8.27.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.27.16

"Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race." ~ Johann Georg Hamann

••• The Mad Gallery •••

(click here to to hear the accompanying track to this piece)

“Surveillance” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we grieved on paper true, bleeding ink from red to blue; we pulled the lever of atomic never; we lost everything but the weight which pulls us down; we danced in the street in a prismed crown; we sheltered in the eaves of clinking leaves; we wondered at the word of a mystery bird; we slipped in the slur of a cataract blur; we avoided inane talk by an honest jaywalk. Every day we wake in the steps we take. ~ MH Clay


the jaywalker by John Grochalski

we’ve lived in the same building
going on eight years now
see each other in the hallway
the laundry room
in the basement when i’m throwing out
the cat litter, food scraps and booze bottles
on this long street we pass each other
maybe three or four times a day
going nowhere good
me to work or the liquor store or to the grocery
and he to go and sit
in the laundromat or citibank vestibule
and with each passing it’s the same thing
how’s it going?
have a good one
each time we meet in the apartment, too
there are these customs we have
a head nod, a tip of the hat
i don’t know which one of us started it
eight years of these trite greetings
and no other conversation, thank god
well, yesterday i was coming down the street
coffee and a bagel and a wicked hangover this time
and he was coming up the street
we both looked steeled for the same old same old fate
when suddenly he broke between two parked cars
hustled his old ass across the street away from me
with angry people honking their angry horns
leaning their heads out windows to curse him out
on their way to church
not even a head nod my way
eight years broken in one bold move
and as he limped off toward wherever
i watched him
not angry
not sad at being shunned as such
but feeling happy and full of grace
that someone in this world
had finally taken the time to get to know me
and what i really wanted
after all of these silly
wasted years
on such hollow kindness.

editors note: Honesty for false honors? Good trade! – mh clay


Cheap Trick by Jonathan Beale

One slight; one night; once among the neon
and the bar room noise
The chaos
Seemed to be alien vaguely relative, somehow familiar.
The action something invisible something unreal
Although important for need of mankind
The need for when all else has drained
Down away away away…

All their eyes were distracted by
The neon, billboards, and garbage blowing about
Now forgotten
Yesterday’s wants now gone – bellies empty
Unrequired – yet to cut out as a cataract
To forget the image.

editors note: The impossible trick; to unsee a thing. – mh clay


Bird Songs by Christopher Minton

I passed you every morning, for we had a routine
And like a good New Yorker, I kept my head down
I did not look at you, not even once
But I listened, for it was impossible to avert my ears

You spoke to me, uninvited, every time I went by
The things you said were maddeningly inconsistent
They rained down, a chaotic soup of judgments
That I was left to wrestle with in my own time

One morning I heard you smile even before you spoke
“You know what I like about you?” A pause.
“I like the way you make yourself laugh when you’re all alone.
That is,” you pronounced, “cute and quite endearing.”

Another morning your voice wasn’t as soft
“You know what’s really sad?” Silence.
“What’s really sad is how much energy you expend
Worrying about what other people think of you.”

We carried on in this manner, you and I
How many days or weeks or months I could not say
I clung to your sing-song voice throughout the day
Despite my self-admonitions to do otherwise

And then one day, as I approached your nest
I stopped and looked up, making eye contact for the first time
And there you sat, surprisingly beautiful in your knowing
You laughed and the sound echoed across the years

I knew then who you were, and I relished my understanding
Your mouth opened and let fly no words, only a bird song
It was joyful, and I knew what you were telling me, and I believed you
“Now,” you sang, “we’re getting somewhere.”

editors note: “I’ll bet you think this song is about you.” – mh clay


September Journal: Monday, September 30, 2013 by Don Mager

As earth rolls the horizon up and
away from the sun’s unflinching glare,
the long-armed light splashes shifting patches
of sparkling margarita lime high
across the clinking leaves at the tops
of trees. The breeze shakes variegated
pom-pom shimmy-shammies. Short skirts fluff
and shiver their pleats. As they giggle
in irrepressible voiceless
childish glee, miss and hit flutters of
spiraling unhurried leaves drift through
the dark cavernous lower branches
to hide among shadows blanketing
earth. Earth’s roll moves on as the dark ascends.

editors note: Arboreal ecstasies, last minute mayhem before dark. (We welcome Don to our crazy conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page.) – mh clay


Muscovite by Sheikha A.

it was like doing the cha-cha on a sheet
of glass; the side street was carpeted
by pebbles,

I could as well imagine walking my feet
on tiny rubies, emeralds or diamonds
crunching and grunting

but the watchmen’s children invented a game
substituting marbles cleverly

their laughter filling the air like the sun
sparkling on thin windows, the light
falling on their hair like a crown of prisms

their beams reaching to the sky
telling the birds to join in the play

maybe it had rained stones
the night before
or snowed grey/black crystals –
nothing can be a bad thing
happiness can be transparent, after all –

editors note: Pebbled and child-laughter happy. No darkness on that street. – mh clay


i do not want to lose by Carl Kavadlo

my keys
my mind
my favorite trapeze
a guitar string
the warmth of coffee
friends of the past
nor my coat
nor my hat
in the snowy blizzards
nor the functioning of
the a.c. in the summer
the buttons to my shirt
nor the hair on my head
loved ones

just
the one
immovable
that doesn’t
budge: weight.

editors note: An endless conundrum; let go, hold on. – mh clay


Caution of an Atom by Mike Fiorito

When the bed’s miserly corners
Consort with the ceiling to enfold you,
You reach for the lever – never
Did you think?
Life could shrink
So small that you couldn’t count Angels within its walls?
So small
Air strangles in one last breath.

And near death,
You reach for the lever – forever
Is a long time to dangle your feet off –
Of a sun crushed to the caution
Of an atom.

editors note: Even then, still hope for one ionic bond. – mh clay


High by Katie Lewington

went to the cemetery –
hoping to dig my own grave
look at all these people –
buried away
sky was overcast –
tears were swept back
it seems peaceful and comforting
not at all like death in his early years

well, now look I’ve written some lines
a poem from other people’s dead lives –
current was blocked
that no doctor could stop

I’m writing in red –
unable to find the pen that writes in blue
as b4
habits bespoke –
there is something more than silence something worse –
coming out –
the ticking of the clock
like the train from the tunnel
the sudden light fierce –

books should not be this quiet
they should be crying from the shelves –
life should not be passed should be encountered –
and still that clock ticks

alone with blonde librarian
imagine the romantic possibilities
triumphing any of the stories
in these novels –
I bet

mum of a girl I once knew comes
inside for a look
I know you wouldn’t recognize me now
I think
nobody ever does –
I haven’t changed –

found blue pen.

editors note: So high one can go with the right color of ink. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

It's Happy Need-a-Read Day! Let's cheers to that. Howsabout a lil Hennessy on the rocks? And let's make that a double, another for this week's featured short story, coincidentally-not titled "Hennessy on the Rocks" by Samonni Devine.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"Drop your foot, lay roots, then pick up and see what of you is left behind. Live like this and see what’s left and then call it humanity."

Here's a sip to whet your read thirst:

(photo "I like my marriage like I like my drinks: on the rocks." (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

I know this older lady who left her soul in every barstool across the city. She appeared to be this beautiful shade of lost with just a hint of recognition. Her eyes told this alluring story that I was interested in finding out, and I eventually did. The night I met her she told me she dreamt of being a musician. She told me everything—everything that led her to her pain and her self-inflicted demolition. And I felt for her.

“Excuse me, may I get you ladies anything?” asked the bartender.

“Two double shots of Hennessy on the rocks, please.” I replied.

Meanwhile the woman continued to confide in me like I was a new generation guardian angel who wasn’t going to damn her for being marked with a little sin. Sin for being herself. Sin for being hurt. Sin for being lost. Sin for being broken.

“And he broke me,” she continued. “He broke me.”

And I don’t know which broke my heart more, the stone dead look that appears on a human beings face after the fifth double shot of Hennessy, or the pain that lingered in the air once she spoke of him and said his name...


Lift your drink, take another sip & get the rest of your reading buzz on right here!

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.07.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass City Tavern! (The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street)

This month we will be featurin’ on of our loco locals & a true mad sista to all of us Mad Ones, poet Desmene Statum! Can we get a big ol’ “UHhhhh!”? YES! What we are really tryin’ to say is: You. Do. Not. Want. To. Miss. This. Show. Exclamation. Point! So…

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ “UHhhhh!” helpin’ of some Desmene, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

Fo' mo' info' visit our Open Mic page!

•••••••

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

Speakin' It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

8.20.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.20.16

"Thus, the poet's word is beginning to strike forcefully upon the hearts of all men…" ~ Salvatore Quasimodo

••• The Mad Gallery •••

(click here to to hear the accompanying track to this piece)

“Houdini” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we flew the coup for a bird's nest soup; we griped and groused o'er the odds of the house; we marked a mundane story of life in purgatory; we ran real-estate life with a styrofoam wife; we copped to a post-coital deconstruction; we filled a hole with forbidden fruit; we wrapped our world with a bonnie girl; we neared Nirvana nearly well, seeking sanctuary to Get Out Of Hell. Near perfection, perfectly near. ~ MH Clay

Leave by Contributing Poet Kenneth P. Gurney

My Buddha wears a red dress, spiked heals
and a Chicago Cubs tramp stamp.

My Quan Yin appears both as a sparrow
and a mockingbird.

Morning’s acolytes speed away from me
wearing bright colors and the latest running shoes.

If I gave you my Get Out Of Hell Free card,
would you give me your veteran’s burial right

so I may rest eternally under the sycamore shade
of Antietam’s national cemetery?

By now the coyotes have dragged
last night’s white tail deer road kill into the wood,

so you may exit the house without witness
of that particular mechanized savagery.

Even the worst part of me loves you,
forgives you, for the oblique issues we howled last night,

each of us too lone wolf under a full moon
to hear the hunger and loneliness deep in our bodies.

The worst part of you, takes my Cubs hat
and wears it to keep your hair out of your eyes

as you work on the pickup truck’s engine
or on a walk in the rain that inspired Noah’s toil.

editors note: Knickers nabbed in Nirvana. Ommmm (my)! – mh clay


Bonnie by Guest Poet David Ratcliffe

You, the scene changer
add color to sullied days;
quirky, cute, undignified,
as unconventional as
a kept secret, turning partial
imperfection to complete
emancipation.

My crystal paperweight, warping
lies into virtual truth; Bonnie Parker
in ribbons and scars, more
worthy than those worthless
troubles wrapped within
humdrum days.

Totally insane
to be normal in these times of
turmoil you say with a lisp as
crisp as a cut-glass vase.

Bringing life to the graveside of
horizontal fools, where
I take your hand, dance upon the
twice dead, content to be
unsettled, while settling for
unnatural immortality.

editors note: The perfect mate with whom to navigate this graveyard life. – mh clay


For Lily In The Garden by Guest Poet Jack D. Harvey

If one apple
were eaten

before eating
think innermost

when unzipping

how a skin
has a sweet life

how a depth reached
leaves a hole.

editors note: Said serpent to sylph. Yet, here we are again. Think… – mh clay


AntsBirdsCoffee by Contributing Poet Charlotte Hamrick

Coffee is pooling under the coffee maker
with little bits of grind like ants swimming
around. It’s been leaking for weeks while

I ignored it as I’m trying to do you.
My life, too, is spilling out around the edges.
I try to contain its dark liquid, try to maintain

my balance on the high wire in my head
whirring with chirping birds flying
in a frenzy, wings batting and tiny bones snapping.

Every day a little bit more of something seeps out,
every night I wipe it into my sleep,
holding it behind tightly closed eyes, willing

it down deep where light is swallowed.
But every sunrise it’s back, pushing through
cracks, birds swooping and ants crawling

in the seepage. Another day, another potful
of crazy, another push of the lava swell of lies
down my throat swimming
in a bellyful of you.

editors note: Reflux recurring; love lost, but lingering. – mh clay


The Real-Estate Developer by Contributing Poet Ryan Quinn Flanagan

He is up each morning
the real-estate developer
building sandcastles on the beach below
with a purple pail and a yellow plastic shovel
his work tools, the tools of his trade
and halfway out the front door
on his way to work
he stops to kiss a hat rack with a styrofoam head
on the cheek
(his wife of many years)
before taking the elevator
down.

editors note: Maybe he will run for president… or king. – mh clay


Purgatory by Contributing Poet Ann B-D

He comes home and she circles around him
Rubbing the pain into the wound
Have you eaten, was it nice
Did the car drive well
Monosyllables or no syllables
The stare straight ahead
The slight nod
And she stops talking.
Flow of air
Motes of sun
The snap and hiss of the open beer cap.
The evening begins.
The tv crackles on, it’s the bottom of the fifth
Bases loaded but lots of time to play
As he slowly eases down
And pries off his shoes.
The couch
The beer
The game
goes on.

editors note: Dante’s revenge on the working class. – mh clay


EITHER WAY, THE PENNY DROPS by Guest Poet Dean R. Boic

I throw money at the slots,
The casinos,
Trying to make an honest income
But it doesn’t stick
Nothing does
I say to the machine,
“Come on, give me something,
I need it, for my wife and kids”
I savour my beer
And smoke my cigarettes
I put one out
And light another
And try some more
But it doesn’t budge
Some irritating man
Parks his behind
In the chair next to me
And starts watching me
Trying to gauge
If I’m winning or not
And he ruins my buzz
Altogether
I don’t like people
And now there’s a person
Right next to me
Too close for comfort
I hear him breathing
And I’m put off
I go from winning to losing
Going down
And going up again
To feeding money
And getting nothing back
Eventually I get up
And leave
The irritating man
Immediately sits at my machine,
Shoves some notes in
And boom
He wins
The jackpot
Either way
The penny drops
It’s my loss…

editors note: The odds always favor the house (or that irritating man). – mh clay


SWIFTS ARE MAD BIRDS by Guest Poet David A. Thompson

Swifts are mad birds
They never sleep
But can close down half their brain for a snooze

Swifts are mad birds
They fly at 60 miles per hour
And throw themselves at
Walls and tiny holes

Swifts are mad birds
Building nests of spit and insect legs

Swifts are mad birds
As soon as they can fly
Having never ever flown
Take off and immediately head for Africa

Swifts are mad birds
Because they fly 5000 miles to spend a Northern Irish summer

But – humans are even madder
Who eat swift spit, mud and insect carcass

And call it birds nest soup

editors note: All trade protected by the Bird’s Nest Soup Lobby. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Who Needs-a-Read? You, that's who! And we here at Mad Swirl have got quite the read to fit your need... "Who’s Who" by Contributing Writer John Lewis!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

"The world’s a small town and you never know who’s on top of who no matter how well you think you’re on top of them."

Here's a few lines from "Who's Who" for you you's:

(photo "A Nobody" (below) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Mr L.K.J. Portland was in shock. He couldn’t put his finger of what he’d done wrong. Well, to be truthful, he had done wrong—he’d taken an illegal turn and collided with an old car driven by a young woman. A nobody. That was what troubled Mr. Portland. The nobody was but a fly yet she stood her ground when he swatted her. Who did this Akeela Banks think she was?

L.K.J. Portland or Port as he was popularly known to the rich who dwelled above the law knew this little incident seemed to be getting out of hand.

Miss Banks had challenged the accuracy of the accident report given by the police which transferred the fault from Mr Portland to Miss Banks—from the affluent to the working class. The absence of a lawyer at her side was further cause for Port’s disgust. He felt that his credentials deserved much better. In the past had he not won in the face of greater odds? Port knew he did.

He had his lawyers mail his demand for repair costs to his top model car but the nobody Akeela Banks insisted that it was he who must repair her car because he was at fault in every respect. The next thing that angered Port was a call from the magistrate who asked in a feminine but assertive voice him to drop the case. The magistrate, in her off-the-record conversation, knew that Port was using the law as a ship to satisfy his ego. What does this bitch know? thought Port...


Who wants some more of "Who's Who"? You do, that's who! 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...

Strikin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

8.13.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.13.16

"Great art is the expression of a solution of the conflict between the demands of the world without and that within." ~ Edith Hamilton

••• The Mad Gallery •••


(click here to to hear the accompanying track to this piece)

“Cars” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

Our newest featured visual artist, Dallas-based Suza Kanon, is quite the multi-talented one! But if you already know Suza you already know this. But if you don’t, surely you will know now! Suza brings us collaged mixes of dark images with sharp and scribbled words to match. These scribbles and hand-written edits serve her form quite finely too. A view at her works almost feels like we are perusing something straight out of a secret and guarded notebook that we shouldn’t be peeking through. But try as we must, we can’t look away. Something tells us this self-proclaimed ‘unrepentant scribbler’ might not mind us having a peek at what’s going on in her not-so-secret notebook. So if Suza’s opening it up to us, we’re gonna take a gander! And we think you should sneak a peek for yourself too! – Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we reposed in the regrets of war; we walked a new way to discern the same day; we looked through the sun to the bliss of two as one; we plumbed the depths of death to hear a poet's dying breath; we tried to hide from the carnival ride... of love; we dirtied not beliefs hard bought with clean soap and free thought; we tempted fate to make death wait; we wrecked the whole thing on the seeds of a dream. ~ MH Clay

SEEDS by Helen Harrison

1

On a Sunday in mid-summer
Right at the edge of the park
You come to me;

Talking future plans,
Shining eyes,
And a heart that dared.
We saw ourselves

Buying a car to travel
Down to the coast
Whenever we took the urge

All planned out under the elm
Of eager spreading roots.
Many seeds scattered

Ideas with wings on the breeze
Hope floating all the way
Towards the sea along winding
Open-windowed roads.

2

Smashed in spring – the last
Season you inhaled;
Lying singing on the back seat.

The front driver’s side was saved,
Letting me drive
To dreams that died.

Dreams have a way
Of coming at you by the front
And leaving by the back door.

I pass it now, the car
In the scrap yard
At the edge of the town
It’s only half now.

August 13, 2016

editors note: These unplanned stops; who can bear them? Keep driving toward your dreams. (This poem comes from Helen’s collection The Last Fire. You can find it on Amazon here.)- mh clay


Let us die of a slow life by Fabrice Poussin

Counting the seconds on the hour glass is no hobby,
while the fluffy cumuli keep on their carefree flight,
slowing time, while listening to a relentless rhythm,
the conductor imagines his dancers in slow motion.

Dos and Res and Tis float as if from the autumn tree,
lines in the air, scars in the sand alike are no trap
to the eternal invincible freedom of the symphony;
let us this die of a slow life as we make our arts.

There will always be time for your handsome flesh
to slide off those charming bones I know so well;
no need for you to look down to the speedometer,
you may slow a little and see a scene not so blurry.

Death can wait, immortal, we need not worry;
her scythe may rust just a little more for our sakes;
we will die of a slow life, for you and I can rest;
the sunsets and moonrises do take their time you know.

Smile my love, with all your pearls, let your heart sing
the melody written on the dimensions of the galaxies;
there is room for you, for you too are the size of a dream;
no need to rush, run, take your time to my grave.

There is laughter to be heard, smiles to be painted;
the canvas stretched seems limitless in your soul;
mind not the colors for they have lost their taste;
breathe in my love, and slowly walk to be with me.

August 12, 2016

editors note: Suspend each grain in the palm of your hand. Hold it for as long as now will stand… – mh clay


The Void by Michael Marrotti

Living a life
void of belief
is like using
an anonymous
bar of soap
to scrub away
the unbeknownst
filth of the earth
in a lukewarm shower

Dirty towels
dry away
unguided souls

No transcendence
or declension
when the elevator
is out of service

Not knowing
is not caring
And living a life
free of indoctrination
is a life
of free thinking

August 11, 2016

editors note: When we don’t know what we don’t know… Well, which way IS up? – mh clay


Slight of Hand by Rafael Andrade Garza

Nothing I write
satisfies my heart
I long to reach the end
of my novel shore
where the sun barely touches ocean
like when I circle the curls of your hair
lost in your loop
taking me back to the carnival of love, again
with its endless magic and tricks
your illusions and all
caught in your spell
mesmerized as if I’m seeing you pass me again
for the very first time

© May 4, 2014

August 10, 2016

editors note: Ahhh! True Love… so mysterious; before we learn the truth of it. (Read another Mad missive about love on Rafael’s page – check it out.) – mh clay


The verses by Milenko Županović

Apparitions
death
disappear
in a fog
recollections
verses
dead
poet
hidden.

August 9, 2016

editors note: The ensuing void we would fill with words. – mh clay


The Movement by James Brown

Looking up through the sun roof; the illusion delighting to the mindset, gravity has the hold, movement of the clouds divulge the delusion.

When you wake paint me in your reflection as the mirror emulates and the mind subsists as we exist in a love abyss.

August 9, 2016

editors note: A brief, sweet forever… – mh clay


Walking 5th Avenue by Ally Malinenko

I needed a change of pace,
of footfalls and a different shade of face
on the people I weave between
on my long journey from home to here

so I moved up one avenue,
just to see what else there is to see
and when I crested the hill at the old cemetery
and Manhattan spread open like a hand
begging for me to take it,

I realized that I was so small
on this hilltop
on this island
on this planet
in all that black space

and that being small has so many advantages.
I stood still for a moment thinking I could feel the planet turn
but it was just a seagull passing
hanging for a moment above me,
before screeching and moving on

August 8, 2016

editors note: Small enough to go unnoticed by passing calamity. – mh clay


Summer Unveils my Woe by David O’Brien

Arising the troops
steadying the streams
cleaning the battleaxes
rinsing the shields
saddling the needy steeds
testing the waters
preparing for the barricades
calming the nervous
calling the duties
tying the ropes
rehearsing the wartime speeches
thinking the tactics
listening to the commands
ignoring the conscience
repairing the instincts
mapping the routes
expecting the sieges
spotting the brand new battlefield
disbelieving the sight
targeting the enemy
relaying the others
trapping the ill witted
ensnaring the timid
burning the bridges
building the walls
anticipating the backlash
praying for the non faithful

mourning the friendships lost
regretting, as you walk the other way

August 7, 2016

editors note: Aggression breeds revulsion. Why not walk away first? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read then need no more! Mad Swirl's featured short, "Henry Showed Wendy His Paintings" comes from Contributing Writer & Poet, Donal Mahoney & it just might leave a chill up your spine!


Henry and Wendy Throckmorton had been married a week when Henry took Wendy to his garret 100 miles south of their estate in posh Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago. Wendy thought she was going on a delayed honeymoon. Henry had never told her that he was a painter by avocation. She knew only that he was a successful patent attorney and had a large, profitable practice.

There was a heavy snowfall that evening and it made the trip for Wendy, looking out the window of the car, all the more beautiful. They arrived at the garret around midnight and walked up three flights of stairs in the dark. It was good that Henry had brought his flashlight. He used three keys on a long silver chain to open three locks on the steel door. Once inside the garret, Henry turned on the light with triumph.

“Voila!” he said as he turned slowly in a circle with arms outstretched.

Wendy was certainly surprised. There were paintings all over the walls. Other paintings, half completed, sat on their easels waiting for Henry. He explained to Wendy that she was the first person to see his work–his work of a lifetime. He had never shown his work to anyone before but now that they were married, he felt she had a right to see it.

“Wendy, you are the one person I know who is qualified to see my work and I am very happy about that.”...


Get your show-and-tell read on right here!

•••••••

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

Expressin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

8.06.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.06.16

"Art is what you can get away with." ~ Andy Warhol

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“ballpointpen14x22cmssept29” (above) by featured artist Norman Olson.

We hope your senses have enjoyed the works of our featured artist Norman Olson. We got his whole collection on MadSwirl.com so feel free to visit whenever the mad mood strikes ya! And hopefully Norman will share more of his swirl'n drawings and paintings with us in the very near future!

Stay tuned for our next featured artist coming your way real soon! Until then, check out our other featured artistsin our Mad Gallery

••• The Poetry Forum •••


(due to tragic circumstances in our Poetry Editor MH Clay's clan, there will not be a weekly rant today)


A BLOOMER IS A BLOOMER LOL by Alex L. Swartzentruber

So you are a late bloomer.
That’s ok.
You’re a slow burner.
Neither a winner nor a loser,
you are a hottie in the muck.
You’re a diamond uncut.
You are a stag deep in the forest
of real life.
There’s torturous trees here,
just out of reach fruits, and toads
who will be your friend.
Don’t worry.
You won’t always be like them,
but for now this will be your crowd.
You are their undiscovered orchid.
Maybe it’s best to bloom in the shadows.
Take your time flexing your petals.
Perhaps you’d prefer not to be clipped
from your mossy log and put on display.
You like to look up at the swamp stars,
unknown to unknown.

August 6, 2016

editors note: How to reach full potential in your comfort zone… – mh clay


Hillbilly Death Cult Extravaganza by Mike Roach

Staring ice into piercing tail light eyes
In a town that dies by 9 each night
I ran 98 miles like a frightened child
From the first time I made you smile
Pink rose petals and empty bottles of wine
The destruction, the desolation, the lynching and the fear
With the clear conscience of a convicted killer
Gone to buy more skin and tears to shed for everyone here

The savior and betrayer ever so perfect
They read the novel written in my face
To see that growing up wasn’t worth it
And giving up would be insane
And even after losing your love
and being without a warm home
My greatest tragedy is the company I keep
When I’m all alone

So tell me, goddess
Are there a lot of guys at your feet or is it just me?
And she said, “Man, more mortals than you would care to believe;
Seducers, accusers, deities, and thieves”
I’ll take all my hard work with me to the furnace
Beneath my feet will be my final resting place
Drowning so calmly, I don’t disturb the surface
Buried so deep they’ll make a river of my grave

August 5, 2016

editors note: An epic novel in three stanzas. The hero dies in the end… – mh clay


Here We Go Again by Dan Raphael

Most years January doesn’t have to do much — its reputation’s enough, every day
in the 30s, rain with 20 mile wind from whatever direction you’re walking;
sometimes the rain polymers branches, cars and streets in cold hard transparency,
soaked soil and juggernaut wind bringing down trees and lines, increasing the darkness
that should be diminishing: the sun’s been up for hours but January wont let it out,

Jan doesn’t look at us at all, knows what we’re waiting for, so becomes 2 weeks longer —
February won’t mind, having been the shortest all its life, knows what complaining brings,
its only reward an extra day every 4 years like a gold star that won’t stick to its forehead,
February’s that long car ride, soon as it begins we’re asking, is it March yet?

March marches, Mars the god of war showing off its new but familiar uniforms,
this month of sideways rain, month of flowers teased into blossoming then frosted brown
by northern winds tromping the calendar line claiming Winter’s over

March has no idea how April got here or who let it in, April so caught
in its fashionable reflection, intoxicated by its own promise,
it seldom looks outside — why are you complaining, it’s April? –
put on your shorts, dust off your bike and celebrate your way to a terrible cold.

August 4, 2016

editors note: Seized in the seasons, pulled by the politics of passing time. – mh clay


playing house by Lindsay Diem

her tiny fingers clasped a diaper wipe
and pressed it to my nose
she loudly instructed for me “blow”
and waited inquisitively

she wiped my face delicately
the way mommy and daddy do it
and blotted my eyeliner
with a look of disdain

she didn’t know what to do with the ugliness
the long black streak of make-up
her eyes, wide and innocent
baffled
by imperfection

August 3, 2016

editors note: From the start, comes the question, “What do we do with the garbage?” – mh clay


THE PAST AND THE CURIOUS by John D Robinson

As a young man
I was never a great
success with the
girls;
it wasn’t that I
lacked the urge or
the desire but
rather I always felt
awkward and ugly
and always ended
up saying
something
dumb and I was
always the first to
get crazy drunk
and
get into some kind
of hassle;
naturally I had my
times with the girls
and enjoyed the
majesty of their
flesh and gentleness
and their special
ways that I’ll
never understand
and my curiosity
hasn’t diminished;
I love women
and at over half
a century old I’m
a little more at
ease with feminine
beauty and their
natural sensuous
ghosts
within their eyes
and lips and hair and
the way of their
sunsets, the way of
their worlds and
the music they make;
forever captivated
and
enchanted by the
flames of heaven
and hell.

August 2, 2016

editors note: The ultimate incarceration; prison divine. (We welcome John D. to our creative confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


Relict by Sanjeev Sethi

Sluicing in the runnel of your ruminations
a collage of close-ups pinwheels
through mental frontiers. I smile
a smile whose breadth demonstrates
your depth. Your watermark splashes
when through the light of alone time
I notice how well-lit you left me.

I connect emotions and their effulgence
with the young. But look at me, at this
vintage. Does freshness of feelings infuse
newishness? When in fuss and flap of
love, curiosities about a lover are a curse.
Whatever one knows is less. Wavelength
of vacancies help erase mackled edges.

August 2, 2016

editors note: The relic recapitulates his relevance. – mh clay


The (Un)seen by Peter Magliocco

Pale wildflowers were left at your doorstep.
Near the end of spring warmer wind came
to stir hair from unrecognizable faces,
like your dead Civil War soldier boy
following you everywhere in the city.
That modern gothic city of torn dreams
melded you into a mature woman
the lost waif never left inside you.
To forage through oneiric possibility
existed in the plight of others,
you said, “whether alive or dead.”
He spread pale wildflowers every day
with blessings withering at your feet.
In his uniform, haunting the byways
shadow people drive by in distress,
plotting crime, doing life chores
while beating away real consciousness
in their unknowing human brains,
never seeing the Civil War soldier
with his purely diffracted skeletal face
(under dust of immanent thoughts)
they choose to deny & ignore totally
as dead flowers slowly stalk us.

August 1, 2016

editors note: Though the dead would teach us, we still won’t learn. – mh clay


Cosmic Hand by Harley White

Once upon a ghostly star,
knee-deep in a darkling place,
I meandered off too far
into outer, outer space.

As I wandered in this land
of the void beyond the night,
suddenly I saw a hand
reaching for a cosmic light.

Though lost in darkness dreary
and adrift in bleak despair,
disheartened, weak, and weary,
I could not but stop and stare.

Such a wondrous illusion
floated in those blackened skies!
Was this only delusion
that I saw before my eyes?

Did collapsed star long ago,
pulsar spinning crazily,
cause that nebulaic glow
emanating hazily?

Was this sight to be believed?
Astrophysical ideal?
Pareidolia perceived?
Yet the phantasm seemed real!

Fingers colored brilliant blue
clutching at a fiery band
formed a most amazing view
of this archetypal hand.

And my musing mind was full
of this inner mystic spell
serving as the heavens’ pull
out of my own private hell.

That ethereal display
brought me eerily around,
showing me the light of day
and a destiny profound.

Ever onward I would plod,
thus to seek the truth inside,
on a path that few had trod
where deep wisdom would abide.

With this purpose as my guide,
though the way might twist and bend,
I would live until I died
with enlightenment my end.

Yea, it was as if a dream
of a helping hand within
shone a bright eternal beam
where obscurity had been.

July 31, 2016

editors note: When what we see brings enlightenment and hope, then let’s see more of that! (The image inspiring this wonderful, ekphrastic outburst can be seen here.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! Once in awhile we get a short story that is waaay out there and we just caaan't help ourselves but to publish it! "Jimmy the Human" by Contributing Writer WJP Newnham is one of those. Here's what Short Story Editor has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

Hope is pointless when humanity is perpetual. That’s how we want it, though. Always alive, always struggling, always until we’re ash.

And here's a bit of his byte madness to get'cha goin':

photo "Factory-made Sunset" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

Jimmy the human. Well, vaguely human.

It’s been a long thirty years on the factory floor,

A robotic existence, but you’ve made a feed

For yourself and the factory fodder you and your wife

Spawned at intervals:

Funny how their conception times to

Celebrations of promotion and pay rises.

Like hey baby, I’m financial: let’s procreate!

Escape.

Lest the mewling offspring howl in protest

At the jail term…

Shackled from birth to the machine

And worked to death

Near death

So fucked up!

Acres and acres of bricks and wire mesh, Halon globes burning bright with candle power greater than the sun; early morning overtime to pay the mortgage. Mile upon mile on weary legs and feet: varicose veins straining for release against tired old flesh. Trudging slowly uphill to catch the tram: faces drawing ground ward, eyes slumped like slag, cold and ready for the banality of another day on the job.

“See, you find one nice girl

You get to marry!

You both got job?

Ok, you save you money!



Always dumping wage into the bank.

You know, but food with wife wage…

2 years, maybe 3 you got

Twenty thousand dollars and you get loan.

Maybe 50-60 thousand. You buy a house!”

And you buy and you buy and you buy and you buy and you buy and you buy…


You click ▼ you click ▼ you click ▼...

••• Open Mic •••


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

A HUGE shout-out to our NEW mad mic home, downtown Dallas’ badass’d City Tavern​!

If you couldn’t make it to the debut show and wish you coulda, there’s some live feed action recorded on our Mad Swirl FB page but it pales to being there.

Thanks to all who came out to the City Tavern & shared in this mad-mentous collective deliciousness. What a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music it was!

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

(photo courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez. See Dan's whole collection from this past month here)

Feature:
Why Ohh YOU!

Host:
Johnny Olson​

Krude/Swirve Walker:
Clark Walker & Chris & Tamitha Curiel

Mad Cast:
Desmene M. Statum​
James “Bear” Rodehaver​
Opalina Salas​
David Parham​ aka Rob Dyer
Jen Bochenko​
Carlos Salas​
Vic Victory​
Brett​ “BA” Ardoin
Cynthia Ann​
Jake Kinnard​

~intermission~

Charles​”Kerseymere” Randall
Wes Anthony
Paul Koniecki​
Gnadia Wolnisty​
John May​
Reverie Evolving​
Hector Ortiz​
James Hargrave​
Catie McLain​
Sonny Wyatt​
Max Young

HUGE thanks to Krude/Swirve Walker for taking us to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

Gigantic grats too to our Viking sound and lights guru Thad & cheers to our burly bartender Ben for keeping us buzzin’ all night long!

Heaps of thanks to 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.

and last but NOT least…

HUGEST 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…

Your Mad Googily-Eyed Guy

P.S. Interested in prforming? If you are a mad poet, musician, actor, singer and/or performer (circus freaks and Elvis impersonators always welcome) & live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come to The Underpass Bar & strut–yo–stuff.

P.S.S. Got questions? E-mail us at openmic@madswirl.com for further details that may not be listed here.

P.S.S. The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

•••••••

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

Gettin' Away with It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.30.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.30.16

"The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts." ~ Henry Moore

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“ballpointpen14x23cmssept3-2015” (above) by featured artist Norman Olson. To see more of Norman's mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!

••• The Poetry Forum •••


(due to tragic losses in our Poetry Editor MH Clay's clan, there will not be a weekly rant)

weeding the wars by Goodness Lanre Ayoola

so before we pray again for peace
let us crave first for a weeding
for the thistles of wars grown
on the soil of our bruised innocence…

for the constant wars in the black and blue
fathers’ paint on the cheeks of our mothers
under the watch of our little eyes…

for the wars watered by the tears of mothers
in our hearts
from their sniffing sobs
u
p
o
n
our dreamless nights
when the thunder of abuse rips
our calm skies into a forceful pool of weeps…

for the wars beastly pencils of sticky lead
draw on the thighs of our virgin papers-
and helplessness
singeing in us the fire of vengeance…

for the wars in the pinches
that sour the juice of forgiveness in our infancy
and build in us the walls of wickedness…

for the wars we etch
in the brawls of ‘take your bicycle away’
and ‘give me the food i gave you a fortnight ago’…

for the wars of poisoned doctrines
forced down the throats of our childhood
and the seeds of hate planted
i
n
t
o
the survival of love in our hearts…

so before we pray again for peace
let us crave first for a weeding
or we pray in vain
and our wars are eternal…

July 30, 2016

editors note: Instead, we enhance them with GMO stamina; war without end, Alas, no more, no more… (We welcome Goodness to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page; plus another new one about our poor treatment of words – check it out.) – mh clay


News by Arif Ahmad

News of gloom
That of the impending doom
Negative news and then some
That lump in the throat
Reporting on the ugly, broadcasting the terrible
Over and over
A disproportionately pessimistic view of this world
Dampening of the good, exaggerating the bad
Keeping us on the hook and edge
Calling, one disaster after another
Ignoring most of which is better
And our misery addicted minds
(Misery often that of the others)
Keep buying into this sick sensationalism
A frustrating experience it is
Most of what we get as News
Whatever sells and is good for business

I guess

July 29, 2016

editors note: No guess work! Satisfaction guaranteed! Buy more, be happy; rinse and repeat! – mh clay


UNDISTORTED EXPERIENCE by Stefanie Bennett

It’s Growing up diagonally
At 64 and remembering
September 11
(Not specifically because
Cousin Ricki
Was there…).

It’s the tick-tacking accuracy
Of whether anthrax spores
Are absorbed
In our
Hung-over
Morning coffee…

Pseudo market forces.
PC hackers:
(Con amore)
Or – tri-lingual brokers
Ensnared by
A crust of
Bullion rising

That collars the phrase
… We become
What we
Deplete.

July 28, 2016

editors note: With less and less of us each year… – mh clay


A Drunken Regret by Jen Bochenko

You’ll just have to find some middle ground

someone tells me

but i am a pendulum in full swing
and the middle comes fast and frequently
and leaves just as quickly and as often

i am rushing from empty to full
i am gorging on His presence
and soon enough the same eyes that desire me
will cast me away with disgust
for He drinks me in lavishly and in excess
and like a true masochist, i let Him

and i ask all the questions from last time
because i will not be a drunken regret
-again

i am sober
He is not
He growls with desire
i growl in frustration
the pain and fury i feel as He is entering my life
-again
means it will all be amplified when He leaves it
-again

this is a rabbit hole i know i shouldn’t go down
but i will because i am a silly rabbit

and now in the cleansing sunlight of a new day
i worry not about being His drunken regret
but about Him being my sober one

i’m wondering about how far the pendulum will swing this time
how far can i fill up before i just explode
and i skip the middle completely
to be suddenly left at empty

July 27, 2016

editors note: Keep swinging to freedom; empty or full. (We welcome Jen to our crazy conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay


Lava Bits Dancing: Lovers’ Lament by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Lava bits dancing, dancing, dancing,
Flame fingers dancing all dark long.
Learning page prancing, prancing, prancing,
Lessons from prancing all dark long.
Lamenting romance, romance, romance,
Woodland copse romance all dark long.
Prodigal chances, chances, chances,
Tomorrow’s chances all dark long.
Lodging no answers, answers, answers,
Praying for answers all dark long.
Cycles spill questions, questions, questions,
Sons and their questions all dark long.
Dangerous letters, letters, letters,
Queries, not letters, all dark long.
Fire and water, water, water,
Volcanic water all dark long.
Gone astray children, children, children,
Romance’s children all dark long.

July 26, 2016

editors note: And so we step through love and life, “all dark long.” (Say, Mad Readers! Hannah has a new book, “Friends and Rabid Hedgehogs,” just launched. This collection of short fiction can be ordered on Amazon here.) – mh clay


DAKOTA CHARMS (or I THINK I SEE A WAY OUT) by Steven Storrie

The garbage piled up at the curb
Always says hello to me whenever I stride
Out of a morning
Moving away from my home

Maybe it’s the pink sunglasses
Or the jet black hair
And eyes like smoke
Maybe it’s the Batman bikini
Or a smile that tells me for certain
That innocence corrupts.

Maybe it’s the fact that I hate this job
And am currently masturbating to Dakota Charms’
videos in the company toilets
while singing Bob Dylan songs
at room razing volume
instead of doing my highly irrelevant work

Maybe it’s those white high heel
stiletto’s echoing on a hard wooden floor
and the fact that I’ve got nowhere left to go but

I think I see a way out.

July 26, 2016

editors note: And we’re all lookin’ for ours. – mh clay


2 Haikus by Stephanie Mojica

rosy hues muted
tenaciously unable
to dream ever again

•••

blaring silence
hollow, so much smoke
life decaffeinated

July 25, 2016

editors note: Two short slaps to the senses. – mh clay


The Grand Illusion by Randall K. Rogers

This is all an
illusion, the illusion
of perception…
which blinds us
to an appreciation
of infinite
unreality.

July 24, 2016

editors note: Blind to our blindness? (I think) I see… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Then you'll dig this and wanna dig in to this week's featured story "Skies of Hell Flame" coming from Contributing Writer/Artist/Poet Mike Fiorito. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick'o'the week tale:

Keep telling yourself your hell is worse than anyone else’s. From Texas to New York, it’s all a different sort of hell, but we make homes in hell, always.

Here's a bit of "...Hell..." fer ya':

(photo "Hell's Ceiling" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter​)

Texas heat beats down on the lawn in front of the house. There is a scorching wind gently blowing the blades of inch high grass. The grass is wet green, as if oils soaks through the surface to slicken the grass.

The sun’s blaze doesn’t reach the inside of the house. Along with the tarantulas and snakes, it’s stopped at the front door.

A sign hangs in the kitchen that reads God Bless This House. The walk-in kitchen is designed perfectly; its drawers are filled with corn cob holders, lime squeezers, egg beaters, spaghetti servers. All silver. A wine rack nailed to the cabinet displays crystal wine glasses hanging upside down as if in a state of eternal crucifixion.

“We have to be ready by noon,” says James. “My mom has the photographer for three hours only.”

“I wish she’d given us more notice,” says Natalie. Her face is red, her eyes half closed from too little sleep.

“She told us a week ago,” says James.

“I need more time to schedule the hairdresser.” She speaks looking into the mirror, combing her hair.

Buttoning his shirt, James looks into the mirror on the other side of the dresser drawer. His small blue eyes sink into the puffed flesh around them. The fat from his neck swells from out of the shirt.

“I don’t know why your mother does this to me. She doesn’t want me to look pretty,” shouts Natalie.

•••

Later that night they come back from the family photo session.

•••

“Well, I guess the pictures came out ok,” she says.

He nods.

“I’m just so tired. What with work, the kids, and everything else,” says Natalie, pouring wine into a large glass. The liquid makes a gurgling sound as she pours it.

“You’re taking those pills. You’re not supposed to mix them with alcohol.”

She takes a long drink...


And on that cliffhangin' note, we now direct you right here to get the rest of this read on!

••• Mad Swirl Swag •••

Come & Get Mad Swirl Swag!


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

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

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

••• Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of August (aka 08.03.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass City Tavern!

This month we will be featuring Why Ohh You! (aka YOU!) Oh, and we’ll also be debuting our swirliness on a new stage. Come and witness this mad-mentous occasion!

Come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Why Ohh You!, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

Fo' mo' info', visit our Open Mic page!

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

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

•••••••

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

Discoverin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.23.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.23.16

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••


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

everything by Andrew Chmielowiec

among the nights i lost:

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

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

& you are still a thought.

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

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

a motionless dark blue

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

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

& there is no music,
but we are dancing

& everything is glowing
& everything is orange

& you are here.

July 23, 2016

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


Make Me Whole by Alex Rocha

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

make me whole.

July 22, 2016

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


The Infinitude of LOVE by Anca-Mihaela Bruma

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

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

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

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

July 21, 2016

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


and then the guitar spoke by Anjana Basu

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

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

and then the guitar spoke

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

July 20, 2016

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


BONE CHINA by Chuck Taylor

May not come from China but
Usually contains cow bone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine that you do this
Once a year, perhaps on

Thanksgiving, so to bring
Back in spirit your mother

And your father, the bone
Contained in the China

Comes from their cremation,
And your lovely table would

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

July 19, 2016

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


THE MORBID FOUNTAIN by Partha Mohanta

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

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

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

July 19, 2016

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


My poems by Shirin Hasrat

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

July 18, 2016

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


Damn Those Poet Gods by Robert L. Martin

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

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

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

July 17, 2016

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stunned faces spun, seeing Mohican, before moving on.

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

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

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

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

“Calm down,” someone said.

“Move!” Mohican screamed.

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

Mohican rose, holding a camera.

“Sit down!” someone screamed.

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

“Sit down!” the same person shouted.

Mohican didn’t respond.

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

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


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

••• Mad Swirl Swag •••

Come & Get Mad Swirl Swag!


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

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

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

•••••••

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

Discoverin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.16.2016

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.16.16

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

••• The Mad Gallery •••


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

••• The Poetry Forum •••


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

Obscured vision by Hem Raj Bastola

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

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

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

July 16, 2016

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

with metamorphic hair and sunken sockets

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

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

July 15, 2016

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


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

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

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

July 14, 2016

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


Taunting by Jada Yee

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

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

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

Middle finger, you fiddle so well with the air.

July 13, 2016

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


Electric Rainbows by A.J. Huffman

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

July 12, 2016

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


Jar of Chaos by Angelica Fuse

like Pandora
we opened the box
we asked why

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

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

July 12, 2016

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


CORNDOGS IN SPRINGTIME by David Spicer

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

July 11, 2016

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


I Don’t Know What To Say by Lilly Penhall

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

July 10, 2016

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

••• Short Stories •••

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They’re gay?”

“You betcha!”

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

“How do you know, Holly?”

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

“Sounds charming!”

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

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


That's quite a teaser! How could you stop now without reading the rest of this story? You can't! Get the rest of your read on here!

•••••••

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

Doin' It to It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor