1.14.2017

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.14.17

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." ~ Cecil Beaton

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Untitled Portrait of Brooke” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more of William's mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we started life's reel with a spin of the wheel; we drew from the dark our dead from the shadows; we dallied a night with disco desperados; we clamored for common, to make one from two; we made a pawn purchase to buy blues from blue; we screamed at the death bridge, nightmared numb; we ended to start with a satisfied hum. So it goes... ~ MH Clay

Resonance by Lisa Shields

You never expect or plan for resonance.
It is never a gradual, logical linear progression,
rather it is rare and random,
like finding a perfect diamond where lightning fell,
burning everything around the strike
leaving a bit of wonderment in carnage.

I could not, never did count on you,
did not believe in such wild magicks
after life bled me white or romantic notions,
but there you stood, and I felt
insane connection, owing nothing to “compatible”.

Not suitable. Not Appropriate,
tell that to the force elemental
who seized us both after each hello.
She doesn’t give a damn for decorum,
leaving us stone and tinder
to strike flames without intention.

Love is the human construct offered
to those who will never touch as we do,
unplanned and unasked.
I can’t hate you for wanting calm,
for needing an even keel,
but I can’t deny
that we will never NOT touch each other
in this mad, feckless, breath stealing fashion
so long as we draw breath.

And you are not allowed to hate me
for the pounding in my chest,
because we have been too long away
from the force of life we became
too close to not ignite.

Resonance is not the individual pulse,
the thud of blood, heart, or bone.
Resonance is the matched beat
that quiets the ravening parts,
we never found another way to feed
save in each others arms.

January 14, 2017

editors note: Allegiant appetites aflame; harmony from hunger. – mh clay


Paranoid scream by Hem Raj Bastola

?
Dark of the night
Silence creeping
Dead is alive.

Rattling among the bones
Cracked ribs I hear
Nibbling skin, rats are enjoying
Smoking kiln active
Invisible fireworks blasting.

What a celebration
When life is in transit
The bridge is needed to cross.
A thread of hope is blinking
Far ahead the phosphorus flame
The grave is shining, a ghost
Emitting phosphorus
Enacting to live.

And I, as in dream
Terrified and
Paranoid, scream.

January 13, 2017

editors note: Even with the bridge in sight, it’s a terrifying unknown. – mh clay


blue guitar by Carl Kavadlo

there’s a musician
falls in love with a blue
guitar
not
a blues guitar
just
a blue guitar.
THAT’S
a poet, a heart
of music,
a beam of light.
bought it in
a pawn shop.
somebody
with plenty of
blues brought
it there in
exchange
for rent
cigarette money
clothing
transportation,
maybe a nip
of wine and
received far
less than its value.

then sold to
my friend
way over
the denominations
of a fair price
by the seller
over the glass counter,
saxophones on the wall,
toasters on the shelves,
trinkets in glass counters
with wrist watches, slacks
on hangers, jackets, skirts.
who falls in love with a blue guitar
in a pawn shop window?
somebody wanting to pluck
the strings for jitterbugs
across long, wood plank dance floors,
like the poets running to puddles
to record the raindrops,
while everyone else
misses the dance.

January 12, 2017

editors note: Best when played with eyes closed. – mh clay


Life’s Prisoners by Darryl Wellington

If I can breakfast with them
then I can frugal repast with you.
If I can socialize at the early table with them
and trade throat lozenges in between the laughter
then I can share planetary accoutrements
and iron chains
with you.
Sad that you make it so difficult.
Whoever you are,
and this will make the second time I have caught you,
speak, speak, speak to me in sighs instead of
perusing my mail.

January 11, 2017

editors note: Continuing the search for common ground. Speak! – mh clay


War Zone by Julia Cirignano

Lipstick containers lined up like black glossy bullets
Little black dresses meant to burn your eyes and steal your soul
The ticking of the clock and the beat of the music
Counts down the minutes until your death
Eye liner drawing out the rules and the game plan
Eye shadow hiding our secrets and romanticizing our pupils
Our heels make you gag and stare
Hallways and bright lights, cold air and warm breath
You taste vodka on my tongue like I’ve poisoned you
But I’ve only poisoned myself
Sweat drips down my smile as I dance
My hair tangles itself around my neck
You can see your victory as if we were already in your room
But we’re not and I’m gone and I’m not even sorry
I’m running and laughing and broken and I want to cry
But I keep running and laughing coughing on the cold air
My sweat freezes as it drips down the back of my neck
I am trapped but I am running
So I will pretend I am free

January 10, 2017

editors note: Dancing away from death by disco, looking for life on the lam. – mh clay


Dead Again by Jeff Stier

The dead are all around us
they are as alive
in their way
as we are
in ours

We share a world of shadows
with these manes
and step awkwardly
into the light

Every breath of the wind
is a dead soul passing
every autumn leaf that falls
a secret hieroglyph
from the beyond

Beasts in the wild
know this
thus the coyote
sings his mad lament
the raven turns his dull eye
toward the east
expecting not light
but a flight of dark wings

And dark wings
command my attention these days
my eye
turned inexorably toward
the night
Where every word
is farewell
where all commerce ends
and I rejoin the stream of stars

Done with all of this.
And surely
it will be bliss.

January 9, 2017

editors note: Yes! If one leads to another, so let it be… – mh clay


8 – 19 by Brittany Griffiths

Diaphragm vibrations
Tongue solipsism
Eye apparatus
Eardrums
Apparent disconnection
To be
Not to be
Methodological contrast
Categorical comparisons
Create definitions
Conscious pigeonholes
Work human verse
Solid space
Relationships
One without the other
Impossible
Lost attention
Interval ignorance
Melody steps
A note into the next
Marked transition
Permanence unachieved
Vanity of vanities
Vanity, vanity
Tribal history
Human ferment
Seeking deliverance
World of change
Unattached
Unborn
Unoriginated
Unformed
Essential awakening
Samsara
The wheel –
Return
To
Everyday
Life

January 8, 2017

editors note: As in the turning of every wheel; always beginning, always ending… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week we bring you a mighty fine piece from Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Harley's's story "Primal Landscape":

"Saying what’s never true is what we all can count on most. Embrace something routine and name it love, it’ll get you through the honest days."

And here's a li'l view of this landscape to get you goin':

photo (above) "We Build Fences" by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

Day World

Hickory Dickory days, divided into boxes— Time to eat breakfast. (Finish all your egg!) Wash your hands and face. Brush your teeth. (Always up and down.) Sit on the toilet. Wipe front to back. (But never why.) Story time— play time— lunch time— nap time. Take the key and wind her up. If she hollers, shut her up.

(She never did.)

Everything was pink and ruffled and always in its place. There were music boxes, animal crackers (Only two!), and a winding staircase down.

(She always said please and thank you.)...


Get the rest of your read on right here!

(You will.)

•••••••

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

Bein' Different,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

1.07.2017

The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.07.17

"Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is." ~ James Branch Cabell

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Learning to Fly” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more of William's mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we reposed to rise and pour; we sauteed what we're sorry for; we pulled a prince from off his horse; we watched revenge in raging force; we helped a hill to show we care; we combed a beach for lifetime fare; we pulled a soul saver from a rutting raver. Heaven rains while we rule. ~ MH Clay

Billy by Tricia Marcella Cimera

The old Bohemian lady, formerly of Cicero,
who lived across the street slyly claimed
she witnessed Billy Graham fornicating in the
field once where my house now stood, long
ago when he was young, well before my family
moved to the evangelist’s old college town.
It was him alright, she swore. Years later,
I took my Chicago Southsider husband to
to visit the Billy Graham Museum. We saw
the famous Heaven Room; its’ blue cloud-
filled ceiling was rain-damaged at the time.
If heaven has water stains, I don’t want to go,
my husband loudly proclaimed.
Billy, you couldn’t save everyone.

January 7, 2017

editors note: (Cracked) plaster in Paradise? No, say it ain’t so. – mh clay


Beach Comber by Andrew Sano

To walk between the waves and wrack
with ankles numbed and eyes salt squinted,
glints of room things wash away,
while sandy soles forget what’s far.

A comber as it ever was
encompasses and brings to shore
all glories and unnoticed moments,
periwinkles, paradigms.

To take the hand of who did skirt
all continents, an edge addressed,
a mighty Kingdom made of village,
hamlet, hearth and heart, a chain.

But not a fetter, more a necklace,
on a fair throat, throbbed and kissed.
In mist we find what’s missed and cherished,
with averted eyes, we stare.

A care, in soft, uncanny daydream,
all our being, beams in brief,
like tern cries half imaginary,
rookeries of ghost and thief.

January 6, 2017

editors note: Gather as we go… – mh clay


Aliens by Randall K. Rogers

Look at this little anthill
he has created;
it’s a little world

look, they don’t know
where they came from

each one has a mind
like us of it’s own

their animals are like ours
stupid

they have mass
(slowed down and congealing
matter) shootings

we need to help them

Let’s get’em.

January 5, 2017

editors note: Think we can do better? – mh clay


RAGE by Gina Nemo

Rage swallows her heart
While roots entwine her soul
Tearing it to shreds
Yanking at her hope
While she comes up for air

The sun hides behind clouds
Anger climbs the stairway
That circles around those tunnels
Trapped behind those walls
Someone needs to disappear

Torches shimmer in the room
The thief stands with his shadow
This is the night to hurt someone
Edgar Allen Poe would do it
The ink leaks with those dry thoughts

Revenge was never so sweet
The note plays over and over again
Tortured memories amplified
Screams that echo in her mind
He died a slow death with time

January 4, 2017

editors note: “Hell hath no fury…” – mh clay


Deception by Daginne Aignend

So prince charming
Has fallen off his horse
And without any warning
He changed love into force

A rose with a poisoned thorn
So now everybody knows
That this guy is a bloody unicorn
Who likes to piss rainbows.

January 3, 2017

editors note: Oh, when icons topple… – mh clay


CHANCE ENCOUNTER by Alan Britt

When she asks, Would you like to seduce me?,
I scissor her illusionist hips & say,
I live here, even though I’m passing through.

She folds four porcelain knuckles
beneath her chin & muses, This universe
needs work. A slave is a slave is a slave is a slave
& time to abolish this ungodly nonsense.

I agree & pursue what I came for: Quantum
lightning in every sector of my brain before
she fluffs one 4000 thread jasmine wing,
twists & says, I’m buried to my chest in sin. It’ll take
more than guilty kisses to set me free. How about you?

Not hearing well, these days, I sprinkle organic
thoughts into a skillet primed with extra virgin,
cold pressed olive oil, Greek, & sprigs of Italian
parsley, immune to the future.

January 2, 2017

editors note: Salvation by sautee, best served without guilt. – mh clay


Reposado by Devon Balwit

Oh you, Oh me, Oh the small skerch of the cork
pulling free, and the gurgle plash of amber in the

bell-shaped bowl, the sudden cool of stray drops
evaporating on skin, the lift of it, both the glass

and the anticipation of what’s inside the glass, and
the sips heating the tongue, spreading molten

down throat into belly, and the day, Oh the day,
Oh them, out there, melting away, Oh like Lazarus,

I rise from the crypt of small disappointments,
I rise, pour, and rise some more.

January 1, 2017

editors note: I’ll drink to that. A Mad Toast to the New Year! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well Mad Swirl has a really hot story to share with you from Contributing Writer/Poet/Artist Mike Fiorito!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Mike's story "Pale Leviathan":

"No ghost, ever, except for what once was. That’s the forever haunt."

Here's a bit to "warm" you up:


The heat had become unbearable that summer.

“Make it stop, daddy,” Liddy’s son, Torin, said, as they walked home from school. The sun glared down with a vengeance, its rays like vicious lapping tongues. It seemed to Liddy that the sun was angry at the earth.

“I can’t make it stop,” said Liddy. “But we’ll be home shortly. Mom will have the freezing air on.” People had to get special solar powered freezing air units to maintain livable temperatures in their homes. The sun rained down relentlessly, as if hurriedly punishing the earth.

Holding Torin’s hand, Liddy felt the heat blasting his face, too.

“Please, daddy,” said Torin.

The shine beat down on his eyes, even with the sun goggles on. Without the goggles you couldn’t open your eyes, or your eyes teared and became blood shot.

When they got home, Torin cried, the temperature so powerful it made his skin break out in red blotches.

“Rinse your eyes with cool water,” his father said. Torin stopped crying once the cool water hit his face.

As they prepared for dinner, Liddy lifted the canvas shade covering the window. Outside the sky looked hazy and dense. The sun’s rays rushed in like a swarm of bees, even though he just peeked out the window...


Did that lil teaser get ya all hot & bothered? Follow the link to get the rest of this heated read!

••• Open Mic •••


If your New Year’s resolution was to create more madness in this world, you mad ones did it this past 1st Wednesday at our first open mic for 2017!

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

Hosts:
Johnny​ O & MH Clay​

Music:
Swirve​

Mad Mic Cast:
Chris Zimmerly
Reverie Evolving​
Paul Koniecki​
Nadia Wolnisty​
Elliot Pickens
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier​
Paul Sexton​
James "Bear the Poet" Rodehaver​
Desmene M. Statum​
Suza Kanon​
John May
Misty Amber Moore​
Brian Cox​
Hector Ortiz​
Annika Michelle​

HUGE thanks to Swirve (Tamitha Curiel​, Gerard Bendiks​ & Chris Curiel​) for taking us to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

Thanks to all who came out to the City Tavern & shared this beat-utifullest night of poetry and music with us!

and last but NOT least…

Thanks to The City Tavern​’s proprietor Joshua Florence​ for blessing us with our new digs and welcoming us mad ones with open arms and giving us a swirl’n space we can call home.

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

P.S. In case you missed the mic madness that happened this past 1st Wednesday, here's the Facebook LIVE feed of what we swirled up!

•••••••

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...

Rebellin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

12.31.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.31.16

"An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language." ~ Henri Matisse

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“And She Danced” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more of William's mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we forgave our souls like Christmas Scrooges; we prayed our prayer like hi-tech stooges; we found enough in a life changing pome; we ate harsh words which came back home; we roamed as wolves through storied lives; we gazed at stars in wondrous skies; we made ready for change, just left of strange. We'll come 'round new; new me, new you! ~ MH Clay


One world to the left by Kristine Spinner

A new blood pulses through my veins to the off time beat of syncopated disbelief. I am trying to establish a rhythm, a rule; but, it eludes me just now. There is an incorrigible effervescence just below the skin on my cheeks. I am changing, melting, melding into something unrecognizably grand. I won’t be long, I’m just around the corner, one world to the left.

December 31, 2016

editors note: For any New Year naysayers. “Yes!” comes right, from the left. – mh clay


Seasonal Skies of Wonder by Harley White

http://madswirl.com/author/hwhite/

Skies of wondrous starry nights
all aglow with shining lights,
we look up to you with awe
thus to inspiration draw…

Fortunate we earthlings are
on a planet not bizarre,
close enough but not too far
from our solar system’s star

beaming its apricity,
swirled in synchronicity
to nocturnal shimmerings
lit by lunar glimmerings

as the moon reveals her face
gazing down at us from space…
(Though we know how shine those rays
still her luminescent ways

stir our fancies, as in dreams…)
Poets with their reams of themes—
tragic, magic, comical,
even astronomical—

marvel as stargazers do
with celestial aperçu
at galactic scenes on high
querying ‘where, when, and why?’…

This our orbit round the sun
of twelve months again has run
out of time in earthly flight,
and a new one looms in sight.

Looking back, I’ve seen some dreams
lose their way, or so it seems.
There’s been gladness, sadness, fear.
Now we face a coming year…

Skies of wondrous starry nights
all aglow with shining lights,
may we keep your stellar view
in our ken, beyond the blue,

with musings, self-reflective,
lest humans lose perspective!

December 30, 2016

editors note: We are the true tale spinners! Our New Year’s story will be reflected in the stars. – mh clay


Did I Ever Tell You The One About Growing Old? by James Diaz

The force of it all
a century of wolves roaming
strangers
dipping into the conversation
as we fall apart
the golden coast
somewhere
a dark vein touching
against the shatter

tell me your sleep is troubled too
north of the body, breaking
bread, land masses pulled apart
the beautiful truth
is we will die
with out hearts intact
stories roaming the river
like a bad dream
we’ll sigh into each other
counting the hours
between forgiving & forgetting
the last language we’ll ever speak
a longing
still framed
and glistening.

December 29, 2016

editors note: Bittersweet! The future holds wonder if we will. – mh clay


Aces Low by Ian Mullins

Our words lead lives
of their own; while we sleep
they hang around bars
and get into fights,
spend time on their knees
down dirty back alleys
getting down with
other words

before crawling back home
and slipping behind
our teeth and tongues.

When we wake up
we want to spit them out
like flies in Coke,
wondering why a word
sober on Monday
can smell like a drunk
come Tuesday afternoon

when we throw it on the table
like a joker or an ace,
but the game won’t turn
our way.

December 28, 2016

editors note: Let’s play our cards well in the days ahead; especially you folks in the big game, with us as their big stakes. – mh clay


THIS POEM WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE by Beate Sigriddaughter

It will — you did look, didn’t you? —
remind you of your dreams. It will
remind you the world owes you nothing
and you owe nothing in return. Life is
a gift, not a duty; it glides like a river
that doesn’t carve canyons for love. No
deference, no duty, no obedience.
It will remind you of your skin and how
it shelters dreams and bones. How beautiful
you are, exuberant when someone
unexpected crosses your path, a lizard,
a hawk, a lover, and you know even God
isn’t God in order to be loved. You can
breathe now. There are waterfalls
you yearn for you will likely never see,
and dances you will likely never dance
again, though they were dazzling and
perhaps still are in someone else’s bones.
But if you get up early in late summer
you may already find winter’s beloved
Orion in the eastern sky. You are enough
to make things happen.

December 27, 2016

editors note: Yes! Orion floats above us, the coming year is full of hope. Yes! – mh clay


Lord’s tweet by Timothy Pilgrim

r dad up hi
u r super
u r way cool al ovr
give us bred 2day
4giv breakins we do
& WTF no luring
fedx evil away
u r very great
rule on
amen

December 26, 2016

editors note: amen – mh clay


seasonal affectation disorder by Rob Dyer

there are no seasons for me
days
like torn pages of a dark novella
repeat the story line
a tired hero staring,
in search of the villain in his head

yet, as I indulge in a bowl of warm bread pudding,
I somehow am taken by a tinge of Christmas
my memory bank stepping around time bombs
and settling on smiles once bestowed to me,
as I ripped through wrapping
and peered into the hearts of the few who Loved me

the Scrooge in my soul pardons himself
and you’ve caught me believing in Santa one more time

December 25, 2016

editors note: (no) Bah! (no) Humbug! God bless us everyone. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Who needs-a-read on this last day of '16? Well, we got one that just might be a perfect topper to the emotional roller coaster that this passing year was.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Brandon Hansen's story "Pain":

"Madness isn’t always ridiculousness, but when it is, it’s never silent as unhinged visions seep under closed eyelids."

And here's a lil slip down memory lane to get you goin':

photo (above) "Under Eyelids" by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

There’s this show on MTV called Ridiculousness, where Rob Dyrdek, 42, is the coolest, most quick-witted, snap-backin’est, high schoolin’est adult ever, and he spends 22 minutes of a half hour around 10pm laughing at and narrating videos he selected from the part of the internet where people get hurt. He wears snapbacks bearing the Monster Energy Drink logo and overlarge sweatshirts bearing the Monster Energy Drink Logo, and he rolls the sleeves up to his elbows. He is always ready to skateboard.

His co-star, Chanel West Coast, is Los Angeles beautiful. She laughs like a mule.

Tonight, I’m watching Ridiculousness, limp, mouth slack. The videos go like this...


Get your trippy dream read on right here.

••• Open Mic •••


Was your New Year’s resolution to create more madness in this world? Wow, that was ours too! Then join forces with Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.04.17) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ City Tavern!

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ helpin’ of musical mad grooves from Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our open mic 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!

Catch us swirlin' up our madness at The City Tavern located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

P.S. If you're a Facebook'r and want to get on our pre-list, visit our event page and let us know you're gonna be there.

•••••••

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

Speakin' It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

12.24.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.24.16

(photo courtesy of Tyler Malone)

"Art is Art. Everything else is everything else." ~ Ad Reinhardt

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Love Defined” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more of William's mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

We think you may recognize our featured visual artist’s latest batch of mad photos because there’s nothing quite like what William Zuback brings. Either way, whether you’ve seen his work before or not, you’re sure in for a treat! Looking at Zuback’s visionary work almost instantly plants you in some other world – one with with naked, tattooed bodies that you’d find in the deep, dreamy crevices of your imagination. There’s no doubt Zuback’s photography is dark – but all the while, there is something so wonderfully whimsical that we have trouble breaking our gaze. Something about his work leaves us feeling like it may be a different experience for everyone, though, and THAT’s what we here at Mad Swirl love about Zuback’s work the most. It’s intangible and inscrutable with just a hint absolute madness. That’s just our opinion, we’ll leave the verdict up to your interpretation and imagination. ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we quibbled with a quandary; we spiked a nog in nostalgic fog; we named what's noble in a forest of trees; we window shopped for a deity deal; we sweated spell in search of Noel; we succumbed to the seasonal circus (lights, years, blinking); we trimmed a tree in memories. 'Tis the season... ~ MH Clay

The Christmas Tree by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

Uprooted
misplaced
center of volatile calm
stoic devotion to enliven the embalmed
transient equivocal exuberance
foreplay of distraction
branches heavy with unsustainable serenity

yet carefully
lovingly
I wrap around it
stringed laughter of my children
tinseled dreams
glittered wishes
memories of kisses in shiny glass balls
toasts of friendships tied in neat bows

refuge on green altar
from who ?
from where ?
a tree in my living room
shooting roots in dread
till I drag its corpse
through my heart’s chambers
dried hopes still clung to its stiff needles
and drop it at life’s curb
I look at the empty space a tree had been placed
already envision a new one there
was that boredom that sparkled
on its new fresh scent?

December 24, 2016

editors note: It’s not the space it occupies in our home, it’s just a tree after all; but, the space in our hearts… – mh clay


How to know it isn’t a dream by Francesca Castaño

I close the door very gently
I was patient all day long
I can feel the weight on my limbs

All the symptoms of the season
Are around: smiling lights like
Angelic emoticons blinking-

I’ll linger in what’s ripened
I must forget exhaustion
I’ll sink in dreamy sleep

Why worry? The woolen socks
look comfortable and the couch
safe and right as I eagerly sink in

Clarity seems not a problem
The difference is managing rhythm
As lights come up and night rises

Optics interconnected, the hand
the world, this audible circus we’re
part of… and years lasts seconds.

December 23, 2016

editors note: Even when we think we know, we blink at years before we go. – mh clay


August in Croatia by David Subacchi

We land at Dubrovnik airport
Unfolded wheels scraping tarmac
Rumbling a welcome in the heat.

The pilot’s Manchester accent
Wishes us happy holidays
He sounds too young to fly jet planes.

Fifteen degrees when we took off
Above the Lancashire roof tops
But here the sun burns fiercer

For the destruction that took place
In the war for independence
And for precious lives extinguished.

In the old town the streets are smooth
Stones worn by soldiers’ heavy boots
Causing unexpected hazards

But most things have now been repaired
So tourists are not embarrassed
And can spend their money safely.

We gaze down from fortress like walls
The pleasure boats plying their trade
Give no hint of what occurred here.

Only the endless walking tours
Uncover the true history
That refuses to be disguised.

December 22, 2016

editors note: Horrors hide beneath holiday trappings. Bright lights to buy gifts; shirt-sleeved reparations to atone for the past. Noel! – mh clay


How Much Is That God in the Window? by Scott Thomas Outlar

I stared straight into the eyes
of Jesus Christ
through the side window
of a Mormon church
several years ago
during the early a.m. hours
on a cold, blustery, winter
morning in December
somewhere outside the suburbs
of Atlanta, GA.

Now maybe it was all due
to the cheap bottle of whiskey
I’d quickly consumed
to drown my liver
while absorbing the vitriolic wisdom
from a Doug Stanhope comedy special
before taking my drunken sojourn
through the city,
but I’m fairly sure
that J.C. sent
a synchronized smile
imbued with the Holy Spirit Vibration
back in my direction.

Years prior to that,
I met the Easter Bunny
at the bottom of a rabbit hole
I used to frequent
where I eventually wound up
losing much of my mind.
Well, hell,
come to think of it
that might help to explain
the earlier part of this story.

I still chase after Cupid
each new Valentine’s Day,
struggling to steal
one of those damn arrows
he refuses to shoot my way.
But that, of course,
is a tale for another time…

December 21, 2016

editors note: It’s a merry mindf**k, all the way to grandma’s house (our your local religious institution). Jingle the bells in your belfries! – mh clay


Detained Trees by Heather M. Browne

I think of forests
massively filled
air swaddled
with pine and snow
needles crisp, sharp
to bind

But here, a squeezed corner
of penned trees
Douglas, Noble Fir
captive, owned until
the agreed passing of coins
this chain-link Christmas

Piled high
no more room at the inn
yet blooming prolifically
behind this fake snow
and out of reach from the flock
a bird of paradise blooms
Son of God

Nobility comes

at a murderous price

December 20, 2016

editors note: Which is noble? Tree for a season? Or, Bird, to bloom always? – mh clay


Spiked Eggnog by Madelyn Olson

Tonight, my roommates and I will drink eggnog – spiked with rum and
whiskey – and we will put up our Christmas tree.

All day I’ve been trying to remember where my childhood ornaments are.

My mother gave them to me in an old lunch box some years ago.
I misplaced them someplace between here and there
But they’re somewhere.
I know that they’re somewhere.

I can’t stop trying to figure it out.

In that same way,
I cling to the memories,
Something in my heart always aches about the holidays.

But tonight, my roommates and I will drink eggnog – spiked with rum
and whiskey – and we will put up our Christmas tree.

I’ve never been able to handle lifes’ changes like a well-adjusted adult,
But I put on a good front.
Most of the time.

I ache – tender, in the way that I ache – for moments in time,
Things the way they were, not are.
A gross cycle because I wind up berating myself
For always clinging to that which no longer exists.

My family and I – some other Christmas – putting up our Christmas tree.

The holidays remind me of the moments
I used to exist in but never reflected on because
I was too young to understand the aches and pains of nostalgia.
Still, I bet I don’t know the least of it.

So tonight, my roommates and I will drink eggnog – spiked with rum and
whiskey – and we will put up our Christmas tree.

I will try to be present.
I will likely forget.

In that same way, I’ll exist on, drift further,
Misplacing memories somewhere between then
And now,
But they’re somewhere,
And I don’t know if I will ever stop trying to figure it out.

But I do know, I like drinking eggnog – spiked with rum and whiskey

December 19, 2016

editors note: Ornament as memory; nostalgia for Noel. (This one is from our Mad Gallery editor. Thanks for this holiday splash – of eggnog, Madelyn!) – mh clay


Christmas Quandary by MH Clay

In the beginning
There was god…

Then came questions

Man likes answers
Likes invention
There’s the devil in our dogma
In our absolutes, oppression

Our best rubrics
Have the best marketing
All our attentions are captured and directed
Where the market needs them to be

Then someone tells a joke
And we laugh
Sings a song
And we’re filled
With happiness
Good will

So, why not a handshake?
A kind word?
Yes, this season manipulates merry
Into goods, for the good of commerce
Which is, of course, good for all

But, let’s make it what we want
Wonder
Welcome
Warm wishes

Turn our myths to mirth
Our markets to magnanimity
Homogenous happiness and harmony

So…

An elf, a reindeer and a rastafarian
Walk into a bar
The bartender says,
“We don’t serve reindeer in here!”
The rasta says,
“Dat’s OK, Mon! I’m not hungry.”

The elf says,
“I don’t get out much these days,
It’s nice to get away.”
The rasta says,
“No, Mon? I’d o’ thought
Workin’ for da Santa Man would be
A walk in da park.”

“You don’t know what it’s like,” says the elf.
“We work ‘round the clock for no pay.
Santa says we should be happy with the knowledge
That we are bringing joy to all those children.
Well, I got lots of joy,
But, you’re gonna have to buy the drinks,
Cuz I’m broke.”

The rasta says, “Wow, Mon!
I thought you elf types were rich, rich, rich.
Santa don’t pay you?”
The elf says,
“Santa may be jolly, but he’s a cheap bastard.”

The reindeer says nothing,
Because reindeer can’t talk.

That would be ridiculous.

Merry Christmas!

December 18, 2016

editors note: ’tis the season to give ’til it hurts. But it doesn’t have to be? Can you imagine putting bows and ribbons on homogenous happiness and harmony and calling them gifts? Yep, I can too. Thanks for the cockle warming, MH! ~ johnny o

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? We got just what you need, wrapped up nicely and ready to read.

In keeping with the spirit of this week's ho-ho-holiday themed poetry, we are featuring "Merry Marshmallowed Memories" from Mad Swirl's Chief Editor Johnny Olson. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this trip down memory lane:

"It’s that Mad season again, and let us play in the Swirl like children with our tongues out, ready for the skies to bless us with memories."

And here's a lil slip down memory lane to get you goin':


’twas 1978, early morn on the eve of all Eves, snow came crashing in waves of big fat flakes that blasted our dingy urban world in a blanket of white wintry innocence. As I recall decades later, with nostalgic-tinted glasses, the mundane neighborhood landscape seemed to turn magical as I looked out the fogged-up windows and saw this dream scene. Within minutes I was bundled up head to toe in a half dozen layers of clothes leaving only my eyes and nose exposed. A merry mummy I be as me and my friends ran out to greet this blizzardy scene...

Slide on thru the rest of this merry memory right here.

•••••••

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

Warmin' Cockles,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

12.17.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.17.16

"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Mr. Warner: 4” (above) by featured artist(s) Daniel Ableev & Bob Schroder. To see more of Daniel & Bob's mad 'toons, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

Stay tuned for a new featured artisté comin' at'cha next week!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we met a striver, a wide aliver; we planted our love on a bench in a garden; we listened to roadkill, our softness to harden; we saw a poet-loving fool with a saccharin drool; we held on tightly to letting go; we reminisced o'er all we know; we gave o'er despair to home repair. All us, all inward; all good for the good of all. Tis the Season... ~ MH Clay

OLD HOUSE by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

The old house is haunted
by things that should be
tossed away. It holds
on to memories and
turns on the nostalgia
of broken dreams.

The old house needs a
new owner or a good
cleaning. It pulls you
in and throws you out.
It makes you long for
things that worked,
but now are broken.

December 17, 2016

editors note: In a depressed market, maybe renovation is best. – mh clay


Standing In the Doorway Of Yesterday by Susandale

In the thin light of March
When naked trees wear
Only voices of the past
Then do I rewind remembrance
Time velvet in depths of shadows
Weightless dreams and distant figures
Standing in nocturnal doors
Light and the way it creates
Atmosphere around the years
The way light falls on yesterday
With its breath of mist
Feathers drawn across
The wet paint of memory
Tremors – Quivers – Aloft in the air
Yesterday, with its lines crossed over
Rubbed thin, crumpled within
The fingers of fate
Ephemeral shadows shading winter windows
Luminous winter light
And the snow that dusts
My windows with dreams
Sweeping with vertical strokes
Wiping over with whitewash
Across the epitaphs of time

December 16, 2016

editors note: All we remember are shadows and light. – mh clay


Fear of flying by Lisa Moak

You, regard in disbelief,
shifting your feet like a bird testing its wings,
the ticket agent who says,
“At 15 you are old enough to fly alone.”

You, fumble anxiously
with belt and shoes,
while the line ahead shuffles and moans,
and I walk beside holding your passport.

You, stare over my head
at the empty tarmac, enduring this too.
“Flying alone must be hard,”
the gate attendant worries.
She has a daughter your age,
but her worries are not for you.

You, tired and annoyed,
ask, “Why don’t you just go?”
Mothers don’t leave,
you must have forgotten
all the days and nights
I have remained.

Boarding begins.

You, offer me your arms,
spread wide, embracing things to come
while I cling to those familiar.
Then, off you march,
grasping your suitcase,
backpack flung across your back,
towards the dusky doorway,

and don’t look back.

I wave good-bye
to no one.

December 15, 2016

editors note: Leaving is looking and longing for leaver and left. Bon Voyage! – mh clay


the poet at midnight by Dan Evans

she composes poetry
in a spiral cloud draped
across a crescent moon
bold black letters circling
the miniscule page, as she
measures meter and rhythm
by the length of her arms
and the palms of her hands
counting out syllables
with fluttering fingertips
and breath from her lips
pen poised at pristine page
words waiting to awaken
sings sotto voce serenade
against diaphanous backdrop
of lavender and honey
and i, defenseless man
drooling saccharin haikus,
cannot help but love her

December 14, 2016

editors note: Alliterative infatuation evolves into amorous adoration. – mh clay


Dead Dog Music by Gnadia Wolnisty

Your music sounds like roadkill,
I told you when we first met.
Perhaps you didn’t hear me or were a little offended,
because you got quiet.

But I figured this was an okay thing to say
because you had asked me, quite blankly,
if I had ever installed dry wall and if
I had enjoyed inhaling and then coughing up the particles.
I told you No, with all the dignity I could muster,
but was thinking Dear god, that sounds amazing
and I want to.

What I meant, though, was
it’s the music of the real, and
that can be jarring sometimes
and cause for pause – like seeing matted fur
outside your car window.

Roadkill isn’t like other rubbish; you can’t
just pick it up and throw it away
or use a bottle when your ashtray gets full.
There is a particular resilience to roadkill,
even after the damage has been done.

I don’t know what the roadkill is like
over in New York where you are
learning to dance quietly
like the end of a fishing pole,
where you are learning about how small
a house can be, and how to leave the few
safe places you have known.

Perhaps there are more squirrels,
less dogs, more birds, or some big elk.
But I think if you make music like
the flash of fur and red through a window
then the cruelty of heavy things
won’t ever make you frail.

December 13, 2016

editors note: Something to have on everyone’s playlist. – mh clay


Who Loved These Gardens by Logen Cure

You hold my hand as we walk through Kew Gardens
(it is morning, this is London) and we laugh at how
it’s pronounced like the letter Q and I think
that things are not as phonetic as they seem.

It is morning (and London)
and you are wearing your new shoes
and I am wearing my new coat
(we bought these things in hopes they would last),

and as we walk, we read the benches.

Mary Hunt
Set free to enjoy the
bluebells forever

I think about how people choose their place,
how they make homes of swans to feed and paths lined with daffodils

and it occurs to me that my place—
my place is wherever
your here is.

We are young (and this is London)
(good morning) and I am thinking of tomorrow and
tomorrow and (I’m sorry)

and the daffodils and benches
(I’d like our initials and an ampersand
or nothing at all).

December 12, 2016

editors note: Wherever your love is planted, there will your garden be; & or nothing. – mh clay


I STRIVE by Stephen B. Fleming

I strive against the haters
The master debaters that call themselves statesmen.
I don’t like your states of mind, men.
You say you want to serve but you swerve to the curve of your ego.
You go where the money is, the fear is and smog the air with unfeeling blindness.
There’s no kindness in your policy that I see.

I strive to seek the truth your lies disguise.
To dissect the torrent of information
The filtration of the voices that seek to explain but just drain my will.

I strive against my flaws and vices.
So many devices to stop me from perceiving the grieving of my soul
That obstructs the vision of a clear decision.

The hate within is the barrier to see the carrier of the hate without
To know the truth with a big T and little t.
Not just to see but act.
The fact of Truth is more in the act.
I wear the cloth of sloth too often as my garment.
But to persevere is to fight the fear.
To be alive.

I strive.

I strive.

December 11, 2016

editors note: A call to be the “I” in strive. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Mad Swirl has an easy one to feed your need with.

This week's featured short story at Mad Swirl, "Easy Money" comes from Austin Brookner. Here's what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about it:

"Success is tis one truth: opportunity. Being somewhere in the world and seeing some way to come out living better. Some, though, can’t keep their hands to themselves and they only stand close to others to steal a dollar from their pack pocket."

Here's a quick steal of "Easy Money" to get you goin':

photo (above) "Quick Bite" by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

I’d been walking around the east side in circles. I felt sluggish and in pain. I had to go somewhere. I had to eat. Like mother says, “a hungry man is an angry man.” I decided I would stop off at Piano’s for their happy hour lunch special. Burger and a salad for five bucks. Can’t beat it.

Where was I? Damn, this is the annoying part of town where the streets and the avenues aren’t numbered. Let’s see… Eldridge, Allen, Orchard, Ludlow. So four more blocks. Gosh, how could four blocks feel like so many? As though someone would have to manually pull me along with a chain. I dragged my bones into the joint. There were only two other customers—a young gentleman, eating a burger and gazing out over his beer, and a young woman rapt with her phone. Occasionally the woman would lift her head away, only to ponder what to type into it next. When she reached for her martini glass her eyes never drifted from the screen.

My burger arrived and I greedily went after it. The young gentleman was now reading a paper. The young woman was reaching into her pocketbook to pay her bill. She was prepping herself as though she had important things to go do. It occurred to me that people were getting younger. Then it occurred to me that maybe I was getting older.

When I finished my meal I went outside and sat on the bench for a smoke before returning to pay my check. A man came out from a bar next-door while I was smoking and said aloud to no one: “Awww, they split.”

He sat down next to me.

“Hey man, what’s going on?”

“Fine. Hangin.”

“I’m fucked up, man.”

“That’s good. Nothing wrong with that.”

He looks around, lets out an “Accgh,” and like a man possessed goes back into the bar he just came out of...


Smooth rollin' so far! Keep this need-a-read fix goin' right here!

•••••••

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

Practicin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

12.11.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.10.16

"Well we all shine on / Like the moon and the stars and the sun / Well we all shine on / Ev'ryone come on" ~ John Lennon


••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Mr. Warner: 3” (above) by featured artist(s) Daniel Ableev & Bob Schroder. To see more of Daniel & Bob's mad 'toons, 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 looked for the where of a place not there; we lost some more from desperate shores; we blocked out war on the dance floor; we gave up will for no good, and still; we burned up the profit in prophecy; we shook out the water for the glow; we felized navidad for the show. Everyone different, everyone the same. Seasons greetings in any name. ~ MH Clay

Feliz Navidad by Donal Mahoney

Pedro swings a mop all night
on the 30th floor of Castle Towers
just off Michigan Avenue
not far from the foaming Lake.
The floor is his, all his,
to swab and wax till dawn.

The sun comes up and Pedro’s
on the subway snoring,
roaring home to a plate
of huevos rancheros,
six eggs swimming
in a lake of salsa verde,
hot tortillas stacked
beside them.

After breakfast,
Pedro writes a poem
for Esperanza,
the wife who waits
in Nuevo Leon.
He mails the poem
that night, going back
to his bucket and mop.

Pedro’s proud
of three small sons,
soccer stars
in the making.
On Christmas Eve
the boys wait up
in Nuevo Leon
and peek out the window.
Papa’s coming home
for Christmas!

Pedro arrives at midnight
on a neighbor’s donkey,
laughing beneath
a giant sombrero.
He has a red serape
over his shoulder,
and he’s juggling
sacks of gifts.

When the donkey stops,
the boys dash out and clap
and dance in circles.
Esperanza stands
in the doorway
and sings
Feliz Navidad.

editors note: This Santa is no holiday concoction; he arrives with gifts and laughter for real. Feliz Navidad! – mh clay


Feel Me? by Daniel Kuriakose

The falafel joint jets out on the block,
like a marked card.
This guy, with his tie dyed attitude,
struts to the joint,
meets eyes with another guy
he hasn’t seen lately.

“How you been?” Other Guy asks.
“Water in my ears. What’d you say?”
“What kind of water?”

They clasp each other’s hands
by the finger joints
and Tie Dye, with the joint problems,
winces as they pull in, to bump
shoulders, in a semi-orbit,
like two galaxies who’ve gotten too close.

Tie Dye shakes the city out his ears,
the way physical contact is a lubricant
to undo isolation crusting over itself,

the way you say “let’s blow this joint,”
to your life, all of it, out his ears.
He looks up and explains the river
flooding his canal:

“Know how the ocean glows sometimes,
’cause all the bioluminescent algae,
how they try to touch,
but glow instead?”

editors note: At our dysfunctional best, sometimes we glow. – mh clay


ANTI-POLITICS THUMBNAIL by Stefanie Bennett

… Whoever’s prophet material
Had best seek counsel
From the nation
Of ‘The Northern Lights’:

No velure head-hunter need apply –

No Moulin Rouge mudslinger –

No tyrannous protoplasm
Batting an evil eye –.

Lucidity epitomises
The cold ground’s
Imminent banter;

“Where man ends
The flame begins” *

And we will never
Put Prague
Or Jan Palach
Back together, again.

{*Miroslav Holub}

editors note: If self-immolation was the required imprimatur, we’d have damn few prophets. – mh clay


To Shoot Up with Regrets by James Robert Rudolph

Songbirds start forming circles
in a roughening sky there’s trouble ahead
dust devils careen and clone
gritty, pitting, stinging in their spin
a mange-ing cat wet hisses at a
far off siren and something’s on its way.

A bony doorman invites me
into a brothel he has no teeth and smells
of damp onions air static as a bell jar’s holds
sexual squeaks and bathroom sounds in
a soupy suspension and nothing nothing good
can come of this.

I eye fresh sutures closing the gap
on my forearm and if I don’t watch myself
I’ll unlace my arm like a corset and infection
will redden my skin like an algae bloom
a red tide and I tell myself don’t go there.

I know lost weekends and the poking horns
of no good devils and setbacks and how
none of it’s worth it and still.

editors note: “Here we go again!” Every addict’s refrain. – mh clay


Mods Dancing by Linda Imbler

Stripes, squares, planes and angles
lots of stripes, black pinstripes, but not Sergeants’ stripes.
Parallel lines and black and white squares
but no squares on the dance floor, undulating.
Music from the speakers blasting pulsing electric vibes
and as they begin to move, subtly,
twist but don’t shout, hands expressive,
self-expression without judgment,
their own music-the Mods-their lives are all
about fashion and all about the thumping beat.
Dance floors are so crowded with bodies
moving in place, eyes closed experiencing rhythms
heard with their unique ears. They weave and
bounce but keep the attitude cool, girls with hair with bangs,
but not the bangs of escalating war
in some foreign land. Boys with hair
grown to length, hanging over collars,
sharp collars that for some will be replaced with drab green.
Clothes not funereal, surprisingly,
not drab checkerboard patterns dazzling the eye, something
so colorful about this dress worn by
kids who had yet to discover hip,
those for whom video was all in the head.

editors note: Delight on the disco floor, oblivious to the beat of war. – mh clay


Expatriate by D.A. Moulton

The list goes on.
Cry me out a layer
thick and salty
crusted crystal.
Digging beneath walls
like Berlin. And I am east,
so far east.
Hiding in hollowed out car seats,
deplumed and desperate.
Save me from razor blade
wired fence, made of mind
and kind. Thrashing aside
long boat river bullets
running.
Bloated and blind
drifting to the bitter Atlantic.
Weeping at the roll call.

editors note: Names not called; nowhere to go when the last doors close. (We welcome D.A. to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay


I STRIVE by Stephen B. Fleming

I strive against the haters
The master debaters that call themselves statesmen.
I don’t like your states of mind, men.
You say you want to serve but you swerve to the curve of your ego.
You go where the money is, the fear is and smog the air with unfeeling blindness.
There’s no kindness in your policy that I see.

I strive to seek the truth your lies disguise.
To dissect the torrent of information
The filtration of the voices that seek to explain but just drain my will.

I strive against my flaws and vices.
So many devices to stop me from perceiving the grieving of my soul
That obstructs the vision of a clear decision.

The hate within is the barrier to see the carrier of the hate without
To know the truth with a big T and little t.
Not just to see but act.
The fact of Truth is more in the act.
I wear the cloth of sloth too often as my garment.
But to persevere is to fight the fear.
To be alive.

I strive.

I strive.

editors note: A call to be the “I” in strive. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Mad Swirl has just the one to feed your need with.

This week's featured short story at Mad Swirl, "The Wicked One" comes from Chris Minton . Here's what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about it:

"Just when you think you’ve quit the carnival, it moves next door. Lions, terror, horror, when laughter corrodes to screams, it’s all so close, and all there for you. Shut your eyes and breathe it all in."

Here's a bit of a hit of "The Wicked One" to get you goin':


She closed the door and, through the peep hole, watched him walk down the hall to the elevator as his semen leaked from between her legs and pooled in her underpants. As soon as he had disappeared from sight, she pressed her forehead against the door and began to quietly cry. From behind her came a familiar voice.

“I thought he’d never leave.”

She began to cry harder.

“Now, now. Come have a seat with me.”

She shook her head, flinging tears on the threadbare carpet below.

“That’s not nice after all I’ve done for you.”

“Leave me alone,” she croaked. The words felt distant and translucent, as if uttered by someone else and intended for an age long since passed. They scattered helplessly on the floor around her.

“You don’t really mean that. I can tell.”

Her knees gave out under the weight of the truth and she crumpled to the floor. Minutes passed, the only sound—low and guttural, dripping with shame and disease—emanated from the place within her where memories are permanently and unforgivingly emblazoned.

“I’m waiting.”...


Keep this need-a-read fix goin' right here!

••• Mad Swirl Merch •••

LAST CALL: Mad Swirl T-shirts & Sweatshirts!


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 the holidaze if you buy before December 15th. They come in all sizes for men and woman and a variety of colors. Come get you some and while you’re at it, why not get one for the whole fam?!

••• Open Mic •••

(photos courtesy of Dan "the man" Rodriguez. To see all of 'em visit our Mad Swirl Flickr page!)

’t’was the season for some Holiday Hijinx and a perfect reason for all the Mad girls and boys to Swirl up some noise! They all brought their holiday hoots and howls together to swirlebrate the whole spectrum of expression this time of year invokes. It’s was all you, all us, all together in our Mad Holiday Hijinx Swirl-ebration!

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

Hosts:
Johnny O & MH Clay

Music:
The Gerard Bendiks & Ed McMahon Duo

Holidaze Hijinx Cast:
Johnny O
Opalina Salas
Paul Koniecki
Kristine Spinner
Carlos Salas
Phillip Todd Brewer
Brett Ardoin
Chris Zimmerly
MH Clay

Mad Mic Cast:
Vic Victory
Paul Sexton
Desmene M. Statum
Danny Muñoz Chibli
Lee Phan
Cj Critt
Hershey
Hope Holz
Max Young
Suza Kanon
Mahnoor Samama
Jacob Tesky
Zarmonee
Jack Joiner
Tom Ferris
Kato

HUGE thanks to Gerard Bendiks & Ed McMahon for taking us to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

Thanks to all who came out to the City Tavern & shared this beat-utifullest night of poetry and music with us!

and last but NOT least…

Thanks to The City Tavern’s proprietor Joshua Florence for blessing us with our new digs and welcoming us mad ones with open arms and giving us a swirl’n space we can call home.

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

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...

Shinin' On,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

12.03.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.03.16

"The task of the artist at any time is uncompromisingly simple to discover what has not yet been done, and to do it." ~ Craig Raine

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Mr. Warner: 2” (above) by featured artist(s) Daniel Ableev & Bob Schroder. To see more of Daniel & Bob's mad 'toons, 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 posited to piddle-about for answers in the middle-about; we replaced dastard with dog, though both were golden; we laid down a rap that would show up on Snapchat; we soothed a sight for sore eyes; we floundered for floor "why"s; we wrestled with fear that our muse won't come near; we surrendered expectation to watch with fascination (every poet is a fire). Poet, muse, middle to end; we tell our tale as our tale tells us. ~ MH Clay

Expect by Trier Ward

I once knew a poet
capable of torture,
beautiful,
full of the fire
of himself.
I broke my heart
upon him.
Now it hurts less
because I don’t expect
him to be noble.
I don’t expect anything.
I just watch and wait
as he plays himself out.
He’s still beautiful.

editors note: No expectations; yet, hope for the poet in us all. (Read another of Trier’s missives; the ultimate selfie – check it out on her page.) – mh clay


ODD TIMES by Bradford Middleton

The last few months have been a bit odd
Success has come in some form and now
Well, frankly, it’s all just been a bit odd
With happiness comes a failure of my muse
As I struggle to find the words to describe
How this feels and what it means to me
Because now, as I sit gazing out the much
Viewed window here in the last resort I know
I can no longer be miserable as
For the first time in a long time I actually
Have enough, or will soon do, to get out
But right now all I want to do is remain
As this place has been my world and
I worry that if I move on what will become
Of the muse who came to me in those
Mad, deranged, booze soaked, drug addled
Days when I’ve been stuck here living
This life in the last resort

With the idea of getting out and moving on
I worry as will me leaving here mean I can
No longer create the rough-hewn words I
Laid down here as life becomes
Just a little more comfortable and
With no misery and nothing to hate
What is left for me to do but write about the
Booze but now even that avenue
Down which flooded oceans of primo
Lager, gin, ale, whisky, rum and wine
Have dried up as I attempt to clean up
And survive a whole month without
Even a tipple, surely impossible!

So, if you don’t hear from me for a while
It’s because my muse has become infected
With clean-living, optimistic dreams of a
Life that may very well come real

editors note: Odd times beg the question: Does environment make the muse or, vice versa? – mh clay


…and the floorboards were golden by Tom Pescatore

so that you ran your tongue against them
carving and chipping bone and screw

so that you were forgetful
unable to piece together what had come before

so that you pulled your knees up to your chin
blind to dirt and dust and scruff and tar

so that you took to running knifed edges across grain
drawing up curled veins

so that each needled point penetrated the skin
and left glitters of light in their path

so that with each step the surface gave slightly sinking
marking your footprints your face prints your palms

so that at night it appeared as it did before
but for the metallic taste

so that even though your outside mildewed with collapse
the inside shone brightly in the sun

editors note: Many reasons for the color of the floor. Name yours… – mh clay


Visine by Paul Hostovsky

My left eye is killing me,
I say to my wife. It could be
allergies, she says. It could be
my retina getting ready
to detach, I say, or glaucoma
or syphilis or cancer. Why
do you always have to jump
to your death? she says.
I don’t answer right away.
At the CVS, a whole aisle
of eye drops: drops for dry eyes,
drops for watery eyes, drops
for red and itchy eyes. My eyes
light on Visine and suddenly
I’m sixteen again and smoking
pot every day and trying to hide it
from my mother, cutting classes
left and right and writing
my stupid clever poems
about sex and trees and death.
There’s a poem in here just itching
to get out, I think as I tilt
my head back and squeeze:
two fat drops stinging as they go
to work. And how long before
Johnson & Johnson figured out
the reason for the precipitous jump
in sales? And how long before
I fell so far behind in high school
I ended up dropping out?
The truth is, I’ve been jumping
to my death all my life. Because
it’s good practice, I say to my wife.
And what about your eye, is it
still killing you? she says. No, I say,
but now my feet hurt. And also
my right knee. That could be
from all the jumping, she says.

editors note: Hypochondria or soothsaying; if we’re gonna jump, gotta see. – mh clay


Insta Queen by Hannah Searsy

Double double
Toil and trouble
Fire burn and
Envy bubble
Build me up an Instagram queen
Posting her local lattes
And modeling screeds
Fucking skinny bitch
With her undercut
And nipple piercings
Star tattoos and colored hair
A pinch of crop top, a bit of Wicca
A slap of that, you know, attitude
Let’s keep it up and she’ll get thinner
Look at me look at me look at me
She says with sparkle and smiles
Let’s be like every bitch
Except for me

editors note: Celebrate your common uniqueness; on line, always better than off. – mh clay


The Three Bears by Chrissie Morris Brady

After the golden haired girl had run away
after intruding and breaking furniture,
Papa Bear carefully fixed the bed and chair.
Mama Bear served fresh hot porridge.
Baby Bear sadly said, “It won’t be the same.”
So they all had a think and then Papa Bear
took his family to town to buy new locks.
Instead, they came home with a Golden Retriever.

editors note: After upheaval, loss retrieval. – mh clay


Aye, Funny, Innit by Paul Tristram

How you can drink yourself sober.
Love someone too much.
Be in the wrong place at the wrong time
and not even realize it
until Fate’s sealed up all boltholes.
Get out of bed on the wrong side.
Wear that smile on the other side of your face.
Why kicking a dog when it’s down
is to be applauded these days.
How everyone loves a Winner
but everybody wants to stop them getting there.
Solitude and Loneliness
have absolutely nothing to do with one another.
End a ten year marriage by squeezing
from the wrong end of the toothpaste tube.
The Left is wrong, the Right is wrong also
and the sensible answer
is sitting somewhere in the middle
but no one’s ever looking there.
You get in trouble for retaliating.
Most murders and rapes will be committed
by someone you’ve already
smiled at and shared a coffee with.

editors note: We were laughing, until it happened… Not so funny, anymore. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Mad Swirl has just the one to feed your need with.

This week's featured short story at Mad Swirl, "Repressed Slumber Party Memory Syndrome" comes from Gregg Williard. Here's what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about it:

"Remember the innocence you never had. Pretend to carry all the details of when you were a better person with you because the burden of being a good person never weighs enough."

Here's a bit of "Repressed Slumber Party Memory Syndrome" to get you goin':

(photo (above) "Memories Set in Stone" by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

It was the night of the slumber party. The little brother served bowls of ridged potato chips and garlic and onion dip to the teenage sister and her friends in pajamas. But wait! Wasn’t there a truck driving past the house at that moment? Try to remember! The truck was painted violet with decorative tendrils of fuchsia, and silver, remember? But wasn’t that a strange color for a truck in the late 1950s? And what was such a truck doing on your residential street? It was doing something! But wait! The fuchsia tendrils, there was a name for such decorative flourishes! Was it customized detailing? Try to remember! Such designs appeared on hot rods and souped-up V-8 dragsters. But wait—the little brother didn’t care about engines or cars, or trucks! Memory follows appetite! Follow that appetite! The chips! They were ridged! The edges rippled, as if cut with special scissors! And those scissors are called pinking shears! Cutting such saw-toothed or wavy or ridged edges is called pinking. The tendrils on the truck were fuchsia and silver...

Keep this memory goin' right here!

••• Mad Swirl Merch •••

Back by Popular(ish) Demand: Mad Swirl T-shirts & Sweatshirts!


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 the holidaze if you buy before December 15th. They come in all sizes for men and woman and a variety of colors. Come get you some and while you’re at it, why not get one for the whole fam?!

••• Open Mic •••

Mad Holiday Hijinx Swirl-ebration!


‘t’is the season for some Holiday Hijinx and a perfect reason for Mad girls and boys to Swirl up some noise! Bring your holiday hoots and howls together; the whole spectrum of expression this time of year invokes. It’s all you, all us, all together in our Mad Holiday Hijinx Swirl-ebration!

Join we merry Mad ones (with musical guests Bendiks-Hendricksen) this 1st Wednesday (aka December 7th) The Swirl-ebration starts at 8:00pm sharp and lasts until no more cheer can be shared!

Come on out, one & all. Share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our open mic 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!

Catch us swirlin' up our madness at The City Tavern located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

P.S. If you're a Facebook'r and want to get on our pre-list, visit our event page and let us know you're gonna be there.

•••••••

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