leave.


How can you fall in love, in summer on the
Prairies, again in Vancouver in fall, all
Over again in Montreal, in a museum
In California, and keep falling, deeper?
Why is holding hands in the hospital
Ratification of what can’t be written down?

June 25, 2016

editors note: Dances of love for what ails you. – mh clay

Too Big a Noise for my Trade by Learnmore Edwin Zvada

I have not the lines to describe the whim of a painter
fashioning a portrait of a kept woman,
nor have I saddled my gaze upon the seesawing
bosom, supple skin’s dimpled rise, the rounds
and turns of a damsel’s posture looming out of a
steamy illustrator’s zoomed lens

How unfortunate it is to be without knowledge
of such a sinuous summation of feminine artwork,
it’s rendered foreign to me, that adverse ineptness
straddling up on my tongue
needless to say, the portrait in itself is an object
of forlorn ambience to the eyes of the escapist,
the one extremist I am inescapably mutating into

It isn’t surprising why my verses maintain that I
have tastes colder than a witch’s ears, unwrapped
to such a cruel set of words, too soon I’m bound to
step aside and let the painter and his paint do what
they think to know best

June 24, 2016

editors note: An eloquent admission of ineptitude. – mh clay

Finality by Sudha Srivatsan

The silence in my head
Grows noisy by the day
Does death die
Or is death immortal?
For it lives forever
Off hearts and souls
Swelling shapely in desire
As each moment gaits by
The canny spider trips over
Settling upturned in its web
Readily lounging
To spurt venom
That bathes me
In a ritual of sorts
I lay bewitched
To behold rain drops
Refusing to drench me

June 23, 2016

editors note: A spider-bit soak in the eternal question. – mh clay

TRUTH by Roger G. Singer

Misplaced thoughts are broken stones.
The sides of the road hold treasures
for those walking by. Old newspapers
separate us from yesterday’s tragedies.
Wisdom is born in diners and roadside
Cafes. Painted signs on old barns hold
the innocence of roadside marketing.
Paper hats have character against the sun.
Popsicles were once five cents. Longer
steps will get you there faster, even if you
don’t want to arrive. Birds work the winds
in every season. The eyes never lie.
Everybody’s your friend till the rent comes

June 22, 2016

editors note: Roger’s road-worn realities keep us cruisin’! – mh clay

Knife Skills by Kleio B

Callously –
She stared at the quarry,
Methodically –
She sharpened the knife.
She ripped off the skin,
Chopped dismembered,
After all a stew tastes best;
With onions done well.

June 21, 2016

editors note: A justified killing; no tears for the dead. – mh clay

Street car, Southwest Tenth Avenue, Portland, Oregon by Erren Geraud Kelly

A six foot brunette
Gets on, wearing cut off shorts
And cowboy boots
Rock and roll screamed on various
Parts of her body
As if her milky white skin was too pure
To be defaced
Her legs were as long as the route
We were traveling on
It’s as if Johnny Cash had an affair
With a Goth chick
And this woman was his love child
She’s a train wreck, you can’t take
Your eyes off of, in a good

June 21, 2016

editors note: We’re looking for her on every street car, everywhere. – mh clay

Teenagers in Rural Ohio by Adam Sometimes

There were a few of us
Underage and drinking beers
You know what I’m talking about
Just boys being boys
And about nine beers deep we started getting bored

There was this gopher hole
And boys being boys we started a fire
in the hole

Next we threw in firecrackers
Still nothing
I’m not sure what we expected
I guess we were just hoping to flush the rodent out

This stupid pastime continued
Until my uncle
Drunk as shit stumbled over with the water hose

He pushed the hose into the hole and turned on the water
It all happened so fast
The critter came dashing out
And in that instance my uncle
Armed with a baseball bat
Beat the gopher to death

He threw down the bat and walked away
We were confused
I felt dirty
How did pointless fun
Easily turn into a murder of sorts

We buried the gopher
And never talked about it again
Until now
Until Trump decided to run for president

One of the boys that were there called me
I told him I wasn’t much into politics
He said
“Remember the gopher?”

June 20, 2016

editors note: Commentary heard on your local news channel never! – mh clay

A State of Serenity by Bhupender Bhardwaj

As if in a dream the vast landscape
Of inexplicable splendours opened up
Before the eyes.

The scene was that of natural
Ornamentation: a rivulet making
Its way through the unknown ravine,
The green hill opposite prostrate
In a gesture of humility, free eagles
Gliding over their airy domains—
Knowledgeable of the ways of the wind.

The mist played its game of mystery
Across the face of the valley
Making moderate the vision
As wine does the senses.

Moreover, the sight was quite
Inspirational being a pearl ring
From a long-ago friend found after
Ages in the heap of useless things.

Paradises unknown shall always
Appear ordinary to those who
Witness this spectacle revealing the
Union of man and nature every moment.

June 19, 2016

editors note: Best absorbed in situ. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week we got two-fer ya!

The first short story is titled with "Poem" in it. But when it fell inadvertently into Short Story Editor Tyler Malone's hands, he couldn't resist snatching this one and putting it in our short story library. Here's what he had to say about it...

"I promise, time is alive but it won’t die. The moon will, though. It will keep reflecting, but the source will be extinguished: what we thrive upon, what watches over our love."

And here's a bit of "Love That Moon: A Poem in Three Parts" by Contributing Writer and Poet Ruth Deming:

(photo "Three Heads of Sunset" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

One: Jefferson

We sat on the front porch, the whole
lot of us, the Washington family, knowing
that yes our folk of all different hues of
brown, were born of the first father of our
country, our country too.

Granny, born of a young slave girl, had
nearly died today, fell down once again,
not good for much, she was one-hundred-something
but who was counting? “Take me Lord” she would
pray with her toothless mouth that still
loved to sing “Let My People Go” and to
sip homemade hooch.

We done a right good load of hay baling, said
brother Jim, pointing toward yonder fields.
Oughta fetch a pretty penny and we can buy
our ladies some right pretty material for dresses
and bonnets and what not. Easter Sunday’s
on its way, praise the Lord.

Long as you gots enough wood to repair these
rickety steps that leads up to the cabin, says I.
Oh, don’t you worry, Little Miss, we’ve got
plenty of smackers including those wrinkled up bills we save
for when’s we need em.

Plus, says I, my boy Jefferson is going away to
college some day. We all watched Jefferson as
he played with his little plastic trucks in the dirt
zoom zoom – as he crashed them together
head first.

We laughed as one, a church-like chorus where
our own Pap was preacher, he done left us long

Jefferson looked our way and smiled that big ole
Mississippi smile of his. He pointed over the
newly greening fields and stood up.

“Mama,” he cried. “There’s my crescent moon.”
My crescent moon, he shouted over and over,
jumping up and down and raising the dust.

“You are right, boy!” I said, coming off the porch
and swooping him up in a hug. “That moon
sure do love you, boy, and so do I!”

Get the rest of your read on right here!


The second featured short, "The Train to Discomfort" comes to us from longtime Contributing Writer Jenean McBrearty. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this historical fictional tale:

Joy isn’t the last emotion, it’s the first smiling step to many more, all as the cyclical human cycle carried by pumping blood only begins. First a smile, then a toothless whimper.

Here's a whimper to get'cha goin':

(photo "Car Commerce" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

David McConnell didn’t realize how tense he’d been until the train left German soil and entered Austria. In a few hours he’d be in Vienna and he and Julia would shop for a cleric.

He let out a sigh and looked up from his week-old edition of the London Times. Sitting across from him was a large man with a thick white mustache and a probing stare. “Would you like to see yesterday’s news?” he said. He offered the folded paper to his fellow traveler. “The political cartoons are well drawn.”

“And, no doubt full of inflammatory commentary from your Mr. Churchill.” But he accepted the paper, and David felt a second wave of relief; he didn’t like being studied. This fellow looked like a professional observer. A psychiatrist, perhaps. All the arrogance of a military officer and the accusatory eye of a clergyman. He turned his attention to the passing countryside.

“What do you think of Herr Hitler?” The man asked.

The question intruded on David’s prurient thoughts of Julia. “I haven’t given him much thought at all. As long as I don’t have to go to war, I don’t care what Europe does. I’m getting married when I get to Vienna.”

“Committing to life-long war, then.”

“I prefer to think I’m marrying an ally not an enemy.”

“Of course.”

All aboard, this story train is leavin' the station! Click here for more of this mad ride!

••• Open Mic •••

This month we will be featuring Dallas Poet & Artist & all around mad man, Ta2! Wanna know more about Ta2? Here’s a bit about this mad man:

After surviving an auto accident from a drunk driver which crippled his career as a freshly published and degreed architect, Sean Gregory, who is better known in the poetry community simply as Ta2, was forced to make a change at the Why in the road. This brought him to the world of heavy metal music where he remained as a professional touring vocalist until 2004.

During that time, Ta2 immersed himself in poetry where he founded in 2005 The Dead Beat Poet Society. He focused on live spoken word shows and poetry slams. He is currently surviving as a starving artist by creating hyper-realism commissioned work, Henna art, and tattooing.

Ta2’s poetry styles vary like his topics which range from simple haiku to free-verse, and topics such as raw sex to coping with ADHD and Anxiety Disorder. This 1st Wednesday Ta2 will take you on a journey of sight & sound and LSD Memories. So, close your eyes and open your mind to the world of the absurd; the world according to Ta2.

How’s that for a write-up? Got your interest piqued? Good! So come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Ta2, 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!

For 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...

Doin' It',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.11.16

“I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me, and at length the longing has been satisfied.” ~ Julia Margaret Cameron

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“nightcat” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely. To view more of Jeff's twisted beatific images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we lamented the limpness of males of the species; we feared the thrust of a hum unjust; we were shocked to have heard the worst of words (not spoke by me); we endeavored to break from the same mistake; we chilled our nerves with cold preserves; we found green reason in the turn of a season; we dealt with duress in our goddamned mess; we sulked in the slammer of wrong-wrought grammar. Our language means are meant to be seen. Wha'? ~ MH Clay

Notes for My Reading Repast by Lawdenmarc Decamora

For one:
I saw a book, ash-colored; on the side
of its skin lived the initials DB
riven by blankness
and a fatal crave darker than dark.
It read Dobby Gibson. My eyes
hungered, wishing for another
court in the sky, or another throat
to house another world in another time.

I should be in jail. I have been crippling
syntax to its spindly few. Spelling
I pummeled to misspell Dumaguete
as Desperado. Words whiplashed
on fire ice: Kripinoy, a Joaquinesquerie
jeepneying with Saint Lazarus—
the emperor of English over grass
lilt parsing poison into ice cream
poetry and screaming grammar noir.
The narrative of tradition, beer-fellowed
by cultural madness to digress
and mull over a foam
of savory crab fat alongside
our pickled come-what-mays. For this,
Art arbitrarily is sans an ‘A’. And thus ‘RT’
we all are. So I should be back to bed
confessing the secret of syllables
under the covers. Good morning!

At the glum gates I see clock wives
in need of music, my geography
lessons I still can recall
while longing for vestiges of light
the long summer
the sweet mishaps
frozen fireflies in the mind—
the left and leaving, inaugurating
the nameless things
here, there, in the waiting room.

Many times we have pried into the secret lives of words, how syllables could swim like Shinji in our head, bethinking of our mutual weirdness, rufous-headed, in present perfect.

June 11, 2016

editors note: Present perfect or not, the emperor of English can jeepney himself. – mh clay

It Is by Victor Clevenger

We are
all sugar.

We are
all water.

We are
all ruined,

and there
are sticky
all over
this world.

It’s a goddamn
mess down

June 10, 2016

editors note: Damn right, it is! Where’s the cleanup crew? – mh clay

Season Of Spring by Archita Mittra

and spring came tumbling
from a hope-shaped crack
in the sky,
a naked
the ancient snow
of our hearts.

stripped of all our belongings,
we found ourselves,
like the once-skeletal trees,
in the colours of daisy and primrose
our lips chanting
‘new’, ‘new’
as the white curtains drew apart
and moist green love
over the dark earth.

then the woods were filled with Song.
a rabbit, out of hiding
led the way…
lost in the woods,
we became the whirling leaves
we became the whistling wind

even as the cuckoo in His stolen nest,
chirped cheerily of Death.

we looked at each other
in the forest pool,
and lay singing
a lullaby of love and longing
in the sun-kissed grassy grave
of spring.

a butterfly with jewelled wings
kissed our dreaming silken skin
and Love grew on it.

in this suicidal paradise,
we unfurled ourselves-
our fingers of ivy
our limbs of slender birch
into the rainbow-hued stasis
of belonging.

but the shy blossoms
tickling our mossy green-ing toes
pleaded us to awake
their fragrance of promise

and so soaring
we fell,

we left our butterflies,
our dream-entangled ivy
and returned,
to the silent silver pool
and the emerald grass
and the Song of the cuckoo.

with the heart of a frisking lamb,
and the eyes of a chased fawn
we returned
to a world,
by the Song,

water rippled at His footsteps-
our wanderlust-soaked soul
too, tasted the word

we RAN from the Hunter
we run still,
but the woods are silent now.

June 9, 2016

editors note: Run from the hunter, into the Summer; speak the safe word, ‘new.’ – mh clay

The Cellaring by Ken Allan Dronsfield

A moldy cold
like a freshly
turned grave.
The smells of
decaying flesh
permeate the
bowels of the
icy basement.
Cobwebs move
in the dead air
a soft whisper
like long Spanish
moss being toyed
with by a gentle
wind upon red
oaks or pecan.
I’m home within
the coolish cellar
humming a sonnet
in my burial dress,
black strap shoes
hair a ghostly mess
a purple lilac purse
and Easter bonnet.

June 8, 2016

editors note: A cool place to wait while lying in state. – mh clay

the same mistake by J.J. Campbell

if your parents
have to go on
national television
to express their
love for you

they are simply
in it for the

and take a little
piece of advice

don’t have your
own children and
repeat the same

June 7, 2016

editors note: Media appeal inspires parental instincts in our modern world; mistakes are inevitable. (We welcome J.J. to our Contributing Poets with this accepted poem – check out more of his madness on his new page.) – mh clay

The Revenge Of The Dirty Laundress by Paul Tristram

“Aye, but did you ever hear this one about them?
… come closer… shocking, I know… but there’s more.
And it wasn’t an isolated incident neither,
there’s a crooked streak running through that entire family.
I’m only telling you what’s already common knowledge.
Yes, really… give her an absolute dog’s life,
I know, butter wouldn’t melt and all that kack
but you know what they say about the quiet ones.
The Grandfather was also a nasty piece of work by all accounts,
I never met him personally, I’m picky with the company I keep.
There was also a wicked rumour going around about her…
yes, the other one… there’s no smoke without fire.
I don’t care what anyone says, once you’re a whore you stay one.
Anyways, I haven’t got all day to stand around here gossiping
it’s time I got back to minding my own business
and don’t you forget, you never heard a word of it from me!”

June 7, 2016

editors note: The truly bad stuff about “them” never comes from any of us, right? – mh clay

with the hideous by Volodymyr Bilyk

with the hideous leer
and the odious sound:
Crank the bubble –

when echo falls –
mouth the hum unjustly.

sky will foul you.

clang knees
snap below
into the breath’s mist
and lapse into unkind spot

– wait till something will occur…
wait until you swell…

and then – the timid tit
– swipes the heat
and rash ensues,

jib and jib and jib:

repentant yowl
sickly sentimental
into the inmost hollow.

down the lewd
through entrails to dissolve in vain.

June 6, 2016

editors note: Emotional upheaval or acid indigestion? Take a pill for each and await results… – mh clay

E.D. by Hal J. Daniel III

“A male raccoon, Procyon lotor,
has a curved bony strut
in his penis.”

The Professor then shows
this interesting structure
to his anatomy students,

while explaining the structure’s
scientific names:
os penis and baculum.

He continues the lecture
by adding some good old boy
southern vernacular:

“Texas toothpick,”
“pecker bone;”
“mountain man toothpick.”

An older non-trad lady comments:
“Too bad about certain
other male species”.

He places his raccoon penis strut
back with his osteological collection;
comments, “I know what you mean.”

June 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

editors note: If we know, let it be rationally vs. empirically. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

We here at Mad Swirl hear all kinds of stories. Some mellow others rowdy. Some tender, others debaucherous. All quite delicious. And some have all these mad ingredients blended in and that's exactly what we've come to expect from Contributing Writer Oleg Razumovsky.

Here's what Short Story Editor, Tyler Malone, has to say about Oleg's raucous tale "Boredom"...

"For a life lived, that’s a punch to the teeth. What privilege is that? The privileged of the born and the breathing."

And here's a few jabs ("BAM-BAM, BUM-BUB") to get this knock-out of a story started:

(photo "Hydration Station" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

In the evening my phone rang. Nobody had called me for ages. I thought that all the people I ever knew had died already. It was so boring. And suddenly it turned out an old friend remembered me. I have not seen him for a thousand years. Since he had gone into business, we parted ways. Here, all of a sudden, he invites me to visit him. I was shocked. Why, for fuck sake?

Okay, I agreed to come. Frankly speaking, I was sick and tired to sit at home doing nothing. Oh, it’s so boring. I wanted to get out for a change. It was pretty late but trams still ran.

I was riding the tram where two women clutched at each other, screaming something about the bloody politics, tearing hair. On the back of my seat it was scratched “Lenin is alive” and painted a big star. The man sitting next to me, the same style, like many other citizens, dressed in an old brown coat and a hat, immediately addressed me as if he had known me for a long time. And he began to tell episodes of his complex life. It turned out that he was at the funeral. His mother was an old woman. She lived alone in an abandoned village. One evening two villains broke in, took all the money, killed her and burned the house. At the funeral only his sister, her daughter, son-in-law and his father, mourned. The citizen is a big shot or a businessman, a boss of some sort. He is fat like a hog and dissatisfied with everybody and everything. He was drunk and started to grunt, moan and drool.

Who would be that, especially at the funeral.

I told him at last, “Look, you better stop it. It is not much fun to hear about anyone’s funeral that isn’t yours. Try to behave yourself, mister”

Stop there? You better not! If you know what's good/bad for you, you'll wanna move your mouse (or finger) right here and get the rest of this read on!


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...


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.04.16

“Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.” ~ Allen Ginsberg

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“battle tested” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely. To view more of Jeff's twisted beatific images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we forfeited fun for a holiday in the sun; we, our politicos refused, for promises devolved into excuse; we honored the dead who gave their lives in our stead; we broke the box for beggar over fox; we questioned the suit for love obtained sans pure pursuit; we practiced spine extraction to enable kindness in action; we suffered the sting of love undone to end with the safety of dinner for one; we got down with the brightness of brown; we dispelled self-doubt in the freedom of getting out. One thing leads to another; inhale deeply, never smother. ~ MH Clay

Kyle’s Ford, Tennessee by Becky Sanvictores

I want to tell this story
from the beginning
though I really only know the end.
When you were five
there were six of you
one pair of shoes
one good dress
between you.
You weren’t yet big enough
but you dreamed of buttoning the collar
of the dress around your neck
spinning like cotton candy
twirling the hem into a tutu.

When you were ten
and there were eight of you
two pair of shoes
one for the little ones
one for the bigger,
you smoothed the dress
over your legs
knocked your knees
pulled at the hem
and folded into the davenport
losing your silhouette to the pillows.

When you were thirteen
and there were five of you –
the little ones died,
two pair of shoes
one put away
one for the rest of you,
wearing that dress
the hem hugging your thighs
just the way men like
you scurried through the door
like it was your fault.

When you were fifteen
there were three of you,
the others had left,
two pair of shoes
and the landlord wanted paid.
You put on your Mother’s dress
grabbed the bottle of whiskey
took him to the root cellar
and paid the rent.

When you were seventeen
there were two of you left
three pair of shoes
one you earned paying rent,
you put on your own dress
slapped fifty dollars on the table
and hitchhiked to Savannah.

When you were eighty-five
and there was one of you
I laced your feet into ballet slippers
fluffed the tutu around your
skinny slim body
and we rolled out the door
of the Magnolia Manor
Fuck the landlord!

June 4, 2016

editors note: A liberation tale. Nicely told! – mh clay

Brown by Arun Budhathoki

Everything is brown
The world
The colour of her
The colour of her eyes
Lighter brown
We are brown
Our world brown too

The kisses we share brown too
Her hair brown too
Her hugs and everything brown

The stars flashes like a brownie
The road stuck between the crossroads
The signs are brown too

My fingers
The words I type
Thoughts in my mind

My skin
The air I breathe
The food I eat
The water I drink

Everything is brown

My heart is brown
My soul
My heart

She makes my world brown

June 3, 2016

editors note: Can’t get no blues when everything is brown. – mh clay

salon musing by Alainah Aamir

Valentine’s day hearts
still hang on the salon ceiling
three days after the day
which makes no sense at all.

Each heart is cut in a different
sort of grotesque because they
know nobody will notice the rough
edges, with a solid concept as this.

That is why he will leave her through
empty inboxes, bubbles of silence
he will slowly pull the wooden floor from under her
so one day she will know with certainty that there is no more need for a second dinner plate.

June 2, 2016

editors note: Dinner for two, undone. – mh clay

How to Give by Nadia Wolnisty


above it is a cap like one for fuel.
I reach back and turn it counterclockwise
to open the little door that’s at the root of all spines.
I use both hands with bent elbows and grab it.
The base is cold and metal like a skewer through a carousel horse.

I inhale. I yank it out.
It goes haltingly—
vertebra by vertebra,
like a locomotive,
one car at a time.

My breathing will be unlabored
like soothing mutters
on a quiet night.
My breathing will be all exhales
without that spider umbrella
of bone between.
I must do this to be weightless.
I must do this to be as water
that never thinks of itself,
but flows and heals and
asks nothing.
I must do this for the give.

And afterward, we could
prop it in some corner,
like a hat-rack for small hats,
or give it to the children
for a curious plaything.
I am trying to trade
my strength for kindness.

June 1, 2016

editors note: The ultimate gift; self as hat rack or curious toy. – mh clay

I WILL NOT LET YOU by Geosi Gyasi

I will not let you
into the wings
of my arm
till you
break it into
pieces the reason
why you choose
to live as a
man instead
of a woman

I will not let you
into the spaces
of my flesh
till you
prove to me
via litmus paper
why the color
of your skin
should be
changed to

I will not let you
sow the seed
of artificial sperm
into the pool
of my womb
unless you
fetch me a song
from the bosom
of your heart

I will not let you
feel the love
of my heart
unless you
prove to me
why you’re eager
to pursue me

May 31, 2016

editors note: Show me yours before I show you mine. – mh clay

OF FOXES AND BEGGARS by Beate Sigriddaughter

How come
I’m tempted to run
out and buy meat to deliver
to a hungry fox,
yet I don’t want to give
spare change to a man
asking for it
by the Lutheran church?

May 31, 2016

editors note: Maybe we’re confused. Isn’t it, “Do unto foxes as you would have foxes do…” or was it something else? – mh clay

Memorial Day 2016 by D. Russel Micnhimer

Today we honor and remember ultimate sacrifice
Of all who answered and served our country’s call;
Who fought and in gore of battle took their final fall
For each of us they gave all their yet lived fill of life.

They held freedom they were living worth fighting for
No matter what their age or when in history time
Called for their service, many went in their prime,
Never to return from the horrors of the current war.

Today we mourn their lives, place flowers on their graves
And flags to mark weapons they brandished in defense
And offense to defeat enemy before they breached the fence
Preserving the land of the frees and homes of the braves.

We know that stopping of their hearts, no matter when,
With each free breath, we take, we give them life again.

May 30, 2016

editors note: Lest we forget to remember, freedom was never free & never shall be. ~ Johnny O

Same Old by Gary Beck

When election year arrives
presidential contenders
have already worked hard
telling us what we want to hear,
however unrealistic.
Once ensconced in office
promises are forgotten
while the burden of problems
generates excuses.

May 30, 2016

editors note: Surprised? So much we promise ourselves is lost to our own excuses; why would we expect any difference from them? – mh clay

HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN by Bradford Middleton

The window is open but my curtains are drawn
A nice gentle breeze wafts through, it is salty yet fresh
I stumble to my feet and peer through into the daylight
The wind seems kind of fresh but the clouds are an ominous mass
But still there are people who insist they’re on holidays in the sun
Determined to lie on the beach until the storm takes hold and hopefully sweeps them away

Our beach is a shingled mess, invaded every weekend by lager-fueled teenagers
Can’t they just fuck off, leaving us in peace to enjoy our town?
I sat and thought about it the other night, alone in situ at the pub
And it occurred to me we’re only really alone at Christmas when the students go home
It’s then I love this city, a place of peace and tranquillity
Leaving the mind to wander and speculate on plans to escape

May 29, 2016

editors note: Remember to bundle up; layers, layers – with a generous sunblock base. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Maybe you don't NEEEEEEED-a-Read (although 9 outta 10 mad docs would say you're wrong) but we know you're gonna "WANNNNNNNA-Read" Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White's gem of a story.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this week's featured read "Frieze in Miniature"...

"There can’t always be what we desire but there’s always going to be us and what we can imagine."

And with that said, here's a few flurries to get your feelers feelin':

(photo by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Sunday and snow. A promise made— a promise kept. Laden with oranges, apples, chips, crackers graham, muenster, and wine to placate my misgivings, a thermos of cold water, mittens, blankets, and four rain-booted children bundled for snowball battles, quivered with impatience— up Angeles Crest we plunged.

Destination— snow— 7000 feet.

Carsick children— and me.

Still no snow.

Destination— Big Pine...

To be continued right here!

••• Open Mic •••

All we gots'ta say today 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 virtual feature, the fine folks from the Southern Collective Experience. Poets Charles Clifford Brooks III & Scott Thomas Outlar along with musician Kaleb Garrett, brought their poetic & musical a-game! We never doubted that they would & they over delivered on the badassness!

If you couldn't make it to the show and wish you coulda, there's some live shot video of The Southern Collective Experience's feature set right here. (and more where that came from right here!)

Thanks to all who came out to The Underpass & shared in this collective delicious madness. What a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music it was!

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

photos courtesy of Dan "the man" Rodriguez

Southern Collective Experience: Clifford Brooks, Scott Thomas Outlar, & Kaleb Garrett

Johnny Olson & MH Clay

Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks, & Tamitha Curiel

Mad Cast:
Maggie Smith
Justin Booth
Opalina Salas
Chris Zimmerly
Desmene Statum
Carlos Salas
CJ Critt
John May
Suza “Hep Kat Mama” Kanon
Vic Victory
Gabe Mamola
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Jen Bochenko
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Kristine Spinner
Sean “Ta2” Buttram
Gnadia Wolnisty
Samonni Devine
Red Crow

HUGE thanks to Swirve 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!

Thanks to The Underpass's Mike & Leo for having such a badass & fine establishment and welcoming us mad ones into their home with open arms.

And finally we would like to thank ALL of you who freely shared their hand claps, finger-snaps, hoots and howls with all the mad ones who got up on this sacred mad swirlin’ mic.

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

Your Mad Googily-Eyed Guy


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...


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.28.16

“Nobody is ordinary if you know where to look.” ~ Maeve Binchy

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“battle beast” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely. To view more of Jeff's twisted beatific images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we raised a bud from remembered mud; we struggled to rise above the ranks of those who run on shallow tanks; we sought to curb what anger grows with tips o' the brims of our chapeaux; we listened to what one had to say about the good ole American (Everywhere) Way; we sliced a thin salvation with sharp instruments for sale; we danced aloft with kissing bees in a tree, leaf & nub tickling, riffing breeze; we climbed a staircase, skyward hung, strained to hold on - ring, rang, rung; we embraced a hallucination, clinically not allowed, tranquility found in blood from clouds. Just another week's work in the Swirl... ~ MH Clay

Time to Reflect by Tom Hall

My first hallucination was the perfect one for me.
I had walked deep into the woods when rain began to fall
It fell so softly bending trees and rustling through the trees
The rain drops shone like blood red beads, descending on us all.

These colored drops turned colorless, following their falling.
The most relieving thing was that it painted nothing red.
To bathe the forest and myself in blood would be appalling.
The colored of the world remained, only the clouds had bled.

It was a warm and welcome thing, the rain had been to me.
I laid upon a massive rock, to let it wet me down.
And then it stopped, as rain will do, the sky had set it free.
I’d had my fill of ambrosia, there was no need to drown.

My Psych took back the pills next day, he had no way of knowing
That sanity is subjective, he’d got my engines going.

May 28, 2016

editors note: Just because it’s an hallucination doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Red rain, baby! – mh clay

The Fish Ladder at Diamond Hill by D. Russel Micnhimer

in some distant far off
sleight of hand
there stands a colossus
on its head

heart long ago
turned to stone
and breath to sand
ringing ringing ringing

eyes above the sheen
of kings
beyond the hollow
logs of barks
recording marks
of shallow ways
beyond their means
with bells that
rang and rang and rang

ears sheared
by cloud fleece tip
scales of kippered pounds
leaving their appointed
rounds writhing on grounds
of incriminations
discovered upward
rung by rung by rung

May 27, 2016

editors note: A precarious climb to the top; wring tight those rungs. – mh clay

May Journal: Friday, May 31, 2013 by Don Mager

Late morning breezes riff the vines and
branches, playing hide and seek with small
promises tucked beneath wide open
leaves. Beside weathered fence slats, yellow
winks along cucumbers and squash vines that
trail down from well-composted mounds. Their
open sweetness imbibes the bees’ probes
and kisses. Pale green and pencil thin,
pears dangle beneath perky leaves set
to start long itineraries toward
ripeness. Fig nubs stand, beneath dark green
umbrellas, erect and hard. Neither
rhyming nor reasoning, breezes riff
streaks of movement down and up each tree.

May 26, 2016

editors note: Our Springtime rascal, the riffing breeze. – mh clay

Scissors Cut Paper by Chella Courington

I can’t stop buying scissors. I walk into Home Depot for red geraniums, leave with gardening shears, green ergonomic handles. Piggly Wiggly for a roasting hen. Shiny poultry shears. At a garage sale I find a pair of hedge clippers. By December paper cutters, pinking shears, hair trimmers — any blades you want are boxed in the kitchen pantry.

Saturday he takes his 14 clubs & disappears. In hot water, I clean scissors. Prop them on the counter before drying with muslin. Each blade I shine with baking soda. In high school I hung with cutters. They used whatever worked — broken glass, coat hangers, paper. Arms tracked with violet scars like stretch marks hidden under long-sleeve shirts.

Reflections in a Golden Eye: Mrs. Langdon uses garden shears to clip her nipples when she loses her baby. Snip snip — easy as pinching off deadheads. Sunday in January, I hold my left nipple between the blades of barber shears. Warm steel triggers goose bumps. Is a nipple like a finger? Can they sew it back on?

Recurrent dream: blades-down, scissors drop from the ceiling, rattling & hissing. Impale the cherry nightstand, down comforter, my Land’s End bathrobe. I crouch in the tub, rocking to the sound of hail. Open my thigh — blood a rusty penny melting on my tongue.

I get an Alabama divorce. He signs the papers & hauls his Titliest clubs, La-Z-Boy & mahogany desk down to Florida. Parting words: The cat stays with you. I keep Moot, the crystal & the condo. Start selling the scissors on E-Bay, box by box.

May 25, 2016

editors note: Slice to a clean slate; sell’em off to start again. – mh clay

America by Douglas Polk

men in suits,
and ties,
tribal warriors,
battling for turf,
believed their own,
naïve ignorant bastards,
boundaries shift,
and borders in dispute,
fears flamed,
culture assigned,
along with taxes.

May 24, 2016

editors note: This is how we roll in the land o’ the free. How about your country? – mh clay

Red Hot Anger by Sheighle Birdthistle

How to pale a red hot anger
When rods of pain stroke
And all day long it grows stranger
Beholden to stronger folk.
An anger that knows no voice
Born nor bred by choice
Leave me die in a quiet corner
Seize the day and all of that
Close your eyes insipid mourner
Remove your mask and raise your hat.

May 24, 2016

editors note: Open face, cool head; take on the after instead with laughter. – mh clay

The Struggle by Michael Marrotti

It’s an excruciating journey
to walk amongst them
when they’re all united
to march against me
Picket signs
they signed
the proclamation
It only took a glimpse
but that glimpse
is good enough
To fuel their shallow tanks
ignite the flame
and burn down a place
they’ll never comprehend
nor even try to see it
in a bilateral
point of view
The only thing that counts
is how it’s portrayed
in the eyes of a conservative
No room for me
on the one way street
God forbid
you do your own thing
They’ll make you feel special
if you’re not like them
will leave you battered
and angry
It’s an endless struggle
I’m pleased to be alone

May 23, 2016

editors note: We can get’em to look, but we can’t make’em see. Alone, indeed. – mh clay

If This Finds You, I Tried by Daniel Lattimore

My sin wasn’t bigger than your sin, yet your name was driven into the mud.
We watered that seed together, and our rose, forever with its thorns, began to bud.
Why? I’m sure your friends wanted to know. I didn’t have that magazine cover smile
or that endorsed glow.
But for you it wasn’t about that. It was about the passion left to the dance floor.
That kind of raw passion that left you craving more.
I couldn’t keep a secret because I wanted them to understand
that the heart resembles blood surrounding a clenched hand.
In an alternate universe, you and I could converse.
They write ballads about criminal couples, and you and I share a verse.
Haha there I am, caught captive in my own home
Plagued by a picture of my youth hanging in the catacomb.

May 22, 2016

editors note: Past partners in perdition, reveling in recall. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? This week's featured story comes from Contributing Writer & Poet Lilly Penhall. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Lilly's not-for-the-easily-offended featured short, "F.T.P.":

We’re only as good as those we wish to hold up in high regard. We’re only as safe when we worship predators and apologize for being opened and our insides explored, pulled out.

And here's a short testimony of this tale to get you started:

(photo by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

“I think you like it rough.”

Her eyes stared at the detective blankly. “Excuse me?”

“And I think…” he sat back in his chair and clasped his hands over his belted khakis, “you didn’t want your parents to find out that you had sex with a black guy. You’re embarrassed, so you said it’s rape. Am I right?” His gold badge glimmered in the fluorescent lights.

“No.” She let out a choked breath. “Not at all. I’ve had sex with plenty of black guys. Consensually. My first boyfriend was black. Plus I’m 28 years old, I could give a shit less what my parents think of who I fuck, which are people of many different ethnicities, ok? I’m not racist, I just didn’t want to have sex with that black guy.”

“Then why were you in his room?”

“I told you, he said he was drunk and lonely and wanted someone to watch a movie with him, I felt bad for the guy.”

“Well, I’ve seen women who have been beat up, ok? They have bruises, whelps, black eyes, marks on their neck, ok? I don’t see a single bruise on you.”

“He choked me until I blacked out, and my jaw was popped out of place…”

“Did they do an x-ray with your rape kit?” He sat up and flipped through her file.

“No, just took pictures. I had marks on my neck…”

He looked up at her sharply. “I don’t see ‘em.”

Her eyes brimmed with tears. “I guess he knew how to hurt me without leaving a mark.” Her head dropped and so did the tears, as the detective told her they’d continue their investigation, after collecting the physical evidence in a few months she could retrieve her personal effects from their office.

His business card between his fingers, he thanked her for coming down to the station, call if you think of anything, we’ll be in touch. It was like some bizzaro-world cop show where the bad guy won. The NWA song “Fuck Tha Police” started playing like a soundtrack in her mind as she walked out of the police station, shaking her head…

Gotta keep reading, don'cha? Well what are you waiting for? Get the rest of your read on here.

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.01.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass The Underpass!

This month we will be virtually featuring the fine folks from The Southern Collective Experience. Charles Clifford Brooks III (author, teacher, poet and the founder of The Southern Collective Experience) will be joined by Scott Thomas Outlar (host at 17Numa and Contributing Poet at Mad Swirl) & musician Kaleb Garrett (a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from North Georgia). We guarantee this’ll be a feature you won’t wanna miss! And in case you missed the memo on who/what/where The Southern Collective Experience is…

The Southern Collective Experience is a cooperative born from all genre of life, and from every part on the nation. It is not simply a collection trapped below the Mason-Dixon Line. / Our band of virtuous heathens fly the philosophy that “everyone is south of somewhere.” All of those who share a bloodline infused with blues, feel our gravitational pull. It is life lived real. / A side-passion the SCE invests itself into breaking the stereotypes artists earned, and earn, in regards to lack of dependability, rampant emotional immaturity, and people incapable of working selflessly with other creators. / The SCE is not out to change the world. The Southern Collective Experience is a tactful force. Every genius deserves to digest the truth: You are a genius.

Come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of 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 Open Mic. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

P.S. If you're on Facebook, 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...


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.21.16

“What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things.” ~ Albrecht Durer

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“toxic” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely. To view more of Jeff's twisted beatific images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we watched from above the blossom of natural love; we possessed no ordinary - starling swarms, mutant rodents, all extraordinary; we changed our expectations of snow bird manifestations; we let not love cease for the girl we gave gruff peace; we played the fool to the base of the gene pool; we lost all tolerance for "geldings," provocateurs of violence; we found some grace for those who fall. Falling is something we know, all. Take heed... ~ MH Clay

WHEN I FALL by Helen Harrison

Why is it that the path
Has to mist before
We see ourselves,

Cracks and roots exposed
To an empty ditch
To reveal a broken stem;

Vulnerable, collapsing
Covered in isolation
And open to pain.

Maybe it is necessary for us
To suffer occasionally –
For compassion to remain;

Like a stunted tree, a trapped
Fly, before we can see
Through another’s eye.

My path has been mostly clear
Or as far as I can see
Alone, but never lonely.

Not intentionally
Do I fail to notice
A troubled mind,

If you fail to see me
When my mist approaches.
I won’t think you unkind.

May 21, 2016

editors note: Yes, it takes pain to know pain; Compassion 101. (We welcome Helen to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page.) – mh clay

ALUMNI #137 by Darren C. Demaree

How much time do you get
for threatening politicians

with more books of poetry
that call them “motherfuckers”

& “geldings”? I was hoping
I would at least get a vague

threat from some Koch thugs
for that collection. That book

brought me no response
& that was violent to my ego.

May 20, 2016

editors note: If they read what we write for them, no violence. – mh clay

One of the Bigs by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

There was this recent study published
by one of the “bigs”
that claimed there was a direct correlation
between intelligence and sexual activity

which made everyone mad
because it suggested that the smarter you are
the less likely you were to be sexually active

implying conversely
that people having lots of sex
with more than one partner
were less intelligent

and having it with those
of a lesser intelligence

producing offspring that
well, you guessed it…

which explains a lot

if you have ever tried to navigate
a Walmart parking lot on a Saturday
three weeks before

May 19, 2016

editors note: We seek a happy medium; sexy and smart. – mh clay

To Evie by Daniel Wade

O girl with arms open to the sunset,
Perhaps you belong to a gentler time
Where little provision existed for regret
Or the beastly memento of a crime
That I would bury from the dawn’s sight
In numb, February soil, and cower
From your disillusion, your eyes’ fine art.
Because my first taste of love was sour,
I let caution preside over the heart,
Leaving you to navigate this urban maze,
Where, in rush hour’s heated cough,
Headlights slice shadows, forked light tongues
Bridges, the sun beats its flammable hoof.
The canal bank is unshaven with yellow reeds,
Benches wear rust like an unsavoury crown.
Yet nature’s chequered framework lives on here,
Exhaling the leaves’ cool dialect into my ear:
O Mo chroi, corazon, inamorata, loved one.
I wave aside the smoke of commandment,
And the mirror of reparation cracks
By your tongue’s mellow writhing in my mouth,
The dark, droll dance of your eyelash.
O girl against whom I’ve held a gruff peace,
Should my eyes soak up all reassurance,
Or the voice that sung to you falls still,
Then may these words attest love’s burden,
Allowing our lives to once again be filled.

May 18, 2016

editors note: Getting over and through to get in. – mh clay

Penguin… by Paul Hellweg

penguin in a tree
live without expectations
more sunshine to find

May 17, 2016

editors note: Heed this advice and, when we see one, we won’t be surprised. – mh clay

No Ordinary (Mutant Rodents of the Third kind) by Polly Richardson (Munnelly)

Damp earth marinated with spruce mulch, waft and console
sinking roots in waves under silence stars,
Synchronized turning bodies roll – inhale.

Ghosts of bullocks mooing and welly-boots
jump hoops in windy whiskey seas,
And I’m white horse flying, flying till
Starlings awaken with rising sun, again;
like herds of mini elephants cracking bark
bursting eves of this creaking house to life.
No ordinary,

Nestling upon nestling disperse sleep, dreamy hooves
and his shouts of ‘get off tracks, train’s coming’
as he moves in between snores then spoons,
Even in slumber he saves this stubborn soul
No ordinary man.

Heavy eyes remain
roll in lids longing to doze.

I possess no ordinary (so I’m told)
In mind, in body.
Perhaps obsessions
of marvel explain gnawing disappointing pangs felt;
it’s not Mutant Rodents of the Third kind
or meta-human left behind by old Doctor who walked these aged floors
or The Flash in bird form vastly splashing shit bombs perfectly launched
when cat leaves by back or front door,

But extraordinary feathered spite fire Starlings – the mothering fathers stealing my dreams.
Ah still, there’s always the phantom phone ringing!
No ordinary
Spine tingling chill.

May 16, 2016

editors note: Extraordinary images to tingle ordinary spines. – mh clay

Natural Love by Manon Williams

Our love so natural.
So warm and comforting to my soul.

The way we look into each others eyes, but see only the colors of our souls and admire it for hours as if staring at a mind twisting masterpiece in the very center of an art gallery.

The way we look at each other as if staring into glass, nothing can be hidden. Yet also as if we were looking into a mirror at ourselves.

The way we trust each other knowing that this glass mirror can be as a deadly as the poison of love that once kissed the lips of Romeo and Juliet.

The way we sit in silence among the whispering winds as if they were whispering sweet love letters into our ears.

The way my smile becomes yours, and the way your smile becomes mine.

The way you trace every stretch mark and imperfection written upon my skin with your fingers like a continuing story, as if you were following the road to heaven, admiring every inch.

The way our chocolate brown skin melts together from the warmth of our hearts and we can no longer distinguish where my skin starts and where yours ends.

Our love so natural, as if it were meant to be. So warm and comforting to my soul.

May 15, 2016

editors note: Doing what comes naturally; a comfort indeed. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! Then you've "swiped in the right direction". And if you get that reference you'll dig this week's pick of the week, "Internet Dating" by Contributing Writer & Poet, Carl Kavadlo.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say this week's pick... "Play people like we play music. They’ll dance to it, too. They’ll sway to the art of lies: the way art lies."

Here's a teasin' wink:

(photo "I'll Steal Your Eyes" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Mick went out that evening. There was the Purity Restaurant over on 7th Street and 7th Avenue. Mick was a little down on his luck, figured 7, 11…dice, numbers like that.

Walked into The Purity. The place used to be owned by a couple of Greeks and is now owned by a couple of Italians. It also relocated from Union and 7th recently in 2005 to 7th and 7th, changed the marquee from the color green to the color purple. The new sign is smaller than the older one.

Mick noticed a brunette woman, early 30’s, winking at him. The room was small. He could see her from the entrance at the back table on the left by the large plate glass window on the 7th Street side.

The luck was running for Mick. He walked over, slid out a chair, sat down, smiled, and faced her.

‘Mick?’ she said.

Before he could answer, she said, ‘I’m Ramona.’

Being a testosterone-fueled guy, Mick was ready to take his chances now.

‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘Hi, Ramona.’

‘You’re cuter than your picture on the internet,’ she said.

‘So are you.’

He wondered if that was an appropriate answer.

She blushed…

This tale sure has some chemistry! Gwt the rest of your tease 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...

Stickin' & Movin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.14.16

“Real beauty knocks you a little bit off kilter.” ~ David Byrne

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“God Less America” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely. To view more of Jeff's twisted beatific images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we found peace in a fine and dandy-lion; we bore life's shock, like paper on rock; we reveled in being rained on vs. rained out; we waxed away with words of Will; we wasted away in exile, our only friend an enemy; we recalled another, in time sublime, distanced but not detached; we bounced through the business of getting to YES! Madly maximize, all the way up to it! ~ MH Clay

RISE OF YES by Suza Kanon

affirmative consent has been acquired
initiation sequence activated
all systems go for liftoff
zoom zoom zoom baby

but how do we get to yes
from here to there
i feel your attraction
but do you care? & do i care?

really only one way to see
to move things up a smidge
let’s set aside some time
before water passes the bridge

needed to be certain you were certain
before i let you get in over your head
how sweetly surreal is love’s deep dive?
cause the one you choose is where you’ll thrive

yes isn’t always simple.
but come on,
it could be so simple
if we keep it simple.

uncomplicated, affirmative
asking all the right questions
in just the right order.

setting the mood, stacking the deck
so when the time comes to pop the question
every need has been met

we know not to negotiate through a no
we accept your free will & let it go
but you’ve got to be direct. i’m a literal kind of girl
no good with signs & signals, this is a crazy crazy world

so before this goes any further
tell me, baby, where’ve you been
need to connect on a deeper level
before we take this for a spin.

how do we get to yes?
can’t we just let go enough
to feel that yes rising?
to let it well up deep inside me

till you can taste it on the tip of my tongue
sweet like honey, dripping from my kiss
take your time, but don’t take too long
cause that yes is such a gift

sometimes yes is a slow burn
you start slow & low
in your favorite cast iron
just so you know

its been sweetly seasoned
with love & intention
raising the heat just enough
to give the flavor dimension

so the sugar carmelizes
but doesn’t smoke or get bitter
stir stirring, letting it get so hot
as long as it needs to take to thicken

watch that yes come together
o you’ll know when it’s ready
golden sweet & too hot to touch

give it just a moment to rest
so you can catch your breath
so you can consent
so we can get to that yes

so do it already
no fun to repress,
much nicer to confess
YES baby yes.

So just say it outloud.

& if you can say it outloud
then say it with me now
yes yes YES!

May 14, 2016

editors note: Well, bless our yes. We say, YES! – mh clay

JUNCTURE for C.B. by Stefanie Bennett

Distance, how far away
You’ve wandered
From the maladies
Of attachment.

From the quiet room where
We read Kafka’s tribulations,
My head resting
On your chest,

The clatter of pine-cones
Scudding the roof
… And the wind
At half-mast
Soulfully singing.

Distance. A derivative,
Brought with it
An unbridled
Dark steed

To infiltrate
The yellow night.
The red comet.
The absentee –.

May 13, 2016

editors note: A distance crossed in the firing of synapses. – mh clay


To you –
My dearest enemy

Even after all these years
I still remember

How could I forget?

When your rejection of my parole
Sentenced me with indifference
To remain imprisoned by the past

I know this letter
Is as pointless
As these memories that burn

You don’t care what I think or how I feel
You didn’t then, so why would you now?

No, it’s too late, I know

The days of working for a living wage
The nights of sleeping with a loving wife
The hopes of escaping from this locked room

All of them are gone

All that’s left
Are these yesterdays

The only way out –
To give in to their flames

That consume this empty shell
And intern the ashes of its anger
Inside the casket of these words

This final testament
To my will’s conscious impotence
That I address and leave to you –

My dearest enemy
The one friend that I have left

May 12, 2016

editors note: When those befriended have ended… – mh clay

Willed Words by Harley White

For William Shakespeare

Soft you now – what visions rise from that phrase
which sounds of hushabies and winsome ways,
or conjures damsels in enduring plays
with celebrated scenes that e’er amaze!

One maiden proffered columbine and rue,
yet could not tender blooms of violet hue.
To take is not to give – still ‘twas not true
when twisted villain gave a ring to woo.

The walking shadows tell their tales of woe,
before to dusty death they’re called to go.
Tomorrow and tomorrow creeps its pace
as time pursues us all in ticking chase.

Yea, pageants may dissolve or cloud-capped spires
and sweet birds sing no more in ruined choirs…
But soft, beloved Bard, abide in peace!
The wonder of your words will never cease!

May 11, 2016

editors note: With the anniversary of his death just past, Harley reminds us how much we are lovers of Will’s words. – mh clay

Personal Rules of Interpretation by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Personal rules of interpretation, like flattened leafy thalli,
Those foliose growing among cold rocks, usually yield little.
See, accretion requires, whether among persons or flora,
Simple, direct, functional choices to cull truth, survive daily.

Not possible to pay enough cottonseed oil or cornmeal cakes
To generate aesthetic norms, to ride the best merry-go-round
Horse, to pump hard, extremities burning, down a high knoll;
The sun fashions brightness and shadow, makes gusts pucker.

When clouds puff voluptuously, when sky cotton also drifts,
Raindrops get blamed for bollixing picnics, for messing with
Outdoor concerts, backyard weddings, volleyball games, jazz.
(Nothing’s said of the many sere gardens that bloom thereafter.)

May 10, 2016

editors note: Bust for one, blessing for another. How do you see it? – mh clay

Silence by John Najjar

I sit here tracing these words across this screen
Looking for other possibilities
That can slide beyond the measures of reason
These days my day’s measure is spent
Searching possible futures
That leave me stranded here
In this distant present:

Measuring each word written
I sit in a shady place
And pace each line away
Writing a last refuge
A prisoner pacing the yard
Each word a step
In this battle with meaning

Experience will remain
A mixture of loss and gain
I am torn between a head
That reasons
And a heart that knows

I trace borderlines
Weighing possibilities
One past with another
Looking for connections
Still experience remains
Wrapped by silence
I will not let this rocky world
Shatter me.

May 9, 2016

editors note: Paper wraps rock every time. – mh clay

Lion Of Peace by JoyAnne O’Donnell

Within the silver linings on a break of a wave
a white cloud crash
lifts waves on the moon’s pull
rain into dripping rainbows
colors with golden arches
keeping birds singing from the highest perches
God’s holy tree
Angel’s seven seas
Peace within time of the sun maiden’s charm
of flowers and peace fresh as a white daisy

May 8, 2016

editors note: Jus’ dandy! I’ll take an order of that with love topping. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? If we've been doin' our jobs correctly, you do!

This week's featured tale "The Gun Shop" comes from Contributing Writer Ron Riekki.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say this week's pick... "The heavy gloom of the human condition sometimes seems to lighten when we come into contact with one of those aliens we call people. The blood we all know we love to spill is all the more devastating when it keeps hearts beating through the experience of simple conversation."

Here's a few lines to set your sights on:

(photo "Lock and Load" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

The gun shop sign, I have to admit, was shimmering. Other than that, it was a piece of shit, but the sun blessed the thing when I drove up.

I was armed with statistics. My hands were shaky. I’d wanted to do this for a long time. I knew how many kids kill themselves with guns each year. I had citations for the number of housewives killed in Alabama. I knew how many accidental shootings, on-purpose shootings, gun show shootings, and every kind of shootings there were. In America. I didn’t have a clue about foreign country shootings. That was too much information. It took me long enough to plan for this.

It was the sign that drew me in. The quotes on it angered me worse than Geico ads. I just hated the place, the way it would sting into my mind with their gun puns and holiday gun greetings. Happy New Gun Year!

The door to the place seemed yanked from a factory. Inside, it was orange and empty. It smelled like a strip club. Don’t ask me how I know that. I’m no angel.

I expected customers but was very relieved when there weren’t any. Customers, I figured, would be the wild card. I just imagined the testosterone, the strange neo-con angry quotes I’d get back. What I got was emptiness...

Wanna know the rest of the story? Sure you do! 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...

Down for the Count,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.07.16

“Imagination is the eye of the soul.” ~ Joseph Joubert

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Two Dagger Tony” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely.

Mad Swirl is mighty proud to introduce you to our newest featured artist, Jeff Skele Sheely! Jeff brings us colorful collections of chaos – all perfectly portrayed in the patterned faces of often grumpy (or at least totally uninterested) characters. Skele’s use of color and line, his attention to detail and the otherworldly subjects in his works of art are all reasons alone to love these manic masterpieces. And yet still, there seems to be something more, something deeper to them – that our eyes just can’t get enough of. A certain something that we think you need to see for yourself. So step right up and enter the twistedly dark yet colorfully hopeful world of mad contradictions from Jeff Skele Sheely! ~ Madelyn Olson

To view more our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we sought to embrace a shivering heat, in a rained out theater with front row seats; we sucked love's lemon, turned sour to sweet; we dickered with the devil for depraved sleep; we got nothing to get in old regret; we bunker birthed an indigent life, not beast nor blessing, absent midwife; we saw a seductress in search of story; we fondled our fit to the primal tit. Suckling infants all we are. ~ MH Clay

Tits by Becci Goodall

look at my tits
look at them
they’re wired to my brain
and i’m a logical person
i get it I do
so look go on
get it over with and look
ya happy now?
you are aren’t you?
i’ve done my homework
my rand my freud
my green eggs and ham
i do I like them sam I am
i like me some tits
with my green eggs and ham
i like me some study tits
the philosophy of tits 101
thank you doctor wagoner
thank you doctor katz
tits on the velvet couch
thank you jeffy
tits up at the ritz
thank you rich husband
tits on a stick
my god damned tits
shut the fuck up
about my god damned tits
lemme tell ya a story
so there was this guy
with a basket
with a very nice basket
but I got past it
I went straight to his brain
he was the engineer type
all angles and planes
and pencils to draw with
on drafting tables
and sometimes poetry
and that lasted for a good solid
mother fucking week
until I said why do you like me
and he said oh your tits they
they are amazing
they just stand out
and up and the nipples
the nipples are perfect
the way they move in my hands
like he was sculpting aphrodite
and I said like putty?
like plastic like what?
like the madonna in cathedrals like what?
and he said super sweet and sincere
i’m just a boob man honey
they feel like tits
like really great fucking
great tits that stand out
and then he said i love you
to my tits
and right then i started to appreciate
the power of tits
because bitch I got tits
and I am not your bitch
and these tits
these tits right here
well they fed my babies
these tits right here
well they rocked the cradle
these tits right here
they kept the electric on
they brought home the bacon
they fried it in a pan
and these tits right here
well believe it or not
but these silly fuckin things
have a masters degree
i mean can you really
fucking believe that shit?
and lemme tell ya somethin else
these tits right here fed jesus
these tits right here fed ghandi
these tits right here fed
a god damned revolution

May 7, 2016

editors note: Tits without end, amen. – mh clay

The Wild Women of Wongo by Ace Boggess

Jaywall Productions,
Wolcott Productions, 1958

Watch the dragon priestess dance,
aware in the passion sense
she celebrates the god she sees,
spasmodic as at a party on the beach.
“Dance,” she says. “Dance!”
An orgy of motion erases what stories
fur-clad forms were drawn to tell.
Bodies shake, twist, pulse like pricks
in the endgame. Omoo, ginger princess,
sates lust from her knees. Holy,
holy: bacchanal of forgiveness prayers.
I savor my times observing from distance
a woman boogying when she feels it,
wears the music like a tender pair of hands.
Here, it’s more like eavesdropping
from outside the confessional,
close enough to hear the guilt,
repentance & release, yet not
in time for the nitty-gritty,
so nothing like a story’s in the way.

May 6, 2016

editors note: Nitty-gritty now, story later. – mh clay

Midwives Wanted by Santosh Kalwar

Whoever challenges freaks should notice
that in the method he does not mature into a beast.
If you stare too deep into a depression,
she also stares into you.
Bedtime, the foundation of a smashed house
atomic bomb orphans blubbering in the shade
not a sole light between them
the fragrance of lifeblood
the redolence of separation
the sickly-sweet fume of declining mankind
the moans the sorrows.
Out of all that, abruptly, miraculously, screams:
“The baby is moving inside the belly.”
“Is the Baby coming out?”
In the diabolical bunker, startlingly,
a juvenile mommy had undergone stress.
In the darkness, lacking a matchstick,
clambering to her side,
overlooking their own.

May 5, 2016

editors note: Miscreant madonna bears child in concrete creche as indigents look on. – mh clay

Regrets by MH Clay

Gently lift the quivering quelled
Slowly peel the shivering shell
Expose the wound
Raw revealed
The hurt inflicted
Mercy appealed
But not granted

Pain long borne
Long dulled, forgotten
Actions bent
And misbegotten
Scars, bled badges
Spoils spent
Benefits rotten
Wizened wisps of smoke
Long smoldering
Now stanched

The air is dank
And thick
The deeds darkened
No more quick
The rain-washed slick
No more
The light of avarice and greed

What’s dead is dead

Now, move on

Or be still

May 4, 2016

editors note: We can wallow in our sorrows but in the end all we get is a whole lot of grief & bottomless regrets. Best to do what Poetry Editor MH suggests & move on… ~ Johnny O

Depravity by Mary Bone

The sleep I craved,
Came to those depraved,
Whose thoughts enslaved and engulfed them.
The night wore on, with its own kind of gravity,
Leaving me alone with thoughts of depravity.

May 3, 2016

editors note: These fall asleep counting atrocities; whatever it takes. – mh clay

EACH LEMON by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Each lemon
I bring you
is a rose,
a symbol
of love. I
bring you a
bagful of
lemons. I
bring you eight
or seven.
I lost count.
Each lemon
is a kiss.
It is a
message of
love to you.
I want you
to know that.

May 2, 2016

editors note: When love gives you lemons… – mh clay

Rain On Theatre’s Roof by Kushal Poddar

In the hall next to each other
miles afar we sit and stare
at the screen, so big, bigger
than the wall, world.

Your cold skin hands me
a good fever, and it rains on the screen,
two figures running inside the garden
to find the fountain of clouds.

We forget each other’s name,
forget this theatre is an abandoned one,
gutted years ago. I run inside
the garden of rain, drag you
with me, so much silence crackling,

your hand so far from my reach
and tight in my grip. Who said
anything about madness?

May 1, 2016

editors note: Love fever garden movie (not) madness. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week's featured tale comes to us from Dan "the man" Rodriguez. If that name rings a bell, it's because Dan is the mad photog who captures our Mad Swirl Open Mic scenes every month. Who woulda thunk that Dan also had a knack for spinning a tale? Mad Swirl did, that's who!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about Dan's tasty tale "Smells"... "In an instant, the world can go up in smoke. The only way to rule over the ashes is to be the highest person on the planet."

Here's a few tokes of "Smells" to get you buzzin':

(photo "Jesus Shotgun" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Working at home, I decided to take a smoke break. I started a doobie and after what seemed like hours and my coffee smell stale I decided to go out and get a beer. At 7-11, I smelled hotdogs so I got the twofer, it was getting to be lunch time after all. I added some onions some mustard and some of that smooth flowing chili and headed on home with my beer and hot dogs.

I was smelling the hot dogs and onions as I drove home and was already savoring the taste. I drove slow to savor, and because cops patrolled this area regularly. on my last left turn towards home I noticed a car coming to the stop sign up ahead. As I made the turn I looked, the car did not stop and speeded up instead of slowing down and hit me head on, engine to engine, our grills smashed.

Out of my car, I waited for the person in the other car—a woman with a glow on her face. Her body seem to tingle with a smile on her face but that was soon gone as she saw what she had done...

Inhale. Hold it. Hold it! Exhale & get the rest of your buzz on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness this past 1st Wednesday! Mad Swirl Open Mic was honored to feature poetry editor, poet, playwright, actor, musician, mad co-conspirator, and all-around top-notch soul… MH Clay & his newest book, ANGST!

(ANGST consists pf 40 pages of poetry by MH Clay swirled up by Mad Swirl Press with art by Jeff Skele Sheely. If you didn’t get you a copy at the open mic, it’s not too late! Find out how to get you a copy here!)

MH Clay and crew put on quite the poetic mad-licious collab-creation! This multi-media’d show highlighted the artwork of Jeff Skele Sheely and was backed by musical guest Earthlinger.

Thanks to all who came out to The Underpass & shared in this collective delicious madness. What a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music it was!

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

photos courtesy of Dan "the man" Rodriguez

ANGST: MH Clay & Jeff Skele Sheely

Hector Ramirez & David Fargason

Johnny Olson & MH Clay

Gerard Bendiks, Chris Curiel, & Tamitha Curiel

Mad Cast:
Opalina Salas
Sean “Ta2” Buttram
Vic Victory & Phil Brewer
Roderick Richardson
Poppy Xander
Paul Sexton
Suza “Hep Kat Mama” Kanon
Maggie Smith
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Kristine Spinner
Carlos Salas
Jen Bochenko
Kelly Cheek
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Gnadia Wolnisty
Randall Garrett
Christopher Stephen Soden
Harry McNabb
John May
Ely Sellers
David Agasi

HUGE thanks to Swirve 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!

Thanks to The Underpass Tavern‘s Mike & Leo for opening up this fine establishment to us mad ones and making us feel right at home.

And finally we would like to thank ALL of you who freely shared their hand claps, finger-snaps, hoots and howls with all the mad ones who got up on this sacred mad swirlin’ mic.

••• Mad Blog •••

ANGST: A New Publication from Mad Swirl Press

We were pleased so many or our local Mad Ones came to The Underpass this week to see the release show for ANGST. But, did you know ANGST is more than a show?

Yes, ANGST is also a book (poetry by MH Clay, art by Jeff Skele Sheely); our latest pub from Mad Swirl Press. If you missed the show, you can buy the book to enjoy your own private read-the-poems-look-at-the-pictures show.

Here’s what a Dallas writer has to say about the poems:

That the wages of witness are poetic is a proposition both certain and surprising. One of the admirable qualities of MH Clay’s ANGST, however, is that, as it surveys the bounteous wasteland of contemporary mores, it resists the silky allure of the evidentiary for (as he images them) the rock, crag and jagged nail of faith. Clawing against the petty and the merciless in all their guises, these poems oppose power with power: the muscle of refrain, the corrosive power of anathema, the simple yet profound grace of “we” and “our.” ~ Joe Milazzo, Writer, Dallas

Here’s what a Dallas artist and gallerist has to say about the art:

Jeff Skele is one hell’uva force to be reckoned with. After coming to my attention just a couple of years ago, I thought ‘Wow, this guy is crazy, busy, nuts, but somehow pulls it all together every time.’ Having shown his works at Kettle Art these past few years, he never ceases to amaze and astound viewers on a regular basis. He naturally exudes creativity and insight to his other worldly being. ~ Frank Campagna, Kettle Art, Dallas

Our good friend and poet, Paul Sexton bought a copy and has this to say about his read of it:

Knowing Michael Clay, I was not surprised that his poems were sharply written pieces of wordplay painting vivid images. Good, solid writing. What did surprise me was an almost counter culture undercurrent. A barely suppressed anger floating just between the lines. It’s not overt, but there is a palpable frustration that the poet has with the culture he finds he must exist in. A social commentary in which the poet shines a light on the world and finds it less than it should be. A theme that I personally can relate to quite a bit. The aptly titled “ANGST” is a short read, and well worth the time. I highly recommend it!

If you would like to buy a copy, $20 plus shipping, email the author directly mh@madswirl.com.

We look forward to publishing more books from Mad Swirl Press in the months to come – stay tuned.


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...


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor