11.22.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.22.14

"Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason." Andre Gide

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Photo (above) by featured artist Toby Oggenfuss. To see more Mad works from Toby, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we heard a hot hellion's heated recourse of rebellion; we morphed a manic, med-induced symphony; we framed the fall of a bouncing ball; we made magic in the rabbit hat, stars and bursts and all of that; we perpetrated puppet string pullings to hold hurricane winds in seasonal chucklings; we ripped sky-bright days unraveled into open roads untraveled; we rhymed irregular for verses not divine nor secular. We tripped the light, we shined bright. ~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

DOGGEREL ON A LEASH
(For Dr Abdel Hamid)

A war without an army, a battle
With no flag. It’s fought inside a darkness
We all have in our minds. No bugle call,
No marching bands - and medals? Even less!
You’ll never be on your own but often
Wish you were! You are trapped inside a net –
A mesh that must be killed, it’s either you
Or it. Can you be a killer? You bet!
The conflict zone is larger than you thought.
At first, and also last, it’s doom and gloom.
But then finally you have to face it.
No glory. It comes down to this small room.
He stands, this man who took you through your fear.
He shakes your hand and smiles, and says, ‘You’re clear!’

- Derrick Gaskin

(1 poem added 11.22.14)

editor’s note: A regular irregular to keep our pathways clear. No brain sepsis here! - mh


Happy is the Day

Happy is the day that on rising,
my body flexes like a bow from head to toe,
and powered by arching spine,
bounds out to meet the world
and all its promise.

Happy is the day
when clouds are light and sky is bright,
and without drug filled enthusiasm,
or drink floated confidence,
everything is just magical,
and happily out of control.

Sad is the day when I am made small.

Why one day should greet me openly
while another rejects me so harshly,
I do not know,
and I really, really wish
that I could know each sunrise,
simply as a call to live,
and see only the open road,
instead of trips on those already travelled.

- Niall OConnor

(added 11.21.14)

editor’s note: Be it a trip or a fall; go for the magic, not the small. Happy day, indeed! - mh


NO PLACE TO LIVE

Hold me when you are close enough and
I am pushing you away refusing you my breaking point
at that last moment while turning that bend
like I hold those iron bars in anxiety of sky
molten in liquid blue that permeates my eyes
I am not far neither close
just where you chose me to be
an ear for your personal ramblings
where I have no place to live no shoulders to rest upon
an invitee in the remote walls where you decide the role
and own the strings of monotonous curtains
your lies and truth like an unabashed hurricane
blowing in severity from all directions
from high mountains and deepest seas
ruling and destroying my unconsciousness
when I was yet to discover if I am dead or living
I felt like changing to seasons and at once
cold and warm to domesticated notions
where you can happen to me twice as rapturously
and I can make you cry over my unseasonal chuckles.

- Jyoti Modi

(added 11.20.14)

editor’s note: The object holds the strings. The subject holds the chuckles. - mh


TRUTH

People believe what they want to believe.
Truth is merely another emotion,
Like love,
A rabbit in a dunce’s hat.
Go ahead: wish for true love;
The brightest star in the sky
Is exploding.

- Robert E. Petras

(1 poem added 11.19.14)

editor’s note: Believe what you will; it is ultimately subjective. Reality comes in a flash! - mh


Ballad of the Bouncing Self

At times I, like a butterfly,
May flit from bloom to bloom,
Or with my whimsy set sky-high
To outer space may zoom.
And yet, when all’s been said and done,
I follow what my fate has spun—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

A Muse impels me on a spree
Of whirling swirling craft
Where poems must not mean but be…
Until I’m going daft.
But words, albeit finely wrought,
Can only catch a passing thought—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

When my reality looks pale
I frolic in a theme
From vivid myth, folklore or tale,
Where dreams are what they seem.
And there where’er I romp and roam
I always feel a welcome home—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

I’ve often fallen to the ground
And picked myself back up.
I’ve hungered for a loving touch
And sipped from passion’s cup.
My longings, cravings ruled my will;
Still never could I drink my fill—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

A life led wrong, though full of song,
Will cause us to regret,
When pondering the winters long,
Our faults we can’t forget.
And then we’re washed in bitter tears
For senseless youth and wasted years—
As some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

I said I want to live before
I die, in villanelle,
To learn where lies true wisdom’s door
And shun the gates to hell.
Yes, wayward ways can still begin
To seek and find the Way within—
For some may strive and not succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

- Harley White

(1 poem added 11.18.14)

editor’s note: Follow the ball to sing along, off of the walls to find that song. Do the deed! - mh


My Manic Meds' Truth: A Sonnet in Waltz Time

Make no mistake, its no fun when you're manic.
When it starts, maybe so, but it soon can turn frantic.
When blindsided by sights it can lead to a panic
I'm writing this way to show its not romantic.

I was in a canoe on a still quiet lake,
So you paddle three times and enjoy the ride.
But when I looked down, it couldn't be fake,
A small symphony was playing inside.

I couldn't hear a note, with them all under water,
And I knew down deep that they could not be there.
Just faces and hands that were all in a blur
and then I was past them, but Christ what a scare.

This actually happened because of my meds,
Once more I'd been torn from the reins to my head.

- Tom Hall

(added 11.17.14)

editor’s note: A day in the life of a pendulum swinger; symphonically submerged (one, two, three - one, two, three). - mh


The Hot Water Bottle’s Resignation Letter

Why? The six-month lay-off
confined to quarters
with puffballs of dust
and dropped sweet wrappers
under the bed. That’s for starters.

Then let’s consider
the nerve-grinding torture
of the kettle’s transition
from stone-cold to boiling;
neck gripped: the pouring, the scalding …

the brash demonstration
of no-way-out, of coercion
back into the sphere of action.
No renegotiation,
no fawning reinstatement –

you demand then expect me
to bow and scrape and get on with it.
Well, screw you. I quit.
Why? I want to be free
of your grubby quilts, your sheets,

your inelegant couplings, your feet.

- Neil Fulwood

(added 11.16.14)

editor’s note: When discussing equitable wages and working conditions, every point of view warrants consideration. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Then we got a truly "mad" tale to share with you delivered to us by writer & poet Ruth Z. Deming. Her short story, "More Decaf, Please!" will make you see what we mean when we say this one truly is an insane one.

Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had a few words to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Bare humanity, malnourished bones along with bad brains, can't contribute much to our spinning globe, but they can teach us everything. Your own reactions to the world's lessers prove how worthy you are to not be toothless, drooling on yourself, and only knowing hope because someone pretends to love you."

Here's a taste to dunk your mind in:


Willie lives with two other men in a group home in East Oak Lane, Philadelphia. It's literally a beautiful three-bedroom house with lovely paintings on the wall and comfy furniture.

We stomped the snow off our feet when we got inside and Shelly introduced me to Ron, the house manager.

We made ourselves at home. In the kitchen, I plugged in the Mr. Coffee Maker and consulting Ron and Shelly, made 10 cups of coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts Decaf. Shelly cut the cheesecake from Trader Joe's and some holiday apricot kuchen.

We all sat down to eat. The TV was on with a noisy football game. In group homes the TV is always on. I’ve visited half a dozen and they’re all the same. The house managers are very important people and have power over people's lives just like parents.

All of the men talk to themselves. Their histories are contained in huge three-ring binders on the bookshelves which also include the medications they take. All the men smoke like chimneys. The man I sat next to and tried to converse with had eyebrows that draped halfway down his face. Try as I might, I just couldn't get a conversation going with him or any of the other men.

They loved their coffee and finished the entire pot within ten minutes.

Tasty, right? Wanna keep reading? Then move your mouse right here!

•••••••

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

Bein’ Inspired,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.15.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.15.14

"To create one's world in any of the arts takes courage." Georgia O'Keeffe

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Photo (above) by featured artist Toby Oggenfuss. To see more Mad works from Toby, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we found a cure for clinical sadness, better than drugs is love for madness; we idled a day for a muse gone away; we pilfered the wings from a bird who talks, not sings; we shared fatherly joy in the face of a sleeping boy; we listened to romantic talk of a supine angel, lined with chalk; we read a mad missive, longer than shorter, which led a young child to hope's sweet border; we counted out love from lucky stars, our guaranteed commitment for scars. From madly loved to love infused; a week not weak, but strengthened by muse. ~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

It's Always Been only from Everafter

committed

there's no other
there's only this

there's me here again
presenting

our It's Always Been
Guarantee

a committed
return on

your vested scars
should they ever fade

- Steven Minchin

(1 poem added 11.15.14)

editor’s note: If you win it, gotta keep it won. Takes the "C" word, friends, the "C" word. - mh


For Arlene: On Condition of a Smile and a Giggle

Abstemious children make pledges,
On condition of a smile and a giggle,
Particularly to groups of powerful
Individuals tending not to surface.

Given sunshine, also assorted conditions,
Plain folks’ knowledge of astral energies
Can safeguard their entire communities,
Capably thwarting alien armies’ coupes.

Understand, militants’ muckles of wrapped cloths’
Flagged folds, absent creases, frees no fierce
Brothers or local lovelies, plus fails to presage
Inscrutability collected from the obstreperous.

The most dire cases of hostage taking pops eyes
Wide open, culls imperturbable affections, strikes,
Catalyzes the Stockholm Syndrome, suffers naught
After “merely” traumatizing isolated families.

Accordingly, when exhaling peppermint puffs,
Stretching to reach for hinted revelations, recall;
Keep all kemp and rimrock secured, brush both
Jaws twice daily. Plus, if protesting, write smarter.

Else, jackanapes will continue to make patent
Not-so-clandestine alliances with mercenaries.
See, embolden doggies sleep, chase no intruders.
As well, robust defense technologies can belly up.

When we love enough to die, to undergo whole
Tortures willingly, our cousins stop fashioning
Expiries. Even if permanently crippled, we’ll
Live to travel to hope’s more peaceful borders.

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 11.14.14)

editor’s note: With a dictionary and this dalliance, we learn once again; everything works out in the end. - mh


You swallowed me with your eyes

I looked down at you
Propped up on my elbows
As we laid in the center of the street—
You in a stainless white dress
Showing your perfect knees
And me in a hoodie and jeans—
And the stars weaved through the branches above
Appearing as they always have
And the city snored in the night
While I traced your perfect body
With white chalk—
Later writing an angel fell here
Underneath the outline—
Stopping as I connected the head
To the neck
And got caught within the black void
Found deep in your eyes
And I felt my soul merge with yours
As one entity of spontaneity
Breathing in the golden eternal moment
Which lunged my lips towards yours
In my most ambitious leap
As a man
Only to fall short
Missing the ledge
And receiving your glorious cheek
That didn’t seem so glorious
As I tumbled
All the way down.

- Jerry Moffitt

(added 11.13.14)

editor’s note: A long fall and a hard miss to brave a leap at an angel's kiss. - mh


A Boy’s Face in Repose

With his face still and his eyes closed,
with his face still and his chest rising and falling
at the reigns of some wild dream driving him reckless,
with his face still and his mouth clamped down
on the tattered skirt of his stuffed animal companion,
with his face still and his arm crooked back
over his head, fingers tangled in mopped strands
of hair still damp from the shower,
with his face still, with his face finally so still
you notice where his cheekbones rest,
notice the small freckles slowly over the years
marking the degrees of his smile,
with his face still
who can tell what will be?

What old buildings will find him?
Brick walls, bouncers of a thousand voices before him,
chairs scraping floor back through the decades
and forward into unseeable distance,
and friends laughing into formulas of life
as if they invented this place.
But who am I to say they didn’t, or he won’t?
No air has passed over chords
like it has over his, no corners
of mouth have turned precisely the angles
his lips swell into, no eyes take the pigment
of any other soul and give it to the open spaces
as his, perhaps to be received, perhaps to be judged,
perhaps to be loved, perhaps to be preyed on,
perhaps to be shut out entirely.
With his face so still
is there no other desire but to hold in stasis?
Or must I always let go and watch him away?

- Christopher Raley

(1 poem added 11.12.14)

editor’s note: Alas, we must let go. Though we'd like to give them answers, they must formulate their own questions. - mh


Wings Wanted

...lend me
your wings
for a day or two
little Munia

Let me too
like you
fly across skies
sit atop
broken roofs
flowering trees
and
whistle away signals of love
echoing empty airs
around

I promise
I shall return them
on return
if I ever do...

(Munia is a name usually given to a Mynah bird.)

- Aniruddha Sastikar

(added 11.11.14)

editor’s note: Keep'em. Fly away and talk, talk, talk... - mh


Idleness.

Under the netted shade
of a straw, makeshift gazebo
in his ancestral garden
on a day of peaceful spells
amongst budding orchards
opening legacies forlorn
or the scent of love secrets
burrowed within seeds,
searching for heart,
he sits with his comrade pen,
silver, glinting variations
of vested perceptions
vociferous to ooze through
the tip of an unused heirloom.

A few sparrows skitter
and hop in wavy circles
peeking inquisitively
either in or at a business
not their own.
He amuses at their careful
approaches; a hop forward
followed by craning,
more peeking, pretending,
peripheral glancing,
hopping two steps aside,
fluttering their wings,
ignoring the subject
flying back a circle
repeating the process.
He smiles endearingly,
at the persistent exercise,
as a sparrow glares
suspiciously first,
haughtily next, upon
realizing the spotlight.

The hours quickly dissipate
into a darkening horizon;
birds and orchards retract
as night time deepens
over intents dulled
by the end of another day,
he trundles back to the house
where banished memories
await the weight of his soul
that he may visit
in hope for inspiration.

- Sheikha A.

(1 poem added 11.10.14)

editor’s note: A familiar frustration to seekers of their muse; birds only. (We welcome Sheikha to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this poem. Read more of her madness on her new page - check it out.) - mh


Loving, Unconditionally

She loves you with blood running down your nose
From the bottle of diamonds you swallowed

She loves the rush of the drive to the hospital,
The wedding screen, the jewelry of needles

She is there to feed you porridge at midnight
To cry with you on bathroom floors, to wipe
The stains on your bed sheets – your wrists.

She is there when you call her with tales
Of anaesthetic-induced euphoria

She is there when you ask for the balcony view
Because you like the choice it comes with.

She is nearly there when you call her, saying
They’re letting you go – she is half there

At your meetings, always a pocketed
Apology – a bouquet of flowers with wheel marks.

She smokes like a chimney when you tell her
The seasons make you feel beautiful,

You love her even though she is boat in rocky seas
A train that never pulls in.

You are there when she calls you at half past
Something. She asks you not to call again

As she won’t be around, makes you promise
To send a message when you reach the institution.

- Alainah Aamir

(added 11.09.14)

editor’s note: The clinical description of "crazy love;" hard as diamonds. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? The latest latest addition to our mad conversation, "The Story About a Dog's Name,” is from loco local writer, poet, & friend Roderick Richardson. This one might amuse?...or offend? ...or both? But that's what we've come to expect from Roderick's words. His works sometimes are amusingly offensive, yet we ALWAYS walk away with a little bit better understanding of life in this mad mad mad world!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story:
"Death begins with language. With one word, the world crumbles. If all of existence began with a single breath from a single timeless entity, and we said that we'd take things from there, then collectively we'll speak up and damn ourselves."

Here's a bark before the bite:


One day a twenty-something white woman was walking down a sidewalk, in the suburbs, when she bumped into an elderly black man. She was startled because this man was walking the biggest Rottweiler anyone has ever seen. “What a big dog!” the white woman said. “What’s his name?”

The man then tied the dog to a tree and told him to sit, and the dog did just that. The man immediately asked the woman to walk a few yards away, and whispered, “His name is Nigga.”

“What? His name is Nuh—“

“Hold on!” the man interrupted. “You can’t say that! I’ll explain…”

Get bitten right here!

•••••••

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

Bein’ Courageous,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.08.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.08.14

"Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears." Albert Camus

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Photo (above) by featured artist Toby Oggenfuss. To see more Mad works from Toby, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we marveled at the mundanity of days; we unlocked a madhouse, opened the door, emptied our deeds of the week before; we mouthed the sum of none for one; we seized the day, slippery with scales; we prayed our soul the dark to take, pondered the peace in a jump in the lake; we went with it, circled to heaven, 365 times 24-7; we came to rest, ceased the dance, hung our hopes on the forgiveness of chance. Rest and rise up to wield another week. ~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

The Last Ballet

I fence the morning,
not with indifference.
With everything. I pin
my hopes on anything
I find worthy.

I see signs in all I do.
The slant of the blinds,
for example, the way
the sun breathes through
them,

to me, that is a sign.
I listen to the radio
and hear a song I don’t know
or care to know, but some lyric
will up-end me.

I see a person, carrying
a backpack, walking along
a downtrodden road in east Mesa
and I think of my son who often
walks along downtrodden streets.

My heart throbs and shivers
and beats to the hymn of many hearts.
For the sake of bliss
I pretend that sadness doesn’t affect me.
One day I’ll abandon my tears

and my children will forgive me.

- Lisa Zaran

(added 11.08.14)

editor’s note: Spend a life-time dancing 'round those issues and forgiveness comes late to the repertoire. - mh


24-7-365

Morn
Rises
Sun
Hides
And I hide
With
It

Day
Unravels
Pleasant
Travels
And I travel
With
It

Eve
Eases
Pleases
And I am pleased
With
It

Nights
Blurred
Time
Dies
And I die
With
It

Worlds
Revolve
Rotates
Recreates
And I create
With
It

- Johnny Olson

(1 poem added 11.07.14)

editor’s note: Johnny O writes to our delight, and we write with him. (Happy Birthday to our Founder and Chief Editor! He's a double-digitarian today - you guess the digits. ;) ) - mh


You Will Wade Out

Two parts good, one part
maybe tired,
maybe sad
(I haven’t decided yet),
looking at my
lake
(mine tonight,
I put it on reserve because
I felt I deserved it).

Quietness
other than
big waves and
teenagers on their
first date
(blackberry stain hickies
to bring home to momma).

My eyes are closed
because I’m having a
moment
and I don’t want to
see any other
moments
because then I’ll
start to compare.

I hope no one steals my
apartment keys
as I take off my sweatshop
tennis shoes and
take

four

breaths in:

one for the
limitless lonely space
on this bench and
in this world

one for the
sailboats like
sheep
along the crease where the
lake is kissing the sky

one for the
prayers I’ve been
skipping out on
(except when I’m on
airplanes or in
fast cars)

and one for
myself.

- Taylor Gall

(1 poem added 11.06.14)

editor’s note: Knees to hips, chest to chin; wade in far, but still breathe in. - mh


Carp Day

stream flowing
over stones,
frothing white,
river spirit
impregnating water
with oxygen.

carp and catfish
huddle at the dam
attracting foxes, raccoons,
all giving thanks to life
for enriching them
with the wonder
of movement;

chemical combustion
of sugars,
energy abundant
for the swim downstream,
the chase and kill
caught in teeth.
all feel the pressure
of the jaws closing
eventually,

but sing and swim
and run and dance
they must
for as long as they can
in the spring sun
before their turn
must come.

- Joseph Farley

(2 poems added 11.05.14)

editor’s note: Seize or be seized! It's gonna be somebody's day; make it yours. (Read another fish story from Joe on his page - check it out!) - mh


zero

bed of the truck filled w/
blood and bone
filled w/ corpses and the
children laugh because
this is not war

this is not anything new

hatred gets confused w/
hunger,
lust w/ need

man fucks some stranger’s wife
in a cheap motel room in a
small frightened town then goes
back to his life

sky is blue
shot through w/ fading contrails

sun is everywhere
but w/out heat

burn the churches first and
then the prisons
and then the bars and
what’s left?

burn down the
houses of politicians

sleep on the couch

36 and divorced and trying
to find something
more important than money

good luck w/ that

- John Sweet

(added 11.04.14)

editor’s note: Found in the personal effects of Willy Loman after he died. - mh


A Week before.

The world has so far held its
Captive secret from me.
I am only but half slave half
Driver to the place where we
Will meet. And it will be there,

In dim light,
Enriched by dark wood motif,
When your eyes bounce and flit
And from that, follow and return
to mine, you will know that

I was once good and decent.
I’ll swear it, but found my health
In the children of false love.
From what I gave them I felt
A bit less than half empty.

Still look, look, look around.
Take in this madhouse.
A store of treasure, heaped together
Fatuous and hand-holding,
Slipping coin onto coin unto another.

I look, still, through their window,
Keeping half apart, do not worry.

- Joseph Elenbaas

(1 poem added 11.03.14)

editor’s note: A couple of coins palmed and passed to keep time and slackers at bay. - mh


Marvelous Days

Mundane, yet marvelous
These days, these hours
These distasteful diversions
They, too, have taste to
Broaden the palate
Bring each day to light
To linger on the tongue

Learning is limned
In my luminous limitations
These shackles adorn me
Then, cold splash, face slap
They warn me -
Alive be, awake!
"Should the night
My soul to take"

Quotidian quiescence
Stupefies
Effort's required
To open sleepy eyes
The day is bright
The hours ahead, right
And rightly met

These are marvelous days

- MH Clay

(1 poem added 11.02.14)

editor’s note: 'tis marvelous days indeed when our Poetry Editor puts on his porkpie hat & prances thru our poetry forum speakin' upon the pompitous of keepin’ that eternal party goin’! - jo

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "La La Love Ya" by returning short-short writer, Alyssa Black. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Why is this world full of murderers and insane people? Well, it's really not, we just think it is. When you start loving the darkness, think about that one tiny speck of light in your life, then follow it."

Here's a few na na notes to get the beat in your head and heart:


So, today I drove to work in a car with no heat on a day that was so cold people even started caring about the homeless. When I got to work, my boss was waiting for me, ready to nag for twenty-five minutes about something somebody else did but averted reasonable suspicions to me because they knew I would just take it. They were right. I went to the bathroom and cried for ten minutes and finished my shift. The world felt cruel and inconsiderate, and I questioned whether I even wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to curl up in a ball and tell everyone to leave me alone.

After work, I checked my phone. Matt had texted me.

He said, “hey watcha doin? text when you get off.” I did.

I said, “hey dude. day from hell but id love to see you.” He called and asked me why my day was hellish. I got vague and emotional, the way I always do.

I said, “People don’t respect me the way I respect them. I feel constantly taken advantage of. Everyone at work, everyone at school, they would stomp on my spine wearing cleats if it benefitted them in even the smallest way. I’m so done humoring anyone. I,” I stopped. When I start saying “I” too much, I start to worry that I’m being too self-centered. I catch myself and continue. “It just sucks; everything sucks sometimes,” I finished, trying to take the issue less personally and more rationally.

The best cure to get this tune outta your head is to follow the notes right here!

••• Open Mic •••


t'was 10 years ago that Mad Swirl first hosted our open mic at Dallas' Absinthe Lounge. Way back then we never would have guessed that we'd still be doin' it to it all these years later. But guess what? We are! Why? Because of you... and you... and ALL you you's out there who have been appreciatin' and participatin' along with us all those years!

We here at the Swirl approached this auspicious occasion with keen consideration. We asked ourselves, "Selves, who would be the best performer to feature at our 10 year Swirl-a-bration?" The answer came back clearly, "Mad Swirl!" Yes, of course, Mad Swirl should be AND will be our feature! And who better to help us celebrate this momentous mad milestone but YOU, our fellow mad ones!

Thanks to ALL the wonderful poets and musicians who helped us Swirl-a-brate by sharing their words, their verses and their fine light with us. t'was a fine night to be alive and in our Mad Swirl world. In case you missed this Mad action, view the whole show here, via USTREAM!

We look forward to ALL the m-adventures 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...

Tearin’ Up,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.01.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.01.14

"'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." John Keats

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Photo (above) by featured artist Toby Oggenfuss. To see more Mad works from Toby, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we hung clouds, stole stars and sleep from a tongue-tied sleeper; we saw a sand-soddened sunset, layered in loneliness; we quenched the fire of the barb in wire; we stymied a sense of any certainty in a ludicrous quest to escape absurdity; we kicked stars into silly screams, the minuend of two to zero; we swung in the swirling vertigo of desire; we felt the fade of autumn flowers, the weak vibrations of human powers. The ends bring life to means... ~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

vain beauty

Already short of breath
in the midsummer day
flowers born to exude
scent die in exhaustion
applauding breeze
with curling petals
falling on the mantelpiece
among odd objects
reflecting the pale
indolence of human flesh
all scintillation.

- Francesca Castaño

(1 poem added 11.01.14)

editor’s note: With the turn of leaves, comes this turn of phrases; scintillating indeed! Thanks, Francesca! - mh


Desire–II

Somniloquous window of my room
goes up to the zenith
of the frosted cloud.
My exiled door hangs like a cliff.
Down,
your face is hanging
on the cob-web of your city.
In that vertigo
husks of your presence
burn and fly
around my desire.

- Bhargab Chatterjee

(1 poem added 10.31.14)

editor’s note: Sweet satiation from a babbling sexomniac. - mh


Kicking Super Hero

From where l live
I see a silly monster
Trying to tiptoe and dive
At you as if it`s a star
Quickly I move in and check
Then like a superhero
I aim and really kick
It into a screaming zero!

- Ndaba Sibanda

(added 10.30.14)

editor’s note: It's been 0 days since we had a silly monster dive star incident. Keep society safe and kickin'! - mh


Arty Artichoke Heart

The cub wolf replaced Franckie.
He wanted what?
Wanted that the light emitted from this brain,
from these eyes – other Germanic windows –
passing through the prism prevented shade
from invading his lair: a dusty room
where rats and dogs, and cats and mice, and all rodents,
fleas, bacteria, germs, viruses, all dreadful
parasites born to this world, this decayed
pit, collapse copulating with his junkie friends,
and worried, mournful family.

Hidden corpses under the bed,
the red convertible sofa,
rotting slowly as we had sex.
Sex friends was a ludicrous quest
but how can anyone escape
from absurdity when it is all around us,
blind, deafen, choke us to death,
after lobotomizing, emptying these egg shell skulls,
replacing lutein with albumin,
or slime.

- Walter Ruhlmann

(1 poem added 10.29.14)

editor’s note: Garden or garbage pit, it's all organic material; recycled in the end. - mh


Us

A barbed wire
hour
around us
A ragged tear
Beyond repair
Arrow piercing
this bloodless vein

- Susan Dale

(added 10.28.14)

editor’s note: After the sharp word, silence and an aching hour. - mh


sunrise at the seaside

wrapped by the night
swathed in a shawl of memories
filled with love
I froze on an empty beach
with feet mired in the soft sand

staring into the abyss of the sea I can see how
a soft golden-orange sphere
emerges slowly, and majestically rises
spreads its arms above the horizon
cold night slowly dissolved in deep blue depths

golden rays bring warmth and hope
surfing on the backs of the waves
tenderly stroking the coastal rocks
tearing through pine branches
pouring on the dunes
tickling crumbs of amber and shells
scattering on the beach

enriched by the another dawn
ready for sparring with a new day
I prepare my heart for another lonely night

- C Bozena Helena Mazur-Nowak

(added 10.27.14)

editor’s note: Poet packages daily drudgery in postcard perfection; lonely, but for words. - mh


Night rider

Tongue
Of a desolate wind
Wandering an uninhabited
Point of espial, speak.
Tarried on a sanguine view
Many a nocturnal visit
Dream rapt, it left.
Restless motion
Of a thirsty ocean
A swing on a lonely night
Brings it to the point of stars.
Up above the hanging clouds,
Thrill smitten I wake
From my sleep.

- Hem Raj Bastola

(1 poem added 10.26.14)

editor’s note: A dream stoker, sleep taker. Once awake, gone forever. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Then check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Small Matters" by Mike Fiorito. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "This is a resurrection story. Every morning is a resurrection story, in fact. Share those holy words that are on your heart when you wake, too, because they just might save everyone you hold dear."

Here's a bit to get you goin':


We got the call at 5 A.M. My father had woken from a coma after forty-eight hours and asked to see his family.

Before he had fallen into the coma, we had brought him home from the hospital.

“Take him home and make him comfortable; he doesn’t have long,” the doctor said.

We came home and ordered food. For my father, we ordered angel-haired pasta with shrimp. My mother, his wife for nearly 40 years, tried to help him sit up and eat, but he could barely lift the fork to his mouth. Eating was more of a gesture than a reality.

In three months, he turned bone white as the cancer tore through him. The doctors were right, despite my mother’s condemnation of medicine and all science. “I don’t trust those damned doctors,” she said, her dark Sicilian eyes swelling behind her thick reading glasses. After two thousand years of being run over by invading foreigners, Sicilians had faith only in family.

“He didn’t get this from smoking, you know,” she said to me.

“He has pancreas cancer,” she continued, raising her voice, as she lit a cigarette. “You don’t get pancreas cancer from smoking.”

We’d had this discussion plenty of times, so I didn’t say anything. She was arguing with fate, not me.

Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••


t'was 10 years ago that Mad Swirl first hosted our open mic at Dallas' Absinthe Lounge. Way back then we never would have guessed that we'd still be doin' it to it all these years later. But guess what? We are! Why? Because of you... and you... and ALL you you's out there who have been appreciatin' and participatin' along with us all those years!

We here at the Swirl approached this auspicious occasion with keen consideration. We asked ourselves, "Selves, who would be the best performer to feature at our 10 year Swirl-a-bration?" The answer came back clearly, "Mad Swirl!" Yes, of course, Mad Swirl should be AND will be our feature! And who better to help us celebrate this momentous mad milestone but YOU, our fellow mad ones!

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.05.14) at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month. Get to the Lounge early, dig upon the musical musings of Swirve and help us celebrate our 10th Open Mic Mad Birthday Swirl-a-bration!

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 and Elvis impersonators... 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. RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) on spot on our mic list 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...

Knowin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

10.25.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.25.14

"Everything you can imagine is real." Pablo Picasso

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Our newest featured artist, Toby Oggenfuss, brought us some work all the way from space - er, I mean from Los Angeles, California. But that doesn’t mean his stuff doesn’t look like it came straight from some other universe. A universe where city landscapes are curly and swirly and… does this sound up our alley or what?! Toby is clearly not your typical photographer, having created an entirely unexplored technique that defies everything we once thought it meant to take photos. These fascinating and abstract pieces will not only spike your curiosity, but also set your mind wandering, questioning the realms in which you once upon a time saw your own city. Straight lines? Ha! What are those? Yeah, we don’t know either, anymore. If you wanna trip on these surreal scenes too, you know what to do! - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we lingered on lyric life, transcended cube strife; we cinched up tight, imaginary belt, buckled - no doll, no fall; we could no more impostors be, than by wrongly using apostrophes; we swirved 'neath a swing o' sandal-toed safe havens; we laughed, unlike a "b" or "w", un-ensnared smiles came thrumming through; we nurtured nothing into something sweet, sweet something spun back to nothing, demure and discreet; we did long resound with the song of a slammer-bound love hound - howwwwwwwwl with the heart o' the wolf. Clamor, uncloyed for complete satisfaction. Rest in the peace o' the pack... ~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

Pink Toenails

When vanity became
The powder to her nose,

Jealousy honed
The thorns of his rose.

Love and hate
Were claws of their hammer,

Until he lost control
And landed in the slammer.

- Hal J. Daniel III

(1 poem added 10.25.14)

editor’s note: Obsessed to be her only nailer; he hammered too far, then met the jailer. - mh



Still There Is Something

that corrupts the plaintive nature
of my back brain while bad boys wait
in silent shiny elevators asking me with evil eyes
to say
nothing—

cold and unforgiving, even of the joy I take
itself of
nothing—

warm and creative in the watery rush
he felt at the stems of his eyeballs when i told him
to be happy
the watery wet rush he felt but that did not materialize
his evil eyes
dripped
nothing
for my sweet nothing

- Anna Sullivan

(added 10.24.14)

editor’s note: From nothing (sweet nothing) survives... something. - mh



Engees 6

she honests her laugh loudly
unlike a beetle in a lampshade
unlike a whisper in a crowd
it is hearty, hale and whale big
it flits the air bumble bee hum
and lands like a stone dropped
from a cliff into my chest
where it resounds, thrumming
into a smile.

- Hollie Bolster

(added 10.23.14)

editor’s note: Hell, yes, she does! Thrums me too! Nice! - mh



Golden Grove

Wooden swing, sandal toes.

Willows.

Swaying.

Sweet
water
running.

A silly, sinking feeling.

Sun saved Boat's neck.

Sun saved Boat from Night,
from shipwreck.

Harbored.

Beached.

Bobbing,
beat of red dawn drum,
tune of tangerine rind tenor.

Wheeze.

Sea breeze.

Breathe.

Sugar soap.

Sun drop.

Exfoliate.

- Shashank Virkud

(added 10.22.14)

editor’s note: Safe harbor in a swing's sway; sweet redemptress. - mh



There Are No Apostrophes In Plurals

“So, I finally got him to answer his mobile phone
again last night and I said to him,
'Look mate, you cannot have really meant it
when you dumped me last weekend
because the reason you gave was being bored.
You’re a poet man, you could have come up
with a much better excuse than that one.
I mean, you could have told me that there
are no apostrophes in plurals and that it was
all my fault or something brilliant like that!'”

“Hey Girlfriend, that’s clever…what does it mean?”

“It means that he didn’t put much thought into it
because he didn’t really mean it at all,
he’s just being moody and away with the fairies,
artists are like that, insanely temperamental!”

“Cool, so what did he say this time?”

“He said that it wasn’t an excuse and he’s still bored.
Then turned off his phone and Facebook blocked me!”

“How frustrating, he’s really making you work, isn’t he.
Well, you can’t have that can you, I mean it’s not fair?”

“Hell No, I’ve downloaded a ton of Meatloaf tracks,
I’m going to listen to them all night, like really listen,
then write him a love sonnet, play him at his own game.
I’ll have him in tears before I’ve finished, you watch!”

- Paul Tristram

(1 poem added 10.21.14)

editor’s note: With Meatloaf as muse, this girl is gonna take that poet down. Shoulda played your apostrophe card, mate! - mh



intruder alert

WE JUST “POPPED” IN TO CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER
AND CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM—

This on a slip of paper atop the kitchenette counter,
greeting me upon my return from work,
triggering mucho panic;
I can’t help but wonder
what else they did
while popping in,
so I inspect my toothbrush
for signs of sabotage,
sniffing the bristle,
then it’s on to my smut collection,
checking for pilfered porn
before scanning my library,
focusing on Bukowski
as we all know his stuff
attracts thieves;
finally concluding at the liquor cabinet
where I examine myriad levels,
breathing a sigh of relief;
everything seems cool,
just another attack—
I really should get help;
if I had a sex doll
I’d lock her chastity belt
and swallow the key
with my morning
coffee.

- Ben Newell

(added 10.20.14)

editor’s note: Worry over what popped out from a popped up pop-in. - mh



windchimes

despite leaves turning toward her silently
mouthing words to string quartets she sighs
gardenias fill the air with attention
their aroma seeps widely the office
calls unaware our conversation shifts
necessities prevail over coffee

apart from the filament connecting
two hands along gravel studded lamplight
only her eyes finely hint these railways
speak multitudes past breezy boulevards
eventually maps reach their limits
rumor has it her friends plot the journey

rivers away the department debates
whether she should have written that letter
delightful strands perhaps the rope bridge holds
the climber pulls her aside to inquire
while gliding through stark cornfields we notice
reflection heavy upon our shoulders

desk drawers alight with anticipation
supervisors discuss their agendas
love beyond burdened glass the cubicle
too fierce to touch watching from the break room
cellos their last streams warble around us
she follows the tune as it wanders past

- Michelle Villanueva

(added 10.19.14)

editor’s note: Too often, missed goes the music, hunkered down in a cubicle trench, fighting a paper war. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Howsabout a story about writing a story? OK, then howsabout living a life that inspires a story to be written? Then check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Five Weekends" by Carl Kavadlo. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Writing takes a lot, mostly a life lived. There’s nothing wrong with spending a life writing down the world; waiting for it happen, though, that’ll kill you. So live! So write! Write to live and live to write! "

Here's a bit to get you goin':

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Tony was trying his thirteenth draft on this piece, 1234 words, into the top of the fifth double spaced page. It was a true story in Tony’s own life about how he almost got screwed, due to the follies and games that men play, out of a musical gig. The musical gigs were important to Tony as a livelihood and a passion. He had a beautiful voice and an extensive knowledge of popular and standard songs. The bossa novas, the Frank Sinatras, and so on, through the various rock and pop idioms. He doubled on guitar. It was one of those pieces where the parts couldn’t quite get put together, at least not in Tony’s mind.

Like most creative writing students at Touro College on the west side of Manhattan, this student did not bring in something new. This is what made them creative writers—they already had the drive. They put themselves into the hands of more experienced persons, to cultivate their talents.

In other words Tony was having a rough time with the piece.

“Dr. Whitmore,” he said, “it’s got all the fucking ingredients, I just can’t make it stick.”

“I know,” Whitmore said. ”It’s not unusual for beginning writers to struggle.”

“Let me lay it out to you, if you have the time.”

Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••


t'was 10 years ago that Mad Swirl first hosted our open mic at Dallas' Absinthe Lounge. Way back then we never would have guessed that we'd still be doin' it to it all these years later. But guess what? We are! Why? Because of you... and you... and ALL you you's out there who have been appreciatin' and participatin' along with us all those years!

We here at the Swirl approached this auspicious occasion with keen consideration. We asked ourselves, "Selves, who would be the best performer to feature at our 10 year Swirl-a-bration?" The answer came back clearly, "Mad Swirl!" Yes, of course, Mad Swirl should be AND will be our feature! And who better to help us celebrate this momentous mad milestone but YOU, our fellow mad ones!

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.05.14) at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month. Get to the Lounge early, dig upon the musical musings of Swirve and help us celebrate our 10th Open Mic Mad Birthday Swirl-a-bration!

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 and Elvis impersonators... 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. RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) on spot on our mic list here!

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin' madness. Here's the line-up for the rest of 2014!…

December: Paul Koniecki

•••••••

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...

Imaginin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

10.18.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.18.14

"What I like in a good author is not what he says but what he whispers." Logan Pearsall Smith

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Photo (above) by featured artist Rosie Lindsey. To see more Mad works from Rosie, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... Wwe countered crass forgeries with brush strokes striping imagery, emoting over and above propriety; we peeled paint from graffitied statues, redefined our fount of virtues; welos twon, onwe tton gue, notno wundone; we handled a haft, sliced the hue of a laugh into deft declensions of purple; we reveled in a dreamscape rebellion; we strained to dance in moonlit 'scapes o' sand and stars and mist and such, evaded weights of social network numbers tallied, clic an' touch; we flipped fault, swallowed blame, understood outcomes to be the same. Writers wrest our lives from myth, consigned to levels fourth or fifth.
Patience, Family, Patience...
~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

All I've done recently is apologize.

Sorry, honey
Sorry, ten guys beating me
Sorry, police who made me sit in my own urine
Sorry, guy who bought my bar and got a criminal charge brought against me by driving a kid to the hospital who ripped the tendons in his ankle by kicking me in the ribs
Sorry, foreclosed landlady for giving you money to repay the loan you defaulted on
Sorry, to make you sue me for 3,000 when you owe over 300,000
Sorry, loan shark, Sang Il, who is suing my landlady
Sorry that my landlady didn't take the rent money I paid for three years and use it to repay the original bank loan
Sorry, new owner that you have to kick us out
Sorry, Israel for my support of Palestinians trying not to be refugees by repeatedly mocking your dumb rhetoric
Sorry, Mayan Indians, Triqui Indians, and all others who have been displaced

In Korea you see old women carrying babies on back (but they'll never forgive the Japanese or Americans)
But in the refugee camps in Chiapas you see babies on the backs of young girls cause siblings care for siblings after their parents and grandparents are gone

Sorry, bitchy woman in restaurant for being too loud playing with my son
Sorry, sorry, sorry, for all of it
You're right, honey, it's all my fault

- Ralph-Michael Chiaia

(1 poem added 10.18.14)

editor’s note: De nada! - mh


Big Green Moon In North Laguna

Dodging shiny tank-sized SUV’s
and their texting, latte-sipping,
GPS-distracted, cell-phone chatting,
high on prescription drug driving,
foie gras artery clogged,
utterly miserable, corporate
pencil pushers and peons,
of which I was once one,
I maneuver across a highway of road kill,
through wooden skeletons
of tract housing,
under rusted, barbed wire
that once kept back the cattle,
but now just cut through my jeans.

I continue through cool chaparral
foggy ravines with cottontails
frozen like statues,
black stink bugs,
vines with dried hollow gourds;
once drinking cups for Indians,
the bones of whom lay far beneath
this Pelican Hill Golf Resort,
too green and manicured,
from which fertilizers seep down,
eroding sand cliffs,
poisoning the tide pools below.

I breathe in deeply;
earth peppermint coolness,
salty sea mist,
and dance along the cliff,
arms spread wide like a
yellow-beaked, red-clawed hawk,
over a narrow, rocky beach,
vast darkness of ocean
and beyond that;
a big green Laguna moon,
I can almost touch.

- John Szabo

(added 10.17.14)

editor’s note: Dodging destruction to dance in the moon. - mh


Back Then

Most days, it was a secret.
As the sun sank the light dimmed
and died out, but the numbers on my digital clock
buzzed, burning redder as the dark wore on.
A bulb from the hall lit the crack
under the door, but, that too, slowly, eventually,
flickered and went black.
When the house was dusted with silence,
I opened the door and crept out.
The beat of blood against my head
crashed like waves upon the shore,
yet I could hear every grain of sand shift
under my feet as I tip-toed down the hall.
I made my way outside, careful to not disturb
the motes of silence floating
in the absence of moonlight.
I made it.
I ran, feeling roots and grass with my feet,
and the sparkling stars prickling on my skin.
The space of twelve and five between
the hands of the clock were now mine.
The crack under the door lit
with the suns admonishment
and its rays fell on me: asleep.

- Tom Freeland

(added 10.16.14)

editor’s note: A dreamed escape, a dreamscape, a dream... - mh


Purple Laughter

Laughter doesn’t need to be purple,
but purple is a mysterious, open and noble color

In purple, I cannot always see the reasons
my actions are propelled by a quiet intuition
moved not by logic or inquisition
No Hesitation --
only movement

Stepping beyond the comfortable confines of familiarity
allowing my serendipitous feet to guide me, purple
I will not always know if I am headed in the right direction
but I can always be certain that the path is never wrong

only movement

- Sunya Chavi

(1 poem added 10.15.14)

editor’s note: Color your path with a purple laugh; wrong, right, resounding! (With this poem, we welcome Sunya to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets. Read more of her madness on her new page - check it out!) - mh


Cher

On the co
bweb of he
r tongue I c
alcul
ate the los
s I coul
d have w
on.

- Quinten Collier

(1 poem added 10.14.14)

editor’s note: Soh ard tow in, han gingby lov e'sth read. (We are happy to welcome Quinten back to our crazy klatsch of Contributing Poets, check out more of his madness on his page.) - mh


Two Men Embrace on a Wall in Kaunas

He didn’t expect the paint to peel the heads
and necks, sprayed on a tavern facade that night
when he tried to be famous like Banksy

using paint to display a couple’s embrace,
between two men, graffiti that raised debates
on morality among artists, statesmen, priests

claiming the start of a new Lithuania, liberal,
confident, loose. The storm poured and drenched
the wall for days and all that remains is pants.

- Simon Lewis

(added 10.13.14)

editor’s note: A Lithuanian liberation made relevant for all. Embrace who you will; pants optional. - mh


Corrupted proclamations and judicial fate

Misrepresented contingencies filling penitentiaries; incarcerating minds, souls and bodies beyond the statistics of greater numbers that were and now are truly innocent, plastered with evidence of hate crimes and the power of money making a shadow of doubt, an unjust formality.

Days run long of unrest, of vengeance becoming a reckoning of another’s expiration; a prison dictation being caught up in a system that eradicates a willing mind and turns the souls of many black.

Reparation, revocation don’t give back time to the life of the one unjustly taken from society and caged, becoming a slave of the state by the unjustifiable dictation of the arguments of twelve, judicial fate and those who didn’t reach out to grab the hook; fixed with the bate of judicial genocide, corrupted proclamations.

- James Brown

(1 poem added 10.13.14)

editor's note: Regarding our catch and release program; is a fish caught and mangled, then thrown back, free? - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "For the Love of Snakes: Dr. Veenum and Dr. Wang" by Louis Marvin. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "The venom is never as dangerous as the cure, so fall in love with the sting and enjoy what it does to your insides."

Here's a bit to get you goin':

(photo by Tyler Malone)

The letter said this project could change your life, so he sat in his University of Arizona-Herpetology Dept. office waiting for this Dr. Wang to appear before the United Nations. They were showing the general assembly on the cable news station, which was full to capacity, with folks standing on the sides. Protocol and safety were at their usual high standards, but today was a special day.

He looked over the letter. It called him their top choice, and one of only a very few even considered. He had already talked to the other two folks, and all agreed as to the enormity of the project.

She was sipping green tea with a little honey and lemon. Her notes, dog-eared and stained, had been gone over many, many times. She just wanted to go and deliver the good news. No spin, just tell it like it is and let the world react as they will, then get all the champagne toasting Amen! and commencement addresses out of the way. It was time to get out there and boot up these new communities, these new worlds…

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...

Whisperin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

10.11.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.11.14

"Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create." Alberto Giacometti

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Photo (above) by featured artist Rosie Lindsey. To see more Mad works from Rosie, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we digitized a dog race, tongue hung out from dog face; we renewed our sense of place; we dealt a double cure, got double jilted; we were devoid of dreams, trying to dissect the doer from the deed; we ripped ourselves raw 'til we wrote red; we slipped it in the slot to dwindle what we've got; we wound up with a wino's wandering mind in the night. Pop another, pour long, drink deeply. Write your story, take forever to tell it. ~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

Dregs

Spread out Syrah noir wide, slide up
wine glass side, stick in patterns

to the edge, like leftover phrases, words
lining the darkened bottom

of a writing drawer. Try to read
some kind of future in the tailings,

see a story finally written,
were there light enough, or life,

or snowy woods, or hawks
finding wind to soar and dive.

Well, maybe one more glass,
no past, no looking back,

a bottle, two, alone, black sky,
hope the only ending, no you.

- Timothy Pilgrim

(2 poems added 10.11.14)

editor’s note: Vivisect vintage from vine; vie for existence or drain to the dregs. (More madness from Timothy, a silent move, on his page - watch it now.) - mh


Being a bum for 2 hours beside the ATM booth

Old scriptures dog-eared in the register of infrared
news dailies, the chipped SIM cards of this street’s history
become the wings of the citizens’ fast-abiding method
to whatever is psychologically fit bulimic of cash and class:
I remain blinkered yet inspired of the bubble gum sticking out
a taste of this and that. Hip as tradition strays on slippered,
coal-skinned memory, a visionary glued
on the accrued philosophy of Marty’s Hamburger, a bystander
becalmed by postmodern hair fashion like Son Goku
by way of super faith. Being a bum for 2 hours
beside the ATM booth, I start to cave in over the secrecy
of life entered instantly into a card hole, this mouth-contoured
abysmal slit, what’s in there? People queued up,
patience steeplechased, as if for quick pleasure, as if
recharging a tired body or a ravaged soul, as if
inside you will meet the Devil painting his nails
Mexican pink with the struggle of a toothless trident,
or maybe encounter Mr. ATM himself doing you
a favor to steal a line from a song that says,
“What if God was one of us?” Chewing bubble gum
under the sun, smitten by the rasp and rattle of holy
heat, is sweet, and this so true madam. For I’m
a bum, yes sir, I’m a bum.

- Lawdenmarc Decamora

(added 10.10.14)

editor’s note: The worth of modern human existence summed up by the insertion of a square peg into a black hole. - mh


Break The Silence, Break The Skin

Ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive…
Badlands/ Bruce Springsteen

It’s my call
whether to plunge the ragged nail
down through the supple skin
like a fist through a pane
of glass, lick the delirious rush
of red from my fingers
like honey from a hand
rammed deep in a hive

or shiver in silence,
say it’s a zen thing to cure
without curing, heal
minus healing,
shudder the loosened skin
like a cat drowning in a sack
snug as bones sliding out of joints,
or bullets circumnavigating barrels

no pain without gain:
but what if the pain
is the gain, if this is the only way
I can possess these bones
the way the sun owns fire
the way the job owns the mouth,

but never the skin
never the blood;

I can write the rush
in sharp red ink, paint myself red
head to tail, shiver and scream,
pain/gain
freedom’s whore
chained at last.

- Ian Mullins

(2 poems added 10.09.14)

editor’s note: Another fine spin on, or rather, red flow to the writer's curse. Well done, and well come! (We welcome Ian to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission - plus another, newly posted to his new page. Check'em out!) - mh


JANUS

On a seething summer night, I sometimes look out my bedroom window and stare at the dark sky.

The emptiness, a void that swallows me, cuts me in half, and I face the swirling future that merges with the broken now, and with a slight turn of my head, I see the monstrous past that melted long ago in the unforgiving heat.

My skull, anointed with existential conundrums, swings back and forth like Poe’s pendulum above the ominous pit and soon, Janus appears, a phantom boy from far away.

“I remember you,” I mutter to the chimerical young man, a flimsy, diaphanous blur I barely recognize.

But I smell his sin, the foul, ferocious odor of boiled flesh, crushed bones, and gushing blood.

His ghostly voice is still soft and silky, and as sweet as Mother’s homemade apple pie with a swirl of whipped cream.

“Mother hasn’t come to see me,” he whispers interminably, oblivious of his angel dust saturated past and a cornucopia of overflowing psychosis.

His melodious voice is as velvety as the psithurism of the leaves.

He sits inside a cell in Bellevue and can’t recall how he hurled boiling water in Mother’s face, battered her head with a killer bat, and flung her out the window.

He waits for Mother in his eternal room of oblivion, while I hold the horrific memories, on a seething summer night like this, when I stare at the dark sky, and taste the toxic emptiness, and plummet into the void.

- Mel Waldman

(1 poem added 10.08.14)

editor’s note: An old end, this night's beginning; no sleep for those who remember. - mh


Split Personalities

I think
she must
be having
dreams
that
are split
into two
different
points
of view

for her
sake I
hope that
is all

more
would be
hellacious
to deal with

I fear though
she thinks
both are
the same
and she has
no authority
to choose
the better
of the two.

I love them
both or many
but
they really
are a goddamn
pain to deal
with.

And after
the inferior
has been subdued
my role
is hardly
ever remembered
so they go off
healed
and love and fuck
somebody else.

- D. Russel Micnhimer

(added 10.07.14)

editor’s note: No stock for Doc. Heal'em up and send'em off; return to an empty bed. - mh


I am now at a place

I am now at a place
I once was...
A long time ago,
and a couple of lifetimes ago...

Now I allow the beautiful
far-out songs
to roll in like the waves
... ending in eternity

Each one irreplaceable
washing over me…
ending in eternity

- Ralph Freda

(1 poem added 10.06.14)

editor’s note: Learning to surf... - mh


Testing Lucky

Before first paw hits track, anonymous
controller’s hand hits the switch.
Lucky flies around the track. Ears back,
he is a filthy streak of mechanics and fur.
In this moment of unchased bliss, he is free.
As he rounds turn after turn, I watch and wonder if
he envisions a digital field, a makeshift meadow
full of daisies and butterflies scattering
beneath paws that have never actually touched
the ground.

- A.J. Huffman

(1 poem added 10.05.14)

editor’s note: Race and repeat until he gets the win. Loop it, Lucky! – mh­­­

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Hoot" by Ron Riekki. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "You're never alone: you can always drive with Jesus. Beware, though: Satan will always be your motor."

Here's a bit to get you goin':


Shirtless and covered in blood, I walked into the Hooters.

John Donne said, God is an angel in an angel, and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw.

God is a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters in a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters.

I’d fallen on glass. I was drunk. My sister worked there. I needed a ride to the hospital.

They said, Dumb-ass, wait outside.

I waited outside, bleeding.

I didn’t know she wasn’t working. It was her day off.

I went to the front window, smeared blood on my face, just to make the point. I kept standing there, staring in. I’m sure a customer complained, because the manager came out and told me to go away.

I said I needed a ride.

Layla came out.

She’s every ethnicity on the globe. She comes from every country…

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...

Intoxicated,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor