4.25.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.25.15


“The greater the step forward in knowledge, the greater is the one taken backward in search of wisdom.” Stephen Gardiner

Welcome to MadSwirl (4)2.0!

It has been a long time coming but finally the time is… NOW! Yes folks, this is your “official” welcome to MadSwirl.com 2.0! Yeah, yeah, we know we’ve been teasing y’all about this whole 2.0 launch. Well this week, on 4.20, we flipped the switch from what was to what will be our online stage as we swirl forward.

What can you expect from this 2.0 platform? All that you’ve already come to expect from Mad Swirl. The Poetry Forum will still be stocked daily with the vivacious voices spanning this mad world of ours. The Short Story Library will be chockfull of the finest flash fiction around. The Mad Gallery will still be featuring some mad & swirling visuals to titillate your eyeballs. And of course we will always keep you up-to-date on our upcoming Open Mics & other Swirl-esque events.

What is different? Lots! This creative outlet is no longer a one-way street. You can now interact with the content. On this new stage you, our Contributing Poets, Writers, Artists & Subscribers will be able to comment & share your thoughts and feelings on not only your own work, but also your fellow mad ones work! The new platform also plays a whole lot nicer with the ever-evolving world of social media. Quickly connect to your fave media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) & spread the word on your featured works. Oh, & lest we forget, we got us a Blog! This will give an interactive stage for the whole Mad editorial staff a new tool to use to reach out to you… and you, oh… and you!

As you might imagine, the switchover to this new platform also opens up endless possibilities. We are quite excited to explore this new frontier as we seek the best ways to showcase the finest poets, writers, & artists that color our worlds! And as we swirl on down this mad road, we will surely find other tricks up our sleeve that will make the MadSwirl.com experience even better.

Happy Swirling!
Johnny O
Chief Editor

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Forever Free” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Mad Swirl is mighty proud to shine a spotlight on the works from local madman, BA. (aka Brett Ardoin aka Zipline Shazam) The choices that BA made for coloring the virtual walls of his new Mad Gallery home are just about what we expected they would be. His collages and illustrations are truly all one-of-a-kind. You can, and probably will, get lost in BA’s hootenanny-land creations. If you’re ready for a lil bit trippy with some subtle twists of spirituality, then you’ve come to the right place. BA’s visual treats are sure to please. ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we polished pretense in pursuit of praise; we strayed from night street loud shit talk drunk to night bus window fox hunt; we doctored decades of forgotten dalliances; we wound up our world's woes in whale song; we vaunted the verity of virtue in ripping the veil; we listened to a lover's last words; we filled an empty sky with stars from the mind's eye. This whole thing is... isn't it? ~ MH Clay

Star Light, Star Bright

no arms
to break my fall

I wait
hollow-eyed
for sleep

silent sentry
in the jungle night

I lie cemented
in self

counting black holes
in space

where once
there were stars
to wish on

- Harley White

April 25, 2015

editors note: Darkness disables counting sheep, a starless night to steal one’s sleep. – mh clay

Will

My last message may not be, “I love you”
It may not be the apology you need
There may not even be a last message.

I have thought about my last words
More than I have ever spoken any –
I may even leave you with what you have
Already seen or heard another day.

Maybe you do not even deserve my last word
Maybe I made a monument of you with smoke and hot air,
Laying you down on grimy mirrors.

You may even be a lily waiting to float
Like my flightless words on my concentrated tongue.

I like to imagine spending monsoons in a house made of salt
Crumbling marriages and a
Loaf of banana bread, raw in the middle.

My last message may be, “Where are you? Waiting.”
You will not see this message
You are a damsel trapped in the creases of your coat
As you drive to where you think I am, where you think
I want you to be –
Not where you are needed.

“Hold still, I’m on my way.”

- Alainah Aamir

April 24, 2015

editors note: A place of need, waiting for words; the last could be the first. – mh clay

Veil

Peering at words that left a mouth so saintly,
Gleaming the conspicuous motive,
Breaking every ivory tint bone once carried,
Shaking a fist at the sky above, the faulty works
Who created such monsters dressed in skin so pure
Disguised from sickening smirks, poisonous touch
Uncover yourself, rip the veil preventing your true guise
Face the sky once more, breathing its ecstasy
Only human alive in this realm of disguises

- Mahabba Alhaushabi

April 23, 2015

editors note: Acquiesce to constructs of convention, or risk nakedness for ecstasy; alive and true! – mh

BREAKING FAITH

Whales, like followers
of Jimmy Jones, give up,
drift, fall to shore,
some pregnant, some hungry,
all weak. On the beach
they show teeth, death’s
ghastly rictus, a grimace,
victims of some evil joke.
Those still alive emit
heart-wrenching sounds, a parody
of mating songs. No one knows why.

Like a tsunami, from earth’s
ruptured core, a wave rises,
and calm, order, peace, and purpose
are no more.

- Joseph Lisowski

April 22, 2015

editors note: Jimmy’s falsetto, not a lullaby; but, a cetacean cry. Wake up or suffer sleep eternal. – mh

Annual Physical

You go to the doctor
at 21, no problems.
Maybe a flu shot.
That’s it.

You go to him
at 40, and you
need a pill or two
and he says
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 60, and you’re
now a fixer-upper.
You need more pills,
he says, and
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 70, and he finds
plumbing problems
and asks questions
to verify that all
your lights are on.
Doesn’t mention
your weight.

You go to him
at 80, and he says
you’re doing well,
all things considered,
but it wouldn’t hurt
to put your affairs
in order.

You tell him
you can’t remember
any affairs but he
can ask your wife.
She’s still raising hell
about someone
named Mildred,
if that was her name.

- Donal Mahoney

April 21, 2015

editors note: Not a bad idea; a yearly check on the state of your affairs, memory withstanding. (Another mad missive from Donal on his page; creative cuisine served as comeuppance – check it out.) – mh

NORTH LONDON BLUES

I am resting my head on the cold window of a night bus that is crawling its way through the wet streets of North London.

Pints of creamy dark Ale, talking shit with a drunk guy about why the Oscars are always wrong, eating spicy wings that are not spicy, talking to a voluptuous lady about a tattoo of a wizard she has on her shoulder, smoking a cigarette outside a dingy pub, playing a game of pool on a wonky table, drinking cold flat lager that tastes of rotten eggs, speaking to a stranger about who is going to win the champions league, putting a woman’s number into my phone knowing I will be deleting it later, complaining about the music that is playing, smoking another cigarette while crossing a busy street and finally talking to an old homeless man about his impressive beard.

The bus doors open and I am greeted with the sound of the howling wind. I get off and I am walking down a lonesome suburban street when I freeze, I see a fox looking at me from across the street. I wink at the fox and its mystic eyes just gaze back at me.

I then hiccup and I am left alone with only the sound of the wind for company.

- Luke Ritta

April 20, 2015

editors note: Encounters condensed as fog on a night bus window, or winked away in the mystic eye of a fox. – mh clay

Can I pay my rent in vinyl?

Contrary to what you may have seen
in films by foreign directors with names
of French origin or Swiss or maybe not
foreign, perhaps Wes Anderson or someone
less boring, domestic, yet with a lauded sense
of symbolism; nevermind what you thought you once
overheard in a dingy café-bodega where the coffee cost
twice as much as next to plenty, tasted like you
should have been paid to drink it, which is ironic
and redeeming, I think it; but forget what you
may have read in a fem­-centric article addressing
cats and pizza; speak of Hunter S. Thompson not Emma
Watson, links to Tumblr, vintage cameras, vintage mindsets
yet still like-­minded, attuned to every modern cause
for concern––disparaging fracking, gentrification,
how militarized we are becoming, how militant
we must become in having to be the best-versed
person in every room while assuming the status
of most reliable resource on every facet of substance
deemed of value by whoever purchased a degree in drivel
or floral-­print dressmaking, all while procuring the ability
to palette-­out a tripel ale, doppelbock or a PBR. Drinking
home­brewed liquor from a homemade backpack, hemp,
reminiscent of a carry-­on catheter––your shoes can’t be leather,
not in today’s market. Yes, you surely saw them
at a darty (day­-party, Charlie) on an NYU fringe colony
in Brooklyn, where the kitschy quirky bars blast syncopated quasi­-beats
for tables full of cross­legged English majors, talks of antidepressants,
writers-­in­-residence, the air of heir in Jane Eyre, something French,
nouveau or nouvelle. Belles jambes, pouvons-­nous prendre
matching minimalist tattoos? Of course, that is, if you want to.

- Scott Wordsman

April 19, 2015

editors note: Oh, to be so cool, new-school, nobody’s fool. Yes, I want to (I think, or better think twice). – mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? We got one that just might give you a rise!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Caucus at the Parking Meter” by Donal Mahoney: "Men, yeesh, it’s always about that one thing, isn’t it? All most men want, though, is to live long enough for parts of their body to become legend."

Here's a tease:


For years Rocky’s Diner had always done a great business for breakfast and lunch but his dinner business had fallen off recently as folks moved to the suburbs, got married, died or simply went elsewhere to eat. He thought about closing early but he had a small cadre of elderly men, many of whom had been his customers for two or three meals a day, and Rocky didn’t know where else they might go to eat. They were all single now for different reasons—divorced, widowed, never married or deserted by a wife who had become fed up. Most were in their late 70s and early 80s and not renowned for their civility. They were a crotchety bunch but Rocky liked them all. He himself was in his late 60s, happily married, and didn’t have to worry about money, thanks in large part to loyal customers like these elderly men, some of whom had been eating at his diner for decades.

Many of them would arrive for dinner—or supper, as most of them called it—at 6 p.m., their unofficial appointed hour for the last meal of the day. Depending on their mood, they would either take a stool alone at the counter or pile into one of the red vinyl booths. In a booth, they hoped to be joined by others who might also have spent the day alone, watching television, reading the obituaries or maybe playing solitaire.

Conversation in the booths ran the gamut from politics to religion to dead wives and ex-wives to girls they should have or shouldn’t have married. Occasionally, the conversation in one booth would be joined by those in the booth behind, in front of or across from that particular booth. If the weather was good, sometimes the conversation would spill out onto the street afterward where, weather permitting, the men would gather around a parking meter and continue their caucus.

It was on just such an evening in spring while the caucus at the parking meter was in full swing that an attractive young lady walked by, heels clicking, skirt swaying, and all of the men paused and assessed her with murmurs of appreciation. She was, they all agreed, a very nice young lady.

Get a full-on rise right here!

••• MadSwirl Blog •••

Mad Things Now & Coming by Poetry Editor MH Clay


Wow! Here we have it, (4)2.0 – a new direction in the stir o’ the Swirl! We have a cool new look and usability that says, “Hey! We’re Swirlin’ in the world-wide web of the 21st Century!” I like it all!

But, I’m most excited about the opportunity we now have as your editors to share our ideas about this creative conspiracy we share; what makes us choose the works we post, what we think about the creative process, opinions and ideas about various artistic forms and more... (read more)

Madness, the Meaning of Dots by Short Story Editor Tyler Malone


It’s a tragic world, but so much worse if there’s no concept of expression. Other than yelling at the television, not much happens in far too many places. That alone can at least lead to endless unhappiness when escape is doubtful, when the real world you know is the executor of anything expressive. In church pews or in textbooks, you leave a mark, making blank spaces beautiful. And that’s it. That becomes love, and love becomes a four-letter word—a true passion, something to rinse out with soap. Worse, you find something fulfilling that’s not a team effort or something that can be cheered for as a city. Falling in love with experimenting with isolation at any cost holds no value for too many people. For those who do love the click of their own keys or the scribbles of their own sentences, thank goodness for Mad Swirl... (read more)

•••••••

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...

Steppin’ Up… & Back,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.18.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.18.15

“Endeavour to be faithful, and if there is any beauty in your thought, your style will be beautiful; if there is any real emotion to express, the expression will be moving.” George Henry Lewes

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Kurva” (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 wondered how a lady fat got a leotard on a cat; we muddled mad love 'neath a musical tree; we solved with ardor a mystery murder; we made much ado of a room with a view; we ripped ourselves ragged on a soul, rightly jagged; we reached impasse in a game about class (no winners); we finished a race in jubilation, wearing a sad pink premonition. Oracles speak. Some believe them. Others know we can take or leave them. ~ MH Clay

The Premonition of a Sash

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 13
unlucky years ago
my sisters and I, scared and unsure
decided to raise money and do one of those walks
that are always advertised each October.
First there was money to be raised,
funds to solicit
and then registration and
finally that morning in nyc,
we with our pink shirts
joined ranks and marched through the streets.

We walked a marathon over those two days
sore blistered feet
longer than I had ever walked at that time
slithering like a giant pink snake up the west side
of Manhattan.
That night they bused us out to Roosevelt Island
where we pitched our tents,
ate some food,
enjoyed the free entertainment
paid for by our donations
and even
had our sore blistered feet rubbed.
There were gift bags with lotion provided
by Avon. Everything was pink.

In the morning, I threw back the flaps of my tent,
the brilliant October sun
bobbing like a cork on the horizon,
and found on the floor
a pink sash.

They had been left overnight,
one at every eighth tent
depicting the 1 in 8 women that will be diagnosed
with breast cancer in their life.

I lifted it with pride, slid it over my shoulder,
did a quick Miss America wave to the sun
and returned to our marching.

You’re making a difference, I lied to myself.

At the end of the journey my parents and my husband met us
back at Battery Park where the whole thing began.
My mother’s hair was already starting to fall out,
and she eyed warily,
as if the sash were deadly,
a boa perched on my shoulder
waiting to squeeze.
What is that, she asked
and when I told her
held it up like I had won some sort of lottery
my voice excited to recite statistics
high from the journey we had just taken
surrounded by all these cheerful pink women

Give it to me, she said, sliding it off,
balling it up in her fist,
she brushed at my shoulder
as if the sash had left behind some
fine filament
some dust
that years from now
they would find on a pathology report.

She pulled me hard into a hug
No, she whispered.
Not you.
Please, no.

- Ally Malinenko

(1 poem added 04.18.15)

editor's note: We hope the knowing of a thing will protect us from a thing; our mothers know better. - mh


CLASS STRUGGLE

When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child and would act
Out my own version of Pilgrim’s Progress
On the beach, on vacation. My brother
Would get bored and wander off, so I’d be
Christian up against a Worldly Wiseman,
Fighting Giant Despair, and I’d walk the
Wall of Salvation. You know your childhood
Was odd when Bunyan is fun, yet he was
To me. At least I wasn’t in school: the

Beach was better than another church, and
No more preaching for an instant, sweeter
Still. Blessed in many ways, I never feared
Mother would sneak drinks, or Father leaving
As soon as he could. I only feared what
I heard on Sundays, God’s disgust with my
Sins; how all sin was the same sin, and you
Were as bad, if not worse, than your neighbor:
The Lord saw clean thru you; his hatred of
Sin was perfect, enduring forever.

My wife, late one night, described playing “Class
Struggle” with her Dad. The board game had been
Invented by someone, I am guessing,
With way too much spare time and students who
Slept thru his pensées. Instead of what her
Friends played—where you moved pieces around a
Board and with any luck won all the deeds
To the hotels and the money and the
Railroads--Rachel did not get to pick a
Token, since “No one chooses which class they

Are born into.” This game was severe: you
Lost points for pitying workers or blaming
Blacks or Jews. To win really big you had
To know your Marx, even the early pamphlets.
When she was a bad token all she could
Do was start wars or crush a union: the
Rules were strict. A good token meant she could
Be a shop steward who made ATU
Proud, whiter than snow, and got more rolls of
The dice for caring about poverty.

I wonder if her father actually
Enjoyed this game: Worker v Parasite
Is always rigged one way or the other,
And, just like my Sunday school lessons, dull.
At some point in each life the child must wake
Up and know his mother human, and his
Father, fallible, and yet we seldom
See someone who truly breaks from what
They learned from the first teachers. My Father-
In-law had troubles with the unions;

They were rough with him, then rougher. But he
Made sure his daughter knew the words to Pete
Seeger songs and she’d never take work, or
The people who did real work, for granted.
I go to no church: and won’t, and yet each
Poem of mine owes something to Psalms I
No longer sing. There’s more to that book than
We see—the poet lays down his bed in
Hell, and “thou art there.” No one outruns what
Made them new. Just today I get an email

From a studiedly neutral, carefully
Bi-partisan group, telling me there is
Still time to “Fight for a world that is fair
And just,” a gospel learned from prophets, a
Pure blazon that man must always mean more
Than money. And how good to see these words,
And fair and just are what we would most love,
Even if some of those prophets saw all
Too clearly, and there’d be another great fall,
Leaving not one stone on a stone.

- Brian Wood

(1 poem added 04.17.15)

editor's note: Our dialectic debate ends with an unanswered question, "After the Fall, will there be left any force of will to go on?" - mh


Jagged Edge Souls

Baby, all kinds of people
have different shaped souls.
A lot of people, regular people
have souls shaped like squares.
It's easy for them to find someone.
Just another square,
to sit next to them on the couch
watch Network TV
spend their corporate paycheck.
It's easy for square souls
to find other souls.
But me and you?
we're complicated.
We have souls with crazy jagged edges
Like jigsaw puzzle pieces
and it's difficult to find
that one puzzle piece of a soul
that fits next to your puzzle piece soul.
but I've found it.
You are the jigsaw puzzle piece to my soul.

I used to tell her this sometimes,
when she was mine, and
she used to like to hear it.

- Paul Sexton

(1 poem added 04.16.15)

editor's note: It's hard to pick through the pile for another perfect piece when you had one in your pocket. - mh


All rooms

All rooms weave a lodging memory from a chandelier, leaking little flowers from the mini-fridge, the personal fan, Anne's lace, that doggy through the clouds, her stippled brush strokes of aura follow her shapes through the dining room flowers –

Each Disease comes with its own vacuum free of charge, lived in, dirty with words. We hoped (from our posture in the white throne) these might linger, ones that won't, replaced by the morning curtains, the soft white of her shape, caressed through the window, a painting behind dodge dreams, touched up with the rising hills, heifers and bulls –

- Zachary Scott Hamilton

(1 poem added 04.15.15)

editor's note: Home as landscape. Disease as lover, animal in the clouds. - mh


Murder Mystery

Would he have killed her by now
somehow,
all neat and
tidy and in time
for retrospect, the
tying of loose ends,
bookending parents’
picture shelves, a few
years or more of watching
themselves widening time to
allow room for portraits stepped out of yearbooks?

Would he? Somewhere in circumstance would she
be his victim cut out of whodunit whydunit
climax... a character killed off for reasons
only an author knows, an author who
doesn’t have to say why she died?
Readers need to know. So does
the one who might have
suffered, but
only up
to the
last
breath.

Would he have killed her by now
if he hadn’t already died and
bloodied the old road,
splattered that old
road with every
last bloom
of her?

Maybe he would have grown
up to be a monster
and killed her
for loving
You.

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(1 poem added 04.14.15)

editor's note: This mysterious mess draws the detective's conclusion, "Maybe he did..." - mh


Under The Hummer Tree

The Hummer Tree,
Sacred pillar of our school community.
Site of countless hummers.

All-season hummers.
The Hummer Tree bare
And party to blue-lipped, quick, cold-trembling hummers.
New growth, new blowers and blowees.
Hot, sweaty, teenage-fumble hummers,
Welcome cool shade and relative darkness
So as not to showcase the hummer too much,
Or get too hot.

And of course, dry, scratchy leaves falling on my head,
Both heads,
All the heads,
Giving head hidden from the Head
And her Deputy Head hummers.

No matter the season it was always
Cool to be given or to give
A hummer under the Hummer Tree.

©2014

- Simon Pinkerton

(added 04.13.15)

editor's note: Hum, um. If you don't know this tune, ask someone to blow a few bars for you. - mh


Covered with a Leotard

A fat lady,
With a red, oozing pimple,
In the middle of her face,
Squeezed one more tomato.
Her brown hands clutched,
Burst that fruit,
Onto her print dress, maybe.

Nearby, a rain-soaked cat,
Curves of muscle,
Visible beneath skin
Covered with a leotard.
Eyes wide, aware, she peered,
Surveyed the shuk,
Witnessed the forced fruit, maybe.

Thereafter, a gang of children,
Skipping
Punctuation, good grammar, manners,
Pinched the lady.
They crowded the cat, while
Merrily stuffing bon mots
Into their coats, maybe.

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 04.12.15)

editor's note: Careful kids, only thing madder than a wet cat is a wet cat in a leotard. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Well then we got just the bait for you to bite on!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Chapmans Lake” by Milt Montague: "Life, this is it: survival. Beautiful survival, what makes us who we are."

Here's a nibble:


My first graders bring in something they like from the outside world to share for Show and Tell every Tuesday morning.

Uncle Nat was definitely my favorite uncle. He was my mother’s younger brother and lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sadie, and their two daughters, Lillian and Dorothy. Dorothy, the younger girl was just one year my junior and we were great friends for years.

Uncle Nat, born Hershel Newtah Jochnewitz, Americanized his name to Nathan Young while still in his late teens and working in New York’s Garment Center (thousands of manufacturers, their showrooms, factories, and suppliers all jammed into a small area of tall buildings in the west side of middle Manhattan). As the rising young star in the firm, he was chosen to open and manage a coat manufacturing plant by his employers, Linder Bros. of New York. The new plant was to be located in Scranton, Pennsylvania to avoid the “pernicious” influence of the ILGWU, the powerful Ladies Garment Workers Union. This was 1940 and the non-union wage scale was much lower in Scranton, Pennsylvania which was an old coal mining town not far from New York.

Scranton is located in The Jermyn Mountains within commuting range of many small fresh water lakes that were developed as summer colonies. Some of these lakes were within a three hours’ drive from New York City.

One spring Nat called his older sister Helen and invited her and her family to spend their vacation with his family, at a cottage he had rented for the summer. It was directly on Chapmans Lake, had six bedrooms and ample room for everyone. The house was completely furnished, including bedding and all kitchen equipment. There was even a rowboat tied up at its own dock just a few steps from the house.

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• MadSwirl 2.0 •••


For the past couple of years we have been teasing y’all about this whole MadSwirl 2.0 launch. Consider the long and drawn-out tease almost over! On 4.20 we will be flipping the switch from what was... for the previous 7-ish years... and switching over to what will be for MadSwirl.com. (and for those that get the significance of that date, we chose it just for you;)

What can you expect from this 2.0 platform? All you’ve already come to expect from Mad Swirl. The Poetry Forum will still be stocked daily with the vivacious voices spanning this mad world of ours. The Short Story Library will be chockfull of the finest flash fiction around. The Mad Gallery will still be featuring some mad & swirling visuals to titillate your eyeballs. What will be different is that our collective creative outlet will no longer be a one-way street. You can now interact with the content. On this new stage you, our Contributing Poets, Writers, & Artists, will be able to comment and share your thoughts and feelings on not only your own work, but also your fellow Mad ones works!

The new platform also plays a whole lot nicer with the world of social media. Quickly connect to your fave media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and spread the word on your featured works. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of hitting one button and sharing your works with friends & family.

There is a whole lot more behind the scenes improvements too. As we swirl on down this mad road, we will surely find other tricks up our sleeve that will make the MadSwirl.com experience even better. We look forward to this new horizon in our Mad Swirl world and better ways to showcase the finest poets, writers, & artists that color our worlds.

•••••••

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...

Faithfully,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.11.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.11.15

“Words must surely be counted among the most powerful drugs man ever invented.” Leo Rosten

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Lennon Peace Wall” (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 tried the doors in a mental sonnet, got lost in three quatrains and a couplet; we counted quarks on mittens made in the ways of a myth-filled place and place of myth; we listened not to a laughing voice, sent away on bad advice; we made a moment Kafkaesque, squashed a bug to poke at the mess; we stomped some more, got vocal, staggered home, drank local; we picked a tarnished penny, put on a minted glint, spent for (we hope) good; we lapped up a lustful elixir then came clean. We coin our conversations in manic madness, our current rate of exchange. ~ MH Clay

Oh my eyes!

Seven women
in red petticoat
bathing in the
slender Sali nadi---
now plunging, now
stooping over
and now patting-
squeezing their hair
as the thigh-high
holy water washes away
their sin; and my sin-
ful question to the
teeming crowd of devotees
busy on both banks
cleaning their faces
or sprinkling the water
over their heads, or
making holy
their unholy mouths (?)---
by the sip of the
same waters
running down to them
from those women's
purged bodies.

- Haris Adhikari

(1 poem added 04.11.15)

editor's note: Cleanliness is next to body-ness! Believe what you like... - mh


Good Years

Pennies are brown and dirty.
They stink of bus stops.
They will never add up to
a million dollars no matter
how many you collect in jars.
It’s bad luck to throw a penny
away so I always bend down
when I sweep one up.
I’ve heard it costs more than
one cent to make a penny now
and that they are not even
real copper (but I haven’t been
to Snopes to check this out).
If you name a girl Penny,
I’m not sure what you expect from her.
Sometimes at work, I take a
filthy corroded one, where you
can’t even recognize Abraham Lincoln
and drop it in a jar of 10% nitric acid for
an hour- than it pretties up
like the day it was minted and all
the grime of the decades dissolves
away, all the pockets exchanged, dirty hands,
and register drawer dust- it’s gone now
and I see a date-
1957- was it a good year?
Pennies are like us.

- Trier Ward

(1 poem added 04.10.15)

editor's note: At current rates of inflation, a penny for these thoughts costs a fortune. - mh


Heavy Shoe

Coming back in the darkness
after the match
through old pit villages
with the light from newsagents
illuminating the pavements
and the lads on the bus
strike up a chorus of
‘footsteps on the dancefloor’
slamming down their boots
on the top deck
and chanting ‘heavy shoe’
The laughter, the beer fumes,
heading for home
and a night in the local.

- Jon Tait

(added 04.09.15)

editor's note: Light in the head, but not on the feet. Home is home enough. - mh


Bug

I squash the bug
making its way across
the cracked linoleum
and then I remember,
turning my shoe over
with much regret
I look at what is left:
a few random legs
a black splash of innards…
taking my finger
I poke at the mess
I have made
and wonder -
Kafka, is that you?
Kafka?

- Ryan Quinn Flanagan

(2 poems added 04.08.15)

editor's note: An ahimsa encounter with literary greatness. Ouch! (Another mad missive from Ryan on his page - a different kind of encounter, check it out.) - mh


ON ADVICE

She sent him away——
back into the clouds
on his indigo horse.

She tries not to recall
how he made mornings laugh
down narrow Spanish streets

and markets in Morocco
in his accents of every country,

how they camped like gypsies,
connected the stars
to make candles and dragons,

threw wishes into fountains,
money into wells.

She tries not to listen
as his voice pours down the roof,

fills the rain gutters
and flows into the street

away from their house
built of music
and dreams.

- Patty Dickson Pieczka

(1 poem added 04.07.15)

editor's note: Refuse the dream weaver as he rains wishes back on you; you never refused the dream. - mh


SCOPE

What counts? Well...
Fingers do when
There’s no obstruction.
Colour. Sense –, and
Nonsense –.

Empathy
- Nudged
By Quarks
Galore
And twin-set mittens
Made
Openly

- In Babylon.
- In Balashikha.

- Stefanie Bennett

(added 04.06.15)

editor's note: Meaning from myth derived, by all accounts. - mh


Obsession: A Sonnet

The great states of mind vary endurability.
A faith for Gods can last for thousands.
Routine mental illnesses, clearly less ably.
The ADD’s and CCD’s inspire fewer years and funds.

The sick in the mind are damned to be scotched.
We Schizos, Bi-Polars, Paranoids still exist.
Compassionate, helpless loved ones watch;
Its the “Psychs, Meds and Shady-Shaman Twist.”

That’s me, Bi-Polar for life (without choice).
The manic’s grandiose attitude and more.
Depressed, I’ll want to shut anyone’s voice,
While brooding alone on a Bronte moor.

And all the other different colored doors,
Find ways to rest minds gone to war.

- Tom Hall

(added 04.05.15)

editor's note: Pick prognosis best matched to malady. Door number one? Door number two? - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? If you got some milk, we got quite the controversially tasty tale you can dip it in to!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Have a Cookie” by Dennis Milam Bensie: "Have a cookie, forget the woes of the world. Enjoy yourself. Breathe in, taste the sugar, because some people, too many people, will never breathe again."

Here's a taste:


My first graders bring in something they like from the outside world to share for Show and Tell every Tuesday morning.

Martin Taccone does his presentation last. He slowly walks up to the head of the class carrying a heavy satchel that looks like it has a bowling ball in it. He carefully takes out something wrapped in a blanket. It’s a ceramic figure that looks like kind of like Mammy, that large black woman who takes care of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.

I lose my breath for a minute. Martin and his family are white. Why on earth do they have a black statue like that in a small town like Parkman, Illinois?

Where do you even get such a thing these days?

Martin pulls the top off and shows us that the Mammy is actually a cookie jar. “This is from my kitchen,” he explains to the class. “My mom bakes cookies and puts them in here for me and my brothers to eat. We call her the Cookie Mammy.

The skin tone of Mammy is pure black: nothing brown or lifelike about it. The white of her oversized eyes bug out like a cartoon character and she has big, red pursed lips. She’s wearing a red and white checkered dress and a kerchief on her head. And, of course, she’s got a white apron over her big skirt.

I’m a bit scared to look at Martin holding the mammy cookie jar right out in my class.

My knees are knocking.

Get the rest of your read on here!

•••••••

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

Gettin’ Our Fix,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

4.04.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.04.15

“Art includes everything that stimulates the desire to live.” Remy de Gourmont

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Kiss” (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 exalted in eight's existence; we scored a swat from romance that was not; we raked the repose of the moth egged weak; we lurked in the lees of what no one hears, cares, sees; we sheared shorn sheaves from what the knife edge leaves; we cut in the line of phone-tagged bottle buyers sublime; we parted the ways to hard-fought sober days. So many words to state the struggle; strive, stand! ~ MH Clay

Unseen parting of ways

Unseen parting of ways, spoken broken vowels, suffocating in your own liquored dreams of illusionary and elocutionary vows, I’m that toxic waste vessel adrift on dry land with a soaked soul a hundred percent intoxication no participation on parting of ways only an array of empty bottles for days as others are amazed at the rainbow flavor thirst I display and liquor bottle parade, I care not about charade as life inside me fades;

unseen parting of ways

battling shakes and sweats awake I forgot to pray for my sake as I lay in my own wet mistakes full of hate on my wet alcoholic date;

unseen parting of ways,

from the war trench to the gin bottles I infiltrate, old tattered uniform, drunken parade rest and depressed, gin bottles my belief of suppression. Mind state without commonality of debate, full of war hate,

unseen parting of ways.

- James Brown

(1 poem added 04.04.15)

editor's note: Our victors return to become victims while we argue over the price of compensation. Sad! - mh


peckerwood

there was already a line
to the back of the liquor store when he came in

the only black face in the entire place

we were somewhere in the upper middle
drunk from an afternoon in the grassroots tavern
but wanting more to kill the night

the wine store kept the smaller bottles of alcohol
behind the counter at the register

it was the store’s way
of teaching drunkards the value of patience
or to stop them from being so damned cheap

he found me right away

my wife claims that i have that kind of face
it’s welcoming and the antithesis to the fiber of my very being

he said, hey man, you know how it is
then started motioning up toward the register

of course i knew how it was
but something about him rubbed me

it was rare that i found a face in this world as welcoming as mine
most people were ugly without even trying

i said, i know how it is, man
that’s why i’m standing here with all of the other stiffs

i said, getting in front of me won’t help your cause any

he said, look, man

so i said, why don’t you go and ask each
and every person standing behind me
if they’re cool with you cutting then i’ll clear you a space

well, he just stood there with kind of a crooked grin

i wondered about the type of person
who found his face a soothing salve to come home to at night

he said, what if i just cut you in line

a man must do as he must, i answered

then he leaned in
he reeked of vodka as i reeked of beer

we were brethren of a sort

i thought to myself that i should’ve let him cut me
but then he called me a peckerwood

ain’t nothin’ but a peckerwood, he said

hear that honey, i said to my wife
now i’m the victim of racial intolerance

he went to the front of the line
cutting each and every one of us

the cashier sold him a pint of rum without hesitation

the hoi polloi held their bottles and gasped
their conceptions of law and order thrown to the dogs

someone called him an asshole
as he waved to the crowd on the way out

the woman behind me
threatened to get the manager

everyone else just stood there
checking their phones

a pack of peckerwoods

waiting on anarchy
waiting their turn in line.

- John Grochalski

(1 poem added 04.03.15)

editor's note: A slice without a knife; a line, a pint and a hapless pack… - mh


My Patience

My patience is a gibbet
Around it my neighbours stroll
And whisper keeping their eyes on me.

The cognitive forms of my desire
Indulge my clay feet;
Though I sit quietly on a stool.

Then they go back to the field
And bind the paddy sheaves
For interpreting history.

I throw my laughter high
To the meridian
And tease their knives.

- Bhargab Chatterjee

(1 poem added 04.02.15)

editor's note: They can't cut what they can't reach. Hang high! - mh


A Throatpierced Sound in the Night

lonely as america
guttural cries
no one hears

Miles blows translucent blue melodies
snare keeps time with double bass
piano for continuity
psychic feelers come back empty
no one listens

down fall the masks
muted slow arpeggios cover faces
behind stone curtains
no one cares

dark pursed lips press against
silver mouthpiece
fingers stab valves
air beats against me while
no one watches

inside my ash covered space
long, outheld notes cross time
whines sprinkle up a staircase of stars
slow soft keys whisper
no one’s there

up against the wall
then the resolution comes
a free ringing trumpet tone
sponges my face, bathes my body
in liquid timbre of relief that
no one feels

dare not peek behind the curtain
to see the man behind the magic
we all play roles in this masquerade
our secret sins equal out with age
no one knows

there is no great listener in heaven or on earth
just a call and answer, sometimes only a call
frequencies shared too often grow tedious
can a lifetime of unison even be bearable?
no one holds

maybe belief runs across this great Beat path
carved from interminable sand
constant sun and shaky fluorescents
cast everlong shadows on every bump and pebble
no one sees

- Lilly Penhall

(1 poem added 04.01.15)

editor's note: Bleak and bold, america - everywhere; no one! - mh


THE WHITE MOTHS

Sleep between the leaves
in the secret dawn
of summer’s fallen shanty town.

They drowse in the clasp
of veined, watery leaflight,
in nature’s frail golden eggs,

In shells and tatters and curls
spun from the coin-washed sky.
In the quiet, cold,

Clinging to the damp walls,
red tinged their houses rattle,
turn over under the rake.

And suddenly they are trembling.
Because it is the season—
smoke swirls across the yard.

They are the meek, the helpless.
Baptized by the rain, they will not inherit.

Too small this town.

- Russell Brickey

(added 03.31.15)

editor's note: Too often meek is mauled, raped by the rake of mighty. - mh


Sweat and Saliva

He’s a hot mess of a man
All sweat and saliva
Belching on his pot roast and beer
Blind to the parsley, the napkin ironed

He groans when asked to wash
Refuses to use that damned floss
So high falootin’
His trusty ole peppermint pick lodged
Deep within his swollen gums

He grabs for her tits
Claws at her derriere
Angry that all he scores is a manicured swat
The tinkle of silver charms
She was the queen of West Texas

Now a mean ole mother
He mutters under his stale breath
Cracking another can
Not noticing her freshly curled hair
Or the Home Beautiful magazine, $1.99
Dog-eared by her side sagging
Not looking anything like a home coming
Or anyone’s high school dream

- Heather M. Browne

(1 poem added 03.30.15)

editor's note: The shame of mutual disappointment; keep those bodily fluids to yourself. - mh


Octogenerity

Never thought I’d live to see
My own Octo-gen-er-ity
The daily complement of pills
Have staunched so many ills

I am the first in my line
To reach this magic time
As I stand to face
The finish of the race

Each day I go anew
To confront life’s brew
Of ache and tired muscle
Amid our diurnal bustle

I take my quotidian stand
A toast to Medicine Grand
For a long and healthy life
Buttressed by my loving wife

- Milt Montague

(added 03.29.15)

editor's note: Better living, longevity and love - through chemistry. Viva, Milt! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Well, we got one for ya but ONLY if we're friends. Say it! "Yes Mad Swirl, we are friends." Cool. Now we can share the latest addition to our short stories library, "Friends" by longtime contributing writer, Jim Meirose.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "Animals, some of us. Animals who want to be loved, all of us."

Here's a quick glimpse:


photo by Tyler Malone

The two sat in an empty plain windowless room with one door, at a thin legged wooden table, on folding metal chairs. They’d been playing cards.

You know I want to hear it, said the larger, heavily bearded man.

What? said the skinny bald one.

That you’re my friend. I want to hear you say that you’re my friend.

The skinny one put his cards down and waved the air.

I told you. I have no friends. What is the definition of friend, anyway? Do you know?

Well, I guess it’s just liking a person—

No! he said, raising a hand, it’s being attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. That’s what the dictionary says.

So? That applies—

No, it doesn’t. I’m not attached to anyone. I have no friends. And that includes you.

But I’ve got to get you to say it—can’t you just say it for me? Even if it’s not true?

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


This past 1st Wednesday Mad Swirl bid adieu to the stage where the mic magic all began over 10 years ago. (If you hadn't heard, Absinthe Lounge at its current locale will no longer be our Open Mic home. But don't fret, we will be easin' on down, easin' on down, easin' on down the road to their NEW locale come May Day.)

The vibe on the mic was a bit more nostalgic than usual but just as mad as always! The whole swirlin' world of mic madness came full circle. The faces that have graced our stages thru the years seemed to be swirlin' in from all corners. 'twas quite the night to be a part of this final-ish show. Thanks to all who came to celebrate, appreciate & participate last night.

In case you missed this Mad action, here is the line-up and a picture show, (thanks to Dan Rodriguez) of who was who…


Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Feature:
Paul Konieki
Opalina Salas
Carlos Salas
Paul Sexton
Devorah Titunik
Roderick Richardson
Jolee Davis
Dan Evans
Desmene Statum
Bear the Poet
Chris Zimerly
Josh Weir
BA
Suza Hep Kat
CJ Critt

Mad Cast:
Victory
Harry McNabb
Eileen Simeonov
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Mike Adreani
Dante Dadon
Brittney Buster

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 124 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...

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

•••••••

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

Stimulatin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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