2.06.2016

the Best of Mad Swirl : 02.06.16

“I am getting so far out one day I won't come back at all.” ~ William S. Burroughs

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Fish Goddess” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria's mad-nificent canvases, aslong with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we extended an arm for one last grasp; we would cast away the fear of watered skies, washed in the weir of animal eyes; we wended the way of wrongly wrought days; we entered iconic endings, fraught with impotent fendings; we stared into unsaid situations, infidelity fueled non-conversations; we delved the depths of depraved machinations, love or lust, at least, for hire; we ticked the tock of time to measure lives to celebrate for pleasure. Life, so short; legacies (we hope), so much longer. Read and write to make it so... ~ MH Clay

Sonnet on Time by Harley White

Is time a spiral stairway that we climb
Whose unendingness we seek to borrow
To the last wrought syllable of our rhyme
Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow —
The fusion of the future with the past
In dizzying dimensions ever new
Which hurl us headlong in a void so vast
That what we view as false appears as true?
We must peer through bars forever blocking
Upon the threshold of our promised land —
At the gates of eternity knocking —
Outside we stand — albeit hand in hand.

Through the rush of time we’re ceaselessly swirled.
How heartless is the transience of this world!

February 6, 2016

editors note: Hand in hand we stand against the great Tick Tock. (Another one from Harley on her page; a birthday present – check it out.) – mh clay


LOW HILLS by William C. Blome

Rich dudes have their run of the place here,
place where low hills press down in earshot
of falling black water and women so fucking
tired of washing garments, they hang
their breasts out to dry on hooks
chiseled from fine fountain stone. These
are the same women who squeeze your arm
in between their lacquered fingers
and then push your fingers into their lips
and far, far further back, just so
long as your lucre be green-and-gray paper
and not some nasty alloy.

February 5, 2016

editors note: Love for lucre. How low will you go? To buy? To sell? – mh clay


Betrayed by Shirin Hasrat

Lips tightly sealed
avoiding eye contact
They sit
in stone cold silence while
tumultuous emotions rage
hurricane like
around them.
Hurt, anger, disbelief make
a Molotov cocktail
just waiting to explode.
Perspiring profusely he stares
at his feet as if
the answer
to her unasked question
lies there.
She shivers
at his frigid indifference
and wonders
how easily
he let a passing fancy rip
into fragments
the fabric of
intimate companionship
woven lovingly for over
two decades.

February 4, 2016

editors note: Look before you leap or you’ll be staring at your feet. – mh clay


Phantom Pastoral (excerpt) by Quinten Collier

The Christ and the barbed wire,
The musical cigar, wineskin,
Jewel encrusted sirens:
The horizon drying on the factory roofs,
Winking lies at the hero’s funeral–
Last supper of cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
Mother was fair,
Papa died in his rocking chair:
They were the lucky ones.

Forgotten on the bottom rung of a hospital bed:
Is this what it takes to be forgiven?
Unremembered son; every blade is the last, every glance.
Nobody should die young,
But you make the paper.

No more wanted photos
And no hero’s return.

We reach for the mirage that cast us off
As the dressing room consumes her changing.
What can you teach perfume?

What was and isn’t still awaits,
Says a street urchin in an amulet of paradise,
I read all your letters by fog
So my ghost would remain haunted.
Give me your veil–
I once had hope.

The crossed stars on a boy painted with scars.
His crown lit by the unborn part of town;
Who was he? Fires that never burned,
Dragging his fortune like a prince
Who never leaves his war.
Scripture recited in empty bars.
The body of the host
Sealed as the petals of a stillborn rose.

February 3, 2016

editors note: All live a hero’s life, all made sacrifice; body and blood. (Read this in its epic entirety on Quinten’s page – check it out. Also, read our review of Quinten’s latest collection on our Blog – check it, too.) – mh clay


Definitions by Rose Aiello Morales

No book
of magic,
spells misspelled
or simplified,
uncommon use
brings out
much more
than common in us,
common wrong.

Back doors,
libraries
are locked
to certain people,
admittance gained
by those
speed read
between some lines
who realize the secrets.

Speak
in words of code,
bald rules
were never meant
for anything but broken,
when an “x”
is not an x,
except when used
in obfuscation.

Wrong
the right of
others, flaunting
flagrante delicto,
gallows hanging
outside churchly squares
and never any holy there.

Taste water
on your tongue
know feast from thirst
as liquid becomes holy
from belief, suffused, one body
of ability who walks on water
frozen, trial by fire and ice,
believers grasp the truth
that’s closest to the chest

and
always
get it wrong.

February 2, 2016

editors note: When answers abound, the trick is to ask the right questions. – mh clay


Sprinklers by Christopher Raley

I heard it from the narrow alley
along our house, water hissing
through the tightly clenched mouths
of my neighbor’s sprinklers.

I peeked over the fence. His lawn
glistened faintly in the full moon.
Yellow grass glowed more distinctly
pale than his few clumps of green.

What a long winter. What a long, dry winter
of ugly shapes dark, cold and cracked.
I saw them piled up on his lawn,
all those fear-fraught things, as if begging

for a mercy cast out of the sky —
begging me, mind you, for something
that is not mine to own that I should give it.

And when I returned within she was still hiding
inside the plea of hunted animal eyes.

February 1, 2016

editors note: We would wash away winter fear, but water reaches not within. – mh clay


Exe in the Infirmary by Steven Minchin

even in hate I nurse you
it’s okay
if you don’t remember
you were recoiled

dealing at about 80 proof
with your red back exposed
glaring with the marks
of bottle coping, and your new friend

who’s raw glass edge ripped you
a surface wound, an outside emblem
of what you hid up front – of what
your lips hinted at above the pillow

it hurts!
what are you putting on me?
as you fell out
it was all I could see

the glaring color of your back
you’re back
and at the end of one my arms
there’s a fist

at the end of the other
a last grasp at tenderness

January 31, 2016

editors note: A case of care giver meets careless liver. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Hungry for some delish words? Oh GOOD! You're in for a treat! This week's featured tasty tale comes from Contributing Writer and Poet, Harley White. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "A new you is as easy as hating yourself each and every day. No matter the accomplishment or sense of satisfaction, ignore it! No one wants that. No one wants imperfection. Society has no need for complexity. The last thing the world should need is more variety. No one wants art."

Would you like a nibble of "Transformation"? Open up and say ahhh:


There was no getting around it anymore—Annie’s stomach had become a definite protuberance. The problem seemed to be her fondness for food.

Still, Annie was not devoid of the tendency toward self-evaluation. Browsing through the fashion-filled pages of Damsel magazine, she had become aware of another hunger experienced when studying the color portraits of lean, hollow-eyed models, accompanied by a disturbing decline in her enjoyment of eating. Inside the back cover of Damsel was a mail order form with which one could receive a gilded full-length mirror. Since the only mirror she owned was on the medicine cabinet, she decided to take advantage of the offer.

The package arrived, and Annie mounted the looking glass in her bedroom. Then she stood back to examine the purchase. But the mirror reflected what it saw, which was unfortunately Annie. She sank sadly into a chair.

Luckily, though, Damsel’s resources seemed limitless and Annie escaped into an article (marked advertisement in fine print) about a ranch to which could retreat those ladies who wished to achieve the perfect figure. There was a picture of a fat woman tagged before followed by a slim young lady captioned after. Also included was a summary of the healthful activities and daily diet (which seemed to Annie the only drawback) that one would follow during each adventure-filled day of the four-week program at the Feather Goddess Ranch, just outside of Someville in the Midwest.

Making the necessary arrangements, Annie locked the door with finality on obesity to embark on her journey into slimness.


Get the rest of your read eat on right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Hello m’fellow Mad Ones. I am Reverend Brother Elder Swirl the 7th. You might remember me from the Dr. Googily-Eyes Healing Circus & Mad Swirlin’ Medicine Show (inciting the Rise of YES and the Fall of NO)…

This past 1st Wednesday we gathered to give praises to the affirmative and damnation to the negative. Our good friend and brother in madness, Doctor Googily-Eyes was there in his YESness and was dealin’ the healin’ at the Underpass. If you were there, you probably still feel the YES vibes reverberatin’…

Thanks to all our mad bruthas & sistas who came to witness on this holy-1st-Wednesday. Praises to ALL ye mad poets & musicians who cameth to participateth, appreciateth, & supporteth the holy YES!

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


photos courtesy of Dan "the man" Rodriguez

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Feature:
Reverend Brother Elder Swirl the 7th
Brother Deacon MH Clay
Opalina Salas
Kerseymere
Chris Zimmerly
Hep Kat Mama
Carlos Salas
Brett Ardoin (videographer)

McSwirve:
Gerard Bendiks
Chris Curiel
Ed McMahon

Photographer:
Dan Rodriguez


Mad Cast:
Tamitha Curiel
Maggie Smith
Paul Koniecki
Vic Victory
TA2
Three Actors
CJ Critt
James Barrett Rodehaver
Jen Bochenko
Gabriel
Lindsey Yarborough
Tom Bannon
Danielle Brown
Nick
Abagail
John May
Anthony Hayes
Fatima
Daniel Frank
Lindsey

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!

More HUGE thanks to fantastic photog Dan Rodriguez (he captured these scenes) for graciously sharing his mad eye and giving y’all a taste of the night’s YES mic 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.

Can I get a YES-MON?! YESSSSSS!

••• Mad Swirl Review •••


It is always a pleasure to see our Contributing Poets have their work published. Here is one worthy of note, published last Fall by Bobtimystic Books from Brooklyn, New York:

Chem Trails (Collected Poems: 2008 - 2014) is a compilation of poetry by Quinten Collier, one of our Contributing Poets since 2010. Many of the poems in this volume first debuted on his poetry page.

This collection contains old and new works in a single volume; The Mind a Fractured Circus (2008), Visions, Asylums & Encomium Paintings (2008), Out of the Ether (2008) and new works in Chem Trails (2014). The three earlier collections have been available on Amazon. But, this collection, combining all four, (also available on Amazon) can be purchased directly from Bobtimystic Books on their site.

Read Chem Trails cover to cover, in one huge consuming gulp (you'll survive a better soul); or, pick and choose, like a big buffet, nibble here, slurp there, eat and ideate. Either way, you'll find you need a bigger hat size when you're done. Pure fun!

- mh clay

•••••••

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...

Takin' Off,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.30.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.30.16

“Let us pretend that my mind is a taxi... and suddenly you are riding in it.” ~ David Bowie

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Eggs” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria's mad-nificent canvases, aslong with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we recorded the local life of the land, banged out on a typewriter, second hand; we looked to hold, but sight too short, found nothing held; we painted snow in perfect form, so closely we became the storm; we cued Coltrane for cosmic head bobbing and facet fascination; we pushed a cart 'round the border of life and fierce order; we moved like low-street wanderers, hurrying past pillars of salt; we became magic prayer gong thinkers, wound up happy strange juice drinkers. Listen, now. Listen for the flow... ~ MH Clay

A juice vendor by Hem Raj Bastola

Street
To street
A strange juice
He makes
From the layers
Of imagination
His hidden flesh
Squeezing clouds
Sailing the air
Oh! Incisive
Soul.

If any audience
You have Oh! Wind
Carry Oh! Carry
To purify the ears
The gong of prayer
A temple bell
Sings.

Magic
Of such art
Winding a juice
In silence he serves
Among the busy streets.
Standing on the corner
A mute consumer, I
Ready to drink
A glass as now he fills
Exuding from
The rock.

Neither did
You hear
Nor did I

The flow.

January 30, 2016

editors note: Magic elixir from a cloud squeezing dream fixer. – mh clay


Journey by Bhargab Chatterjee

Ce ne fait rien
if we step forward

life is a narrow
straight line

those who look back
fall down

with a bang
into a deep, dark ditch

let’s go
we need not make the road wider

you know ‘the world as will and idea‘
don’t be afraid

of a polyphonic silence
the high street is not ours

January 29, 2016

editors note: Yup, it’s the journey. What matters is movement; the end is unknown. – mh clay

Out for a walk by Francesca Castaño

So we enter
the elegant shop looking
like two middle aged
drifters dressed
in house clothes
just gone out
to get groceries
carrying still
the empty shopping cart
suddenly thinking
we need some lustrous
new suit to disguise
decay at the work place.
The young shop attendants
let us try impossible sizes on
with benevolent indifference –
after the third try we give up
and walk out, wheeling
the shopping cart
back to the grocer’s
talking about cucumbers and tomatoes
and ignoring the fierce order of things,
taking each other by the arm
like in those dreams
in which you seem to be both
asleep and awake.

January 28, 2016

editors note: Waking the dream of a day when every day’s a dream. – mh clay


Listening to Coltrane by R.A. Hernandez

Waiting for the subway,
Head bobbing,
Sporadic beat,
Head bobbing,
Setting the new paradigm
For head bobbing,
Coltrane with his gallant sax
Prophesying,
The whole world is a matchbox,
Waiting to go up,
Chin up son,
As my father would say

Listening to Coltrane
Head rocking
Hip hop heads watching
Wondering
Unknowing
Love be supreme
Supreme love being,
Reach out and touch your neighbor
For the sake of all humanity,
Keep the heads of the world bobbing,
When kick drum kicks in
And the roll of the bass drum
Shakes you down to your bones,
Thank life for Coltrane
And subways and graffiti artists
And homeless veterans of the eternal night,
And the death of Mars,

Now stepping into subway car
With head phones on,
As side A fades into side B
Come moving,
Keep grooving,
Keep the love oozing
From pelvic gardens bloom
And hoist the greatest facets of this life
Onto your shoulders
And carry the beat on and on and on…
Head bobbing, the ultimate sign
Of digging someone else’s scared vibes.

January 27, 2016

editors note: Share those scared vibes; a cosmic connection comes. Thank life! – mh clay


I AM THE BLIZZARD by Ruth Z. Deming

I pace back and forth
refrigerator full
hummus from the
Mediterranean
yogurt with chocolate
and raspberry so I
won’t pass out from
a diabetes low.

I stare out the window
such whiteness
a fresh bridal gown
laced with moon beams.

Slipping on my clogs
I step onto the front
porch. At midnight
an otherworldly glow bathes
my skin a milky white.

Listen! Does snow
sound as it falls? Do
it click or tap or
make melancholy
noise?

Its tiny arrows fall
from the sky, piercing
the peach fuzz on my
warm pregnant
cheeks with
a cold ouch!

Barely protected
beneath my
polka-dot PJs
I land in Siberia
where the cold
killed the right arm,
yes, the frost did
it, to a newly anointed
painter name of
Stankowski, not young,

His brilliant reds,
the oranges, the
Rothko blacks, slashed with
poetry, reach out to
embrace me.

I’d like to have his
work hanging on my
wall. There ’tis:
a painting
Huge –
squares of white
white and more
white
feathery white

Hands on canvas
I take a deep yogi
breath, the paint
smells like snow
as I walk right in

I will stay awhile
If I sleep, do not
disturb. Wake me
when it’s over
a live mummy
with frosty-
white hair and
a body that glows.

January 26, 2016

editors note: As the digging ensues, look out for a poet in a painting. You’ll know you found her by “a body that glows.” – mh clay


Eyes of the beholder by James Brown

You look at me and over me, deep down in my soul you’ll never reach, for if you do you’ll freeze instantly, deep down I’m cold inside and you’re outside looking, not at the straining red blood veins in my eyes squeezing my cortices, nerves react; disgruntled reflex, my pupils were blinded as they are weakflesh, sight I could not make see to be free of a detachable heart murmur. You will never feel the real pain until tomorrow but that day it’s just sorrow that runs through the veins as you come home to find you really have no friendship only the prehensile-hold of I done that smile.

January 25, 2016

editors note: To behold is not to be held unless you get beyond that smile. – mh clay


VILLAGE LIFE by John Grey

running bathwater on one side,
Miles Davis on the other,
above, the wannabe diva
screeching something from Turandot
in my one room and half-kitchen,
a small black and white TV,
a pawn shop guitar,
a purring ginger cat,
another neighbor in my one chair
drinking my last beer,
complaining how he can’t get a job,
down below, the small falafel shop
squeezed with, hungry dancers, artists,
on the sidewalk, a street musician
strumming the poor up for change,
a junkie crashed on a stoop,
the local whore grocery shopping
or is that the local grocery shopper whoring,
and all hi the name of
life experience, required research –
on the table, a second hand typewriter,
a blank sheet of paper,
awaiting the payoff

January 24, 2016

editors note: Surrounded by verse, nothing on the page… yet. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? And do we got a raucous tale for you to kick-off this weekend with! This week's featured story comes from Contributing Writer Oleg Razumovsky. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Art is a weapon, better than judo or karate. Wine is a close second, though."

If you need a convincer, here's a bit of "Aksinya" to whet your reading appetite::


I can’t for the fuck of me understand Aksinya. One moment she’s bald and the next she wears blue hair. One moment she is demure and sad and nothing will cheer her up, than she is the tumult of the falls and starts to fight.

That day we sat on a bench in broad daylight on Kozlov St., near the Krushev slum where our buddy Vakunja dwells. We drank, we smoked and played cards. It is best to drink at broad daylight in the most crowded places. Much less likely that the cops get you.

Aksinya is talented. She draws, writes stories, plays instruments. Her mouth is puckered. I gave her my T-shirt with the inscription: “A TT-30 is better than judo or karate.”

Eventually I went to take a leak to the ravine and met Professor Leon. Talked to him for a while. Haven’t seen him for ages. He is so old and drunk. I once saw him on the porch of a bookstore absolutely stoned. I shouted: Leon! He turned sharply but could not keep the balance and fell. His pants went down revealing a pink butt. A fat woman passing by laughed at the sight so much that her bra burst. Professor Leon is more dead than alive nowadays but he still teaches at the university. It would be silly not to borrow one hundred rubles and a drink from such a drunk, I thought…


Get the rest of your raucous read on right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve the 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.03.16) as we continue to swirl up our open mic madness into a new year at our NEW Open Mic home, The Underpass Bar! This month we will be hosting the 1st Annual Dr. Googily-Eyes Healing Circus & Mad Swirlin’ Medicine Show: Inciting the Rise of YES and the Fall of NO. ‘Nuff said? yeah, we thought so ;)

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!

Mad Love,
Doc Googily-Eyed Guy

P.S. Mad Swirl will once again be trying our hand at the whole UStream broadcast so those that can’t be here in Big D to witness our mic madness live can still get a look-see at the swirlin’ action. Tune in THIS 1st Wednesday starting at 8-ish!

•••••••

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...

Beep! Beep!,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.23.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.23.16


••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Crown of Thorns” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at www.MadSwirl.com

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we upended a random take on an uneaten upside down cake; we acquiesced to actions obvious, deferred to love-drives devious (anything to lift love's profile in dark places); we named a name, not spoken, marked a love long broken; we struck the mystery from flower and bug, from underneath romance yanked the rug; we erected irrational orders to stop passage of aliens 'cross borders; we rendered refuge for a poet's diminished deluge, when words fall into weakness; we opened the divine door for a search of our sock drawer - no judgement, no condemnation. Our divinities are defined by our decisions, pick and choose out loud. Own our choices, be proud. ~ MH Clay

If God searches your room by Timothy Pilgrim

It goes without saying
she will find Legos and games

stuffed into closet, dirty socks
tucked under bed, candy wrappers

shoved far back in second drawer.
What cannot be discussed

is how faith in you was lost,
hidden away so deep,

out of the blue comes this lack
of trust, sudden need to sift

your stuff. Better not bring up
betrayal, question why she

freaks out, intrudes. Head down,
keep busy with the broom.

January 23, 2016

editors note: And don’t forget to replace those trash can liners. Cleanliness is next to… – mh clay


THE LAST DAY by Stefanie Bennett

… After I have conquered some of the world’s ills
In my fashion.
After I have climbed what’s left
Of the parasitical plot and attempted
To bring it down.
After the unwanted-wanted posters
Have yellowed and curled – so that
My name’s been struck off
The records, the too human records…
And I’ve greyed a little –
And shrunk a lot –
And my hands have lost
Their bitter cures…
Will you, once again, take me in!
Take me in and not mind
This new stranger
As your lover of old?

Once I’ve been pensioned out – Yes! I’m aware
That it will happen.
Once it’s known that what seemed
Scholarly and spectacular was no more than
Someone held
Hostage by an every-day innocence.
Once I design… the final line
And I’ve nothing left to do,
Say, or display – will you
Find it in you to forgive
The neglect
I shelved for you alone!
Will you
Forget that I served
But one light; and that
It was your ‘light’!
Will you mind, mind my return
… And keep this gypsy poet
Company?

January 22, 201

editors note: Old poets never die; they just rhyme ad infinitum. – mh clay


THE IMMIGRANT by Jay Passer

there is danger
when madmen with vicious gorilla hearts
drink from mason jars of moonshine.

star turns ugly black
First Lady makes duck face
children leak smoke from stomachs.

madmen prideful and happiest
with bully boots and loaded weapons
beauty a thick golden chain.

whatever place we come from originally
in outer space or other dimension
must be a shit hole.

January 21, 2016

editors note: Cross new borders through vats of whitewash, blackwash, brownwash, brainwash. Gotta blend in to be proud! – mh clay


She Trod Without Care by James Tyler

She trod without care in
the backyard, oblivious of the
dandelion and the ladybug,
until you taught her about
wildflowers and red-black
insects that inhabit this place,
a field meant for her to find
joy, meaning, and life.
Now she watches her steps,
avoiding the yellow flowers,
the Forget-me-nots
the lady bug perched
on Forget-me-nots.
Her head bowed, she combs
our land, even the ants are
shown mercy.
“See, now the girl can’t
have fun,” I say, squeezing
the blue beer can, crinkling it.
And you put your glass
of lemonade down hard.
“She’s not a beast like you.”
Our girl, on her hands and knees,
combing the earth like a mine field.

January 20, 2016

editors note: Early indoctrination of ahimsa-awareness? Oh, well! – mh clay


Your Name by Jocelyn Mosman

Your name is not poetry,
but it reminds me of you.
You are a half-shaken snow globe,
scattering cold, empty stares
on everyone close by.
You shed your emotions
like snakes shed their skin.
You are a thousand white horses
drumming their hooves
into your muddy footprints.
I wonder what future generations
will see when they examine
your remains like artifacts
and dinosaur bones.
You are a single sunflower,
painfully beautiful and sad
soaking up light after darkness.
You are science and math.
You can comprehend numbers
and molecules.
You carry yourself like a sestina,
repeating the same six words
in patterns that twist their meaning.
I am your pattern.
I am your paisley and your flannel.
I am your bad habits.
But you must be poetry because
no matter what I am to you,
you will always be guilt
and regret and empty canvas
to me.
You will be tormentor
and muse until I write
the poem that can bring you
back.
No poem will ever bring you back,
so I write love letters
on my palms with hope
one day you can hide
the scribbled words
with open hands.
You are missed opportunity
and almost love.
Our past is millions
of miles of unresolved emotions.
You are a lighthouse
in the distance
beckoning me back to you.
You are my lucid images at 3 am.
You will never come true.
But I’ll keep whispering
your name into my pillow
and wishing on you instead
of candles and shooting stars.
Your name may not be poetry,
but it sure as hell reminds me
of you.

January 19, 2016

editors note: Unspoken, immortal to her; but not to us. – mh clay


Obvious by Jonathan Butcher

On that beach after last orders, the damp sand remaining
stable under our intoxicated feet. That smile of yours as
brittle as the shattered shells beneath our heels, the broken
homes of now long excluded occupants.

It had taken an age it seemed to reach this pinnacle, like a
weeping wound that was never stitched and left to turn septic.
I now bask the clichéd result that was promised for so many
decades and was now slowly delivered.

To seek an end seemed superfluous, to take advantage of
those Friday night vows which were welded together like
rusted chains, and to pass them through the loop of a paper
ring that tears at the first spot of rain.

We stagger up the concrete steps in cold, bare feet; your laugh
now as dark as the boarded-up shop fronts on the horizon. Any
light now completely absorbed, and as you move forward for
that last kiss, I stub my toe for the second time.

January 18, 2016

editors note: Love or lust requited by a kiss on steps not lighted. – mh clay


Pineapple Upside Down Cake by Donal Mahoney

Nothing is anywhere anymore,
Dad shouts over the phone.
His reveille again at 4 a.m.
Will I come over and find it?

What’s missing, Dad, I ask.
It’s midnight and I’m in bed.
It’ll take a while to get there.

Your mother went to make
pineapple upside down cake
hours ago and still no cake.
She’s nowhere to be found.
I called the neighbors.
They won’t come over.
It’s just me and the dog
and he’s asleep.
Son, I need your help.

Mom died 10 years ago, Dad.
You and I went to the funeral.
We buried her at St. Anthony’s.
Remember all the rain?
And then the rainbow shining?

Son, you’re right again
Sorry I woke you but where’s
the pineapple upside down cake?
I’ve been waiting for hours.
A little snack and I’ll turn in.

January 17, 2016

editors note: Can anyone remember where to find the dessert forks? (Another one (fun) from Donal on his page; a glimpse into his musical influences – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Heck yeah you do! Why? Because 1) It's a great story, 2) You got the means to right in your hands (or desktop), AND 3) You're ALIVE to read it! Need more reasons to give a gander at this tightly packaged, 293-worded short-short morsel?
Fine, here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about "Coroner's Office" by Robert L. Penick:


Other creatures own the night, no matter if we say we own them during the day.

And here's a bit to feed your need-for-a-read:


I thought the worst part of going to work for the Coroner’s office would be the emulsified bodies, the stink of rot hanging in my clothes, an air of finality about my demeanor, decay of the soul and spirit, moral jaundice, an urge to buy new shoes every other week, and wondering at the end of each shift what the hell that was beneath my fingernails. Perhaps the worst part would be the backseat drivers.

That’s a joke.

Turns out it was the groupies. The groupies of the dead.

Every van driver had at least one. A woman who would listen to the scanner and be there when the body came out. Discreet, usually wearing sunglasses, hanging out a couple of doors down from the removal. Mine turned out to be Lilly, an anorexic redhead allergic to direct sunlight and green beans and who carried a hammerless .32 Colt revolver in an ankle holster...


Can't stop there! You're already halfway thru. And really, it's only a couple more minutes of your precious life that we are asking you give. Wanna give it to get the rest of this read? Here ya' go!

•••••••

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...

Goin' Mad,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.16.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.16.16

“If you find something to tell, tell it to your truest, though that make little to tell; the truer you speak, the more you will know to tell.” ~ Laura Riding

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Greggy” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at www.MadSwirl.com

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we reality suspended for a volatile package unattended; we basked in milk white blossom's bloom, lilly petals washed by moon; we stood on precipice and teetered, worked our work in darkness metered; we delved in doctor's therapies, seeking psychic remedies; we conned constellations for selfish validations; we sought the slight ephemery of painful past-felt memory; we tried to find a way to live, bereft of words that will forgive our failure to get it right. Memories, mud degrees of separation; the madness from the mundane. We strive to stand above this melee, we manage... somehow. ~ MH Clay

Some People Never Get It Right by Paul Sexton

Some people drink all night
because it’s what they do,
photographed in Deep Ellum parking lots
while listening to poetry CD’s,
singing Hallelujah
arm-in-arm with a homeless man
named Ray Charles.
Looking for him later
with a banana and cup of hot coffee,
because the world is a fucked up place,
Ray whispered, “Don’t ever give up man,
she’s your soulmate!’ into my ear.
Some people toast the sunrise
giggling and whispering
words of forgiveness,
playing in lawn sprinklers
half-clad at the break of dawn.
They tell each other they
feel like home. But,
people like this aren’t so good at home,
are they?
Some people fall in love with babies
they nickname “Webby”
whose brother asks,
“Where did Paul Sexton get that pretty girl?
At the pretty girl store?”
Some people laugh and cry,
then laugh and cry
so many times together
they become convinced
no one else could possibly understand
them the way they do one another.
They come and go from each other
with a frequency similar to the way
emotions come and go inside their heads.
Some people never get it right
with each other
or with the world.
And people who meet them
always want to give them advice
about what they need to be doing
which mostly they laugh about
and mock
in silly voices,
because they themselves know
that they are more alive than
the smiles on giant crocodiles,
than a million imploding black tar suns,
than most of the rest of you.
Some people never get it right,
but when you meet them
you love the shit out of them
and everybody everywhere
loves the shit out of them.
And you can’t help but wish
they might actually get it right,
not just for each other
and with each other,
right inside themselves,
but right with the world.
A world that, although it seems to love them,
mostly doesn’t get them
or care
or seem to give a shit
about all the million exploding things
they have inside them,
they are trying to get out.
Especially,
the beauty they possess
whilst drinking and singing Hallelujah
late at night
listening to old poems
about to say goodbye again,
about to say goodbye again…

January 16, 2016

editors note: If you can catch just one of those exploding things; gotta love the shit outta that. (This is one of the many poems and prose soon to be released in Paul’s new book, “Hallelujah!,” to be released on Feb 26 (get details here). Early copies are available here – check it out!) – mh clay


THERE… by Hal J. Daniel III

She’s been gone
For some time-
Long enough to know
I miss her.

Complaining about her absence
Doesn’t get me anywhere-
A “professional”,
Her career “everything”.

Only one thing to do…
There…
I don’t miss her
As much as I did 10 minutes ago.

January 15, 2016

editors note: Oh, to be able to turn that knob on demand. Where…? – mh clay


Looking Up by Bruce McRae

Diffident starshine marred by cloudware,
Orion testing his bow, bull’s-eye Earth
adrift in its own juices, time’s cauldron
on a low simmer, Luna fretting offstage,
not usually one for fluffing her lines,
Sirius below the horizon, madly impatient,
barking up the wrong tree, in so many words,
our race drunk-walking the astrophysical gulch
we passengers nicknamed Spaceship Earth,
regardless of the anthropomorphic slant,
never mind the fact we’re only human,
know-it-all know-nothings in the unknowable,
the span of a life a cosmic instant,
our allotted time just another dark matter.

January 14, 2016

editors note: Astronomy 101; pious platitudes muddled by big-bang ideas. (We welcome Bruce to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of Bruce’s madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


Doctor Who? by Tom Hall

I won’t deny I have had my share of therapy.
Doctor’s concur, BiPolar Syndrome’s what my mind keeps prey.
It’s easy to converse with them, they listen quietly.
Their words are few, their thought’s acute, it’s scrips they have to say.

Eviscerated by the drugs, I’ve tried psychologists.
They talk much more and make much less with themes that don’t abut.
I’m not after my “Happy Place” or psycho-chatter myths.
I watch them smear with butter knives, where scalpels need to cut.

The last group of intuitives I let in are my friends.
Their problem is they snarl back and never give out meds.
Well, that’s not true. But they love me, they’ll stay there in the end.
It’s crazy ’cause I can’t make use of twenty cogent heads.

So, do I glean truths from these varied groups or am I self-absorbed?
Oh. Maybe that’s the illness that I ought to have explored.

January 13, 2016

editors note: Self-diagnosis; over the counter, under consideration. – mh clay


Precipice by Ian Mullins

Why so frightened
of the edge? Yes it’s dark
it’s strange,
gravity might easily
pull you under,
send you spinning down
into a space
that has to end somewhere,

but you love the dark, remember?
You love to tumble
then claw your way back up,

but every time you make it
aren’t you a little disappointed
that the climb was no higher,
that you returned
too much like yourself?

Maybe it’s better to shake
and squeal,
howl like a dog in chains
knowing you need
the chemical cosh
to live the way
they say you need to be living;

but look down, stand close,
are you ready to pay that price?
You do your best work
down there.

January 12, 2016

editors note: Embrace the illness; create to the cure. – mh clay


Calla Lilly by Heather M. Brown

Creamy curl of white slides
spooning into daylight’s wake
softened light

Cello strings serenade
this swirly sea
waking ocean’s froth and foam

Her ear curves to hear
sweet morning’s song
dance and sway

Ankles curved
embraced with satin ribbons
mossy green and bright

January 11, 2016

editors note: Sultry siren, burgeoning blossom; description so sweet, have to eat it with a spoon. – mh clay


Sign Here by Melani Grace Tiongson

My label reads:
“Volatile.”

And I’m adorned
with cautionary tape and
stickers warning of
“Explosive Contents Inside.”

Handle me with care in transit and
Do not leave me unattended.

Keep me at room temp–
and even then
you’re still not safe.

On second thought,
This purchase is unwise.

But you didn’t know, did you?

So–
I’m sorry.

(I’m a parcel that can’t be returned.)

January 10, 2016

editors note: No refunds. Buyer beware… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? F@ck yeah you do! And do we got just the right sh!t to feed that muthaf@ckin' need!

(If you're wonderin' why all the swears, well it's in honor of this week's featured short, "Cussin’ Paul Gets Religion" from Contributing writer and Poet Donal Mahoney.)

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this kick a$$ story "Human moments can age as well dynamite until they’re something more than explosive. Catastrophic, even until the very end."

And here's a bit to feed your need for a read:

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Word spread fast at the poker club where the retired men of the community meet to play almost every day but not on Sunday out of respect for those who went to church. But this is Saturday and the word is out that Cussin’ Paul, in his 80s now, a charter member, wouldn’t be coming to play anymore.

The word is, Paul’s gone back to church and wants to stay clean as he put it recently to his friend Pete. Too many times he starts cussin’ when he’s dealt the wrong cards and he wants to stop all that. Better not to play cards and not cuss. More important things lie ahead.

Paul is no holy roller. He doesn’t think a man goes to hell for cussin’ but cussin’ can lead to worse stuff, and he’s too old, he says, to deal with getting upset anymore. Some people get upset and get over it. Not Paul. Anger lingers in Paul for offenses big and small, real and imagined. He doesn’t look for trouble but if trouble comes to him he remembers for life who brought it to him.

He tries to explain to Pete over a glass of apple juice—Paul quit drinking too, not that he thought a man could go to hell for drinking in moderation but Paul does very little in moderation except perhaps pray. In fact, until he got religion recently, Paul never prayed since kindergarten. But he has always believed in God and he knows—not simply believes—that one day he will meet God.

“About a minute after I die, Pete, I’ll meet my maker and I’ll have to explain all this crap I’ve done. Not a pleasant experience to look forward to and I don’t want to make my dung heap any deeper.”...


Don't b!tch & moan that we left ya' hangin'. You can 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...

Truth'n,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.10.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.10.16

“I'll paint you moments of gold, I'll spin you Valentine evenings...” ~ David Bowie

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Pig and Pearls” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. Maria brings us a glorious glimpse at what we can only imagine is the visual representation of creation personified – the chaos in texture, in topic, in tones – is so rich that a quick glimpse will not cut it. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words and yet still, we can’t help but feel like these canvases of Maria’s have even more of a story to say. It’s time we stop telling you about the tale Ms. Sheets is telling us and let you see her story now playing at Maria’s Mad Gallery page… ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we sought to make the madness stop, a dead news cycle's photo op; we would the earth's rotation wrest to bring the sun from east to west; we rose from darkness into stardom, the focal point of angels' boredom; we braved the abyss of questions asked, no answers offered in mysteries masked; we mastered the minute, moments made from being in it; we ducked to survive the disposal of declarative deep-felt love proposals; we played our part to seek the start of heart-felt ages acted out on life-lived pages. Each day a challenge; each life, a new page. Turn and read... ~ MH Clay

AN ACTOR’S PART by B.Z. Niditch

To locate my part
along the bare stage
in a windowless studio
to find his lines
standing in a circle
motionless helplessness
murmuring in gestures
before we go on
or nuance
just to have a chance
to take a part
in summer stock
to survive
the clowning reasons
for several dress rehearsals
and to live
in another’s soul
for an open air season
by the ferryman
and south shore
out by nature’s
scythed grass
for scenes
in the park’s theater
is to be once again alive
expanding my portfolio
once more.

January 9, 2016

editors note: Take stock of your summer (your ever), where all the world’s a stage… – mh clay


I’d steal you a skillet by Emily Ramser

You want to steal a cast iron skillet from Chili’s,
but you can’t till you’re married
per your family’s traditions,
so if I were to steal you a skillet,
I’d be proposing
amongst the crowded chairs and customers
of a chain restaurant,
which makes me wonder
if this poem is a proposal too.

January 8, 2016

editors note: A cast iron proposition for (someone’s) posterity. – mh clay


AT LAST by John Tustinon

He came back in,
closed the door behind him
and he held her,
first by the elbows,
then body to body.
Then he kissed her.
He kissed her
at last,

electrical currents running
between them.
He kissed her
at last.

The sun was bright and bleaching
outside
but it was dark in there,
the air melancholy.
He bent to kiss her neck,
careful not to leave a mark
though his belly was burning hot,
his mouth was on fire,
his tongue dying to leap out.
She made little noises,
almost whimpering.

They had waited ten years.

This was the moment.

Her eyes closed,
his open and aware,
they stood there,
kissing and holding each other
like that, tears
in their eyes
for about twenty-five minutes.

She stood fast to memorize the moment
and he stared to memorize her,
her face, her body,
her.

He left, holding her hand
until the last possible moment
and then he got into his car
to go pick up his kids
and she went home
to eat dinner with her husband.

They had pork chops,
rice, applesauce
and salad.

There were fried onions in the gravy
and it was delicious.

January 7, 2016

editors note: So long to wait, too short to sate; pork chops, applesauce; clean your plate. – mh clay


The Forever Question by Tricia Marcella Cimera

The next time he asks her
she is floating languidly
in a pond.
Her hair moves
with the rushes,
her eyes murky
and muddy.
As he leans over,
her eyes suddenly clear.
He sees himself
reflected.
Smiling, her lips part.
Bending close, he almost hears
the answer she
whispers.
He lifts her out but
she dissolves into sand,
trickling into the pond
where she becomes a fish
that swims away
with a twitch of its tail;
can’t be caught.
He shuts his eyes.

When he opens them,
another thousand years
have come and gone.
Still he wonders,
What does she want?

January 6, 2016

editors note: The big one that got away; every lonely man’s fish story. Still no clue… – mh clay


A cloud by Milt Montague

I dreamed upon a cloud
A floating plush cocoon
Of cottony softness
Gently wafting forward

Above the strife below
Beyond the cacophony
Of daily contentiousness
Just peaceful contemplation

Here shall I end my days
In serene tranquility
Where peacefulness and
Quietude reign supreme

I think….I think….
Unless total boredom
Drives me utterly insane
Compelling my return to earth

January 5, 2016

editors note: Monotonous millenia strumming harps. More fun to mess with humans; check your halos at the door. (We welcome Milt to the ranks of our Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


To Welcome the Sun Which Rises in the West by Pijush Kanti Deb

I give a chase to it
yet the sun
doesn’t rise in the west,

I jump on it
still I find myself always
lying below a merciless rapist,

I scratch on it
nevertheless the honey is sucked
by a tartar I have accidentally caught,

I pray to it
but my cheque is bounced back
to my empty purse,

I bribe to it
and then it comes to a stand-still
to welcome my sun which rises in the west.

January 4, 2016

editors note: It costs a dreamer’s ransom to stand the Earth on its head. – mh clay


Aylan by Arif Ahmad

Wash away the washed up Aylan from our conscience
Pretend that it never happened

And somehow undo this stirred up hornet’s nest
Anything that helps prevent bursting our bubble

If this is the Arab Spring
It has to get better than this

Or some other galaxy’s Armageddon
For ours would need to wait its turn

Dog eat dog
Never on this planet, not on our watch

Shall we gather our pieces and do it better all over again
For all of those Aylans who are not going to have a picture taken

January 3, 2016

editors note: Long after the news cycles go cold, lives go dead while we go on. Remember… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? This week we feature a story from longtime Contributing Writer & Poet, Carl Kavadlo. If you're familiar with Carl's works, you'll know he knows how to weave quite the tale. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Live and die on the page, let the world work itself out."

And here's a bit of "For Rosealie" to get your need for a read goin':

(photo by Johnny Olson)

Outside, the chair was right in front of the building, and they were drinking rotgut wine. I noticed two Latinos and a West Indian with one of those high caps with yellow, green and red swirls. One of the Latinos wore a waist length, brown army jacket. The third guy was in a big, overstuffed armchair, springs splitting through.

He had been at 320 East 71st Street for 17 years, three at Park Avenue and 68th. He had lost his wife due to divorce, lost much of his practice due to his divorce. Patients looking for stable relationships lost their faith in him. He moved to this place in Chelsea, which wasn’t too classy as far as his neighborhood went.

I was with him from December, 1979, through February 8, 2002, this shrink named Haynes Milton. He helped me find a job and finish a degree and stabilize my life and get some creativity and even meditating. He knew all about the unconscious. He wore his special, three-piece, powder blue suit, among others, tan, and beige. He looked like a riverboat gambler. A very serious man. He had a large bookcase, a purple-motif Persian rug. I lay on a black, leather couch facing a wall, staring at a painting of his, a guy mowing a large, green lawn. The standard setup in each office.

It was a time I was teaching people to get high school diplomas. I was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a job he’d gotten me.

Fridays, I’d move north on Lorimer Street, filled with small, wood frame houses. Most of it was still the old Italian neighborhood with social clubs for the men. The neighborhood was becoming gentrified with briefcases walking out of the little tenements, all the while my shrink’s life was coming apart. The L took me from Lorimer, through all of the Manhattan stops through Eighth Avenue – First, Third, Union Square, Sixth. I transferred at Eighth to the E, rode one stop to Twenty-third Street, walked through the grounds of a housing project to Twenty-fifth and Ninth, upon exiting facing a large, brownstone Catholic church across the street. Then I’d cut left, to my sanctuary of psychotherapy, as the church was the sanctuary for many.

A strange premonition on the train, the night before I’d dreamed of Bedford Avenue, the last Brooklyn stop before First Avenue...


Don't miss the train of thought (so to speak;) of this story! Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness! This past 1st Wednesday Mad Swirl-abrated the new year at our new open mic home at The Underpass. Huge SHOUT-OUT to this month’s feature, Dallas Poet Jolee Davis. If you were there to taste the poetic stew she stirred up, then you know how MmmMmmMadlicious her set was!

Thanks to all who came out to help share in their 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…

(All photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez. See the whole Flickr slideshow right here)

Hosts:
Johnny O
Michael Clay
Chris Zimmerly

Feature:
Jolee Davis

Mad Cast:
Desmene M. Statum
Carlos Salas
Opalina Salas
Roderick Richardson
Vic Victory
Daniel Evans
Maggie Smith
Brett “BA” Ardoin
David Crandall
James “Bear the Poet” Rodehaver
TA2
Josh Weir
Suza “Hep Kat Mama” Kanon
Randall Garrett
Anthony H
Jennifer
Daniel Frank
Lindsey Yarborough
Bonnie

HUGE thanks to Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel, Gerard Bendiks) 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!

More HUGE thanks to fantastic photogs Dan Rodriguez and Scott Wayne McDaniel for sharing their mad eye and giving y’all a taste of the night’s mic 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 mad ones 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.

We look forward to ALL the m-adventures still yet to come! Stay tuned for February’s feature:

Dr. Googily-Eyes Healing Circus & Mad Swirlin’ Medicine Show: Inciting the Rise of YES and the Fall of NO (a celebration of the death of hate)

For more news & info, visit our mad mic page.

••• Mad Swirl Blog •••

The Swirliverse Expands by MH Clay


In 1999, a Big Bang in the Swirl took place in a living room in Dallas. Three creative catalysts conspired to do something crazy; start a creative platform for artists of every ilk to place their work. These elemental individuals; Johnny O, Cheyenne Gallion and Lisa Carmen, published the first zine under the name of – Mad Swirl.

Since that singular event, Mad Swirl has expanded into zines, an open mic, this web site, festival participation and special events (we call’em Swirl-Ups). Our rate of expansion continues to include more mad poets, artists and authors every month; with plans to move into publishing and other media in the year ahead.

This month, American Way Magazine has published an article about Mad Swirl in Texas and the Blackwater Poetry Festival in Ireland. Check it out: Poets Across The Water

We are ever grateful to the Mad participants who made this possible; Gayle Reaves-King (journalist and poet), Gene Barry (Blackwater Festival Founder/Chairman and poet) and Brendan McCormack (poet); all of whom are Contributing Poets on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum. It’s this kind of synergy that makes our Swirliverse expand!

Jump in – make a splash – create a stir. Let this Swirliverse expand to include you.

“…we’re all mad 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...

Paintin' & Spinnin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.03.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl 01.02.16

“No half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Early January Optimism” (above) by one of our featured artists (and short story editor) Tyler Malone. To view all of Tyler's works, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we scribed a survival list for holiday survivalists; we sliced thin similes with a finely honed pome; we gave up the cover of a back-up lover (it's headliner or nothing for us); we tallied the charge for a year lived large; we wound down the old year with time taking a drag; we greeted the new year with monkey shines and perfect lines to refill our spent pens; we made a map to steer us clear of treasons and tactless passions, to land smack in the middle of oblivion. The New Year beckons! "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile..." ~ MH Clay

The World Map by Walter Ruhlmann

Those remote places swell
unlike the rest of the land
to dwell, or rest forever
in a shell shocked state

The falling skies thundered,
slowing the risky leaps, although
not killing it, she sings.

The wall in front of me as I’m watching over them,
white as purity, brightens the day, yet, ruthlessly,
the fantasies come back in a dash of hanger,
or desire to push me against higher ramparts.

She sings still,
sitting on a dark stool of thorns;
no bruises left on her thighs though.

More islands to visit,
more continents to conquer,
even more men to undo,
cheers, and greetings, and hi’s on a screen of mercy,
a monitor of lust, typing short text messages to arouse them,
then showing off in front of the camera:
a blinking eye like the map pinned on this white wall,
another hole into nothingness,
another window on the outside,
another world to possess
sucking me into the most terrible acts of treason,
tactless passions leading once more to lands of oblivion.

January 2, 2016

editors note: Plug this into your smart map to navigate this new year. Let’s all meet in oblivion! – mh clay

Resolution by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

In the year of the monkey
you will write elegies
on dark windowpanes with shuttered ears
and cobblestones in dark narrow streets
will catch rain’s grievance in puddles lit

in the year of the monkey
acuity of exiled heels
will erase bolstered mockery on chapped lips

they think you don’t know
who lurks in your sleep paralysis
as rats in corner bars gnaw spun memories
toasting a New Year refurbished

this city sprawls on thin skin
this city slurps remorse in straws rolled green
dreams drool from its carnal pierced and jeweled chin

red poppies will again kiss
blades of fresh grass on highways’ edge
and on a billboard your name
once flicked like scream of insects on city’s shin
will hang loosely from a nail

yet under your eyelids you will let them breathe
as they refill your veins with ink

January 1, 2016

editors note: This New Year will be Happy if we make it so! Reverse those fortunes; when in with the bad air, (go) out with the good. – mh clay


Time by J.K. Durick

Time weighs us down
like too many lunches would
or your grandmother’s quilt
on a summer day.

It fills us to the brim
like champagne glasses
misshapen balloons
or punctured tires.

Dances us around
like a reluctant suitor
a poorly trained bear
a badly played tune.

Runs us down
like a herd of small dogs
a pride of house cats
or the four o’clock bus.

It collides with us all
like a blind prizefighter
two inbound flights
the twain finally meeting.

Time, all by itself, weighs us,
fills us, dances, runs,
and we collide.
Then time stands by a lamppost
Smokes herself a long lazy smoke
Watches us all go by
And heaves a great sigh.

December 31, 2015

editors note: This year has come an’ gone. A great spectacle of human endeavors; some for good, some for other. Let’s give’em one more; see what they do… – mh clay


The Tab by Scott Thomas Outlar

Everyone pays in the end,
one way or another,
for better or for worse,
until death do us part.

Everyone gets stuck with a tab
they cannot afford
while at the bar, alone,
dead in their seat,
dead on their feet,
dead in the gutter,
sleeping in the street,
drowning in the puddles,
freezing in the cold,
shaking, starving, strung out
from fasting, dizzy,
delirious, down on their luck,
left for dead, walked over,
danced upon, forgotten
by the future that never came –
in the end, everyone will pay.

December 30, 2015

editors note: As we enter a New Year, let’s review the bill so far; naked we come, naked we go… – mh clay


Backup Lover by Stephanie Mojica

Like the dancers behind Shakira or Christina Aguilera
on stage, shimmying in living color but not truly acknowledged.

Like the wallpaper that covers the dark spots,
necessary, but bland compared to what caused the marks.

Like the country doctor who calls right back when you page him,
even though it’s probably something mild and he’ll be forgotten again
in a moment.

Always there, always serving, always yearning,
but never seen, never treasured, never found.

December 29, 2015

editors note: Sad truth; better to have one than to be one. (Originally published in Calliope Nerve, 2009) – mh clay


A POEM RESURRECTED: from the lost book of Evangeline, chapter VI, verse IX by Joey Da'rrell Cloudy

I can say without ego this is my finest sword. -Hattori Hanzo

After the last manic pixie dream girl with bad boy and daddy issues
is gone gone gone. And all that remains undulating in the toxic wake
of our banal debauchery is suicidal depression.
When all her glitter on my tee shirts
finally falls away, slowly fading with the sensual
musk of her little deaths on empty silk sheets,
until I alone lay within
the molten core of the meat house
of unsated desires. A humble public servant’s
announcement to all humanity, my confession if you will,
as I bleed out while you read on the inside
ensanguined lines slid over a soul faceless and eternal
and I and eye ironically live
in mental terror of lost time, mortal errors.

The slashed flesh heals, we wear our warrior’s self inflicted wounded
memories with all of the solemn pride of a holocaust survivor’s guilt.
The scarred soul festers and boils until it erupts in
random acts of senseless violence. Time
devoured wasting away trapped in a spiraling
repression confined to wither in this room
as days become weeks become months become years
six years sitting sedated on synthetic sorrows.
I stopped writing as I lay plans within plans… dying.

Is a poem fermented in penis envy, canonical insecurities
and the inept pontifications of a boozed up philistine
spewing impotent rage. Chalk it up to the game.
Face the new paradigm, the long pigs on the soft parade
feast well on sloppy second comeuppance.
Short changed, dangling deftly as a participle
in the Muses breezeway, a delicate reign falling
before it can rise to one on her knees
for the nectar of Eros drought.
A dry well rusted pipes busted the succubus pumps
ashes, ashes, dust, dust.

No controlled hallelujah from Calliopes lips
or primal sway of her hips. This busted oar dangles limp,
hobbled Baracus drunkenly weeps, foundered upon the rocky shore.
The dip a useless tool moves neither maidens head
habitually failing to bottle the ship once more nor
to rise even to the occasional poem.
Morpheus whispers,
“Is karma gonna hafta slap a bitch?”
“Take the blue pill”.

Is this a poem for all the people
“who are no longer diving but sinking.”
I do not want to write anymore.
I am afraid. But, I will
not allow this thing to infect me, invisibly
fueling subliminal anger to blind rages.
Secrecy is control.
Those who abuse use our fear
to shame us into a Stockholm syndrome silence,
powerless we cover their sin with our muted amnesia
no escape cowering beneath their greater power,
usually for life.

But, this is not a poem these are just the desperate words
of a bard trying to stay alive in a deaf, mute and blind
to human suffering world drowning in a sychophant
sea, polluted with primordial sorrow a man-made madness
satellite HD beamed into our flat screen skulls.
I scream, you scream, liked, pinned, shared, memed.
Everyday we witness another epic little atrocity. Forgotten.
What if this is a poem? Who gives a pity’s fuck?

Eventually, we begin the impossible
transformation of becoming, human, being.
Together we breached the ancient walls within
the prison of the mind, abandoned
our necro-nihilistic despair and unburdened,
without the gaslight beast on our backs,
freedom, freedom is just a line away.

Read poems with stranger friends and lovers.
Wherever the people gather to share good poetry
I am with you.
I am with you in wonderland.
I am with you in neverland.
I am with you in Disneyland.
I am with you in Zombieland.
I am with you in Armageddon!
I am with you. I am with you. I am with you.
I am with you
forever. I am

with you.

December 28, 2015

editors note: Is this a poem? I can’t say, but someone help me find the top o’ my head! – mh clay


TEOTWAWKI by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Without having to understand mechanisms,
TEOTWAWKI could be a time of killing
Cherished bunkmates, delivering “love notes”
Filled with anthrax, gifting solace via
Suicide squads, government thugs, Big
Brother organizations, or, maybe, the seeding
Of highway meridians with oxeye daisies.

Mass graves won’t be dug at family
Gatherings, picnics, walks in the park.
When making compote rich in wine,
It’ll still okay to drizzle cinnamon, chop
In grapes, add toasted coconut. Many
Buildings yet standing will source safe
Comestibles, offer culinary consolation.

Like erstwhile friends, we won’t brook:
Expecting money back guarantees, the
Resurrection of half-dead creatures, old
School morality, well-intended sharing.
They’ll be no privacy of rented spaces,
No teatime biscuits steeped ‘til ready,
Just navy seals skulking among copses.

Woodlands won’t be playgrounds. No
Orchards will stay unclaimed. Vast fields
Will get marked as boot reflex provisions.
Enforcers, not extermination camps, will
Determine seasoned park workers’ strength.
Well-armed others will survive by pulling
Stuff, ransacking chosen, assaulted bodies.

Despite earlier celebrated mutual norms,
It will be laughable to hike out from cities.
Abruptly, alliances will seem less vital
Than signal mirrors, whistles, magnetic
Compasses, lighters, boots, lead pencils,
Multi-tools, radios, smoke grenades,
No one will bother learning calculus.

Having jumped across torn limbs, scouts
Will view upright trees as principled allies.
Singular persons, if perspicacious, will auction
Pets for tourniquets and purification tablets.
Dear hearts will search mag-lights and rifles.
(The rest of us will limit interviews to select
Prisoners, after stealing all handy bashas.)

December 27, 2015

editors note: With the New Year looming, “tourniquets and purification tablets” will go a long way toward surviving the post-holiday apocalypse. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read, v2016! We are very happy to swirl Brooklyn writer Hannah Frishberg back into our madness. We think you will be happy too. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "We’ve bled out last year and now all we have left is the world around us, always new no matter how old it is. The year is a city, the city is our world, our world is us, right to the marrow."

But don't take our word for it, take a few of Hannah's words from "Stoop Dreams" and we are sure you'll wanna keep reading:

(photo by Tyler Malone)

We used to lay together on days so hot the hydrants spewed water with firefighter’s blessings and I’d throw off all but my big girl’s panties and feel your holy brown stone on my bare stomach as you cooed the hum of air conditioning units into my soul

“Do you mind?” I’d ask, smothering you with chalk till you breathed pink dust and spoke in hopscotch. And the rain would wash it all away

We sat together on the edge of the century and watched the millennia change in a sky high explosion of human life with the entire borough counting down from a billion like a never ending rocket ship of immemorial beginnings and I stood in the flower pot to get a better look at eternity and its infinite fireworks...


How dare we stop right there?! What teases we be! But we only tease because we want you to move your mighty mouse right here and visit MadSwirl.com to get the rest of your read on!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve the 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.06.16) as we kick things off for the NEW year at our NEW Open Mic home, The Underpass Bar (located at 650 Exposition Ave in Dallas). This month we will be featuring Dallas poet Jolee Davis. If you haven’t yet experienced the poetic prowess of Jolee, you’re in for quite the treat. If you have seen Jolee, then you know this will be one show you do not want to miss!

Come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Swirve, share in our open mic madness! 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 the new year of open mic madness!

P.S. If you can’t be here LIVE, you can view the whole show via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel! Just click here at 8:00pm (CST) and watch the mic madness swirlin’ live.

•••••••

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...

Unflinchin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

12.27.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.26.15

“We're all moving, moving, moving. Isn't it nice?” ~ Charles Olson

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Bordering Moorland” (above) by featured artist Eleanor Leonne Bennett. To view all of Eleanor's works, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we hied the hype of haiku happenstance; we linked to lazy wish manipulation; we powered through to the peak of candy kisses; we stood in a stream of stolid star talk; we stalled adrift, in river, stream and sea (we see); we grabbed our ghosts in depths of Yuletide greetings; we needled twig on branch on trunk, tree eternal, life from loam. We grow, we glean, we grapple with the issues of the Season. Eternal stirs the Swirl! ~ MH Clay

Sound of Trees by Sheighle Birdthistle

I listen to trees.
There are sounds
Living within roots
Knowledge and knowing
Spreading like fingers.
My mortality hit me
As I awaited sleep
I made a prayer…
To see next morning
To see and hear
My tree of choice.
It grows in my garden.
A French tree
That unites me.
To the earth and sky.
I listen, laugh and cry
When my tree whispers.
Poetry allows me freedom
To vent my difference
I hate the chopping down
Of trees, it stills a voice.
A voice that I still crave
It is the call of a universe
I knew long ago
In the land of sighe.
Dancing in circles
Trees gilding silence
Of dance and Druids
As tresses guide the
Fairy longing for life.
Birds come for wisdom
Red squirrel exercises
Sun plays with shadows
As raindrops cry.
The French tree unites
With roots outstretched
To a myriad of forest.
The whispering continues
It transmits to home
It transmits from home
Scattering leaves
And nourishing earth
With longing, stretching
To the sky in jubilation
At being alive.

December 26, 2015

editors note: When the Day of days is past, this is the tree for all seasons. Yes! – mh clay


Sentimental Snowcapped Romance, Seasonally by Tyler Malone

Winter’s a season to carry in a pocket,
hoping it’s as pretty as remembered.

Holy ghosts of Christmas pasts, futures and presents
wish our world ices under heels.

Some search for angels in snow,
expect gifts they know they’ll love,
or will explain what a life feels like.

Find what’s built, don’t crumble with it.
Grow experiences outlasting heartbeats.

Every night’s holy. Drain glasses, always feel full.
Sing simple carols as loud as favorite swears.
All hallways wear mistletoe as years become old loves.

Be lucky stomachs are as knotted as lights
before kissing, breathing out ghosts goodnight.

December 25, 2015

editors note: An eternal Season’s Greeting from our Short Story Editor (also a poet in his own write) for all who would keep their ghosts alive. (Read two more from Tyler on his page; greetings, for contrast, from a brief season in hell.) – mh clay


Off the shore by Haris Adhikari

The oars are stuck
and so the boat
in this exotic high land
far away from the shore.

But no, no problem!
I’ll see to it, fix it
and go on with
rowing, rowing, rowing

to places unknown
from where I was
or where I am. There, too,
I’ll be off the shore

though far and beyond
I can see, I can see
many a river
and many a sea.

December 24, 2015

editors note: On this, of all eves, wherever we can be, defined by whatever we can see. – mh clay


I Can Hear the Stars by A.J. Huffman

counting me, as if I were something
backwards that would eventually disappear
like morning. They giggle, check me
off their points, a not-too-human to-do list
that doesn’t really need tending,
just attention from a blind(ing) audience
as temporary as dream.

December 23, 2015

editors note: One hell of a lag time; our answers won’t reach them before they’re gone in a flash of nova we’ll never see. – mh clay


Circus love by Elissa Landrigan

On a carousel at dusk
we shared
a sticky pink cloud
from a cardboard cone
and I loved your sugar coated words
that lingered
on your lips
swirls of powered sweetness
round and round and round
dizzy with confection love

December 22, 2015

editors note: Add the red suit with that tricked-out sleigh and it’s a candyland of romance for the season. – mh clay


Falling Stars by Noel Negele

I am tired of imagining a life where
I’m the best version of myself
While all the rest are the same

It used to take hold of me for hours
This wonderful reverie
Where I luxuriated in jolly scenarios
Of good loving
Of noble money-making
Saving children
Giving good speeches
And drinking very little
And snorting even less

But I’m tired of it
I daydream in the night for too long
Until the sun shines a pale glow
Through the autumn clouds
And the rays never seem to reach me

I have some living to do
Some people manage to delay it
With university and all
But that didn’t work out well for me

I am greedy by nature
And terribly lazy

For example
Yesterday I saw a falling star
And I wished I’d see five more
So I have five wishes
Instead of one.

December 21, 2015

editors note: Not lazy! Focused energy; five is better than one. Not lazy at all. – mh clay


HAIKUS by Nicolas Grenier

empty sentence
in the middle of a haiku
final punctuation

on the next page
between minuscule letters
a comma

appointment
on a white sheet
with a semicolon

sooner or later
my life in poetry
a slash

December 20, 2015

editors note: All our random words, strung together, punctuated by life; a period, an exclamation point or a slash. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? This rowdy tale, "Headbang", comes to us from writer Gary Hewitt. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about it: "Sometimes, what we want the most is bigger than us. It’s timeless. It’ll eat us whole and leave piles of bones behind after it drags us for miles and allows us to limp away as we praise grace."

Here's a few slaps to wake ya' up:


The jukebox dared to play New Moon.

“Charlie, who put this on?”

“Weren’t me, it’s one of those tossers over there,” shrugged Charlie.

Tony cast a fury glance at Soulboy, Dollop, who wore his muscles under his belly and Library Lad.

“They come in our pub and stick their crap on, it ain’t right is it, Sid?”

Sid followed Tony’s gaze. Soulboy was trying his best to ignore the unwarranted hostility.

“You behave yourselves. Any trouble, you’re barred.”

Tony shook his head. He liked Buster yet the landlord worried too much.

“I ain’t gonna ‘ave a pop. I don’t like it though when mugs swan in here and think they own the place.”

Dollop dared to glare at Tony.

“Is he staring me out?”

“Come on, mate, let’s just have a couple of jars.”

“All right, but I ain’t happy.”

“You got a problem?” said Dollop.

The adipose drinker moved towards the bar. Tony grabbed the neck of his bottle. He’d used the strategy enough times in the past.

“You what?”

“Why do you keep slagging off our music?”

Dollop’s words were too much...


Get the rest of your raucous read on right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve the 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.06.16) as we kick things off for the NEW year at our NEW Open Mic home, The Underpass Bar (located at 650 Exposition Ave in Dallas). If you haven't experienced the poetic prowess of Jolee, you're in for quite the movin' set. If you have seen Jolee, you know this will be quite the show!

Come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Swirve, share in our open mic madness! 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 the new year of open mic madness!

P.S. If you can’t be here LIVE, you can view the whole show via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel! Just click here at 8:00pm (CST) and watch the mic madness swirlin’ live.

•••••••

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...

Movin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor