5.16.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.16.15

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••


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

A Red Bordeaux

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

- Pd Lietz : May 16, 2015

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


THE MAGICIAN’S ASSISTANT

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

- Bradford Middleton : May 15, 2015

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


Cables in the air

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

- Sudha Srivatsan : May 14, 2015

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


Joyce

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

- Neil Leadbeater : May 13, 2015

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


Sea Poem

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

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

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

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

- Susandale : May 12, 2015

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


Fallen Before The First Fall

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

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

- Sagorika Chakrabort : May 11, 2015

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


Details

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

- Charlotte Hamrick : May 10, 2015

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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

Here's a lil bit to tease ya:


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

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

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

Get the rest of your read on right here!

•••••••

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

Speakin’ Truth,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

5.09.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.09.15

“Master of the universe is every man's potential insight, cosmic potential.” ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we sought home reconciliation in love transformation; we remembered a scholar with an open-necked collar; we broke Spring's sticky whiskey hold on a lingering love in Winter's cold; we saw a sexual scenario, schemed by a selfish Lothario; we bore bird screams for what delusional love seems; we gave it all up for a peanut butter cup; we rendered risk down to the grip of a grapevine. Every strand of investment stands in pieces of poetry to prevail. - MH Clay

grapevine

notes and products
concealment
pre occupation with risk and evasion
file and assurance
conduits and bribes
government and contracts
authorities
and understanding
decryption and Le Monde
decline and written
laundered and dropped
thieves looking in the mirror
blonde manipulator
manipulated
family business
out in wild

- Carlos Salas : May 9, 2015

editors note: Gripped by the grid and gutted. Gotta keep an ear to the ground to survive. – mh


I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVE REESE’S

I put a bic lighter in my mouth
I can taste the dirt from when I dropped it on the floor outside
but I am trying to sneak back into my house
and I cant do it with a lighter in my hand
I think the green mile is almost over
its only 11:34, I could watch it again
or I could read tao lin and go to sleep
if I read tao lin before bed will I dream of hamsters?
maybe I could dream about being a hamster
I am just a little hamster and I want a snack
I want a reese’s peanut butter cup
do hamsters eat those?
I really really really love reese’s
if hamsters don’t eat reese’s then I would rather not be a hamster
I feel like I am pretending this is profound
these are the most pathetic words I have ever bothered to write

- Gilbert Franco : May 8, 2015

editors note: Resplendent rodent reality or pathetic personal pretense. Which? (eat a Reese’s, think about it) – mh


I haven’t been drinking.

The birds are screaming this morning,
and the lawn mower is throwing rocks,
The headstones are like windshields after rain
blaring the glare of the sun.
My eyebrows press my skin to creases,
and my coffee tastes like mud.
The strangest part is I haven’t been drinking,
I’m just hung up on the delusion of love.

- GM Spear : May 7, 2015

editors note: With a hangover from too much love, is the cure some hair of the dog? – mh clay


Is it magic or is it madness

Is it magic or is it madness
Flickering in the dark behind dilated eyes,
A translucent gaze yielding to me little
save the imperfect form of your approach

A sloppy seduction of my intentions
mercilessly mutilating promises
forgotten amidst pulsing carnal rhythms
drawing me into a world of mistake

Your love is non exclusionary or specific
to my form, a fluid dance among bodies
entranced by a pharmaceutical peace you
found in your indestructible youth.

In another life I may have loved you in
between myself and a better man, but
you are only mine for the night, so
from you I will take everything.

- David Williams III : May 6, 2015

editors note: Honesty; not the best, but his only, policy. – mh


Cold

Absence of heat
Absence of life
Absent from class because I could care less
About particle physics
About my future
About anything other than this warm bed right now

I saw you last Tuesday
You walked right through me
Oblivious to my existence
I stopped when you passed
To feel your breeze
A Breeze that still smells like tulips
And sticky whiskey midnights
A breeze that still leaves me
Cold

Spring is on my porch
Patiently waiting to come inside
But I’m not sure that I’m ready for guests
Spring will bring summer
Summer will call autumn
Autumn will invite winter
Again
Warmth can only lead to more
Cold

But there is toughness
In ice
Nostalgia
In Snow
Bravery
In winter
Love
In the
Cold

- Mike Schwanke : May 5, 2015

editors note: Sleep in warm bed, love in cold breeze; applied physics. – mh


CLINGING

An old man with his books
In serried ranks behind him
Smart, respectable
No open necked collar
Or unshaven countenance

A retired scholar
Professor and Vice-Chancellor
Distinguished, honoured
No years wasted
In idleness

An establishment figure
Fingers still
Clinging tightly
To the crumbling edges
Of his inheritance.

- David Subacchi : May 4, 2015

editors note: Digitized and distributed to secure perpetual recall. – mh


These Dark Days

For Leigh, on her birthday, with love in my heart,
I dedicate this poem to you, starlight.


Some days I think
in a deep dark gloom,
and I ask myself this question:
​D​oes love truly transform?
Is love a bright light in this
dark and vicious world?
I wonder in silence.

Then you are here.
You show yourself to me,
and once again I fall deeply in love with you.
In wonder and amazement
I love you as a father should,
other times,
as a friend trusted and true,
sometimes as a lover, a woman.

When you shine,
your starlight,
such beauty in a dark day;
a bright sun,
transforms my heavy heart;
shining on in the darkness,
your beauty​ ​- a star –
moves my heart to love.

When I see you bright as the sun,
I wonder at your beauty
and your bravery.

We are all dust.
Our bones, our flesh
made from the dust of distant dead stars.
This place, cruel and hard, is not our home;
We are only visitors here,
each lost and alone.

We hunger for our home;
Is it as close as the heart,
as distant as the stars?

I look into your eyes
and my heart is lighter,
that place of light
just a little closer.

- John Najjar : May 3, 2015

editors note: The answer here is, “Yes!” Light + Love = Transformation​ – mh

••• Short Stories •••

(insert catcalling whistle here) Need-a-Read? Well need no more because we got just the read to fit that need! And that read is "A Whistle" by Darryl Lorenzon Wellington!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale : "You want a good, happy life that never teeters towards madness? Don’t be a writer. Do you want to hate yourself daily and question yourself and your mind nightly? Pick up a pen and kiss the good life goodbye."

Here's a lil bit to wet YOUR whistle:


So many evenings, while sitting at his desk, typing, the poor, hungry writer heard a whistle. And it was an exceptionally skilled whistle. The lips captured to a tee the sliding up the scale, then suavely sauntering back down the scale whistle associated with paying a compliment to a hot lady. Put your lips together and blow. Easy, for dreamers. No, only Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra mastered such a whistle intuitively. Everett always heard the whistle at night, pitch-black nights, above a quiet neighborhood. Furthermore he had a hard time believing that a beautiful woman had walked by, a lady worthy of an Italian serenade… Really, he hadn’t seen anybody; the neighborhood lacked neon Va-Voom. The whistle leapt like a fish flashing out of the water. Flashed. Then disappeared into the sea of light evening traffic.

Two years passed. Everett’s progress had been marginal. The novel was not moving forward. He was stalled and desperate. The familiar whistle sounded, that night, again, as colorful, as sexualized as always. He imagined the man behind it, a he-man calling Come hither, Come hither in the dark, calling confidently, like Sinatra baiting a near-certain catch. And at that moment despite feeling lost, despite lacking confidence in himself he began scribbling, and vaguely remembering that he had believed in a metaphor too…

Put your mouse and cursor together and blow… uh… we mean click, right here!

••• Open Mic •••


Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness! From the get-go we knew this inaugural kick-off at the NEW Absinthe Lounge was gonna be one to remember!

As Swirve started their jazzy madness, the crowd found their way into and filled the VIP lounge with their heads boppin’ and their fingers snappin’. As the last notes were fading away, hosts Johnny O and MH Clay opened up the stage to our featured the mad-tastic dynamic duo Opalina Salas and Maggie Smith. There was no doubt that they would deliver a must-see kinda show and sure enough, it was something mighty divine to see and feel! If you were there, you know what we mean. If not, well… your loss, truly. Sorry.

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

(In case you missed this Mad action, here is the picture show, (thanks to Dan "the man" Rodriguez) of who was who…)

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Feature:
Opalina Salas
Maggie Smith

Mad Cast:
BA
Carlos Salas
Laura Allen
David Crandall
Sebastián Hasani Páramo
Konnichiwa Zach
Victory
Danny Chibli
Mike Adreani
Jay Bean
Eileen Simeonov
Da’rrell Cloudy
Aleah Dillard
B Swift
CJ Critt
Josh Weir
Jasmin Kinnard
Luke
Annika Michelle
Dontae
Nobody

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

And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin Christensen, owner of Absinthe Lounge, who has given 124 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!

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

June: Brendan McCormack (from Ireland)
July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore
August: PW Covington

•••••••

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

Masterin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

5.02.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.02.15

“I learned a long time ago that reality was much weirder than anyone's imagination” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we stepped into a sink of somnambulant recall; we found a pharmacopoeia to fill our ills; we catered to a construct of caffeine and cannabinol; we cried through a year's fall of tears (all okay); we stood in the stead of stolen stories; we stalled at the brink of a sleepy think, stared down self with a wink and a blink; we heard of a house, is not, is too, accommodates dead and a sufferers' queue. We seek room to wait; elaborate, then vacate. Elaborate, All! ~ MH Clay

THE HOUSE OF NON-EXISTENCE

The house is.

An ancient house without a name,
do you know who lives there?

The house is not.

A chimerical vision in someone’s
mind, the old house is invisible.

Inside the stranger’s dream,
the house is,

without words,
beyond our world,

&
buried in the deep snow of his brain,

the house comes into being.

Outside,
the house is not.

Who lives there?

the labyrinth of the night whispers
into the shell of my secret haven,

where I hide from the sphere of sadness.

Not I, a voiceless voice ensconced in my
eerie emptiness shrieks,

not in the House of Non-Existence.

Only the dead live there,
I proclaim defiantly in my private wasteland,

a whirligig whirling around nowhere.

Yet perhaps, I protest too much, in my
Shakespearian monologue,

for I hear the howling coming forth from the

maw of the Chimera,
interminable ululations inside the ancient
mansion.

The House of Non-Existence is vast,
with room enough for the dead

&
other vanishing beings,

enough for a queue of sufferers spanning the

swirling universe,
&

for me too

- Mel Waldman : May 2, 2015

editors note: The house in this invisible vision is not – is. Crazy, Nowhere man! (This one is one-third of a trippin’ triptych. Read the other two to tweak your existence on Dr. Mel’s page – check’em out!) – mh clay


Dark Fantasy

All alone in a dark room –
I gather myself exhausted and tired
on to the bed placed in between two reflectors
sitting there
I look at the image on the left –
I wink
wink and wink and smile back
to please myself
I glance at the figure on the right –
it blinks
blinks and blinks back and frowns

- Aniruddha Sastikar : May 1, 2015

editors note: Wanderings in wonderland when bedded down with a smile and a frown. (Another of Aniruddha’s mad missives on his page; our common frustration – check it out.) – mh clay


in absentia

twisted in kind agony,
awash in hurried beats – I escaped walls to lectures
on how to stand knee deep in antiquity,
waiting for love to plumb, make whiny.

we’re all merry, enough – to forget a year we’ve passed.

we’re to ratiocinate vagrancies, with remorse.
but seduced by shapes, wanton geometry makes
me pluck it with my lips like a pin off a grenade,

and at times close to touch meaning, like a man, I spot faces hidden with powder cowering.

I am held back spying upon – by their anger curt,
wilted by abundance of light and no dirt.
they’ve jumped to the first age – their flesh truant.

doom struck at noon, lurched back to life,

done away with the nasty, we stuffed our troubles away.
we’ll continue to borrow our fellows’ stories.
we’re done for today.

- Shibaji Ray : April 30, 2015

editors note: Interactive archeology; emotion as artifact. – mh clay


Don’t Be Afraid To Do This

Let the tears fall like old ladies
on black ice or like roses on coffins.
Let the tears fall like pine needles
on the carpet or hardwood floor
on the third or fourth of the new year.
Let the tears fall like radiant embers
on the 4th of July, my Mayan birthday.
Let the tears fall like hail in August
over the last few days at the reservoir.
Let the tears fall like obvious autumn
leaves doing their beautiful thing.
Let’s let the tears fall out on the floor
like a puppy dog’s tooth or like bird
shit on your picnic blanket.
Let’s let the tears fall like it’s ok
because it is.

- Alex L. Swartzentruber : April 29, 2015

editors note: Yes! OK! Let’s let’em… – mh clay


High

Coffee tastes bitter,
metal tastes better

only when sliced, do I slip
into jaw breaking chewing gum,
law breaking stewing thumb,

which is floating in the soup
which, is eventually duped.

the toffee comes whittled
from the outside in,
carved and unsteady,
starved and unready

the toffee is brattled
from the inside out
as the mind stays rattled
with sharpened pencil tips,
sharpest window panes
cutting blood from blade

how should this matter
when the flavor is metal
and the taste feels warm
bitter like coffee,
but better like…

- Jada Yee : April 28, 2015

editors note: A double-shot, hot milk-foamed, frappa-macchiato, mocha, mocha, my, my, um… can I get that with a blueberry scone? Make that two! – mh clay


My Latest Adventure

Citalopram
they call it,
but I don’t know how
to pronounce it.
Sounds like fun though;
side-effects include
nausea, vomiting, distress,
pulse racing
suicidal thoughts
twitching, shaking,
loss of consciousness
leading to coma,
hallucinations
abnormal dreams
loss of appetite
over-eating

but sadly not bone fractures
or production of breast milk in men.

Perhaps I should go back to the Doctor
and complain;
or maybe take all the pills
at once
and see if the side-effects
come as one
or not at all

what the hell;
if you piss on a tree every day
it’s sure to grow up strange.

Sensitive to sunlight,
have problems passing water
vomiting and diarrhoea

but look at those leaves
brighter than any neon:
Doc, what else do you
want me to take?

- Ian Mullins : April 27, 2015

editors note: Big pharma calls this a cure: New symptoms to replace the old. Pissing on a tree, indeed! – mh clay


Procrastinating

I’m constantly looking forward to looking back,
Tired of falling awake.
Though it’s never for long.
I drift into it then find myself
Slipping back to slumber.
Sleep walking through life,
Remembering things while they’re happening.
The present in past tense.

- Anthony Ward : April 26, 2015

editors note: Sooner or later, we’ll all get around to this. Didn’t we? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? We got us a fine tale to kick-off the weekend's drinkin' debauchery from the mad mind of Oleg Razumovsky.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Plague”: "Take some time to celebrate sickness from time to time, because at least you have something."

Here's a small dose of some "Plague" to get the readin' itch goin’:

photo by Tyler Malone

She grabbed me by the balls in the alley near the fashionable beer joint Mug, where all sorts of outcasts usually hung out. Intelligent, sometimes talented young people thrown out of the roadside of life by the damned community of worst philistines, punitive organs and the middle-class hypocrites.

We drank all that was available at that plague time: the fatal rotgut wine 777, vodka as cool as the Black Death with a skull on the can, a treacherous drink called Macbeth and the Belarusian raspberry-flavored poison. After drinking this stuff we shook like we had swamp fever in basements, in the cemetery, in all kinds of cheap joints, boiler plants and numerous chance apartments. We always drank at night…

Raise your glass, take a huge swallow and get the rest of your read on here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl at the NEW Absinthe Lounge this 1st Wednesday of May (aka 05.06.14) at 8:00 sharp, when we Swirlers & Swirve will whirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month now for OVER 10 years! This month we are featuring Dallas poetess divas, Opalina Salas & Maggie Smith! This is a dynamic duo you do not wanna miss!

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

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

Mad Love,
Googily-Eyed Guy

P.S. THIS 1ST WEDNESDAY ONLY Absinthe Lounge will be BYOB. Also, bring your appetite too and enjoy some eats from Absinthe’s menu!

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

June: Brendan McCormack (direct from Ireland)
July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore

•••••••

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

Bein' Weird,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.25.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.25.15


“The greater the step forward in knowledge, the greater is the one taken backward in search of wisdom.” Stephen Gardiner

Welcome to MadSwirl (4)2.0!

It has been a long time coming but finally the time is… NOW! Yes folks, this is your “official” welcome to MadSwirl.com 2.0! Yeah, yeah, we know we’ve been teasing y’all about this whole 2.0 launch. Well this week, on 4.20, we flipped the switch from what was to what will be our online stage as we swirl forward.

What can you expect from this 2.0 platform? All that you’ve already come to expect from Mad Swirl. The Poetry Forum will still be stocked daily with the vivacious voices spanning this mad world of ours. The Short Story Library will be chockfull of the finest flash fiction around. The Mad Gallery will still be featuring some mad & swirling visuals to titillate your eyeballs. And of course we will always keep you up-to-date on our upcoming Open Mics & other Swirl-esque events.

What is different? Lots! This creative outlet is no longer a one-way street. You can now interact with the content. On this new stage you, our Contributing Poets, Writers, Artists & Subscribers will be able to comment & share your thoughts and feelings on not only your own work, but also your fellow mad ones work! The new platform also plays a whole lot nicer with the ever-evolving world of social media. Quickly connect to your fave media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) & spread the word on your featured works. Oh, & lest we forget, we got us a Blog! This will give an interactive stage for the whole Mad editorial staff a new tool to use to reach out to you… and you, oh… and you!

As you might imagine, the switchover to this new platform also opens up endless possibilities. We are quite excited to explore this new frontier as we seek the best ways to showcase the finest poets, writers, & artists that color our worlds! And as we swirl on down this mad road, we will surely find other tricks up our sleeve that will make the MadSwirl.com experience even better.

Happy Swirling!
Johnny O
Chief Editor

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

Mad Swirl is mighty proud to shine a spotlight on the works from local madman, BA. (aka Brett Ardoin aka Zipline Shazam) The choices that BA made for coloring the virtual walls of his new Mad Gallery home are just about what we expected they would be. His collages and illustrations are truly all one-of-a-kind. You can, and probably will, get lost in BA’s hootenanny-land creations. If you’re ready for a lil bit trippy with some subtle twists of spirituality, then you’ve come to the right place. BA’s visual treats are sure to please. ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we polished pretense in pursuit of praise; we strayed from night street loud shit talk drunk to night bus window fox hunt; we doctored decades of forgotten dalliances; we wound up our world's woes in whale song; we vaunted the verity of virtue in ripping the veil; we listened to a lover's last words; we filled an empty sky with stars from the mind's eye. This whole thing is... isn't it? ~ MH Clay

Star Light, Star Bright

no arms
to break my fall

I wait
hollow-eyed
for sleep

silent sentry
in the jungle night

I lie cemented
in self

counting black holes
in space

where once
there were stars
to wish on

- Harley White

April 25, 2015

editors note: Darkness disables counting sheep, a starless night to steal one’s sleep. – mh clay

Will

My last message may not be, “I love you”
It may not be the apology you need
There may not even be a last message.

I have thought about my last words
More than I have ever spoken any –
I may even leave you with what you have
Already seen or heard another day.

Maybe you do not even deserve my last word
Maybe I made a monument of you with smoke and hot air,
Laying you down on grimy mirrors.

You may even be a lily waiting to float
Like my flightless words on my concentrated tongue.

I like to imagine spending monsoons in a house made of salt
Crumbling marriages and a
Loaf of banana bread, raw in the middle.

My last message may be, “Where are you? Waiting.”
You will not see this message
You are a damsel trapped in the creases of your coat
As you drive to where you think I am, where you think
I want you to be –
Not where you are needed.

“Hold still, I’m on my way.”

- Alainah Aamir

April 24, 2015

editors note: A place of need, waiting for words; the last could be the first. – mh clay

Veil

Peering at words that left a mouth so saintly,
Gleaming the conspicuous motive,
Breaking every ivory tint bone once carried,
Shaking a fist at the sky above, the faulty works
Who created such monsters dressed in skin so pure
Disguised from sickening smirks, poisonous touch
Uncover yourself, rip the veil preventing your true guise
Face the sky once more, breathing its ecstasy
Only human alive in this realm of disguises

- Mahabba Alhaushabi

April 23, 2015

editors note: Acquiesce to constructs of convention, or risk nakedness for ecstasy; alive and true! – mh

BREAKING FAITH

Whales, like followers
of Jimmy Jones, give up,
drift, fall to shore,
some pregnant, some hungry,
all weak. On the beach
they show teeth, death’s
ghastly rictus, a grimace,
victims of some evil joke.
Those still alive emit
heart-wrenching sounds, a parody
of mating songs. No one knows why.

Like a tsunami, from earth’s
ruptured core, a wave rises,
and calm, order, peace, and purpose
are no more.

- Joseph Lisowski

April 22, 2015

editors note: Jimmy’s falsetto, not a lullaby; but, a cetacean cry. Wake up or suffer sleep eternal. – mh

Annual Physical

You go to the doctor
at 21, no problems.
Maybe a flu shot.
That’s it.

You go to him
at 40, and you
need a pill or two
and he says
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 60, and you’re
now a fixer-upper.
You need more pills,
he says, and
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 70, and he finds
plumbing problems
and asks questions
to verify that all
your lights are on.
Doesn’t mention
your weight.

You go to him
at 80, and he says
you’re doing well,
all things considered,
but it wouldn’t hurt
to put your affairs
in order.

You tell him
you can’t remember
any affairs but he
can ask your wife.
She’s still raising hell
about someone
named Mildred,
if that was her name.

- Donal Mahoney

April 21, 2015

editors note: Not a bad idea; a yearly check on the state of your affairs, memory withstanding. (Another mad missive from Donal on his page; creative cuisine served as comeuppance – check it out.) – mh

NORTH LONDON BLUES

I am resting my head on the cold window of a night bus that is crawling its way through the wet streets of North London.

Pints of creamy dark Ale, talking shit with a drunk guy about why the Oscars are always wrong, eating spicy wings that are not spicy, talking to a voluptuous lady about a tattoo of a wizard she has on her shoulder, smoking a cigarette outside a dingy pub, playing a game of pool on a wonky table, drinking cold flat lager that tastes of rotten eggs, speaking to a stranger about who is going to win the champions league, putting a woman’s number into my phone knowing I will be deleting it later, complaining about the music that is playing, smoking another cigarette while crossing a busy street and finally talking to an old homeless man about his impressive beard.

The bus doors open and I am greeted with the sound of the howling wind. I get off and I am walking down a lonesome suburban street when I freeze, I see a fox looking at me from across the street. I wink at the fox and its mystic eyes just gaze back at me.

I then hiccup and I am left alone with only the sound of the wind for company.

- Luke Ritta

April 20, 2015

editors note: Encounters condensed as fog on a night bus window, or winked away in the mystic eye of a fox. – mh clay

Can I pay my rent in vinyl?

Contrary to what you may have seen
in films by foreign directors with names
of French origin or Swiss or maybe not
foreign, perhaps Wes Anderson or someone
less boring, domestic, yet with a lauded sense
of symbolism; nevermind what you thought you once
overheard in a dingy café-bodega where the coffee cost
twice as much as next to plenty, tasted like you
should have been paid to drink it, which is ironic
and redeeming, I think it; but forget what you
may have read in a fem­-centric article addressing
cats and pizza; speak of Hunter S. Thompson not Emma
Watson, links to Tumblr, vintage cameras, vintage mindsets
yet still like-­minded, attuned to every modern cause
for concern––disparaging fracking, gentrification,
how militarized we are becoming, how militant
we must become in having to be the best-versed
person in every room while assuming the status
of most reliable resource on every facet of substance
deemed of value by whoever purchased a degree in drivel
or floral-­print dressmaking, all while procuring the ability
to palette-­out a tripel ale, doppelbock or a PBR. Drinking
home­brewed liquor from a homemade backpack, hemp,
reminiscent of a carry-­on catheter––your shoes can’t be leather,
not in today’s market. Yes, you surely saw them
at a darty (day­-party, Charlie) on an NYU fringe colony
in Brooklyn, where the kitschy quirky bars blast syncopated quasi­-beats
for tables full of cross­legged English majors, talks of antidepressants,
writers-­in­-residence, the air of heir in Jane Eyre, something French,
nouveau or nouvelle. Belles jambes, pouvons-­nous prendre
matching minimalist tattoos? Of course, that is, if you want to.

- Scott Wordsman

April 19, 2015

editors note: Oh, to be so cool, new-school, nobody’s fool. Yes, I want to (I think, or better think twice). – mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? We got one that just might give you a rise!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Caucus at the Parking Meter” by Donal Mahoney: "Men, yeesh, it’s always about that one thing, isn’t it? All most men want, though, is to live long enough for parts of their body to become legend."

Here's a tease:


For years Rocky’s Diner had always done a great business for breakfast and lunch but his dinner business had fallen off recently as folks moved to the suburbs, got married, died or simply went elsewhere to eat. He thought about closing early but he had a small cadre of elderly men, many of whom had been his customers for two or three meals a day, and Rocky didn’t know where else they might go to eat. They were all single now for different reasons—divorced, widowed, never married or deserted by a wife who had become fed up. Most were in their late 70s and early 80s and not renowned for their civility. They were a crotchety bunch but Rocky liked them all. He himself was in his late 60s, happily married, and didn’t have to worry about money, thanks in large part to loyal customers like these elderly men, some of whom had been eating at his diner for decades.

Many of them would arrive for dinner—or supper, as most of them called it—at 6 p.m., their unofficial appointed hour for the last meal of the day. Depending on their mood, they would either take a stool alone at the counter or pile into one of the red vinyl booths. In a booth, they hoped to be joined by others who might also have spent the day alone, watching television, reading the obituaries or maybe playing solitaire.

Conversation in the booths ran the gamut from politics to religion to dead wives and ex-wives to girls they should have or shouldn’t have married. Occasionally, the conversation in one booth would be joined by those in the booth behind, in front of or across from that particular booth. If the weather was good, sometimes the conversation would spill out onto the street afterward where, weather permitting, the men would gather around a parking meter and continue their caucus.

It was on just such an evening in spring while the caucus at the parking meter was in full swing that an attractive young lady walked by, heels clicking, skirt swaying, and all of the men paused and assessed her with murmurs of appreciation. She was, they all agreed, a very nice young lady.

Get a full-on rise right here!

••• MadSwirl Blog •••

Mad Things Now & Coming by Poetry Editor MH Clay


Wow! Here we have it, (4)2.0 – a new direction in the stir o’ the Swirl! We have a cool new look and usability that says, “Hey! We’re Swirlin’ in the world-wide web of the 21st Century!” I like it all!

But, I’m most excited about the opportunity we now have as your editors to share our ideas about this creative conspiracy we share; what makes us choose the works we post, what we think about the creative process, opinions and ideas about various artistic forms and more... (read more)

Madness, the Meaning of Dots by Short Story Editor Tyler Malone


It’s a tragic world, but so much worse if there’s no concept of expression. Other than yelling at the television, not much happens in far too many places. That alone can at least lead to endless unhappiness when escape is doubtful, when the real world you know is the executor of anything expressive. In church pews or in textbooks, you leave a mark, making blank spaces beautiful. And that’s it. That becomes love, and love becomes a four-letter word—a true passion, something to rinse out with soap. Worse, you find something fulfilling that’s not a team effort or something that can be cheered for as a city. Falling in love with experimenting with isolation at any cost holds no value for too many people. For those who do love the click of their own keys or the scribbles of their own sentences, thank goodness for Mad Swirl... (read more)

•••••••

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...

Steppin’ Up… & Back,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.18.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.18.15

“Endeavour to be faithful, and if there is any beauty in your thought, your style will be beautiful; if there is any real emotion to express, the expression will be moving.” George Henry Lewes

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Kurva” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. To see more Mad works from David, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we wondered how a lady fat got a leotard on a cat; we muddled mad love 'neath a musical tree; we solved with ardor a mystery murder; we made much ado of a room with a view; we ripped ourselves ragged on a soul, rightly jagged; we reached impasse in a game about class (no winners); we finished a race in jubilation, wearing a sad pink premonition. Oracles speak. Some believe them. Others know we can take or leave them. ~ MH Clay

The Premonition of a Sash

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 13
unlucky years ago
my sisters and I, scared and unsure
decided to raise money and do one of those walks
that are always advertised each October.
First there was money to be raised,
funds to solicit
and then registration and
finally that morning in nyc,
we with our pink shirts
joined ranks and marched through the streets.

We walked a marathon over those two days
sore blistered feet
longer than I had ever walked at that time
slithering like a giant pink snake up the west side
of Manhattan.
That night they bused us out to Roosevelt Island
where we pitched our tents,
ate some food,
enjoyed the free entertainment
paid for by our donations
and even
had our sore blistered feet rubbed.
There were gift bags with lotion provided
by Avon. Everything was pink.

In the morning, I threw back the flaps of my tent,
the brilliant October sun
bobbing like a cork on the horizon,
and found on the floor
a pink sash.

They had been left overnight,
one at every eighth tent
depicting the 1 in 8 women that will be diagnosed
with breast cancer in their life.

I lifted it with pride, slid it over my shoulder,
did a quick Miss America wave to the sun
and returned to our marching.

You’re making a difference, I lied to myself.

At the end of the journey my parents and my husband met us
back at Battery Park where the whole thing began.
My mother’s hair was already starting to fall out,
and she eyed warily,
as if the sash were deadly,
a boa perched on my shoulder
waiting to squeeze.
What is that, she asked
and when I told her
held it up like I had won some sort of lottery
my voice excited to recite statistics
high from the journey we had just taken
surrounded by all these cheerful pink women

Give it to me, she said, sliding it off,
balling it up in her fist,
she brushed at my shoulder
as if the sash had left behind some
fine filament
some dust
that years from now
they would find on a pathology report.

She pulled me hard into a hug
No, she whispered.
Not you.
Please, no.

- Ally Malinenko

(1 poem added 04.18.15)

editor's note: We hope the knowing of a thing will protect us from a thing; our mothers know better. - mh


CLASS STRUGGLE

When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child and would act
Out my own version of Pilgrim’s Progress
On the beach, on vacation. My brother
Would get bored and wander off, so I’d be
Christian up against a Worldly Wiseman,
Fighting Giant Despair, and I’d walk the
Wall of Salvation. You know your childhood
Was odd when Bunyan is fun, yet he was
To me. At least I wasn’t in school: the

Beach was better than another church, and
No more preaching for an instant, sweeter
Still. Blessed in many ways, I never feared
Mother would sneak drinks, or Father leaving
As soon as he could. I only feared what
I heard on Sundays, God’s disgust with my
Sins; how all sin was the same sin, and you
Were as bad, if not worse, than your neighbor:
The Lord saw clean thru you; his hatred of
Sin was perfect, enduring forever.

My wife, late one night, described playing “Class
Struggle” with her Dad. The board game had been
Invented by someone, I am guessing,
With way too much spare time and students who
Slept thru his pensées. Instead of what her
Friends played—where you moved pieces around a
Board and with any luck won all the deeds
To the hotels and the money and the
Railroads--Rachel did not get to pick a
Token, since “No one chooses which class they

Are born into.” This game was severe: you
Lost points for pitying workers or blaming
Blacks or Jews. To win really big you had
To know your Marx, even the early pamphlets.
When she was a bad token all she could
Do was start wars or crush a union: the
Rules were strict. A good token meant she could
Be a shop steward who made ATU
Proud, whiter than snow, and got more rolls of
The dice for caring about poverty.

I wonder if her father actually
Enjoyed this game: Worker v Parasite
Is always rigged one way or the other,
And, just like my Sunday school lessons, dull.
At some point in each life the child must wake
Up and know his mother human, and his
Father, fallible, and yet we seldom
See someone who truly breaks from what
They learned from the first teachers. My Father-
In-law had troubles with the unions;

They were rough with him, then rougher. But he
Made sure his daughter knew the words to Pete
Seeger songs and she’d never take work, or
The people who did real work, for granted.
I go to no church: and won’t, and yet each
Poem of mine owes something to Psalms I
No longer sing. There’s more to that book than
We see—the poet lays down his bed in
Hell, and “thou art there.” No one outruns what
Made them new. Just today I get an email

From a studiedly neutral, carefully
Bi-partisan group, telling me there is
Still time to “Fight for a world that is fair
And just,” a gospel learned from prophets, a
Pure blazon that man must always mean more
Than money. And how good to see these words,
And fair and just are what we would most love,
Even if some of those prophets saw all
Too clearly, and there’d be another great fall,
Leaving not one stone on a stone.

- Brian Wood

(1 poem added 04.17.15)

editor's note: Our dialectic debate ends with an unanswered question, "After the Fall, will there be left any force of will to go on?" - mh


Jagged Edge Souls

Baby, all kinds of people
have different shaped souls.
A lot of people, regular people
have souls shaped like squares.
It's easy for them to find someone.
Just another square,
to sit next to them on the couch
watch Network TV
spend their corporate paycheck.
It's easy for square souls
to find other souls.
But me and you?
we're complicated.
We have souls with crazy jagged edges
Like jigsaw puzzle pieces
and it's difficult to find
that one puzzle piece of a soul
that fits next to your puzzle piece soul.
but I've found it.
You are the jigsaw puzzle piece to my soul.

I used to tell her this sometimes,
when she was mine, and
she used to like to hear it.

- Paul Sexton

(1 poem added 04.16.15)

editor's note: It's hard to pick through the pile for another perfect piece when you had one in your pocket. - mh


All rooms

All rooms weave a lodging memory from a chandelier, leaking little flowers from the mini-fridge, the personal fan, Anne's lace, that doggy through the clouds, her stippled brush strokes of aura follow her shapes through the dining room flowers –

Each Disease comes with its own vacuum free of charge, lived in, dirty with words. We hoped (from our posture in the white throne) these might linger, ones that won't, replaced by the morning curtains, the soft white of her shape, caressed through the window, a painting behind dodge dreams, touched up with the rising hills, heifers and bulls –

- Zachary Scott Hamilton

(1 poem added 04.15.15)

editor's note: Home as landscape. Disease as lover, animal in the clouds. - mh


Murder Mystery

Would he have killed her by now
somehow,
all neat and
tidy and in time
for retrospect, the
tying of loose ends,
bookending parents’
picture shelves, a few
years or more of watching
themselves widening time to
allow room for portraits stepped out of yearbooks?

Would he? Somewhere in circumstance would she
be his victim cut out of whodunit whydunit
climax... a character killed off for reasons
only an author knows, an author who
doesn’t have to say why she died?
Readers need to know. So does
the one who might have
suffered, but
only up
to the
last
breath.

Would he have killed her by now
if he hadn’t already died and
bloodied the old road,
splattered that old
road with every
last bloom
of her?

Maybe he would have grown
up to be a monster
and killed her
for loving
You.

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(1 poem added 04.14.15)

editor's note: This mysterious mess draws the detective's conclusion, "Maybe he did..." - mh


Under The Hummer Tree

The Hummer Tree,
Sacred pillar of our school community.
Site of countless hummers.

All-season hummers.
The Hummer Tree bare
And party to blue-lipped, quick, cold-trembling hummers.
New growth, new blowers and blowees.
Hot, sweaty, teenage-fumble hummers,
Welcome cool shade and relative darkness
So as not to showcase the hummer too much,
Or get too hot.

And of course, dry, scratchy leaves falling on my head,
Both heads,
All the heads,
Giving head hidden from the Head
And her Deputy Head hummers.

No matter the season it was always
Cool to be given or to give
A hummer under the Hummer Tree.

©2014

- Simon Pinkerton

(added 04.13.15)

editor's note: Hum, um. If you don't know this tune, ask someone to blow a few bars for you. - mh


Covered with a Leotard

A fat lady,
With a red, oozing pimple,
In the middle of her face,
Squeezed one more tomato.
Her brown hands clutched,
Burst that fruit,
Onto her print dress, maybe.

Nearby, a rain-soaked cat,
Curves of muscle,
Visible beneath skin
Covered with a leotard.
Eyes wide, aware, she peered,
Surveyed the shuk,
Witnessed the forced fruit, maybe.

Thereafter, a gang of children,
Skipping
Punctuation, good grammar, manners,
Pinched the lady.
They crowded the cat, while
Merrily stuffing bon mots
Into their coats, maybe.

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 04.12.15)

editor's note: Careful kids, only thing madder than a wet cat is a wet cat in a leotard. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Well then we got just the bait for you to bite on!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Chapmans Lake” by Milt Montague: "Life, this is it: survival. Beautiful survival, what makes us who we are."

Here's a nibble:


My first graders bring in something they like from the outside world to share for Show and Tell every Tuesday morning.

Uncle Nat was definitely my favorite uncle. He was my mother’s younger brother and lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sadie, and their two daughters, Lillian and Dorothy. Dorothy, the younger girl was just one year my junior and we were great friends for years.

Uncle Nat, born Hershel Newtah Jochnewitz, Americanized his name to Nathan Young while still in his late teens and working in New York’s Garment Center (thousands of manufacturers, their showrooms, factories, and suppliers all jammed into a small area of tall buildings in the west side of middle Manhattan). As the rising young star in the firm, he was chosen to open and manage a coat manufacturing plant by his employers, Linder Bros. of New York. The new plant was to be located in Scranton, Pennsylvania to avoid the “pernicious” influence of the ILGWU, the powerful Ladies Garment Workers Union. This was 1940 and the non-union wage scale was much lower in Scranton, Pennsylvania which was an old coal mining town not far from New York.

Scranton is located in The Jermyn Mountains within commuting range of many small fresh water lakes that were developed as summer colonies. Some of these lakes were within a three hours’ drive from New York City.

One spring Nat called his older sister Helen and invited her and her family to spend their vacation with his family, at a cottage he had rented for the summer. It was directly on Chapmans Lake, had six bedrooms and ample room for everyone. The house was completely furnished, including bedding and all kitchen equipment. There was even a rowboat tied up at its own dock just a few steps from the house.

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• MadSwirl 2.0 •••


For the past couple of years we have been teasing y’all about this whole MadSwirl 2.0 launch. Consider the long and drawn-out tease almost over! On 4.20 we will be flipping the switch from what was... for the previous 7-ish years... and switching over to what will be for MadSwirl.com. (and for those that get the significance of that date, we chose it just for you;)

What can you expect from this 2.0 platform? All you’ve already come to expect from Mad Swirl. The Poetry Forum will still be stocked daily with the vivacious voices spanning this mad world of ours. The Short Story Library will be chockfull of the finest flash fiction around. The Mad Gallery will still be featuring some mad & swirling visuals to titillate your eyeballs. What will be different is that our collective creative outlet will no longer be a one-way street. You can now interact with the content. On this new stage you, our Contributing Poets, Writers, & Artists, will be able to comment and share your thoughts and feelings on not only your own work, but also your fellow Mad ones works!

The new platform also plays a whole lot nicer with the world of social media. Quickly connect to your fave media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and spread the word on your featured works. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of hitting one button and sharing your works with friends & family.

There is a whole lot more behind the scenes improvements too. As we swirl on down this mad road, we will surely find other tricks up our sleeve that will make the MadSwirl.com experience even better. We look forward to this new horizon in our Mad Swirl world and better ways to showcase the finest poets, writers, & artists that color our worlds.

•••••••

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...

Faithfully,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.11.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.11.15

“Words must surely be counted among the most powerful drugs man ever invented.” Leo Rosten

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Lennon Peace Wall” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. To see more Mad works from David, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we tried the doors in a mental sonnet, got lost in three quatrains and a couplet; we counted quarks on mittens made in the ways of a myth-filled place and place of myth; we listened not to a laughing voice, sent away on bad advice; we made a moment Kafkaesque, squashed a bug to poke at the mess; we stomped some more, got vocal, staggered home, drank local; we picked a tarnished penny, put on a minted glint, spent for (we hope) good; we lapped up a lustful elixir then came clean. We coin our conversations in manic madness, our current rate of exchange. ~ MH Clay

Oh my eyes!

Seven women
in red petticoat
bathing in the
slender Sali nadi---
now plunging, now
stooping over
and now patting-
squeezing their hair
as the thigh-high
holy water washes away
their sin; and my sin-
ful question to the
teeming crowd of devotees
busy on both banks
cleaning their faces
or sprinkling the water
over their heads, or
making holy
their unholy mouths (?)---
by the sip of the
same waters
running down to them
from those women's
purged bodies.

- Haris Adhikari

(1 poem added 04.11.15)

editor's note: Cleanliness is next to body-ness! Believe what you like... - mh


Good Years

Pennies are brown and dirty.
They stink of bus stops.
They will never add up to
a million dollars no matter
how many you collect in jars.
It’s bad luck to throw a penny
away so I always bend down
when I sweep one up.
I’ve heard it costs more than
one cent to make a penny now
and that they are not even
real copper (but I haven’t been
to Snopes to check this out).
If you name a girl Penny,
I’m not sure what you expect from her.
Sometimes at work, I take a
filthy corroded one, where you
can’t even recognize Abraham Lincoln
and drop it in a jar of 10% nitric acid for
an hour- than it pretties up
like the day it was minted and all
the grime of the decades dissolves
away, all the pockets exchanged, dirty hands,
and register drawer dust- it’s gone now
and I see a date-
1957- was it a good year?
Pennies are like us.

- Trier Ward

(1 poem added 04.10.15)

editor's note: At current rates of inflation, a penny for these thoughts costs a fortune. - mh


Heavy Shoe

Coming back in the darkness
after the match
through old pit villages
with the light from newsagents
illuminating the pavements
and the lads on the bus
strike up a chorus of
‘footsteps on the dancefloor’
slamming down their boots
on the top deck
and chanting ‘heavy shoe’
The laughter, the beer fumes,
heading for home
and a night in the local.

- Jon Tait

(added 04.09.15)

editor's note: Light in the head, but not on the feet. Home is home enough. - mh


Bug

I squash the bug
making its way across
the cracked linoleum
and then I remember,
turning my shoe over
with much regret
I look at what is left:
a few random legs
a black splash of innards…
taking my finger
I poke at the mess
I have made
and wonder -
Kafka, is that you?
Kafka?

- Ryan Quinn Flanagan

(2 poems added 04.08.15)

editor's note: An ahimsa encounter with literary greatness. Ouch! (Another mad missive from Ryan on his page - a different kind of encounter, check it out.) - mh


ON ADVICE

She sent him away——
back into the clouds
on his indigo horse.

She tries not to recall
how he made mornings laugh
down narrow Spanish streets

and markets in Morocco
in his accents of every country,

how they camped like gypsies,
connected the stars
to make candles and dragons,

threw wishes into fountains,
money into wells.

She tries not to listen
as his voice pours down the roof,

fills the rain gutters
and flows into the street

away from their house
built of music
and dreams.

- Patty Dickson Pieczka

(1 poem added 04.07.15)

editor's note: Refuse the dream weaver as he rains wishes back on you; you never refused the dream. - mh


SCOPE

What counts? Well...
Fingers do when
There’s no obstruction.
Colour. Sense –, and
Nonsense –.

Empathy
- Nudged
By Quarks
Galore
And twin-set mittens
Made
Openly

- In Babylon.
- In Balashikha.

- Stefanie Bennett

(added 04.06.15)

editor's note: Meaning from myth derived, by all accounts. - mh


Obsession: A Sonnet

The great states of mind vary endurability.
A faith for Gods can last for thousands.
Routine mental illnesses, clearly less ably.
The ADD’s and CCD’s inspire fewer years and funds.

The sick in the mind are damned to be scotched.
We Schizos, Bi-Polars, Paranoids still exist.
Compassionate, helpless loved ones watch;
Its the “Psychs, Meds and Shady-Shaman Twist.”

That’s me, Bi-Polar for life (without choice).
The manic’s grandiose attitude and more.
Depressed, I’ll want to shut anyone’s voice,
While brooding alone on a Bronte moor.

And all the other different colored doors,
Find ways to rest minds gone to war.

- Tom Hall

(added 04.05.15)

editor's note: Pick prognosis best matched to malady. Door number one? Door number two? - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? If you got some milk, we got quite the controversially tasty tale you can dip it in to!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Have a Cookie” by Dennis Milam Bensie: "Have a cookie, forget the woes of the world. Enjoy yourself. Breathe in, taste the sugar, because some people, too many people, will never breathe again."

Here's a taste:


My first graders bring in something they like from the outside world to share for Show and Tell every Tuesday morning.

Martin Taccone does his presentation last. He slowly walks up to the head of the class carrying a heavy satchel that looks like it has a bowling ball in it. He carefully takes out something wrapped in a blanket. It’s a ceramic figure that looks like kind of like Mammy, that large black woman who takes care of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.

I lose my breath for a minute. Martin and his family are white. Why on earth do they have a black statue like that in a small town like Parkman, Illinois?

Where do you even get such a thing these days?

Martin pulls the top off and shows us that the Mammy is actually a cookie jar. “This is from my kitchen,” he explains to the class. “My mom bakes cookies and puts them in here for me and my brothers to eat. We call her the Cookie Mammy.

The skin tone of Mammy is pure black: nothing brown or lifelike about it. The white of her oversized eyes bug out like a cartoon character and she has big, red pursed lips. She’s wearing a red and white checkered dress and a kerchief on her head. And, of course, she’s got a white apron over her big skirt.

I’m a bit scared to look at Martin holding the mammy cookie jar right out in my class.

My knees are knocking.

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...

Gettin’ Our Fix,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.04.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.04.15

“Art includes everything that stimulates the desire to live.” Remy de Gourmont

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Kiss” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. To see more Mad works from David, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we exalted in eight's existence; we scored a swat from romance that was not; we raked the repose of the moth egged weak; we lurked in the lees of what no one hears, cares, sees; we sheared shorn sheaves from what the knife edge leaves; we cut in the line of phone-tagged bottle buyers sublime; we parted the ways to hard-fought sober days. So many words to state the struggle; strive, stand! ~ MH Clay

Unseen parting of ways

Unseen parting of ways, spoken broken vowels, suffocating in your own liquored dreams of illusionary and elocutionary vows, I’m that toxic waste vessel adrift on dry land with a soaked soul a hundred percent intoxication no participation on parting of ways only an array of empty bottles for days as others are amazed at the rainbow flavor thirst I display and liquor bottle parade, I care not about charade as life inside me fades;

unseen parting of ways

battling shakes and sweats awake I forgot to pray for my sake as I lay in my own wet mistakes full of hate on my wet alcoholic date;

unseen parting of ways,

from the war trench to the gin bottles I infiltrate, old tattered uniform, drunken parade rest and depressed, gin bottles my belief of suppression. Mind state without commonality of debate, full of war hate,

unseen parting of ways.

- James Brown

(1 poem added 04.04.15)

editor's note: Our victors return to become victims while we argue over the price of compensation. Sad! - mh


peckerwood

there was already a line
to the back of the liquor store when he came in

the only black face in the entire place

we were somewhere in the upper middle
drunk from an afternoon in the grassroots tavern
but wanting more to kill the night

the wine store kept the smaller bottles of alcohol
behind the counter at the register

it was the store’s way
of teaching drunkards the value of patience
or to stop them from being so damned cheap

he found me right away

my wife claims that i have that kind of face
it’s welcoming and the antithesis to the fiber of my very being

he said, hey man, you know how it is
then started motioning up toward the register

of course i knew how it was
but something about him rubbed me

it was rare that i found a face in this world as welcoming as mine
most people were ugly without even trying

i said, i know how it is, man
that’s why i’m standing here with all of the other stiffs

i said, getting in front of me won’t help your cause any

he said, look, man

so i said, why don’t you go and ask each
and every person standing behind me
if they’re cool with you cutting then i’ll clear you a space

well, he just stood there with kind of a crooked grin

i wondered about the type of person
who found his face a soothing salve to come home to at night

he said, what if i just cut you in line

a man must do as he must, i answered

then he leaned in
he reeked of vodka as i reeked of beer

we were brethren of a sort

i thought to myself that i should’ve let him cut me
but then he called me a peckerwood

ain’t nothin’ but a peckerwood, he said

hear that honey, i said to my wife
now i’m the victim of racial intolerance

he went to the front of the line
cutting each and every one of us

the cashier sold him a pint of rum without hesitation

the hoi polloi held their bottles and gasped
their conceptions of law and order thrown to the dogs

someone called him an asshole
as he waved to the crowd on the way out

the woman behind me
threatened to get the manager

everyone else just stood there
checking their phones

a pack of peckerwoods

waiting on anarchy
waiting their turn in line.

- John Grochalski

(1 poem added 04.03.15)

editor's note: A slice without a knife; a line, a pint and a hapless pack… - mh


My Patience

My patience is a gibbet
Around it my neighbours stroll
And whisper keeping their eyes on me.

The cognitive forms of my desire
Indulge my clay feet;
Though I sit quietly on a stool.

Then they go back to the field
And bind the paddy sheaves
For interpreting history.

I throw my laughter high
To the meridian
And tease their knives.

- Bhargab Chatterjee

(1 poem added 04.02.15)

editor's note: They can't cut what they can't reach. Hang high! - mh


A Throatpierced Sound in the Night

lonely as america
guttural cries
no one hears

Miles blows translucent blue melodies
snare keeps time with double bass
piano for continuity
psychic feelers come back empty
no one listens

down fall the masks
muted slow arpeggios cover faces
behind stone curtains
no one cares

dark pursed lips press against
silver mouthpiece
fingers stab valves
air beats against me while
no one watches

inside my ash covered space
long, outheld notes cross time
whines sprinkle up a staircase of stars
slow soft keys whisper
no one’s there

up against the wall
then the resolution comes
a free ringing trumpet tone
sponges my face, bathes my body
in liquid timbre of relief that
no one feels

dare not peek behind the curtain
to see the man behind the magic
we all play roles in this masquerade
our secret sins equal out with age
no one knows

there is no great listener in heaven or on earth
just a call and answer, sometimes only a call
frequencies shared too often grow tedious
can a lifetime of unison even be bearable?
no one holds

maybe belief runs across this great Beat path
carved from interminable sand
constant sun and shaky fluorescents
cast everlong shadows on every bump and pebble
no one sees

- Lilly Penhall

(1 poem added 04.01.15)

editor's note: Bleak and bold, america - everywhere; no one! - mh


THE WHITE MOTHS

Sleep between the leaves
in the secret dawn
of summer’s fallen shanty town.

They drowse in the clasp
of veined, watery leaflight,
in nature’s frail golden eggs,

In shells and tatters and curls
spun from the coin-washed sky.
In the quiet, cold,

Clinging to the damp walls,
red tinged their houses rattle,
turn over under the rake.

And suddenly they are trembling.
Because it is the season—
smoke swirls across the yard.

They are the meek, the helpless.
Baptized by the rain, they will not inherit.

Too small this town.

- Russell Brickey

(added 03.31.15)

editor's note: Too often meek is mauled, raped by the rake of mighty. - mh


Sweat and Saliva

He’s a hot mess of a man
All sweat and saliva
Belching on his pot roast and beer
Blind to the parsley, the napkin ironed

He groans when asked to wash
Refuses to use that damned floss
So high falootin’
His trusty ole peppermint pick lodged
Deep within his swollen gums

He grabs for her tits
Claws at her derriere
Angry that all he scores is a manicured swat
The tinkle of silver charms
She was the queen of West Texas

Now a mean ole mother
He mutters under his stale breath
Cracking another can
Not noticing her freshly curled hair
Or the Home Beautiful magazine, $1.99
Dog-eared by her side sagging
Not looking anything like a home coming
Or anyone’s high school dream

- Heather M. Browne

(1 poem added 03.30.15)

editor's note: The shame of mutual disappointment; keep those bodily fluids to yourself. - mh


Octogenerity

Never thought I’d live to see
My own Octo-gen-er-ity
The daily complement of pills
Have staunched so many ills

I am the first in my line
To reach this magic time
As I stand to face
The finish of the race

Each day I go anew
To confront life’s brew
Of ache and tired muscle
Amid our diurnal bustle

I take my quotidian stand
A toast to Medicine Grand
For a long and healthy life
Buttressed by my loving wife

- Milt Montague

(added 03.29.15)

editor's note: Better living, longevity and love - through chemistry. Viva, Milt! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Well, we got one for ya but ONLY if we're friends. Say it! "Yes Mad Swirl, we are friends." Cool. Now we can share the latest addition to our short stories library, "Friends" by longtime contributing writer, Jim Meirose.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "Animals, some of us. Animals who want to be loved, all of us."

Here's a quick glimpse:


photo by Tyler Malone

The two sat in an empty plain windowless room with one door, at a thin legged wooden table, on folding metal chairs. They’d been playing cards.

You know I want to hear it, said the larger, heavily bearded man.

What? said the skinny bald one.

That you’re my friend. I want to hear you say that you’re my friend.

The skinny one put his cards down and waved the air.

I told you. I have no friends. What is the definition of friend, anyway? Do you know?

Well, I guess it’s just liking a person—

No! he said, raising a hand, it’s being attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. That’s what the dictionary says.

So? That applies—

No, it doesn’t. I’m not attached to anyone. I have no friends. And that includes you.

But I’ve got to get you to say it—can’t you just say it for me? Even if it’s not true?

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


This past 1st Wednesday Mad Swirl bid adieu to the stage where the mic magic all began over 10 years ago. (If you hadn't heard, Absinthe Lounge at its current locale will no longer be our Open Mic home. But don't fret, we will be easin' on down, easin' on down, easin' on down the road to their NEW locale come May Day.)

The vibe on the mic was a bit more nostalgic than usual but just as mad as always! The whole swirlin' world of mic madness came full circle. The faces that have graced our stages thru the years seemed to be swirlin' in from all corners. 'twas quite the night to be a part of this final-ish show. Thanks to all who came to celebrate, appreciate & participate last night.

In case you missed this Mad action, here is the line-up and a picture show, (thanks to Dan Rodriguez) of who was who…


Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Feature:
Paul Konieki
Opalina Salas
Carlos Salas
Paul Sexton
Devorah Titunik
Roderick Richardson
Jolee Davis
Dan Evans
Desmene Statum
Bear the Poet
Chris Zimerly
Josh Weir
BA
Suza Hep Kat
CJ Critt

Mad Cast:
Victory
Harry McNabb
Eileen Simeonov
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Mike Adreani
Dante Dadon
Brittney Buster

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

And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin Christensen, owner of Absinthe Lounge, who has given 124 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!

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

May: Opalina Salas & Maggie Smith
June: Brendan McCormack (from Ireland)
July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore

•••••••

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...

Stimulatin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor