7.23.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.23.16

"At the typewriter you find out who you are." ~ Tom Robbins

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“ballpointpen12x20cmsdecember10-2015” (above) by featured artist Norman Olson. To see more of Norman's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we prayed for words from gods absurd; we squeezed some more to spill on paper; we whetted our whistles on a morbid epistle; we dined at home on plates of bone; we spoke not with twang of tongue, but with strum of strings; we made feet to sing, forever times sixteen; we took things half lived to make a whole life; we ended all with everything. ~ MH Clay

everything by Andrew Chmielowiec

among the nights i lost:

(1) we are sitting around
the kitchen table
& there are drinks

& we are young & full of hope
& everything is louder
& everything is light blue
(not robin’s egg, but close)

& you are still a thought.

(2) we are at home under the bridge
& we broke our bottles on the rocks,
except for the one that didn’t
& bounced into the hudson river

& we are laughing
& everything else is quiet
& everything is a pale yellow,
except for the water:

a motionless dark blue

& you are closer
& i can almost feel you now.

(3) there is a light
coming through the bedroom window
& we are alone now

& there is no music,
but we are dancing

& everything is glowing
& everything is orange

& you are here.

July 23, 2016

editors note: Sweet singular presence. Yes, everything! (We welcome Andrew back to our creative congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his reinstated page – check it out.) – mh clay


Make Me Whole by Alex Rocha

some days
after work
after i take that drive home
and it’s 2:30am
after i work that job
that is ever awesome so.
usually Thursday mornings,
because i know thursday mornings the gardeners come
and make so much goddamn noise i can’t sleep
i drink more scotch than usual,
in order to sleep through the madness.
leaf blowers going on high
enough to rattle your goddamn brain.
i drink more scotch than usual,
not because of the gardeners,
but more so because of the loneliness that eats at my soul.
3am is the loneliest time of the world.
that’s when it gets cold
and the bed feels empty
and i begin to feel empty
and down,
and not so well.
so i overdo the scotch to feel good,
and i put the ear buds in to drown out the pain,
with ice cubes in my scotch as a trick.
a trick that never works,
but i pretend it does.
my women of before do not like me,
so it’s empty here.
around 4am i get the itching to go out for a smoke,
and i stand out there
in my penguin pajama bottoms
and my flannel button up
and my hat of course,
because any decent man wouldn’t leave his house without
his hat on.
and i smoke.
i look over to the curb where she used to sit,
and wish she was there now,
so i could go talk to her,
she understood the loneliness,
because she is like me.
i hear the birds chirping,
the beginnings of a new day
the start of a sunrise
that peaceful moment in between.
i am alone in the universe.
and then i hear those trotting steps
of that guy who runs through my neighborhood at 4am,
with a relay pylon in his hand,
i hear his shoes stomping the ground,
and i see him run down the street,
and i take 2 steps back,
and make myself close to the wall and try to hide,
but he sees me
and waves that pylon in the air,
and says to me,
“Have a good day man! Be Careful.”
in the most polite and friendly way possible.
and i wave to him
casually.
i wonder about him.
does he wake up early to run?
is he training for a marathon?
i wonder if after his run,
he goes home and takes a hot shower,
and then sneaks into bed,
next to his wife,
and rubs up against her warm body,
and feels an eternal happiness that
is so wonderful
it is enough to devour the world
and eradicate loneliness?
i hope he goes home after his run,
and crawls into bed next to his wife
and realizes just how precious life is.
i want to be him.
i want to love my wife.
i want to wake my kids up for school.
i want to go to parent teacher conference night,
i want my wife to bitch at me for all the projects
i have parked in the driveway.
i want to crawl into bed
next to that nice warm ass i adore
and snore into oblivion.

make me whole.

July 22, 2016

editors note: A whole wish for the whole of all. – mh clay


The Infinitude of LOVE by Anca-Mihaela Bruma

Embraced equinoxes
on the lips of a Spring,
breaths made visible
with Chi power,
meridian feelings,
no North poles
on the other ends…

Solstice mysteries,
boreal mélange
and infused potpourris,
we twirl with Druid feet
and sing our footprints’ song.

During all our 27 glacial years
in front of each winter I knelt,
all monochrome seasons were bundled
and veiled each midnight sky
with Mercurian hands
and Venusian dreams,
traced your smile
between Neptune and Jupiter
with thousands of hellos
and millions of welcoming good-byes!

During all our 16 eternities together,
LOVE kept growing exponentially,
with realities colliding in poetic holograms
devising the infinitude of the Infinite.

July 21, 2016

editors note: A manic mandala of words. Fun with the Infinite! – mh clay


and then the guitar spoke by Anjana Basu

and the wild cherry bloomed in its sanctuary the news was that the girls had gone back to the forests
taking their tears and broken hearts to bury again beneath the mould in a flurry of marigolds
over breakfast the lines of a cross connection distorted our message of love into something else altogether
some kind of violent lust fest that made the pigeons hide their eyes never mind the television while the
cuckoos screeching battled the strings

and then the guitar spoke in a zillion kinds of din or string and the girl lay down in the furrow waiting for
fire to strike and declare her pure of contamination but the news said the fire lied and her tears set a
limbless amputee tree in scarlet bloom trying to speak without tongues

and then the guitar spoke

spring in midwinter had come rainclouds blowing from west to east across the last telegraph wires
before the axe cut down the poles and woodcutter went to smoke a cigarette and never returned.

July 20, 2016

editors note: Guitar-speak; where there’s fire there’s a smoke break. – mh clay


BONE CHINA by Chuck Taylor

May not come from China but
Usually contains cow bone

Use the animal, right? If
You are going to kill it

Use it like the plain’s tribes
Use their sacred buffalo

Imagine, as I know you can,
Bone China placed out for

Family on the dinner table,
Set out well, formally, with

Good silver, a white table-
cloth, gorgeous flowers,

The kind that you like,
Right for the season. Now

Imagine that you do this
Once a year, perhaps on

Thanksgiving, so to bring
Back in spirit your mother

And your father, the bone
Contained in the China

Comes from their cremation,
And your lovely table would

Not be so arrayed without
What they did for, and to, you.

July 19, 2016

editors note: Flesh from flesh, bone from bone; thanks for life and thanks for home. – mh clay


THE MORBID FOUNTAIN by Partha Mohanta

Now or never !
The call keeps haunting.
Julienne of pride
Hung there for my future trade offs
A morbid fountain never should dry
But then I never knew why
It still lets me feed on it… unconditionally!

Is this what you loved for?
Is this what you hated till death?
Is this what you never could understand?
Bless the morbid fountain for its eternal bliss
Right now I cannot say – Why?

In the late hour of clock
I always woke up with a trace of dream
A dream to die for!
A dream to kill for!
A dream to exchange with useless protocols!
Drink from the morbid fountain for it tastes like brine
Sweat or a few drops of tears… you will never know!

July 19, 2016

editors note: Don’t know, either; but – taste the salt? – mh clay


My poems by Shirin Hasrat

They are not mere words
They are the blood that oozes
from a broken heart
The debilitating pain
That pierces deep
And spills on paper.
Blurred words?
Perhaps a teardrop
escaped
Tired of being imprisoned
In sleepless eyes.

July 18, 2016

editors note: An insomniac’s expression to wake us all. (We welcome Shirin to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


Damn Those Poet Gods by Robert L. Martin

Sleepless nights and distant days
Through thorns and sordid blinding haze
Pushed through comfort and rest about
Steady hands molding faith in doubt
Stopping when hell is a sacred place
And earth is a lofted planet keeping pace

Those damn poet Gods and their pushy ways
I’m a rag doll losing my way thru the maze
My own thoughts are sufficient words unheard
A ragged warbling from a song-less song-bird
My pride is an anchor wrapped around my feet
A sweetness dipped in a sauce made bittersweet

How beautiful those commanding poet Gods
I hear their words, their palpitating vocal throbs
The overbearing ways they enter my mind
Their passionate journey to find what they find
Their dashing to my heart like a shooting star
I stand amazed in awe for what they are
Those damn poet God’s, please come again
I beseech thee to blow your breath on me. Amen.

July 17, 2016

editors note: As we are damned by them. Amen. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week's featured short story comes from Contributing Writer, Kim Farleigh. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone​ has to say about this pick'o'week, "I Was Here First":

"You’re alive and you’re you, that’s reason enough to be the most important person on the planet. All people who know they’re equally special will bow before you. And if they don’t? Then there’s always hate. Always, there’s hate."

Haters gonna hate and lovers gonna love... this story! Here's a few lovin' morsels:

(photo "Get the Horns" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter​)

People leaving the stairwell entry in the front row of the bullring’s top tier kept stopping to admire the view, moving on when hearing: “Fucking move!”

When Mohican screamed, he stood up. He had stood up a lot. He was in the front row beside the entry.

“You’re in the fucking way!” he belched, for the twenty-fifth time.

Stunned faces spun, seeing Mohican, before moving on.

Mohican’s pale face’s hairy, black mole adorned an inflamed cheek, his Mohican like an outraged bird’s plume upon his pudgy head.

“Fucking move!” he screamed again, his victim spinning in amazement before moving on.

Someone else then stopped in front of him. The bulls would be charging into the ring soon.

“Get out of the fucking way, for Christ’s sake!” Mohican yelped.

“Calm down,” someone said.

“Move!” Mohican screamed.

Skyrockets informed the crowd that the bulls were about to run. The stairwell entry cleared quickly.

Mohican rose, holding a camera.

“Sit down!” someone screamed.

Mohican’s camera’s screen revealed the gates through which bulls and runners would be rushing shortly.

“Sit down!” the same person shouted.

Mohican didn’t respond.

“Incredible!” someone else huffed. “He screams at people for blocking the view and now he’s doing the same thing himself!”

A man went over to Mohican said: “Sit the fuck down or I’ll punch your fucking lights out.”...


Will Mohican actually sit down or will he get himself a fist sandwich? Only one way to find out... read on!

••• Mad Swirl Swag •••

Come & Get Mad Swirl Swag!


If you’re MAD and you know it, why not wear it loudly and proudly? The whole Mad Swirl of merch begins here, in our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some “mad” clothing to sport, then you’ve come to the right place.

This merch will be available for purchase until August 4th. They come in all sizes for men and woman and a variety of colors. Come get you some!

Get one for yourself and while you’re at it, get one for your nearest and dearest mad one in your swirlin’ world!

•••••••

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...

Discoverin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.16.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.16.16

"I try for a poetic language that says, This is who we are, where we have been, where we are. This is where we must go. And this is what we must do." ~ Mari Evans

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“ink5x7inches1-17-2016” (above) by featured artist Norman Olson. To see more of Norman's mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we found our muse in a loss for words; we flew the coop of a crazy bird; we flipped a lid; we ungilded the grid; we extended the finger; we let love linger; we marveled at a man on fire; we measured a mystery from higher and higher. Up and on from dawn to dawn. ~ MH Clay

Obscured vision by Hem Raj Bastola

I read
Your face
On the way I walk
Face to face smiles
Gathering.
I answer a question,
Who am I
To appreciate
You?

I climb
The tower,
Blurred past searching
Horizon to horizon, peep
And I find you
Disappeared
Among the clouds.
Oh! Beautiful stranger
Am I impaired
In vision
Or are you
Obscure?

For the angles
Of your beauty
My defunct
Clinometer is
Unable to measure
The height
Of your mystery.

July 16, 2016

editors note: Amorous altitudes render dizzied discourse . – mh clay


How I Know The Human Ego Is Not Combustible by Samantha Hawkins

Because I once saw a man set fire to his own left arm
and when he fell with the flames

He saw only his shirt and tie shred away
and not his own skin unbraiding in a column of smoke

He smelled like fried steak
and he could taste the gray ash collecting on his bottom lip

But he swore it was someone else’s limb burning blue
he was just getting the backlash

And when a thoughtful passerby offered him some water
he shook his head through the plumy clouds of tar

for somewhere was a man on fire who needed it more
Though his reflection stared stoically back at him
(from his spirit pooling on the ground)

with metamorphic hair and sunken sockets

He carried on, just carrying on
And he figured the sun was having fun at his expense

Then he scratched at a scab he mistook for an itch
and he marveled at his radiant fingertip

July 15, 2016

editors note: Fire? Ain’t no fire! – mh clay


To the only friend I ever had by Sergio A. Ortiz

"A hummingbird of love between your teeth" ~ Federico Garcia Lorca

This is the journey I propose: let’s wake up
without wanting to possess the world,
breathe the music of galaxies,
and in the evening dew
quench our deferred passion.
Love
should be the pursuit of shadows,
this desert
where the fear of losing you is hidden
in the ancient filth of daylight.

July 14, 2016

editors note: A game-changing proposal. – mh clay


Taunting by Jada Yee

Do you scream, my wide-eyed pet?
Is it really a yawn escaping from your mouth?
Because, bits of you are missing;
chewed, pulled, twisted, and ripped away.
Something foreign has grown on you,
milky and unclean,

and yet I will stare
in a way that does nothing for your benefit.

I am an owner, unfairly blamed with neglect,
but I reject such conviction with a guilty finger;
proven to push straight-spine buttons.

Middle finger, you fiddle so well with the air.

July 13, 2016

editors note: Neener, neener, n-e-e-e-e-ner! (We welcome Jada to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay


Electric Rainbows by A.J. Huffman

burn out. One stripe
at a time waves a final flare, falls to
gray. The hollows echo the empty
sentiment of stale breadcrumbs
over roads revealed as not-quite-gold.

July 12, 2016

editors note: Power fails, colors fade; entropy for all. – mh clay


Jar of Chaos by Angelica Fuse

like Pandora
we opened the box
we asked why

sure, the gods said,
here’s a whirlwind,
a cocktail of spite,

all the answers
you want and some
you don’t.

July 12, 2016

editors note: Many we don’t. Who asked for more? – mh clay


CORNDOGS IN SPRINGTIME by David Spicer

In Vermont, Professor Ledge
taught flute and ate corndogs
in springtime. He sported
a patchy beard, an amputated arm,
and the students called him Saint
Rattlesnake. He smelled of peonies
and violets. One day after practice
I asked him if he wanted to cop some
junk. I dig it, but can’t. A flicker
of excitement in his eyes, he shrugged
and grimaced, and that surprised me.
I don’t know why — I thought I had
a new client who’d sacrifice groceries
for nods of smack. Mr. Ledge was no
invalid, nor hostile. I followed him
home once, knocked on his door.
He invited me in, pulled back the curtains.
On the sagging couch an ermine stole lay
on the arm rest. Bongos surrounded us.
Can you — he interrupted me with a sigh
and retrieved an enameled model aircraft
on a nightstand. Warriors these pilots were,
Matthew. Nothing to long for. Strolling
to the kitchen, we unlatched the door
and climbed a ladder to the roof.
Take a leap, kid, be a warrior,
he dared, a rattlesnake in his eyes.
Fuck you, fluteflake, I answered,
hauling more ass than I knew I had.

July 11, 2016

editors note: Didn’t your Momma teach you never to play so close to a ledge? – mh clay


I Don’t Know What To Say by Lilly Penhall

I don’t know what to say
There is so much wrong in the world today
And I don’t know what to say
About injustices being perpetrated
By people who look like me
Against people who don’t look like me
Cause looks seem to be more important than ever these days
And I don’t want to look like one of them
Even though I am
I don’t know what to say
If I say “Black Lives Matter”
Do I sound like a white hypocrite?
Can I stand up for your people without standing against mine?
Can I love the Anglo in me in spite of their wrongs throughout time?
I don’t dare say “white” and “pride” in the same sentence
Might as well put on a white hood
Or tattoo a swastika on my face
But I don’t know what to say
Because I relate less to the people of my own ethnic background
And yet I don’t wanna be accused of cultural appropriation
When my radio station
Is tuned to soul music
Instead of country
Cause I like Eartha Kitt more than Travis Tritt
Cause James Brown feels good like Zac Brown never could
But I don’t know what to say
Lest I look like EL Fudge
Ya know, those little elves
Vanilla cookies with a chocolate center
Is that what I look like when I sing along with a rap song?
Yeee boyeeee
Baking cookies in my tree
Let me be honest with you
I know I look like a fool but I can’t help it
Do you know what it’s like
To have your heart rate increase
And palms sweat when you know
The “n-word” is up ahead in the song
When you’re singing along?
Can I say it if I’m just repeating Drake?
If I say “n-word” does it just sound fake?
The “n-word” is an inward expression for those with African blood in them
But I can’t say it just because I’ve had an African-American in me
But inwardly
I feel more pride when I see
A powerful African-American woman
Accomplishing great things
If I hit “Like”
Does that make me look like a feminist
Or like I’m trying too hard?
I don’t know what to say.
I don’t say much on social media
Because I feel it’s not my place
But I support my sisters and brothers
From other mothers
Because I know inside we are all from the same Mother
Who created us to be different from each other
Because if we were all the same
What would we learn? What could we change?
I understand that I will never understand your struggle
But I’ll defend with my life your right to fight
And I wanna be on the side that’s right
Without looking like I’m making up for being white.
I was born this way just like we all were
I’ve made it my mission to not let my looks define me
But looks seem to be more important than ever these days
That’s why I don’t know what to say
So I’ll let my actions speak for me
And treat every person like a human
Regardless of what I see
The color of skin has never mattered to me
Personally
I just want you to see that I’m just being me
Not a poser or a faker or a “wigger”
I had to fight against racism too
In my own family
Oh they act like progressives while masking their hate
My dad likes to sing the Stones song “Brown Sugar”
But the first time I brought a black man home
He told me to “stay with my own kind”
I was ashamed but I knew I would never change his mind.
Fine. I decided to change
The world so my kids will never hear those words.
We’re all the same kind, beautifully different in our own ways.
Born full of love and taught to hate.
Not me. Not my kids. It changes today.
Because now I know what I need to say.

July 10, 2016

editors note: Now she knows. Do we? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! If you do indeed need one, you've come to the right post!

The pick of the week this week is "Night at The Dakota" by Steve Slavin. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about it:

"Rarely is what we are is what we really need to be. Embrace that fact more than embracing the beast under your skin."

And here's a bit of a teaser to tempt your tale reading tummy:

(photo "The Right Time" (below) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Nobody likes “the professor,” but he does throw great parties. Lots of good-looking yuppies, excellent food and an open bar.

A distinguished professor of psychology at the City University, he owns a huge apartment in The Dakota, a landmarked building on Central Park West. He never could have afforded it on his salary but he earns substantial royalties from his pop psychology books. They include such titles as Relations That Last Forever, How to Make Great First Impressions, and Anger Management for Dummies.

You would think that the professor would have a great store of personal experience to draw upon but apparently his social life revolves entirely around his parties. He stands at the door most of the evening greeting his guests and checking their names on his list. If you are not on the list then no amount of begging will get you in.

Pushing sixty, the professor is not an attractive man. With a Trump-sized head looming over the scare-crow body of an Ichabod Crane, he’s a rather unusual looking dude. On the bright side, he has a ready-made Halloween costume.

Caroline and I met at the gym. She’s what guys used to call “a real looker.” Fantastic body, angelic face, and Midwestern nice. Me? Just another plain Jane from Queens. Or, as I sometimes overhear some man saying, “Nothing special.”

Caroline is one among New York’s tens of thousands of aspiring actors, few of whom ever progress beyond a handful of unpaid showcase productions. But she does make a nice living doing commercials.

She confided that most of the men she knew were actors, and you know what that means.

“They’re gay?”

“You betcha!”

“Hey, y’know what, Caroline? Why not come with me to some parties? You’ll meet tons of guys – and all of them will be straight.”

“How do you know, Holly?”

“’Cause they hit on almost every woman they meet.”

“Sounds charming!”

It just so happens that this weird professor is hosting a party on Friday night. And get this: He lives in The Dakota.”

“Rosemary’s Baby! John and Yoko! Oh, and Judy Garland, Leonard Bernstein, and Lauren Bacall! You know, Holly, next to being in a Broadway play, I think visiting where all those stars lived would be almost as much of a kick! Heck, I’d go just to see the building!”…


That's quite a teaser! How could you stop now without reading the rest of this story? You can't! 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...

Doin' It to It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.09.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.09.16

"In the process of telling the truth about what you feel or what you see, each of us has to get in touch with himself or herself in a really deep, serious way." ~ June Jordan

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“ballpointpen14x22cmsoct9-2015” (above) by featured artist Norman Olson.


Mad Swirl’s newest featured artist is just what you would expect for us to love – a multi-talented madman! But Norman Olson brings a lot more than what one might expect from with his inky illustrations. With his almost comic-book styled drawings, we can’t help but feel he’s telling a story here – one of those stories where you’re still piecing together all the details days later, trying to figure out what the hell that even meant. With a mix of trees limbs, human limbs, strange faces and patterns, Olson’s pieces come off messy yet calculated, disorderly and yet completely composed. Take a look and see for yourself – is Norman Olson aware of what he’s creating? Or are these mystifying works more or less creating themselves? Either way, there’s an unshakeable feeling that they needed to be seen, that they have a tale to tell. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see more of Norman's mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we beat a retreat; we minded to meet; we hurt in our want; we went hand in bird; we shook wealth from our shoes; we pimped our power; we ate what we are; we sorrowed and sorrowed and sorrowed some more. ~ MH Clay

Progress of Clocks by Tyler Malone

Look at the healthy grass grown in Dallas,
even in a life of closed eyes, we see the city
quarantined by the gods of July
among skyline bones, weaseling in kitschy graffiti.

We’re all good, with only moderate genocidal relations,
pale riders on paler horses seeking more hurt than Heaven.
And summer has only begun to bleed
as crows see our hope in karma but sing us no songs.

Only a few lick blood off fingers, all of us say in hope. America’s religion,
where there are no saviors for those won’t value others. Still,
something’s in those open holes in chests grown since childhood,

beating as we move mountains of dead through generations,
reluctantly to thoughtlessly allowing others to the top,
adding to our Babel of bodies, all to look God in the eye
and demand it fucking weep for what we love to see die.

July 9, 2016

editors note: Caught in a cavalcade of carnage; we can’t break free. (Read another of Tyler’s mad missives on his page – check it out.) – mh clay


Eternity in Global Warming by Donal Mahoney

A clerk in a health food store
became upset when I said
I didn’t see anything I wanted
since I wasn’t a vegan
or vegetarian and liked my
red meat rare and dripping.

She said I needed to know
Nature is God and
Satan is Climate Change
and if I didn’t eat right
I would spend Eternity
in Global Warming.

I went back to the counter,
apologized with all my heart,
and said I would like to buy
the biggest hand fan in stock.

July 9, 2016

editors note: Forgive us our meat, as we forgive those who meat against us. – mh clay


Whore pair of The Valy/Sillyikon by Gregg Dotoli

Good whores
Share
who mean well
power biblical American
bit smart byte foolish
Share
built on rich soil
pungent soft earth-black
Share
google/apple
highnumber/red tempter
Share corpus
body corporation
God-given
execute gist

July 8, 2016

editors note: Gist or gism? Determined by spin. – mh clay


Sand Dollar by Christopher Raley

I have no power in my name,
no confidence of position,
no money in my house,
no clothes of personal cut.
My love should be poor,
but my love is not.

We were made
in a world without intrusion.
We heard no radio,
listened to no voices,
felt no other’s feelings.
We walked on a strand of white
between a grey, foaming deep
and a forest quietly singing.

We found a dollar and called ourselves rich.
We were warm and it was raining.

July 7, 2016

editors note: The uncountable currency of companionship. – mh clay


the bird freed from form. by James Rodehaver

what is origami without paper?
the bird freed from form,
the hands signing to the void:
we could not bend the air.

i saw the bird in mind before i began,
and just never stopped seeing it.

now she flies where i do,
wings unfolded by freedom,
body untouched by matter,
song uncluttered by shape.

i once saw one hand clapping,
and knew the only bird
who could hear the sound.

July 6, 2016

editors note: A koan constructed for our enlightenment; or, the bird’s. Selah… – mh clay


Don’t you just want to by Gayle Bell

I’ve given to strangers
For a sum or a repast
Or because it was Friday
the cat prowled restless

I have questioned many times
What is this hold, this malady
Your smell surrounds me
Self inflicted blues wail into the night

Wiser friends try to prevail
I tell them,
sometimes,
when you know it’s hot
but want the burn
don’t you just want to
when you know it’s a sheer drop
from the jazz note of b flat

I’ve chased windmills Quixote
But you ride a deuce and a quarter
I inhale the dust your kiss left

Not sad, for I know where that lies
But for my troubles dear jinn
Or a country haint that put roots on me
Daring me to find your mandrake
you hid inside me

Don’t you just want to
Don’t you want that time
Replayed when eyes narrowed
You claimed the part of me

July 5, 2016

editors note: We can’t break from that sweet ache. Yes, we want to… – mh clay


Patchouli Gore by Christopher Barnes

Humbugging commune in Flakyville Desert.
Blabbing through imprisoning screen door,
Lord Kitchener ill-omened the postman.
A tiptoed suspicion of peripheral affairs.
They regressed into a Cinerama El Dorado.
Charles Manson, talisman for fruit-cakery,
Ensnared delirium.
A no-voice chant radiated into sand:
Your mind needs you.

July 4, 2016

editors note: Yes, it does. Join today! (With this submission, we welcome Christopher to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay


Damage options by Robert Ford

Sometimes there is no sign of a struggle.
Perhaps they are brought to the house already dead,
molested a little, and then abandoned.
They seem more forlorn this way, inert and muted,
like they simply fell from the sky and managed
to land underneath this particular chair in the kitchen,
or in the middle of apparently random spaces.

It’s different when they’ve put up a fight, however
futile; the scattering of fragments will spread
to several rooms. The heavier feathers
hang like jetsam, beached and unmoving,
while the down, with its filigree whisperings,
takes flight whenever a door opens, almost lighter
than the air it would’ve been used to capture.

July 3, 2016

editors note: Out with a bang or a whimper; out just the same. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week's featured story comes to us from down-under Contributing Writer, Brenton Booth.

The stage that Brenton sets in his tale "The Other End of the Bar" sounds like the perfect devilishly heavenly scene for more than a few mad ones we know. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"Bottled, just what these writers would have wanted in death. It’s all they wanted in life, too. To be bottled. Just don’t find yourself there with breath and words in your lungs. Find your own life, your own way, your own art."

And here's a few sips so you could see what we mean:

(photo "Bottles of Beatniks" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Jesus! What am I doing! Robert thought to himself. It was midday and he was alone in his tiny room with his mind in the salt shaker.

He is quite strong. He benches 280 and arm curls 130. He is a writer who just lifts weights for something to do. He has been watching a lot of mixed martial arts lately. He loves it. It’s so logical. The most focused, best skilled, strongest person nearly always wins: it just makes so much sense. He wonders about art: Why is it like it is? The weak on top and the strong made to suffer.

He has been writing several years now and sending to editors. Though everything he’s sent has been sent back with polite rejections printed on small bits of paper. Occasionally something else arrives: one editor’s response to a story was YIKES! Another said he should be ashamed of his poor work. And another said he should take some writing lessons.

He has been worrying a lot over the past few weeks. He fears he will quit writing and become a fighter. He even went to the mixed martial arts gym on Castlereagh Street last week and got the timetable. If he went ahead with it, he would just focus on wrestling and kickboxing. It wouldn’t take long to learn. He learned to take a good beating early in life, and since he has nothing else, he could really apply himself to learning it all as quickly as possible.

Every morning after he wakes he looks at that timetable before he does anything else. He has thoroughly studied every inch of that small yellow page, every letter, every word: that piece of paper scares the shit out of him. It makes him think of money, women, and a room you could take more than 5 steps in and not hit a wall. “Fuck,” he said to himself then left his room and headed to the bar on Darlinghurst Road, where he noticed three men rushing out the front door. “Get the fuck out of here, you pussies!” screamed a thin dark haired man just behind them with both his fists raised. Robert had another look at the three guys. He then recognized them. They were Beats. The fucking Beats: Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Corso. They continued running...


Get the rest of your chugalug of a read on right here.

••• Open Mic •••

Notes of Gratitude to the Mad Ones : 07.06.16

(photos courtesy of Dan "the man" Rodriguez)

All we gots'ta say about this past 1st Wednesday is Awww! OK, we have a LOT more words to share, what with ALL the poets & musicians and pics & links & tags & whatnot's we gots...

A HUGE shout-out to our feature, loco local poet, artist, and all-around mad man, Sean “Ta2” Buttram, who brought his poetic & Brain-iac musical a-game! We never doubted that he would deliver on the badassness and did he ever deliver!

If you couldn't make it to the show and wish you coulda, there's some live shot video of Ta2's feature set right here. (and more where that came from right here!)

Thanks to all who came out to The Underpass & shared in this collective delicious madness. What a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music it was!

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


photos courtesy of Dan "the man" Rodriguez

Feature:
Sean “Ta2” Buttram

Hosts:
Johnny Olson & MH Clay

Swirve:
Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks, & Tamitha Curiel

Mad Cast:
Vic Victory
PW Covington
Jen Bochenko
Paul Sexton
Gnadia Wolnisty
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Opalina Salas
Chris Zimmerly
Desmene Statum
Rob Dyer
Kristine Spinner
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Suza “Hep Kat Mama” Kanon
John May
Reverie Evolving
Hector Ortiz
Harry McNabb
Sonny Wyatt
Catie McClain
Martin Sutphen

HUGE thanks to Swirve for keeping the beat til the wee hours of the night. We got taken to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

Thanks to The Underpass's Leo & Mike for running such a badass & fine establishment and welcoming us mad ones into their home with open arms.

And finally we would like to thank ALL of you who freely shared their hand claps, finger-snaps, hoots and howls with all the mad ones who got up on this sacred mad swirlin’ mic.

May the madness Swirl your way ’til next 1st Wednesday…

Your Mad Googily-Eyed Guy

••• Mad Blog •••

(photo by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Stand United or Fall Divided by Contributing Artist & Visual Editor Madelyn Olson

I have shied away from speaking up much on hate-crime for a while now, for fear of coming off as ignorant as I feel. This is sensitive – breathing life is miraculous, murder is serious, and I AM ignorant. Not because I don’t care, but because I haven’t had to, it hasn’t been personal – me or mine at the other end of a gun, face to face with injustice, begging for my life to matter, to be recognized. I let others speak before me, for me, I let them mourn. I acknowledge grievances, I keep quiet. It hasn’t been me. It hasn’t been my people. I don’t feel right to speak.

But the fact of the matter is, it has been my people, our people. Our brothers and our sisters, we are ALL witnessing senseless, violent, hateful attacks against the cosmic and vast source in which we all come from and are made of – we experience this life together. We forget.

And though my first instinct is to be angry (and yours may be angrier, rightfully so) as I sit and watch – helpless, hopeless – the act of hate against living beings, what is important here, despite it all, is uniting. What is important here is remembering that we are all connected, a team. When harm is done to some, we all suffer. Just as when we harm others (or justify it), we are not only perpetuating an ugly frequency, but we are also hurting ourselves (and then putting that bad energy back out into the world – a dumb little cycle that hasn’t benefited anyone, ever).

Empathy and compassion are some of the most precious and soft things our hearts are capable of. We are stronger than the cold and corrupt systems oppressing us beCAUSE of our ability to hold each other, to heal each other, to spread and share our softness.

This is a time of revolution – I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels it’s a long time coming, either. It’s easy to be demotivated, even heartbroken, in the face of the idea that we are a doomed, self-destructing species, despite our great evolution into so much potential… but what is important here, is uniting. Is picking ourselves up even when we’re wounded, picking each other up… and not quitting.

These systems in place want us to forget our power. Don’t. These systems will collapse – we won’t. We are stronger. Love is stronger. It is easy to feel hate, anger, fear, grief in the face of such corruption – and we will. But extend love. With your voice, with your actions, with your thoughts, with your prayers – and don’t stop. To prepare for what’s to come, prepare your heart. Tune into that cosmic collective that is our breath itself and you will hear what you need to, we will hear what we need to. Uniting in this, love will win. Collectively, we will rise.

•••••••

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

Truth Tellin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.02.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.02.16

"Meaning and reality were not hidden somewhere behind things, they were in them, in all of them." ~ Hermann Hesse

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“To the Queen” (above) by featured artist Fabrice Poussin.

To see more of Fabrice's mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we stressed the structures of singular styles; we got bad blood from a bad brick pile; we drained love's breath where not was death; we lost love's gain, drew pleasure from pain; we willed to touch on water (too little), not sun (too much); we heard static as we tried to stop a suicide; we rested our heads in matchbox beds; we doubled our doubts trying to figure things out. Connected or dis-, to each our own bliss; we writes'em like we sees'em! ~ MH Clay

Finally talking to a guru in India by Timothy Pilgrim

In the beginning, phone-tree,
long branch, press one for savior.

Time on hold to ponder,
do we cease to exist or exist

to cease. Me, out of it, off
a bit, high on tea, so much so

need to call for help, not visit
the spiritualist, where folks queue,

air kiss, woo-woo session
with lost wives, lovers, of whom

I have not any left. Guru hisses,
low-pitched, complete the reversal,

fetch redemption, undo each wrong.
Be less bad than old me, better

than the new. Silence does not mean
no answer. He hangs up on me too.

July 2, 2016

editors note: I’d put god on speed-dial if I knew his number. – mh clay


Thimble by D.A. Moulton

We are becoming smaller again.
The soul of a mouse,
hiding inside the walls of this house.
Time doesn’t matter
and time isn’t waiting.
Time simply turns to water.
It’s wasting us down
dripping carving watering
waiting in a basement.
And so the wasting begins.
All around us thin and waning,
shouldering cobwebs shuddering.
Shrinking, scratching for crumbs
or a thimble of water.
Hiding from the light stretching
behind the walls of this house.
Squeezing into a hole smaller.
Inventing tiny dreams
that could fit into a matchbox bed.

July 1, 2016

editors note: Enough to make a quiet mouse want to roar. – mh clay


STATIC by Clyde Kessler

A friend called long distance stoned in Maynooth.
Said she was rooked. Said the air felt hacked from a wall.
An owl, if it was an owl, was shrieking like a tomcat.
She said something flew across gravestones, married
to her eyes. I heard but more imagined her words. Compared
the dark horizon to her raincoat, the distance to a short circuit
in her voice. There was silence, no voiceovers. A car door
wedged itself into radio waves. I imagined her lips moving,
her words inside the filaments of street lamps. College kids
slipped by. One of them propped a wallet on a gravestone.
She said a taxi drove by. She said it was turning around.
She said she could jump into the street and listen for brakes.
She asked if I could hear the brakes. I said I heard static.

June 30, 2016

editors note: What gives in the white noise. – mh clay


Satellites by Stephen Page

The tree frogs called the rain last night,
but the rain did not answer.
The intermittent croaking, about
every hour or so, was followed by
a gust of wind and the scent
of water, but no sprinkle, no pour.

The new gaucho, an angelic Moral
who rides our horse to sores,
has dried the soy beans not yet
planted. He horns the sun and peels
paint from his home.

Twenty millimeters of rain is not
forty nine, even with the north
wind. Two plastic gauges announce
the Tattler’s arrival in the park.

The newer gaucho, taller, broader
shouldered than the Angel
shunned away, suffers the sun
of unshaded twenty-one with
a smile and shovel-blistered hands
(but later became the Excuse Maker).

Just one day of the computer-
promised rain should soften the earth
and shoot the canal
full of internet cable, that is,
if the flexible orange pipe is found
on time.

With each truck that passes lot
three, earth crumbles and narrows
the road. We hope that the Three
barricade that which blackened
and thinned the cows.

I will the odometer to quit
increasing exponentially, and the bushes
Teresa planted not to yellow near
our home.

June 29, 2016

editors note: Atmospheric conditions unaffected angelically. (Congrats to Stephen on the imminent release of his new book, “A Ranch Bordering the Salty River.” Learn more about it and reserve your order here.) – mh clay


Death of a Lonesome Cowboy by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Come hurt me
With your stinging rope of an attitude

Stripping me down
Watching your turquoise tattoo dance

In front of a curtainless window to the world
Your sexy smile and sharp teeth white as lightning

You’re a one-night woman
Unbroken by no one

As I die in all my tomorrows branded by you…

June 28, 2016

editors note: Ride the bronco, bitter to be bucked; unrequited cowboy. – mh clay


DEATH WAS NOT IN PARIS by Alisa Velaj

We must learn something from the trees. ~ Kasem Trebeshina

Death was not in Paris, my darling,
It had never walked
In Luxemburg’s Garden either.

Every Autumn leaf
Was less than loneliness,
And the naked tree was quite unlike
The hesitating sounds of your guitar.

(Abandoned from whispers, it threw oblivion away –
Faint waltz chords
Filling the air of eternity.)

My sadness looked like the light at the verge of dusk:
That tree should have at least taught you
Why death was nowhere to be found in Paris.

You should have learned all only from the trees…

June 28, 2016

editors note: An aboreal adage, amorously applied. – mh clay


House of muck and straw and cast brick by Dave Kavanagh

It was not a dream
though memory says it was.
That house of straw and muck
and cast brick.

Asbestos sheeting cold as ice in winter
and oven hot in summer.
Amplifying the cries of pain.
Rain and wind rattling the eaves.

Fingers of cold weaving
in under corrugations.
Chilling spines of exposed bone
prone bodies shivering on wooden floors

Freezing words unspoken
cold lips, the kiss goodnight. A betrayal
on a soft child cheek.
Too weak to fight that house
Of straw and muck and cast brick.

Of voices raised in pain and rain
flooding in under a green door.
Floors awash with leaves and snapped twigs
lies and broken promises. Deals reneged upon
contracts voided between a demon and a thief.

Bailing fast to stop us sinking.
Thinking it was just the water
pulling us down to drown
in the mire of hate and disappointment
when all along it was us, bad blood
caused the flood.

A deluge of despair in a lair
of broken lives.
A house of straw and muck
and cast brick.

June 27, 2016

editors note: A story of destruction in a house of bad construction. – mh clay


Architecture by David Subacchi

A door or window opening
If rounded not straight
Is called Italianate.

A sharp, pointed line
Is English Gothic
To be specific.

A dome or upturned
Glass of wine
May be Byzantine.

Pillars and columns
An ornate border
The Classical order.

Concrete, steel
Any brutal structure
Modern architecture.

June 26, 2016

editors note: When Modern becomes ancient, will it no longer brutal be? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! If you've been jonesin' for that special read to feed your feeler's need, don't fret, "Emergency" by Clive Aaron Gill is sure to please.

Here's what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about "Emergency":

"Motherhood, a timeless, worldwide anxiety. Some of us won’t have to deal with it, though, but isn’t that the worse curse?"

And here's a snippet to get your feelers feelin':


photo (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

“Nine, one, one. What is your emergency?” asked the Dispatcher at 6:03 in the evening in the County San Diego Operation Center.

“My daughter is being abused by her father,” yelled a woman.

“What’s your name?”

“Susan Johnson.”

“Are you a witness to the incident?”

“No. A neighbor heard my daughter’s screams and called me.”

“Is this the first time for this alleged type of incident?”

“My daughter, Jennifer, hasn’t told me of another.”

“What’s the father’s name and address?”

“Mike Johnson. Sixty-seven-ninety-nine Grace Glen Court, Clairmont.”

“Stay on the line.”

The Dispatcher communicated with Police Headquarters.

Within ten minutes two police officers arrived at the reported location in two black patrol cars with flashing red and blue lights. A holstered gun rested on each officer’s hip.

An officer rang the front door bell causing a dog inside the house to bark. A man in his forties opened the door, holding his Rottweiler by the collar. The mingling aromas of fried potatoes, onions and garlic followed him.

“Good evening. Mr. Johnson?” asked Officer Bretzing. The Officer’s thick, black hair, frosted with gray, lay over a plump face that held deep-set eyes and a button nose.

“Yes.”

Mike Johnson rubbed his raised eyebrow. A narrow, black mustache grew under his wide, flat nose. His gray eyes looked from his high cheek-boned-face and a vertical line creased his forehead. A full reddish beard covered his chin.

“I’m Officer Bretzing. My partner is Officer Pope.”

Mike saw a short, round man with curly, brown hair and piercing coal-black eyes. His arched nose, shaped like a beak, rested on a thin face.

Officer Bretzing said, “We’re responding to a report of a disturbance at this location.”...


Did that get your feelers goin'? Good, 'cos this teaser scene is about as much of this tale that we can reveal. Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of July (aka 07.06.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass The Underpass Bar!

This month we will be featuring Dallas Poet & Artist & all around mad man, Ta2! Wanna know more about Ta2? Here’s a bit about this mad man:

After surviving an auto accident from a drunk driver which crippled his career as a freshly published and degreed architect, Sean Gregory, who is better known in the poetry community simply as Ta2, was forced to make a change at the Why in the road. This brought him to the world of heavy metal music where he remained as a professional touring vocalist until 2004.

During that time, Ta2 immersed himself in poetry where he founded in 2005 The Dead Beat Poet Society. He focused on live spoken word shows and poetry slams. He is currently surviving as a starving artist by creating hyper-realism commissioned work, Henna art, and tattooing.

Ta2’s poetry styles vary like his topics which range from simple haiku to free-verse, and topics such as raw sex to coping with ADHD and Anxiety Disorder. This 1st Wednesday Ta2 will take you on a journey of sight & sound and LSD Memories. So, close your eyes and open your mind to the world of the absurd; the world according to Ta2.


How’s that for a write-up? Got your interest piqued? Good! So come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Ta2, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

For mo info, visit our Open Mic page!

P.S. To get on the preRSVP list, visit our FB event page.

P.P.S. If you can’t make it to Mad Swirl Open Mic this 1st Wednesday but wanna catch the mad action from the comforts of wherever it is you like to watch madness ensue, Mad Swirl is gonna try on this whole “Live Feed” thingie that FB is doin’ these days. Tune in to our Mad Swirl FB home at 8:00-ish (CST) and see if we can get this whole technology thing figured out!

•••••••

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...

Hidin' (not),

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.25.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.25.16

“Do whatever you do intensely.” ~ Robert Henri

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“To Everyone” (above) by featured artist Fabrice Poussin.

Allow us to introduce you to Mad Swirl’s newest featured artist, Fabrice Poussin! Fabrice’s photos exudes quite a dreamy noir vibe. Utilizing shade (like the frail detailed limbs of a tree dancing along the shutters of a building, being my personal favorite), Poussin captures light in a unique way, in a real way, and in that way which you can’t help but feel an unsettling air when you look at them. Much like they’re captured in that fine moment of calm just before the storm. Darkness can be spooky, but something about it can also calm you down, if you let it. Something about Poussin’s work manages to accomplish both. If those kinds of visuals spike your interest, and we’ve got a feeling they do – then click here to see the shadows for yourself. ~ Madelyn Olson

To view more our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we purloined a peak at paradise, a misplaced pearl; we resurrected a rodent; we boinked (we wish) a babe from the Man in Black; we were chilled by a chopper; we tipped a truth topper; we stayed dry in a drenching; we lost poet's poise in a too big noise; we reveled in romance, a deepening dance. Paradise, again. ~ MH Clay

RACHEL SUITES by Brian Wood

Allemande

The healing table laid just so. Jug of
Ice water, cooling pleasantly. Two
Different painkillers, both within easy
Reach. TV remote controls, all three
Of them, just to the right.

Courante

If you missed any of that, there’s more:
A Nixon book one foot away, easily grasped –
And something else on the Long March
Nearby, on the closest shelf. You can
Tell Rachel was raised by a nurse,
But if you can’t, beneath my healing
Table is a discreet unmarked brown
Puke bucket.

Sarabande

Love shoots out and manifests itself in
The world as it would. Checking it is like
Checking Niagara Falls; you can do it
But your success would be short-lived
And fruitless.

Menuet I

The anesthesiologist who met Rachel knew
She was up against a force. “I can tell….”
She said, trailing off. In my mind I finish
Her thought: “I can tell this woman is,
Despite herself, deeply in love. Nothing
Bad can happen to you while she is here
Or thinking of you. Nothing on earth escapes
This. She will protect you from all fates.
In heaven her light will make stars scarlet
With jealousy. In hell she will draw the shades,
Run the coldest shower, and stand there until your soul
Can rest.”

Menuet II

Funny how she could tell all that from your
Eyes, which were bluer than usual and red-shot,
Doing your best to look bored. You could tell
I wanted out, now, and tried to act like I could
Handle it. I couldn’t. I wanted to leave.

Gigue

How can you fall in love, in summer on the
Prairies, again in Vancouver in fall, all
Over again in Montreal, in a museum
In California, and keep falling, deeper?
Why is holding hands in the hospital
Ratification of what can’t be written down?

June 25, 2016

editors note: Dances of love for what ails you. – mh clay


Too Big a Noise for my Trade by Learnmore Edwin Zvada

I have not the lines to describe the whim of a painter
fashioning a portrait of a kept woman,
nor have I saddled my gaze upon the seesawing
bosom, supple skin’s dimpled rise, the rounds
and turns of a damsel’s posture looming out of a
steamy illustrator’s zoomed lens

How unfortunate it is to be without knowledge
of such a sinuous summation of feminine artwork,
it’s rendered foreign to me, that adverse ineptness
straddling up on my tongue
needless to say, the portrait in itself is an object
of forlorn ambience to the eyes of the escapist,
the one extremist I am inescapably mutating into

It isn’t surprising why my verses maintain that I
have tastes colder than a witch’s ears, unwrapped
to such a cruel set of words, too soon I’m bound to
step aside and let the painter and his paint do what
they think to know best

June 24, 2016

editors note: An eloquent admission of ineptitude. – mh clay


Finality by Sudha Srivatsan

The silence in my head
Grows noisy by the day
Does death die
Or is death immortal?
For it lives forever
Off hearts and souls
Swelling shapely in desire
As each moment gaits by
The canny spider trips over
Settling upturned in its web
Readily lounging
To spurt venom
That bathes me
In a ritual of sorts
I lay bewitched
To behold rain drops
Refusing to drench me

June 23, 2016

editors note: A spider-bit soak in the eternal question. – mh clay


TRUTH by Roger G. Singer

Misplaced thoughts are broken stones.
The sides of the road hold treasures
for those walking by. Old newspapers
separate us from yesterday’s tragedies.
Wisdom is born in diners and roadside
Cafes. Painted signs on old barns hold
the innocence of roadside marketing.
Paper hats have character against the sun.
Popsicles were once five cents. Longer
steps will get you there faster, even if you
don’t want to arrive. Birds work the winds
in every season. The eyes never lie.
Everybody’s your friend till the rent comes
due.

June 22, 2016

editors note: Roger’s road-worn realities keep us cruisin’! – mh clay


Knife Skills by Kleio B

Callously –
She stared at the quarry,
Methodically –
She sharpened the knife.
Deftly:
She ripped off the skin,
Chop:
Chopped dismembered,
After all a stew tastes best;
With onions done well.

June 21, 2016

editors note: A justified killing; no tears for the dead. – mh clay


Street car, Southwest Tenth Avenue, Portland, Oregon by Erren Geraud Kelly

A six foot brunette
Gets on, wearing cut off shorts
And cowboy boots
Rock and roll screamed on various
Parts of her body
As if her milky white skin was too pure
To be defaced
Her legs were as long as the route
We were traveling on
It’s as if Johnny Cash had an affair
With a Goth chick
And this woman was his love child
She’s a train wreck, you can’t take
Your eyes off of, in a good
Way

June 21, 2016

editors note: We’re looking for her on every street car, everywhere. – mh clay


Teenagers in Rural Ohio by Adam Sometimes

There were a few of us
Underage and drinking beers
Natty
You know what I’m talking about
Just boys being boys
And about nine beers deep we started getting bored

There was this gopher hole
And boys being boys we started a fire
in the hole
Nothing

Next we threw in firecrackers
Still nothing
I’m not sure what we expected
I guess we were just hoping to flush the rodent out

This stupid pastime continued
Until my uncle
Drunk as shit stumbled over with the water hose

He pushed the hose into the hole and turned on the water
It all happened so fast
The critter came dashing out
And in that instance my uncle
Armed with a baseball bat
Beat the gopher to death

He threw down the bat and walked away
We were confused
I felt dirty
How did pointless fun
Easily turn into a murder of sorts

We buried the gopher
And never talked about it again
Until now
Until Trump decided to run for president

One of the boys that were there called me
I told him I wasn’t much into politics
He said
“Remember the gopher?”

June 20, 2016

editors note: Commentary heard on your local news channel never! – mh clay


A State of Serenity by Bhupender Bhardwaj

As if in a dream the vast landscape
Of inexplicable splendours opened up
Before the eyes.

The scene was that of natural
Ornamentation: a rivulet making
Its way through the unknown ravine,
The green hill opposite prostrate
In a gesture of humility, free eagles
Gliding over their airy domains—
Knowledgeable of the ways of the wind.

The mist played its game of mystery
Across the face of the valley
Making moderate the vision
As wine does the senses.

Moreover, the sight was quite
Inspirational being a pearl ring
From a long-ago friend found after
Ages in the heap of useless things.

Paradises unknown shall always
Appear ordinary to those who
Witness this spectacle revealing the
Union of man and nature every moment.

June 19, 2016

editors note: Best absorbed in situ. – mh clay


••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week we got two-fer ya!

The first short story is titled with "Poem" in it. But when it fell inadvertently into Short Story Editor Tyler Malone's hands, he couldn't resist snatching this one and putting it in our short story library. Here's what he had to say about it...

"I promise, time is alive but it won’t die. The moon will, though. It will keep reflecting, but the source will be extinguished: what we thrive upon, what watches over our love."

And here's a bit of "Love That Moon: A Poem in Three Parts" by Contributing Writer and Poet Ruth Deming:

(photo "Three Heads of Sunset" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

One: Jefferson

We sat on the front porch, the whole
lot of us, the Washington family, knowing
that yes our folk of all different hues of
brown, were born of the first father of our
country, our country too.

Granny, born of a young slave girl, had
nearly died today, fell down once again,
not good for much, she was one-hundred-something
but who was counting? “Take me Lord” she would
pray with her toothless mouth that still
loved to sing “Let My People Go” and to
sip homemade hooch.

We done a right good load of hay baling, said
brother Jim, pointing toward yonder fields.
Oughta fetch a pretty penny and we can buy
our ladies some right pretty material for dresses
and bonnets and what not. Easter Sunday’s
on its way, praise the Lord.

Long as you gots enough wood to repair these
rickety steps that leads up to the cabin, says I.
Oh, don’t you worry, Little Miss, we’ve got
plenty of smackers including those wrinkled up bills we save
for when’s we need em.

Plus, says I, my boy Jefferson is going away to
college some day. We all watched Jefferson as
he played with his little plastic trucks in the dirt
zoom zoom – as he crashed them together
head first.

We laughed as one, a church-like chorus where
our own Pap was preacher, he done left us long
ago.

Jefferson looked our way and smiled that big ole
Mississippi smile of his. He pointed over the
newly greening fields and stood up.

“Mama,” he cried. “There’s my crescent moon.”
My crescent moon, he shouted over and over,
jumping up and down and raising the dust.

“You are right, boy!” I said, coming off the porch
and swooping him up in a hug. “That moon
sure do love you, boy, and so do I!”


Get the rest of your read on right here!

•••

The second featured short, "The Train to Discomfort" comes to us from longtime Contributing Writer Jenean McBrearty. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this historical fictional tale:

Joy isn’t the last emotion, it’s the first smiling step to many more, all as the cyclical human cycle carried by pumping blood only begins. First a smile, then a toothless whimper.

Here's a whimper to get'cha goin':

(photo "Car Commerce" - above - by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

David McConnell didn’t realize how tense he’d been until the train left German soil and entered Austria. In a few hours he’d be in Vienna and he and Julia would shop for a cleric.

He let out a sigh and looked up from his week-old edition of the London Times. Sitting across from him was a large man with a thick white mustache and a probing stare. “Would you like to see yesterday’s news?” he said. He offered the folded paper to his fellow traveler. “The political cartoons are well drawn.”

“And, no doubt full of inflammatory commentary from your Mr. Churchill.” But he accepted the paper, and David felt a second wave of relief; he didn’t like being studied. This fellow looked like a professional observer. A psychiatrist, perhaps. All the arrogance of a military officer and the accusatory eye of a clergyman. He turned his attention to the passing countryside.

“What do you think of Herr Hitler?” The man asked.

The question intruded on David’s prurient thoughts of Julia. “I haven’t given him much thought at all. As long as I don’t have to go to war, I don’t care what Europe does. I’m getting married when I get to Vienna.”

“Committing to life-long war, then.”

“I prefer to think I’m marrying an ally not an enemy.”

“Of course.”


All aboard, this story train is leavin' the station! Click here for more of this mad ride!

••• Open Mic •••


This month we will be featuring Dallas Poet & Artist & all around mad man, Ta2! Wanna know more about Ta2? Here’s a bit about this mad man:

After surviving an auto accident from a drunk driver which crippled his career as a freshly published and degreed architect, Sean Gregory, who is better known in the poetry community simply as Ta2, was forced to make a change at the Why in the road. This brought him to the world of heavy metal music where he remained as a professional touring vocalist until 2004.

During that time, Ta2 immersed himself in poetry where he founded in 2005 The Dead Beat Poet Society. He focused on live spoken word shows and poetry slams. He is currently surviving as a starving artist by creating hyper-realism commissioned work, Henna art, and tattooing.

Ta2’s poetry styles vary like his topics which range from simple haiku to free-verse, and topics such as raw sex to coping with ADHD and Anxiety Disorder. This 1st Wednesday Ta2 will take you on a journey of sight & sound and LSD Memories. So, close your eyes and open your mind to the world of the absurd; the world according to Ta2.


How’s that for a write-up? Got your interest piqued? Good! So come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Ta2, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

For mo info, visit our Open Mic page!

•••••••

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...

Doin' It',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.11.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.11.16

“I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me, and at length the longing has been satisfied.” ~ Julia Margaret Cameron

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“nightcat” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely. To view more of Jeff's twisted beatific images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we lamented the limpness of males of the species; we feared the thrust of a hum unjust; we were shocked to have heard the worst of words (not spoke by me); we endeavored to break from the same mistake; we chilled our nerves with cold preserves; we found green reason in the turn of a season; we dealt with duress in our goddamned mess; we sulked in the slammer of wrong-wrought grammar. Our language means are meant to be seen. Wha'? ~ MH Clay

Notes for My Reading Repast by Lawdenmarc Decamora

For one:
I saw a book, ash-colored; on the side
of its skin lived the initials DB
riven by blankness
and a fatal crave darker than dark.
It read Dobby Gibson. My eyes
hungered, wishing for another
court in the sky, or another throat
to house another world in another time.

Second:
I should be in jail. I have been crippling
syntax to its spindly few. Spelling
I pummeled to misspell Dumaguete
as Desperado. Words whiplashed
on fire ice: Kripinoy, a Joaquinesquerie
jeepneying with Saint Lazarus—
the emperor of English over grass
lilt parsing poison into ice cream
poetry and screaming grammar noir.
The narrative of tradition, beer-fellowed
by cultural madness to digress
and mull over a foam
of savory crab fat alongside
our pickled come-what-mays. For this,
Art arbitrarily is sans an ‘A’. And thus ‘RT’
we all are. So I should be back to bed
confessing the secret of syllables
under the covers. Good morning!

Finally:
At the glum gates I see clock wives
in need of music, my geography
lessons I still can recall
while longing for vestiges of light
the long summer
the sweet mishaps
frozen fireflies in the mind—
the left and leaving, inaugurating
the nameless things
here, there, in the waiting room.

P.S.
Many times we have pried into the secret lives of words, how syllables could swim like Shinji in our head, bethinking of our mutual weirdness, rufous-headed, in present perfect.

June 11, 2016

editors note: Present perfect or not, the emperor of English can jeepney himself. – mh clay


It Is by Victor Clevenger

We are
all sugar.

We are
all water.

We are
all ruined,

and there
are sticky
fingerprints
all over
this world.

It’s a goddamn
mess down
here.

June 10, 2016

editors note: Damn right, it is! Where’s the cleanup crew? – mh clay


Season Of Spring by Archita Mittra

i.
and spring came tumbling
from a hope-shaped crack
in the sky,
a naked
falling
Icarus
melting,
the ancient snow
of our hearts.

stripped of all our belongings,
we found ourselves,
like the once-skeletal trees,
clothed
in the colours of daisy and primrose
our lips chanting
‘new’, ‘new’
as the white curtains drew apart
and moist green love
spilled
over the dark earth.

then the woods were filled with Song.
a rabbit, out of hiding
led the way…
lost in the woods,
we became the whirling leaves
we became the whistling wind

even as the cuckoo in His stolen nest,
chirped cheerily of Death.

laughing,
we looked at each other
in the forest pool,
and lay singing
a lullaby of love and longing
in the sun-kissed grassy grave
of spring.

ii.
a butterfly with jewelled wings
kissed our dreaming silken skin
and Love grew on it.

in this suicidal paradise,
we unfurled ourselves-
our fingers of ivy
our limbs of slender birch
into the rainbow-hued stasis
of belonging.

but the shy blossoms
tickling our mossy green-ing toes
pleaded us to awake
their fragrance of promise
whispering
goodbye

and so soaring
we fell,
wingless.

iii.
hunted,
we left our butterflies,
our dream-entangled ivy
and returned,
desperate,
to the silent silver pool
and the emerald grass
and the Song of the cuckoo.

with the heart of a frisking lamb,
and the eyes of a chased fawn
we returned
to a world,
poisoned
by the Song,
ephemeral.

water rippled at His footsteps-
finally
our wanderlust-soaked soul
too, tasted the word
never.

feverish,
we RAN from the Hunter
we run still,
but the woods are silent now.

June 9, 2016

editors note: Run from the hunter, into the Summer; speak the safe word, ‘new.’ – mh clay


The Cellaring by Ken Allan Dronsfield

A moldy cold
like a freshly
turned grave.
The smells of
decaying flesh
permeate the
bowels of the
icy basement.
Cobwebs move
in the dead air
a soft whisper
like long Spanish
moss being toyed
with by a gentle
wind upon red
oaks or pecan.
I’m home within
the coolish cellar
humming a sonnet
in my burial dress,
black strap shoes
hair a ghostly mess
a purple lilac purse
and Easter bonnet.

June 8, 2016

editors note: A cool place to wait while lying in state. – mh clay


the same mistake by J.J. Campbell

if your parents
have to go on
national television
to express their
love for you

please
understand
they are simply
in it for the
money

and take a little
piece of advice

don’t have your
own children and
repeat the same
mistake

June 7, 2016

editors note: Media appeal inspires parental instincts in our modern world; mistakes are inevitable. (We welcome J.J. to our Contributing Poets with this accepted poem – check out more of his madness on his new page.) – mh clay


The Revenge Of The Dirty Laundress by Paul Tristram

“Aye, but did you ever hear this one about them?
… come closer… shocking, I know… but there’s more.
And it wasn’t an isolated incident neither,
there’s a crooked streak running through that entire family.
I’m only telling you what’s already common knowledge.
Yes, really… give her an absolute dog’s life,
I know, butter wouldn’t melt and all that kack
but you know what they say about the quiet ones.
The Grandfather was also a nasty piece of work by all accounts,
I never met him personally, I’m picky with the company I keep.
There was also a wicked rumour going around about her…
yes, the other one… there’s no smoke without fire.
I don’t care what anyone says, once you’re a whore you stay one.
Anyways, I haven’t got all day to stand around here gossiping
it’s time I got back to minding my own business
and don’t you forget, you never heard a word of it from me!”

June 7, 2016

editors note: The truly bad stuff about “them” never comes from any of us, right? – mh clay


with the hideous by Volodymyr Bilyk

with the hideous leer
and the odious sound:
Crank the bubble –
yell!

when echo falls –
blink
and
mouth the hum unjustly.

sky will foul you.

clang knees
senseless,
snap below
into the breath’s mist
and lapse into unkind spot

– wait till something will occur…
wait until you swell…

and then – the timid tit
– swipes the heat
and rash ensues,

jib and jib and jib:

repentant yowl
re-bellows
sickly sentimental
deep
into the inmost hollow.

“oh,”
down the lewd
through entrails to dissolve in vain.

June 6, 2016

editors note: Emotional upheaval or acid indigestion? Take a pill for each and await results… – mh clay


E.D. by Hal J. Daniel III

“A male raccoon, Procyon lotor,
has a curved bony strut
in his penis.”

The Professor then shows
this interesting structure
to his anatomy students,

while explaining the structure’s
scientific names:
os penis and baculum.

He continues the lecture
by adding some good old boy
southern vernacular:

“Texas toothpick,”
“pecker bone;”
“mountain man toothpick.”

An older non-trad lady comments:
“Too bad about certain
other male species”.

He places his raccoon penis strut
back with his osteological collection;
comments, “I know what you mean.”

June 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

editors note: If we know, let it be rationally vs. empirically. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

We here at Mad Swirl hear all kinds of stories. Some mellow others rowdy. Some tender, others debaucherous. All quite delicious. And some have all these mad ingredients blended in and that's exactly what we've come to expect from Contributing Writer Oleg Razumovsky.

Here's what Short Story Editor, Tyler Malone, has to say about Oleg's raucous tale "Boredom"...

"For a life lived, that’s a punch to the teeth. What privilege is that? The privileged of the born and the breathing."

And here's a few jabs ("BAM-BAM, BUM-BUB") to get this knock-out of a story started:

(photo "Hydration Station" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

In the evening my phone rang. Nobody had called me for ages. I thought that all the people I ever knew had died already. It was so boring. And suddenly it turned out an old friend remembered me. I have not seen him for a thousand years. Since he had gone into business, we parted ways. Here, all of a sudden, he invites me to visit him. I was shocked. Why, for fuck sake?

Okay, I agreed to come. Frankly speaking, I was sick and tired to sit at home doing nothing. Oh, it’s so boring. I wanted to get out for a change. It was pretty late but trams still ran.

I was riding the tram where two women clutched at each other, screaming something about the bloody politics, tearing hair. On the back of my seat it was scratched “Lenin is alive” and painted a big star. The man sitting next to me, the same style, like many other citizens, dressed in an old brown coat and a hat, immediately addressed me as if he had known me for a long time. And he began to tell episodes of his complex life. It turned out that he was at the funeral. His mother was an old woman. She lived alone in an abandoned village. One evening two villains broke in, took all the money, killed her and burned the house. At the funeral only his sister, her daughter, son-in-law and his father, mourned. The citizen is a big shot or a businessman, a boss of some sort. He is fat like a hog and dissatisfied with everybody and everything. He was drunk and started to grunt, moan and drool.

Who would be that, especially at the funeral.

I told him at last, “Look, you better stop it. It is not much fun to hear about anyone’s funeral that isn’t yours. Try to behave yourself, mister”


Stop there? You better not! If you know what's good/bad for you, you'll wanna move your mouse (or finger) right here and get the rest of this read on!

•••••••

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...

Longin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor