3.28.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.28.15

“Every artist seems to me to have the job of bearing witness to the world we live in. To some extent I think of all of us as artists, because we have voices and we are each of us unique.” Jane Rule

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we spent a surreptitious submitter only to see him come again; we sneaked by the destroyer, a lone surviving voyeur; we molted mean and maudlin fears, a second self to join; we nabbed a narrow escape through a wraith-run dreamscape; we squeezed a tear to splash upon forgotten words; we plied the prisoner's dictum - to rot and roll, a victim; we saw a corn stalker stalked, college bound through scandalous talk. Spent, sneaked, nabbed, squeezed, plied and vilified; just trying to get ahead. ~ MH Clay

Detasseled

Under belched clouds
in Nebraska’s sunny sky,
irrigation pumps
chugged staccato rhythm,
a zombie cadence
for marching pubescent pluckers.

She walked through
miles and miles of corn
heat swollen
erect wiry-haired stalks.
No breeze ruffled
green leaves,
tousled yellow-silk tassels.

A budding song played in ears,
The summons for snatching
male tassels
buzzed and buzzed.
She yanked sticky plumes
with sweaty palms,
pollen speckled her face.

August slipped by that summer.
It wasn’t her plan to become
part of monster Monsanto
or lose her virginity in a cornfield.
She was earning money for college.

- Sharon Frye

(2 poems added 03.28.15)

editor's note: Innocence turned to unintended complicity, caught in the coils of the combine. (We welcome Sharon to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page, including another new one - echoes out of school.) - mh


VICTIM

An orange jumpsuit
Fiendish rogues
Stung by zeal
White-hot iron
In measured
doses of pain
I hang off a rock
In a storm of stardust
My soul clings
To desert winds
No smokes
For fifty years
I crave a cigarette
Red lights flash
A siren blasts
Fingers bleed
Teeth fall out
My tongue
has disappeared
I gasp for breath
My headless body
no longer belongs to me
I’m a pebble
Kicked down a road

- Milton P. Ehrlich

(added 03.27.15)

editor's note: A sorry plight; cravings addressed with a kick in the teeth and roll on the road. - mh


The Tear on the Cheek

There it goes,
There it overflows,
There it wanders

In a swift feather-like manner
When wind blows
Running thither

As if to be forgotten
To be the dew
Inside a book bitterly written

To moan in silence
To hurt to torn
To be doomed to an everlasting mutiny

- Ilhem Issaoui

(added 03.26.15)

editor's note: Write the book sweetly; squeeze that tear from joy, instead. Write sweetly! - mh


The Narrows

Dolmens cast massive shadows in the narrows,
From where funnel clouds once rose in the narrows.

The wings of mynah birds shed pulsing sparks
In a cloud of ash that billows in the narrows.

Cotton grass is silvered with frosted dew
Where glistening fog flows in the narrows.

Moths dove into the flames of stone lanterns
As the shadows of wraiths rose in the narrows.

Like quivering wings, brittle leaves rise
In gales laced with echoes in the narrows.

Shafts of starlight flicker as sibyls rise
Like mist from shallows in the narrows.

Wisps of moonlit fog encircle the ferry
A cloaked figure rows in the narrows.

Pike shine like steel knives, gliding
Through sunlit shallows in the narrows.

- Steffen Horstmann

(1 poem added 03.25.15)

editor's note: Fat happenings in a skinny place... (We welcome Steffen to our growing congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Check more of his madness on his new page.) - mh


SECOND SELF

The second self of me is the gift
unwrapped.
The adventure in need of a path.
A stone to be dislodged.
A bridge that crosses every part,
leading to passions and fears.
It’s a road without a friendly door
or room without a place to hide;
My second self forces me to sunlight.
I’ll shed a skin, maybe between clouds
or a under a soaking rain
and find a place I best fit in -
my second self and me.

- Roger G. Singer

(1 poem added 03.24.15)

editor's note: Better two-for-one than full price; make 'im fit. - mh


The mountain lion

The mountain lion with its dusty
and white cloud colors stares

down at me from a tree.
I twitch into a shudder

of half-madness but just keep
walking at the same pace as if

to say I am not a threat to you,
you king of the forest

in these Idaho valleys and hills
of densely green colors.

No movement behind me,
no roar of hunger.

I move on without another
soul to tell.

- Dawnell Harrison

(1 poem added 03.23.15)

editor's note: Tip-toe passed your ultimate demise; postponed for another time, when hunger roars. - mh


On the Prowl

Having a poem published
at a new venue
is a lot like getting laid.
The process of submitting pieces
blindly to editors you don’t know
is like the hunt
when courting a new girl.
The acceptance letter received
stating your work will appear
a few weeks down the line
is like foreplay –
massaging, kissing, cuddling your date.
Then the poem is published
and it feels like blowing a load –
you’re spent, a little embarrassed, and
not really into it anymore.
Ten minutes tick off the clock
and you’re ready to conquer the world
all over again.

- Scott Thomas Outlar

(added 03.22.15)

editor's note: We must be poly-amorous panderers to priapic poets. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good, 'cos we got just the one to scratch that itch! Heck, it might even get a rise outta ya!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “The Jazz Mine” by John Oliver Hodges: "The power too many want is the power over the bodies of others. That's true power: powerlessness"

Here's a taste to get ya' going:


Yola stepped up front to check the hedges. I slipped the rag from the slit between the seats. It’s the rag she wipes—or should I say swipes?—her mammalian gourds up with eagerly each day’s end, her mammalian gourds meatly, not enormous exactly, but filled to bursting with stuff, call it guts, might as well, or grits, what the hell, or fat. Having from the slit grabbed Yola’s bat—I mean bandana, excuse me—I found some ivy heads poking up from the dreaded Asiack, the Asiatic. It’s the awfulest tangled mess you’ll dip your hands in ever. It’s jasmine. Jazz mine, jasmine, it’s the same shit, take your pick.

So I wrapped it, Yola’s rag, around a beefy poison outcropping of it, a head. I went ivy head to ivy head doing this, then put Yola’s rag back in the slit between the seats.

I deserved one time of being shitty in my life.

I wanted to be open-minded, not limited in my experience by the fear of being shitty.

I wanted to educate myself at the expense of others...

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Is it a coincidence that this 1st Wednesday falls on April Fool’s Day (aka 04.01.15)? Nope, it’s actually perfect timing! Hijinx & madness will be had starting at 8:00 as Mad Swirl & Swirve will be doin’ what we do! This month we will be sayin’ farewell to Absinthe Lounge as we know it, reflectin’ on the past 10 years we swirled it up there, & looking forward to the new & improved Absinthe Lounge coming to Dallas in May!

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

RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) to get you a spot on our mic list here!

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

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

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


Don't be a fool & make Mr. Googily-Eyed-Guy-T pity you. You wouldn't like him when he's pityin'! Just go to the mad show!…

•••••••

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...

Witnessin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

3.21.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.21.15

“We speak with more than our mouths. We listen with more than our ears.” Fred Rogers

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we turned family fortune and father's fear to ash; we lingered like sun's long twilight look, when night seeks day with a lost sky hook; we suspended sorrow in a fit of fingers; we braved the bar scene pick-up put down, lost out and left; we flicked a flame of scavenged light to take a drag of dwindling night; we tumbled in a wave-raced roll; we filled up full to take a chance on love for lust after avalanche. No gamble, no gain... ~ MH Clay

Avalanche

He is a relentless avalanche of FUCK
coming at me like an eighteen-wheeler down a 45 degree angle hill,
all that momentum aimed straight into the softest part of me.
He is urgent.
Overwhelming.
Turns my insides into a storm of desire.
Then again -
maybe I just like his personality.
No.
In the thickness of the wet moments, I have no brain.
He lifts me as though I am weightless,
empty-
then fills me with himself
again
and again
and again.
We become alternating fusion and fission.
Furious skin threatens to break
and allow monsters to emerge
and transform.
We are wolves clawing our way to the surface.
Did I scream out loud?
Or is that just the sound that muscle and bones make
when they bend like light.

He said I wasn't as delicate as he'd expected.
I said nothing.
Just watch the light play along the profile of the mountain.
It's safe here beside the mountain-
now that the avalanche has settled
and sleeps.

- Victory

(1 poem added 03.21.15)

editor's note: When the tunnel takes the train, that rush and rumble's enough to make a whistle blow. Whew! - mh


Tumbling Tides

The ocean waves,
consistent, slow,
as your dark eyes
slide down a-wash.
They touch me now,
they spin my stars,
I go from child
to woman's roll
like running tides
becoming fluid.
From warm to hot,
a racing sea.

- Barbara Franzen

(added 03.20.15)

editor's note: Erotic riptide roilings; bubbling bumptious boilings. Love going to the beach! - mh


A NIGHT IN HARLEM

Darkness dives upon Harlem,
tearing off the moon from the knife-edged snow
splinters of gold bleed the ground,
and smear the lidded heads of thick human throng.
Set bay windows stack in symmetry under the
shop awnings,
chalky flakes blur the cut-out frames,
glowing of scavenged light.
Tonight, the moon hitches on the back of sleep,
snagging flying notes ping-pong over from
the nearby Paris Blues' bar,
where a drove of patrons loiter on pulverized sidewalk,
a ghost of mist snake round their scuffed boots,
as yellow cabs scurry upon potholed street, spewing an ocean
of acid rain.
A short-skirted dame tumbles out of a dark limousine
with spinning wheels by the loading dock,
a textile cloud of laurel green, champagne pink and licorice black,
struts up the steps,
trailing of perfume and sable fur.
Patting her puffed up hair,
tossing a hello at the bouncer there,
she digs through her long-strap purse for a pack
of Lucky Strike.
Cold air slaps wild and hard,
she lurches to cordon off the blast with her cupped fingers over
the cigarette and the others flick fast on the flint wheel.
It sputters then jolts to life in curious
states, part wind, part snow, part pitfall.
The slim butt passes from stained lips
into deep smoky drags
entering, exiting,
then settling like a goodbye kiss.
She draws in the burned foliage of the evening,
tasting stale breath and hollow New York’s moon.

- Lana Bella

(added 03.19.15)

editor's note: A lady, maybe lovelorn, takes a puff of night; exhales moon, maybe more. - mh


shaken & stirred

muddled mumbly moments flow together with liquid confidence and the scenery shifts

swirling reds and swinging vines link humans to gods with umbilical precision

the crack of a bat hangs a question mark in the damp evening air

the crowds cheer as I walk the talk, shoulders back, assets forward

pull out the big guns baby, I'm ten feet tall, I'm a tall drink, a swagger

do the math, it adds up then subtracts itself, retracts itself to a quiet corner

just a minute please

deep breath, step back, size up the situation

launch one last attack of wit on the unsuspecting khaki coalition

sashay an extraction

the sun looming on the horizon looks an awful lot like truth and consequences for the invincible

- Kristine Jessup

(added 03.18.15)

editor's note: Cocktail consequences quail a cloyed conscience. - mh


fit

fit of idle bout of trifle doubt:

Dizzy blows
"Closer"
"Closer"
"Soul Kiss" "High on a cloud"...

ears perambulate
a long way
plodding stirs of stout tangs...

what kind of condolence adjourned to get an everlasting poke?

- Volodymyr Bilyk

(added 03.17.15)

editor's note: Something's burning here more than my ears; it's the pull of the poke. - mh


Hooking black sky

Sunset dollops fuchsia glaze along the bay
where city sludge oozes toward surf,

life contrasted on sand in the setting.
Light, like hope, refuses to die,

tosses up some gold as a one-armed mime
tries to hook black sky nearby.

- Timothy Pilgrim

(2 poems added 03.17.15)

editor's note: What mime makes into motion, poet twists into twilight transitions. Picture perfect! (Read another one from Tim on his page. What Lincoln would do with Twitter - Check it out!) - mh


Patriarchy

I was born to a man
Who knew no limitations
And sacrificed himself
Willingly
To the god within.

Confident what was here
Always would be,
He engraved family names
On anything
Affordable.

As rightful heir
To this immortality,
I blew the ashes
From my hand.

His death
Will include his heaven
And we—
His children—
Will burn
The throne.

- Jerry Moffitt

(added 03.15.15)

editor's note: The better legacy is statue toppled for human remainder. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "White Angel" by Chuck Taylor. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "The dead we carry will always burden us more than the living. But then again, that's living."

Here's a taste to feed that need:

photo by Tyler Malone

Well, I’d say I’ve done fairly well in this hardball game of life we all come to naked and crying. I’ve got two great grown kids—Sarah and Mark—who seem sane and happy, I’ve got my loving wife Mary of thirty years, I’ve got my two story home in suburban north Dallas, and a job with Grace Insurance that I’ve long been bored with but can do in my sleep.

Still, I’ll let you know that I could whip off my pants’ belt, right here in this moment, and hang myself from that railing up there on the upstairs’ balcony. All I need is a ladder from the garage to kick over. But of course I won’t—death is such scary shit—especially on this day, April 22nd, 1996, the thirty-fifth anniversary of my mother’s passing.

I can see her standing at the kitchen sink in the midst of cooking supper in her red checkered apron, back in 1961, when I came in the back door from school in San Angelo, and as I walked by she turned around and said I love you, but because I was thirteen and trying to act a man, I rolled my eyes, made a face, and kept on walking down the long hallway to my bedroom with the “KEEP OUT!” sign on the door, pushing the door shut with my foot and a slam.

Get the rest of your read on right here!

•••••••

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

Speakin’ & Listenin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

3.14.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.14.15

“There are worse things than being mad.” Jack Kerouac

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“You Are My Slave” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. David hails from Detroit, Michigan. But the snapshots he brings us appear to hail from some other place altogether. His subjects seem strangely familiar. Almost like we might have seen these scenes on the side of that 7/11 down the street. You know, the wall where all the loco local artists use to express their creative madness? Hey, wait… that’s it! David is combining his fine eye for street art and his gift for photography and catching our eye on what caught his eye. Well, we sure dig what he sees and we think you will too. Why not have a look-see for yourself? To see more Mad works from David and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery. - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we stretched heads tightly, godly beat, dried our tears, forgetful feat; we built no better legacy than to building be; we blazed away a bad one, ignited by a mad one; we saw a soldier standing tall, sentinel on rhapsodic wall; we peered into a rain-soaked box, found no sadness; we found a place where peacefulness lingers, afar from folks who point their fingers; we flipped mother, father, son and daughter to coin a new realm - understanding, justice, peace, love. Build up, tear down; create new worlds with words! ~ MH Clay

We Have Put Away Our Wings To Stand This Close Together

In the center of a large room is a table.

On the table is a coin.

Everyone knows what the coin says.
“Father, Son, Holy Ghost.”

Everyone around here knows that, they go, “Yeah. True.”

Around this table there are old white men, around them young white men with guns.
Anyone who tries to get close, “No Ma’am. No! No! Ma’am you need to step back.”

Believe me. We all know it says, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost.”

I am a poet. I am trying to learn what is next. I know there is another side to the coin.

I speak up in the room,
“Ready or not we are evolving…
There once was no Blockbuster Video
Then there was Blockbuster Video
Now there is no Blockbuster Video
Times change.”

While you were pondering this
I snatched up the coin from the table.
You know what it says on the other side?

“Mother, Daughter, Spirit of Life.”

Oh look, the edge of the coin says something too…
“Understanding, Justice, Peace, Love, Understanding, Justice, Peace, Love”

Are we not looking for all these things? There are two sides to every coin.

They are coming for me now, I flip the coin into the air and a voice sings out,

”Mother
Father
Daughter
Son
Spirit of Life
Holy Ghost”

- Chris Zimmerly

(2 poems added 03.14.15)

editor's note: Coined in the heavenly mint, a currency worth risking for all. (Read another of Chris's mad missives on his page, about giving in without giving up - check it out.) - mh


Bowdinnia

There is a land of perfect safety
hidden and waiting not too far away
across the thoughtful footbridge
and through the doorway of daydreams.
There’s a sign just outside the walls
which always makes her smile,
it proclaims in big bold letters
WARNING: People Who Like
To Point Their Fingers, Keep Out!
She’s been going there since a child
and still does on most week days
when he’s in work and the kids
are out of her hair and both in school.
Without it she would simply go spare,
be as mad as a big bucket of frogs.
The charts, maps and geography
keep changing with the rhythms
of her moods, the weather reflects
faithfully her need for peacefulness,
quiet solitude or fun and adventure.
It stretches on forever yet you can
easily walk it in an hour if wanted.
No one knows about her little paradise
for the rot would only follow them in.
She keeps it all locked away safely
deep inside her mind, in that special
corner that she keeps strictly to herself.

© 2014

- Paul Tristram

(1 poem added 03.13.15)

editor's note: Brick and board or unconscious construct; we seek shelter where we must. - mh


Seattle rain

finds him once again seeking shelter
down at the UW Fisheries Research Center
in a 6' x 4' rectangular wooden crate,
once used for salmon research.

He loves the rain punctuating the box's top
as do the Iowa man and his dogs
in the “Box Motel” next to his,
the dogs anticipating their beer poached fish.

Some might assume them all sad...
but one shouldn't make fallacious attributions
that silent men and dogs in boxes
are necessarily sad...

not yet and maybe never.

- Hal J. Daniel III

(added 03.12.15)

editor's note: Refuge from rain; be it box or castle, there's no (dry) place like home. - mh


Wall Rhapsody

These walls our elders built
on hills of root and clay;
the piles mute where
watch towers wait
for consonance in light.

A tune ruminates inside,
uncanny in the cavities.
First the fossil bleed
breathes the stain back
to whitewashed whispers;

the cattleshed rattles,
bolted to the well and
a draught in the rain song
roams the drop down to
silence, waterlocked

a spell, till stone traps
it in holes again and a
low call sucks the ruin,
the crow stalks. A rumour
in the wall calls to war

now measured with its beak,
to fingers dancing darkly
on the ivory, the strain
in piano keys an officer
scales, beating vowels

of desolate air, vocals
crowding loudly to exile
from corners and crescendos
a shadow flares, entomb
the final note fall.

He lies in waxing smoke,
his tunic lead on open sky,
his rifle pointed to the night,
melody « in memorium »,
in minor

and the awful quiet.

- Blaithin

(added 03.11.15)

editor's note: A city sings in silence. The sentinel stands guard. - mh


HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS (IS THIS THE END?)

I’ve got to look in at myself
As I can’t look out to sea
That damn scaffold is still in the way
When it will ever come down
And what it will mean
I still don’t know but I have a feeling

My old landlord died and a huge
Amount began to change
The new paint work means the place stinks
Signs went up proclaiming that
Smoking wasn’t allowed and
Anyone found would lose their deposit

As a result of the scaffold and
The signs my paranoia grows to the
Point where now I sit in
Darkness whilst the work goes on
Outside/ Inside it’s just me
Blazing away at my own paranoia

On the inside I’m just worried
About my job, a rent increase and
How I’ll survive another cold winter
Last year was hard and the forecast is bad
Just to prove that life ain’t ever easy
But what is there to do? I just got to carry on…

- Bradford Middleton

(1 poem added 03.10.15)

editor's note: They said it was arson; the accelerant, paranoia. He said he was just carryin' on... - mh


I Am Building

a profession, a tower, something
erected, intended to reach
heaven, a structure
of large size,
facilities, an establishment
for factors of manufacturing,
a dwelling, to endure, sustain,
withstand without yielding
or submitting, the basis,
the groundwork of anything,
the lowest division, the act
of founding, of establishing
growth.

- A.J. Huffman

(1 poem added 03.09.15)

editor's note: We all aspire to edifice; sell naming rights to highest bidder. Whose building are you? - mh


Drums

Time ticking
Our tilted heads

Only flesh fearing the inevitable

Infinite space the heart of God
Spirits living within that beat
So sweet
Never crying again

Forgetting all of this
That we have done.

- Stephen Jarrell Williams

(added 03.08.15)

editor's note: An empty slate, all past is passed; God-beat achieved. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "The Spanish Drummer" by Carl Kavadlo. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "Forever starts with a Sunday, the day God rests but people create art."

Here's a few notes to get the tune goin’:

photo by Tyler Malone

We first wanted to start a wedding band. This is where I met Scott Howard. He was a fat guy playing keyboard across from me in a Manhattan rehearsal studio.

The next week I had him over at my house.

I watched him wobble up the walkway. We lived in a place called the Butcher’s Co-op on Midwood Street, Brooklyn. I stood in the kitchen and watched him from my second floor view. He had nothing but a pullover, white turtle neck ski sweater for outdoor apparel. It was late November. It was twenty degrees that day.

I stood there waiting for him. He had picked an outrageously early time: nine-thirty in the A.M.

He strolled, all three hundred and fifty pounds of him. I watched him out of a small, narrow window. Then he disappeared into the doorway. The buzzer rang. We were on the second floor. I rang him up.

Now that you got the melody, why not hear the whole song? Get the rest of your READ on RIGHT here!

••• Mad Happenin’s •••

Rebel Poetry & Mad Swirl are proud to present the book release of "sonoffred" - poems by MH Clay.


Sure, you have an evening of St. Patrick's Day mayhem planned for your self; so, why not maximize the festive day and start your evening with us?

Gene Barry, Chief Editor of Rebel Poetry Ireland and Chairman of the Fermoy International Poetry Festival, will join Johnny O, Founder and Chief Editor of Mad Swirl, to host this event.

Readings from the collection by the author and local poets, Chris Zimmerly, Opalina Salas, Johnny O joined by Gene Barry, too.

If you can't be here LIVE, you can tune in and view the whole shebang LIVE via Rebel Poetry's UStream

Admission is free.

Join us for a fun time - St. Patrick wants you to!

•••••••

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

Bein’ Mad,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

3.07.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.07.15

“Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody.” Piet Mondrian

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Suspension” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. This is the last one that we will feature from William this go-round. Stay tuned for our newest featured artist coming to y'all next week! To see more Mad works from our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we tried to tune the pain from a picture of children; we dallied in a desert waste, stained sin and God the same in haste; we settled into sedentary student stigmas, unashamed and unnamed; we stumbled and stammered molecule fast, daunted by space and actions passed; we pulsed the promise of knives and stars on a dead run; we slipped the soap of reason, bathed and borne to pleasin'; we leapt the gap o' gravity gulped in gasps from a deep guffaw. Deep breaths now, words to speak and lives to peek from behind fate's curtain before the play begins... ~ MH Clay

Gravity Break

Gravity has no bounds
we all own a universal share

there is no rheostat
no ambiguity

it is either on
or off

unless you
go into space

you are planted
firmly on the ground

but

there is levity
an opposite of gravity

that we can
all embrace

find things funny
everywhere

and with a simple
smile

transcend
Newton's law.

- D. Russel Micnhimer

(1 poem added 03.07.15)

editor's note: Let go gravitas to float free; put apple back on the tree. (We welcome Russel to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page - check it out.) - mh


Elusive

I had it in hand in my bath,
right here, the soap, the truth,
but then it escaped me, no reason.

This happens, I calm myself, be reason-
able. Lie back. When your bath
involves a search for truth,

it’s a slippery soap grope. In truth
everyone now and then takes a bath
in the marketplace tub of reason.

Truly, with reason. Bathing next, grasp this.

- Richard Swanson

(added 03.06.15)

editor's note: Taken to the cleaners as the market gets filthy rich - this makes us wise. Selah. - mh


Pulse

Heart weeps in tribal beats
One earth, thousand worlds

A wise mind covered in moss
Shaman drowned in drug fit sleep

Sold from hair to nails,
Lack of DNA in our wires

We build fires, rain down like knives
Yet eyes so mild, promise stars

A realm of injustice, slaves and mirrors
Free will, past lingers

One dreamer, thousand ways
Eyes so wild burn with a blaze

Tear off the stolen skin, rise the drummer… rise
Run off into the forest, just run… run away

Save what’s seen before your eyes
… save yourself

- Elina Alksnite

(added 03.05.15)

editor's note: Yes, save yourselves; bring down the run and carry the one! - mh


The Greater Space

There was a voice capture of space in 2000-2003
By Nasa, it raised fears, suspicions, assertions
the rumblings have little facts
a possible fact, some measure of life
was attained
be it by light, sound or image
the rings of Saturn called her lover
the song of Earth
raised desperation to the brink of sunrise
Saturn so far,
has calculated more than her rings

Here on Earth
we hear it all
Albeit, from a distance
the abstractions
constant interactions
a blip,
a sound,
a molecule
trying to reach out
for something other than its deity
circumference circling around
to let us know
to grab a phone
point at the heavens
cower into the unknown darkness
we have a visitor
it could be our past creations
trying to secure
a passage into the future.

© August 20, 2014

- Rafael Andrade Garza

(2 poems added 03.04.15)

editor's note: There's no telling what future past may pass through present; unsettling. Best keep space at arm's length. (Read another of Rafael's mad missives on his page; a jacketed jab from love's past - check it out.) - mh


The Check

Feed yourself,
have a beer
(even though it’s a
school night,
you’ve got a
bad relationship with
nerves),
buy concert tickets with
funds you don’t have,
burn the rice and
settle for crackers,
put on new
band-aids,
blow out the candle,
notice
scratches,
calm yourself with

big

deep

breaths.

- Taylor Gall

(1 poem added 03.03.15)

editor's note: Something to keep us oblivious to those great big questions lurking outside. - mh


UNABLE TO DREAM

Texas Wilderness
Dead against all the towns between Waco and our sacred reservoir
Never thought to teach our children all the feelings
Covered like guilt in the unexpected snow of 2014
Visions of blood against the subtle warmth of winter
Small amounts of red against
A dark universe of white matter
White like God
And sin

I am man in the universe of my being
Forbidden from the source
Bound to the gravity
Of slaves
Of the punishable
Deserving of this terror and unable to
Dream about mother and womb and secrets

Here I am

- Cheyenne Gallion

(3 poems added 03.02.15)

editor's note: Disconnected, daunted wake-dreamer, solitary sleeper... all. (Read more of Cheyenne's madness on his page; a celebrated sameness and a wasted word land - check'em out.) - mh


Peshawar, Thar, Newtown

How do we tell children apart?
Our children from those less privileged?
Our children from those of a terrorist?
Hungry children from sick children?
Pretending to play dead children, from dead children?

How in the hell do they tell?
Which one to let live, which one to kill?

Reactive governance, absent strategy?
Politics of war, political warring?
Failing diplomacy, content apathy?
In a burden we all share
This child play is for real
There, here, elsewhere, anywhere
Children will be children, they are dying everywhere

Paying the price, laying their lives
Crying out loud then going quiet
Our past, our present, haunting our future
Children are children, they are dying everywhere

Is there something wrong with this picture?
How is this not our mutual shame?
How is this not our shared failure?
Children our children, are dying everywhere

- Arif Ahmad

(1 poem added 03.01.15)

editor's note: Shamed, yes; but, stirred to action? You? I? - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Before we share, we will need to see your license to read, registration, & proof of reading insurance... just kidding!

Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "In the Car" by Elijah Budgeon. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "You're not okay, none of us are. It's okay to admit that you're not okay, too. That's the most comfort you'll get out of life sometimes."

Here's a few words to whet your whistle:

photo by Tyler Malone

I sit in the front seat of my dad’s brown shitbox Honda Civic. It’s my weekend with him and we are on our way somewhere fun at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon. It’s mild outside, even as the sun begins to set. I wear a white shirt and so does he. We match today. We drive past his condo on Legion road with the windows rolled down half way. Goosebumps erect upon my exposed arm from the cool wind. I like the circulated air on my face. He says something and I respond with a smart ass quip through a slow forming smirk.

I hear the sirens.

I look behind me and see a police car follow us. I can see the officer motion Dad to pull over, and he does less than half way between Humber Bay Park West and East, and stops the car. I look at Dad. He glances into the rear view mirror and looks uneasy. His face bloats a little, tense, as if something could happen. It’s not a face I’ve seen Dad make before. He rolls down the window completely for the officer to speak…

Get the rest of your rights read… oops, we mean, get the rest of your READ on RIGHT here!

••• Mad Happenin’s •••


t’was a cold night in Big D but warmth & fuzzies filled the Lounge this past 1st Wednesday! Huge GRATS to our feature, Harry McNabb

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


Feature:
Harry McNabb

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Mad Cast:
Carlos Salas
Josh Weir
David Crandall
Opalina Salas
Paul Konieki
Bear the Poet
Meagen Elizabeth Watson

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

And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin Christensen, owner of Absinthe Lounge, who has given 123 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!

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

April: Merlin the Magical One
May: Opalina Salas, Maggie Smith, Desmene Statum
June: Brendan McCormack (from Ireland)
July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore

•••

Rebel Poetry & Mad Swirl are proud to present the book release of "sonoffred" - poems by MH Clay.


Sure, you have an evening of St. Patrick's Day mayhem planned for your self; so, why not maximize the festive day and start your evening with us?

Gene Barry, Chief Editor of Rebel Poetry Ireland and Chairman of the Fermoy International Poetry Festival, will join Johnny O, Founder and Chief Editor of Mad Swirl, to host this event.

Readings from the collection by the author and local poets, Chris Zimmerly, Opalina Salas, Johnny O joined by Gene Barry, too.

If you can't be here LIVE, you can tune in and view the whole shebang LIVE via Rebel Poetry's UStream

Admission is free.

Join us for a fun time - St. Patrick wants you to!

•••••••

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...

Makin’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

2.28.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.28.15

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



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

Soul Play

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

- Peggy Flora

(1 poem added 02.28.15)

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


Unless

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

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

(Perchance)…

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

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

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

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

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

- Harley White

(1 poem added 02.27.15)

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


Gramps Is Still Nuts about Granny

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

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

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

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

- Donal Mahoney

(1 poem added 02.26.15)

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


Entertainment Services by Everafter

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

- Steven Minchin

(1 poem added 02.25.15)

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


EMPTY

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

- Mahabba Alhaushabi

(added 02.24.15)

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


Greased

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

- Sheikha A.

(1 poem added 02.23.15)

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


The Nocturnal Habits of Rocks

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

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

- Scott Wozniak

(added 02.22.15)

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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

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

photo by Tyler Malone

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

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

That day Ferrone bought a bag of weed.

“What about you?” asked Andy.

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

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

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

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

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

••• Open Mic •••


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

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

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

RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) to get you a spot on our mic list here!

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

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

April: Merlin the Magical One
May: Opalina Salas, Maggie Smith, Desmene Statum
June: Brendan McCormack (LIVE from Ireland via Skype)
July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore


•••••••

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

Bumblin,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

2.21.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.21.15

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



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

LONG SHADOWS

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

- Derrick Gaskin

(2 poems added 02.21.15)

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


VERY PLEASANT

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

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

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

- Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

(1 poem added 02.20.15)

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


Hello

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

©2014

- Sheighle Birdthistle

(1 poem added 02.19.15)

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


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

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

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

- Neil Ellman

(1 poem added 02.18.15)

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


Nice Toss

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

- Ivan Jenson

(1 poem added 02.17.15)

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


Voguing with Current Federal Bureaucrats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 02.16.15)

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


Free love

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

- Sissy Buckles

(1 poem added 02.15.15)

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

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Howsabout two?

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

Here's a taste to tickle ya':


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

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

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

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

•••

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

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

photo by Tyler Malone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barefoot, I opened the door

••• Local Mad Events •••



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

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

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

•••••••

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

Getting’ On With It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

2.14.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.14.15

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



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

PLATO’S CAVE

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

- Clinton Van Inman

(1 poem added 02.14.15)

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


Tip for Achieving Immortality

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

- Changming Yuan

(1 poem added 02.13.15)

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


Wanderlust - III

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

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

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

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

So she can save the white wolf.

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(2 poems added 02.12.15)

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


walt disney world

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

there is no room, no space for the blues.

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

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

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

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

- Carl Kavadlo

(1 poem added 02.11.15)

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


Crossroads (Knotty Neck)

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

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

Now they
resonate
together,

one howlin' wolf,

all through the night.

Haughty,

naughty
necked
girl,

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

- Shashank Virkud

(added 02.10.15)

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


New Directions

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

- Linda Barrett

(added 02.09.15)

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


Racial Colors

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

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

they
cheered
laughed and yelled

united colors of India

come evening
they gathered all
except me
for a meaty meal

i asked
why am i not on the list

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

i said

you said

united colors of India
this noon

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

remember
in spite of colors
we still are divided
you jerk

they yelled in chorus
and i died

a racial death

- Aniruddha Sastikar

(1 poem added 02.08.15)

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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

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


The love letter is dead.

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

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

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

•••

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

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

photo by Tyler Malone

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

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

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

•••••••

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

Bein’ Rationally Irrational,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor