The Best of Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum : 06.25.11

“Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

I write this quick intro to you 1,000 miles from Mad Swirl's HQ of Big D. I'm actually on top of the world looking down from the top floor of some fancy hotel from "my kind of town" Chicago... my big-shouldered city by the lake and also my hometown. I can hear the hustle and bustle of the Chi-town city streets 33 floors below me. I can hear boats rolling down the Chicago River. I can smell pizzas and beefs and canolis just waiting for me to eat them. But the bustle and the rolling and the eats must wait because there is no stopping this swirling madness!

Also outtie townie is our poetry editor MH Clay, leaving our guest editor, Tyler Malone, at the helm of this swirlin' poetic ship for his second week. And once again, Tyler did a mad-tastic job filling the very big shoes of Mister Clay. Here is what Tyler had to say about the poetry that he dug upon this week...

Every day of this last week, Mad Swirl has been a buffet of sweet, sweet meat, and mostly from a flock of non-contributing poets—all shiny, with that new car smell. Their poetry is heavy; it’s all poetry with ideas—slavery, consciousness, bigotry, and finally, poetry itself. Most importantly, it’s poetry that demands to be read again, just because a reader can taste the imagination. So read this week’s Best of Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum with a bib, because these words drip like ribs. - TM

And there you have it! Both MH and I are honored to have had Tyler play in this mad sandbox with us. His choices, his voices, his madnesses added to a beat-utiful week's worth of poetry. Thank you Tyler Malone for all that you did, do and will do. We are truly grateful for your gifts - JO

Just in case you missed it, get you bib on and have yourself a taste...



At night, I ride the train to nowhere,
trapped in a tomblike cattle car,
crushed by the living dead;

I smell the foul odor of feces, urine,
and fear; taste the boiling heat of
sweat and tears cascading down
the shriveled, shrunken faces
of black terror; inhale the

Every night I ride this train,
and each time, the
unbearable smell
of death clings
to my skin;
I touch the

I vomit on the corpses that
surround me; and I
shriek unholy
sounds of

I survive the trip. I arrive at
Auschwitz. I trudge across
a ramp that takes me into
the camp. Ahead of me,
I see two rows-one to
the left and one to
the right.

I pray to Hashem, my G-d.
An S.S. officer points
to the right.

Those who go to the left
are destined for the
gas chambers.

In this dark dream, I’m
young and strong,
blessed with

I wake up. I’m an old man
now. An S.S. officer
would order me to
go to the left
and to the
if Hitler’s

began today. Of course, it
couldn’t happen again.
Surely, we have
learned from
the past.

I read about the rise of anti-Semitism.
It can’t be true, not today. Yet
throughout the world,
hatred of the Jews

Neo-Nazi groups flourish, and
terrorists feed on bigotry,
targeting Jews,
and other

And thus, at night, I’m buried in an
unbearable dream, a dark journey

to nowhere-a one-way trip to
Auschwitz, across Time and

Yet when I wake up, the
nightmare continues;
the death camps are
just around the

unless we learn from
the past, unless we

I pray to Hashem,
my G-d.
I pray.

- Mel Waldman

(2 poems added 06.25.11)

editor's note: To know is to understand. Does that apply to genocide? Since cleansing is cultures and peoples is rampant today, then probably not. The only way to relate (other than the with religion, such as in the narrator’s case), or to better know your own condition, is to go on a dark journey. On the journey one finds out that barriers like: This can’t happen here or I’m too strong to be killed like a cow are certainly lies. History has seen it all before. God has seen it all before as well. You must see it for yourself to understand. - tm



I waited patiently
And the words came
Deep in the thoughts
Buried in the mind
Covered over by the day
But it lay
Waiting for the night
When day was helplessly forgot
And it rose
From its hidden place
Needing to be born
Born in a different form
Written in a poem

- Denise Lumley

(added 06.24.11)

editor's note: When they want to produce a work, I think every artist agrees that their muse is lollygagger. It mostly arrives in the shower or in the shallowest moment of sleep. When brilliance marches into your brain, you have no idea where the germ of the idea was produced. There’s no paper trail, that is, until the poet immortalizes it. Just wait... - tm


Blue-Collar Twister

Sweat tries to swim upwards through the hairs
of a labourer building the statue of the herald
but fails and falls in the soil sucked up by heat,
Vanishes as a struggling animal in quicksand;
Dreams drain and entity turns into fossils as slippers
walk over it.
His weapons are a chisel and spade;
He lifts them to protest but vacuum wailing in the curves
of his muscles make it fall again on the mummified ground;
just to dig, dig the ground for
the Herald's statue must stand firm
or his existence will be buried under its
falling weight.
Toils will evaporate with the smile of the moon
The dawn will hear sounds again-
sounds of iron striking against rocks.
The air waits to weave those sounds
and strike a twister with them-
Tall enough for the world to see
bold enough to step over mountains
Clear enough to show the waving hands
begging a day out of slavery.

- Sonnet Mondal

(added 06.23.11)

editor's note: Massive monuments of man’s misanthropic malevolence to man say as much of the beauty we’re capable of as it does of the horror we can inflict upon the one who holds the chisel, not the whip. In the poem, the moon seems ambivalent to suffering; the sun certainly isn’t going to take it easy on the chiselling chattel when it comes to shed light on the sufferer. The hands of a slave are an artist’s hands, a beautiful concept from Mr. Mondal. - tm



Colorless as rain,
a zipper either grins
like a crowbar in a cash box
or sneers like a blackboard
waiting for equations sleeping in chalk.

Sometimes zippers open with the squeal
of an ambulance siren, other times
with the slow cracking of paint
chipping from a canvas.

The triumph of surprise
no one can ever anticipate
comes cramped beneath a zipper.

- Bill Wolak

(added 06.22.11)

editor's note: With so much to fear in the dark, it’s nice to know there are things—even though we don’t know how they look what shades of the spectrum comprise the colors they’re made of—are there to love us… or there for us to love it. - tm


The Bathroom Floor

horseshoe, clean hit
against the rusted bar
(ringer, spit).

soles squelch against
maleficent pine.

shadowed teemers hang in a
fine line
(garb, gabble, & smack).

I will never know your face.

- Kayla Smith

(added 06.21.11)

editor's note: This poem is the song of the South. If it’s not softballs and beers, it’s certainly horseshoes. And as the immortal game is played, the world goes and goes one Swirled clean set of sheets and pile of undies at a time. - tm


Psychedelic Dreamscapes

A flurry of incandescent decadent colours free my mud drop eyes,
my Shaman thoughts and visions now free.
Red crimson and purple velvet Skies
float around in swirling pools of air.

A cool jeweled moon.
A tangy fresh cut smell.
A fond finger felt feel.

Forgotten features of fruitful times!
Senses now alive, switched, changed …complete.

Kaleidoscope mountains driven up
through the pulping gloop of new land.
The song of the ancestors still echoes
And speaks a thousand volumes grand.

I cut my way through and through
The undergrowth now pinching… grasping.
Feelings of euphoria now gone too
An unnatural feeling of lasting.

Calmness creeps over and I lie down
Asleep now the sounds die too.
Eyes return and memories drown…
Sanity awake and grant me my return to reality
for I am here for you to smother me once more.

- Simon Coppen

(added 06.20.11)

editor's note: Memory is a montage of madness. It reminds us of that past—all those moments that meant so much for so many reasons. It’s not until that calm—that calm—the one before the storm when you realize, oh, no, this is the storm—am everlasting fallout. - tm



Slinking down like negligee,
a cloud slid from the moon.
On the water
I could see the reflection
of your shadow,
naked to your soul.
Our reflections now one,
we fell to the satiny earth…
They rose from our mirror,
the mayflies,
nymphs of the water,
now angel-winged,
thousands upon thousands,
a cloud
boiling in the sky,
each seeking a perfect mate
in the dance of life,
in the game of death…
Below, I too soared,
swallowed the light,
and surrendered.

- Robert E. Petras

(added 06.19.11)

editor's note: A choice must be made: The dance of life or the game of death; no matter how madly lovely nature is, it cannot compare the madness we—the judges of aesthetic, the beholder of beauty—feel. When we (hopefully) daily wander like lonely clouds, what happens when we find what we wander to so wondrously? "MAYFLIES" tells a tale of a world that can never be up or down—it's just a constant Swirl. - tm


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 poetic conversations going on in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Utterin' & Strikin',

Johnny O

Tyler Malone
Guest Poetry Editor


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