7.25.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.25.15

“The big artist keeps an eye on nature and steals her tools.” ~ Thomas Eakins

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“The Unexpected” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To see more Mad works from Bill, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Mad Swirl is proud to introduce to you our latest visual artist, Bill Wolak. If his name is ringin' a bell it might be because his words have appeared in our Poetry Forum since 2011. This time Bill comes to us sharing some of his poetically mad visuals. Most of these canvases are exclusively black, white, and grey - somewhat gothic - and nearly always symmetrical collages. Each piece has an almost mystic and medieval air, though the selection strides through subjects (for example: legs, a penis, is that a butterfly wing?). We here at Mad Swirl pride ourselves on knowing mad work when we see it. And in this case, Wolak certainly didn't let us down! If you don’t believe us, let your senses check Bill's works out for yourself and you’ll see exactly what we mean. - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we broke away from unpleasant obeisance; we thwarted the thrill of the close-up kill; we engaged in pursuit of Polaroid perfection; we sprung for the Spring, to learn a new thing; we hoved a high, hopeless factuality; we suffered the loss of relentless rascals to ensure the unending vibe; we wrought words of perfection to keep our direction. Outward gaze, our piquant depictions, staged establishment predilections; peeled away, exposed addictions - stand alone or not stand at all. ~ MH Clay

Switch Your Groove by Paul Tristram

Scattergun out all of those poisonous bullets
whilst sucker-punching that dark cloud
from around your slowly clearing head.
Germinate new energy and adrenalin
way down at the heart and soul’s core,
it’s the middle that matters, always.
Purge and vent the anger and frustration,
then count your blessings and lucky stars,
you made it through and out the other side.
Deconstruct depression, slap apathy away
from your face, put your best fighting foot
forward and brave the brand new day.
Take that bolthole you cleverly kept hidden,
drop the past baggage away from your back.
Time to start over again stronger and wiser,
switch your groove and get onto the right track.

July 25, 2015

editors note: Anytime you need to give yourself a good talking to, these words would do. Thanks, Paul! – mh clay


Dire Prediction by Gary Beck

Service men and women,
firefighters,
police officers,
military,
other functionaries
vital to society
insufficiently appreciated
by bloated consumers
frequently sheltered
from traumas of life.
Now that we are removing
the capable blue-collar class,
outsourcing jobs abroad
complementing the flight of capital,
the growth of servitude jobs
does not inspire confidence
that we will retain
men and women
who will walk through fire, bullets, blood,
to protect us.

July 24, 2015

editors note: Prediction or prophecy? – mh clay


The last heartbeat by Bozena Helena Mazur-Nowak

It was a day like any other day
an early Monday afternoon in May –
and she was already dancing with the Angels
as her mother read that farewell letter.

She fell limply from the white cliffs
to the ocean whose waves gently bathed her feet,
their susurration a farewell prayer,
then taking flight she rose,
soaring skyward –
riding the winds with wide spread wings
like a white seagull.

The last heartbeat whispered
“Forgive me, Mom
Now I’m happy”

July 23, 2015

editors note: Why choose early departure? Poets imagine. – mh clay


THE AFTERMATH OF FREEDOM by Fathia Jellad

There was no sunlight before today
We saw only shadows kept at bay
It was stark; it was bleak in a way
That used to be Tunisia of yesterday

Freedom came with the sacrifices they made
Thanks to our martyrs fear will fade
Our heroes were gone out of shape,
But their names will remain on the tape

Tunisians revolted against those in power
Obliging them to run and leave their tower
By repeating slogans: Out! Game is over!
People woke up and finally became sober

Ministers stayed hours then left!
That was the quickest shift
Some took the revolution as a bull!
They were ready to ride to the full!

I warn off those having selfish demands!
My Tunisia is the most sacred of lands
Nationalism is not a kind of brand!
I will kneel and kiss her pure sand

As a citizen I will change my birth date
And each 14th of January I will celebrate
Let’s leave selfishness and greed
Love and Unity are all we need

Democracy cannot exist all of a sudden!
Let’s first work to get rid of that burden
Stop complaining about political rights
We need patience to carry on the fights

Let’s work! Let’s save our lands!
And fight for dignity, not personal demands!
Tunisia today is no longer the same
Her betterment should be our single aim

July 22, 2015

editors note: Poetic visionary fervor and ideals. Can we remember? Can we renew? – mh clay


yellow puke suit by Chase Spruiell

waster paper. into the bin.
clumsy hands. clumsy words.
inconsistent machine. blabbering
human. on the fault line of
true feeling. bankrupt emotion.
purged from readings of Kurt
Vonnegut. another’s words.
in my mouth. mixed up sputtering.
false emotional vomit. dressed
for the parade. yellow puke suit.
21st century literature. dressed
in yellow. proud of the purge.

Bukowski would buy me
a beer.
Here’s to you, Hank.
Kurt, too.

you are what you eat.

July 21, 2015

editors note: Ah, yes! The false starts, the iconic influences. I could use a new suit; think I’ll eat some kale… – mh clay


Why We Have Drones by J.K. Durick

Early on killing must have been close up
With something sharp, a dagger-like stick
Or stone pushed home, up so close that
You would almost embrace your enemy
Feel his strength yield a bit, up close you
Could hear his last words, even when you
Didn’t understand them, you heard them
Even smelled and tasted them, felt them
On your cheek, a last word and his last
Breath, then the nothing of his death
A dead weight to push aside or lay down
Perhaps stumble over, blood literally on
Your hands, your weapon, your clothes
The smell and feel of it, a reminder of
What you have done, hard to wash away
Something that intimate must stay with
You, follow you, haunt you, and play games
With your imagination, reversing the roles
The blade piercing your stomach or chest
Your blood, your last words, or changing
The partner in the dance, your best friend,
Your wife, your children, killing them all
This close up.

July 20, 2015

editors note: Easy, when one can do it through a screen. Why not? We do everything through a screen. – mh clay


drifting away by Linda M. Crate

seeds of truth
laying
naked beneath your tongue
refuse to be uttered,
and i shy away
because mother taught me not to
make waves;
i waxed and wanned and disappeared
like a new moon—
yesterday i opened my eyes and
decided that life is too short
for me to wait on you
to step onboard my ship and do anything more
than to drill holes in my dreams,
and so i will throw you
overboard
like tea;
you will be forgotten as all history is
someone will make the mistake of repeating you
but i cannot warn them
there is too much distance i must yet
make—
i will be long gone before you realize
and you will try to call me back
to find that i was not the
same person as yesterday and i will no longer
obey you or your ridiculous
demands.

July 19, 2015

editors note: A tea party rebellion of personal proportions. Nice! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good! We got just the read to feed your need!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale. "SGLI" by Texas poet & writer (and Mad Swirl's August Open Mic feature) PW Covington: "The dead dictate the lives of the living, that’s how it’s always been. Your ghost will do it too. Absence, sometimes, is more of a problem than presence."

Here's a few lines to get your need fed:

photo by Tyler Malone

$400,000. SGLI.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.

Fucking Robbie.

I hadn’t even heard he had been killed until I got all the paperwork, forwarded from that years’ old address on the base in Kansas. He had died in Mosul, or somewhere like that. Some kind of explosion. I found his name online in a list of soldiers killed that month, but it didn’t say exactly how it happened.

Benefits awarded “By Law,” the paperwork said. I guess we were still technically married. No one in his family even told me. His parents always hated me. I hear that they buried him at that big Army cemetery in San Antonio. I heard it was free. I imagine there was a bugle and a flag.

Fucking Robbie.

I didn’t even have a checking account. It took me over a week to find a bank willing to let me open one, just so I could deposit the check. I couldn’t find any other way to cash it. I have the starter checks, brochures about mutual funds and Certificates of Deposit. The lady at the bank said that I need to “put my money to work for me.” Is it really my fucking money?

It still isn’t real to me. How am I supposed to feel? I was on the phone begging for a couple of extra days to pay the light bill, while that money was doing whatever it takes to clear and post to my account. It took five days, there was a weekend involved. I got cut back to like 15 hours a week at the dollar store because it’s the summer now and kids are out of school. They always hire three or four students. I put in for a job with the city a few months ago, but never heard back from them. I think I didn’t do good enough on the typing test they made me take at the employment office over in Cuero.

What now? Does any of that even matter?…


Tempting taste? If you’re hungry for the rest, get read feast 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...

Seein’ & Stealin',

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.19.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.18.15

“You can play a shoestring if you're sincere.” ~ John Coltrane

••• The Mad Gallery •••


Photo of Swirve's Chris Curiel taken by Dan "The Photog Man" Rodriguez

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we got real (no shit, we did); we sang what we would, poorly poured if we could; we tried to pass on one who went on (and on and on); we pondered the profundity of purpose; we pondered more, near and far, rose and star; we counted the lines of a life account; we jumped into star-crossed bliss, engulfed in unknown mist. That's what we hoped and why we jump - always jumping. Jump! ~ MH Clay

THE EDGE by Jeffrey Park

Explorer
some might call him
or seeker,
peeping tom,
rattler at locks,
one who charges full tilt
to the end
of the earth,
leaps
and stretches
and slices his finger
on one of
Saturn’s razor-thin rings,
and allows his
own eccentric orbit
to carry him
out
and down
and into the mist.

July 18, 2015

editors note: Follow the explorer, seeker; peep and rattle. It’s the only way to know what lies beyond the mist… – mh clay


Sixteen Inspired Lines by Ralph Freda

It has taken me a lifetime to learn
that the Moon – in all its mystery – is simply itself
… and this is the hardest thing to learn

I know for certain, very few things, anymore…

I know for certain the Universe is an empty place,
and the love we provide gives it Meaning…

I know for certain the one I love is somewhere
out there, in this world –
I have been too long without her; and I fear I am insane…

I know for certain that the people who truly love me are fewer than the fingers I have on one hand;
and when they have gone, so too, will have I…

I shall not be left to survive,
beneath the ridiculous, mysterious, eternally condemned Moon…

July 17, 2015

editors note: Oh, Moon! Tell us the sound of one hand counting…? – mh clay


t​he too deep rose is infinite by James Barrett Rodehaver

​t​he rose is pushing inland.

i have long pondered the quiet rim of unbearable madness.
a coffee bean falls to the floor,
to be crushed but never used.

the delicate balancing act of twin unhappinesses,
lost love and hard life,
while making it all look like it glows, effortlessly.

one hole in the sock, where the toe pokes through,
trying to pull it back in your sleep.

the storm on paper, on viridescent screens,
that no one really knows, until the power goes out,
and all we can hear are thunder and sirens.

the faint cry to the earth of “mercy,”
after you realize you’re in a poor man’s deja vu.

the rose is etching itself upon our hands.
i have long pondered the stark truth of unbearable madness.
the revolving door of paychecks come and gone,
and the bills that take them.

the silence in the house of the lonely spinster,
and the cries that pierce the night like a gunshot in the distance.

that one spot in the middle of your back,
that you can never quite reach,
like a secret key to contentment.

a cart full of new groceries,
but the card says denied,
just as your stomach rumbles like a ghost.

lying on your back looking up at the night sky,
asking the universe if we are alone,
and the universe suddenly answers back “no,”
and suddenly you count the stars,
estimate the planets,
and begin to worry,
just barely able to sanely cope with one world,
so you reply back with, “well, why not?”

the rose folds itself into a star.

July 16, 2015

editors note: A rose is a rose is a reason to question everything. – mh clay


PURPOSE by Beate Sigriddaughter

What is the purpose
of a polar bear?

Exactly.

And that is my purpose
as well.

July 15, 2015

editors note: Yes, exactly! – mh clay


In Remembrance of Muzzles Past by Steven Minchin

We’ve passed on

but
unrestrained you go on
on without control
continually igniting out loud
like the Hindenburg inflated
with vocal accelerants
erupting on their own
you go on spewing
-a disaster without concern-
like the Hindenburg with verbs.

July 14, 2015

editors note: Rip it or zip it! – mh clay


If I could by Opalina Salas

If I could
Just hold on
To the tail ends sweeping
The talk
And mediocre
Could blind my eyes to your dissatisfaction
Close my ears to the silence
Break open windows in the airless room
Love the loveless
Sleep the forbidden dreams
In masks and riddles
And know your broad shoulders
Told no lies

Poor red
Pour red
In me
These violent things
I cannot sing

If I could
Intercept the gravity
That pulls my arms
And legs of scaffolds
Open wings
And claw marks
To questions
And tumble in your hair
That gives me pause

Poor red
Pour red
In me
These violent things
I cannot sing

If I could
Stub toes of journey
In the meandering night
And hear the music
Not aided by keys of smoke
But by your gentle sighs
Even so I long for the melodies
Unending in our love

Poor red
Pour red
In me
These violent things
I cannot sing

If I could just
Crack like sunshine
On the turning land
Burnish the fields
And plump the opiates
Of their moaning tendrils
Could blind my eyes to your dissatisfaction
Close my ears to the silence
Break open windows in the airless room
Love the loveless
Sleep the forbidden dreams
In masks and riddles
And know your soft lips
Told no lies

July 13, 2015

editors note: Oh, yes! If we could (a pour for the poor), we would… wouldn’t we? (Another mad missive from Opalina on her page; something for breakfast – check it out.) – mh clay


Speaking real type shit by James Brown

So many times an unforgiven breath
Carried the words, “you don’t do this,
You haven’t done that” truth, the real
Facts I done most of all that, took care
Of you type shit.
Speaking on weak shit, lying through
Your teeth type shit, keep that weeping
type shit, It was all good out on your
creep type shit, slick type shit.
Every time I lift my feet type shit you
get that meekness type shit and hide the
freak type outfit, I’m not weak like that I
just don’t indulge in that type bullshit fit.
Most of the time I just want to be left alone
Type shit and not hear that preaching type
Shit when you sin too type shit; now feel
Me on this real type shit.

July 12, 2015

editors note: Well, this is the real shit. No shit! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then you really don't want to miss out on "The Love of Fathers" by John Lewis

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: "Our greatest love is our greatest pain: ourselves. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a women, we make our suffering special, something we think the stars and god truly care about. "

Here's a bit to get your need feedin' goin':


I woke early, shaved, taken a cold shower, then with a glass of fruit juice and some crackers, I occupied my favorite chair before the television. It was to be a twenty–overs cricket match, meaning excitement non-stop. The channel messaged that the match would be televised thirty minutes later because they were wishing a happy Father’s Day to all fathers. Also, the phone lines were opened for persons to call in and have their say about us fathers. I seized the opportunity to slice some cheese and tomatoes to go with the crackers, but all the while half my mind listened to the callers. Most of the callers spoke ill of fathers. I found my chewing accelerating as my anger increased. Even the female moderator joined in the verbal father-thrashing. Eventually, I dialed that call-in program:

“Good morning, my dear. Thank you so much for reminding us fathers that today is Father’s Day. Usually, on Mother’s day my wife receives a special breakfast in bed. Here I am, on Father’s Day, eating crackers with cheese and tomatoes—put together by yours truly. My wife is still in bed.”

“Be honest with yourself. Do you deserve better treatment?” the moderator challenged.

“Certainly! I have made that clear to my wife on several occasions when the pain from her hardheartedness got to me. I am now immune to her indifferent attitude towards my need for the occasional pampering. Note, miss, that our children never regard such abuse of daddy as neglect on their mother’s part, because she gets up each school day to prepare breakfast for the family. Somehow, dads are viewed as heartless law-givers, against whom the rest of the family must take a stand, as if we had used the women against their will and are consequently doomed by law to compensate and protect the injured parties. There’s also this expectation that fathers must devote all, even their time and attention, strictly to concerns deemed important by wives. For example, wives feel offended when politics and other serious matters engage some of their men’s attention, unconscious of the fact that their husbands stand on the front line, facing God and Government on their families’ behalf.”

“Okay, sir, you’ve…” the Moderator intercepted.

“Please do not interrupt me! I am speaking on behalf of all fathers…


Can't stop feedin' that read need right there, could ya? Then 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...

Sincere-ly,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.11.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.11.15

“almost exquisite, the slight madness” ~ James Tate

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Battle Fatigue” (above) by featured artist Paula “Pd” Lietz. To see more Mad works from Pd, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we found bird kill to be no thrill; we meted love from mattered metaphor; we wound romance 'round a whiskey glow, why it was you, we'll never know; we thought Summer, thick sighs, ants on thighs; we made from broken night, lives to stand in morning light; we upended the origin of original sin; we followed the flow of creative course, to Alpha, to Eternal River's source. Common source, common destination; commonality. ~ MH Clay

Solitary river by Hem Raj Bastola

Irrigating
Vegetation
Aesthetic hallucination
One mad station
For creation
Isolation.

Have I
Understood of life
Looking for the rooms
Adventure to the unknown
Beyond the horizon
My eyes are
Dreaming.

That cloud
Of a void sky
Loitering free
Shapeless mind
Thinking and thinking
Never become
Concrete.

Floating
In the air
On the ground I walk
Experimenting with mystery
Collecting the fossils
From a solitary
River.

July 11, 2015

editors note: A 21st Century Siddhartha, living his path aloud; isolation, experimentation, aesthetic hallucination. (Another from Hem Raj on his page, post-earthquake in Nepal – check it out!) – mh clay


Fish on Friday by Abigail Wyatt

Fish on Fridays is ok, I suppose:
for most of us it’s no more than a relic
from a time long before;
like cold cuts on a Monday
from the family joint
that used to be
the week’s big event:
a nice piece of topside
or a leg of spring lamb –
there being far too much
fat on the breast –
served up with mint sauce
made from mint fresh
from the garden,
chopped up with vinegar
and sugar to taste.

Not roast pork, of course:
though some of us do like it,
many see the pig as unclean;
a scavenging creature –
as, indeed, are shellfish –
and injurious to our
spirit and our health;
and some say no beef,
because the cow is sacred;
some, no alcohol,
and some no tea or coffee;
caffeine, being highly addictive,
tends to undermine,
apparently, our physical
and spiritual health.

All religions considered,
it’s a bit of a mine field,
especially having people to dinner:
after all, you can’t always tell these days
what a person’s beliefs might be.
It’s a good thing, though,
that they have sorted one thing out;
as a wife, it puts my mind
at rest to know it.
It’s the kind of thing that can
make you anxious
and keep you from your sleep.
Now I don’t have to worry
that my husband will go hungry
because, if he’s ever
facing starvation,
now there’s a fatwa
that says it’s ok
to go right ahead
and make a meal
of me.

Except that now they say
this is a ‘only a joke’;
or, worse, that it is
‘only propaganda’;
so that now I am attacked
for mocking those
who sharpen their knives
and polish their forks
ready to plunge them into me;
but, whichever way you cut it,
the unpalatable truth is this:
that the gods don’t seem
to care much for us women.

So, guys, if you –
and your gods –
want to win my respect
stop raping and stoning my sisters;
stop paying me less
and then making me pay
a dozen different ways every day.
Stop selling my daughters,
stop calling me names
and making me ashamed
of my bright body;
and stop spinning those lies
about ‘wickedness’ and ‘sin’
and how it all originates
with me.

July 10, 2015

editors note: Nothing fishy here! An appeal for equality on all fronts. Listening, Gents? – mh clay


DAWN by Tom Montag

and morning’s silence.
From the other

side of night, when
you cross over, if

you can, if you don’t
let go, you, too, may

bring them back, these
broken things from which

we make our lives.

July 9, 2015

editors note: Gathered in a torn satchel, we salvage what we can for morning; building bright futures. – mh clay


Raisin in the Morning by Taylor Gall

You’re a
little raisin
baking on my back
porch,
smiling in the
chilly March
sun, but
dreaming about
July.
July will
smell like flowers
and be thick with
haze,
in July we will
stay up late.
We will drink
beers on a front lawn and
be raisins together,
you,
me,
the ants

July 8, 2015

editors note: A love prophecy; made in Spring, fulfilled in Summer. Hand us a beer and damn the ants. – mh clay


It was you by Peggy Flora

at the hour of midnight
on whiskey covered floors
with bar stools and noise
through the back door
a leather scented wind
sitting upon the motor
the vision became

a smile and glow
of red and yellow
a faint resemblance
of a colored road
marked by needs
only seen in the heat
of a long kept secret
to feel the breeze

weakened by the knees
in black night rumblings
Letters and numerals
Crept around truths
Of more meaning
But for an evening
It was you

July 7, 2015

editors note: In the questionable night, answers arrive unsolicited. It was you. – mh clay


LOVE POEM LATE IN THE 2ND YEAR OF MARRIAGE by Brian Wood

(“This is the second of our reign.”)

What flew through the air today was sight not sound,
Although the trees swayed anyhow,
Stunned. Light broke through these dull
Clouds late, as if even the air around us
Had had enough of brooding, scowling skies,

Skies with no light or hope. And my wife
Out there for a walk as a metaphor for
All this, unplanned and unasked. For my
Long week she will find an excuse to treat
Me like I could be the only thing that

Matters, this instant and forever. On the most
Mundane Monday she finds ways to
Bring small lights and grace notes to a
Life otherwise contingent—deals on the phone
With those not in my control.

Not all compacts endure. But this one
Does, its essence an ionic bond,
And I can’t wait till you come back,
Though it has been mere minutes.
My soul pants after you, as the psalmist
Said. There could be no other analogy,

No other synecdoche, nothing on this
Earth has Rachel stand in for anything
Else. Even metaphor, Rachel as the
Sun, say, gets only so close. If there
Is the perfect word canvas, look at

A prayer wheel, set on fire with hope, where others see only
Dark; picture a murmuration of starlings
Where others see only shapes against
A late winter sky.

July 6, 2015

editors note: Here speaks love as love, not metaphor; sweet.! (In the light of recent Independence Day celebrations, a fine write on Brian’s page; words from any president, two and a half terms in – check it out!) – mh clay


APOLOGY by Mark Senkus

young boy with pellet gun
aiming at anything moving

a tree swallow fluttering near its
nest hole far up the birch tree

an innocent pulling of trigger
a dead-on kill
and then the swallow’s mate
out the nest hole and
shrieking her mourning
across the thinned air

flustered and uncertain
the boy carefully aims and
shoots again putting down
the mate

trudging home feeling life moving
backwards like lost footsteps
hoarding the shame of his
accumulated future all
at once.

July 5, 2015

editors note: Let regrets over triggers pulled influence future pointing of the gun. Peace, first! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good! We sure got a killer story for you!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale “The Bully, the Psychopath, Libby and Lorraine“ by Contributing Poet & Writer Donal Mahoney: "Some people are looking for love in all the wrong places–and those wrong places are people. People in shadows. People with stories. People with monsters living inside their brains. Monsters who only know the taste of blood on their tongue."

Here's a few slices to get the blood flowing:

photo by Tyler Malone

Fred was a bully who always bothered Lenny on the way to school. Fred was four years older than Lenny. One day Lenny told him that when he grew up he would kill him. Fred laughed and probably didn’t expect to see Lenny that night, twenty years later, when Lenny waited for him in the alley next to his garage.

As usual, Fred got home around midnight from his work on the second shift. When Fred got out of his car, Lenny said, “Hey Fred, remember little Lenny, the kid from grammar school.”

Fred said he didn’t remember Lenny and that’s when Lenny swung the machete his grandfather had brought home from the Pacific after World War II. Then he stood there and admired his work, smiled and watched Fred’s head roll a few feet like a bowling ball.

In the morning a milkman found the head and the body and the story was in the papers for weeks as people wanted to know who did it but Lenny couldn’t tell them. They wouldn’t understand that it was simply a matter of a bully paying the price for what he had done years earlier to Lenny…


Don't leave the bloody scene without knowing how this tale ends! 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...

Bein’ More Than Slightly Mad,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

7.05.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.04.15

“When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.” ~ Robert Mapplethorpe

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Self” (above) by featured artist Paula “Pd” Lietz. To see more Mad works from Pd, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we bounced our brains off a blunt reality; we revisited the thing of a weekend fling; we flickered in flames of angel dreams; we popped corks and clowns and other things which begin with "I"; we suffered the angst of the average Joe, collateral casualty in the war of woe; we saw what the seer saw, a celestial switch; we slept the "sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care"*. From smoke to Shakespeare; a wild weft we weave in the stirrings of the Swirl. ~ MH Clay

Sleep Madrigal by Harley White

Sleep’s the Great Healer—
Sleep’s the Revealer

of hidden meanings,
unbidden gleanings.

When sorrow aches us,
Sleep overtakes us—

stealing away grief,
like a welcome thief.

Night is the coverlet
for a longing lover— yet
it’s Sleep who delves

deep into our selves,
finding dusty dreams… on shadowy shelves.

When life’s a jailor,
Sleep’s the unveiler

of an inner key…
to set us free.

Sleep’s our best friend
at a hard day’s end—

weaver of fantasy… with reality,
make-believer of what could be…

Sleep’s the Great Healer… of you and me.

July 4, 2015

editors note: A compelling case for sleep – I vote “Yes for naps!” (Another fun pome from Harley on her page, about our mutual love of words – check it out!) – mh clay


Reflections by Rose Aiello Morales

Notice the non mirror image,
stripped backing, a window
and you are a tree, a bird singing,
a car goes by with the boom, Boom, BOOM,
you are an irate citizen writing letters to the mayor.

Fixer of stare back, black paint
and the picture changes, it is you,
but not, your mind knows who you are,
it is not this reversal of fortune, sag eyed
wrinkle in time, you wave and the beast waves in turn.

Smile, the flake from breakfast, she ate the same
in that other universe, does it come back to haunt
her in her old age? Or maybe she lives forever, through
the membrane and you try to step, she places her palm
against yours, sad smile, maybe a tear for what might be,

You both turn away.

July 3, 2015

editors note: Turn from one parallel universe; walk smack into another. – mh clay


Your average Muslim Joe and Mary by Arif Ahmad

Eradicated en masse by the Muslim fundamentalists for not being Muslim enough and siding with the West

Tried unilaterally in the media, embarrassed, condemned, regarded with suspicion, frisked at the airports, many having lost their lives and checked off as collateral damage by the warring West

Often misunderstood and taken out of context

Never for a conflict, we like it quiet and out of limelight

Not expecting anyone to bail us out or elevate our status

Some fault for all this surely lies with us

We are your average Muslim Joe and Mary, the single largest casualty, the silent tragedy of this war on terror

And it is for us to find a way out of this rut

To become a world-class scientist, a politician, an artist, an entrepreneur, a philosopher

Excel at living and never say never

July 2, 2015

editors note: A little perspective, right? A little empathy. A little tolerance… – mh clay


Poems that Begin with the Letter “I” by PW Covington

I am guilty
I am included
I am crybaby, lecherous, disability welfare, pot smoker
Unreliable
I am victim, attacker, liar and clown
I am a thief, a scoundrel
A saint
I am praying
A folly
A collection of myths in the morning twilight
False dawn
The cork out of an absinthe bottle
I am slum lord of this Texas imagination

All these poems that begin with the letter “I”

July 1, 2015

editors note: This poet’s Texas imagination puts the “I” in big, but everything is, in Texas. – mh clay


SPIRIT DREAMS (AFTER ERIC CASILLAS) by Joseph Lisowski

Yesterday we dreamed
Angels,
Comforters

Of our nights
Alone
Shaken by dread.

What escape
Is beyond
The flame

Of flesh
That licks
In crevices

Dark
Beyond
Desire?

Who can
Question
That?

June 30, 2015

editors note: Questions only angels are qualified to ask. – mh clay


A (major) re-visiting by Isobel Atacus

Last night I went to Lyon on a –
whim
booking click and purpose of your trip?
alluded to some sort a form of work, unspecified
and rubbed things out

when all the while (I and others knew)
I’d gone to stew in sweat and smoke
and bodies reunited up up close

drinking, drink, inhale what’s this, and lifting items from the shelf,
ash dropping
everywhere the sheer exuberance
of foie gras
nonchalantly hid

amongst the cans of sweetcorn, found
we slathered over bread
then went to bed

held hands walking in the park
smoked on bench
and fought

before I left, satisfied, bereft perhaps, a little,
back

June 29, 2015

editors note: A weekend fling; patch up to break up to start full and leave empty (major). – mh clay


The Grape Cigar by Catfish McDaris

Mary ripped off the bandage, his brain
tumor was visible, the treatments had
made him worse, she made a blunt

From a grape cigar and some red bud
Columbian, Quick’s mouth watered in
anticipation, he told her to put on Tom

Petty singing about dancing the last time
with Mary Jane, he toked hard on the herb
he dreamed of the Louvre and Whistler’s

Mother getting out of her rocking chair
and walking like an Egyptian, the Thinker
bumping fists with him and La Gioconda
shedding blue purple crocodile tears.

June 28, 2015

editors note: A little smoke in the mirror of Alice’s reality. The Mona Lisa never looked better. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then you’ve come to the right place ‘cos we got just what the mad doc ordered!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale “Waiting Room Madness“ Mark Antony Rossi: "Waiting, that’s the only game any of us are prepared to play. Really, though, someone, or something, is always playing us."

Here's a few lines while you await your turn…:

photo by Tyler Malone

You know the waiting as well as I do. You hate it too. The terrible waiting. The time you dread more than a five-foot needle stuck in your backside. You feel the rage. You work harder than hell for some decent medical insurance only to wait like a flea-bitten dog for a miserable bone.

Waiting in line to fill out a form. Waiting for a bubblegum-smacking bimbette to point out a pale plastic seat. The terrible waiting in a terrible waiting room. A color-coded monstrosity overflowing with wheezing zombies staring at flat-paint walls. Or burying their weird heads in magazines best lining Aunt Betty’s birdcage. The thought of sitting elbow to elbow in a room full of sick people makes me that much sicker.

Admit it! Any person forcing you to wait that long deserves a serious smack in the face. I want to smack him now before I get the bill. I want to smack him for his poor taste in decor. I want to yell and smack the SOB for his magazine selection alone. And I definitely want to smack this germ-carrying freak next to me coughing up Ebola in my direction.

Looking up at the so-called secretary with a tic-tac for a brain, you wonder how these people avoid illness wading through room after room of dancing bacteria. Does their low IQ afford them some special immunity? Does the death of ambition lead to life extension? If I had more time I’d look into this a bit further. Maybe it’s true: only the good die young…


The mad doc will see you now. Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


What a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness this past 1st Wednesday (aka 07.01.15)! As Swirve started their jazzy madness, the crowd found their way into and filled the VIP lounge with their heads boppin’ and their fingers snappin’. As the last notes were fading away, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay introduced our feature act, the musical dynamic duo of Stefan Prigmore & John Kelley. The folk-country tunes they chose to play carried us away! If you were there, you know what we mean. If not, well… your loss. You snooze…

After a brief intermission, the mic got opened up to the mad ones who filled the Lounge and what a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music ensued! Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

(In case you missed this Mad action, here is the picture show, (thanks to Dan "the man" Rodriguez) of who was who…)

Hosts:
Johnny O
MH Clay

Feature:
John Kelley & Stefan Prigmore

Mad Cast:
Beat the Poet
Victory
Carlos Salas
Kristine Jessup
Roderick Richardson
Opalina Salas
David Crandall
BA
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Chris Zimmerly
Paul Konieki
Zach Shrotter
Logen Cure
Cj Critt

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

And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin, owner of Absinthe Lounge, who has given 124 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!

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

August: PW Covington

•••••••

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’ Holy Work,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.27.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.27.15

“Poetry is a matter of life, not just a matter of language.” ~ Lucille Clifton

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Stay Syrbarite Stay” (above) by featured artist Paula “Pd” Lietz. To see more Mad works from Pd, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we regaled a walrus blue reflection, sedated by a calm injection; we paused to pine o'er a heart-spattered shine; we mourned our fly-found lost-love buzz, now bound by balled socks, silent; we loved a life, recounted on page, with avalanche jams, uncounted by age; we peered through a blur of snowfall, pure by default; we lived a day unsparkable, neither niggling nor remarkable; we found profound truth, wearing a Double-D. All sizes, shapes and sounds; life profound, lived profoundly. ~ MH Clay

Universal Truths by Contributing Poet Donal Mahoney

When Bill was a lad
his parents preached that
Scripture was the truth.

Decades later now
Bill still believes that.
In college, though,

his professors told him
science was the truth.
Bill still believes that, too.

But there’s another truth
that Scripture and science
never clarified for Bill.

At age 13 he saw it
scratched on a wall
in black graffiti

above a public urinal,
a universal truth he had
just begun to understand.

The message was
“Big tits are the greatest!”
a truth he still believes as well.

June 27, 2015

editors note: Yes! Intelligent Design; faith for the faithless. – mh clay


One Day by Bruce McRae

One day nothing remarkable occurred.
No rivers ran red or economies collapsed.
Not a single sparrow seemed out of place,
the sky still blatantly apparent,
some rather ordinary clouds banking in ranks,
the black-eyed mouse in its usual kitchen.

People prayed for a good harvest, naturally,
or for salvation, or for Jenny’s sore to heal –
as they had since time first began
its long slide towards oblivion.
Women still looked at their men and wondered
whatever had become of them,
entropy’s sleeve continuing to unravel.

And then one day even that didn’t happen.

June 26, 2015

editors note: The day when absolutely nothing happens; ’twill be a truly remarkable day. – mh clay


Snowflakes by Sylwia Borkowska

I look through the softly falling snowflakes
All I see is white cloudy blur

I try to see through it
But, it’s all the same,
White cloudy blur

The snowflakes with the growing falling speed
Begin to look gray
As they mix with the modern city living

But, all that I try to see
Looks pure anyhow…

June 25, 2015

editors note: Opacity begs acceptance at face value. Try to see through… – mh clay


MY LIFE by Contributing Poet B.Z. Niditch

Life is ageless
full of charades
whether played
on soprano sax
or jazz fiddle
drawing ink portraits
it’s a mind bender
in the middle
of the road
on back alleys
or city hallways
in front of jams
traffic or music,
against a mountain
of winter storms
or in an avalanche
of sunshine
by paper flying cranes.

June 24, 2015

editors note: His life, every life; ageless, lived best in all ways. Thanks, BZ! – mh clay


Travel Plans by Contributing Poet Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Fly in the suitcase, why have you died on me?
We still had many good hours together
pestering one another, but secretly in love
me with a rolled newspaper, you playing hard to get
the ceiling fan spider oscillating third wheel jealous…
fly in the suitcase, did I forget to pack oxygen?
my scatterbrains spilling out over my shoulder onto my shirt
so yours do not have to
the hydro company now buzzing
for you
out along the high wire
fly in my suitcase, let me ball up
my socks beside you
let customs ask their many inane questions, my friend,

no need to
answer.

June 23, 2015

editors note: The best plan; preserve your true love, packed, always present. Let those questions come… – mh clay


untitled by Contributing Poet Jesse Doughty

The heart should hang
always
from a high wire
in the elements
ready to slip
and fall
heavy
and
final
and burst
and trampled upon
even then
unnoticed
but
for some little mess
it leaves
on the bottoms
of strange
shoes.

June 22, 2015

editors note: Love is a no-net, high-wire act; big miss, big mess. Noticed only by janitorial staff – maybe. – mh clay


THE STORY WHICH NEVER GATHERED AGAIN by Tapeshwar Prasad

Inject ‘calm’
through sedative drops
to my blue veins
And
shield wounded core
holding hard
to my fragile life

Bemused
by the cough of life
bruises, caused
to lick those unspoken words

Night walrus
with tough wrinkled skin
along the long tusks
fought flippers whole of night
creepy and insane, till
the ‘day’,
broke me down:
Calm of space
and reigning clouds drifting around

Injecting calm
to the blue of sky,
the story which never gathered again!

June 21, 2015

editors note: Broken by denizen of deep? No story here… (goo, goo, gajoob) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then you’ve come to the right place ‘cos we got just the read to feed your need!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale "Ten Minutes and One Second" from longtime Contributing Writer Jim Meirose: "Think about how you articulate what you really love and want, and know that language fails every time, all time. Day-to-day, our words fail and all we have left are our actions, our passions, and what we leave for the ants to eat. "

Here's a couple minutes worth of "Ten Minutes and One Second":


King’s Dominion, July 28, 2009, 5:50 PM.

Sharp beaver claws and teeth gnawing, grasping; broad flat tails slapping.

They walked along on the crowded hot blacktop.

What a day we have had here don’t you think?

Yes—I’m pooped.

Gnaw—gnaw the wood. Must have wood. Must have lots of wood. Find wood.

Look—a Fudge and Fun stand. Want to have some?

The sun beamed down from low over the buildings across the way.

Oh yes—we need some dessert—here—here let’s walk in the shade it’s hot.

Logs vertical across the stream spaced apart; logs and branches horizontal between the logs tight from the bottom to the top to stop the water. Mud. Slap on mud.

One smirking, one frowning, they went toward the Fudge and Fun stand through the sun between the gaps in the shadows.

Come on! Let’s hurry before the stand closes—

All right.

Slap mud on the dam more sticks more twigs more mud good and tight the slap of the tail the water rising. The water rises spreading out and deeper. A pond forms quickly. Deeper, wider. They watch. But must gather sticks; must gather sticks and branches and brush for what’s next.

Reaching the stand, they joined the long line standing in the sun.

This line moves so slow—I hope they don’t close.

I know. Me too.

The line moved forward and they stepped into shadow.…


Get the rest of the minutes right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••


Join Mad Swirl at the NEW Absinthe Lounge this 1st Wednesday of July (aka July 1st) at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month now for OVER 10 years! This month we are featuring the dynamic musical duo of John Kelley & Stefan Prigmore!

After our feature set we urge you stick around to get yourself a spot on our list… first come, first on the list! Which means… get there early!

Come one, come all! Mad poets, musicians, actors, singers, circus freaks & other miscellaneous loco locals… come-n-strut-yo-stuff. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.

Mad Love,
Googily-Eyed Guy

P.S. If you can’t be here LIVE, you can view the whole show via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel! Just click here at 8:00pm (CST) and watch the mic madness swirlin’ live.

P.P.S. AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin’ madness. Here’s who we will be featuring next month:

August: PW Covington

•••••••

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...

Livin' It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.20.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.20.15

“That's one of the great things about poetry; one realises that one does one's little turn - that you're just part of the great crop, as it were.” ~ Paul Muldoon

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Impulse” (above) by featured artist Paula “Pd” Lietz. To see more Mad works from Pd, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Mad Swirl is proud to bring back longtime Contributing Poet & Artist, Paula “Pd” Lietz. Pd isn’t a newcomer to our Mad Gallery (3x now), but she certainly keeps us excited each time we get to sneak a peek! This time around, we sense a loose theme – lots of wings & allusions to nature & trees. But like usual, Lietz’ anything but usual works is mysterious (a windshield with bullet holes… how? why?), and although presented through an array of mediums, we still catch a breath of the same chilling energy. Pd’s work really has a way of shaking you slightly – and yet it somehow leaves you wanting more. Check it out for yourself and see what kinds of questions arise for you… ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we rhymed sublime, survived to strive; we bridged the gaps, transcended loneliness with exclamation; we raved in rants for the (old folk's) right to dance; we jumped into the Hole of an ocean of soul; we lay languid and lazy, being honest and crazy; we swallowed the pills, jumped the abyss, calmed our ills to reach mental bliss. Better living through poetry! ~ MH Clay


Side-Effects: A Sonnet by Tom Hall

When the psychiatric Chorus yearns to learn,
The answers to questions for mind pain, so far,
Well intentioned treatments are slowly adjourned,
When probability falls within the bell jar.

Never so uncertain as when dispensing pills,
And conjured up cures come in percents.
That the tiny tablets we swallow when ill,
Reveal side-effective supplements.

Know the sum of these might irritate,
as they spark to soothe the troubled mind.
Regurgitating, hallucinating, even organs mutilate,
Trembling hands and eyes caught in the blinds.

So ask for help – step in the abyss.
Cause you never know what you might miss

June 20, 2015

editors note: Beneath the bell or in the blinds, observation imposes control. Step out and step in! (We welcome Tom to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of Tom’s madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay


A Little Crazy by Kathy Lohrum Cotton

in those days
on the psych ward
where everyone was
a little crazy
she was happy, she says

it was the pure honesty of it
everyone easy about
being off-center
a relief to be herself

now, on the wide outside
of locked windows and doors
she says she doesn’t know
who to be
in this other world
where everyone works
so hard to hide
being a little crazy.

June 19, 2015

editors note: Okay to be off-center in the heart o’ the Swirl. Here, all are welcome; crazy boy and (this) crazy girl. – mh clay


MY SOUL by Chiranjibi Niroula

My soul would be a rock,
It wouldn’t give me a throbbing pain,
And I wouldn’t shed tears,
As the mother who lost her warrior son in a snare,
It wouldn’t feel the reflective ache of raped girl,
Nor it would get the twinge of bereaved persons
Who lost their kith in the war!

My eyes would be sightless,
I wouldn’t see the injustice,
I wouldn’t see the torture of the weak,
Nor I would glare at the imbalance of power of people,
I think I would feel the sameness,
In the stride of my voyage,

My ears would be deaf,
I wouldn’t hear the story of pain,
Nor I would be listening to explosions
On women and children,

My soul would be white snow.
I would be a glacier
and stay at the peak tops,
Where explorers would make an account of greatness,
I would be cleansing the filth,
From the acme to the chasm,
The world would be anew
with unique hotness and coldness.

My soul would be an ocean,
I would play with the Blue Whale,
I would bring a different Tsunami,
I would take off the prejudice under me,
That never would come up again!

My ear would be the Black Hole,
I would have all the dirty games assassinated.
The world would be an Eden,
Let my soul be the Black Hole,
Let my soul be an ocean!

June 17, 2015

editors note: Yes! Rock my soul in this bosom; bring a new “hotness and coldness” to this world. – mh clay


White Hairs Dance the Zambra by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Who might have thought that white hairs,
With thinning scalps, could prove old crowns more precious
Than downy, babies’ heads?

Why would wrinkled rapscallions dare thump castanets,
Or dance Fandango, Siguiriyas, Son Jarocho, maybe Zambra,
Instead of sipping soda on the sideline?

Where in the world would faded recollections,
Along with tarnished memories, vibrate like mighty throstles
Among crab apple blossoms?

What’s wrong when our populous lets lock-
Downs be governed by pejoratives, by rigid pigeon-holes,
Perhaps also stupid typecasts?

June 16, 2015

editors note: Heads up, Young’uns! Sit this’n out and let some senior Swirlers show you a thing or two. – mh clay


Loneliness by Bhargab Chatterjee

Luminous cantilever bridge connects
Between the two edges of night.
How does light travel faster than me
When she is a wintry night?

The broken fossil stone
Nakedly shows the impression
That resembles a Brahmi script on a stupa.
Moths of darkness
Incongruously flock around me
And groan like chanting Pali hymns.

On the other side of luminosity
Forgotten foot-steps rock.
Heavy moments fall
From the dilapidated wall
Like tired voices over my phone.

Packs of handshakes,
Skinny smiles,
Profound stammers,
Robust whims,
Sticky glances

Perniciously define me on a podium.

Now I play an important role. I have to teach people with illustrations on
How to stand on a podium balancing on the two feet – light and darkness.

Two entities
Are two schools of architecture
That integrate.

Energy and mass remain constant
In the roadside car-park.

Migratory waits,
Since early Stone Age
Blow horn
When we meet in her neighborhood’s cafĂ©.

At the coffee table
Every “!”
Proves the limit of our freedom.

June 15, 2015

editors note: More “!”, more freedom. No limits! – mh clay


REDEMPTION by Thomas L. Holderfield

I was cast out upon a gray whale-dotted sea
amidst rolling waves from a storm-wrought breeze.
Upon a floating piece of ship’s debris I did seize
and paddled my way toward a green isle of trees.

Upon the sandy shore I made my tired way
and thanked God for giving me another day.
I would survive this trial; I’d find a way!
And when I was found I’d know what to say.

Thank you, Lord, for letting me survive
and not only that but actually to thrive!
The mere fact that I am still somehow alive
is reason enough to do my best and strive…

Strive to be a better man, a better lover
and not to seek excuses and run for cover.
Always around my wife and child will I hover.
Who knows what together we may discover?

June 14, 2015

editors note: Thank your lord or fate or chance. Make life and love from happenstance. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good! We got just the tune for ya'!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale "THE WEDDING SINGER" from longtime Contributing Writer Carl Kavadlo: "What to do when you live a life deep in madness? Well, you profit, of course."

Here's a few notes to get the tune stuck in your gourd:

photo by Tyler Malone

Frankie Mann operated a small, Brooklyn music office. He often hired a junkie sax player named Freddie. Frankie’s father, Mambo, was a gangster down in Florida. He financed Frankie as a front. He also used a fat singer named Peter Vallone, who told jokes, usually with an Italian accent.

Now Doctor Frankel stared kindly at Brown. Frankel sat erect in his chair. The speaker went on. “It’s their wedding night. They”re in the mother”s house in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The guy has four toes missing on his left foot. The bride, who he sometimes calls Maria, sometimes calls Josephina, comes running into her mother’s room. The old man had died a year ago and supposedly they never slept together, the bride and groom; and they never even disrobed. Maria shouts, “Mama, Mama. Ah Gino! He’s got a foot and a half.” The mother says, “Ah, you wait here, baby, and I go in and I talk to him!” And right at the punch line, when I”m about to strike the bass drum to accent the humor, this drunken guitar player Carmelo Lugo, half Italian, half Puerto Rican, the worst mixture of those two hot blooded races, kicks a hole in my bass drum, God Damn it, and says, “Mother fucker, you missed a cue on an earlier Jobim bossa nova and screwed up my solo!” Ironically, the song was called So Nice.”

Doctor Frankel continued to look kindly…


Can't just stop there, could ya? Well don't miss another beat, 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...

Sowin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

6.13.2015

The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.13.15

“The work of art is a scream of freedom.” ~ Christo

••• The Mad Gallery •••


“Technicolor Thought” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we attempted an atomic bond, bombed instead; we succumbed (again) to the suck of love's swirl (you could have stepped back, girl); we searched to secure sure love with elusive verse; we omitted invitation for an elderly aunt with a condescending rant; we found a flash of memory to crash in a thunder of tears; we created some talk on the talk of creation; we flipped through frequencies on our dial of memories. Read to remember; write to dream. ~ MH Clay

Mementos
by Kenneth P. Gurney

Paul reached into his curiosity
for a chocolate chip cookie
but found a bicuspid the tooth faerie dropped
back when he was six or seven.

Paul placed the recovered memories
of being six or seven
in a box in the basement
without sorting them in any manner.

Somehow, this liberated a small pair
of sky blue flip-flop sandals
that tracked nineteen sixties beach sand
across the living room carpet.

And the echo of playgrounds passed
kept coming out of the speakers
when the radio tuner glided passed
ninety-eight point six on the dial.

editors note: Savor those stations on your memory dial. Save the sand in your pockets. (We’re glad to see this mad missive from Kenneth, a long time Contributor to the Swirl. Read another memento from him on his page; about fire and a kicking cow – check it out.) – mh clay

June 13, 2015


art
by Carl Kavadlo

creating it is always
fresh.

talking about it is always
stale.

editors note: Still, a breath mint before speaking attempts the illusion. – mh clay

June 12, 2015


Thunder
by Brittany Zedalis

those days spent gliding through the streets
rubber on concrete and distant laughter
with the sun bearing down on our backs
you once told me you loved me
on a trip to an infamous amusement park
shortly before your sickness began
we saw funny hats and there were no long faces
then it came like a landslide
your steps grew slower and each breath more hoarse
and on a night where the sky opened wide
the rain fell like thunderous sorrow
your smile echoed through my screaming soul

editors note: We are the thunder, heard after Death’s lightning strike. (We welcome Brittany to our crazy congress of Contributing poets with this submission. Read more of her madness, including another new one, seeking sparks, on her new page – check it out!) – mh clay

June 11, 2015


REQUEST
by Stefanie Bennett

My love, best not invite
The dowager again
This Easter.
Realise how
Such an incessant
Conversationalist
Will have
The bone china
Reheat its fare,
The flue
Choke yellow,
And the pennyroyal
Cry foul.

And, come nightfall, she’ll
Sup and marinate
The marquee
Into a ballroom;
Fan raised
Warding off
Attackers…

Mark my words,
The agitation
Of the Un-merry Widow
Won’t stop there.

editors note: Change the locks, pull the shades; better house empty than upended. – mh clay

June 10, 2015


Spatial
by Sheikha A.

The carnival is long gone
and I’m still waiting in line

to buy me a love poem
by poets who still remember

what these are; can it be spoken
about dreams that bore your face

or ought they best be buried
in code in poetry I should learn

to master the art of divulging
without really telling;

or should I speak eloquently
without slipping over my words

with the tongue of a tot
clumsy but of what you manage

to hear, believe the words
since they may be like fragments

on sand hard to recover,
but they’ll carry waves of the air

unseen, without definite form
but complete like the night

that never shows without a moon.

editors note: A pome booth, like kisses for a dollar? No! More – special. – mh clay

June 9, 2015


Swirl on Repeat
by Nilanka Maldeniya

Done with the promises
pitch it to me all you want
not going down that rabbit hole
or looking glass
or whatever other magical doors.
Stop just stop
the tears
the stories
the fireworks just ain’t
worth
the thrill of the ride
into the vortex of chaos.
At least some lessons learned
that last time
though always ready
to crumble like sandcastles at the tide
as memories of us in our own private shell
reel me back to the edge of that mad swirl
when I should have known to step back
from you.

editors note: More of love’s caprice; titillation and torture. Step up, step up. – mh clay

June 8, 2015


Inevitable
by Scott Thomas Outlar

A nuke for a lover
strapped on tight
going deep
into spaces that mutate
around the smoky edges
of a mushroom head
that pushes and pushes
until it wins
every time

editors note: Ah, capricious love! He went for fusion; got fission, instead. (We welcome Scott to our conspiratorial confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay

June 7, 2015

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then, we got just the read for that need!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale ”Clinical" by Michelle D'costa: "Each one of us is a product in so many horrible ways. Just because you’re born, you’ll die. Your very blood is spiked with failure and all sorts of folly and insanity. Know that, believe that, and make the most of it. Live, dammit. Live!"

Here's a taste to tease you with:


My Mom was the first candidate to be subjected to those medicines. It wasn’t voluntary. We had no choice. I was tied to my imaginary chair, hands tied behind my back. Can’t I stop them?

As a child, Mom had protected me from any harm, when a neighbor boy had bitten my arm, she told me I didn’t deserve this and that I had to fight back.

Now she can’t fight them, so I should, right?

It began with a slight twitch in her eye. Then when I asked her about it, it irked her.

She said, “Why does everyone bother about my twitch? As if I can’t handle a little twitch.”

Those words didn’t strike me as odd. But when she had taken tweezers to pry out her eye because of the twitch, a month later I knew something was wrong. But not everything had gone wrong, not yet, anyway.

She then said, “Voices made me do it. They made me feel guilty for having the twitch for so long.”

I took her to the clinic, to them. They said she would be taken care of.

I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have…


Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Blog •••


MH Clay, Mad Swirl's Poetry Editor extraordinaire with that madman flair is globetrottin' and is sharing his overseas affairs! Check out his "An Editor Abroad" blog series where we find him fully immersed in the poetic waters of the Poetry International Festival 2015 in Rotterdam. Give it a look-see for yourself right here AND here!

•••••••

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Screamin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor