the Best of Mad Swirl : 08.10.13

“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word” Mata Hari

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum...we stood still for a stop-voiced, stop-eared, heat seeking comfort missile; we gave heartbreak time to achieve mythic proportions; we saw seaside salesmen dangling the dos and don'ts of redemption before clamoring consumers; we wound words round the wheel of time, made myth from mind; we forfeited happy hush for the four-lane hourly rush; we put off so we could put on; we stood once more to face a formidable foe, a respectable rival, our words, words, words. Without'em we got lots o' grunts an' nothin' to say. ~ mh

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

Toe To Toe

Words with Mohicans,
doctor martin boots
and tattoos.

Words with the spirit
of rebellion,
two fingers in your face.

Words that make you
feel like you’re winning,
encouraging you on.

Words with the force
of a pissed-off hooligan
defending his turf.

I want words
that I can mentally
stand toe to toe with.

- Paul Tristram

(1 poem added 08.10.13)

editor's note: Yes! I'm on my feet, just out of arm's reach from that pissed off hooligan. - mh

Always Put off.

Always put off till tomorrow
what you should do today
ironing bored, cut the cord
ignored the childish fray
put everything off till tomorrow
curl up in the cot instead
explore the case for wearing white lace
and check that your mother's in bed.

- Alan Halford

(1 poem added 08.09.13)

editor's note: Recommend silk-stockinged feet to go with the lace; they're stylish and won't wake Mother as you pose before your mirror. - mh


Clenched hands
on the steering wheel
in a loud clamor
animated in traffic
unrewarding views
of wreckage
during a heavy curtain
of thunder and rain
blown away
by horns
with two of us
in the breakdown lane
the wind pushing us
by the doors
of road rages
dazzling the window
like fire dances
flashes by us
at the happy hour
of assured accidents
in pure frenzy
no shadows carefree
in a monster storm
over zig zag highways
striking down
as water rises
by the dashboard
of speechless time.

- B.Z. Niditch

(1 poem added 08.08.13)

editor's note: It's the relative rage o' the road we travel - collisions happen in a wink and no repairs last forever. - mh


We’re intricate wheels.


Pumping blackberry houseflies
through our veins.

We remember diminutive horses
too small to indenture,
wire-haired cats
with sulfur teeth
prowling our favorite paths to water.

We’ve sold
ourselves as souvenirs
at quasi-Medieval festivals.

We thought we recognized
the grim reaper’s robe and beard,
but, alas...


This is the same irony
that fueled
the great Westerns
of Newman and Brando.

This is the irony
of fate,
if you believe in that sort
of thing.

The irony that grinds
our perfectly healthy words
into illusions, thus, sprouting
our latest bouquets
of newly flowering myths.

- Alan Britt

(1 poem added 08.07.13)

editor's note: A circular koan: Tell me the sound of fate forming a myth making fate forming a myth making... - mh


Mid winter, in this great expanse, you walk
Past huge stretches of empty lots, and still
A few spare clouds at nearly half past two.
Today the ocean gives off a faint chill,
And shoots one cold wave, and then many more,
On to fine, white sand. Over near the bike
Shop are vendors--many want to sell you
Pleasure, some hipness, some, curios, or
A crudely overpriced piece of tired shlock.
If you need to be here, you can sweet talk

Death, for the dead are all round; their fame knows
No end. Want your face on a big crappy
Clock? Don’t play halftimes or be a rebel
On the morning news. Don’t get fat. Don’t be
On the game shows or help some old dumb cur
Win a dance contest. When the ratings spike,
Call your dealer. Don’t have your own label
At Sears. Don’t plug your book, with all your
Deep, as-told-to, thoughts on the late night shows:
Be against war, crime, and all the other woes.

Above all, don't be us. When they find you
In the ravine one morning, you’ll still have
A star out beyond, some distant sparkling,
Something unmet, unheard, not in or of
Us, people moved always by the letter,
Never the spirit. Redeemed, you’ll be like
That ocean just to your left, an inkling
And taste of infinity, and better
We never glimpse or guess at the vast blue
Depths your soul may never have traveled to.

- Brian Wood

(added 08.06.13)

editor's note: Keep seeking those vast blue depths. Immortality can wait. - mh

The sound of heartbreak is quiet

My gentle sister
For whom true articulation
Wavers faintly
Beneath an imploding heart.

I would forestall
The noise of this night
That I could hear
Its inexorable tenderness

The complacency of existence
With disintegrated time

And time’s true deviancy
Like a howl
That is caught, pure
Upon the frigid moon

Invigorates doubt.
Remedied only in the cold stone
Of which I have no store

Canter forth
Like Lawson’s horses,
Ennobled into
Cleanest myth

So that now
As your departure
Stretches out
And becomes itself, times fragments

My hope
That, this exposure,
In these wastes of heartscape
has found us each in our truth

- Christopher Smith

(added 08.05.13)

editor's note: Yes, pick apart the myth from reality. With luck and honest introspection, we arrive at the truth. - mh

What I could not say to you
(For Ann)

Words sometimes fail to appear
when they are most needed
and the voiced sound is choked
in a moment of disharmony.

The ears fail too
in their task to listen
to the rests between the noise
for the comfort that
is left to the imagination.

The skin neglects its task
to find the heat of another,
to seek out the embrace
of those hands, that press of flesh,

the one that says, Yes,
everything will be alright.

- Janette Schafer

(added 08.04.13)

editor's note: Yes, thanks! We need poets to help us with what we cannot say. Nice! - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need is a read? Then check out this week's featured short story, "Roken Is Dedulijk" by Austin Brookner. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story: "editor's note: The skull and bones make us want death like it's as sexy as anything on two long, sexy legs. Death becomes something that you want to dip your tongue and body into, just ask any artist that stares into the void and hears her speak back. Beware of how you choose to die, though: the pills, the people, the sleep, those are what tear you down until you become what you say fascinates you the most: a skull and bones." Here's a taste to whet your readin' whistle...

"Make less noise," said the hotel owner, somewhere between a request and a command, while I walked up the stairs to my room. His near shout left me befuddled. But I most certainly sensed aggressiveness in his tone, something I had probably earned during my three day stint at the Hotel whatever-the-fuck it was called. I made my way up the narrow and steep windy stairs to my room. It was on the top floor. / "Where've you been?" / "I went to get cigarettes, remember?" / "That was at least two hours ago. What the hell, Austin?" / "Calm down. It wasn't two hours. Here're your Luckies." / "Don't tell me to calm down! I am calm! Jesus, would you look at the picture on the back of this box, it's horrible...

You know you wanna read more. Where? 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...


Johnny O

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor


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