7.26.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.26.14

”Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Die-Cut 3 (above) by featured artist GM Spear. To see more Mad works from GM, and our other contributing artists, please visit the Mad Gallery.

This month's featured artist, previous poetry contributor GM Spear, decided to hit up Mad Swirl again from her small town in New York - and boy are we glad she did! Needless to say, this chicks got some mad talent; featuring her was a bit of a no-brainer. Take a look for yourself and try to tell us these realistic pieces with varying degrees of trippy, surreal touches aren't right up our alley. In a few that you'll see, Spear plays with white space in a very compelling way, featuring young girls with entire stories of their own, it seems. She captures their energetic, free & truly adorable excitement perfectly - and with a twist; some of em you can't even SEE. If that sounds weird to you, it's cus it is! Would we really ever bring you anything that wasn't? Click here to see the magic GM Spear brought to the visual stage this month, we promise if you take a look, you'll be hooked! - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we loved a lush who said she'd pay, then didn't and wouldn't return texts for days; we carried catastrophe from flame to flash to hopeful truth; we sorted sandbox words, flew like swing set birds, to play at love; we let love bet on a game of roulette; we idled by our idols, sought solitary sex and an easy death; we misconceived a thing not retrieved, to hug, to hold, to dream; we dreamed some more, an immigrant's story, our common reach for greatness, glory. Love, lose, love again, dream! ~ MH Clay

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

American Dreamin’

I've seen the American dream in faded, aged pictures of my immigrant family, who barely escaped Nazi occupied Italy in the bottom of a cargo ship shortly after WWII ended... equipped with not much more than the clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, and seeds of dreams of golden-paved American streets planted in their hearts.

I've seen the American dream in the big-shouldered, blue-collared Chicago streets sewn with train yard threads weaving the cloth of my youth where Midwestern hardened men fought the bitter elements to battle the machinery of box car couplings in sub-zero temps to ensure that they brought the food to the tables of families whose dreams are as basic as having their next meal to eat.

I've seen the American dream in the degeneration of my X generation who were raised in a world chockfull of fears that the Commies were near and "the bomb" would knock us clear into oblivion any day while mama and papa were away at work, too busy trying to make those elusive ends meet.

I've seen the American dream in barely 18-year-olds who raised their right hands with me to take the oath to defend our great nation and wore our country's cloth, vowing to battle those hell-bent on taking away the dreams of our fathers.

I've seen the American dream twisted in Middle Eastern enemies’ eyes, who despise our freedoms and see our dreams as demonized things that these martyrs have destined themselves to destroy.

I've seen the American dream in the Teamstered truck drivers who filled the dock doors with their 18-wheeled machines, trekking our wares over the highways and byways to where they are needed most, to feed this industrialized, capitalized dream.

I've seen the American dream in fearless and feared, bearded bikers who fly their freedom flags on their backs and swear to God almighty that whosoever tries to take away their dreams will suffer the slow and painful death of a treasonous expatriate.

I've seen the American dream in the helpless homeless men who wander predawn outside my urban doorway, looking for some way to survive just another day without starving and hoping their dream turns to views with brighter hues.

I've seen the American dream in the aged lines of our country's elderly, who see that this land is a far cry from what it was way back then and hoping to forget that it's just a skeleton of what it once was.

I've seen the American dream in the children's eyes of the next generation, who will be raised on standardized grades, equal praise, fading classes, unemployed masses, man-made disasters...

I see the American dream every time I look in the mirror and it's clear to me that I am, that you are, that every man, woman and child in this land of the free are the dreamers of the American dream and that the power is in our hands to mold this clay and keep dreaming of better days.

- Johnny Olson

(1 poem added 07.26.14)

editor's note: We are immigrants, all! Better we dream together... (This'n came from our Chief Editor in response to a request for poems on the subject of The American Dream. It's a grand dream we share and you don't have to be American to share it, either...) - mh


A DREAM

The dream is a misconception,
the misconception is a mistake-illusion.

The dream is a mirror,
the mirror is a wish -unfulfilled.

The dream is a shadow,
a shadow that makes me hug it constantly.

- Pere Risteski

(1 poem added 07.25.14)

editor's note: Somniscribed syllogisms shake dream logic; what is waking, what is sleeping? (We welcome Pere to our creative conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Check out more of Pere's madness on his new page.) - mh


The DA/The Criminalization of Reality

This is the end of Gravity.
We can live forever
In a place that does not exist.
What does that mean,
“Living in the past”?
Ourselves the mirrors
That most resemble them.
Do we mostly resemble ourselves
Or do we?
When we look into ourselves
The heroes we hide
Show us their idols:
Artificial, complete,
Completely sterile
featuring The Sonic Dildo
By Patrick Carr.
Sugartime and Lucy
Were his disciplants.
They lived at the collective
With sybarite Jesus
From 2150 A.D.
They said,
There's a scar on your face
For every sin you've committed
And two for every grace.
We found this answer
Searching in the wrong place.
We are our heroes' idols,
I said.
The art of leisure
Is the art of dying easily.
Do not be misled,
Your time is not spent
Increasing.


The hierophants magazined over the waters:
Cognizance and wax.

- Quinten Collier

(added 07.24.14)

editor's note: Reality derived through prosecutorial prowess is trumped by sonic sex and a wax job. (Google Patrick Carr for a giggle.) - mh


Betting On Blue

The feeling, not
the color, creeping into my eyes
as they watch a phone that doesn’t
ring. Your wheel is running,
but I have no marble left to
drop. Time
slows. Distance
ticks off
in my head, leaves
me spinning. Knowing we
will land on double
zero, the shape of repeated
emptiness

- A.J. Huffman

(2 poems added 07.23.14)

editor's note: Our roulette revolution, a gamble every time. We revolt against loneliness, bet on love; mostly the house wins. (Another good one from A.J. on her page - check it out.) - mh


you don't need gloves, i know which hands are yours

remember when the altitude spoke for us ...
sitting in a park, the trees drugged us with the quiet
you put your hand on my knee and told me
you would let me down–
it was the first time you looked me in the eye
without smiling, the first time you felt your initials
scarred into my bones
you didn't even know–

your thumb was nervous there ...
skimming the dent where i became a child again
and i didn't know what to say to you
because my words had not yet graduated
like yours; they were still in a sandbox,
digging for something that glistened–

i told you i didn't feel like swimming,
escaping the subject at hand, your hand
still on my knee cap, not sure what to do next ...
it was a fantastic grip, one i would write about later
while listening to thunder
through my bedroom window, calling off any
sadness that thinks it belongs in my room.

you said it was not a good day to get wet
and moved your fingers to the grass
where a dandelion stared at us both, cheering
us on with its stretched spine and billowy face
–you snapped it from the root and placed it
in my lap

i could hear laughter by the swing set
so i got up, the weed already decaying
as it hit the ground– i raced to that sound of
privilege filling the air, remembering
a tickled tummy with every upward soar
the motion sickness of falling back, eyes closed
hours of being able to breathe

you asked if you could push me–
i said you'd done enough,
then bravely kissed your cheek.
a storm was leaning against the hills,
already packed
waiting for take-off.

- Mandolyn

(1 poem added 07.22.14)

editor's note: Staying dry, her toes to the sky, promise to let down, offer to push high; playground love. (We welcome Mandolyn to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this poem. Read more of her madness on her page.) - mh


Young Love

Blossoming from a minute spark,
It dances with passion—
Igniting a host of naked flames
That surround untouched bodies
And unexplored emotions,
Waiting to start the Catherine Wheel
That's masquerading as a beating heart.

Explosions of deep, new-born connections
And overbearing crescendos,
All maintained in a catastrophic reality
Balanced with a serendipitous mirage
Made real with every moment,
Every second and every memory that's born,
Defining two people as a hopeful truth.

- Christopher P. P. White

(added 07.21.14)

editor's note: Fun with fireworks, all sparkle and flash; treat the burns after... - mh


A GIRL UPTOWN I KNOW

There’s this girl I know, a complete lush by all accounts
She thinks poems should rhyme but I got no truck with those old ideas
She loves the way my old poems sound in her head; garnering negative
reactions from audiences
Wherever they were read; a night at an organic gastro-pub renders
people speechless over their locally sourced vegetables
Then there was the time we got so drunk I couldn’t actually read to a
crowd of blue-rinsed Daily Mail readers
On one of those first shows, when the nerves took hold, I have vague
recollections of falling off-stage

She will say she’s broke until I see her in town; quaffing absinthe no
less and with absolutely no shame
Occasionally I will send her a text to see about a drink and no matter
what it so often seems this way
I’ll end up buying, being pleased to get out, and she’ll promise that
next time it’ll be her turn
Until next time which is so, so long when it happens all over again
We’ll arrange to meet and I’ll end up buying and before we leave
she’ll suggest some point later that week
Only to then ignore my texts and leave me hanging again; and then when
we do she’ll ask why we don’t do this as much!?

- Bradford Middleton

(1 poem added 07.20.14)

editor's note: A stand-up poet falls for a fickle femme groupie; trying for free verse while she wants rhyme. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a dream of a read? We really do got a fine read for you! If you don't believe us, give yourself a pinch then drift yourself this-a-way and get your read on!

The latest addition to our short stories library, "Bad Dreams" by Joe Malone packs a punch at just over 650 words. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week short story…
"There aught to be a law against dreams, though that would be a nightmare." Here's a taste to tease ya’:

(photo courtesy of Tyler Malone)

Todd Smith woke to find a raccoon biting his chin.

"I was at camp, dreaming that my mom wanted me to shave. Christ, I've only got about four hairs."

Aaron Goldberg woke to discover that all his teeth had fallen out.

"I've had the same dream a hundred times. Out come the teeth. My therapist told me I was worried about losing my job, or maybe I was keeping a secret from someone. Turns out, she didn't know bubkes about gum disease."

Arvis Portlander was taken into custody at Microphonics, Inc., his place of work, nude in his cubicle.

"It was a lot more fun in my dream," he said.

Matty Logan, seventh grader, came down to breakfast on a Wednesday-morning school day.

"My mom was in tears. I asked her what was wrong. She told me she had had a dream. In the dream I grew up and moved to the West Coast. I didn't call. I didn't write.

What exactly did Matty's mama dream?! That there is what we call a cliff-hanger. If you wanna keep dreamin' you'll have to get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of August (aka 08.06.14) 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, Lil' Rock poet and performer, Justin Booth! For those who don’t know Justin, here’s a bit about who this poetic mad man is…

Justin Booth is something of a rising star in the the small literary world of Central Arkansas. Raised in Northeast Arkansas, Booth is a veteran of the U.S. Army who worked as a bricklayer, rode with a motorcycle gang, and did time in prison before falling into heroin addiction that eventually left him homeless on the streets of Little Rock for more than five years. In all that time, writing was his salvation and what carried him through. Since the publication of his first poetry chapbook, "Hookers, Ex-Wives and Other Lovers," in 2012, he has found a job and a home, left the streets, and has seen his work published in magazines and anthologies both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2013 he released "Trailer Park Troubadour", his latest collection is “Lucky Strikes, Grave Dirt, and 1/3 of the Stars”. Booth lives and works in Little Rock.

If that bit about Booth doesn’t pique your interest in this month’s feature, check your pulse… you just might be dead.

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.

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!…

September: R.A. Hernandez
October: Kerseymere
November: Karen X
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...

Awakenin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.19.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.19.14

”Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which are everything in this world.” Blaise Pascal

••• The Mad Gallery •••


woman from behind (above) by featured artist Mike Fiorito. To see more Mad works from Mike, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we slurped soup, licked lips, let love explore half the depths; we forsook our lust for the public trust (why, oh why did we do that?); we lingered in a loop around, from lost turned back to found; we played the shill for carnival kill, all sparkle without spark; we let deserved admonition pass, we all fight in weights one-over our class; we thought to pick petals, forego the prick of pain from thorns; we danced by the door twixt this and the next one, decided to stop to gaze at tree and sun (leaves on the one, fire in the other). Ignite with words our conflagration, without our flame of pontification there is darkness and silence. ~ MH Clay

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

ZEN – each day the hour

Each is the whole
As we touch a wave the sea
The atom’s heart the cosmos soul
To see beyond the trees
Where you were there before
A window staring in on us
A brilliant light each suicide
Which is a precious gift
Condemns a world already dead
A darkness born inside its head
A deep blue sea that sets you free
Truth that has been forged from Time
Each star its own unique black hole
Beyond each leaf that is the tree

- Derrick Gaskin

(1 poem added 07.19.14)

editor's note: Constant contemplation; peace to find in this life we live on our way towards death. - mh


Bed of Roses

Life is not a bed of roses.
But who would even want that?
I thank the lord
that life is not a bed of thorns
or a bed of nails,
or a bed pan.

Im really rather happy
that life is not anything bed.

A bed of roses really seems
more like a thing for the dead.

- Alex L. Swartzentruber

(1 poem added 07.18.14)

editor's note: Name perfection without pain. A thorny subject... - mh


A Fistful of Nothing

my nine year old
socked another boy
in the nose and
made it bleed,
they weren't fighting,
he was just playing
too rough,
lacked the impulse control
I talked to him about
keeping his hands to himself,
"don't make a fist,"
I told him
and i thought about
how ridiculous
that request was,
how we come out of
the womb with fists
ready,
gloves at the ready,
featherweight,
welterweight,
or heavyweight,
it doesn't really
matter,
we are ready
to go the distance
looking for our corner man
we have fistfuls
of nothing

- Melanie Browne

(1 poem added 07.17.14)

editor's note: We fight from bell to bell and never want to hear the man say, "TEN!" - mh


Wreckage

Your smile
belongs to a demented clown,
Full of secrets and buried bodies,
Your words,
Genuine as a sideshow huckster
selling tickets to the two-headed goat,
Your remoteness,
A calculated game to ensnare,
Absinthe for my soul,
Fueling an obsession to make you mine,
But I refused to see,
Until one deft move after another,
I picked the lock,
Threw open the treasure chest,
And watched broken trinkets
and glass rubies
dribble through my fingers.

- Linda Haltmaier

(added 07.16.14)

editor's note: The challenge is the treasure; the hunt exceeds the having. - mh


dresses

Every time I walk into
the grocery store
to buy a case of beer
I pass a rack of
tie died sun dresses.

Every time I think
that I would buy one
for you
if you were still alive.

Every time I think
of how beautiful
you would look
in one.
With your beautiful
shoulders
and your beautiful
legs.

You always looked best
in a dress.
Not in the crazy short
skirts
and outfits you would wear
to impress an audience,
that was sexy,
but I loved you best
in just a regular
dress.
Hair curly
and looking like a girl.

But you are gone.

I walk by the rack of dresses
think of you
and buy a case of beer.

I go and drink the beer
with my friend.
But you are always
on my mind.

Yes indeed,
you are always
on my mind.

- Paul Sexton

(1 poem added 07.15.14)

editor's note: Beer to blur the vision of what was, dresses to bring it back, crystal clear. Beer, dress, repeat... (We are happy to have Paul back in the ranks of our Contributing Poets with this one. See more of his madness on his page.) - mh


You’re It.

we played tag at twenty-two
faces facing and knees
bracing for the next attack

we shared breaths
not of heated passion but
of complete exhaustion, and
like clocks ticking, kept time
to the end of our days

we wanted to clasp hands,
brush cheeks, inch closer
and closer and closer
but in a field we shared with others
we had to settle for a play date and tag

- Melani Grace Tiongson

(1 poem added 07.14.14)

editor's note: Tag, to please the field, when the game of choice is touch an' tussle? Trash the field, touch away. (We welcome Melani to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page.) - mh


The Soup and Him

He hunches a little,
his elbows sit on the table,
holds the spoon
with his right hand,
eats soup in silence.

Several comings
and goings
of the spoon and lips,
with energy and zest,
until the bowl is empty.

Being with him
at this pub is a treat,
a moment so sacred,
the whispers of others
fade away. I wish I could place

my lips on his,
embrace him tightly in my arms,
cradle his head
against my breast,
I am half in love with him.

- Amy Barry

(1 poem added 07.13.14)

editor's note: A full bowl, emptied; a half love, filling. Carl Sandburg, eat your heart out! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

On the hunt for a fine read? We got the lead on just the thing for your needs! Here's what ACTING Short Story Editor MH Clay had to say about our usual unusual Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s tale AND this pick-of-the-week short story, “Killing Field”… "From a sleep unsolicited to a sleep unending; all between is nightmare. Death is waking! This one shows that even editors succumb to the seduction of words, the tyranny of stories untold." Here's a taste to tease ya’:

photo by Tyler Malone

The way you can’t swallow, a thick throat, swollen with the need for a wet drop, that was their country. The hunter left his family to gather supper, a hog to slaughter. The kill would happen early, while the woman and children would pick cotton. The hunter would return with blood on his hands, food for bellies. With death, there’s life.

A grown woman and two girls receive kisses from the hunter, heavy with a rifle, ammunition brass, and a canteen of well water from the cool earth odorous with snakes and spiders. Oily, like worm bellies. As if it’s the taste of gold everyone seems to rush towards with cool veins and hot beating hearts, the hunter sips the well’s canteen but its goodness is blind to the eyes of the maker, washing out his wife and babies.

The hunter always knows where to go.

No need to hunt out the rest of the story. We've tracked it's trail for ya’. 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...

Creatin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

7.13.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.12.14

”This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” Henry David Thoreau

••• The Mad Gallery •••


woman with fish (above) by featured artist Mike Fiorito. To see more Mad works from Mike, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we saw icon and acolyte as one; we deftly words arranged, turned beautiful to strange; we unsettled an upset, then rested (sit, heel, wag tail); we skirted a scene of headless wonder, diverted around and out from under; we preserved as pure a twin demure, someone to blame when fingers are pointing; we admired apocalyptic fervor as simplicity in the true survivor; we proffered poetry as the currency best to buy some peace and recognition. We are all identified by our brand! ~ MH Clay

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

Crisis

It's a small village hiding big lives
Aghast with colour and sound,
Red earth warms the footprint
As green arbours pour
Shelter from the rising sun.
It also rises, day by day
Perfect in structure
Oblivious to the moans of man.
Nature blesses, man curses
The unstructured mind.
The hurting, not knowing
The way to exist.
Who pays the piper?
What pays the piper?
Thirty pieces of silver?
The little person in the village
Of big lives,
Is preparing to go with
The setting sun. The shame.
They sit opposite each other
Counting coins to drink coffee
To keep that aura of sophistication.
So no one will know.
Play music. Keep clean.
Sleep longer each morning
To stay warm.
They read poetry
It is free.
They will be free
If the plan works.

- Sheighle Birdthistle

(1 poem added 07.12.14)

editor's note: It's no little thing to work a plan, obscured by the big shadow. (Welcome Sheighle to our random ranks of Contributing Poets, congratulations! Read more of her special madness on her new page.) - mh


Paradise

Most people find the Jehovah’s Witness to be
at best a nuisance, at worst a plague. I don’t.
When I am sick, they come to my door and see
how I am doing, and when I invite
them to come in, they always refuse, but nicely.
Seeing I am bored, they give me pamphlets
to read about the coming end of days.
I don’t care much about what one or the other says;

my eye is drawn to the lurid illustrations
depicting a post-apocalyptic world.
It is populated only by nuclear families
having picnics on checkered cloths spread
on green grass beneath cartoonish trees
while abstract bluebirds flutter overhead.
The scene’s cartoonish ugliness seems to me
paradisiac in its lack of complexity.

- Tobias Griffin

(1 poem added 07.11.14)

editor's note: Starting to wonder if the real survivors of the apocalypse will be those who didn't ask questions... Thanks, Tobias! (We welcome Tobias as our newest Contributing Poet with this accepted poem. Read more of his madness on his new page.) - mh


Appropriation

To paint hard buds upon your chamber door
to be allowed to load this brush with gorge:
I distance from this dream, otherwise
the cage would burst; the bloody gas
would fix in augured death. But life
it is that our result will be; complete
we will this circle: in perfect crime a twin
bringing me my alibi, chastity kills
with masterpiece began by marking

- Silas Gorin

(1 poem added 07.10.14)

editor's note: To make yours, pass it on. - mh


The Head

I saw a dead body today.
I did not see the head.

I was on my way back from La Limpieza,
driving the route the Walking Man walks

I was thinking about the Advisor, the Bad
guy, the Tattler. I was coming around
a dangerous curve, a curve where I have
witnessed the aftermath of many an accident,
skid marks, trucks turned over, logs spilled
onto the road, cars with front ends smashed
in, windshields shattered. Coming around
the curve I slowed down then stopped
for a white-gloved policeman with his palm
held out. My white truck reflected
in his sunglasses. There was a dark blue
pickup behind him. I waited while the traffic
passed from the other direction. The police-
man then waved me forward, his lips and chin gravely
set. I tapped my toe on the accelerator, hoping the cop
would not notice that my seatbelt was unfastened, and drove slowly
past the dark blue pickup. The cab was caved
in, the passenger door open. I saw a man, no,
I saw a body wearing a blue plaid
shirt and blue jeans, the right arm
extended, the hand still gripped
to the gear shift. The crushed cab roof
formed a vee that inverted
directly into the middle
of the body’s shoulders,
right where the neck should be.
There was no blood, but
I did not see the head.

I saw a dead body today.
I did not see the head.

I was thinking about the Advisor, the Bad
Guy, the Tattler.

- Stephen Page

(1 poem added 07.09.14)

editor's note: You won't take with you head nor toe. When it's time to go, you go. (We welcome Stephen to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. See more of his madness on his new page.) - mh


Our Place

A Political Ethics Ambulance "accidentally"
runs over some "dogs".
Human yelping fills my head.
Vodka to the rescue!
"Canoes for thirsty homeless!"
"Curtsy for the King!"
A beautifully crafted commercial speech
sways public opinion back into its place.

In repose, we thank Thee.

- Dave Fleming

(added 07.08.14)

editor's note: Yup... so long as we remember to take our meds. - mh


Randomination

Turn INNOCENCE into fiction of houses apart, Sunday mass appeal, cigarette stubs, imagination, bus terminals, missus jabber job, wanted: drunk elephants, butterfly wings, Dougie faith, the crucifixion of clowns, Chekhov’s gun, wet nurse mummies—the pyramids, manuscripts, Nutella dream-spread, the suck-cess/pool, story deadlines, love and power lines, pizza porn phrases, Uganda stanzas, madstupid editor.s, disappearances, genie in a nostril, mirror mirror wonderwall, push magic, run river, hippo touch, sergeant sardine in ICU, coffeens, daffodils, sands, your coralline smile, politik swine search, jalousied jealousy, metallic cops, friends with Benetton, Bloc Party rocks, redsun trees covered in words, words, words, words, words, words, words———Words

to make yourself strange, beautiful.

- Lawdenmarc Decamora

(added 07.07.14)

editor's note: Yes! I feel like I've been tickled all over. Take me again, Beautiful! - mh


Love or Simply Artistic Admiration?

Graphic artist,
encapturing the madness,
Swirling,
With contours and shades
Emphasizing like adjectives,
Inadvertently describing
A world on fire
To the deranged children
Raised on the cinema
Of John Waters and Tim Burton.

With the prophecy of talent,
Like the universe is massive,
Her mind expands at the light speed
She boils my mind like eggs
And ecstasy

Oh Maiden of the Heavenly Olson,
Prophet with an Artist’s pen
And paper,
Freeing souls with the imagery of
What lies beneath the countenance
Of our culture,

Liberate me with the
Softness of your fairy wings,
And let these words ring true,
Eyes wide and beautiful.

Savior of the poet’s existence,
Keeper of your Nickelodeon/Steadman legacy,
And given half a chance,
I’d be your Hunter
With whom you could chase the centuries.

- R.A. Hernandez

(1 poem added 07.06.14)

editor's note: His brain, scrambled thought soufflé; his undaunted love, muse-smitten devotee. (This mad Contributing Poet is our feature at the September Open Mic. N. Texas Swirlers, come see Robert's mad mojo, Sep 3.) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story, "Waiting All Day for the Mailman” by Jim Meirose… "Some people, a lot of them, say that they want to die as they lived: asleep, asleep and useless." Here's a taste to tease ya’:

photo by Tyler Malone

I’m awake, I’m awake—I only look asleep because I am in the daily trance of waiting for the mailman; I’m sitting on the front couch with a cold coming on. But my mood is good—the mailman will come. She will—

When the mailman comes, it will just be wonderful! Who knows what she will bring what it can be what can it be what will it be—

Oh! Silly me! I dozed off—I peer out the window—still no mailman. I go to make a coffee in my Keurig machine to keep me awake—need to be awake, need to be, for the mailman—the machine does its job and I go back to the front couch, and set the coffee down on the coffee table how appropriate how appropriate—

I might be money, I always expect money this time of month. This week there should be a check to live on to help live on to have to cash to use—

Oh gosh—the coffee didn't help. My God, shake me! I am waking, again. And it’s probably your fault, you let me fall asleep—you’re sitting right there. Tell me, tell me; have I missed the mailman? You would have seen her coming. You would have heard the tap of the mailbox lid—I don’t have a dog to let me know but you could have barked, because different monies come different times of the month to live on to help live on to have to cash to use; but other things might come in the mail too. Surprises maybe—maybe some kind of prize—or one surprise—

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...

Imaginin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

7.06.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.05.14

”Literature is one of the most interesting and significant expressions of humanity.” P. T. Barnum

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Digital Illustration, Greatest Show(man) on Earth (above) by featured artist Johnny O. To see more Mad works from Johnny, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we tinkered with the task of self control, challenged to parse the half from the whole; we boozed through a limp libido to pen the perfect climax (happened in a wink); we kindled a Kama Sutra stir to peak the passions of him and her; we liberated latent dreams, a stay in the streets for an erstwhile, vagabond heiress (of stars); we frictioned sticks, fueled flames in flicks, found words on the go to make one come; we aspired to sustained inebriation to bear an unbearable incarceration; we jumped our jilted, geriatric disappointment with old-fart-fueled fantasy. In our dementia, it pays to dream big! ~ MH Clay

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

The Lovely Women of My Life

If I met the same women now
I probably wouldn't know them.
They're missing teeth, I bet,
and have gray Medusa hair.

Their eyes no longer dance, I'm sure,
and they have liver spots everywhere.
They likely wobble in their flats
and haven't worn heels

since adding fifty pounds.
Some of them, I'm certain,
wouldn't recognize me, either,
despite thick spectacles.

They can't recall the picnics
we enjoyed with wine and caviar
under oak trees in Grant Park,
never mind the nights that followed.

Who needs a woman that forgetful?
I need a younger woman now,
someone I can finally marry,
a girl with a figure like Monroe,

Hepburn's eyes and Hayworth's hair,
someone lithe, slim and graceful,
someone strong enough to push
my wheelchair up the ramp.

- Donal Mahoney

(2 poems added 07.05.14)

editor's note: Retiree reverie; a hankering for youth from an oxygen tent. (Another new one from Donal on his page; it's a real blast. Check it out!) - mh


Whiskey

The whiskey burns,
chasing the fruit loops down my throat,
she enters the room,
and sniffs the air,
silence reigns,
until depression invades,
an army she unknowingly leads,
taken captive years ago,
whiskey my only cure,
keeping alive the hope in the soul,
someone will find me,
or maybe,
allow a prisoner exchange.

- Douglas Polk

(1 poem added 07.04.14)

editor's note: Hash marks on the wall, shot glasses on the table; marking time with no hope of parole. - mh


FIRE STYX

I rub together words
to get her to come.
First the smoke, then the ember.
Finally a flame remembers her name,
but refuses to tell,
till I spit on the light,
and out it hisses.
Anxious to grope ankles
to swing her inside the cave
to pull through my dream her hair,
rub together words
to get her
together with me to come.
Eager to flee my itch
I scratch but to
ratchet the itch up.

But will never come to scratch
the act of rubbing words together
to get her to come.

- Willie Smith

(1 poem added 07.03.14)

editor's note: Fire by friction and poet's fiction; both an itch we gotta scratch. - mh


Communion

Greyhound fresh
with your blues shoes
and backpack
and back home
Mama's tears
still damp
on your cheek.
Sun magic outline
city block stare
glowing haloed girl

all flower fresh bloomed
and debit card
and blood of the lamb.
Drifting up to you
gently as smoke,
I take your burden

all Lucky Strikes
and grave dirt
and one third of the stars.
Melancholy moccasins
keeping time with
black, buckled beat boots
and four-fifty pints
on a dirty grey blanket.

And sunset by the river beneath
celestial ceiling we share Pamplona,
Picasso, Paradise Lost and potted meat.
Crossing our fingers
we fall in love a little
for the briefest moment in time.
City scape illumination
reflected in rushing waters
like Vincent's blurry stars.
At dawn
my boots back on
I will walk you again
to a bus stop pilgrimage
to anywhere next
but my quick broken
heart is rooted

to Downtown mornings
here
and my favorite bars
on a side-walked city street
named for Bill.

- Justin Booth

(added 07.02.14)

editor's note: Home life to street life to body and blood, eternal life, so brief; and all those stars. (Special Note to our North Texas Swirlers: Justin will be the featured reader at our Mad Swirl Open Mic on August 6. Come hear this outlaw poet read 'til we're raw and tingly all over.) - mh


Spring Sedoka

Her
Verses too fragile
For platitude of paper
Crave parchment of his broad chest
With kohl of her eyes
She spins yarns of solitude
Into pillow book of love

Him
Unraveling pages
Between old empty covers
Feels new dark ink drops
Painting fresh squeezed breath
On soft mounds of rising suns
By brush tip bidden

Her
They come in waves
Lay half forgotten by dawn
Dreams stuck in empty covers
Fodder for musing
Beads of rudraksh slip between
Fingers of her compulsion

Him
Dark seed tears uncurl
Insights prayed in circles wide
A thousand more fears vanquished
On new strings are strung
clear lanterns of fresh visions
Between opening lashes

Her
Golden bridge looms
From his eye to hers
Spilled drink from broken glass
Brings her heart on knees
Lit up in pieces
They burn for consummation

Him
Sharp edge of deep gazes
Connects strong silk threads
Fog in two ports stops sight short
Lighthouse lenses shine
Fire onto high waves
Guiding meld of warp and weft

Her
Whirling breathlessly
In blue light his verses weave
She unfurls her newfound wings
To embrace blue pearl
Serpent uncoils and rises
Gorging upon their undoing

Him
Tips of undreamed heights
Splash sheer sheens of undyed eyes
Through wide eyes embracing flame
Intertwining curves
Sing sinewed notes sweetened
Full by her lustered softness

Her
Unbounded stillness
Murmurs in unfathomable
Rolling labyrinth within
Tenacious roots grow
Around ruins of their reason
Amaurosis lighting way

Him
Throbbing beacon echoes
Around beams from distant doors
Squeezing fresh apexes
Now from old growth notes.
Deciphering encrypted.
Melodies of dormant juice

Her
Her verses rebound
Around desperate desert
Await familiar rustle
Of returning feet on the
Gravel of whimsical spring
To thaw frozen muse

Him
His soles hastening
Through mud and dust toward her
Bright welcoming smiles
So once again lips
can create a single song
from beats of two hearts.

- Nalini Priyadarshni & D. Russel Micnhimer

(1 poem added 07.01.14)

editor's note: These two can tango Kama Sutra sensationally, salaciously! Come again? (This poem marks three accepted for Nalini. Check out more of her madness on her page as our newest Contributing Poet.) - mh


bohemia

booze the way old men like it –
a touch of class

(random lines skipped over)

if this were another time
there would be volumes of poetry
of your aspect, your body
but
I know nothing else
save this twinkling spent
and thinking bohemia

- Jhon Baker

(1 poem added 06.30.14)

editor's note: It's all twinkling; even brighter in the glints off the ice cubes in the bottom of the glass. - mh


Of I and Me

My will and want, my drive, and the choice between right and wrong.
I battle myself in the same old battle ground.
Here I can walk the clouds and conquer the world.
Or fall from grace with a loud thud.
Here I can be my own best friend.
Or stay on as my worse enemy yet.

Here I can work to improve on my story.
Here I can fly, aim high, reach for glory.
Take a leap or do it a step at a time.
Though there is that one small matter,
Left for me to master,
Of I and Me,
To let go of my fears,
Take charge of my mind,
Assume control of my being.

- Arif Ahmad

(added 06.29.14)

editor's note: We all play tug o' war with ourselves, then try to hide the stretch marks. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story, "A Little Ghost Story (The Intruder)” by Ralph Freda… "Our world is full of sunrises and horrors, and both of them wait to seep through your doors and windows, and no locks or blinds will keep them back." Here's a taste to tease ya’:


When Joanne DuMont first opens her eyes in the morning it usually follows an intense night of waitressing. She has already slept late (9:30, or so) and relishes her slow mornings to herself. She’d waitressed all her adult life, raised a son (now grown) by herself, and now enjoys her morning to herself.

Her mornings are now free, quiet, calm, all hers. Joseph, her son who still lives at home, is her pride and joy. Twenty-three-years-old, a good kid, handsome, and big. Like his sonofabitch father he's strapping: six-foot-one and two-seventy-five. And now, since it’s Saturday morning, Joseph is fishing, gone at first light.

Speaking of light, it's streaming into her bedroom, beautiful, and thick, and warm—the second floor of a small home, her bedroom faces due East. At almost ten in the morning the sun had been up for awhile and has already acquainted itself with the kind of day it will bring. Sleepily, Joanne thinks of Joseph out upon some Michigan lake, one of a thousand

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Although it's not polite to say "We told you so!" we're sayin' it anyway!

This past 1st Wednesday at "Mad Swirl presents... The Curiel Family!" it was absolutely everything we'd hyped and hoped it would be... and MORE! The whole Curiel Clan brought their own unique & divine light to our stage & swirled it up in a most beat-utiful way. Huge THANKS to the Curiel family for letting us witness their gifts. And big ol' thanks to all who came to Absinthe Lounge to appreciate & participate in our mic madness. Each and every one of you Mad Ones out there made last night one of THE best in recent memory.

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…

(all photos courtesy of Dan "the man!" Rodriguez)
Click here to view 'em all!

Feature:
The Curiel's
(Chris, Tamitha, Chaz, Caleb & Chloe)

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay
Chris Zimmerly

Mad Cast:
Opalina Salas
Paul Koniecki
CJ Critt
T Bell
Logen Cure
Carlos Salas
Teresa Megahan
BA
Mike Donahue
Desmene Statum
James "Bear" Rodehaver
Victory
Nemo Blakemo

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

And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin, owner of Absinthe Lounge.

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.

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

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin' madness. COMING SOON:

August: Justin Booth
September: R.A. Hernandez
October: Kerseymere
November: Karen X
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...

Expressin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

6.28.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.28.14

”I would love to spend all my time writing to you; I'd love to share with you all that goes through my mind, all that weighs on my heart, all that gives air to my soul; phantoms of art, dreams that would be so beautiful if they could come true.” Luigi Pirandello

••• The Mad Gallery •••


whirlwind woman (above) by featured artist Mike Fiorito. To see more Mad works from Mike and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we looked to learn before living, know before seeing; we sought to sunder lies from truth, fraught with fallacies, forsooth; we didn't begrudge the dumped bucket sludge of judgmental jokesters; we saw a mystery unsolved, a hallelujah un-evolved; we cringed 'neath crow encroachment of a heartbeat moon; we looked for our lust to meet us, with crows calling o'er our coitus; we boarded the bus which trundles us into recollections of fantastic collections of stories (untold glories). All this weight we bear with joy and anticipation; we must. ~ MH Clay

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

House of Cards
for Stephanie and Ed and their firstborn

I’m gathering the stories
like playing cards,
stacked up high,
others laid out by suit,
the one-eyed jack and the false king, side by side.

They are the stories I will tell you,
when you are born
and old enough to understand stories,

of family, and dark spaces,
of jealous kings, and what lurks under bridges,
of tracks traced in the snow, secret rings,
and sleeping women who don’t wake up.

And these stories will belong to you,
and you will carry them with you,
in the space that we all have, between our ribs,
where we keep the stories,

and if you are lucky,
you will remember them
as I have.
And they will feed you,
as they have fed me.

And you will stand at a street corner one day,
waiting for the bus,
a ticket clenched tight in your hand,
your coat in the other,
and you will wonder about these stories,
why they were so fascinating
but you will also know, deep down inside,
a truth you aren’t able to say aloud.

And we will all be dead and gone.
You will be older then, older than any of us are now,
and you will board the bus and the doors will hiss closed behind you,
and it will lurch forward
down a road you have always avoided
but now, are ready to travel.

You will think they are just stories,
but in time you will realize it is what kept you alive.
I thought that too, in the days before you were named, but
they do not belong to anyone, these stories,
we belong to them.

You will take a seat on the bus, next to no one.
Your lips will move as if you are praying,
the machine will rattle forward and at that single moment
the story will start all over again.

- Ally Malinenko

(1 poem added 06.28.14)

editor's note: Everything is story; we're all characters in god's novel. - mh


Rookery

Sweet hollow, the sound
of wooden flutes, dense, this forest of
amber hair, wet
scents: musk and verdigris and
your sweat, the dusky skies
ultramarine, the lapis clouds,
knowing nothing of our touching

rum-tanged tongues
on grassy hill, green earth, breath
of Andromeda, lost as you kiss
as if to marry with your mouth
arches of my lightening, bare
feet…

O brush the inside of denuded knees, bristles
of beard, tickling
roughly as you kiss, moving

upward, my inner thighs. I wait for you as you,
smelling my broom of auburn,
begin to swell, for I
now ache, feigning
soft teases of…

embarrassment, this solstice
return of Amarterasu, quivering
as sunrise returns, you caressing
Solar Plexus, lap aureoles
until, skin reddened, I

cry inside your sighs, wind wet
Blackbird singing as if to
answer creaking cedar branches….
we become the witchy boat…

- Concubine

(added 06.27.14)

editor's note: We watch from prurient perch, ruffle feathers and crow like we know what we want. - mh


Lawless moon

Under a lawless moon
the night's heart thumps

to the beat of blackened
streets as a belly full of crows

in the oak trees thrash
their sleek wings against
the empty void in the night.

- Dawnell Harrison

(1 poem added 06.26.14)

editor's note: A bird-borne bellyache from a scofflaw sky-lit thief - no sleep for you. - mh


Fifty Days in Witness Protection

There was a death, a hard one to hang your hat on,
not that any hat rack has a corner on holding
emotions while hearts carry on across the coffee
shop floor to a corner table sanctified,

a temporary sanctuary, two walls meeting up
with one latte, one private space in a peopled
room, soothing isolation facing opiated unity.
A temporary time between goodbye and hello,

protected, loved, gifted. Salve for an open wound
between tomb and womb. Oh troubled Jerusalem!
Where did your hearts go when consumed with grief
and in need of a place to bury consciousness

yet know you still breathed blood? City gates and a cup
of goats milk (hats hung, lattes slung), and the drone
of faded hallelujahs (lifelike conversation)
took you, takes me, to the mother of all whodunits.

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(added 06.25.14)

editor's note: That hat's a black fedora and the reveal is going to be something to see, in the end. - mh


Moth To A Light

Suppose angels drift like salt
or gracile jellyfish.
That at the core of an infant’s cry
armies of angels reside.
That angels are a peculiar lot,
flitting like moths around a candlewick
or trap of warm cinders.

Suppose they pour kisses over your eyes
or tickle your palms with a feather.
That one, who stands away from the rest,
has invented a new weather –
both improbable and comic.

Consider angels exploiting
your predilection toward sin,
taunting your hunkered-down mind,
goading you to slouch lower,
gloating by the graveside.
That they’re not angels at all,
but the reflection of men
in a bucket of black water.

You wouldn’t go back on your promises then,
would you old friend?
You wouldn’t regret living?

- Bruce McRae

(added 06.24.14)

editor's note: It's new weather for me. Those black water men are all wet; tired o' them. - mh


Fallacious Belief

We believe it’s a disease,
And slagged her off because she wouldn’t give him pity.
But really we’re falling faster than faith,
And drowning in murky waters of no self-discipline.
But we were born to shine.
I was born to shine.
Turning points reap ambition reclamation.

- Paul Donnachie

(2 poems added 06.23.14)

editor's note: We all float in the same free fall; fallacies abound. (We welcome Paul to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. See more of his madness on his new page - with another new one, about a foul fetish. Check it out!) - mh


MY VILLANELLE

I want to learn to live before I die
To glimpse the light that makes my vision clear
To see the truth that lies within the lie.

I freely put the questions ‘how?’ and ‘why?’
And seek the face unknown in darkest fear.
I want to learn to live before I die.

The days and years stream swiftly swiftly by
In shimmering illusions cherished dear
Despite the truth that lies within the lie.

I found my hand in yours, so you and I
Gave each our vows, impassioned, young, sincere.
I want to learn to live before I die.

The teachers teach, the prophets prophesy
But miss the mystic rhythms of the sphere
Nor see the truth that lies within the lie;

Pure-hearted self; I sense a higher cry
To never leave the far yet love the near.
I want to learn to live before I die
To see the truth that lies within the lie.

- Harley White

(added 06.22.14)

editor's note: The living out-weighs the knowing. What is truth? Indeed! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Perhaps it's time to take a smoke break (if you're a chokin' smoker, that is) and you need something to keep your mind occupied while you mindlessly suck down your cancer stick? Per(cough-cough)fect!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story, "Here’s To Kissing Chimneys" by Addie Soaraki…
"Life comes as smoke: with a fiery center, with a body that blankets everything. When it's all over, beauty is left behind, but it takes time to forget and for new green to grow." Here's a drag to feed your jones:

(photo courtesy of Tyler Malone)

Yeah, sure. You’ve heard the old line: The young lady tells you, “I smell smoke,” and you know how it goes: Where there is smoke, most definitely, fire exists.

Did I mention fire exists? Pardon me, buddy, but after being locked in the so-called basement of life, lorded over, of course, by the Masters of All Time and All Space, you sometimes feel like heading South and starting a little lightning of your own. Don’t you?

And right: Nice guys always finish last, don’t they? Not exactly. Especially when life is a bar, and all the admirals and body language experts, the college boys who numb their instincts with alcohol and Singapore Slings, only to be force-fed someone else’s Thai food, you end-up being not so nice as you used to be, don’t you?

Been there. Done that. Yay.

So. A guy walks into a bar. This is not a joke. Nor is the bar anything close to being remotely legal or even street legal, more a shadow life in which fiber is fashion and clothes are make-up, and all the king’s Jaguars and all the King’s Ray Bans aren’t going to make a difference if you’re not, well, let’s simply call it: dangerous.

Get the rest of your smoke... er... read on here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of July (aka 07.02.14) 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, The Curiel's! Papa Chris is the mad man trumpeter of Swirve fame. Mama Tamitha is the vocalist from Swirve as well as a mighty fine writer and poet. The rest of the Curiel clan are kiddos Chaz, Caleb, & Chloe. Together they will be on our stage showing us what happens when a family gets together and swirls up some madness! DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

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.

P.S. This month, like last month, we will be swirlin’ our madness in Absinthe’s VIP Lounge. If you don’t know where that is located, we’ll have folks up front guiding you to exactly where we’ll be.

P.P.S. 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!…

August: Justin Booth
September: R.A. Hernandez
October: Kerseymere
November: Karen X
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...

Sharin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

6.21.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.21.14

”There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.” Jean-Paul Sartre

••• The Mad Gallery •••


universe is (above) by featured artist Mike Fiorito.

Mike Fiorito? Mike Fiorito? Mike Fiorito… that name sounds so familiar. Oh yeah, he’s a contributing short story writer on Mad Swirl! But what’s his submission doing in the Visual Submissions inbox? Oh, he’s an artist too! And Mike is returning to the mad virtual stage this time with some collages that - dare we say - gracefully combine boobs, butts, skin, (and more skin) with frogs, fish, satellites and...wait, is that Spiderman? Needless to say, this work stirred up a handful of confusing spaces inside us so we thought we'd better pass it on. After all, this ain't called Mad Swirl for nothin'! The calm and collected chaos of these little blurbs are enough to make anyone feel crazy. We always assumed combining sex with space with art with amphibians with - yes, that is Spiderman - was damn near impossible but leave it to Mike Fiorito to prove us wrong! The kind of crazy combo that's right up the Mad Swirl alley - so what say you? Down to take a stroll? - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we went where we're going, found a kid and a spark; we tingled in present tenses, spinning a spell of senses; we seized a stranger's hand in a wreck of the day; we picked through the chirps of an avian throng, soon to become our lover's new song; we slept through the sway of ocean waves, a dreamer on deck; we eulogized a dead finch, perfume whiff of poems remiss, not seen, the broken things, granted only a sisterly kiss; we finished with a finger-painted lament and child's indictment of adult appetites sated in some young sorrow. Shake off those weights, more verses wait on the morrow. ~ MH Clay

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

Stuffing Hanks

One day I will cry forever.
Not like a terrace loser,
or a baby-faced softy,
you know, a terminal cry.
I will stoke my engine with
nights-without-sleep and invasions,
childhood floggings and hidden wounds,
attacks and black-suited fiends.
I won’t forget to douse the unexpected
with rivers of anal blood and
floods of small-boy tears.
I will hold up all of those walls
I’ve fallen off and hidden behind
with screaming wrongs
and decorate my sky
with pointing children’s fingers.
A cortege of forbidden questions
will at last assemble
and trod with notice
to a brand new place of old
where every squeezed-open
pair of perfect ears
will finally embrace
my slowest form of death.
And they will no longer speak of the
odd-little-boy who grew to be
that strange-kind-of-fella,
always the loner decorating corners,
the weirdo and the dark horse
and I will meet the dark father
dressed in dresses from the dark box,
the groomer of my un-lived life;
I will wear my coat of fury and
beat and stomp and slap and bite down hard,
return the pent-up painful years of screams,
accuse and insult and verbally stab deep.
I will hand back shame,
stuff hanks of guilt deep into his larynx;
I will pleasure for my first time.
That same day a man will
fall into the carefully-planned
death of a family and each season
his only friend who understood him
will refuse to yield the buried
pictures of childhood he’d sown.

- Gene Barry

(2 poems added 06.21.14)

editor's note: Some abuse for the abuser from a crying child triumphant. (Another one from Gene on his page, about ostriches or ostrich tendencies - check it out.) - mh


Stiletto Elegy

A tear abased, a finch dead mid-air, berated in haste
is it too late?
is it too late, now that I wear black on black
no ink to scribble your name
in margins of a summer night's air

a poet’s muse, love sprayed from one ounce flacons
in careful measures in open –air
a name half whispered half screamed
on lips bitten in crinkled dreams

vituperations on owl's spit
tangential cloying fervor, credulous eyes
broken heels
broken spirits in verbose lines


is it too late
to leave a sororal kiss
on throbbing pulse on your forehead
and rest barefoot
in midnight cello jazz jams

- Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

(1 poem added 06.20.14)

editor's note: No, not too late; so long as you keep your hands to yourself and your feet on the floor. - mh


I Dream the Sea

I dream the sea wherever I may lie.
The wax and wane of moon pulling tide
to lull me into deeper seas and darker skies.
The ocean's always been my lullaby,
the crash of wave my hush.
And turning over,
currents swirl as sand shifts
to roll me up in cerulean arms.
Rocking me back and forth,
back and forth
as I drift away once more.

- Heather M. Browne

(1 poem added 06.19.14)

editor's note: Bed as boat, sleeper as sailor. (With this poem we welcome Heather to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets. Read more of her madness on her new page.) - mh


Spring, you

You
a metaphor
made up of two-syllables
continuously speak between
my lonely soul and disappearing heart
a melodious voice—
birds: seagulls, robin (maybe?)
send their notes at my narrow-eyed window

I lie awake
Waiting for your song
In this deaf world,
You create a new song in me.

You are my new song.

- Arun Budhathoki

(1 poem added 06.18.14)

editor's note: A sweet song to call back a disappearing heart. - mh


Seize the Day

radio playing, laughter transforms
into screams, metal crunching and
closing in, a flash of red hair,
or is it blood

the smell of dirt and smoke,
hands pull me from the wreckage,
covered in crimson water that
is not my own

searching eyes and choked shrieks,
where are they, where are-

face-down, still, twisted into
unnatural positions, unconscious,
the deafening screams are my
own, falling to my knees

helpless, seeing red but not in
anger, somewhere an ambulance
arrives, parents and bystanders
watch with unwavering fear

they scream for their mother, and
she is not breathing anymore-

uncontrollable shaking, a breath is
finally taken, but the battle is not won,
rushing, bright lights, tears and mud
staining my cheeks

she can only see shadows, his neck
is broken, another scream, a phone goes
off in the next room, a man in uniform
takes my hand and doesn't let go

- Brittany Zedalis

(added 06.17.14)

editor's note: No matter how gruesome or painful, each day is yours - grab on! - mh


The Spell of the Senses

Grief distracts you
like a grocery cart
dragging one rear wheel.
You’ve forgotten
the spell of the senses.
But one whiff of a dark
purple hyacinth
forces you to forget
all of winter’s fury,
or the long wail of a lost child
crying uncontrollably
focuses your attention
like a black hearse passing,
or the touch of a tongue-tip
twirling around a lover’s nipple
returns you to this evanescent
body of whispers,
where every caress
celebrating the flesh
leaves a trail of tingling.

- Bill Wolak

(2 poems added 06.16.14)

editor's note: Oh, yes! That "tingling trail" ever taints our perceptions of reality. (Another one from Bill on his page - an item left in lost-and-found. Check it out!) - mh


RHINOCEROS

I don't know where you're going
only that you've been there.
How do I know?
Let me be that secret.

I knew you when you were just an eye,
just another starry, starry night.
Perhaps you were just another lie,
or maybe something special.

I like a mirror just as much as the next man,
but you can not be that for me.
There's too much memory,
and now we see as through a glass darkly.

Too many times I've put off.
Too many tomorrows I've lost.
You, you are only a kid.
And I, I am only a spark.

- satnrose

(3 poems added 06.15.14)

editor's note: Riddle resplendent in eye night spark kid, life alive and awake. I'm watching... (two more from satnrose on his page; a stranger at the door and a door in lightning flash, blink dream, time transpired - check'em out. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read, don't'cha? We're kinda sharp like that. Almost detective-like! Well, need no more... we got just the one for you!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story, “Kathleen Malone, Genius Detective” by Alyssa Black…
"Childhood is cruel because it’s not constant. The moment we begin to use our imagination is when we figure out how to survive, and then the battle begins." Here's a preview for you…


"Esmeralda seems to really like you."

"She's a cat."

"Right, and a cat has no motivation to lie about how she feels about others. She’s very useful when trying to decipher the intentions of those who are in question."

"Does that mean I can leave now?"

"No, no, you won't get off that easy. Even if you're not directly involved, you might know about others who are of interest to me."

"And if I refuse to tell?"

She shot off quickly, with fear-inducing ferocity, "If you refuse to tell, than I will have no choice but to go back to the drawing board. Considering the time and space, and resources of this endeavor, your refusal to cooperate could ultimately result in his death."

"I chose to accept that risk. After all, it's every man for himself out there."

"Man or woman, I hardly think that any of us would make it past adolescence if we all treated each other in such fashion."

"Whatever, I made it this far. What do I care who's responsible for that?"

Detective Malone could see she wasn't going to get through to Dr. Sparring. Not tonight.

“If you’re not going to talk, I have no choice but to let you go, as there are no charges against you.”

“Fantastic. Thanks for wasting my time,” replied Dr. Sparring.

“My pleasure. Thanks for allowing an innocent man to die tonight.” With that, Dr. Sparring left, slamming the door of Detective Malone’s cubicle on his way out.

“I know Dr. Sparring knows more about the kidnapping than he leads on,” Malone exclaimed to her empty office. “Maybe I should trace his footsteps…”



“Kathleen! Dinner’s ready,” Daddy called from the kitchen.

“I’ll be right there!” cried Katie as she turned off the TV. She ran to the kitchen table with her Siamese Cat Beanie Baby stuffed in the back pocket of her jeans.

Wanna keep investigation’? Then sleuth your way 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...

Appreciatin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.14.2014

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.14.14

”It is not whether your words or actions are tough or gentle; it is the spirit behind your actions and words that announces your inner state.” Rene Char

••• The Mad Gallery •••


hey big boy, do you like what you see? (above) by featured artist Madelyn Olson. To see more Mad works from Madelyn and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••



This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we recounted a past with acts remiss to foster a future of ignorant bliss; we wandered through wilderness wireless; we stomped in the zone of island purists, happy to romp on the bones of tourists; we churned the urn of adolescent earnings - rounded, popped and shouted; we colluded in canvas-top collision, invariably vaunted our veritable vision; we failed to squeeze peg square into round reality over there; we transcended the angst of blustering buffoon, ascended the heights of a smiling-girl moon. It's a funny one, just off this honey one. Read and wonder! ~ MH Clay

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

OUTING WHAT OUT AND ABOUT IS ABOUT

The bomb in my head makes it through the neighborhood
without exploding. The Christian blood is safe. The floral
carts survive. The weather-vanes pitch and spin. Wind
is light-headed and blowing. No ghosts will travel on its
silky rails this night. My oaths have soothed at the sight
of people’s faces. My anger took a wrong turn down an
alley, is lost among the dusty corridors of a secondhand
bookstore. If the people only knew, they’d be cheering me.
For the black-rot of my heart is into penance not revenge.
And all because I didn’t stay in my room but took a stroll
through the dancing hearts, the comic hats, sidewalks like
ironed handkerchiefs, all around me, the crackle of human
electricity and fever, drivers in their traffic cradle, pigeons
handfed by the girl with the face most round and bright
as moons. The pain in this bottle of me didn’t realize
that it could glow incandescent. My footsteps weren’t thinking
clouds and now they are. I can’t provoke what is no
longer in me. The future makes such a fool of today
that I may as well enjoy it. Sorrow will have other
dark and gloomy hours. For now, the shepherd of niceties
has never watched over a more willing hapless sheep.
Little does he know, he saves it from its own wolves.

- John Grey

(2 poems added 06.14.14)

editor's note: Cooling off is emptying out in the shadow of the predator. In the with the good air... (Another one from John on his page, another outing for all.) - mh


The Perfect Box

He always wanted you
To fit into the perfect box.
He tried to round off your edges and
Slice away the quirks and
Idiosyncrasies that made you too
Wild and weird to
Perfectly fit that
Perfect box.
You desperately wanted
To fit into the perfect box.
So you stuffed your feelings deep and
Told him what he wanted to hear and
Jumped through all his hoops in
The vain hope that someday you would
Perfectly fit that
Perfect box.
It proved to be impossible
To fit into the perfect box.
You died a little more each year when
You realized that no matter
How much you bent and twisted yourself
You could never make yourself the shape that could
Perfectly fit that
Perfect box.
In the end you just stopped trying
To fit into the perfect box.
You decided to quit the game and
Exit the struggle completely and
It’s a shame you are not around to
Appreciate the irony that now, at last, you
Perfectly fit that
Perfect box.

- David Rutter

(added 06.13.14)

editor's note: Imperfect contents in a perfect container; box on, box off. - mh


Something Different

Something of a different kind
something other than what we know is needed
a mosaic perhaps
or mural
a joining
you paint from the heart
and I'll paint from my head
we can meet somewhere along this collective mess
and find meaning in the blues and greens
across a line or two or a circle of yellow hue
you'll find my feelings in the jagged lines of red and silver
maybe I'll find your voice,
the things you need to whisper in the splattered paint drops
let's make a crazy mixed collage of inner colours
a little abstract but no interpretation needed
just a vibrant collision of wants and desires
dared expression in the canvas on the wall

- Elissa Landrigan

(1 poem added 06.12.14)

editor's note: Creative collaboration, convergent constructs; canvas reveals all. Can you see it? - mh


Round, Pop, Shout

Round, pop, shout over aspidistra jungles.
Pout when adolescents dare fail to coruscate.
Don’t let it show, though, if fire departments,
Principals, even janitors, interfere. Hug social media.

Hovering near chemistry lab closets fetch nothing;
Sowing file upon file of empty advertising, too, lacks.
Only ombre-toned hair, half matted in phony dreadlocks,
Or partially shaved from heads, can resuscitate dead networks.

Nonetheless, dreaming’s still free. Fantasy costs zilch.
Riding up and down department store escalators, likewise
Especially in condemned buildings, where fire trucks’ actions,
Resulted in weak and helpless moments, bring about taffy pulls.

Camphor, lithium amide, sulfur are susceptible to exploding.
There’s little chance nose pickers ever evolve into champions;
The underdogs’ guardians are required to possess clean hands, feet.
Alternatively, they employ katanas to cut down bullies, spread peanut butter.

Elsewise, goodie two shoes sandwich themselves on donkeys’ markabs,
Inhale stuff like ketamine, chew betel leaves, belch, perhaps flatulate regularly;
No rescue comes from nonruminant animals chewing phytates, spitting at strangers.
Stumping, though, busies bodies, even impacts those trussed in morphsuits, gives thrills.

Accordingly, legerdemain among natives tired of kissing begets blithe
Relationships, casts off emotions, possibly removes unwanted progeny.
Considers as best actors, those in groups who repeat again, again, again.
Claim others’ words as theirs, hiccup when locked in latrines. It happens.

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 06.11.14)

editor's note: Adolescent trickery absolves good intentions. Sparkle plenty! - mh


Secret: Hawaii

just for I
one million small places
in tiny bird or gliding fish
or, hearken back to a day
a father/daughter wish
small wind musses a bent, funny palm
a tourist, a trinket, a Japanese girl giggling bright
a silent hall, in a royal palace hotel
a waterfall at lunch, for just my tired butt and me
been through the heart and artery of Waikiki and the Oahu island girl
secret pace, light my face, sing to my soul
put my happiness in a genuine koa bowl

- Louis Marvin

(1 poem added 06.10.14)

editor's note: Every holiday destination has a happy hauli to buy the local merch and take those selfies by the sea. Mele kalikimaka! - mh


Cell Service

There is still a place connections of towers do not reach.
Down the mountains and into the canyon
the road cuts and the road crumbles, narrow, heart beating

on turns in trees where blindness
is blind yet sometimes sees. Ghosts of rock
rise through passing trunks like figures
walking in a flip book. So it must have seemed

one hundred years ago when the last of them appeared.
They were spirits with skin—their battles
fought and lost, their lives hidden in empty space—
stumbling on a world beginning the race

to catch itself.

- Christopher Raley

(1 poem added 06.09.14)

editor's note: That rotoscope reality is unrealized by we who never look behind. - mh


The Evolution of Self

it's true what they say
it's not the years,
it's the mileage
to grow
and gain such knowledge
of self
the struggle between
the soul and the mind
with the body being the battlefield
that gets weighted in time

they say you look old
but I still like to fuck in the rain
some things change
while others stay the same
Surviving
through capitalism
the zombie filled cannibalism
that sick one-eyed Willie green
pump caffeine into the machine
see your time flushed down the latrine
and school pride
scrapbook
of friends and family that have died
east side
where the rival towns collide
I don't need that damned divide
for as I am grown
that hatred need not apply

across time I have traveled
through books, through timelines
by the skin of my teeth
I have battled
through constants and variables
through love, through love lost
through space and energy
back to love's synergy
but never blinking off course
because there has always been a source
the eyes, the stars, the galaxies
upon galaxies
that do not end
but yet a planet
that rests on our tiny shoulders
how beautiful our short life grows
before the dirt begins to enclose
love
grab your friend and fucking love them
we have already seen it all
it's been hard-linked to the brain-stem
with our little time here
we can stop the train
that's quickly headed for the cliff
so that our children
won't have to see this abyss
but luckily
your rules do not apply to me

and you ask
"what do you see when you look in the mirror?"
I see mileage

and my future

- Chad Repko

(added 06.08.14)

editor's note: "Look into" that reflection to see your legacy leering back at you. Future, beware! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Of course you do! Here we be, a day away from Father's Day. Although good ol' Pops doesn't get the same fanfare that Mama usually gets, he's just as important in the parental relationship as she is. And today we got the perfect Papa story from Mike Fiorito that will surely bring some warm fuzzied feelings for your own dear ol' Dad.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story, “Staying Home” by Mike Fiorito…
"These are the days of the living, but also the dead. Never forget about either one, so spend time with a phone call or a memory. Either way, spend time with love. Do it now while it’s still up to you." Here's a preview for you…


"I dream about you a lot these days," I say to my dad.

"And for some reason I show you up in your dreams,” he responds, laughing.

It doesn't feel like I'm dreaming. His voice is clear. The wisps of his grey hair are fine and crisp. I see the individual strands layered on top of each other. I always forget that I’m dreaming until he reminds me. He seems so real.

"I think it's because I'm getting older that I dream more of you. Not to mention that stress makes me crazy.”

"You have no idea the stress I had, no idea about being in debt and watching my family suffer." His face looks sad and heavy. “A gambler can’t help himself.”

"I know, I think about it sometimes. I can't believe you were able to take it."

"Your mother was angry and she had a right to be. We were the only white people left in the projects. I ain’t never had nothing against black people, but even they didn’t want to be there. If living in the projects wasn’t bad enough, we were kicked out when they found out your mother worked. It could have been so much better." Then he looks at me. “I wasn’t there for you.”

"You were there for me. We got out of the projects and I went to college. So much of what I’ve done is because of you.” What have I done? I wonder as I’m saying this.

"I could have given you more."

Wanna keep dreamin'? Then weave your way here!

••• Mad Merch •••

A few months back we started out on a quest to "Expand the Madness" via our GoFundMe page. This was a big step for us. Before then, we never really put our hands out for some monetary help. But we did and we were rewarded by lots of hard-earned dollars donated to our cause. And even more support thru words, thru shares, thru mad ones out there who showed they really cared. Thank you. Thank YOU. THANK YOU!

All those donated dollars has been put to good use. We were able to legitimize the creative outlet by making Mad Swirl an official biz with an LLC at the end of it. We were also able to start creating Mad merch too! And now we got us a healthy stock just waiting for you to use and abuse how you see fit! But how do we get that merch into your hands when most of your hands aren't in the Dallas area? Well, we did some thinkin' and decided to set us up an online store!

Are just chomping at the bit to get you some "mad" stickers? We got 'em! 5 different colors too! Stick 'em on your favorite bumper!... Window!... Journal!... Your call on where. But get 'em while they last!

$2.50 each

Howsabout a commemorative poster marking our 1st Annual trek "Seeking the Beat of the Heart of Poetry" These Mad Swirl posters were created to support our 2014 trans-Atlantic Swirl-Up at the Fermoy International Poetry Festival in Ireland this August. Once these babies are gone, there will be no more made. Get one now before they're gone!

$5 each

And finally... Got a "mad" t-shirt yet? Well what are you waiting for? These green tee's won't be around forever. We created this tee just for our Ireland fundraiser. So that means we don't plan on printing this color ever again! Get yours... when?... NOW!

$20 each

How can you resist the Mad-ness?! If you can't, click here to visit our online store... where we are always open!

Our GoFundMe page is still up and running and your generous donation are always welcome there too! Check that out 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...

Announcin,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor