10.25.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.25.14

"Everything you can imagine is real." Pablo Picasso

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Our newest featured artist, Toby Oggenfuss, brought us some work all the way from space - er, I mean from Los Angeles, California. But that doesn’t mean his stuff doesn’t look like it came straight from some other universe. A universe where city landscapes are curly and swirly and… does this sound up our alley or what?! Toby is clearly not your typical photographer, having created an entirely unexplored technique that defies everything we once thought it meant to take photos. These fascinating and abstract pieces will not only spike your curiosity, but also set your mind wandering, questioning the realms in which you once upon a time saw your own city. Straight lines? Ha! What are those? Yeah, we don’t know either, anymore. If you wanna trip on these surreal scenes too, you know what to do! - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we lingered on lyric life, transcended cube strife; we cinched up tight, imaginary belt, buckled - no doll, no fall; we could no more impostors be, than by wrongly using apostrophes; we swirved 'neath a swing o' sandal-toed safe havens; we laughed, unlike a "b" or "w", un-ensnared smiles came thrumming through; we nurtured nothing into something sweet, sweet something spun back to nothing, demure and discreet; we did long resound with the song of a slammer-bound love hound - howwwwwwwwl with the heart o' the wolf. Clamor, uncloyed for complete satisfaction. Rest in the peace o' the pack... ~ MH Clay

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

Pink Toenails

When vanity became
The powder to her nose,

Jealousy honed
The thorns of his rose.

Love and hate
Were claws of their hammer,

Until he lost control
And landed in the slammer.

- Hal J. Daniel III

(1 poem added 10.25.14)

editor’s note: Obsessed to be her only nailer; he hammered too far, then met the jailer. - mh



Still There Is Something

that corrupts the plaintive nature
of my back brain while bad boys wait
in silent shiny elevators asking me with evil eyes
to say
nothing—

cold and unforgiving, even of the joy I take
itself of
nothing—

warm and creative in the watery rush
he felt at the stems of his eyeballs when i told him
to be happy
the watery wet rush he felt but that did not materialize
his evil eyes
dripped
nothing
for my sweet nothing

- Anna Sullivan

(added 10.24.14)

editor’s note: From nothing (sweet nothing) survives... something. - mh



Engees 6

she honests her laugh loudly
unlike a beetle in a lampshade
unlike a whisper in a crowd
it is hearty, hale and whale big
it flits the air bumble bee hum
and lands like a stone dropped
from a cliff into my chest
where it resounds, thrumming
into a smile.

- Hollie Bolster

(added 10.23.14)

editor’s note: Hell, yes, she does! Thrums me too! Nice! - mh



Golden Grove

Wooden swing, sandal toes.

Willows.

Swaying.

Sweet
water
running.

A silly, sinking feeling.

Sun saved Boat's neck.

Sun saved Boat from Night,
from shipwreck.

Harbored.

Beached.

Bobbing,
beat of red dawn drum,
tune of tangerine rind tenor.

Wheeze.

Sea breeze.

Breathe.

Sugar soap.

Sun drop.

Exfoliate.

- Shashank Virkud

(added 10.22.14)

editor’s note: Safe harbor in a swing's sway; sweet redemptress. - mh



There Are No Apostrophes In Plurals

“So, I finally got him to answer his mobile phone
again last night and I said to him,
'Look mate, you cannot have really meant it
when you dumped me last weekend
because the reason you gave was being bored.
You’re a poet man, you could have come up
with a much better excuse than that one.
I mean, you could have told me that there
are no apostrophes in plurals and that it was
all my fault or something brilliant like that!'”

“Hey Girlfriend, that’s clever…what does it mean?”

“It means that he didn’t put much thought into it
because he didn’t really mean it at all,
he’s just being moody and away with the fairies,
artists are like that, insanely temperamental!”

“Cool, so what did he say this time?”

“He said that it wasn’t an excuse and he’s still bored.
Then turned off his phone and Facebook blocked me!”

“How frustrating, he’s really making you work, isn’t he.
Well, you can’t have that can you, I mean it’s not fair?”

“Hell No, I’ve downloaded a ton of Meatloaf tracks,
I’m going to listen to them all night, like really listen,
then write him a love sonnet, play him at his own game.
I’ll have him in tears before I’ve finished, you watch!”

- Paul Tristram

(1 poem added 10.21.14)

editor’s note: With Meatloaf as muse, this girl is gonna take that poet down. Shoulda played your apostrophe card, mate! - mh



intruder alert

WE JUST “POPPED” IN TO CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER
AND CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM—

This on a slip of paper atop the kitchenette counter,
greeting me upon my return from work,
triggering mucho panic;
I can’t help but wonder
what else they did
while popping in,
so I inspect my toothbrush
for signs of sabotage,
sniffing the bristle,
then it’s on to my smut collection,
checking for pilfered porn
before scanning my library,
focusing on Bukowski
as we all know his stuff
attracts thieves;
finally concluding at the liquor cabinet
where I examine myriad levels,
breathing a sigh of relief;
everything seems cool,
just another attack—
I really should get help;
if I had a sex doll
I’d lock her chastity belt
and swallow the key
with my morning
coffee.

- Ben Newell

(added 10.20.14)

editor’s note: Worry over what popped out from a popped up pop-in. - mh



windchimes

despite leaves turning toward her silently
mouthing words to string quartets she sighs
gardenias fill the air with attention
their aroma seeps widely the office
calls unaware our conversation shifts
necessities prevail over coffee

apart from the filament connecting
two hands along gravel studded lamplight
only her eyes finely hint these railways
speak multitudes past breezy boulevards
eventually maps reach their limits
rumor has it her friends plot the journey

rivers away the department debates
whether she should have written that letter
delightful strands perhaps the rope bridge holds
the climber pulls her aside to inquire
while gliding through stark cornfields we notice
reflection heavy upon our shoulders

desk drawers alight with anticipation
supervisors discuss their agendas
love beyond burdened glass the cubicle
too fierce to touch watching from the break room
cellos their last streams warble around us
she follows the tune as it wanders past

- Michelle Villanueva

(added 10.19.14)

editor’s note: Too often, missed goes the music, hunkered down in a cubicle trench, fighting a paper war. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Howsabout a story about writing a story? OK, then howsabout living a life that inspires a story to be written? Then check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Five Weekends" by Carl Kavadlo. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Writing takes a lot, mostly a life lived. There’s nothing wrong with spending a life writing down the world; waiting for it happen, though, that’ll kill you. So live! So write! Write to live and live to write! "

Here's a bit to get you goin':

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Tony was trying his thirteenth draft on this piece, 1234 words, into the top of the fifth double spaced page. It was a true story in Tony’s own life about how he almost got screwed, due to the follies and games that men play, out of a musical gig. The musical gigs were important to Tony as a livelihood and a passion. He had a beautiful voice and an extensive knowledge of popular and standard songs. The bossa novas, the Frank Sinatras, and so on, through the various rock and pop idioms. He doubled on guitar. It was one of those pieces where the parts couldn’t quite get put together, at least not in Tony’s mind.

Like most creative writing students at Touro College on the west side of Manhattan, this student did not bring in something new. This is what made them creative writers—they already had the drive. They put themselves into the hands of more experienced persons, to cultivate their talents.

In other words Tony was having a rough time with the piece.

“Dr. Whitmore,” he said, “it’s got all the fucking ingredients, I just can’t make it stick.”

“I know,” Whitmore said. ”It’s not unusual for beginning writers to struggle.”

“Let me lay it out to you, if you have the time.”

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!

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin' madness. Here's the line-up for the rest of 2014!…

December: Paul Koniecki

•••••••

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...

Imaginin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

10.18.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.18.14

"What I like in a good author is not what he says but what he whispers." Logan Pearsall Smith

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... Wwe countered crass forgeries with brush strokes striping imagery, emoting over and above propriety; we peeled paint from graffitied statues, redefined our fount of virtues; welos twon, onwe tton gue, notno wundone; we handled a haft, sliced the hue of a laugh into deft declensions of purple; we reveled in a dreamscape rebellion; we strained to dance in moonlit 'scapes o' sand and stars and mist and such, evaded weights of social network numbers tallied, clic an' touch; we flipped fault, swallowed blame, understood outcomes to be the same. Writers wrest our lives from myth, consigned to levels fourth or fifth.
Patience, Family, Patience...
~ MH Clay

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

All I've done recently is apologize.

Sorry, honey
Sorry, ten guys beating me
Sorry, police who made me sit in my own urine
Sorry, guy who bought my bar and got a criminal charge brought against me by driving a kid to the hospital who ripped the tendons in his ankle by kicking me in the ribs
Sorry, foreclosed landlady for giving you money to repay the loan you defaulted on
Sorry, to make you sue me for 3,000 when you owe over 300,000
Sorry, loan shark, Sang Il, who is suing my landlady
Sorry that my landlady didn't take the rent money I paid for three years and use it to repay the original bank loan
Sorry, new owner that you have to kick us out
Sorry, Israel for my support of Palestinians trying not to be refugees by repeatedly mocking your dumb rhetoric
Sorry, Mayan Indians, Triqui Indians, and all others who have been displaced

In Korea you see old women carrying babies on back (but they'll never forgive the Japanese or Americans)
But in the refugee camps in Chiapas you see babies on the backs of young girls cause siblings care for siblings after their parents and grandparents are gone

Sorry, bitchy woman in restaurant for being too loud playing with my son
Sorry, sorry, sorry, for all of it
You're right, honey, it's all my fault

- Ralph-Michael Chiaia

(1 poem added 10.18.14)

editor’s note: De nada! - mh


Big Green Moon In North Laguna

Dodging shiny tank-sized SUV’s
and their texting, latte-sipping,
GPS-distracted, cell-phone chatting,
high on prescription drug driving,
foie gras artery clogged,
utterly miserable, corporate
pencil pushers and peons,
of which I was once one,
I maneuver across a highway of road kill,
through wooden skeletons
of tract housing,
under rusted, barbed wire
that once kept back the cattle,
but now just cut through my jeans.

I continue through cool chaparral
foggy ravines with cottontails
frozen like statues,
black stink bugs,
vines with dried hollow gourds;
once drinking cups for Indians,
the bones of whom lay far beneath
this Pelican Hill Golf Resort,
too green and manicured,
from which fertilizers seep down,
eroding sand cliffs,
poisoning the tide pools below.

I breathe in deeply;
earth peppermint coolness,
salty sea mist,
and dance along the cliff,
arms spread wide like a
yellow-beaked, red-clawed hawk,
over a narrow, rocky beach,
vast darkness of ocean
and beyond that;
a big green Laguna moon,
I can almost touch.

- John Szabo

(added 10.17.14)

editor’s note: Dodging destruction to dance in the moon. - mh


Back Then

Most days, it was a secret.
As the sun sank the light dimmed
and died out, but the numbers on my digital clock
buzzed, burning redder as the dark wore on.
A bulb from the hall lit the crack
under the door, but, that too, slowly, eventually,
flickered and went black.
When the house was dusted with silence,
I opened the door and crept out.
The beat of blood against my head
crashed like waves upon the shore,
yet I could hear every grain of sand shift
under my feet as I tip-toed down the hall.
I made my way outside, careful to not disturb
the motes of silence floating
in the absence of moonlight.
I made it.
I ran, feeling roots and grass with my feet,
and the sparkling stars prickling on my skin.
The space of twelve and five between
the hands of the clock were now mine.
The crack under the door lit
with the suns admonishment
and its rays fell on me: asleep.

- Tom Freeland

(added 10.16.14)

editor’s note: A dreamed escape, a dreamscape, a dream... - mh


Purple Laughter

Laughter doesn’t need to be purple,
but purple is a mysterious, open and noble color

In purple, I cannot always see the reasons
my actions are propelled by a quiet intuition
moved not by logic or inquisition
No Hesitation --
only movement

Stepping beyond the comfortable confines of familiarity
allowing my serendipitous feet to guide me, purple
I will not always know if I am headed in the right direction
but I can always be certain that the path is never wrong

only movement

- Sunya Chavi

(1 poem added 10.15.14)

editor’s note: Color your path with a purple laugh; wrong, right, resounding! (With this poem, we welcome Sunya to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets. Read more of her madness on her new page - check it out!) - mh


Cher

On the co
bweb of he
r tongue I c
alcul
ate the los
s I coul
d have w
on.

- Quinten Collier

(1 poem added 10.14.14)

editor’s note: Soh ard tow in, han gingby lov e'sth read. (We are happy to welcome Quinten back to our crazy klatsch of Contributing Poets, check out more of his madness on his page.) - mh


Two Men Embrace on a Wall in Kaunas

He didn’t expect the paint to peel the heads
and necks, sprayed on a tavern facade that night
when he tried to be famous like Banksy

using paint to display a couple’s embrace,
between two men, graffiti that raised debates
on morality among artists, statesmen, priests

claiming the start of a new Lithuania, liberal,
confident, loose. The storm poured and drenched
the wall for days and all that remains is pants.

- Simon Lewis

(added 10.13.14)

editor’s note: A Lithuanian liberation made relevant for all. Embrace who you will; pants optional. - mh


Corrupted proclamations and judicial fate

Misrepresented contingencies filling penitentiaries; incarcerating minds, souls and bodies beyond the statistics of greater numbers that were and now are truly innocent, plastered with evidence of hate crimes and the power of money making a shadow of doubt, an unjust formality.

Days run long of unrest, of vengeance becoming a reckoning of another’s expiration; a prison dictation being caught up in a system that eradicates a willing mind and turns the souls of many black.

Reparation, revocation don’t give back time to the life of the one unjustly taken from society and caged, becoming a slave of the state by the unjustifiable dictation of the arguments of twelve, judicial fate and those who didn’t reach out to grab the hook; fixed with the bate of judicial genocide, corrupted proclamations.

- James Brown

(1 poem added 10.13.14)

editor's note: Regarding our catch and release program; is a fish caught and mangled, then thrown back, free? - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "For the Love of Snakes: Dr. Veenum and Dr. Wang" by Louis Marvin. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "The venom is never as dangerous as the cure, so fall in love with the sting and enjoy what it does to your insides."

Here's a bit to get you goin':

(photo by Tyler Malone)

The letter said this project could change your life, so he sat in his University of Arizona-Herpetology Dept. office waiting for this Dr. Wang to appear before the United Nations. They were showing the general assembly on the cable news station, which was full to capacity, with folks standing on the sides. Protocol and safety were at their usual high standards, but today was a special day.

He looked over the letter. It called him their top choice, and one of only a very few even considered. He had already talked to the other two folks, and all agreed as to the enormity of the project.

She was sipping green tea with a little honey and lemon. Her notes, dog-eared and stained, had been gone over many, many times. She just wanted to go and deliver the good news. No spin, just tell it like it is and let the world react as they will, then get all the champagne toasting Amen! and commencement addresses out of the way. It was time to get out there and boot up these new communities, these new worlds…

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...

Whisperin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

10.11.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.11.14

"Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create." Alberto Giacometti

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we digitized a dog race, tongue hung out from dog face; we renewed our sense of place; we dealt a double cure, got double jilted; we were devoid of dreams, trying to dissect the doer from the deed; we ripped ourselves raw 'til we wrote red; we slipped it in the slot to dwindle what we've got; we wound up with a wino's wandering mind in the night. Pop another, pour long, drink deeply. Write your story, take forever to tell it. ~ MH Clay

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

Dregs

Spread out Syrah noir wide, slide up
wine glass side, stick in patterns

to the edge, like leftover phrases, words
lining the darkened bottom

of a writing drawer. Try to read
some kind of future in the tailings,

see a story finally written,
were there light enough, or life,

or snowy woods, or hawks
finding wind to soar and dive.

Well, maybe one more glass,
no past, no looking back,

a bottle, two, alone, black sky,
hope the only ending, no you.

- Timothy Pilgrim

(2 poems added 10.11.14)

editor’s note: Vivisect vintage from vine; vie for existence or drain to the dregs. (More madness from Timothy, a silent move, on his page - watch it now.) - mh


Being a bum for 2 hours beside the ATM booth

Old scriptures dog-eared in the register of infrared
news dailies, the chipped SIM cards of this street’s history
become the wings of the citizens’ fast-abiding method
to whatever is psychologically fit bulimic of cash and class:
I remain blinkered yet inspired of the bubble gum sticking out
a taste of this and that. Hip as tradition strays on slippered,
coal-skinned memory, a visionary glued
on the accrued philosophy of Marty’s Hamburger, a bystander
becalmed by postmodern hair fashion like Son Goku
by way of super faith. Being a bum for 2 hours
beside the ATM booth, I start to cave in over the secrecy
of life entered instantly into a card hole, this mouth-contoured
abysmal slit, what’s in there? People queued up,
patience steeplechased, as if for quick pleasure, as if
recharging a tired body or a ravaged soul, as if
inside you will meet the Devil painting his nails
Mexican pink with the struggle of a toothless trident,
or maybe encounter Mr. ATM himself doing you
a favor to steal a line from a song that says,
“What if God was one of us?” Chewing bubble gum
under the sun, smitten by the rasp and rattle of holy
heat, is sweet, and this so true madam. For I’m
a bum, yes sir, I’m a bum.

- Lawdenmarc Decamora

(added 10.10.14)

editor’s note: The worth of modern human existence summed up by the insertion of a square peg into a black hole. - mh


Break The Silence, Break The Skin

Ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive…
Badlands/ Bruce Springsteen

It’s my call
whether to plunge the ragged nail
down through the supple skin
like a fist through a pane
of glass, lick the delirious rush
of red from my fingers
like honey from a hand
rammed deep in a hive

or shiver in silence,
say it’s a zen thing to cure
without curing, heal
minus healing,
shudder the loosened skin
like a cat drowning in a sack
snug as bones sliding out of joints,
or bullets circumnavigating barrels

no pain without gain:
but what if the pain
is the gain, if this is the only way
I can possess these bones
the way the sun owns fire
the way the job owns the mouth,

but never the skin
never the blood;

I can write the rush
in sharp red ink, paint myself red
head to tail, shiver and scream,
pain/gain
freedom’s whore
chained at last.

- Ian Mullins

(2 poems added 10.09.14)

editor’s note: Another fine spin on, or rather, red flow to the writer's curse. Well done, and well come! (We welcome Ian to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission - plus another, newly posted to his new page. Check'em out!) - mh


JANUS

On a seething summer night, I sometimes look out my bedroom window and stare at the dark sky.

The emptiness, a void that swallows me, cuts me in half, and I face the swirling future that merges with the broken now, and with a slight turn of my head, I see the monstrous past that melted long ago in the unforgiving heat.

My skull, anointed with existential conundrums, swings back and forth like Poe’s pendulum above the ominous pit and soon, Janus appears, a phantom boy from far away.

“I remember you,” I mutter to the chimerical young man, a flimsy, diaphanous blur I barely recognize.

But I smell his sin, the foul, ferocious odor of boiled flesh, crushed bones, and gushing blood.

His ghostly voice is still soft and silky, and as sweet as Mother’s homemade apple pie with a swirl of whipped cream.

“Mother hasn’t come to see me,” he whispers interminably, oblivious of his angel dust saturated past and a cornucopia of overflowing psychosis.

His melodious voice is as velvety as the psithurism of the leaves.

He sits inside a cell in Bellevue and can’t recall how he hurled boiling water in Mother’s face, battered her head with a killer bat, and flung her out the window.

He waits for Mother in his eternal room of oblivion, while I hold the horrific memories, on a seething summer night like this, when I stare at the dark sky, and taste the toxic emptiness, and plummet into the void.

- Mel Waldman

(1 poem added 10.08.14)

editor’s note: An old end, this night's beginning; no sleep for those who remember. - mh


Split Personalities

I think
she must
be having
dreams
that
are split
into two
different
points
of view

for her
sake I
hope that
is all

more
would be
hellacious
to deal with

I fear though
she thinks
both are
the same
and she has
no authority
to choose
the better
of the two.

I love them
both or many
but
they really
are a goddamn
pain to deal
with.

And after
the inferior
has been subdued
my role
is hardly
ever remembered
so they go off
healed
and love and fuck
somebody else.

- D. Russel Micnhimer

(added 10.07.14)

editor’s note: No stock for Doc. Heal'em up and send'em off; return to an empty bed. - mh


I am now at a place

I am now at a place
I once was...
A long time ago,
and a couple of lifetimes ago...

Now I allow the beautiful
far-out songs
to roll in like the waves
... ending in eternity

Each one irreplaceable
washing over me…
ending in eternity

- Ralph Freda

(1 poem added 10.06.14)

editor’s note: Learning to surf... - mh


Testing Lucky

Before first paw hits track, anonymous
controller’s hand hits the switch.
Lucky flies around the track. Ears back,
he is a filthy streak of mechanics and fur.
In this moment of unchased bliss, he is free.
As he rounds turn after turn, I watch and wonder if
he envisions a digital field, a makeshift meadow
full of daisies and butterflies scattering
beneath paws that have never actually touched
the ground.

- A.J. Huffman

(1 poem added 10.05.14)

editor’s note: Race and repeat until he gets the win. Loop it, Lucky! – mh­­­

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Hoot" by Ron Riekki. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "You're never alone: you can always drive with Jesus. Beware, though: Satan will always be your motor."

Here's a bit to get you goin':


Shirtless and covered in blood, I walked into the Hooters.

John Donne said, God is an angel in an angel, and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw.

God is a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters in a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters.

I’d fallen on glass. I was drunk. My sister worked there. I needed a ride to the hospital.

They said, Dumb-ass, wait outside.

I waited outside, bleeding.

I didn’t know she wasn’t working. It was her day off.

I went to the front window, smeared blood on my face, just to make the point. I kept standing there, staring in. I’m sure a customer complained, because the manager came out and told me to go away.

I said I needed a ride.

Layla came out.

She’s every ethnicity on the globe. She comes from every country…

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...

Intoxicated,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

10.04.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.04.14

”Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.” Louis Aragon

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we rained stones from the sky; we lingered over loss through a mirror; we delighted in a dishwater dalliance; we spit-dropped dromedary drama, sizzled to silence; we bumbled a beeline into a hell of hail; we wound down wandering to a daily way; we concocted a combination to wrongly right the world. In a week transpired, wisps of whispered wonders afire. So goes the sweep o' the Swirl! ~ MH Clay

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

WHAT WE FORGET

As Courtney lies sleeping on the couch beside me
Sleeping - trying to be sleeping
I dream, typing, dream
She watches the details
Wondering how far away Dallas is now

There, the Trinity River knows things that most people don't think about
Ghost cows chatter
Trinity dries
Carries many secrets it forgets
And forgets to tell

It has smelly water

My phone vibrates
Too dangerous to answer
I set it on the table
Next to the weed

Something misunderstood
It means too much to me
Is there a way to undo what I've said
Perhaps a drug
Perhaps a combination of drugs

- Cheyenne Gallion

(4 poems added 10.04.14)

editor's note: Synaptic replay, looping, lingering; our glaring blunder, irretrievable…along with sleep. (This submission from our Mad Swirl co-founder is long overdue. We are pleased to see some new works from Cheyenne - as a matter of fact, 4 new works. See Cheyenne's latest verses and vision on his poetry page: ROBOT ALCHEMIST, SUBURBATRONIC INVASION and HELLO AMERICANS. Check'em out - do it now.) - mh


THE WALK TO WORK

The walk to work is always the same
Even on the days when you go a different way
The walk to work is just the walk to work
The walk to that place you invariably loathe
That place that slowly drives you insane
Until the day when you don’t have to do that walk anymore
Then it’s another walk to another place
But still it remains the same
The self-loathing and the hatred of what you do
And the walk that still remains the same
Just along different streets to another building
The walk that drives you slowly insane
My walk at the moment is one of the most beautiful
Along the seafront and into the heart of town
People come on holiday here just to do the walk I do everyday
But still it’s just the walk to work
The walk to that place you loathe so much
The walk to that place that drives you insane

- Bradford Middleton

(1 poem added 10.03.14)

editor's note: Poetry to make the mundane bearable, the hair shirt wearable. - mh


Rubber Bullets

"Thank God they’re only rubber,"
I think, as the bullets
Rain down on us like hail.
We try to move with the crowd,
As it scatters like the rats
Who usually rule these streets.
One wrong move, one slip of the foot,
We’ll go down and if we do,
There will be no getting back up.

Feeling the hard welts
That are starting to rise
Around my tender, aching ribs,
I think, “How did this happen?”
How did a Cinco de Mayo street party
Degenerate into this?
Mad panic free for all;
Every man, woman and child for themselves,
In a vicious storm of black, rubber bees.

About this time, to my pleasant surprise,
I realize I’m still holding my beer.
“Thank God for small favors,”
I say to myself while simultaneously realizing
That’s a lot of Jesus talk for this atheist.
I’m running wildly now and
Have no idea what’s become of my friends.
“They know how to get home,” I think,
“I can’t hold their hands all the time.”

Turning a corner, into an alley,
I am stopped dead in my tracks,
My beer bottle slipping from my fingers and
Smashing loudly in the street below.
Blocking my way are 6 fully armed riot cops,
Their guns trained on my torso.
As I drop to my knees and put my hands up,
I have the abstractly lighthearted thought,
“Even bees can kill you if they sting you all at once.”

- David Rutter

(1 poem added 10.02.14)

editor's note: But, they won't sting if you don't annoy them, right? (We welcome David to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page - check it out.) - mh


SAHARAN SUNSET

Solitary
uninterested in love
politics
world events
the thousand-year camel
stands
delicately balanced
on his own elongated shadow
and spits
into the fiery sunset
just for the ephemeral thrill
of seeing the droplets
sputter
and dance.

- Jeffrey Park

(1 poem added 10.01.14)

editor's note: A ruminant's take on the Middle East conflict; a spit and a sizzle. - mh


Fish

You walked into the kitchen
I was busily occupied
With the minutiae of living
Washing dishes
I half turn to greet
Blue and green eyes meet
And that was that.
Never was an embrace
So nakedly undressed
Lips on lips pressed
As hungry bodies
Innocent of each other
Found a memory place.

©2014

- Sheighle Birdthistle

(2 poems added 09.30.14)

editor's note: An amorous angler's kitchen catch. (See another vibrant verse from Sheighlie on her page - check it out.) - mh


The End

I let you go without protest;
the room still smells of you,
a soft musky-floral scent.

I sit down on the sofa you were
sitting in. The fabric
still warm from your body.

I close my eyes.
Your face flashes,
then disappears.
When I open my eyes,
I see myself staring
at my reflection in the mirror;
Alone.

Outside the night continues,
the city
continues, but our world
starts to give way.
Our story stops now.

- Amy Barry

(1 poem added 09.29.14)

editor's note: The sweet, sad eternity twixt the end of a story and the turn of the page... - mh


River Ouse Haiku

sky heavy with stones
the lighthouse under the waves
the wake of her soul

- Virginie Colline

(2 poems added 09.28.14)

editor's note: Such leaves a delightful haiku hole... to fill with hope. (Read another heart-harrowing haiku on Virginie's page - check it out.) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Are you thirsting for something? Perhaps we can quench your thirst with a read! Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Warm Company" by Oleg Razumovsky. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Why are we ever celebrating? Why does it matter, let’s celebrate!"

Here's a shot to whet your whistle:


In the morning I woke up knowing that I was absolutely broke, but it was necessary to have a drink. Very urgent. A matter of life and death. I got up, thanking God it was not necessary to dress because yesterday I fell asleep fully clothed. Outside it was very cold and my zipper was broken. I almost froze my balls off before I reached Dawn’s Tavern, where my buddies usually congregate. But fuck, it was empty. Everybody was still sleeping. What to do. I barely scraped some change for a small glass of beer, alone. I tried to talk the barmaid into giving me a drink on credit but she refused, the grated pussy, saying, 'I once poured a guy a shot of vodka on credit, but he never gave me money back, since then I don't trust anybody for any reason.'

Yeah, no luck, I mused, looking out the window at a completely empty, extinct downtown. For the third or fourth day, I really lost the count, people are celebrating a holiday. Probably they got a little tired, finally. Waiting for company, I thought about one summer day when I was without a cent and I felt lousy. Nobody was around to help me out for fuck's sake.

Go on, belly up to the bar and get the rest of your read drink on right here!

••• Open Mic •••


This past 1st Wednesday at "Mad Swirl presents... Kerseymere" was absolutely everything we'd hyped and hoped it would be... and MORE! We knew when we put this multi-talented mad man on our list of features that he would deliver a show that would send vibrations up and down and all around the Lounge. And did he ever! Huge thanks to Kerseymere for the mad memories.

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

(photos available on Facebook, courtesy of Rosie Lindsey)

Feature:
Kerseymere

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Mad Cast:
Desmene Statum
Bear the Poet
CJ Critt
BA
Gayle Reeves
Carlos Salas
Jared Ryan Maldinado
Tony Hernandez
Opalina Salas
Harry McNabb
Trier Ward
Jonathan Fernandes
Sebastian Paramo
Holiday
David Crandel

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 this month help us celebrate at our 10th Open Mic Mad Birthday Swirl-a-bration!

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.

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin' madness. Here's the line-up for the rest of 2014!…

December: Paul Koniecki

•••••••

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...

Intoxicated,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

9.27.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.27.14

”We only understand that which already is within us.” Henri Frederic Amiel

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we braced ourselves 'gainst a filigreed night, the dust of wings in a "talcum twilight"; we sat with zoo scions, refined - tittered and tippled our tea-hee-hee; we sucked the siphon, tube and trough, consumers consigned to lather, rinse and repeat; we revived a resurgence of fit survivors, genetic journeymen and asteroid dodgers; we boiled our ancestral urges down to nothin' but bun fun; we filtered our buff-bod reality through 65-something, wish-I-was, vanity; we sunk and smiled, pickled and perplexed all the while, afloat in a jar-ing now...
We float, we flounder; each day spins rounder to right our teetering flight - soar and steal the sky!
~ MH Clay

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

Maybe

I penned you a song
upon an eggshell
in vinegar ink
and put it in
a mason jar
and then
i closed the lid.

the last time that it rained
i threw the jar in the river
and watched it float away.

maybe one day
when you are drowning
that jar will be the last thing that you see

and just maybe
you know it might
make you smile.

- Jesse Doughty

(1 poem added 09.27.14)

editor's note: Yes, indeed! If we're gonna go, might's well go with a smile. Thanks, Jesse! - mh



Vanity

In the park pushing my granddaughter
on the swings, guiding her
across the monkeybars
up the ladders and down the slides
the only man in the place surrounded
by trophy wives and buxomy blonde European nannies
but none of them not one of them notices me
with my new weight-trained body
thick shoulders and arms broad chest and back
pushing lifting climbing pulling (and flexing)
toiling in the afternoon sun
and I can’t comprehend why
I’m not getting a single look
or even a simple shallow furtive smile
from any of these beauties then
I get home glance in the mirror
at my 65 year old body and understand why.

- Michael Estabrook

(1 poem added 09.26.14)

editor's note: Alas, it's not the seed, however vital and strong, but the seed dispenser who matters to fertile field keepers. Vanity, indeed! - mh



Oaf with Saturday Night Fever

The urgency of warthogs
wandering in the brush
grunting for ripe acorns
sounds like aging hunters

prowling in a singles bar
late on a Saturday night
half an hour from closing
no beauty queen in sight

till one of them decides
to meet Miss Prim and Proper
who suddenly looks lovely.
But she rejects the come-on

Big Man saved from high school:
"Honey, I have the hot dog
and you have the bun. Let's
get together and have some fun."

- Donal Mahoney

(1 poem added 09.25.14)

editor's note: This kind of fit will always be destined to NOT survive. Tell me another one, big boy! - mh



evolvement

nature has endowed us with genes
to pass on mutations that helped us
evolve from primitive hominoids
to our present-day form and
on to an unbelievable future

in early childhood we learn to compete
to study to enable us to better ourselves
compete with our peers
surpass them in life’s battle

survival of the fittest
has worked on this world
for several billion years
and will continue into
the foreseeable future

when we shall finally learn
if we are alone
in this expanding universe
or........

barring an eccentric asteroid

- Milt Montague

(added 09.24.14)

editor's note: For those who do or don't get evolved, it's aliens or a great big rock. - mh



The Nature of Cities VIII

Mass transportation,
vital connection
allows workers
to reach the privileged,
disruptively halts,
frequently slows,
preventing delivery
of goods, services,
necessary to all
who share environments.

Flawed urban planning
lack of foresight
left cities dependent
on rapid transit.
rarely rapid,
often interrupted
by delayed subways,
street congestion,
unregulated autos,
poor traffic control,
conditions conspiring
to shatter efficiency.

- Gary Beck

(1 poem added 09.23.14)

editor's note: Urban renewal. The ants serve the mound. Concrete is king! - mh



Sitting on a lonesome mountaintop while drinking tea with Jack Kerouac

TEA!
Strong Assam with wild tigers
Murky Green and an old lazy panda
Refreshing Darjeeling while watching a movie by Wes Anderson

Delicate Jasmine with the rising sun
Sweet fennel, mediating afternoons
Powerful peppermint in a foggy hilltop town
Sitting on a lonesome mountaintop while drinking tea with Jack Kerouac
TEA!

- Luke Ritta

(1 poem added 09.22.14)

editor's note: Delightful sips for six days o' bliss. Pick a seventh; Keemum, Yunnan Golden or Silver Yin Zhen Pearls - see who comes with... - mh



Dips and gathers

Love dips and gathers
in a silent shroud

of turtle doves as
the sun glints

on the dust of their wings.
The edges of the sky

peel back and uncover
its blue and purple heart

in a mid summer's
talcum twilight.

- Dawnell Harrison

(1 poem added 09.21.14)

editor's note: As summer dwindles; a watercolor rendering to remember in winter. Thanks, Dawnell! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Sounds like a real problem you got there. Luckily we got a fine solution for ya'! If you're blah then the latest addition to our short stories library, "Nothing If Not Critical" by Oliver Zarandi just might make you feel a whole lot better about your blah-blems. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Just another tragedy, folks. Just another bloody tab in your browser, a sad story on your feed, a tweeted tragedy. For every victim, for every corpse, there’s someone who loved how warm they were."

Here's a samplin':


“The problem is that there are three problems.

First problem is that Clyde can’t cry. Hasn’t cried in, what, a year?

Second problem, he has stopped moving. Literally.

Well, not quite literally. He goes to the shop to satiate thirst and hunger with cheap food—chocolate-covered matchsticks, milkshakes and matzos. But still, his movements are decreasing.

He stopped going to work, you know?

I said, Clyde, go to work and he said, what for and I said to put bread on the table. He said look, there’re, like, two loaves on the table, eat some, finish it and I’ll go cornershop and get another two loaves, maybe three, or maybe four? Would four please you?

He has mold in his armpits. What’s worse is that the house is falling apart and I can’t do it all myself, you know?

He gets worse every day…

Is this one of those stories that twists into a happy & sappy ending? Ha! Don't count on it. But you can count on the rest of this story grabbin' ya' and hangin' on for dear life. Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.01.14) 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 this month's feature…Dallas poet, writer, musician (& unicorn in disguise) Kerseymere! (aka Charles Randall)

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!

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin' madness. Here's the line-up for the rest of 2014!…

November: Mad Swirl's 10th Open Mic B-Day Swirl-a-bration!
December: Paul Koniecki


•••••••

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...

Understandin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

9.20.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.20.14

”I'm alive today, therefore I'm just as much a part of our time as everybody else. The times will just have to enlarge themselves to make room for me, won't they, and for everybody else.” Stevie Smith

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we bared the beast who worries us, tried to forget what he never does; we parried a parental posit to present the pariah in the closet; we shunned shame, shone from a shoe box game; we caught cop carried, cat crazy, crowd gawked, street rocked, dirt shirt - stained by low worth; we sevened a septic circle jerk, all talk with no work; we spared no spoken tongue nor sparse resistance to peaceful walk toward nonexistence; we prized a peek at penchants wreaked in righteous justification, raised unchecked ire in neighbor (not neighborly) nations. Angst and irritation salved and saved in a higher plane of observation... ~ MH Clay

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

For the sake of heavens, for heaven’s sake

“The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

The world bleeds around this most chronic ill
The mother of all conflicts
For such little space, a tiny area on the map
The history of hatred is mind-boggling
The central issue, the bottom line, is NOT ENOUGH LAND,
LAND which the World can help create over the sea
Or little some the expansive neighbors can graciously add

If Abraham was to come alive today
Would he not gather his entire family and probably say
“Do it over, do it better, step it up.”
“Come on people, get your act together, enough is enough.”
Albeit
Would his say in this day still carry any weight?

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad
How do I feel they are faring up there?
How do you think they are holding out?
Content, ecstatic, full of joy?
Or disappointed, dejected, thoroughly annoyed?

You are so wrong, I am so right
And together we create
For the sake of heavens, for heaven’s sake
Unending bloodshed, this never ending plight
Never pausing, never thinking
That at the end of the day
It is the same genes, the same blood on both sides of the aisle
One Big Unhappy Family
Where misery is shared and so is the destiny

- Arif Ahmad

(1 poem added 09.20.14)

editor's note: 50 days of violence for the sake of someone's heaven; resulting in heaven forsaken. Nobody wins! (Arif joins our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this poem. See more of his madness on his new page.) - mh


PEACEFUL

She carried out my execution.

She was dressed in red.
I nearly ate my heart.
There was something about her.
I slipped into nonexistence.

She was dressed in red.
Perhaps it was foreshadowing.
I nearly ate my heart.

I was speaking in tongues.


She filled me with anxiety.
I could not move to save my life.
I was speaking in tongues.
She made me disappear.


I walked in green pastures.
I laid down in a meadow.
I found a peaceful end.
I disappeared without a trace.
I tired of myself.

I could not blame her.
She was kind enough
to end my misery.
I felt her hair brushing on my face.

I found a peaceful end.
I ceased to exist.
It was useless to resist.

- Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

(1 poem added 09.19.14)

editor's note: Ethereal, external executioner to carry out our self-sentence; assisted suicide. - mh


THE LUCKY SEVEN

We sat in a circle in folding chairs,
the lucky seven,
I was wearing a party dress that showed my curves
forgot to wear panties, so kept my legs together.

Paul spoke. For the first time I liked him.
Not because he used to be a radio D-J or
his mother was dying of Alzheimer’s in a nursing home
but because he banged his head against the wall
when his daughter hung up on him.

The newcomer was diagnosed two days ago.
He knew nothing about his illness.
He was 22 and had led the life of a gallant well-
dressed pimp
but now guilt pressed him flat in his chair
- a run-over worm.

I stared at him. Nice contrast of
ebony skin the color of a Chinese lacquer box
and peach-colored palms he clenched on and off
in his lap.

He began his confession,
looking down and talking staccato.
I touched his shoulder. Keep some
secrets for yourself, I said. We don’t need to
know ev-ery-thing.

The dam began to leak and
Harry, who worked for a drug company,
talked about his rampant sexuality when manic,
laughed when he talked about the women he made love to,
a few men too, the wife taking off with the
house and the kids.

The newcomer nodded.
You mean it happened to you, too?
he asked Harry.

It happened to all of us, I say.

Harry told about writing a hundred pages of gorgeous
notes only two months ago during his last mania.
Hypergraphia, I said, mouthing the beautiful syllables of a
new word I’d just learned.
Mine, I threw away after 20 years hidden in the attic,
useless horseshit.

The newcomer wanted more symptoms.
I handed him a brochure. Everything has a
name, I said. Whatever you did, they’ve already
named it. They’re pretty smart.

Well, if they’re so smart, he said, why can’t they
fix it?

Well, they’re not that smart, I said.

The newcomer was guilt-ridden over his
sexual escapades. Used the word ‘evil’ to
describe himself.
C’mon, I said. Something big comes over us. We
light up. We glow. Arrive with a halo for godsakes.
We’re like lightning bugs in the dark.
We blink.
Think of the evolutionary possibilities if you’re a
man. Populating your side of the island.

Paul, the guy I finally liked, talked about his old
man shooting his brains out.
Oh no, I thought, now we’ve gotta explain
we kill ourselves to the newcomer.

Derek, I said, turning toward him, there’s
something you need to know.

I know it already, he said. I was 9 when I first got
out the rope.

Hallelujah, brother, I said, slapping his hand.
Well, that’s just fine, Derek. You know everything now.
Relax and enjoy yourself.

- Ruth Z. Deming

(added 09.18.14)

editor's note: Group Dynamics 101; prerequisite courses - Basic Bi-polarity and Manic Hypergraphia. - mh


Cat Fight

Look at this dirt on my shirt,
the hot pink tank top
I wore when I got
dragged across Commerce St.
screaming your name.
I tried to climb the transformers
to get on the studio roof.
I’ll never write another
poem to you.
I love all my bruises,
busted ribs, my
sprained shoulder.
I’m still a dancer.
Your friends are scum,
except one- the one
who painted the devil
on the wall, but he
wasn’t there to say
calm down, it’s okay-
only people who laughed
at my pain and recorded
the show on their phones.
I thought I was a lover
not a fighter,
but now I know I’m a little cat
who’ll break her arm
to be free- a little cat who
loves and fights at the moment-
a little cat who loves her enemy.
The fur went flying that night.
The cops said you weren’t
worth it. Now it’s just dirt
on my shirt-
dirt on my shirt that won’t
wash away.
This is your last poem today.

- Trier Ward

(2 poems added 09.17.14)

editor's note: A shirt, dirt poem; wasted on the not-worth-it. She can't help it and the cops don't care. (We welcome Trier to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this accepted poem. And, not just this one; she has another mad missive on love and law enforcement on her new page - check it out.) - mh


From The Shoe Box

Expired vicious sharp tongued
-still staring through the key hole,
Waiting to pounce.
Fury green mould never stood a chance,
Old hag.

You hid buried,
In depths of yellowing pages.
Amongst spit fixed stamps,
Undisturbed dust, dried flower heads,
Forgotten valentines, Seeped in black ink,
Faded slight.

Like you,
Reeked stale.
Stale in compassion;
In life
In dreams
In all less perfect,
Perfect for you.
Even from your old scrawl
My hands felt your sting,

Years of verbal lashings
Dousing in vinegar,
You left a bitter taste,
After placing your thorny crowns.
I thought only Christ haters did that.

But you a lover of the cloth!
To grottoes you flocked
On knees you rocked
Mouthing your praise,
In practice you mocked
As the cockerel crowed three times
You drove the nails into my
Cross over and over.

Now in my own glory,
I sup the finest of wines,
Diluting your bitter taste.
Queen of my throne
While you fade at the
Bottom of the forgotten box.

- Polly Munnelly

(1 poem added 09.16.14)

editor's note: A keepsake only for the sake of keeping? A lose-sake, ready for discard. (We welcome Polly to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this poem. See more of here madness on her new page - check it out.) - mh


The Newspaper Clipping

Why did you leave it there on the table
for me to see?

Did you want to enable
me to betray my hiding place?

Did you want me to tell you
what I have feared and what I’ve faced?

Did you want me to cut through
years of unspoken lyrics here-

and-now? Finally? Where I grew
up? You said nothing, loud and clear,

so I read it, and turned to
see if you saw me wipe a tear,

see if you saw me need you,
see if you saw my hope appear,

then disappear, unable
to open up my hiding place

for you to see.
Why did you leave it there on the table?

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(added 09.15.14)

editor's note: A passive-aggressive conversation starter. Let's get out that skeleton and make 'im dance. - mh


Back To You

I’ve had no vodka tonight and yet you’d think
I’d seen pink elephants, or perhaps just
pink roses where there were none. There is
an elephant in the room, to be sure,
and I think he looks a lot like ... well, you know
the type – beautiful books, dusty lips. Don’t see him?

It’s because he’s my elephant or, to be precise,
because he’s not. Mine. But then he is, and so,
what to ask him? What is the nature
of elephant skin? Thick? Obtuse?
Turning away arrows? Capable
of crushing intent, with that blind man’s foot,

while searching only for hay and peanuts, not
memories he’d have to not forget. Perhaps
there is only a crackled mirror
in the room, legends around the frame,
and in it only gray-skinned me looking back.

Not being the elephant, I’d like to forget,
leave if I could find
the door, but the trunk
snakes around me, pulls
me back. I would not be done
quite yet. I would run in the river bottoms.
I would unpack my suitcase in a moonlit room.

- Gayle Reaves-King

(1 poem added 09.14.14)

editor's note: "How he got into my pajamas, I'll never know." - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Got a need for a read you gotta feed? Then the latest addition to our short story collection, "Oddly Mandible" by Neil Rothstein, will surely feed that need-a-read jones! Seriously, this one is quite mad, in the truest sense of the word. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "When there’s nothing left, we’ll have something: we’ll have each other. Then, though, those numbers decrease as well. At some point, somewhere, at some time, the end of everything will be a sexy sight for someone. Silence."

Here's a hit to tease ya’:


“Have we got anything to eat?” she asked, shattering the silence with her jagged crystal voice, “Have we got any fish? I want a fish,” she added, looking at me sidelong, not quite sure of her own motives. Her face was shadowed by the headrest. To me, she seemed like a horse underwater, not struggling but submitting to the environment. In the silence, I realized that she was expecting an answer.

Of course there isn’t any food. We have nothing! I thought for a moment and then shouted, “Obviously there isn’t any food,” somewhat astonished by her question.

She drummed her hands on the dashboard in a rare moment of animation and began to speak in an almost unbroken stream of words. “Then the stuff fell from out my pocket and the woman gawped at my face, proper close, you know, and I thought, what the fuck do I do now? And I was sweating, on the spine line, you know, like that book you read to me, 1984 or something, drippy spine sweat and my thighs felt thickly and I thought, fuck it, I’ll leg it.’’ A brief pause, then in a more melancholic, slower voice, ‘But you don’t, do you? When it comes down to it? It never happens, your feet stick to the floor and that weird coldness that makes you powerless, and I felt tired, really tired, then suddenly, overwhelmingly sleepy, and I could have fallen to sleep right there in the shop, on the pile of cardboard… are you listening? Fucking listen, will you! You’re not even looking at my face—look at my face!”

So I looked at her face and she calmed, somewhat.

Whoa! How will this mad tale end? Guess you gotta click here to get the rest of your fix, huh?

•••••••

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

Makin’ Room,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

9.13.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.13.14

”What delights us in visible beauty is the invisible.” Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

••• The Mad Gallery •••


This month we are extra excited to show you some old photographs we found while sifting in our grandparent's attic. Fool ya'? Sike! These seemingly throwback images are the photog gems of our featured artist, Rosie Lindsey! Trust us when we say that we can go on and on about Rosie's work. But sometimes, when it comes straight from the source, it proves to be much better than we could ever do... "I wish I had a time machine so I could visit Times Square in the 70's or travel before the interstate HWY system was put into place. All I can do is document the echoes of those times and places". Please Rosie, we here at Mad Swirl don't think we're alone when we ask you: don't stop documenting these classic echoes! Ms. Lindsey has a knack for capturing a certain lost energy of a time past that most of us wish we could travel back to. But thanks to Rosie, we can look at these stunning, chilling photographs and pretty much feel like we are there. Wanna take a trip with us down memory lane? Then check out these classic shots and lose yourself in the madness of what was, with the swirls of what still remains. ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we pinched professorial pecadillos, simmering in centipede smiles; we caught a cuckold's ire to pay for unfaithful fire (fealty lost in freedom's cost); we smiled at love so smitten, a man entwined in words written; we held back the night, filled cracks with light; we found inspiration in isolation; we confounded the cosmic glass, with ceiling stars of a diamond lass; we tipped the scale of things top-shelf, out-weighed the world to let shine self. It's a balancing act, every day. Read to wipe the world away. ~ MH Clay

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

breathe easy

there’s always somebody with a longer pipe,
a bigger hose, a higher car, a louder voice,
a holier prayer, a furrier cat, more modern p.a. system,
bigger book, crazier look, jazzier hook.

more bark-filled branch, more experience in romance,
fancier pants, better dance. more charm, longer arm,
higher IQ and more and more and more of everything than me and you.

there’s always somebody with a louder voice,
wider choice, bigger wit, more brawn and grit.
there’s always just somebody with more,
makes a grander exit out the door, owns a smoother tile floor,
lives on the street of greater jones, elicits bigger moans.
always someone who can outdo you.
so don’t try, don’t sigh, don’t rush, push, squash
swelter with bristle and gristle and effort.
burst with will, over-kill. let go. don’t try.

listen to the breath run out your nose for
one pure second, that’s all.
if you could forget who you are for one-quarter of a second
you could be more than you.

there’s always somebody who could out-run you,
out-gun you, out-smoke you, out-fight you, out-joke you.
show you his mansion in the back,
turn your palace into a shack.
meet you on 4th street and turn your feeling into second place.
predators, workers, normal people with intention or without
un-do you before you try--

hang it up, let it alone, be still.
don’t ask, don’t try, don’t pull-push.
if you forgot who you are and released,
you’d be satisfied. and there would be
no place to finish, first or last.

you’d be everywhere without dis-satisfaction.
you’d be in the center with everything and if you could see the rose,
you’d realize it’s bigger than the entire cosmos. then.
if you forgot who you are in that way,
in the center with everything, larger, then you could be found,
while the rest are holding tiny straws of false gold.

- Carl Kavadlo

(1 poem added 09.13.14)

editor's note: And while you're at it, tell me the sound of one hand clapping... - mh


Like a Diamond in the Sky

Twinkle the stars in night’s display—
Sun’s shining rays light up the day…
and yet, if futures vast we may
divine, white dwarf with diamond core
(that crystallized in ages yore)
will pulsate like a cosmic gong
its tintinnabulary song
(no longer sunbeams to bestow)
in seven billion years or so…;

then Sol might twinkle for the eyes
of distant poets far more wise,
beyond our cares— whoever dares
(if dreamers dwell in heres and theres,
whate’er whene’er where’er they are)
to seek and find our once bright star
(that like us also flames and dies)—
those with the loupe to look with sighs
for long lost Lucys in the skies…

- Harley White

(1 poem added 09.12.14)

editor's note: When galactic poets wish upon our star... - mh


Perfect Isolation

Hiding out in the mid-night blue.
Old school cool jazz blowing hot.
Felines present purr their own songs,
in the smoke-filled room.
Peanut-butter and honey sandwiches;
more coffee and smokes.
Fingers on the keys, unconscious dictation.
The wind rustling through the chimes
outside sends a momentary chill to the blood.
The machine takes another call;
don’t feel like talking right now…as usual.
Let nothing intrude but the senses.
Hiding out again…and always.
Bless this perfect isolation.

- S. A. Gerber

(added 09.11.14)

editor's note: When "unconscious dictation" comes best; when it's only you, yourself and... - mh


Filling Cracks

Things squeeze out of cracks
egg whites drip
grass blades strike sidewalks – shooting up
rain sneaks through patio pane

A fatted thigh presses and pops needing ease
splitting seam
earth quakes and rumbles
erupting – releasing power, fire, gas
sand slips
water won’t be held back by cloud

and light slips underneath the locked door
offering radiance
bringing sight

- Heather M. Browne

(1 poem added 09.10.14)

editor's note: I need a good caulk for my composure. Only let the light show through. - mh


Man's Love

Eyes weary and spent behind that sparkle
that glimmers just for you

Hands rugged and strong behind the gentle
that strokes across your cheek

Lips cracked and cold yet smile such warmth
as your eyes catch onto his

Voice gravelled and low yet ever deep
speaks words so full of sweet

Breath heavy and loud stops in its tracks
as you flirt THAT look his way

A man's love is written in the little things he does
which speak much more in volume than 3 words ever could.

- Tina Clowes Kay

(added 09.09.14)

editor's note: What's said is dead if what's done don't follow. Man - Woman - Truth! - mh


Cost and Freedom

We are married to each other
I earn the bread and butter
and that leaves you to manage our shelter.

Being bothered about your jobless old friend Nick
while I was away at work,
You missed to wash my suit
as you eventually got lost
over the phone with him and slept…

with all due respect,
I am not a male chauvenist...

I understand your freedom but
every ounce of freedom comes with its own cost...

All I am asking is,
free me from paying the cost of your freedom...

- Sam Rapth

(1 poem added 09.08.14)

editor's note: There's the universal question, "Who pay's for your freedom?" The universal answer is still in debate... - mh


The Unsustainability of Bugs Tracking Bread Crumbs

Shooing away sparrows to make room to dance legs over lectures,
Their paternity, at last’s become the latest celebration, leftovers
Notwithstanding. Physical energy can’t be as ugly as slugs.

If critters can’t help but be servile to predators, it’s best to shelter them;
Cat-loving grandfathers abound; they come a cropper to living rooms.
Fend off insensitive directions, thereafter, remain more than horrific.

Consider the sexist episode of one American professor, an old bachelor,
Caught amidst the abundant pinching of cheeks and noses, grinning
At little girls (alongside some adults, calibrations got regulated).

Accordingly, the door to room six, in that neighborhood of stone, decked
High and higher with lanais, near the parking area closest to boxes, brings
Extended family, other white collar crime, adultery as exercise plus entertainment.

It remains undesirable to allow bugs to track bread crumbs. We’re wiser when
Training roaches, millipedes, human creepy crawlies, the separation of responsibilities
From pleasures. Extra effort’s needed with elders intent on bad goings on.

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 09.07.14)

editor's note: And perpetual perfidy is hard to maintain... - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Got a hankerin' for a story that you could sink your teeth into? Then check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Crooked" by Shawn Macrae. This tasty tale just might get you a bit hot and bothered. Why? Because it is both delightfully deviate and definately disturbing. Right up our alley! Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Get your kicks while you can, any way you can. Do it before someone gets their kicks out of kicking you."

Here's a taste to tease ya’:

photo by Tyler Malone

It happened after a night of drink and drugs, licking, sticking, sucking and fucking her way into friendship at a party. Jenny was speeding the streets trying to make it home before her father found her gone. He was always up with the first chirp of an early bird, and her time was quickly dwindling, as the fading moon foreshadowed the sun on the distant horizon. She was almost home when she saw the sirens flashing in her rear view.

Goddamnit!

Jenny knew the town was over populated with pigs on patrol, and there was nothing for them to do but break balls. That was the general consensus in all small towns. More often than one would think, it was an upstanding citizen who fell victim. Someone who avoided trouble, worked hard, and paid their taxes which afforded for those bastards all the unnecessary coffee and donuts, not to mention, a roof beneath which, at night, they rest their weary egos.

She had always considered that officers of the law were losers with little man syndrome. That they spent the majority of their lives eating the shit that their peers continually over fed them only to attain a badge and regurgitate on the next generation with a sense of entitlement. She never really went out of her way to avoid trouble with the law but often slipped beneath their radar casually waving her middle finger. Not this time.

She pulled off to the side of the road, and he approached her driver side window.

“LICENSE AND REGISTRATION.”

While he reviewed her paperwork she noticed him casually glancing at the cleavage her tight shirt revealed. She couldn't bear the consequences, so she began to verbally egg him on.

Pull over now and find out the final verdict 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’ Delighted,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor