4.30.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.30.16

“Everything starts as somebody's daydream.” ~ Larry Niven

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Saint Francis at Northpark” (above) by featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria's beatific works, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we wet dry thoughts with green and water; we traded Byron for balls, but still loved it all; we embraced our beast in a free fall feast; we grabbed a piece of light on lease; we flew fancies in fours and fives; we walked a cold road in the vertex of snow; we wrestled our demon for love from our ghost. Yes! Robin must love. ~ MH Clay

Chatting to a spirit in the garden by Michael Holme

I can’t hear you
calling my name anymore.
It used to be as fresh as dew
from my breath;
a stream
dried up in silence now.

The panics have gone.
I sleep nights without sudden
sprung awakenings.

Forgive me,
I’ve moved my wedding ring.
Who would want me
with mind and body unfit
and with no capacity to provide?

Lucy puzzles me.
She didn’t seem to recognise you
in the home where you passed.
She’s missed you before;
on your long infections absence.
She’s only a dog.

What would we be doing
now it’s summer again?
selling up?
living in Morocco,
drinking gallons of mint tea in Marrakesh?
Joking, my parents wouldn’t bless that.

Incidentally, I didn’t go to church today. I might
have fallen out with them again.
I’m trying to accept
we all share this destiny,
but I’m only forty-five.

We’ve had a robin and a wren
nesting this year. I sit outside
watching the parents.
They fetch grubs.
I wish you could see them.
Maybe you’re here
a second ahead?

You’re listening.
For the first time
I don’t feel odd about being alone:
hope it’s Okay,
I’ve got a “Bestie” on Facebook,
like a sister you understand.

I’ve still got my problem with work:
honesty. I can’t present
a mask, it leads to pain.
Love should ALWAYS trust.
It’s not easy when everyone
is happy to kick sand
in your sun-blistered face.

Robin keeps landing on the washing-line;
a silhouette against a cloudless sky.
Even planes leave no trace.
He’s been eighteen inches away
once or twice.

Robin must love.

April 30, 2016

editors note: We all have ghosts to catch up with our time. – mh clay


What Does A Vertical Line Form by Bhargab Chatterjee

the morning
is snow white,
only snow.
grass blades
are as dead
as her skin,
converge at the corner
of the nearest road;
other roads
have merged
with the dense forest.
measure me
from the nearest road.
i know,
the distance
remains in the vertex

below snow.

April 29, 2016

editors note: The shortest distance between two points is too cold. – mh clay


Haikus 1 & 2 by Shirin Hasrat

Haiku #1

Thunderous clouds
Flashes of lightning
God taking selfies

Haiku #2

Leaves gossiping
Breeze spreading rumours
Storm in a tea cup

April 28, 2016

editors note: Then post both to social media (thumbs up, smiley face). – mh clay


Dark fortnight by Hem Raj Bastola

Spring
Is hindered
In my garden.
Waxed by winter
Freezing so pale.

A furrow…
Did plough
In the ocean of my heart
And the current
An electric shock…

My eyes are blind
Meteor from the heaven
Freezes.
And galaxies not seen
None of the milky ways
move.

It is so dark.
And dark
Where is the light
You took on lease.
Goblet of your dew
Collecting.

In a dark fortnight
How am I to satiate
My thirst…
Without your face.

April 27, 2016

editors note: Spring; sprung in slow sips from a light goblet. – mh clay


Feast by Ursula Barretta

The restless thrill of living
blasts into my face
like a funnel drops from an Oklahoma wall cloud
and wind sucks the breath out
of my lungs and thrusts me on my back.

I’m new then as my tired body slips away
like a snake sheds skin
as I see the earth around me.
I thank god or Anybody for the feast before me.
What does one do with this dangling on the edge –
this free fall of wanting to
feed ravenously on the world?
I eat like a wild animal –
devouring warm flesh,
crunching bones and licking fat,
spitting out sinew until
there is nothing left to rot or pilfer
and in the end
I am mindful not to choke
on the enormity
of such a big catch.

April 26, 2016

editors note: Those newest to the feast feed fastest. So much to swallow, so much to taste. – mh clay


Takeoff by John May

Suppose I spelled “LOVE”
On your bare stomach in cocaine
And quoted Lord Byron?
I mean, I don’t have another bump to my name,
And I’ve memorized Byron
Like I’ve memorized the wrinkles on my balls…

But the love is still there, right?

It’s all that we have left,
And we’ll trip our faces off on that stuff
Raving through the night
Until our swirling hearts
Separate like grease and water…

Love for years and years or
Love for three hours, forty minutes, and
A fifth of Bacardi:
I love it all because I love you.
Monday’ll still come,
Even if the flight is cancelled,
And I’ll still take off from
That airport, where blue lights
out the small window, past the wings,
Mean goodbye for now.

April 25, 2016

editors note: An erstwhile philandering Lothario with love in his heart and frequent flyer miles to log. – mh clay


Shall I wait for dawn to come by Ilhem Issaoui

Shall I wait for dawn to come
And bring his fragrance
To the thoughts dry
Like a jejune land
The night is amarulent
Cacophony penetrates it
I shall close the eyes
Perhaps, tomorrow
There shall be green and water

April 24, 2016

editors note: Dry night, dry pages. Bring a wet day, like ink and tears. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week's featured twisted tale of love comes to us from the land down under by the hand of WJP Newnham.

Here's Short Story Editor Tyler Malone's take on "In Vino Veritas":

'These are the moments at the tips of our fingers, on the tips of our tongues. Uncork, undress, find yourself exposed and drink.'

If that editorial commentary didn't grab ya' where it counts, here's even more of a tease for ya:

(photo "Future Drunk Love" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

I hit the bell boy up for breath mints and on the way up to the bar in the lift and finger combed my hair and repeated my drunken mantra which I believed would allow clear speech:

A proper cup of coffee from a Proper copper coffee pot A proper cup of coffee from a proper Copper coffee pot A proper cup of coffee. I hit the bar and ordered myself a bracer.

She didn’t take much locating: she was the only woman in the deserted bar. She sat by herself at the end of the bar.

I drink my bracer and take her in searching for an opening line, a gambit, some leverage that will allow her to see beyond the human Hesperus that I had seen whilst attempting to groom myself in the mirrored lift. I order another bracer and this time tell the bartender that I would like to meet the lady at the end of the bar. He agrees to book introductions conditional on a fine bottle of wine, suggesting an Australian vintage: ‘05 Grampians Shiraz. He winks at me as he quickly prĂ©cised a review for me with full-bodied and perfumed given innuendo. I agree and he opens a bottle for her explaining that it was from the gentleman who wished only some convivial conversation.

She puts down the novel she had been reading as the barman brokers the suggestion of booking with a fresh drink. She looks to me and smiles and gestures that I should join her.

She smiles again as I seat myself next to her and raising glasses we toast each other with cheers; clinking rims and drinking deeply...


If you think you know how the rest of this drunken love story goes, guess again. It's a thicker tale than you may think. Get the rest of your read at Mad Swirl!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of May (aka 05.04.16) as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad micness home, Dallas’ badass The Underpass Bar!

This month we feature poetry editor, poet, playwright, actor, musician, mad co-conspirator, and all-around top-notch soul…MH Clay! Join MH & musical guest Earthlinger as we celebrate the release of the newest publication by Mad Swirl Press, ANGST

(ANGST is 40 pages of poetry by MH swirled up with art by Jeff Skele Sheely. Come join us and experience this "Mad ANGST-full Rant!" and buy you a limited & numbered edition of this mad-licious collab-creation)

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

P.S. If you're on Facebook, get on the pre-list at our event page.

•••••••

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

Dreamin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.23.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.23.16

“Every day I feel is a blessing from God. And I consider it a new beginning. Yeah, everything is beautiful.” ~ Prince Rogers Nelson

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Hard to get a signal – John and the ladder” (above) by featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria's beatific works, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we saw art as life and capricious wife; we rooted as little ran one up the middle; we ran another, from 1001 daggers into 3 hot cups; we an injured cajoled to laugh and roll; we chimney swept for spills not wept; we found inspiring a climber climbing; we were old uncouth to kick at youth. Live it like you mean it, every minute. ~ MH Clay

That Thing You Kicked In The Knees Called Youth by Samantha Hawkins

Remember when every prayer you drew
through gritty brown lips sounded like Alleluia
and tasted something like watermelon candy

Remember you were never the brightest of gems
but you shined like a diamond anyhow
Where the light danced off of your facets

Remember your edges felt lovely to bask
in the brilliant commentary of the sun

Remember you had teeth for soul and bone for spirit
and you ran all your relationships through a grater
purely for the thrill of flesh-colored confetti

Remember you were once the frustrated virgin
with a week’s worth of borrowed lunch money

Remember the world was your massively endowed hooker
you raided her Victorian secrets like they were candy
and left gaping holes of red through her fishnets

Never mind the shortcomings and contradictions
life was all about the contractions

Remember being drawn to questions that laid more questions
which in turn mated with question marks
but you often ran out your welcome with the ellipses

Remember the sky was not your ordinary dead end
just another mile marker on your highway

Remember you and the angels engaged in heavy pillow fights
made hammocks out of the cumulus clouds
then played hopscotch over the contrails

Remember in the morning you awoke to the slow swish
of windshield wipers clearing the mist in your head

April 23, 2016

editors note: When that thing kicks back; don’t dodge it, grab it. Never let go… – mh clay


Climbing Mounts by Gene Barry

In memory of Joan O’Leary

Life is running around in small shoes,

is seated with groups of the elderly,
the retired, the pre-op, the post-op
and I see that door with Push and obey.

Over the child screams and laughter
a penury of happiness is sidelined
and I feel myself pallbearing as
sibling sounds fill my emptiness.

For Joan is that popular Sherpa,
a mist tampering with my heart;
I have assembled her future with
shavings from her workshop floor.

I am helplessly drawn to taste
the fruit of her stories, am held by
the enveloping of a conveyor
of her summits and peaks.

Meanwhile the shy are out-there,
the out-theres more quiet,
the tone deaf are pleasing ears,
new safe hills are being climbed and

I am a well tended field of roosters
awaiting her hands, an unloved
belly swollen Kenyan child
who has just fallen in love.

April 22, 2016

editors note: From summits of remembrance we bring our dead to life. – mh clay


Multifidus by Leilanie Stewart

They’re lined up in rows
but still uneven
It offends the eyes, the mind, the soul
The tip of the iceberg…
Brown and red – maybe yellow,
you’d be a fool to argue,
let the chain of thought slide down
the flaky guttering
into the bowels of the-
dug-out,
hollowed-out,
empty chimney

It’s a vessel, only a container
for part of that which is dead
and free
Still, the angles left
on the hollow shell are irregular
and it torments, even blisters
a life fragmented

Don’t even try to understand
what has already been
and passed,
emitted into the ether
like a puff of smoke.

April 21, 2016

editors note: Chimney sweeps; pushing yesterday’s soot into piles of understanding. (It’s a stretch.) – mh clay


Intransigent land by Lakshmi Ganapathi

I sit there watching
The grains of age-old earth
Displaced into mid-air
By bare little feet
Running skipping and hopping

A brief reprieve
from selling their wares
for a game of catch
As business is slow
this time of day

The tourists have retreated
to their sheltered coves
where over beers
they would post
the day’s photos
receiving a hundred likes
from across the globe

There he sits
His arms as thin
as the rusty wheels
of his chair
His eyes dart
ever so intently
tracking the footprints
his friends leave
on the intransigent land

Then she walks
by his side
tracing the scar on his cheek
down which beads of sweat file
She cajoles him to join

And off they go
Her tiny hands pushing
Their laughter piercing
the silence that is creeping
through the ancient cracks
of the temples that once again
recede into their solitude

Till tomorrow dawns.

April 20, 2016

editors note: A friendly difference of opinion; laughter wins over pain. – mh clay


The great wall of China at -19 by Luke Ritta

My brain is thumping.
My face is burning.
My mustache has frozen over.
My thighs feel like slabs of marble.
My body feels like it is being stabbed by 1001 daggers.

But then I see a sign! A fat white cat is sleeping next to a window inside a cafe. I run in and drink three cups of hot green tea.

My organs.
My senses.
My bones.
My blood.

They all very slowly come back to life.

April 19, 2016

editors note: An ancient formula for rejuvenation. At -19, add 3 to 206; reduce 1001 to zero. – mh clay


Little Slot Boy by Robert L. Martin

Little slot boy that you are
Running through the middle
Lost among those big ferocious giants
Who eat little boys for breakfast
As lions eat Christians
And missiles overpower spears

Life made giants for football
And made you for knitting sweaters
Don’t venture onto the gridiron
Life is short enough
You are up for the kill
Stay home where it’s safe
Little slot boy,
Where are you going?

Oh no, you’re lining up in the slot?
Or hiding in the backfield?
With all those giants all around?
Now you’re getting lost in the middle
And they can’t find you
When they see you, you are dead
You, you little needle in a haystack
You little Speedy Gonzales around the bend
You greased pig, you invisible little brat
You’re in for a great big spanking
When they find you if they can
What is that you got in your hands?
Is that a football you’re carrying
Across the goal line?
Hurray for little slot boys!!!
Hurrah, hurrah!!!

April 18, 2016

editors note: Underdogs everywhere, arise! Hurrah! – mh clay


Art by Wayne Burke

no kids
no wife;
sometimes it seems
as if life
is not worth
the living,
and like I missed the boat
somewhere
but then
whenever I start to write
I think
this art is what
I have to love:
as fickle as it is
as un-glamorous in the
morning
as moody in the night
as meaningless as it
sometimes seems–
in all its flaws
and wrinkles
it still comes through
for me
still there
whenever I reach
for it,
from the dark
or from the most desolate
shore.

April 17, 2016

editors note: Fickle mistress though she be; can’t live with her… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! We got a fine read to feed your need on this fine day. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this slinky story:

"Darkness for many is celebration. It is life. It is love in infinite blackness, where the only light at the end of the tunnel is a scream."

Here's a few morsels of "Serpent’s Tale" by Andy Tu for for you to sink your fangs into:

(photo "Giver of Knowledge" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

My eyes are like diamonds, finely cut in the mirror. The outlines of my face waver, melting into the cracked walls behind me. My tie represents who I am. Neat, perfectly-strewn, nice. Together.

There is no image in my head as I drive through the night. No faces of my dead mother or vanished father, just the recurring voice of that waitress.

You want fortune cookie?

Today is my birthday. I have celebrated alone at this restaurant. There is no family riding in on the trains from out of town, no friends decorating my apartment while I’m away. There is just me, and this smooth paper that remains from the cookie. I rub it in circles between my thumbs and index finger as I steer toward the address on the back of the paper.

367 Eastbrook Ridge

The trees along the sidewalks point at me with their branches. Look, they say, there he goes again.

This is where the address would be, if it were real…


And with that cliffhanger, we leave you to slither your mouse on here and get the rest of your read on

•••••••

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

Worshippin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.16.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.16.16

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” ~ Anatole France

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Mom at the well” (above) by featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets.

Months ago, we here at Mad Swirl were swept off our feet by artist Maria Valentina Sheets. This time we’re not quite back on the ground, lifted by her gifts once again. Once you see what she’s got for us, we’re sure you’ll get what we mean – Sheets’ stained glass pieces are like something straight from a cathedral…. but not. The juxtaposition of the traditional and sacred nature of stained glass with the modern and edgy mind of Maria display sky-lit images we’d definitely put in the windows of OUR Mad church, and we’ll bet you would too. Don’t take our word for it though – check out the glass-terpieces here. ~ Madelyn Olson

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

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we ran a reel to real and back again; we scratched an itch, inflicted, no doubt, by a witch; we gripped a gun, shot full of verse, looking for the safety; we listened to life through a "veil of cheese"; we danced with an angel in a holy place, salvation glowing on her neon face; we reveled in riffs from a jazz man's horn; we wrote nothing for free, not even our verses. Words wish wonder while talk is cheap. Add your own value. ~ MH Clay

starbucks coffee brands by Carl Kavadlo

bold is stronger
taste
less caffeine as
the roasting burns
the buzz.
pike is a stronger
buzz
less roast
as
preservation weakens
taste.
so you
get a nice high typing
in the morning if you
systematically
arrange your sequence
at a reasonable
price too, without
the cabal murdering you.

April 16, 2016

editors note: The price we pay for free wifi. – mh clay


BE-BOP STATUARY by Jay Passer

like bones clattering in cloudbursts
I attempt
a clumsy blues riff
tap dancing in the claw foot
bathtub
after washing away the death of
a great jazzman with
sucking sinkholes of ancient lava
along rotgut rivers of
chopstick vodka
nearing crescendo
riding oak leaf rafts
yeah then
lucking out
electrified in the metropolis of
pulchritude
more blood than Dracula squared
and a hot date with the new waitress at
Yummi Korea Snak
maybe just
slept with her
at worst killed her off
video arcade style
another ambitious barkeep
she crooned like a minor
Venus
couldn’t keep her arms to herself
conch drops to the linoleum
so long Ornette

April 15, 2016

editors note: Jilted, maybe. Jinxed, likely. Jazzed, forever… – mh clay


On Meeting you at the Taproom by Scott McDaniel

My church
is lit by neon, not candles.
My sermon
is a drunken philosophical rant blanketed by the singing of a jukebox.
There is wine,
but expect no body of Christ…
there is only your body, dancing
on a bar stool as you smile and lip synch
while waiting on the drinks.

When you return, your hair is backlit by the neon;
as angelic as “The Archangel Leaving the Family of Tobias”

I do love the neon…

There is something sacredly decadent about a neon sign as it pierces
through Marlboro and Camel smoke
lingering together with drunken, fumbling kisses
that taste like Jack and coke.

Give me neon or give me death.
Give me dead bumpers on a pool table with 50 cents stacked on the rail.
Give me a bar back mirror, stained by the smoke of spirits.
Give me vinyl covered stools with holes both picked and burned.
Give me a shake of bones; loser buys the next round.
Give me a shady character in the back that makes all feel a bit nervous.
Give me a bar. This bar.
Give me a woman. You.
Give me, my church.
Yesterday’s church was the taproom.
Tomorrow’s church is you.

April 14, 2016

editors note: Angels, angels, everywhere! – mh clay


Incoming Transmission by Jada Yee

Behind the choir of dial tones, live cotton rounds of provolone,
busy lines of thin-sliced swiss camouflage all that we miss.

Our sensitive ears are layered with but a veil of cheese,
transparencies for elegy…

An old record player scratching its way to life,
sculpted lyrics, falling through a jagged tunnel or cracked drain pipe.

Don’t strain your ears to listen, there’s no reward or commission,
to decipher an ill-received language is to reapply a wet, peeling bandage.

Are ears a better fit on the deaf or on the blind?
When no one listens, can they charge the harshest fine?

How did we allow the intolerant ear canal
to lead such a negligent life, such a waxy cover on the butter knife.

If only we’d give it a turn
to widen our eyes.

April 13, 2016

editors note: Bass tones through cheddar, treble through swiss, volume through thin provolone. – mh clay


MOLON LABE by Jhon Baker

here we are at two in the morning
2.16 to be precise
and sleep is in the past and far from me now
I eat Reality Sandwiches
and drink coffee, black, out from a chipped mug

I seem to be the target of spam lately
and with this I admit to the digital age
fully with handheld computers
and online dictionaries and
the classic writers thesaurus

and I read Bartlett’s book of anecdotes
to substitute for any actual experience
which is a lie
though I sleep away in relative safety
next to a loaded revolver

MOLON LABE – out from my cold dead hands
and of course I speak of poetry
long looks and bedroom post-coital whispers
it is not enough that the sun should rise
in a few hours but that the moon is full

April 12, 2016

editors note: Wouldn’t touch it; much less take it . – mh clay


Supernatural by Catfish McDaris

Sorcery and witchery still flourishes
people need protection, salt strewn
around an encampment helps ward

Off demon attacks, corn meal mixed
with gall of an eagle, bear, mountain
lion, or skunk is potent medicine

Witches live along the Rio Grande,
they steal Mexican sheep and cause
death, beware of shape shifters

Brown and gray corn known as maiz
de brujeria should be avoided, healing
elixirs are mercury, Gonzalez herb,
guayuli, and powdered turquoise.

April 11, 2016

editors note: So many cures for what ails; nothing for what doesn’t. (This one comes from Catfish’s new book, check it out here.) – mh clay


Fantasy by Lily Tierney

A fairy tale in the mind
creating such beautiful
pictures on a reel of
imagination.

Eventually it runs out
and reality takes over
in black and white.

If only you had more
film.

April 10, 2016

editors note: Keep it rolling till the director says, “Cut!” – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week's tasty tale comes from Mad Swirl's previous featured Artist Chuck Taylor. Did we mention he's also a Contributing Poet here at Mad Swirl? Yep. A Mad trifecta-ist!

Here's what Short Story Editor, and another Mad trifecta-ist, Tyler Malone had to say about Chuck's short story "Diane":

"Love! Madness! They’re one-in-the-same, we all like to hope as the beat of our hearts drives us bonkers. Sadly, so say they want the the world, but they want someone else to give it to them."

If that endorsement doesn't tickle your curiosity bone, here's a few nibbles for ya:

(photo "Garbage Roses" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

The way I see it, Diane, you know, I did her a favor, the way things were going I hate to say it, but I would have needed to kill her, reporters flying in from New York and Los Angeles to interview her and write her up in magazines, she got her colored picture in Gentlemen’s Quarterly, couples we knew were dropping by asking advice on their troubled marriages, all the lesbians in town thought she was some kind of sage superwoman, oh everybody loved her in 1976 and she had kindness and charm, she would take confused boys into our own home and feed them hot meals and let them play with her grown son’s old drums, and street men who smelled like death would crash in the living room and she’d never ask for money, she believed in white magic and prayers and did rituals, curandera she thought she was, but I was her man and knew the dark bruja inside and the arrogance I saw that others didn’t see...

Now go and 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...

Path Walkin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.09.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.09.16

“A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else.” ~ Charles Baudelaire

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Gothic Tree Sky” (above) by featured artist Chuck Taylor. This one will close out Chuck's feature showing but we bet he'll be back with more snaps sooner than later! Til then, to view more of Chuck's mad snaps, along with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we greeted poets fond, speaking by a lily pond; we planted in a pot of timeless sleep; we cut to the core of a faceless bore; we caught a cat, eyes open, lips chapped; we bullied by the spider to the fly; we ran in the race of the closed (still open) case; we ourselves did see by St. Martin's tree. Birds, blue sky - all with words to tickle our eye. Read and blink, read some more... ~ MH Clay

The Tree at St Martin’s by Trier Ward

I’m in the trenches,
on the streets.
I’m smelling shit
and smelling feet-
but the eyes that look
out at me are the
most beautiful
I’ve ever seen.
They are crazed and bright –
looking past the sores
on her face –
looking past the hood
of her dirty coat.
God, I think there
is shit caked on her back!
I think I am going to gag.
But she is a human being.
Maybe born on a
bright spring day
into clean sheets.
No, I’m not going to gag.
I’m not going to leave.
I’m going to stay here
and say how are you today
I will help feed her like
I came here to do.
Not look at her funny.
Not pass a single judgement.
Because who the fuck am I?
I’m a derelict poet.
Am I better because
I’m educated?
So recently sober?
Because I smell good today?
No I’m not better in anyway.
God brought me to this
exact same place.
A humble grateful place
where like
a tree I will grow from
this shit, dirt, and rot-
where I will use my
energy and strength to
send down roots and reach
out branches and so will
my compassion
for every human being grow-
The dirtiest
The smallest
The loneliest
The most desperate
until I reach the sun.

April 9, 2016

editors note: Every person is a mirror; every mirror tells the truth. Take a long, hard look; she dares us. – mh clay


Closed Case by James Brown

Get down, Got-Dam it’s a homicide forty-eight hours, murder case still subsists, fatal blow incited from the inside, proof easily unlawfully baptized and we the people darker in color are capsized by an unsociable justice system with a breed of unlawful bobbies turning homicide into a hobby.

Cold day.......

Cold hearted.......

Cold chase.......

Closes the case on an unlawful murder rate, new wave modern way of hate, fuck the debate, we the people are ghosts in plain site they assassinate, that’s the mandate, remember these names and dates

Medgar Evers, 1964.......

Fred Hampton, 1968.......

Harry and Harriette Moore, 1951.......

Malcom X, 1965.......

Martin L. King, 1968.......

Now can you relate?

Closed case.

April 8, 2016

editors note: The blind lady’s scale tips to the twitchy trigger finger. – mh clay


Bullies and the Wimp by Donal Mahoney

They laugh at him
because he’s weak
by their standards
but they don’t realize

they’ve signed a
contract with him,
a lifetime guarantee
for recompense.

It will be fulfilled
perhaps tomorrow or
maybe on a wedding day
or years from now at

the funeral of a loved one
when they’re as vulnerable
as he appears to be
and for the moment is

but they don’t realize
the spider in its web
looks slow to any fly
circling overhead.

April 7, 2016

editors note: Minimize your deficit with a healthy respect for all. – mh clay


ichor by Andrew Chmielowiec

from my mother, i learned
to be the cat
at the top of the stairs
watching;

to lick my lips chapped,
and how to heal them;

to speak less, say more.

i learned a lifetime
of bracing yourself for impact
leaves permanent indentations
in the steering wheel,
handle bars,
your wrists,

and every mark
is a badge of honor,
on your face,
in your palms,
deep in the pit of your stomach,

if you wear it so.

i learned that oranges
are meant to be peeled slowly;

that a watched pot will boil,
but everybody’s afraid
to take the time to see it,

and,

that somewhere,
right now,
always,
the sun is rising
without ever needing to move.

April 6, 2016

editors note: Patience and positivity. Yes! – mh clay


Apple-Face Speaks by Neil Fulwood

(after Magritte)

This is not an apple.
I am not wearing a suit.
You are mistaken
about the bowler hat.

Whether this is a canvas
and I am paint
is open to discussion
but only when

you’re ready to admit
this is not a poem,
you are not a reader
and – empirically –

I do not have a face.

April 5, 2016

editors note: This is not a spastic, ekphrastic poem. Nice! (Inspired by the picture, Son of Man, by Rene Magritte – check it out.) – mh clay


You, the Potted Plant and Me by Curtis Emery

What tree
what pebble
what peak

what lake what silvered
skyscraper,

what fleck of ash, what potted plant.

These things move with me
through time
and remind me of my death.

What morning
what noon
what coming of age what dusk
what seasons of fields of fleece.

All these things time keeps—
what fragile light, what timeless sleep.

April 4, 2016

editors note: What? What! – mh clay


A BROOKLYN RENDEZVOUS WITH MYSELF AT LILY POND WHILE SITTING WITH THE BEAT POETS by Mel Waldman

(on reading Gregory Corso’s poem – Hello)

And
I return to Lily Pond again

to
meet myself

inside
the oval mirror of my mind

&
say hello

once more
in

a sweet rendezvous
in

the sacred garden
of

&
say hello

&
say hello

by
the soothing waters

&
say hello

to
the familiar stranger

swirling
in

phantasmagoria
&

rushing slowly

in
the mirror of glittering reflections

at
the center of my chimerical omphalos

&
here

inside
the oval mirror

I
return to Lily Pond

&
sit with the Beat Poets

Corso, Kerouac, & Ginsberg,
phantom companions

of
my inner landscape,
a necessary illusion
within

the flowing opalescence
of

my brainwaves
&

suddenly,
the rebel-ghost Corso

rises
&

leaps toward Lily Pond
&

shrieks hello
&

his raw visionary voice
drills

a hole
in

my dream-mind
&

opens
it

to
metaphysical malaise

&
I say hello

inside
the echo chamber of my dreamscape

I
say hello hello hello

&
meet myself again

&
whisper in sweet susurrations –

Who am I?

&
shriek soundlessly –

Who am I?

inside
a dust devil

&
an unholy silence screams –

Who am I?

within
my swirling nowhere –

my everlasting existential question –

Who am I?
Who am I?
Who am I?

unending shadow of a shadow
of

my phantom
soul

that
follows me to Lily Pond

where
the rebel-ghost Corso

peers
at his fathomless fragile self,

a wounded deer,
&

reveals
his trauma his truth a bestial shattering

here
at Lily Pond

on
the Brooklyn College campus

circa
summer 1965

&
I gaze into the mirror of my mind

&
touch the broken glass of

the merciless shattering
of

the self

&
hear shards of my apocalyptic past

exploding
into my mutilated eyes

&
I mourn all I have lost all that is gone

all who have died
I mourn all the death I carry inside

&
I say hello hello hello

at
a Brooklyn rendezvous with myself

at
Lily Pond
while sitting with the Beat Poets
&

I say hello

April 3, 2016

editors note: “I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello” – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? And do we got quite the read to feed your need today. Be aware, this one might make you think & just might cause some internal debate. But that's what we've come to expect from Contributing Writer and Poet, Donal Mahoney.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about "Dr. Chapman's Insight": "Life is life. It goes on and on, by the will of living, by the hands of death."

Here's a dose of this medicine to get ya goin':

photo by Tyler Malone

Dr. Chapman had been valedictorian of his class in high school and college but had finished second in his class in medical school, something that still bothered him after 30 years of successful practice in a small city. Many patients traveled from all over the state to see him.

Over the years, he had hired a number of practical nurses to assist him in his practice and went out of his way to hire those that might have had trouble being hired elsewhere due to discrimination. He was proud of his record and didn’t have much turnover in staff.

Between patients he and his nurses would often discuss weighty topics of the day, delving into difficult subjects such as religion and politics. Most of his nurses had tried at one time or another to get him to vote their way and they always tried to convince him to go to church, even if it wouldn’t be the church any of them attended. Dr. Chapman was always polite but always resisted their efforts...


Don't stop there! You'll see why. Here's where to get the whole story!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

(Photo courtesy of Rosie Lindsey. To see more of her mad mic pics, check out here FB page here)

Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness this past 1st Wednesday! Mad Swirl Open Mic was honored to feature Dallas singer/songwriter Kelly Nygren! Her groove sure moved us in the most mad-licious of ways. Her smooth smokey blues are still echoin’ in our mad minds…

Thanks to all who came out to The Underpass & shared in this collective delicious madness. What a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music it was! Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Feature:
Kelly Nygren

Swirve:
Gerard Bendiks
Chris Curiel
Tamitha Curiel

Mad Cast:
Chris Zimmerly
Desmene M. Statum
Carlos Salas
Maggie Smith
Sean Gregory Buttram aka “TA2”
David Crandall
Opalina Salas
Rob Dyer aka “David Parham”
Cj Critt
James Barrett Rodehaver aka “Bear the Poet”
Jen Bochenko
Jay Gomez aka “Holiday”
Paul Sexton
Nadia Wolnisty
Harry McNabb
Anthony X Haynes
Reverie
Tom Bannon
Gabe Mamola
Anthony Harris

HUGE thanks to Swirve for keeping the beat til the wee hours of the night. We got taken to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

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

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

P.S. Comin’ Up May 4th: Next month we feature Mad Swirl Poetry Editor, Poet, Playwright, Actor, Musician, mad co-conspirator, and all-around an all-around top-notch soul… (catch breath)… MH Clay! Join us as we launch his new book, Angst! He’ll be joined by the musical madmen of Earthlinger and Angst Artist, Jeff Skele Sheely! Come join all of us as we experience a Mad Angstful Rant! And buy you a book of this mad-licious collab-creation

•••••••

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...

Devourin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.02.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.02.16

“I am an artist... I am here to live out loud.” ~ Emile Zola

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Going Up” (above) by featured artist Chuck Taylor. To view more of Chuck's mad snaps, along with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we gave our best as a proud bird's nest; we sought silence in the midst of noise; we trod a trail through silence singing, rain on leaves, the springtime bringing; we smelled the trees and flowers sexing; we hailed the moon with the crash of spoon; we asked "what for?" the wreck of war; we danced to the band of our DNA strand. Amino acids placid while birds sing, rains fall and the dish runs away with the spoon. ~ MH Clay

Long Division by Scott Thomas Outlar

Most people,
you’ll find,
can hardly handle,
if at all,
the shit
from their own childhood –

and you expect
the masses
to deal with
thousands of years
of ancestral DNA
swirling around
the synapses
of their sub consciousness?

Come on!…
I came here only to dance –

April 2, 2016

editors note: Here we are; still rockin’ to the hits. – mh clay


Reason’s Lament by Robert Ippaso

What kind of men who cannot stop
Wholesale slaughter in the making;
Where little children cry shrill tears,
While their very world is shaking.

Where’s our compassion, empathy for others,
When guns replace the word;
Why jockey for position
In a race that’s so absurd.

With brother versus brother,
Tearing families apart;
A differing religion,
A rupture of the heart.

Does God not see this wanton murder;
Can one believe that He approves?
Are we so blinded by our anger,
That no just reason can disprove.

It’s not too late to stop the bloodshed,
Let all the warring sides unite,
To end this endless conflagration
And bring the peace so long denied.

April 1, 2016

editors note: So sad that, for many, this is just unreasonable (no foolin’). – mh clay


The Spoon by Tricia Marcella Cimera

You used to tap, tap
your teeth
with this very
spoon
while eating
indifferently
in our dead-calm
silent dining room.

It’s night, the moon
is out. I scrub, scrub
the spoons’
silver face,
then hurl it back
into its place;
I slam the drawer.
The glasses shiver.

March 31, 2016

editors note: Cleanliness is next to raw remembrance. (With this submission, we welcome Tricia to the raucous ranks of our crazy congress of Contributing Poets. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out!) – mh clay


Adolescent Spring by Linda Barrett

As Winter’s heavy cold fat melts away,
Spring approaches
tentative from under still hard earth
shy and awkward
with its few brave blossoms
crocuses reach up
like clenched hands
tightly holding treasures
so they won’t fall out.
Naked trees erupt in red buds
Skinny boughs shake
In trembling teenager fashion
Red buds slowly unravel
Do they come out in white acne pustules
Or blossoming sexual organs?
Green grass sprouts
reminiscent of beards and body hair
covering once barren skin
The sun shines later and later
nurturing the earth into adulthood
with its gradual and understanding love.

March 30, 2016

editors note: Springtime tempts every plant. Raging hormones, flowers out of wedlock, growth and glory; no shame. – mh clay


Beneath A Cover Green by Dave Kavanagh

Beneath a cover green
forest silence. Loud!
The song of heaving life
the chattering crowd.
The crackle of feet
crunching on litter
The scatter of life
creatures a skitter.
The breathe of air
sighing through laughing willows.
Rain drops down
on chestnut, trifoliate pillows.
A cessation of song
in the canopy
the death of silence
no more cacophony.
Then music of water
singing rapids ahead
relief for burning blisters
burst and bled.
Limp on new walker
hikes almost done.
Trees will give way to.
blue skies and sun.

March 29, 2016

editors note: A march through March; blisters and blooms alike, all new. – mh clay


The Freeway Sounded by A.J. Huffman

like a distant ovation
in an arena where games never ended,
where life and death struggled
to survive, to find meaning in eyes
that blued like evening skies.
The sun reflected
this strange anonymity
against windshields
of cars moving but not passing,
a thousand bright silver bullets
blinking at once,
and I was the silence, the breathing
moment released before everything reopened.

March 28, 2016

editors note: Gridlock in the middle of gridlock. – mh clay


DESOLATE by Ogana D. Okpah

A pigeon rests a grain of
wheat on my head
in the dead of summer,
planting her dreams.
This bird is my heirloom,
a stray bird –
she is my kin spirit.
A peacock, startling
my pride in cowering.
She has the colours,
mournful colours of right.

March 27, 2016

editors note: Plumage presented in the color of right. How proud is that? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? If you're feelin' a bit beat by life (or even if you're not) then we got a most uplifting peaceful piece for you.

This week's featured read, "Letter to Myself" comes from Trigg Edwards. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this ditty: "Fatalism isn’t embracing the horrible and hopeless, it’s seeing the inevitable end and inviting it into your house, kissing it, undressing it, and doing what you please with something repulsive while laughing into madness about what it’s really doing to you."

Here's a lil bit of this lit to get ya started:

photo by Tyler Malone

Hello, Nearly Departed:

Death has visited you, but yet you still remain. Death has no sting, only a stench. I am writing you to keep the light of life burning bright in you. I wrote this to myself after I was nearly murdered two and a half years ago. Here is what I wrote for all of you, who like me, have tasted death’s residue, but managed to still remain...


If that doesn't tempt you to keep readin', you may wanna check your pulse and if you still got one, reconsider and click here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

(original photo courtesy of Bobby Hilt • firebirdimages.com)

Join Mad Swirl & Swirve the 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.06.16) as we continue to swirl up our open mic madness at our NEW Open Mic home, Dallas' Underpass Bar!

This month we feature Dallas Singer/Songwriter Kelly Nygren!
Her groove is sure to move us in the most mad-licious of ways. For proof of that claim, visit her official FB fan page. And maybe even give her a thumbs up while you’re there!

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

P.S. We look forward to ALL the m-adventures still yet to come! Stay tuned for MH Clay’s “Mad Angstful Rant” comin’ up in May!

•••••••

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...

Livin' Loud,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

3.26.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.26.16

“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.” ~ Tennessee Williams

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Holy Nature Mailbox” (above) by featured artist Chuck Taylor. To view more of Chuck's mad snaps, along with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we reminisced o'er a parking lot kiss; we lamented affection lost in another; we briefly expounded on love confounded; we served up love to a devouring lover; we kissed a crazy, then were left alone to turn to stone; we were made lonely and sad by a classified ad; we surrendered our volition to a love like demolition. What a love-ly week! ~ MH Clay

Beautiful like Demolition by Jen Bochenko

Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it. ~ David Foster Wallace

I am a one woman wrecking ball
I am the Genghis Khan of love
I am Gozer the Destructor
An unabashed motherfucker
A woman to get rid of

I am Death, the Destroyer of Worlds
I am Time which destroys all things
I am one who destroys all hearts
And rips them all apart
Thread you with these puppet strings

I will crush your will
I will steal your soul
I will drive you into an early grave
Death is all I crave
Leave you rotting in a hole

I will wreck your hopes
I will wreck your dreams
I will wreck your innocence
My presence is that intense
Live life in all extremes

I am a beautiful mess
I am tragedy
I will draw you in
With original sin
Leave Eden with you always hating me

I am a beautiful mess
I am tragedy
I will capture you
With this enchanted view
Make you fall in love with me

I am the Queen of Hell
I am a sweet siren of the sea
I am the Wicked Witch of the West
And this is me at my best

You said and I believe

March 26, 2016

editors note: Full disclosure here; eyes open, shields up. – mh clay


Love me by Athena Stickseed

In an alternative rag’s alternative
personals, you paid for this: Heat-seeking
missile — and received three cash offers,
two replies, one consisting of a phone number
for the women’s rape crisis center, the other one
garbled word salad ending in the obligatory
call me, and a full-court investigation
by The Department of Homeland Security.
You took on the schizophrenic. You
won. Why does the small head always take
the big-headed down like oxen

felled by an elephant gun? You only say you
need love. The test drive runs you like
a perpetual motion machine, though you prefer
battery-operated bunny rabbits that choose
the incredible vibrating hand of Wing Wang Dung.
This is always Greek to you. You wrote

another: Love me — for a credit card deposit
(imagine that) of sixteen bucks just because
those you use are nothing but the best
automated teller machines: the in, the scan,
the out, the get out, I’m done. You got one
odd reply — from the Iron Wheel Missionary
Baptist Church. You circled “Missionary”
and sent it back postage due, but the alpha mail
returned three years later. Something about

enough and never enough never meets at dusk.

March 25, 2016

editors note: Love by classified ad. Caveat emptor! – mh clay


The Statue by Chrissie Morris Brady

He takes her hands in his
she is warm to his touch
and smiles though she has tears.
He leans forward and kisses her

tasting her mouth, salt on her
face. He is hot, she is soft
as his tongue is aflame, his
stomach ablaze. Snow falls

as she steps back, smiling again.
There are flowers to gather and
snow flakes to catch, she mustn’t
miss her bus.

He stands as she withdraws her
fingers from his fire she turns
to go, he is rooted to the spot,
water running off him as she

catches snowflakes in her basket
and poppies in her hair. She sings
softly a lullaby to herself. He is
planted where he stands, watching

as her hair fills with crimson, her
basket with cool white. Slowly
she makes her way, as his blood
turns to stone in him and he

will never move again. She steps
aboard her bus, she gazes toward
the statue that she touched. It is time
to return to the asylum.

March 24, 2016

editors note: Stone cold love or hot delusion? Get back on the bus! – mh clay


THE MASTER OF NOWHERE by Gina Nemo

I decked those walls
With lots of honey
Smeared across
Paintings of yesterday
Licking my way back
To sweet sanity and tears
So I could go on

Falling for your
Screwdriver of pain
Evil driven torture
Dark sleepless
Scary waterfall nights
Exploding into my
Broken dreams

Love lost under
A pillow of time
Ripping out my guts
Yelling at the walls
Begging a higher power
For yet another year
Of hell on top of hell

You won with words
Dear master of nowhere
You made me die inside
Like I was supposed to
Born and bred to eat
Hungry for love
I let you devour me.

March 23, 2016

editors note: Sometimes love is dog eat dog. – mh clay


Untitled 2 by Anila Zaidi

From a distance,
your adoration confounds me

Not like the Great Pyramids of Egypt
Not like the Stone Faces of Easter Island
Not like God himself

Like this sock, missing its pair

March 22, 2016

editors note: Together by choice, not by static cling. – mh clay


The Longest Kiss Goodbye by Michael R. King

I saw it in your eyes the moment it happened
When the light shining upon our time started to dim
Escaping through the edges of an elemental kiss
Neither one of us knowing it might be the kiss goodbye…

Now, it has come to this-
Finding a way to let go of what we know
Holding back the desires to touch, to clutch
Affections galore to be given freely, no more…

I want you to know that it will just be a show
Continuing on, as if our time is not gone
There is no way I cannot Love you each day
You know me – I will always dream away.

March 21, 2016

editors note: Dreaming to shape a harsh reality into the opposite of goodbye. – mh clay


Thanks for Lunch by Logen Cure

I remember you always paid for me
in cash, every time, untraceable, clean.
You bought my lunch that day, and several beers
you drank like water. It had been a year
since I’d seen you. You were just the same —
your crooked smile, your dirty charm, unchanged.
I can’t recall which lie I told that day
to see you, but I remember I prayed
we wouldn’t run into someone I knew
who’d want to know just why I was with you,
across the table leaning on elbows
and laughing. After a year it still showed.
You looked at me like you thought I’d taste good,
like you’d find out if you could,
if I’d let you, if I could forget her
long enough for these things to occur,
these things you said had never left your mind.
You never liked her, said she was unkind,
said you could treat me the way I deserved.
That day, with you, I was looking to swerve.
I let you kiss me in the parking lot
like it didn’t matter if we got caught.

March 20, 2016

editors note: Forbidden love; a secret desire to be caught in the act. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good, 'cos we got a beatific read for you.

Need-a-Read? Good, 'cos we suggest you have a close look-see at this week's featured tale, "Regular Maintenance" by Justin Eells. Look under the hood, check the fluids, kick the tires, and scratch your head. Better yet, hear what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this ditty: "People should like ovens. When was the last time you traded an oven for a newer oven? Love what you have. Love it until it’s useless, then love a new one. A shiny one until it’s no longer shiny."

Read this teaser and see what you think:


Over the weekend my wife’s Honda wouldn’t start. I went out to the garage to tinker under the hood but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Monday morning, she said she was taking my Pontiac to work and I could walk.

The bus stop was just around the corner from our house but I had to get off at the transfer and take another bus, so walking probably would have been faster. I was a half hour late to work and spent most of the morning online in my cubicle, looking at how-to sites, trying to figure out what was wrong with my wife’s car. When we were dating I told her I used to be a mechanic when in fact I used to be a service technician at an oil change place. She found it sexy that I knew my way around a car, and I wanted to satisfy her expectations. Her car had never had any troubles before that I knew of.

When I got home that evening I was surprised to find my Pontiac was not in the driveway. In its place was a big silver Audi.

“Honey,” I said when I walked in the door, “whose car is that outside?”

“That’s George’s,” she said. “He let me use it.” She was wearing a silk dress I’d never seen before, looking ready for a cocktail party or a dinner date.

“Who’s George?” I said.

She looked at me with a smile, but she was not smiling at me. “George is a man I work with,” she said.

“You took my car to work this morning. Where is it?”

“Couldn’t get me to where I was going,” she said, “so I had to trade up.” I waited for her to say more, but her smile told me her mind was not in the room. I shook my head and went to the garage...


Wow, there might be a bit more going on in this one than you initially thought! Get the whole diagnostic lit check here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

(original photo courtesy of Bobby Hilt • firebirdimages.com)

Join Mad Swirl & Swirve the 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.06.16) as we continue to swirl up our open mic madness at our NEW Open Mic home, Dallas' Underpass Bar!

This month we feature Dallas Singer/Songwriter Kelly Nygren!
Her groove is sure to move us in the most mad-licious of ways.

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

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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...

Lovin' It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

3.19.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.19.16

“All art is a confession.” ~ Gaston Lachaise

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Just You” (above) by featured artist Chuck Taylor. To view more of Chuck's mad snaps, along with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we wandered far in a big car; we studied the suit against thoughtless fruit; we pleasure pilfered from rain, not silver; we gave our best to be the guest; we searched the land for an authorized hand, got self-respect to join the band; we viewed freedom from a balcony, compared boredom there to boredom here; we sought a golden bird instead of eggs and turds. Good for me or good for you. To get both good is good to do. ~ MH Clay

Seeking The Golden Bird by Joseph Farley

There is what you want,
And there is what you settle for,
The bird you try to catch,
And the one that winds up
In your hands.

One may have borne you
On its back,
Across seas and summer fields
To its eyrie
In the peaks of your desire.

The other, well,
It sits there,
And maybe gives you eggs,
Or just turds,
But it is yours,
To feed and care for,

Or pluck and eat,
If you think you are
Still brave and nimble enough
To grab golden feathers
In the wind.

March 19, 2016

editors note: In hand or bush; eggs are for eating, flying is for birds. – mh clay


Nuor by Nika Sabasteanski

the son
of the son
of the lion
is spring,
waiting for dumplings
soaked in eggs and cream,
folded, stirred, and served
by the swollen hands of the lawyer.

the thick winds that tousle his bangs
smell of fifth floor aubergines
swimming in humid tomatoes.
our ankles wade
through the typhoid bathwater
that also cleans chickens and babies.
a wooden sword severs the stream,
dragged along the halls
by a Thumbelina warrior.
the cleft river smooths itself.

and the lawyer takes me to the balcony,
to speak of constitutions,
and babies in snowy playgrounds,
of dying eyes
and dying,
and infinite boredom
cradled in new flats.

I have never felt this fear, I say
and the lawyer is incredulous
no?
her lazy eye widens
and appears to glance at mine for a moment
no.
never?
never.
the swollen hands pour me more orange soda,
sifting through the bowl of chocolates
like sand

the son
of the son
of the lion
sits on the floor building bridges,
an engineer of reverie
in his trundle bed.
The swollen hand arrives at his mouth
with a forkful of Pierogis,
wiping his lip with its finger simultaneously.
He listens to our conversation,
to the lawyer’s fear
her dying freedom.
Who must I be to him?
Some shard of childhood
he’ll store and resurrect
when he becomes a writer.
the day, they brought me
on the tram to Krasno Selo,
through the shortcut,
tripping over tumbleweeds and bricks.

March 18, 2016

editors note: What he will be to us builds on what we are to him. – mh clay


Self-Respect by Pijush Kanti Deb

I have a drum
which is grammatically well tuned
like of yours
as per the universal norm of sweetness
and as usual I long to listen its sweet sound
beating it
dancing and singing,
traversing each and every cavity of human sense
but unfortunately
I have a weakness too
as I lack an ethically authorized hand to beat it
but in the process
my young heart permits me
to purchase the authorized hand
in exchange for
my beloved money and self-respect both
but my old soul restricts me
saying
“No self respect means no life in a life,
so let your drum be beaten by others”

March 17, 2016

editors note: What it means to be beat? Looking for an “authorized hand.” – mh clay


Us Muslims by Arif Ahmad

This is our circus, our monkeys.
The question begs us how to best respond to all this.
Blame everyone else to the hilt for our ills.
Stay in our shell, shocked, shy, never to step out, never to mix.
Keep our eyes closed and pretend all is kosher.
Or wait for some other divine miracle.
Where each one of us is a brand ambassador, I believe for a Muslim today just showing up is not enough.
This is the time to step it up without apologies or excuses.
With smiling eyes and heads held high, at work or play, crawl if we have to go that extra mile.
To reach out, help out, love, impress.
Create some magic, make some good news, lay ourselves out to excel and embrace.
Step out from behind those walls.
Leave our surrounds a better place.

March 16, 2016

editors note: What “we” make “them” do to live with “us” makes “them” the better. – mh clay


Bridging the Gap by Bhupender Bhardwaj

The self-possessed person who takes pride
In twirling his mustache, adjusting the bow
Of his tie, in patting his wallet like a pet
Is the poorest and the richest person is
The one who derives utmost pleasure
From not collecting the silver coins of the rain
That shower down incessantly from the
Mint of the sky but from watching its
Darts hit the earth’s board and his heart
Which is its bull’s eye.

Why is it that one does not see that the
Grave edge of reason can bloody the
Face of happiness, that pretentious behavior
Can lead to ruination and that a stomach ache
Can dissolve one’s ego, pride and possessions?

After it has finished raining, pools of pristine water
That contain the sky, newly born trees and the turtle
Floating downslope across rills say to us, “Only in
Proximity to us, can you gain your lost self.”

March 15, 2016

editors note: Can’t fill a pocket full of coins with freedom or blue sky. – mh clay


To Eat the Rowan’s Fruit by Marianne Szlyk

The rowan is the sign of the thinker,
its fruit as bitter and seedy as thought.
Thin, orange pulp barely covers the pit.
Birds and deer avoid the rowan’s berries,
eating them last, after the frost.

I once knew someone who claimed
to have eaten this fruit.
It was something to tick off his list
like the juniper berries he smoked
or the rainforest he later visited.

One must boil the fruit, strain it
through cheesecloth, sugar it,
ferment it, or serve it
as a jelly with gout-giving game.

But he never mentioned
how bitter
or seedy
the rowan’s fruit was
as if he had gulped it down,
without thought.

March 14, 2016

editors note: Tasted better or tasted worse; before you bite, consider your source. – mh clay


THE BIG CAR by Roger G. Singer

I got out the big car, the flashy one
where you’re absorbed into the soul of your seat.
We turn on the black roads with no names
past road signs peppered with bullet holes
and other signs pointing each way to towns
and places somewhere to go.

The moon plasters a gray canvas like my
single headlight, beaming a path of night.

Cold and flat, suspended and smoking the
old car slips past cemeteries where we tip
our hats at the crossroads where tales of
life changing like Monday morning sheets
turns the heads each way while praying.

The road is hard as it surrenders the lost
and curious at deserted rest areas where
carved initials in picnic tables tell a story.

March 13, 2016

editors note: Smooth cruisin’. A story to tell, pocket knife ready. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good, 'cos we got a beatific read for you.

Once in awhile a piece will come across our mad desks that we have a hard time classifying. Is it a poem? Prose? Or perhaps a Beaten prayer? All we know is that this week's featured poem/prose/prayer, "The Brooklyn Hallelujah" by Contributing Writer Hannah Frishberg, raised a holy Awww-man in us! Here's what Chief Editor Johnny O had to say about this tasty tale: "Deities come in a multitude of diverse forms. Who is to say which one is holier than thou’s? Ultimately, whatever gets you to the holy Hallelujah is all that matters. Can we get an Awww-man?!"

Here's a few verses to get a rise outta ya:

(photo courtesy of Hannah Frishberg)

I’d like to thank God and Long Island and the Dutch for giving me the Hallelujah of naked sunbathing 300 feet above Red Hook with Russian dicks and rooftop fellatio atop century old abandoned warehouses with their apathetic dock workers, black netting condemning the building and freeing our nights to watch the sunrise, to camp out in this cement sanctuary closer to the precinct than our parents.

Because who could sleep when there are empty airports at the end of Flatbush and forsaken sugar refineries in Williamsburg all calling my name Hannah Hannah Hannah.

We, the forgotten hulks of Kings County!

And the Prospect Expressway sounds like the Atlantic if you close your eyes.

And Ocean Parkway is all Sinatra in my grandfather’s Lexus, all Jay-Z in my dealer’s Hummer.

And there is a freight line which runs from Canarsie to Bay Ridge, didn’t you know? I can take you there, it’s overgrown with weeds and needles and we’ll climb to the tops of locomotives and stare across the East River.

And barefoot street races in Bensonhurst bring color to the midnight luminescence of the pre-dawn streets as lax mothers watch our drunken hula hooping from the porch...


If this holy sermon is raising up an Awww-man in you too then get the rest of this confessional on right here!

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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...

Confessin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor