12.13.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.13.14

"Perfectly ordered disorder designed with a helter-skelter magnificence." Emily Carr

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Dinged yet unperturbed. Well, maybe just a bit” (above) by featured artist Gerard Bendiks. To see more Mad works from Gerard, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Allow us to introduce you to Mad Swirl's newest featured visual artist is the ever-talented Dallas-based Gerard Bendiks. Gerard's photography is self-classified as 'never outside the box' - but that isn't to say it doesn't almost give you the means to escape the box yourself! Bendiks takes otherwise ordinary imagery, close-ups of mundane everyday things and swirls them around in the gloriously mad mind that anyone who knows this artist, knows he has! When he spews 'em right back out (figuratively, of course), they've almost got a new energy, a voice and a light of their very own. You feel like you've discovered the little bit of magic all by yourself when you look at it. But alas, we here at the Swirl headquarters have a hunch that was probably Bendiks' goal all along. But who are we to be hunching for you? We'll leave the hunching up to you to see what we mean. Ready? Set... GO! - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we beheld the hole in a beggars bowl; we entered the dream of a dreamer, a coward stranger, phantom bleeder; we investigated the ins and outs of a back and forth; we gave a hard answer to a gentleman dancer; we experienced one ecstatic afternoon; we fought and fornicated, all fire with no cuddle after; we got some backseat spoonin' from a chance reunion. ~ MH Clay

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

Running into old lovers

She almost didn’t know who I was,
‘Tony!’ she exclaimed!
Yes.
She couldn’t believe it was me.
“Your hair!” she mourned ruefully
“Yes, I know, it’s going!”
We're so old now, she says,
Yes…
I follow her and her friends to a bar,
Off Lower Greenville,
We stay outside and smoke and catch up,
She can’t take her eyes off my head.
“Does it look that bad?” I ask.
“No!” she’s embarrassed, “I just…
Your hair was so perfect”
We talk about life,
She’s done with school,
Berates me for never going back,
She almost had a kid,
It was a miscarriage,
She feels it was for the best, but
It does hurt some days,
We talk of our times together,
The day we got into a fight because I
Didn’t know how to change a tire.
Alongside an empty back road
On our way home from San Antonio,
Which led to us fucking in the back seat
When a highway patrol car pulled up,
I got a ticket,
You laughed.
You said it was because the old man was jealous.
Me, mad that I was charged for lewd behavior and
You weren’t.
You initiated it.
You had the better job and could pay your ticket.
I eventually had to go sit mine out.
She laughs,
Her friends come back out,
To check on us,
I don’t think they like the fact she talking to a man,
But what do they know, they have no inkling
Of our past together, unless she told them,
When I wasn’t looking,
It all happened so fast, us running into each other,
Last I heard she was moving to Seattle
To work at a radio station.
We talked for so long, her friends had to leave
And I offer to take her home.
She agrees after some protest,
She’s staying back at her mom’s,
Her mom loved me,
We’re not in the car for long,
Before were up to our old tricks again,
Spontaneous love making is the best kind of love making,
It keeps you on your toes,
It lets you know you’re alive and still
Can rise to the occasion.
At a moment’s notice.
You still got it, I tell myself,
She rubs her fingers through my thinning hair
And whispers, "You were my Alexander"
Long ago,
We would stand naked in her bathroom
And admire one another in the mirror,
And she’d whisper those same words in my ear
Without the were, but you are,
"You are my Alexander,"
And I’d say back,
"You are my Cleopatra,"
I kiss her neck after she’s finished
And that’s when I see it
The lights in the back windshield and
A police officer approaching the car,
Flashlight in hand.
And we laugh.

- R.A. Hernandez

(1 poem added 12.13.14)

editor’s note: Alexander and Cleopatra; an epic tale with the full complicity of law enforcement (after the fines were paid). - mh



love is a four letter word

jodido.
estamos jodido.
she would say that
when she thought
that the stars might wink out one by one or
that her geriatric corolla would burst into flames or
that the liquor store was closed or
that i wasn’t able to come or
that she wasn’t.

once we were fighting at a party
because i was flirting with a girl who lived in the house
she got back at me by pushing my friend down on the couch
and blowing him
in front of everyone.

my friend looked at me and shrugged
so i flicked cigarette ash in his eyes
and he screamed
but she didn’t let him get up
because she wasn’t done yet.

afterwards we went home together
jodido.
estamos jodido, she said
when i parked the car
i said, no,
solo tú.
she got out and
i reached over and slammed the door and
i drove that death trap over the parking lot and
through the six-foot hedge
that separated it from the river and
the plunge of my dreams.

- Leeroy Berlin

(added 12.12.14)

editor’s note: After the altercation; tow trucks and mouthwash. Love will renew... - mh



An Afternoon

You got 80’s Caribbean fruit twist cigarettes
Green golden hair pink suit flowerbeds
Cucumber afternoons
In orange juice pale blue
Antique spoofs and cooking detectives
Green curtain dishcloths and buttery ham laxatives
Your style is Cav House lippy tile pigeon lips
Cross dressing jitterbugger and fungi kissy tits
Dark chocolate sofa spanking art house Viennetta
Vientiane Brussels sprout bugle loving cum taster
It makes my afternoon just to be with you.

It makes my afternoon
Just to be with you.

- James Cornish

(added 12.11.14)

editor’s note: It makes our afternoon just to read this. A "dark chocolate sofa spanking," please. - mh



Singles Dance at the Union Hall

A skirt too tight on Carol Ann
summoned forth a handsome man

who said he had a foolproof plan
to help her get that skirt off

once the dance was over but
she'd have to take him home.

He couldn't help her now
and interrupt the band.

Carol Ann had often heard
better lines from men and so

she told him she had criteria
to qualify a man who sought

to verify her assets.
First, he had to be a gentleman,

obtain the blessing of her father,
and flash a rock with many facets.

Only then might such a man
have a chance to say "I do."

- Donal Mahoney

(1 poem added 12.10.14)

editor’s note: There's no pick up line for the long haul; pick up nothing or pick up all. - mh



Pacing

Back
Forth
Back
Forth

“Do you have
To pace like that?”
Asks my Mom,
“You make me
Nervous when you pace
Like that.”

I sit down
But she doesn’t understand
I pace because
Movement of the body
Better facilitates
Movement of the mind

I pace because
I’m too excited
To sit still

I get an idea
I need to walk it
In order to find
Out whether
It has legs
To stand on

And when I’ve sat back down
I have my answer

- Euphrates Moss

(added 12.09.14)

editor’s note: Sometimes, the poetic process won't pace itself. It's full on or hard stop. - mh



I Once Appeared to William Blake in a Dream

I once appeared to
William Blake in a dream,
I was in mourning,
for daylight had passed into night,
I was a shadow lurking
and he called out
to a vision of me,
through me,
it was raining outside my window,
there were long streaks and
gray streets, obscured,
I could not make out his cry,
it was muffled by oozing time,
by corporeal pain, by loosened screw,
I tasted stale wine on my tongue,
he retched at the smell
and I saw in that moment
I was but a phantom stretching out,
bleeding into void,
I was the nothingness sent to take him,
I was the coward stranger,
the burning savior,
I once appeared to
William Blake in a dream.

- Tom Pescatore

(added 12.08.14)

editor’s note: One man's vision is another man's dream? What's the difference? - mh



Tearful Life

Standing out-and-out,
She looks around with a hopeful sight,
Uncaring for her kids around,
But caring for the passerby,
She hopes to get a coin,
Into her grounded silver bowl,
Muddy site full of monkeys’ shrieks,
She turns to a baby, who cries for her breast,
Still some coins are yet to be dropped in,
She tends to cover an inadvertent uncovered modesty,
Alas! She gets stillness upon her brood,
With emptied bellies for uncounted days,
A monkey drops a banana skin from a tree,
She picks it up and squeezes,
Hoping to get its juice into the mouth of babies,
Now the weather changes,
She also gets threatened by it,
Drizzle turns out to be stormy,
Clutching her idle babies,
She shelters under a tree,
Unjust…unjust, her rags are taken off.
Oh God! You materialize for tearful life, you do, do you?
Hoping…praying…pleading,
She beholds her bowl in the same abyss.

- Chiranjibi Niroula

(1 poem added 12.07.14)

editor’s note: Some see life from abundance, others from lack. What's in your bowl? - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Then come here and we’ll share a fine tale with you. Come close. Come “Closer”! Yes, and that’s the name of this week’s featured short-short by Simon Pilbrow!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "Attached at the hip, the abolishment of the individual, the joining to two souls, it all doesn’t require science, just sacrifice and a word: love—the daily needle poking through the skin and sewing us together, making us not perverts and monsters, but lovers—beasts with two backs."

Here's a more close-up look at “Closer”:


He had been deeply in love, but love had stretched and thinned and wandered in three years. She wasn’t as into him, either. And that gave him panic attacks as he questioned his mortality, his relevance. Three years ago she climbed on him in the back of a taxi heading home. With real animal aggression, she didn’t give him a choice. Those were sublime days. They passed in a beautiful, unhealthy, sleazy fog.

After years, love had become such a routine, logical ordeal that he had had to get out: the claustrophobia or its rational equivalent, was unbearable. Three weeks of cowardice and self-abuse, and he ended it, and the worst thing was that she looked so surprised despite the way he had acted. He felt abysmal for months.

He met some new girls and did the same thing five or six times in a row, but for diminishing duration and for diminishing returns. One always popped up when he was out, only to fall into the gaps made by the last. After each, the anxiety got worse and episodes more frequent. It was a repeating nightmare, the anhedonia and hopelessness had him considering the easiest way to check out.

Get even more up close and personal with this story 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...

Disorderin’ Order,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

12.06.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.06.14

"What I am really concerned about is what art is supposed to be - and can become." Bruce Nauman

••• The Mad Gallery •••

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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we shook awake a sleeping beauty to extend our take of a short eternity; we weren't resistant with war, door, corridor, floor persistent; we braved an Uzi stampede, would an ugly corpse impede; we breathed in air of colored vapor to find forever in a scrap of paper; we conspired to couple a crass contrarian with a latently luscious, lithe librarian; we walked the rope 'tween fire and hope, a hypnotized-by-coal-black-eyes dope; we swirled up all on a cloudy brink, the sky, embarrassed, turned to pink. So winds the whirl of a week in the Swirl! ~ MH Clay

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

Smoking Sky

The sky had been smoking
Thick cigar puffs
Clouded smoke charcoal grey
The sky was dirty
And angels came, coughing
Not in clouds but in
Stretchy satin strings
A woolly yarn mop
Flowing hair and wings afloat
To clean this dirty sky
To sop the smelly smoke
The clouds, darker and darker
The further in

A layer of strawberry spread
Resting upon the dusty earth
Sweet light cream, a shroud over bitter coffee's dark
And embarrassed for the sky
Caught in this filthy act
Unwilling to confess
The horizon turns away his face
Covering in his curtained veil
And blushes
Pink

- Heather M. Browne

(1 poem added 12.06.14)

editor’s note: Celestial shenanigans exposed through this poet's eye. I'm blushing, too. - mh



The day my house burnt to ash

1
I saw winter
outside in
the soot strewn
upwind
a poleax
between
bone dead
fingers and
moth-eaten
moccasins on
her feet
The eve after
winter was
a blue
chair
abandoned in
a white forest
tilted
on its
peg-less side
with a
smile
like a sinking
ship
She was a
child
who
lights a match
and
swallows it
for the
thrill

2
The yellow lime
of her tongue
flows like a
bee wrapped
Limbs like
tines
toothpick
the ground
like a
hypothermic
funambulist
on the
final
stretch
The day
before
my house
burnt to
ash
I saw
winter
inside
warming
her purple
heart
by the hearth
The heat
igniting
the black
coal of her
eyes

- Ali Sohail

(added 12.04.14)

editor’s note: Winter comes, precocious child, to freeze like fire; leaves us seeking shelter in poetry. - mh



drama queen

i’m high
i’m in the library
i’m getting dirty looks
i’m giving dirty looks
back
i’m slouched in my chair
i’m slightly aroused
i’m thinking of the pill
in my pocket
i’m thinking how warm
it’ll make me feel
i’m thinking about leaving
going to get a soda
or feeling the librarian’s thigh
i’m nervously bouncing my legs
i’m far and away the smartest person
in this building
i’m going to ask for more time on the computer
i’m back
i’m too shy to even look at the librarian
i’m obsessed with her face her behind
the tattoos on her arm
the porno fantasy of sassy and sweet
geek in the office
freak the bedroom
i’m terrified of dying
i’m alone in life
i’m falling apart
i’m less durable than other poets
i’m more likely to melt than others
i’m a shallow puddle
when all is said
and done
i’m not going to be missed
i’m here and queer
i’m positive about my pessimism
under an existential elephant
i’m contrasting the aluminum railings
with the bark of a white maple
i’m down with the dirt that begins
whispering to my feet

i’m thinking about moving to japan
i’m stupid because i don’t have the money
it’s a pipedream
i’m thinking of my mother, dead,
my father, dead
my own crossing the road
the other side

i’m not feeling so high anymore

- Stephen Okawa

(added 12.04.14)

editor’s note: Continuing education; libraries are a haven for those who hunger for learning... and librarians. - mh



IN ANOTHER DIMENSION, WE ARE MAKING LOVE

What color is dreaming? you ask.
I answer in the language of fleur-de-lis,
paisley and plaid. Then, what is the sound of death?
you ask, so I draw you a picture of dreaming.
What is left to know but that I’m re-writing the formula
for the air between us? Part nitrogen, part oxygen, the rest trace gasses
of love. Like you, I believe most in what
I cannot see or hear. Anger: a wounded steam
rising from the cauldron of your throat.
Alchemy: the steam dissipates, and you reach
across the table for my hand. So—
I note that it was already storming
before we arrived here, though my only proof
is an exhausted cloud passed out in the courtyard
and a thunderbolt curled up beside it.
I point out that in another dimension
this restaurant is a bedroom
in which we are making love. Don’t
try to understand.
Just paint the air human,
take off your clothes,
hand back your coat of arms.
What you mistook for a person
is really a country
with a dark and sacred history
and no scholars to explain away the confusion.
Just burn the archives down.
Everything we have to know
we learned from a picture of dreaming.
Everything we need to remember
can fit on a scrap of paper
smaller than your hand.

- Melissa Studdard

(added 12.03.14)

editor’s note: For a poet, this smallest scrap of paper holds a universe of words. "Don't try to understand." Yes! - mh



Noise

A flea on a red hot chile pepper,
ginger on the cream,
ringo on the beatle,
sting on a cop,
a prince, the king,
the slash, the edge,
madonna, a lady,
jimi, the boss,
the kiss, the godfather,
queen, rage against a machine

Hunting hummingbirds with an Uzi,
trying to sleep in a buffalo stampede,
dozing on the tracks before a Santa Fe chief,
it’s too late to leave a good looking corpse.

- Catfish McDaris

(added 12.02.14)

editor’s note: In the midst of the noise, a still soft voice. Will we hear it before we go? - mh



[The thunderclaps of chariot cavalries]

The thunderclaps of chariot cavalries
Routed in the Peloponnesian war persist.

The knocks made by wind hurling rocks
On a citadel's massive door persist.

The screeches of wraiths reverberating
Within a torch-lit corridor persist.

Voices whispering in the churning
Dust on a castle's floor persist.

Prisms emitted from crystals lodged
In shards of cobalt ore persist.

The muffled chants of phantasms
Traversing an icy moor persist.

The howls of skulls formed of smoke
From Mauna Loa's volcanic core persist.

Winds roaring in the tombs of gladiators
Massacred in the Cimbrian war persist.

The echoes of Circe raving
On a desolate shore persist.

- Steffen Horstmann

(added 12.01.14)

editor’s note: Poets cannot cease and desist when damn near everything persists. - mh



The Daily Globe

The words rise. Like angels in heaven, sent
to make communion with the neighbors.
In twos. In cherubic threes. In choral fourths.
Sweetheart. Have you been well?
I push aside our summer sheets, hoping
to flash sufficient light and dark to catch the intentions
at dawn. Our house no less a parlor than a church
of living bones. The sunlight is pitched funeral dust
spreading peace on earth. I am called by others
living namelessly nearby. To spend my short eternity
imagining addresses. The globe. Every morn it spins
showing any blinkered eye its favorite colors
like a summoning forth.
Today the countries may reveal faces: their hells
blurring with paradises, land, ocean,
Sweden’s wealth and China’s poor genuflected. The situation
of a world in crisis while limbs lurch
playing at bed sheets and snores and mirrors; let’s touch –
kicking at our sore spots. The words rise; lovers
remake the news. Are you lovely enough to wake? Sleeping beauty.

- Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

(added 11.30.14)

editor’s note: Every spin o' the globe awakens us; beauty sees beauty. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Then have a butcher's at the latest addition to our short stories library, "London, Here I Come" by Troy Johnson.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Every day is the result of the Tower of Babel. Every day we speak, hope to be understood, but only enter human ears that lose everything but the most basic of swear words in translation. That’s why we all love when we see an ancient cocks carved in the rubble of Pompeii. We know someone spoke and we understood. Across the sands of time, we love what the dead loved."

It really is the dog’s bollocks! Here's a wee bit of a nip to whet your reading whistle:


I had been accepted to Oxford University after writing and winning an essay contest entitled, America and Britain-brother countries. In my essay I had wrote how America had gained its independence, yet there was still a connection between the two countries. We are sometimes brother countries. The university would pay my flight, room, board and tuition. I had never visited England, but I was as excited as one could be. I knew Bill Clinton and several others Americans had attended Oxford. Before I left my friends told me not to act American.

“What?” I asked. “Act American?”

They told me that whenever Americans visited other countries, they could be spotted right off the bat. “How is that?”

“Because Americans are always talking loud and walking fast. And they are a bit cocky.”

“No, those are New Yorkers, not people from Georgia,” I said and chuckled.

I packed my things and I was ready for England. I bought a lot of rain gear because I knew from friends it rained a lot just like it did in Seattle, Portland and most of the northwest.

So, after saying goodbye to family and friends, my girlfriend Shelia took me to the airport…

We're not bein' one bit cheeky when we say get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


t'was a night of nativity madness as featured poet Paul Koniecki & the cast from Contre-Culture took our stage and proceeded to shine some divine poetic and musical holiness upon all that were there to witness this beatific show!

Thanks to ALL the wonderful poets and musicians who shared 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. Here is the line-up of who was who…

(photos courtesy of Dan "the man!" Rodriguez available on our flickr page)

Feature:
Paul Koniecki

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Mad Cast:
Chris Zimmerly
Roderick Richardson
David Crandell
Victory
Tony Hernandez
Yesterday's News
Merlin the Magical One
Konnichiwa Zach
Christopher Soden
Bear the Poet
Paul
John Kelly & Steffan Prigmore
Kevin
Chris Delaney
Nero
Bo Bowles

HUGE thanks to Swirve (Chris 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!

And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin, owner of Absinthe Lounge, who has given 121 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!

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.

In case you missed this Mad action, view the whole show here, via our mad USTREAM channel!

P.S. Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.07.15) 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 kick off our 2015 season with Louisiana poet, Rob Dyer!

•••••••

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...

Becomin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.29.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.29.14

"Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling." Madeleine L'Engle

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we traced the track of an insomniac; we blew the riffs of an actor off his blades; we exalted, selves extracted by starlings and stupid and unstopped life; we nattered another night watch, numb with noise; we gave thoughtful thanks with shirts off for football pranks; we found a soporific sifter, confuser, not loser, night lifter; we bequeathed a bubble of happy chance to deal with desert circumstance. We are wake-talkers, not sleep-walkers. Thankful wielders of each week. ~ MH Clay

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

Contemplative

Battle wary, ready for rest, to shelter.
Close this sorry chapter; relax, restore.

No space to listen, reflect, learn how
we could peacefully heal.
Its all teeth and claws, everyday wars,
every night prayers of repent. Every
penny spent to hold back the blame,
shame, certainty that all paths forward
lead to more of the same.

Earth spins; we want answers that
assure us yes, so wise, we are Messiah’s promised.

Wealth of starlight, bed of Earth.
Every miracle seeking birth.
Behold, welcoming evening lights,
drowsy trees, cozy homes, familiar rites.
Abundant feasts, merry meets, gift of returning friends.
Deeply desired peace, belonging, generous amends.

I send you a bubble of better days.
Ease of peace in contemplation, bliss of
transcendent imagery, artful conversation.
Breathe.
Feel complete
if only for this moment.

Caught up in days’ parade; now take it in.
Peaceful moments safe with friends and kin.
Joys of open grace, sad tinge of loss.
Simple blessings, call of goals beyond.

Taste the bittersweet of long accumulated earth,
carbon bonds descended through time and dust.
Skeletons broken to rebuild from waste
carry potential energy into ancient deserts that tomorrow
we learn to bloom.

- Laurie Corzett

(1 poem added 11.29.14)

editor’s note: From this wasteland will come blooms in the desert. Poetry is prophecy! - mh


Night is lifting out

Night is lifting out
like some kind of stain
and here I sit
suspended
between the entrance and exit
of the sky
I exist in this place
in the overlap
that binds the drift and the rise
I am most comfortable
in such lukewarm confusion
where nothing found
is what it seems
and everything lost
will reveal itself and be restored

- Bekah Steimel

(added 11.28.14)

editor’s note: We await, after loss, the joy of finding; the angst of anticipation. - mh


Shirts and Skins (Thanksgiving Mornings)

Maze-fed country boys pray to one god on game day
before televised tradition, when morning games pre-game adulthood.

By late afternoon’s traditional feast, all will be NFL MVPs.
Super Bowls, not equations, couplets, complex histories or simple metaphors
inspire, only giving thanks to bodies maintained to be entertained.

Balls, the hopes of inner-cities—it’s the same as for country rats
raised on Nike and gravy-laced overtime heartbeats,
time spent dreaming about being the sexiest men dead or alive.

Some boys savagely skin themselves, demanding nudity with
Gatorade-stained mouths, cornucopias of curse words.

Shirts and skins!—the death sentence of fat children.
Running, like swimming, is safe in a shirt: no one knows what’s underneath—

Games are wars, and boys know bodies don’t matter, only the body count
over grass the color of badly born babies born to be picked last.

Savages and sweat-dressed saviors pretend to play
with knuckles the color of Sun Dancers, the game is everything
we were born to be and be thankful for.

- Tyler Malone

(1 poem added 11.27.14)

editor’s note: On Game Day, it's the winners who give thanks; the losers wash the dishes. (This Thanksgiving Day missive comes from our own Short Story Editor and poet, Tyler Malone. Hey, Tyler! Thanks!) - mh


the sun is a secret legend in the dark

on nowhere's edge
the blinds let in

a runner
of moonlight

like some old movie
we forgot we loved again

the deep regularity
of your breathing

tells me you
may really be asleep

our neighbors are
trees

branches on windows
and tongues

against the gin
writing and writing

i am numb with
silent noise

you roll in
to me

and i
am lost

- Paul Koniecki

(3 poems added 11.26.14)

editor’s note: In the mid of night, the sun is only a story. A warm body is real. (Paul will be our feature poet at Mad Swirl Open Mic, next Wednesday at The Absinthe Lounge. See two more of his new mad missives on his page; come out next week to hear him read - maybe some of these.) - mh


Surprises

There are things that make you come out of yourself:
starlings suddenly swooping up out of the trees,
scared off by car horns and four-letter words,
or it was just collective urge to write
out visual grammar gone berserk:
all dots and commas and asterisks
gone crazy against the sky.

Startling from our point-of-view,
usual from theirs.
Together a thing that makes you come out of yourself.

There are things that make you get over yourself:
“Why do cars keep losing their tire lids on the
side of the road?” “Can you imagine that
for me and describe it really good so
I can imagine it too?” And “You
can be stupid but only if you
let me be stupid with you.”

Startling from our point-of-view,
simple from theirs.
Together a thing that makes you get over yourself.

There are things that turn your selfdom inside out:
when a fellow says he almost met his maker,
and weeps not from fear of losing his wife
(or his life), but from shock and awe of
almost meeting his maker; would your
heart rip out of its bag of bones to
catch up to this kind of love?

Startling from our point-of-view,
humbling from his.
Together a thing that turns your selfdom inside out.

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(2 poems added 11.25.14)

editor’s note: Surprises come from within when awakened by happenings without. (We welcome Beth to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. See another awakening poem and other madness on her new page - check it out.) - mh


ONE OF MY ACTORS

One of my actors
in my Original Theater
roller bladed
to his audition
he had tunnel vision
of his lines
with an eidetic memory
so I kept my eye on Adam
he left us
for the Big Apple
since I had no funds
to pay him for his worth
then went to Hollywood
and became a star
but when I needed him
he always came back
to us in roller blades
until he fell off
listening to Coltrane.

- B.Z. Niditch

(1 poem added 11.24.14)

editor’s note: In this screenplay, the story writes itself in roller blade time; actors speak in jazz riffs. - mh


Long Wait

A swim at the beach by night
and a bottle of cheap ‘Port’.

Beans and weenies at the hotel.

The muted sound of a Sax from
an open window across the alley.

An orange moon begs to share
light despite the drawn curtains.

Love lies dying in the dark
she exhales like a deflated balloon.

Alone now—

Once again, fighting the long
wait until dawn.

Out of drink…
Out of smokes…
Out of luck.

Losing the fight thus far.

- S. A. Gerber

(added 11.23.14)

editor’s note: "All good things come to those who wait!" say those who got what they waited for. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Who’s hungry for some words? Although “Big Thanksgiving Snow” by Donal Mahoney was apropos for this past Thanksgiving, the message it delivers is timeless.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Come, let us celebrate at the table of humanity this season. All seasons, for everyone. That could be Heaven: putting food into your body while you allow others to live in your heart."

Here's a taste whet your reading appetite:


…At eighty Mrs. Day is legally blind with one good leg. She has a staff of her own to help her walk to stores and then back to her little house. The staff is at least a foot taller than she is. It was a gift from a now dead neighbor who was handy with tools and liked to carve and whittle. Mrs. Day needs that staff this Thanksgiving Day as she makes her way through drifts of snow, an unusual amount for this first big winter holiday.

With nothing in the fridge except old bread and prunes, Mrs. Day hopes to find a diner open. Even Jack in the Box is closed for Thanksgiving so there will be no coffee with a Breakfast Jack to go but Mrs. Day has time today to find one place that is open. And she knows that one place will probably be Vijay's Diner, where she's a customer on days when every other place is closed.

Vijay came to the United States long ago when Mumbai was still Bombay. He cooks for everyone every day of the year, whatever God they worship or ignore...

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

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of December (aka 12.03.14) at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we've been doin' every month now for OVER 10 years! This month we close out of 2014 season with one of the most electric and eclectic poets and performers we know, Paul Koniecki! We never know what kind of madness he will swirl up for us but we do know it's gonna be a show you do not want to miss.

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

Come one, come all! Mad poets, musicians, actors, singers, circus freaks and Elvis impersonators... come-n-strut-yo-stuff. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) to get you a spot on our mic list here!

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:

January: Rob Dyer & David Parham

•••••••

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...

Wrestlin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.22.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.22.14

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



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

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

DOGGEREL ON A LEASH
(For Dr Abdel Hamid)

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

- Derrick Gaskin

(1 poem added 11.22.14)

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


Happy is the Day

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

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

Sad is the day when I am made small.

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

- Niall OConnor

(added 11.21.14)

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


NO PLACE TO LIVE

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

- Jyoti Modi

(added 11.20.14)

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


TRUTH

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

- Robert E. Petras

(1 poem added 11.19.14)

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


Ballad of the Bouncing Self

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Harley White

(1 poem added 11.18.14)

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


My Manic Meds' Truth: A Sonnet in Waltz Time

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

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

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

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

- Tom Hall

(added 11.17.14)

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


The Hot Water Bottle’s Resignation Letter

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

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

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

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

your inelegant couplings, your feet.

- Neil Fulwood

(added 11.16.14)

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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

Here's a taste to dunk your mind in:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•••••••

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

Bein’ Inspired,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.15.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.15.14

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



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

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

It's Always Been only from Everafter

committed

there's no other
there's only this

there's me here again
presenting

our It's Always Been
Guarantee

a committed
return on

your vested scars
should they ever fade

- Steven Minchin

(1 poem added 11.15.14)

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


For Arlene: On Condition of a Smile and a Giggle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 11.14.14)

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


You swallowed me with your eyes

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

- Jerry Moffitt

(added 11.13.14)

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


A Boy’s Face in Repose

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

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

- Christopher Raley

(1 poem added 11.12.14)

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


Wings Wanted

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

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

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

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

- Aniruddha Sastikar

(added 11.11.14)

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


Idleness.

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

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

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

- Sheikha A.

(1 poem added 11.10.14)

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


Loving, Unconditionally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Alainah Aamir

(added 11.09.14)

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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

Here's a bark before the bite:


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

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

“What? His name is Nuh—“

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

Get bitten right here!

•••••••

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

Bein’ Courageous,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.08.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.08.14

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



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

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

The Last Ballet

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

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

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

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

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

and my children will forgive me.

- Lisa Zaran

(added 11.08.14)

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


24-7-365

Morn
Rises
Sun
Hides
And I hide
With
It

Day
Unravels
Pleasant
Travels
And I travel
With
It

Eve
Eases
Pleases
And I am pleased
With
It

Nights
Blurred
Time
Dies
And I die
With
It

Worlds
Revolve
Rotates
Recreates
And I create
With
It

- Johnny Olson

(1 poem added 11.07.14)

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


You Will Wade Out

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

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

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

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

four

breaths in:

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

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

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

and one for
myself.

- Taylor Gall

(1 poem added 11.06.14)

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


Carp Day

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

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

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

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

- Joseph Farley

(2 poems added 11.05.14)

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


zero

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

this is not anything new

hatred gets confused w/
hunger,
lust w/ need

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

sky is blue
shot through w/ fading contrails

sun is everywhere
but w/out heat

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

burn down the
houses of politicians

sleep on the couch

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

good luck w/ that

- John Sweet

(added 11.04.14)

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


A Week before.

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

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

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

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

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

- Joseph Elenbaas

(1 poem added 11.03.14)

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


Marvelous Days

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

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

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

These are marvelous days

- MH Clay

(1 poem added 11.02.14)

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

••• Open Mic •••


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

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

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

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

•••••••

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

Tearin’ Up,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

11.01.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.01.14

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



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

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

vain beauty

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

- Francesca Castaño

(1 poem added 11.01.14)

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


Desire–II

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

- Bhargab Chatterjee

(1 poem added 10.31.14)

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


Kicking Super Hero

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

- Ndaba Sibanda

(added 10.30.14)

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


Arty Artichoke Heart

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

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

- Walter Ruhlmann

(1 poem added 10.29.14)

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


Us

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

- Susan Dale

(added 10.28.14)

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


sunrise at the seaside

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

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

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

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

- C Bozena Helena Mazur-Nowak

(added 10.27.14)

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


Night rider

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

- Hem Raj Bastola

(1 poem added 10.26.14)

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

Here's a bit to get you goin':


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••


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

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

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

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

Come one, come all! Mad poets, musicians, actors, singers, circus freaks and Elvis impersonators... come-n-strut-yo-stuff. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) on spot on our mic list here!

•••••••

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

Knowin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor