2.28.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.28.15

“You've got to bumble forward into the unknown.” Frank Gehry

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Pick N Save” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more Mad works from William, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we rocked nocturnal rectitudes, unconfirmed observable attitudes; we wrapped certifiably in a bundle of burger and fries; we questioned chance to start, such emptiness and fallen heart; we lost a limp lover to floor-bound flailing; we gave a gaffer his berry picking, life licking, gift; we toed a teleological dance 'round life's rhythms and our ignorance; we sought to know a soul in kind by the schisms of a sectarian mind. We collaborate compartmentally, a box for every beat in time... ~ MH Clay

Soul Play

The soliloquy of soul
sinks and flows
partaking in prayers
dreams and hopes
on the darker side
of salient nights
piercing membranes
of conscious thought
sexual desires and
violent behaviors
while questioning
comfortable egos
that frighten at
the simple thought of
secessions from public
while embracing
subtle touch
the art of language
secretly in love
dances around
the saga of life
playing upon
the sectarian mind

- Peggy Flora

(1 poem added 02.28.15)

editor's note: A creative soul selects words to paint a picture of love. - mh


Unless

Muon neutrinos time of flight, (Einsteinian anomaly)…
Particles that outpace light, upending relativity, (ahem)…

Not so fast— lest we should be overawed,
Humans are human… some data are flawed.
Facts can turn fictional, rendered unsound.
Researchers research for findings unfound…

(Perchance)…

We dance our physics dance and ponder—
On and on presumptions wander—
As we wonder here and yonder…

Might we travel time’s trapeze,
Sail dimensions like a breeze,
Go before we came with ease?

Yet though unfathomed wisdom’s sought,
How can we know beyond our thought?
Infinity eludes us— still,
Finiteness is a bitter pill.

We theorize to the skies,
Plumb the depths where insight lies—
But we see with earthly eyes,
And this cuts us down to size.

So we take our measurements
And scan the score.
Then what’s proven true is true…
Unless there’s more…

- Harley White

(1 poem added 02.27.15)

editor's note: Yup! It is a bitter pill, indeed! - mh


Gramps Is Still Nuts about Granny

Granny wants to go to a movie
back in the old neighborhood
where she and Gramps used to
neck in high school but Gramps

doesn't want to drive that far
and tells Granny he’ll go if she sits
in the balcony and wears a skirt
he can slide his hand under

during the Coming Attractions.
Granny asks Gramps if he isn’t
a little old for that kind of thing
and Gramps says he’d rather put

his head under there and let Granny
box his ears with her thighs
and listen to his sighs as he harvests
fruit still ripe in the orchard.

- Donal Mahoney

(1 poem added 02.26.15)

editor's note: Go, Gramps! Up for a balcony bounce and a hip-thrusting harvest. Come again? - mh


Entertainment Services by Everafter

We’ll go round like this forever
She said
She Said
This is dancing
And quickly took to the ground
Opine and flailing

- Steven Minchin

(1 poem added 02.25.15)

editor's note: A sweetheart subjected to samba and seizure. - mh


EMPTY

Tonight
Shed a tear
Over you
couldn't figure
When
why
What
triggered
Mine I heard
Was said
Empty
Quiet
Empty
Void
Empty
Hollow
where the heart
Would lie
How
Could I feel
Cheek crawling tears
For a moment
Uneasy
Who knew
I too
Were human
God knows
When
I fell
In love

- Mahabba Alhaushabi

(added 02.24.15)

editor's note: Irony in romance; absence makes the heart grow empty. - mh


Greased

I threw away college
page by page into the bin
but keeping the pages intact
knowing full well some poor
boy at his father’s vendor stall
will probably use them to wrap
his future in them for thirty rupees
per burger and a guesstimated half
a dozen fries.

- Sheikha A.

(1 poem added 02.23.15)

editor's note: Fast-food diplomacy; the triumph of higher education. - mh


The Nocturnal Habits of Rocks

If rocks are
nocturnal creatures,
as I suspect,
wouldn’t I have seen
them drag-rolling
down the strip?
Or spray painting
new faces
on their cousin
the brick?
Or launching themselves
through plate glass windows
after having had
too much to drink?
Or peeing
in mailboxes,
yelling out,
“Special Delivery!” ?

So, having witnessed
none of this,
I can only assume that
they’re too slick
for us humans
to view their
night time habits,
just like screaming trees.

- Scott Wozniak

(added 02.22.15)

editor's note: I have seen a stone's throw, but that was in broad daylight. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Uh, um... yeah, we do owe you one, don’t we? Oh yes, here it is!… right here in our back pocket called "Fat Andy" and it's from Contributing Writer, Mike Fiorito!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "You may pay your debts, but there's always something left over to be taken. Your flesh can be measured in pounds."

Here's a pinch of "Fat Andy", you know, to tide you over 'til you get to read it in full:

photo by Tyler Malone

That could have been me getting nearly killed that day as I sat on the schoolyard steps getting high with Ferrone. But it wasn't my turn, yet.

Only a few weeks earlier I had bought a ten dollar bag of weed on credit from Fat Andy. Fat Andy was a new dealer in Astoria Park. Being a little taller than I was, he had a tiny bald head that sat on his pear shaped body like it didn’t belong there. Despite his menacing look, he smiled a lot. Andy was about twenty, maybe five years older than me.

That day Ferrone bought a bag of weed.

“What about you?” asked Andy.

Shoving my hand in my pockets I said, “I ain’t got no money.”

Andy looked at me and said, "I'll give you a bag, but you gotta pay me when you have it." I shook my head agreeing and took the weed.

Days later, I was with Ferrone and we saw Andy. I had ten dollars on me. I thought of reaching into my pocket to give Andy the money, but I didn't. I just nodded my head at him. He didn't ask me for it either.

Over the next few weeks I'd see Andy on the street but I tried to avoid him. I either pretended that I didn't see him or walked across the street so he wouldn't see me.

We ain't tryin' to leave you hangin' on that full pay-off so get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of March (aka 03.04.15) at Dallas’ Absinthe Lounge at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month now for OVER 10 years! This month we will be featuring poet, writer, musician, & all-around mad man, Harry McNabb!

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... 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) to get you a spot on our mic list here!

For folks who live out of town but would still like to view our mic madness, we'll be capturing the swirlin' scene LIVE via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel.

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with this swirlin' madness. Here's the starting line-up for our 2015 season:

April: Merlin the Magical One
May: Opalina Salas, Maggie Smith, Desmene Statum
June: Brendan McCormack (LIVE from Ireland via Skype)
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...

Bumblin,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

2.21.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.21.15

“You owe it to all of us all get on with what you're good at.” W. H. Auden

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“The Dance” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more Mad works from William, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we ciphered the sum of a bicycle bum; we bummed a butt, still smoking from the barrel of the corporation; we primed a pic untainted, pointed pigments unpainted; we shattered shards of mirror, morphed to shiny scales; we were arrested, enthralled in anticipation of a lover's call; we blocked the shock of clock chalked up to time spent; we nabbed nightmare to sink in small weeds and tall belief. What words we wield will be our shield from calamity and condemnation. ~ MH Clay

LONG SHADOWS

Stretched into the night then twisted by the
Sun. In the early hours and at first light
Nightmares dance as one, accepting this life
As flowers fade and petals fall from sight.
Some seeds will live beneath these autumn dreams –
Small weeds are we, some with a tall belief:
To not believe each soul will die alone,
Separated by that eternal thief.
He takes without remorse, his conscience clear,
There is no force, no dragging by the neck,
It’s timed by that quick moment in the womb.
No master dealing cards in this stacked deck:
Each of those rich shadows bestowed at birth
Will be eclipsed by a spin of the Earth.

- Derrick Gaskin

(2 poems added 02.21.15)

editor's note: Stand in the shadow of our tall belief; together forever, if not here, then... (Another one from Del on his page; brief as a butterfly kiss - check it out!) - mh


VERY PLEASANT

The spring sun can be
very pleasant when
there are no hands on
the clock and no job
waiting to be done.

It is so very pleasant
to know there are no hands
on the clock and the job
comes with vacation
time and holiday time.

The spring sun shines on
as I lie in my couch
at home having a
very pleasant dream
about handless clocks.

- Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

(1 poem added 02.20.15)

editor's note: Let's make Big Biz this way; install handless clocks on every wall and a couch by every desk. - mh


Hello

What is it about love
Is it the taste of lips,
Another's lips on ours
Or the feel of bodies
Closely warming?
No, it needs more.
Unknown vibrations
Tense senses
Leading us through
Paths and revelations
Of self and others.
Eyes are special
They transmit,
And body shapes
That please and thrill.
Sorry, must go...
My lover calls.

©2014

- Sheighle Birdthistle

(1 poem added 02.19.15)

editor's note: Kept on speed dial, waiting for that call... - mh


Every Seven Years it Shed it’s Skin
(Pierre Alechinsky, etching)

Every seven years
along with its skin
like an inflated balloon
emptying itself of air
it sheds its past
and the knowledge it had won
through swamps, villages
and gardens of myth
the reason it was created
as a metaphor for sin

Every seven years
it grows more beautiful
spotted, speckled and striped
re-filled with ravenous air
reborn to seduce again
in its conquest of the soul.

- Neil Ellman

(1 poem added 02.18.15)

editor's note: Serpentine seducer or subject of human obsession? Who seeks whom? (See the art which inspired Neil's ekphrasis here. Check it out!) - mh


Nice Toss

One day you are going to
write a story, poem
or paint a picture so
perfectly framed
it should be a crime
and this deep
depiction
of someone
or something
spectacular
or unassuming
will register
with those in
the know
who will promptly
recognize
the energy contained
within the pigment of your
paint or your pointed
imagination
and then you will
penetrate
the consciousness
of the voyeur
connoisseurs
of your genre
but this is only
possible
if and when
you stop
crumpling up
your endangered
endeavors
and throwing them
in the wastebasket
you bought
at Walgreens

- Ivan Jenson

(1 poem added 02.17.15)

editor's note: Yup! Can't know if it's a perfect seven or if it's craps unless you roll them bones. - mh


Voguing with Current Federal Bureaucrats

It avails science writers to try to promote military splendor.
Sucking funding from objectionable parties phases mundanities.
These days, voguing with current federal bureaucrats brings home riches.

In contrast, camping out in theatres’ utility room attracts cockroaches,
Causes pieces of plaster to fuel a need for therapists, warms idiots
Intent on taking over urban pagodas or on spilling users’ viscera in parks.

The worst penury’s easily synthesized by those suit and sunglasses types,
Who yield when declaring all manners of balderdash, slinking toward shadowy
Testimonies, spurred by the likes of cartoon characters, cheap wine, stale cookies.

To sate more than cutpurses, it’s necessary to addend stilted footnotes,
Practice tantra yoga, open one’s palms to starbursts, imbibe bad radiation.
Synthesized electricity’s a tricky matter that constantly acts unpredictably.

Leaning on utility tables, writing copious notes about army experiences,
Promises only to unpack paradigms, not to drive away cats, rats, ravens.
Declining opportunities to leave districts unprotected evokes worse neighbors.

Electing, instead, to smooth incommensurate barbs could bring peace,
Lower tax rates, cause a rise in births around holiday times. Replacing
Spectacles, too, beholdens traitors to piecework, gym exercises, vitamins.

When I grow up, I’ll set sail around corporate illusions, hire pals, eat taffy.
Otherwise plan my day so that martial innovations can readily destroy cities,
After rolling over foreign forces unwilling to pay tributes in gold or fine textiles.

Compliance in settling desert development towns equals insanity except
When payola fountains over various companies’ courtiers, dance halls, clinics.
As such, social drives succeed in raising more than the cost of cookies or sunshades.

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 02.16.15)

editor's note: Our current state of affairs, deftly described; affairs of state managed by minions of War, Inc. (KJ has a new poetry book you gotta read, "The Little Temple of My Sleeping Bag.") - mh


Free love

I spied the street guy
balancing three huge
Hefty plastic bags
bulged with crushed
plastic bottles and cans
dripping a wet sticky
snail's trail behind him
down the crooked rustic road
precariously balanced
on his parked makeshift bicycle
haunches squatting
in poignant tableau
leans his curved spine
over a small ancient
paint distressed
three door dresser cabinet
a magnificent prize
left on the street in
front of somebody's house
with a 'For Free' sign
taped to the front
tenderly he opens
the lopsided drawer
squinched eyes peer inside
musing head sideways
thoughtful grubby finger
stuck in mouth
as if imagining what
rare cast-off treasures
he would store there
for safekeeping
smack dab in the middle
of old Lemon Avenue

- Sissy Buckles

(1 poem added 02.15.15)

editor's note: With the whole world your bedroom, treasure comes not from possessions, but from places to hide. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Howsabout two?

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week short-short, "The Tickler” by Harley White: "Dark things hide in youth, things that reached out from the shadows to touch us and map out places we hope we go in the future. But childhood isn't the future, though. It's the never-ending bridge of perversion from innocence to experience."

Here's a taste to tickle ya':


Tonight would be special. I would be allowed to stay up an hour past my bedtime. There would be punch and cookies with the grownups. Music and dancing would make the living room and mother’s face look happy.

The sounds of a party were beginning to drift upstairs. My older sister and I combed and fluffed in white pinafores, sat carefully on our pink-topped beds, Now don’t you get dirty! still ringing in our ears.

I followed my sister to the top of the stairs. Here we took up our positions behind the railings, a vantage point that enabled us to see a portion of the living room from above. A table, dressed in white linen, held a glass bowl with red punch and three trays of cookies. Sailors in black and white uniforms perched on the arms of the sofas, strutted over to the punch bowl, then resumed their perches, only to jump up again. Women in shirtwaists sat demurely on the couches, with forced smiles and strained attention, trying to engage the sailors in party conversation. On the wall, a banner had been hung, with the red, white, and blue letters WELCOME and USO. Someone spilled a glass of punch on the carpet. I cringed and wondered what would happen. In deference to the special privileges bestowed on grownups, it was quietly cleaned up. (I would have been called clumsy, maybe spanked, and sent upstairs.)

Mother’s voice, with company patience, sailed out, “Girls, where are you? Come on down

•••

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the second pick-of-the-week tale, "A Knock on the Door” by Ruth Z. Deming: "Only a devil would call themselves a god. If that's what you're looking for, though, by all means, let them take you to heaven."

Here's a peek thru the peep hole get you goin’:

photo by Tyler Malone

I was doing my dishes one day and heard a knock on the front door. I leave my door open in the summer and always have a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge. I love the way the lemon wheels float to the top and the glass pitcher gets all frosty.

Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw a man standing there.

Not just any man, mind you. But one who looked exactly like Jesus from the Bible.

“Christ?” I called, as I walked to the door. “Is that you?”

He smiled that gentle smile of his and pushed a stray hair behind his ear.

"It’s me!” he said. “Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

I was so excited I didn’t know what to do. My mind flashed many thoughts. Was I properly attired to meet Christ, our Lord? Did I have spots on my shirt? Walnuts in my teeth? Did my toenails need trimming?

Barefoot, I opened the door

••• Local Mad Events •••



On 02.22.2015 the mad cats behind Mad Swirl and the ArtLoveMagic tribe will team up to bring you another Love Swirl Poetry Writing Salon & Workshop as part of ArtLoveMagic’s “Lovin’” February exhibition at the Janette Kennedy Gallery inside Southside On Lamar. We are bringing our organizations together to encourage local writers in their adventures and explorations into the written word of poetry.

Calling all poets, slammers, open mic’rs, first-timers, budding songwriters/lyricists and lovers of the written word... join in on this colloquy of composition! All types of writers, all levels of written skill are welcomed.

For all the pertinent info that you will need, visit the FB event page. We look forward to reading with you!

•••••••

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...

Getting’ On With It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

2.14.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.14.15

“Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness.” George Jean Nathan

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“The Cat's Meow” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more Mad works from William, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we were given the threads, but not the seat, excluded from a meaty meal; we entered a portal from cold calamity, free to walk in a warm new sanity; we saw her sell her jewel so she could shine like the star she was; we played a peeved poet, exposing his muse, with pencil to paper to pound out his blues; we told a tale wherein storyteller was story told; we pitched the ultimate immortalizer, purveyed in personalized fertilizer; we settled into our comfortable cave, then crawled out from, couldn't stay. Settle in or settle never; sit, walk, shine, pound, tattle, till, spelunk-spelunk. ~ MH Clay

PLATO’S CAVE

Notice we no longer use chains and
Of course the rooms are filled with shadows
While laser lights and virtual programs prove
More cost effective than fire yet the cardboard
Cut-outs and the curtains have remained the same
As well as those old lies that trees are real
That the way out really goes somewhere
That math leads more than just in circles
And that the Wizard himself behind the curtains
Keeps the whole domino world from collapsing
And each year more and more come to believe it
As only a few poets and down-and-outers dare climb
The arduous way out as most prefer
To sit and talk about food and sports.

- Clinton Van Inman

(1 poem added 02.14.15)

editor's note: Such expert cave dwellers we have become. Why crawl out, when we have central heat and surround sound? - mh


Tip for Achieving Immortality

You know it damn too well: You can never
Hope to maintain your posthumous metaphor
Behind your very best poem, nor can you
Expect your capitalized name to remain
Permanently visible on the hardest tombstone
But you could tell your family to convert your
Entire being (together with all the words you
Have chosen for poetry) into fertilizer, spreading it
Around the metasequonia you have planted deep
In this foreign soil, where you can supply
Enough nutrition to a leaf or a twig, through
Which you can take some oxygen from the air
And even hold a dewdrop on a summer morning
Watching another, and just another civilization
Unfolding itself beyond this immortal tree

- Changming Yuan

(1 poem added 02.13.15)

editor's note: The ultimate monument; memorial mulch. - mh


Wanderlust - III

The warning came early so the book
was placed on hold. Not only that, but
she heard said that a hundred pages in
from there life would skin itself raw
and bloody and numb. It would come

hundredfold, where the crossing could
not be uncrossed, where the sobbing
could not be controlled, where the
story adapts to the reader’s reactions
to spirits of words, potions of words,

persuasions and predestined words.
The story is more than it was before.
It consumed her as a meal of anger,
wonder, savagery, bridled and broken,
bloody, raw; it and she were changed,

not because innocence is wordless, or
worthless, but because innocence has
far less words than a wanderlust has
places to be. Why would a girl chase
that crossing, knowing she’ll break?

So she can save the white wolf.

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(2 poems added 02.12.15)

editor's note: Here is where story writes the writer; readers beware. (Read another mad missive on Beth's page; a prequel to this one - check it out.) - mh


walt disney world

she does not want to know the dark side
she wants to know if the green napkins are
the right color green for the catered affair
if the band will play the bride
and groom’s special song
if the cute little candy bar wrapper
which had been especially designed for this occasion
by a very hip paper products company
will have very cute pictures of the bride and groom.

there is no room, no space for the blues.

she has done what scientists
buddhists
psychologists
philosophers, eccentrics
have not been able to do –
squeeze out the dark side

ennui
spelled e-n-n-u-i
pronounced ON-WE.
french
every major 20th century american writer
addressed it.
hemmingway in the 20’s
kerouac in the 50’s
bukowski in the 80’s
dissatisfaction with the conditions.

even when the material things are okay,
something’s always peeving us.
yes,
something isn’t right
not just right.
even this little wedding as it is.

i keep thinking of my writers
and their stories
about episodes of their lives.
sitting at a small desk, taking a pen pencil paper
typewriting instrument
and getting the feeling on the page
sharp
hard
clear
really etch it
so you know it hurt.
none backed down.
they stayed in rooms and cried;
their words
played blues as well as anybody ever did.

- Carl Kavadlo

(1 poem added 02.11.15)

editor's note: Fantasyland polished greens and blues, pressed to paper; expressing a bruise. Too honest for what Walt had in mind... - mh


Crossroads (Knotty Neck)

She gets impatient
so quickly,
even though
I've told her
things worth
cultivating
take time to grow.
That she's always unsure
is all she really knows.

God had already
given her a sick
set of six strings,
so she sold her
steel body to the devil,
to do what he will with it.

Now they
resonate
together,

one howlin' wolf,

all through the night.

Haughty,

naughty
necked
girl,

Why would I
write you a jewel,
or a star,
when you already
are one?

- Shashank Virkud

(added 02.10.15)

editor's note: Robert Johnson revisited; gender bent with a naughty neck. - mh


New Directions

Your life's story
takes place in mazes.
You wander them,
no guiding map
and signs in unknown
languages
that no one translates.
Your invisible disease
Gives you leper status,
people don't dare talk to
you,
fearing it might be catching.
They have a disease
common to humanity.
Its symptoms are:
Hardness of heart,
Deliberate blindness,
Ear stoppage,
and mind closing.
Their hallucinations
see you as demonic
and whisk you away
to padded cells.
Travel down another path,
see a forever light shining
where all human doors,
windows
and alleys never close.
This maze's door
opens to New Directions
where similar souls
have traveled mazes before.
Enter this new portal
and step into the room
where these souls
unite as one
helping one another
to travel into new places of sanity

- Linda Barrett

(added 02.09.15)

editor's note: An a-maze-ing journey from oppression to free expression. - mh


Racial Colors

…they came at the door rushing
in tens
groped
held
tied me
tight

poured cold colors
yellow
violet
green
pink
sprinkled murky water
bottled from common tap

they
cheered
laughed and yelled

united colors of India

come evening
they gathered all
except me
for a meaty meal

i asked
why am i not on the list

you are an outsider of other caste here
in came the answer

i said

you said

united colors of India
this noon

aha
that was just for fun
and
you were a point of that

remember
in spite of colors
we still are divided
you jerk

they yelled in chorus
and i died

a racial death

- Aniruddha Sastikar

(1 poem added 02.08.15)

editor's note: A sick, insidious system; turns all colors gray, all hearts cold. (We welcome Aniruddha to our Contributing Poets with this submission.Read more of his madness on his new page - check it out!) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Howsabout two? Our short story queue is still bursting at the seams. Yes, blessed we be that these fine writers are sharing their word wares with us! So, on that note…

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week short-short, "The Love Letter is Dead” by Jeff Winke: "From all the times I type 'I love you' into my phone, you'd think that's what I love: the machine that lives in my pocket. No! What I love is wrapped in magnificent flesh, has a body crafted by beautiful bones and a brain that too many poets pretend they have. No computer needs to know what I want to do when we're alone."

Here's a few lines from "The Love Letter is Dead" to get your heart beating excitedly:


The love letter is dead.

Love letters are not being written anymore. They’re not being lovingly folded, placed in an envelope, and sealed with a kiss. They are not being sent, read, and cherished.

There is no reason to anxiously wait for the mail carrier; no need for a length of satin ribbon, fat rubber band, or corded twine. Why? There is no stack of personal handwritten or typed letters, notes, or greeting cards to save. They no longer exist; they have become memories.

It feels wrong, incredibly wrong, to not see romance enhanced through love letters mailed or surreptitiously delivered in the middle of the night to a beloved’s mailbox or front door. After all, there is nothing better than receiving a handwritten letter filled with love and lust and to hold it in your hands knowing that the same paper was held by your lover. The personal connection is completed through the passion of writing, whether thoughtful, clumsy, or eloquent, it is pure and sincere and intended only for you. The intimacy is enhanced by the smell of the paper, the imperfections of the penmanship, realizing that some words were written with the pen pressing harder than others, seeing smeared ink where tears may have fallen, the evidence of false starts and hesitations while words were carefully chosen and thoughts crafted into prose. The letter is as imperfect as love...

•••

And here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the second pick-of-the-week tale, "A Crumb for the Freudians (See the Little Noses Twitch)” by Kay Kinghammer: "Venom on the page means poison in the brain. That's not the problem, though. The problem is if you drink it. It'll look like water but taste like blood, and you'll love it. You'll love it so much that you forgot where it wall started: with words on a page."

Here's a few tasty crumbs to whet your reading appetite::

photo by Tyler Malone

When I was in the seventh grade, I wrote a terrific and revealing story. I gave it to my English teacher to read. She lost it. Because I was proud of the story, I rewrote it several times trying to get it back. Each of the versions varied slightly, but the basics never altered.

I was young and beautiful. I was kidnapped by six evil but handsome bank robbers who carried me off to a cave in the woods and raped me every day for six months. I was terribly depressed. My life was ruined. I was no longer pure. Nobody would ever want to marry me.

This cave in the woods was very comfortably furnished, more like a cabin than a cave. It had beds with mattresses, a stove, a radio, and rooms with doors. My bank robbers weren’t voyeurs. I was just another convenience in the cave. One day, after several months, I learned from the radio that my entire family had been killed in a car wreck. I was freed of all ties, all obligations. I was also very sad. My bank robbers had no respect for my grief. Life went on as usual in the cave...

•••••••

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’ Rationally Irrational,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

2.07.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.07.15

“There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.” Charles Dickens

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Cheap Tricks” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more Mad works from William, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we emptied white from the Winter night; we wrapped it round a wizened tree for recreation; we imagined the sun inside out, fun; we enlisted ink to present a view of our quintessential brain tattoo; we eschewed clean-up duty for apparent gem stone beauty; we lost our love for a luxury berth, felt fear instead of luxury mirth; we found a boot-kicked convict saved by a love song broadcast radio wave. It's a frequency fraught waste land. Tune in, turn up, take heart! ~ MH Clay

Blunt Rules

There is nothing difficult,
Just difficulties
That bed themselves in
Daily, sometimes hourly.
Thrice, one hour
When she put her boot
Into his amnesty
With the force
Of a brass tongue
And begged Hammurabi
For a fat sentence.

So he wears her love
Like a Friesian landscape,
Kiss soft
Statement strong
And blind-eyes
The words he sloppily jirbles
Like distasteful beans,
Leashes song words
Midstream;
For radio is his saviour,
His highway to reality.

- Gene Barry

(3 poems added 02.07.15)

editor's note: Windows down, volume up, foot to the floor; dial your difficulties to your favorite station. (Two more mad missives from Gene on his page; about a vacation and a victory - check'em out!) - mh


The Bus Seat

Sitting on this Nepalese domestic bus,
I am not thinking about
who sat on this seat before me
an hour, a day, perhaps even a few weeks ago.
I am also not thinking about the inebriated man.
A bloodsucking bug, saliva, yellowish fluid.
Except, there is a state of fear.
And it is coming from nowhere
but this 2X2, comfortable, luxurious
passenger seat.

- Santosh Kalwar

(1 poem added 02.06.15)

editor's note: Luxury seat of another's fear; not so comfortable after all. - mh


BEAUTY

If it were
a green stone,
I would pick it
up for its beauty.
It was wadded
up chewing gum.

I passed.

- Beate Sigriddaughter

(added 02.05.15)

editor's note: Chew on this... :) - mh


Extortionate fashions

Tattoo, tattoo;
I know my brain.
I’m going to let people see it.

I’m going to make
an irreversible decision.
I’m going to buy personality.

Surely if I have
curly-wurlies or barbed
wire bicep badges,
I’ll be praised down the pub
and considered cool.
Ken will have transformed me.

I’ll be a sheep.
I’ll post a Facebook status
saying I NEED another tat.

It will be hard
to go under the pin.
I’ll literally
be a martyr.

I know my brain.
I know my fucking brain.
I’m going to tattoo my forehead.

You can’t top that.
I’m the daddy now.
When I hit sixty I’ll be proud.

I could have been an artist
or a cellist, or a saint,
but I wanted to line Ken Fleck’s pockets.
I’m fucking cool. I’ve got a tiger in my tank.
Your lack of ink must be boring.

- Michael Holme

(1 poem added 02.04.15)

editor's note: It's all the rage; from tabula rasa to illustrated man. Ink, Baby! Ink! - mh


Wall

So rare inside the sun:
Perfection,
Heavenly darkness.

So much outside the sun:
Imagination,
Misty grass.

- Atri Majumder

(added 02.03.15)

editor's note: My shades are fogged over... - mh


Sugar Maple

Dead things
are merely things
ready to be new
Sugar Maple, winter is becoming to you
your bare bones reaching past chilled skies
tall and immovable
Changeable statue of the earth,
you throw your leaves off like they are timeless
And they are!
cracked yellow and browning
decaying, integrating into January mud
becoming, once again, the wholesome sheath
you spread your rooted legs beneath
Sugar Maple, you are so close to death
and yet you breathe
fearless in the frost
you wither, naked
yet you are crystalline in the crusting of snow
A halo of sunlight and wisdom surrounds you
an untouchable glory
You are a god among bush and beast
Ancient and undisturbed by the inevitable
decease and recreation of things -
All things that pass

- Sunya Chavi

(1 poem added 02.02.15)

editor's note: A mad mandala; bitter and sweet! - mh


January

A landscape stretched
______ to suspended dreams
Candles burning
behind secrets
The white of clouds

Emptiness
It fills
a world
of white

Radiant constellations
In crystal frost skies
A recluse moon
And the laughter of winds
Falling
through
time

- Susan Dale

(1 poem added 02.01.15)

editor's note: So sweet to see an emptiness so full! (We welcome Susan to our Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her heavenly madness on her page - check it out.) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Don't look now but is that... yep, it is! And by "it" we mean the latest addition to our short stories library, "Meeting the Replacement" by Anthony Keers!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "What's devastating about facing memories? Sometimes they don't even look back."

Here's a quick glimpse:

photo by Tyler Malone

I sank deep into a worn out couch that had felt the weight of more bodies on it than the world’s shoulders. I glanced around the room whilst taking a sip of my drink. Saturday nights always drew large crowds into the city. The stresses of paid slavery seemed to drive the people crazy and they loved to pound them to dust against the punch bag of the weekend.

As I looked over towards the entrance, I saw her walk in hand in hand with my replacement.

“Jesus, shit,” I whispered, “shit!”

I pulled the drink away from my face and sank further into the couch. I turned left then right, hoping to find a hole to jump into with my beer and hide until she left. There has always been an eternal judgement that hangs over the lone drinker and I didn’t really want her to pass my final sentence. I felt my heart race with panic as my eyes twitched from looking at the floor and seeing a three year memory walk over towards the bar.

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


A fine time was had by all who filled the Lounge this past 1st Wednesday! Huge GRATS to our feature last night, genius guitarist and swirlin' songwriter David Crandall! Always a treat to have him on our stage and blessed to have jammed to a whole set of his musical madness.

Thanks to ALL mad ones who came and appreciated our feature set and participated in our mic madness by sharing their words, their verses and their fine light with us. It truly was a fine night to be alive and in our Mad Swirl world. In case you missed this Mad action, here is the line-up (and a picture show, thanks to Dan Rodriguez) of who was who…

Feature:
David Crandall

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Mad Cast:
Konnichiwa Zach
Opalina Salas
Paul Konieki
Cj Critt
Chris Zimmerly
Maggie Smith
Carlos Salas
Victory
BA aka Zipline Shazam
Merlin the Magical One
Roderick Richardson
Josh Weir
Kristine Jessup
Jasmin Kinard
Jake Kinard
Megan
Yoli
Paul Junior
Johnna

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 122 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!

If you missed the madness, no worries, we captured the swirlin' scene via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel!

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

March: Harry McNabb
April: Merlin the Magical One
May: Opalina Salas, Maggie Smith, Desmene Statum
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...

Shinin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.31.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.31.15

“I need this wild life, this freedom.” Zane Grey

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Glam Slam” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more Mad works from William, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we received reconciliation made 'tween a great father's butler and a whispering shade; we withdrew as requisite provider from a hard-core consummate backslider; we fell confused as ignorant fodder, invaded by an unnamed, insidious squatter; we shed our singular semblance for ageless age and common remembrance; we scraped a star, a narcissistic streamer, a non-nattered note to an imbecilic dreamer; we stripped a king sadly, chased a rabbit, cleared a corner, cocked justice madly; we were granted a glimpse, a stolen glance, into a poet pilfering underpants. Holy, holy! The pen is holy! The words are holy! Reading is holy! Everything is holy! ~ MH Clay

My Underpants

I found them on the bathroom floor
after my cousin and her boyfriend
left for Ithaca. They were green
with gold stripes and they weren’t
mine. I stood there for a long time
considering them. They weren’t
dirty but they weren’t exactly clean
either. They were unwashed.
But they weren’t unclean the way
a dead bird is unclean, or the way
an unsanctified thing or an unholy thing
is unclean. I picked them up, and did I
smell them? I want to say I smelled them.
I may have smelled them because
they weren’t unclean and they were undoubtedly
my cousin’s boyfriend’s and he is a good man,
not a holy man but a good man with a good
job in Ithaca, New York and an excellent beard.
Of course I thought about returning them,
sending them back in a mailer or small brown box,
and I thought about washing them,
though they weren’t mine and they weren’t
unclean, only unwashed, and they weren’t
sexy, only colorful. They were more colorful
than all of my underpants put together.
You will want to know I am wearing them
as I write this. Much time has elapsed
since that day in the bathroom. My cousin
and her boyfriend have gotten married.
I have gotten married myself. My wife
has no idea about the provenance
of the green underpants. She thinks they are mine.
She washes them with my underpants
and her underpants, and she puts them all
in a sweet-smelling pile on top of the dresser.
I think there is something a little holy
about a pile of clean underpants on top of a dresser.
I think that putting them away in a drawer
would be like putting your light under a bushel,
or like locking a bird up in a cage,
or like packing up a good green thing
in a small brown box
and sending it far, far away from you.

- Paul Hostovsky

(2 poems added 01.31.15)

editor's note: Her: What were you wearing under there? Him: Under where? (Another mad missive from Paul on his page; the only question - check it out!) - mh


Silly Rabbit

It’s kind of a silly mess
the rabbit went deep in his hole
so I followed
with carrots in tow
to choke the illusion
and rape all conspiracy
with madness and justice for all

King Nothing is naked
an empire dethroned
run to your corners
all lies are exposed

- Scott Thomas Outlar

(added 01.30.15)

editor's note: It's a brisk run in the naked day when attired in illusion. Keep your corners clear! - mh


Note To Self

You thought
not a thing, but mélanges, miasmas, mishmashes
with surrealism under your breath, loud skunk of drug
in exhalations of the foolish sublime, irrational
little figments of imagined greatness that blossomed,
blooming idiocies like black orchids, orchestras
senselessly burning-down your tricks with the screech
of a bow. Who are you,

imbecilic dreamer? From what womb have you most lately
arrived? Palls of natty high-rises, scatalogically scatting-out
your identity for how long? Hipsterish hysterics howling
as you snort the white lines of magical illusions
you may be free as a poet? Who, really,

do you think you are? Conked-out and dreamin’, yeah, you,
fingernails scraping on a star until its Van Gogh sunshine
runs in mawkish directions? Tripping on Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s
“Disbelief in Yourself Is Indispensable”? “While you’re alive
It’s shameful to worm your way into the Calendar of Saints….”
Oh man. Holy Sovieticus, the ethic

of vice-grip women and the gente of genitalia. You, too,
dance invitingly on your airs of dictatorial empowerment and
of course your canto Italiano—which is not real.
Oh Chicago, city of strong thigh muscles, do me like me.
Oh Vancouverite vassal-whores of self, endlessly written in
the bathroom mirrors of your dreams. Write-down, swing low,
Narcissus.

- Addie Soaraki

(1 poem added 01.29.15)

editor's note: Sort your self-indulgent narcissisms from your poetic proclivities. Miasma, indeed! (Addie has contributed many mad missives to our Short Story Forum. With this, he joins the ranks of our Contributing Poets, as well. Well done and well come, Addie!) - mh


On Looking In

A sweet semblance of maturation seeps
from the pores of a teenaged girl who,
only after the awkward exchange
of buying tampons from a CVS clerk
(a family friend), wonders if instances
of seemingly singular embarrassment
are shared elsewhere.

What of growing older?
Showering with colder nights,
singing songs of pompadoured idols
who are singing back, but not for her,
nor anyone she knows.
All this quickly manifests,
bleeds like leaked mascara
on a phony marble desk.

Tests taken and flunked
from evenings spent tasting
someone else’s brain,
defining passion as this
fallen angel who has feasted, too,
on the mortal fruits of fuck and fondle,
subscribed to the belief
that when carnality is homework,
algebra can occupy itself
elsewhere.

I have known this brain only
to be a pale orchid,
a little lesion on plant-stem,
exasperated by seasons’ worsts:
a ceaseless summer heat,
winter snow that does not melt.
It is only between,
in the mild months
of clouds and tepid rain,
when pain is understood
as no longer singular,
but a pivot on which
we spend our spins,
and it is only after this
that we can graduate
to agelessness.

- Scott Wordsman

(added 01.28.15)

editor's note: Learning from lust to achieve a degree of agelessness. Ah, sweet school! - mh


Presence

Something
Has crept into the house with us.

There were a few rooms free
And we thought about renting them out
Easy money and easier
Conversation,
But something else has made its way in.

We are trying to decipher when it entered
Maybe we left the doors unlocked
We did not board the windows
Either way, it is our fault.

We wonder where it is –
We only feel its jellyfish presence
It is in our atmosphere
But we wonder where it lay down its foundation
And all of our grave stones.

We wonder about the stages
But there are too many words and
Each answer halts at a question.

When?

The flowers are rotting and it is not even the season
Something has crept in and it enjoys
Gore and needles, the package.

We grasp at means to feel a sense of control
Something spreads like the plague.

I was told that my grandfather summoned us all to his grave,
I was told it meant something –
Perhaps this something is it.

Something
Has crept into the house with us
And it is taking my grandmother.

- Alainah Aamir

(1 poem added 01.27.15)

editor's note: Perplexed we are, so fallen in, when another one falls out. Whence comes despair? (Congratulations to Alainah! She joins our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page - check it out!) - mh


SLIPPING BACK

I watched over her while she kicked dope
sweating and
twitching and
screaming obscenities
“Fuck you and all your holier than though
bullshit, “she said
She promised me
it was going to be the last time
that she would screw up this bad
and who was I to judge?
I tried to drag her from the jaws of death
but she just kept
slipping back

I sat by her at the doctor’s
all the blood and
the pus and
the nose burning stench
as he lanced one abscess after
another
I had never
seen someone I cared about
in this much pain before
but what choice did I have?
I was trying to pull her from the gutter
but she just kept
slipping back

You know, I told myself
I loved her but I didn’t know
what that word even meant
She was just my new addiction
and the purpose and power I felt
was what was really in my grip
when I thought I was holding
her hand

I listened when she relapsed
as she lied
and she lied
through her teeth
that she was sober, that she
was clean
I didn’t want
to push her out
of my life forever
but that’s exactly what I did
Instead of me, lifting her up
she was only
dragging me down
so I let go of her hands
and watched her disappear
as she just kept
slipping back

- David Rutter

(2 poems added 01.26.15)

editor's note: We try to hold on as along as we can, but sometimes we have to let go of that hand. Such a sad thing... (See another sad but searing strophe on David's page with a link to access his new book, writing as Max Mundan, "Junkies Die Alone" - check'em out!) - mh


The Service Suicides

The American soldier suicides from the Afghan and Iraqi wars have gathered on the porch of the former president’s house in a wealthy neighborhood of Dallas.

They are shades, mostly invisible. The secret service guards are trained to spot what is tangible. The shades wait patiently most of the cool October day until the twilight comes. Finally one steps forward and rings the doorbell.

The shades of suicide do not have the best eyesight, and so when a man answers the door in the late light, they assume it’s the former president.

“Sir,” the shade spokesman says, “may I address you as the Indians do, as the great father?”

The man at the door seems to nod and the shade continues. “We are here, your loyal soldiers now passed, to put your troubled heart at ease, great father. We know that terrible nightmares must haunt you daily over the innocents killed in your two wars. We can’t speak for all, but we–the soldier suicides of your wars--have come to say we have forgiven you, and our families, which have suffered so, will someday in the future, forgive you. Go forward, great father, and live in joy and peace.”

The suicides then leave the porch and float away into the star-filled heavens. Up and up they go, the thousands, like smoke rising from a fire. The man–a butler–walks down to the curb to check the mail. He smiles a little, noticing the flurry of October leaves spin off the wide lawn.

- Chuck Taylor

(added 01.25.15)

editor's note: Great fathers are oblivious to what their butlers know; service men to service man. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read… or two? Our short story queue is still bursting at the seams. Yes, blessed we be that these fine writers are sharing their word wares with us! So, on that note…

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week super short-short, "The Weary Enforcer” by Kleio B: "All you can hope is that there’s some humanity beneath the actions of monsters."

Here's all 98 mad-nificent words:


Her hands hurt. With great effort she whipped them. Born in the family of enforcers, she was destined to live cruelly and punish offenders. The queue of little labours persevered with their burdens, sometimes their backs broke with the weight. She would strike the poor creatures until they shrieked in action. With the advent of winters, she became brutal. There was less time and more to gather. Queen Ant wished to show her gratitude to her subjects, but protocol demanded otherwise. She cursed her obligations as she thrashed the weary ant that had dropped the granule of sugar.


•••

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the second pick-of-the-week tale, "A Kentucky Derby Hat in the Hay Maze” by Kasra Omid-Zohoor: "The spontaneity and oddness of people and the lives we all lead, that’s where real adventure is found. The mystery of the little things are what’s grand."

Here's a splash:

photo by Tyler Malone

At this hour, we had the hay maze all to ourselves. Guarding the entrance stood a gang of white pumpkins on a bed of scattered straw. Tower rested his foot on the largest one as he pointed to Katie's milk colored Kentucky Derby hat.

"You wanna put that wedding cake in the car?" he asked.

"No, watch me beat you guys with it on," she said.

Tower laughed just once, then his phone rang and he walked off to answer it.

"So you guys have animals growing up out here?" I asked.

"Yeah, and we had horses but we had to sell them all when my parents got divorced."

I didn't say anything for a moment, until I said, "I'm sorry."

"It's fine. My Dad worked for an oil company, so he took international assignments after that. I got summers in Norway and Brazil."

"Cool," I said.

"Hey, don't tell Tower since he's, like, my boss now."

I nodded as Tower returned. On the count of three, we shot off through the hay maze in different directions. As my path grew darker, I began running my fingers along the parched straw walls. Soon, though, I reached a dead end, but on the other side I could hear waves crashing. I spun around, made two quick right turns, and then ran out onto the beach.

Catch the whole wave here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.04.15) at Dallas’ Absinthe Lounge at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month now for OVER 10 years! This month we will be featuring mad genius guitarist and swirlin' songwriter David Crandall!

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... 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) to get you a spot on our mic list here!

For folks who live out of town but would still like to view our mic madness, we'll be capturing the swirlin' scene LIVE via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel.

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with this swirlin' madness. Here's the starting line-up for our 2015 season:

March: Harry McNabb
April: Merlin the Magical One
May: Opalina Salas, Maggie Smith, Desmene Statum
June: Brendan McCormack
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’ Wildly Free,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.24.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.24.15

“Imagination... its limits are only those of the mind itself.” Rod Serling

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“No Strings Attached” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more Mad works from William, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Our newest featured artist, William Zuback, brings us works of seemingly magic with his black and white photography that is really anything but black and white. With beautiful contrasts of light and dark, nudity, tattoos, and an unshakable, undeniable sort of fairytale vibe, William’s work provokes an undying childlike curiosity - ironically with photographs that are really anything but child’s play. The subject’s of these images seem to be revealing a part of themselves to us - vulnerable, yet at the same time guarded, mysterious, straight-faced. There’s a lot to say for these photographs, and they’ve got a lot to tell you, too. You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Zuback Zone! - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we woke to whisper a name at the end of Winter's game; we felt her beauty in a watered walk and a talk-back rock; we saw a solitary mind sliced by separateness; we kept a colorless cowl in a ghoulish bed; we fled a purple cloud, manifested as a man in a shroud; we settled in to a drip off skin; we bowed in obeisance to our inner goddess. We are what we write! ~ MH Clay

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

Vagina Monologue Blues In E Flat Live From The G Spot

My inner goddess is posting duck face selfies on Facebook.

My inner goddess is Crip walking to Oingo Bongo 'Grey Matters' on YouTube.

My inner goddess is improvising confessional poems of urbane Ennui mid coitus.

My inner goddess talks before, during and after intercourse.

My inner goddess never read any of the books or watched the movies.

My inner goddess only read the fan fiction that inspired 50 shades.

My inner goddess is just messing with your head

because that’s what goddesses do.

My inner goddess loves to play rock, paper, scissors.

My inner goddess always scissors.

My inner goddess is part Indian.

My inner goddess be making it rain up in here.

My inner goddess can’t dance.

My inner goddess drives a stick.

My inner goddesses’ neighbor is an asshole.

My inner goddess is getting a new piercing.

My inner goddess has a stigmata.

My inner goddess has a Mohawk.

My inner goddess is thinking about dreads.

My inner goddess puffs on a cigar.

My inner goddess blows smoke rings in your face.

My inner goddess is a bad mutha’ fu…

Shut yo’ mouth!

But, I’m just talking about my inner goddess?!

My inner goddess rules!

...with an iron fist.

- Joey Da'rrell Cloudy

(1 poem added 01.24.15)

editor's note: Best bow down to this bitch, keep her in; if she ever comes out, we're f**ked. - mh


Waterdrop

Sudden and cold
I felt it
understood to be etched
by your senses
sarcasm dripped
with simple shades
of madness
a trace of you
left
lingering
not forever
on my skin

- Elissa Landrigan

(1 poem added 01.23.15)

editor's note: Boy, sweet duck ain't drenched in you! Thought you'd make a splash, but only left her dry. Boy!? - mh


White hot

The stars are white hot flames
lingering in the ebony sky

as I bleed my life away.
A man as mad as a shroud

of crows crosses my path,
mumbling jibberish to himself.

I turn away as the violet purple fog
hangs in the air like
a chandelier that needs dusting.

- Dawnell Harrison

(1 poem added 01.22.15)

editor's note: Shrug off the shroud and break out your duster. - mh


the pyre

i took the time to look
to see the fresh youthful
skin frothing at the rim
my cup so empty, nearing the bottom
for some time i have hoped for something
a pen, a paper, look, lights,
the thing that is real or happening I’m not sure of

i never knew it could be this way
awake without ears, so quiet
eyes blurred with simplicity
one down, mine
head is tilted, sagging to the edge yet
hopeful for something
any colors, any birds or water for my mouth
so sour and dry spitting sadly at this scream

it could be you, all your fresh
downy powder of rose on my tongue
the tip of you, so slender and quick
relish a ghoul inside my bed
he is all i have left.

- Kayla Siobhan

(1 poem added 01.21.15)

editor's note: A flame to fire another solitude, left with a ghoulish union. - mh


Separateness

“No friendship only /
the prehensile of the darkness…”

“…utensils of the mind are /
bent from the dehiscence of…”

“…old memories timeworn deeply /
in my mind a scheduled prelude that…”

“…protrudes in violence, silence /
and confinement…”

“… rational relevance of mindfulness /
suffocated by an emotional ride …”

“…downward crash /
with no mental lines …”

“…for thee to cross /
for the lines are distressed …”

“…break marks of hue /
I have lost all …”

“…clues of functional views /
as I transverse…”

“…mayday, mayday in this darkness of solitude."

- James Brown

(1 poem added 01.20.15)

editor's note: A disturbing conversation, held by two sides of one solitude. - mh


Echo

A river
Inside the cliff,
I hear the waters
Far down: below.
Desiccated I walk
From your beauty,
And the charm
You have.

Somewhere else
Got you in my dream
Who is going to interpret?
What does it mean?

Staring
I am waiting,
To irrigate
A deserted: heart.
Listening -
The echoing cliff,
Semblance of you
To feel.

- Hem Raj Bastola

(1 poem added 01.19.15)

editor's note: What speaks from loss comes back with longing. Oh, thirsty heart! - mh


Crawl

I will wait for summer!
For grass to grow along the path
To make soft my crawl
Lessen the dust in my mouth,
Pain in my legs, rain drowning my voice.

I will wait for the sun to make it pleasant
So I can whistle and stand high
Pretending flowers heard no cry
Or saw the pain that stung my eyes.

I have borne the cold of being alone
Longed for the perfume you brought to my life
Whisper your name at the lonely end of night.

I will wait for summer to make things right.

© 2014

- Alan Halford

(2 poems added 01.18.15)

editor's note: Waiting to be making, a wrong to put right. (Read another fine poem from Alan on his page; about another waiter - check it out.) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Howsabout two reads? Our short story queue is bursting at the seams! So for the next couple/few weeks we’ll be squeezing in two. Yes, blessed we be that these fine writers are sharing their word wares with us. And on that note…

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week tale, "The Oval Mirror" by longtime Contributing Poet & Writer, Mel Waldman: "Mirrors or blank pieces of paper, look into them, unsmudged and unmarked, and see what looks back. Hope that it speaks."

Here's a bit to get you goin’:


On sultry August nights I often close my wet-baked eyes and see the old doc and his oval mirror in my mind’s eye. When I taste the sweat pouring down my olive face and inhale the sweltering heat, I remember how this eerie journey began.

I met Dr. Jacob Lightman, the eminent psychiatrist and founder of Mirror Image Therapy more than three decades ago on a dog day afternoon. Hired as the new director of behavioral health at the Grand Concourse Treatment Center in the Bronx, I had the good fortune to work with him and other creative geniuses.

Yet when the CEO of the medical center, my new boss, introduced us, I was somewhat taken aback by his peculiar appearance. A ghostly man, he looked like an ancient scarecrow. Hunched over, the skeletal man possessed a bony face with other-worldly dark blue eyes. A student of the great Professor Dr. Sigmund Freud of Vienna, he grabbed and shook my right hand and handed me an oval pocket mirror with his left.

“Welcome, Dr. Cohen, to the Land of Dreams,” he said exuberantly. “And please, look at my mirror and tell me what you see.”

Of course, when I gazed at his glittering mirror, I found only my youthful face inside.

“What do you see, Dr. Cohen?” he asked with intense curiosity.

“I see myself,” I said dispassionately.

“Yes, doctor, but what do you really see?”

Get the rest of your read on here!

•••

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the second pick-of-the-week tale, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas” by Ronald Friedman: "Sometimes the bad seed can be beautiful. Sometimes, in the wake of destruction, we’ll find that we love the madness."

Here's a bit to get you goin’:

photo by Tyler Malone

Janice picked up her phone to call her mother. I kept my mouth shut.

I’d offered a lot of useless advice in the past, but had learned to keep quiet. It was almost the end of October and the phone call was just something that had to be done. I was grateful that Janice was willing to call.

“I’m ready,” Janice said, holding up a fist.

“Go get ‘em, Tiger,” I said.

“Mom? Hi.”

I wanted to sneak out to the garage or down to the basement, but my self-serving flight would only encourage Janice to take out her feelings of impotent anger on me. Besides this was our row to hoe together so she deserved all the support I could offer, no matter how weak-kneed or cowardly.

“Sean’s a good boy, Mom. We’ve seen a lot of improvement in the past few months. He’s still loud and hyperactive, but it’s been nearly two months since he bit anybody. That ought to make Aunt Belle happy.”

Janice listened for a moment. “Well, yes, of course it will make Becky happy too. Poor thing.”

Janice listened again for a moment and then said, “That’s improving too. We’ve gone well over a month without any reports of him calling anyone on the playground a fucker.”

Our five-year-old son, Sean, had a moderate-to-severe case of attention deficit- hyperactivity disorder. He was five-years-old and we were considering giving him some medicine, but both his teacher and his doctor had said that as long as we thought we could manage him with behavioral restraints, we were better off deferring medicine as long as possible.

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...

Imaginin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.17.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.17.15

"What is life? A madness. What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story. And the greatest good is little enough; for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams." Pedro Calderon de la Barca

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Happenstance” (above) by featured artist Gerard Bendiks. To see more Mad works from Gerard, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we mourned a morn built on survivor's guilt; we who wondered what transpires on the morn of shed garments, wondered more; we met monuments mowed with priests as crows; we heard heart-doors crash when our lover left, "no vacancy" flashing in chambers bereft; we shed smock for smudge to smother in smoke; we recompensed sans repentance, a pence to pay penance; we preened in repose for a midnight meet with a love-crossed star. The night is ours, our stories in the stars. ~ MH Clay

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

FRONTS SHEERED OFF

As I lie falling asleep at night
bedroom facing the street
I picture the walls of my
yellow house crumbling away.

Here I am revealed to all in
my striped pajamas
curled up on my side
books, reading glasses and
tissues strewn on the
husband’s side of the bed.

I lie under the tiger blanket
used by Father when he was
dying, a white feather comforter
atop that, an occasional duck
feather quacking its way out.

Noises are few. The furnace
clears its throat. The fridge
hums a Beethoven sonata
and the water dispenser on
the outside is lit up when I
enter the dark kitchen
like the Milky Way.

I sit up.
An unfamiliar noise. Is it
the intruder I’ve been
waiting for all my life?

I open the front door.
The stars pounce on me.
The bird houses quiver.
Barefoot, I step outside, feeling the
cold stone steps, littered
with autumn leaves.
I pick up a red maple and
press it to my mouth.
A star fallen to earth.

- Ruth Z. Deming

(1 poem added 01.17.15)

editor’s note: A midnight tryst with a star-fallen lover. (We welcome Ruth to our creative conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page - check it out.) - mh


Set Sale

Here alone
in the dead of this coolish night
I wear cloth spun by hands
I will never hold
Hands which pull water from wells
dug into decrepit soil
filled with excretions of electricity
pulsing through crackling machine looms
spinning webs
I cocoon myself in
a softened shirt costing just under a
decade of dollars
One penny shy, to be exact,
demarcated on a paper tag
which caught my eye and promised
a piece of copper for my green guilt

So I lounge in my trap, my Doom,
as I drag manicured nails over this
woven cage, admiring
comfort that exhorts a soft sigh
from my tender lips
It's easy to ignore the manacled claws
that caress me from afar daily
for far less than the cent I tossed
into the gutter drain

I hope it gets carried by the
waste of my washings,
slides across oceanic slime
and falls into those distant hands

- Robert Wesley

(added 01.16.15)

editor’s note: Consumerism with conscience; a penny for that thought. - mh


hag

in the middle
of the shoe shower
dressed in smock.
(why? been busy
and unwilling to miss the thing)

it was
Withdrawal of a smog
(her whiffet of the stuff)
- been too long and boring mostly -
booted crossly
by 'em all

and so
With rebound backwash of the organ and the Monkees
She stared fascinated
She saw the smoke.
And got the beat of it too firmly

Her woe of smooch
was way too smooth for smother
She smouldered then
and turned into the smudge.

- Volodymyr Bilyk

(added 01.15.15)

editor’s note: From smock to smudge, sense is made from Monkees and cross bootings. - mh


Landmine

I learned to cradle
my body in my own arms,
to keep my distance,
stifle yawns and sneezes.
I never knew my ribs were involved
in every movement until they hurt,
until she decided the best way
to my heart would be straight
through my chest.

She told me once she heard it snap.
She said this like my rib breaking
was something that just happened,
like I could have prevented it
if I had been less fragile, if I’d answered
her knocking on my sternum
by opening my ribcage like a door
and inviting her inside.

I don’t remember how it happened.
My mind misplaces things sometimes.
What I remember is leaving,
reaching for my seatbelt, the sudden,
absolute pain that emptied me
of thought and breath, driving myself home.

I stood shirtless in front of my bathroom mirror,
studied the layers of bruises on my collarbones:
sick yellow, deep
crimson, throbbing purple.
I counted her teeth in them.

- Logen Cure

(1 poem added 01.14.15)

editor’s note: An open door policy gone wrong. (We welcome Logen to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page - check it out.) - mh


Stonehenge

Alfalfa, mown one afternoon,
is baled in the morning
and hauled away before dark.
But for those few hours,
the bales look thousands of years old:

Sacred stones, arranged
by ancients with wisdom we've lost
to catch the sunlight just so.

And the crows that worship there,
though none come twice, not necessarily,
look so much alike
from one harvest to the next
that they might as well be immortal.

- Don Thompson

(added 01.13.15)

editor’s note: A snapshot of a sacred sanctuary; birds only. - mh


Nirvana

My silence is a Gothic church
where I douse the night
after nirvana.

Hemlock
reverberates
the foot-steps of fire
and water.
Before standing
on the cliff of the azure morning
I threw
my garments of light away.

- Bhargab Chatterjee

(1 poem added 01.12.15)

editor’s note: Naked time on the morning after Nirvana. - mh


A MORNING

A morning when silence clings
To tree trunks in gardens
To traffic lights
That blink apologetically
To paddocks where ponies
Sensing the invisible
Graze distractedly

A morning with no function
But to pass in anticipation
Of the hour
When life ended
Even lawn mowers
Go about their work
Apologetically

A morning of stillness
Bereft of birdsong
The television’s prattle
Halted temporarily
I scribble notes
Recording thoughts
Hesitatingly

A morning with no meaning
Without what follows
A film on freeze frame
One image flickering
Soon it will be time
To dress in dark clothes
And assemble guiltily.

- David Subacchi

(added 01.11.15)

editor’s note: Some days it's our turn to break out the black band. Good morning, All! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Howsabout two reads? Our short story queue is bursting at the seams! So for the next couple/few weeks we’ll be squeezing in two. Yes, blessed we be that these fine writers are sharing their word wares with us. And on that note…

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week tale, "The Shy Man" by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington: "Artists, these words we spend intimate hours with become us, but what happens when we lose our voices and ourselves in the rich madness all around? In that struggle to learn how to speak, then you'll find something to say."

Here's a bit to get you goin’:


Shyness is climbing a circling staircase.

Shyness isn’t stasis, paralysis, paranoiac fear of leaving the house, venereal disease, fire ants, or rain storms. Shyness isn’t cabin fever. Shyness is ambling along beneath cloudless weather and noticing the same buildings the same houses. Again. Again. The dead lay down. The terribly shy keep walking.

The staircase leads beyond the passages beyond, life’s slow accretion of days, perpetuating his daily, monotonous grind. The rings of hell could not best the monotony. The staircase climbs toward a horizon of mirrors. Reflections. None colorful, nor colorless. The tints slightly blur at the edge of the banisters when meteorological effects intensify, blurring the glass roof tops. And purpling the glass clouds. There are not experiences enough to fill the mirrors. The stairway climbs beyond houses, hints of purple, reds, foliage, greenery, sights, visions, winks and nods, reflections, reflections, daylight, dawn and darkness.

The Shy Man had begun thinking about decrying the terrible sameness. But his feelings were too ambiguous. His emotions weighted by commas, stutters, and hyphens. He wrote words, just words…

Get the rest of your read on here!

•••

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the second pick-of-the-week tale, "Most Pay Homage” by Kim Farleigh: "We wish, sometimes, that it was a short stop after a short drop, because sometimes, to our own dismay, our own demise is drawn out. It lasts so long that we think we've found happiness."

Here's a bit to get you goin’:


David was studying when his father came home. His father's face glowed, same as the mahogany table David sat upon. The wood looked burnished by silver light.

"Elizabeth and I are getting married," his father said.

Frank sat for the first time ever with his son at that table that was owned by Frank's mother.

"When?" David asked.

"The date hasn't been decided yet."

Silence consumed a car's droning outside as if the sounds never existed.

"It's not going to be easy for her," Frank continued, "living with three teenage boys. You, Richard and Rob are going to have to make things easier for her by doing the dishes and setting the table and taking out the garbage, etcetera. But keep this under your hat until the wedding date is announced."

"Okay," David said.

"I'm so in love," Frank declared…

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...

Swirlin’ Madness,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor