The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.30.11

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” Henry Moore

The Mad Gallery

This week we are featuring my close friend, mentor, mad artist and soon to be expatriate Jon Marquette. This painting, Emerald Shoreline, proudly hangs in my living room after Jon presented it to me after our last mad-minded meeting before he and his family depart to Hungary. It seems apropos to give him this space not only because he helped shaped Mad Swirl by just being his mad self but also because his body of work is amazing. - jo


Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... was complicated! First it we got a warm slap from a cold snap, veiled in metaphor; then we got some beat treat birdsong lion purr rhythm at dawn; then there were blue funk jazz master missionary Bird Monk Mingus ministrations; and then another music muse this time strumming and fretting 'til bodies were humming and... ; then there was a close-up snap-shot kick-back smile and sigh Kodak moment; and then, and then... then there was an aborted math lesson literary genius exorcism and tongue talkin' tango. I'm tired and wired - yes, it's complicated.

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

0s and Fs

“The tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak.”
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa)

Born to speak, I rehearsed words,
but mathematic calculations:
Tapping on fabricated calculators:
Unraveling universal mechanics,
got me poor marks, 0s and red Fs:

Miscalculations lamentations, and
parents pitied my brain, they prayed
for God to open my mind—for God
so loves the lazy children
not mindful of work ethic—

but no ethics were brought into this,
the brain was God’s business.
I was damned by the dictionary, the good book—
After the second report card, failure reaffirmed,
I was off to the third revival of the week.

Hands were laid upon my un-mathematical head.
Moving mouths, born with tongues, obtained language,
rambled God’s speech, exhalations in tongues:
Unintelligible words, incoherent invocations.
Tenebrous unspellable words, just 0s and red Fs.

- Tyler Malone

(2 poems added 07.30.11)

editor's note: Jesus could fill an empty basket with bread, so it's told. But ain't no one 'round these parts can fill an empty head with brains, or empty a brain full of words - 0s and Fs, indeed. Can I get a witness? (Another one, 'bout a chicken dinner, on Tyler's page - check it out!) - mh

Photograph (One)

no weep in my eye
just a sense of contemplative calm
which is promising
A near newness
Sigh audible
A regained recognition of energy.
And the more contemplative I become
the more you appear to relax and to smile
(correcting my vision)
when I lean in closer to study the flowers
on your frock

- A. Swimmer

(1 poem added 07.29.11)

editor's note: A closer look is always better than tense introspection. Take a breath, exhale, squeeeeeeeze the shutter! - mh

Ode to My Guitar

Orgasms should be this pure. Your
soft maple neck, holding the same

fingers that hold you. The way light
shimmers off your glittering body

when I swing you in my arms. My
digits slide up and down your

strings, stopping at frets only long
enough to make you sing or scream.

- William Wright Harris

(added 07.28.11)

editor's note: No worry, no fret - well, frets. Frets and singing and seductive melodic screams. Yes! - mh

Blue Muse

Monk you refused to become background noise in some tin ear
Fuck peaceful tinkering you growled while your ivory’s screamed
Take me to that place where Bird flies red
Monk anoints us and Mingus grabs you and won't let go
Take me to the trinity of jazz and bless
until the blues is released

- Gayle Bell

(2 poems added 07.27.11)

editor's note: When musicians and poets get the blues, they make the rest of us smile. Their suffering is our sweet bliss, we encourage them cruelly. It's their own fault! (More blues, enough to make you happy, on Gayle's page - check it out!) - mh

Wild beats

Slide guitars ring out at dawn, along with larks that sit on a lonely branch and provide the harmonium's vocal.

Slide guitars ring out at dawn!
Slide guitars ring out at dawn!
Slide guitars ring out at dawn!

African drums vibrate at dusk, as does the loud purring of lions after eating a springbok.

African drums vibrate at dusk!
African drums vibrate at dusk!
African drums vibrate at dusk!

- Luke Ritta

(1 poem added 07.26.11)

editor's note: Yes, we heard that beat, starting down in far-off Africa, welling up from our pithecanthropus hearts - like daddy, like child! (Welcome Luke Ritta to our cacophonous... yet, cohesive... congress of Contributing Poets! See his poems on his new page.) - mh

Voice of Everest

Sky shudders over my head
Ice forms in my skull
Stampeding over, they keep record
Either it’s a thunder near
Or it's the lightening in front
Deaf my ears and eyes blind.

My voice is lost in search of ears
Had I the articulation loud
Deaf you may not have remained
Day by day I am going naked
My clothes are removed
For the ice is melting
Neither snow of Alaska nor the Arctic cold
Can recover my skin.

Where are the ears to the cry of sickness?
Where are the nurse and doctors?
My wounds are arctic ice
Every crack is burning with pain
Who will stitch and treat them
Am I semi conscious or lunatic half?
For I cannot feel the pain
deceiving devotion you cannot deceive the truth
I am only child curious, getting to be known
How it makes the difference
In choosing the less chosen
On which highway of the words I walk.
I am still not heard.

- Hem Raj Bastola

(1 poem added 07.25.11)

editor's note: This poet's words are the best comment: "I have written this poem concerning the issue of global warming how the weather is affecting the high mountains where the snow is melting and less snow is seen at mount everest. relating this pain of nature I am relating the pain of my own condition of a poet metaphorically." Well, said Hem Raj! - mh


Need a Read?

Check out the latest addition to our short stories collection, "The Polygamist in Me" by Tracie Skarbo. Here's a taste to whet your whistle... “I wonder how much time I will have to write, free of the others droning on about how much time I spend without them. How much of my time has been taken from them to serve my fingers and thoughts with no regard for their feelings and desires? This is the constant bicker of the three spouses that I could do without." Get the rest of your read on here.


Mad Swirl Open Mic

“A lot of people thought this dream must be madness, but we are not crazy.” Gloria Trevi

We don't think Gloria has ever been to Mad Swirl's Open Mic! Wanna get crazy? Wanna go mad with us? Well then let's go!

Join Mad Swirl on 08.03.11 when we will continue doing the open mic voodoo that what we do do! Hosts Johnny O & MH Clay, along with the musically magical trio Swirve and the usual unusual mad suspects, will do our darndest to both blow and open your minds. We will be callin' all you mystically mad poets, musicians, dancers, actors, singers, performers & any other miscellaneous mad ones in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to come & strut your mad stuff!

Where's this madness take place? Absinthe Lounge is at 1409 South Lamar Street, Dallas, TX 75215 (located in the SouthSide on Lamar building)

And please, by all means, FEEL FREE TO SPREAD THE WORD!

fo'mo'info' visit


Well there you have it folks! You know what? 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...


Johnny O

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Gordon Hilgers
Short Story Editor


Popular Posts