The Best of Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum : 03.07.10

“Whatever creativity is, it is in part a solution to a problem.” Brian W. Aldiss

Ravine (above) by mad artisté extraordinaire Jon Marquette, one of over 20 resident artists currently being displayed in Mad Swirl's eclectic Mad Gallery.

Just in case you missed it, here's just a taste of the poetry we featured this week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum...



Wolves don't excuse themselves after they howl.

They don't ask for permission, either.
They see a moon yearning for them and they yearn right back,
sending an aching, lone, long yowl from the heart.
Do they expect the moon to cry back?
Is this why that howl seems so sad, yet strikes fear in the hearts of humans?
To cry out without reply-
what a pity.
To discover the indifference of the moon,
shakes the brave to the bone.

D. Victory

(added 03.07.10)

editor's note: This grabs me by the scuff of my neck with a cold, wondrous hand. This is it, exactly! This is how I felt when first I heard the howl of a wolf. This explains so many things... - mh


A Simple Guy

I can’t leave you alone I’m sorry but I simply cannot leave you alone I know you would prefer that prefer being left the hell alone by me we are getting rather old after all enough of this sophomoric adolescent behavior enough of me putting my hands on you enough of me kissing your perfect lips so endlessly like I love to do yes I wish I could honor your wishes your innermost and private desires and leave you the hell alone but well I am a guy simple as that a simple guy and you are still an extraordinarily beautiful and desirable woman the most extraordinarily beautiful and desirable woman I have ever known and I simply cannot leave you alone never have been able to and never will.

Michael Estabrook

(added 03.06.10)

editor's note: I love a good, goofy, run-on love poem, cuz it's all about that wonderful fun, butterflies in you tummy, goofy love. Any simple guy is hard-pressed to resist. This simpleton (yeah, that's me) wants to go find his lover and cover her with kisses. (deep sigh) - mh



I pulled up in a green continental
My son hopped out faster
Than expected
And leaned into the space where the garage had been.
Only now, where there used to be no entrance, only yellow siding,
Hung a screen.
And just that fast:
The plumbing and the wrench my uncle held in his hands
The gun in his face.
The owl I tossed pieces of balled hamburger meat, red and raw.
The manufacturing of goods.
The splitting of my chin on the chair
The raccoon I lay in the empty coop.
I watched him take his last breath.
I cried.
His fur soft, his breath fast,
His eyes, black, black, black.
Even though he killed my best chicken,
I cried.
The girl I didn’t know,
Bitten and bitten.
Oh, Jesus.
“Not that way,” I said.

And then we were in my old room,
except sun shining on parquet floors,
Not the old, clumpy orange shag,
A fish tank, huge and clean,
Fish like confetti.
On a fluffy white rug, my cousins.
Two boys.
I laughed. Couldn’t believe my ears:
One reciting poetry for me to guess.
Yes. I am the smart one, you say. I should know.
The only word that comes to me is Lund. Lund. Lund.
And the cousin laughs.
Lund is the right word.
But you want me to say Beowulf, you want the fight.

I am just so glad you’re here and not broken beneath the ground.
I’m sorry I hit you over a stupid football game and that you were spanked for
Busting my lip.
I cried then laughed at my swollen face in the mirror. Did you know?
And on the way home from that jail the last time, you said you believed.
And I believed you.

A few days later a branch would break you
wide open.
I had only read half the dream right.
I was in charge of the ride for just a bit.
I would have to go on without you.
We all would.

But here you are again, and
I want to read the dream right this time.
To keep you.

And I am crying because you want me to say Beowulf and all I can say is

And now You.
There is a deep reservoir of things in me.
You expect me to know them all. because you do.
I have not even let myself dig
yet you come at me with a shovel
and a miner’s hat:
Light bearing down hard.
Instead of breaking ground
you hand me the tool.

Bust it open, you say
How wide? I ask.

I find the answer over and over
This last time,
New Year’s Eve,
on the floor of a friend’s bathroom,
My ribs bouncing off the tub
With silent sobs:

Wider, wider, wider.

Tamitha Curiel

(added 03.05.10)

editor's note: The killing of a marauding racoon, or the loss of a cousin, or the bearing of old wounds and uncovering of dark corners under the dirt. We all have to dig'em up, those things, for ourselves. How wide will we make that hole? - mh



Dianne makes me stare
at the arch of a church window:

stained glass, leaded glass,
the stories of saints and sinners.

Distracted, I see dust-bunnies
scurry across the floorboards

as the sanctuary door opens
and a stranger’s hand crosses

herself, before taking a knee
at the second pew to invest prayers.

But it is not for the wooden god,
cross-depicted, or the glazed stories

that we are here—the light, darling,
the light—as bright sun dims

into twilight and darkens
into a night that ushers

the spotlights into their business,
as sensors invisibly flick a switch

and the white walls and ceiling
erupt with color.

Kenneth P. Gurney

(3 poems added 03.04.10)

editor's note: What is prayer, but a chance to reveal our inner colors for personal scrutiny? These words are a rosary... - mh


Saturday Night

quiet again no one
to talk to i know
i know i miss my old self
the young Jacob who wrestled
and surrendered to the devil
oh what sublime suffering
i carry for recreation
the lasting the lust of it all
the creed the devil-may-care creed
i dare as one dare wear jeans
to rebel even in my sleep.

Jay Coral

(added 03.03.10)

editor's note: Oh, yeah! I donned my horns and pranced around the courthouse after this one. Resurrection of the old self on a Saturday night? De we dare? We won't even repent in our sleep! - mh



There can be only one first time
(though there have been many)-
after subjecting ourselves to the mandatory hours of lust,
once, only once,
after observing the introductions
& enduring the formalities of beasts,
will our bellies be filled with this certain excitement:
a thrill that dapples our sexes
with the beginnings of rain,
binds us with wonder & mystery & origin,
every sense trembling with vision,
raving, erupting,
then taming into the first sucking of lips,
the first nibbling of necks,
the first pawing of breasts.
the first goosebumps on the arms and spine.
Only once will we forgive like this,
with an erogenous pull
that annihilates all the flaws of our endlessly decomposing
bowels, that divulges all secret intentions and morphs
the sterility of guilt imposed upon us
into the vulgar and magnanimous thrall
of exquisite knowing and flesh-hood.
Only once will the stringencies fall like this
as we pummel each other
and caress ourselves, burning flowers with our gasps
& smoldering cloth with our flooding contortions,
the earth-supple gyrations of our dance,
the electricity that pierces the ribs,
forming iron darkness to our pelvises
& entangling the seams of our eyes with silver-thorned vines
nubile, mildewed from the elemental heaving shade &
dampness of our groins,
we uncreate shape at it’s birth
to reforge the ancestral angles in mute, teeming, crushing thrusts,
we try to obliterate the other into us,
for we’ve forgotten what is impossible

then everything is still.

Warm frost spreads through you like liquified butter in spasms
soft orange light flickers running through your finger tips
your thoughts melt like mercury then
it’s over,
& once again you’ve failed.

There are no second chances.
You’ve seen her belly like rotten wood
& her unmatched breasts
& she’s seen the boils on your back
& knows you can’t cum.
Now you both must flee to the rites of other first times
or engage in the ritual of love.

Quinten Collier

(added 03.02.10)

editor's note: I need a hot shower and long look at my love and me in the mirror, warts and all. This is an amazing ride, so well depicted - right down to the honest choice we must make after a first encounter. Greatness! - mh


We Are Time

We are a Timeline of light,
A traveling sequence through space.
Most stars don't know we're here yet
and I wonder if they are still there.

James Jason Dye

(added 03.01.10)

editor's note: A concise revelation here. We have a stitch in this... Makes me think of childhood milky-way ponderings. There's no time to lose when we might not even be here. - mh



Johnny O

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

“The true poem is the poet's mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


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