The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.19.13

"Write in recollection and amazement for yourself" Jack Kerouac

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Digital illustration (above) by Johnny O.

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we stumbled forward, trembled, choked, when past imperfect we invoked; we honored a saint who outed the snakes, but snakes we couldn't cast out of the saint; we laid down a burlesque carnival life for a stand-up girl; we pitied an Adam with no hedon, imagining Eve in his Eden; we sat on a hard reality on our way through a soft dream, breathing deeply, youngly; we pitched a pebble from a pilfered pearl, were bopped on the bean by a bumptious world; we drifted with dreams, hovered over the sea, while taking our time to the rhythm of trees. Oh, harmonious hum; happy hearts, thrum, thrum, thrum... Ahhhhh! ~ MH Clay

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


Slowing down to a rhythm of trees
While leaves live in a gentle breeze,
Clouds holding to a line
Of lazy hills yawning at the sky
Towards a sunset that draws me in
By surf pushing pebbles onto a beach.
Earth twisting and turning
Lengthening shadows across white sand,
Seagulls falling to that endless land
Where thoughts are buried
In the salt of the sea and my blood
Flows in a timeless ebb, a gathering tide
As night begins to silence at last
And dreams I have dreamt
Drift into the past.

- Derrick Gaskin

(2 poems added 10.19.13)

editor's note: When time decides, we approach that edge; first for each to know. Though we can't say, when that time comes; we hope it's in s-l-o-w m-o... (Another one from Derrick on his page; asks again the reason "why" and speaks of us mad ones - check it out.) - mh

Pearl and pebble

I was in search
of a pearl

while deep in my dive
I thought I got one

so soon out
I came with a long sigh—

but only to be dejected
when it turned into a pebble.

I then furiously hurled it
to the cliff nearby

and guess wha' happened? Nothing
but a bump on my forehead!

- Haris Adhikari

(1 poem added 10.18.13)

editor's note: When in the path of your own wrath, it's best to duck. - mh

open - sesame

i              words
sit                     i
no              wanted
need                     to
to              express
introduce                     i
names              just
just                     kept
stay              it
seated                     to
on              myself
the                     i
corner              never
and                     thought
focus              i
on                     would
the              be
smoke                     inhaling
coming              such
up                     quantity
from              this
the                     tender
foil              age

- Anggo Genorga

(added 10.17.13)

editor's note: Sat stock still, foiled by the foil. A genie appeared when he inhaled; whisps wound up into words. - mh


May with its light behaving
Stirs vessel, eye & limb,
And reminds me of Amanda.

Yesterday I thought: "There is no system.
I was miserable this morning,
My mood an obnoxious thunder,
Unusually crapulent, even for me--
I hated everyone & everything.
But I sit here in English Bay, stunned
By an almost embarrassing beauty;
If Amanda was here, I would be perfect.

Anywhere she is is Eden.
She is a dance of cherry blossoms, rain washed,
Playing in ecstatic blue splendor."

- Brian Wood

(added 10.16.13)

editor's note: Want to fix or find your system? Keep your Amanda close. - mh

Stripper's Carnival
(for the critic who spoke without knowing)

I never thought about the morality of strippers in my town.
I was a woman child, seventeen
Running away from the baby,
Running away from sadistic sailors,
Running away from welfare workers –

No good
No good
No good

No job, no school, no money, no chance,
I dreamed and I ran.
I ran and I dreamed.
I hitchhiked to Hollywood.

Why not?

I had sweaters.
I knew about Lana Turner.
(In 7th grade, twelve years old, blond hair – bleached by accident
It was Maria’s idea, but my mistake:
She wanted my chest.
I wanted her hair.
She bought falsies.
I bought black hair dye.
She looked pointy –
Had pouty lips and curly black hair.
I looked like Dracula’s adolescent concubine,
Skin too white for black hair,
Hair too straight.
We tried red lipstick.
Dracula would have loved me,
Built but ugly.
I decided I’d rather be blond
Like Marilyn Monroe.
I already had her body
36 – 24 – 36.)
At seventeen, I still had blond hair and her body,
Why not Hollywood?

So there I was
No job
No school
No money

They weren’t looking for Lana
At that drugstore anymore.
The want-ad read “wanted –
Dancers and models –
No experience necessary”
I had a choice
How to earn a living –
Lying down
Or standing up.
I made my choice,
Put my bathing suit on under my sweater
(they might want to see my figure
I wanted to be prepared.)

“Take your clothes off,” he said
And stared.
“Ha, Ha,” he said.
“Ha, Ha, Ha,
Take that off too.”

I did.

He sent me to
San Francisco’s
Mission District
Burlesque house.
(The carnival came later.)

I got drunk the first time
On Pink Ladies and Grasshoppers.
(I was a sweet kid.)
I walked around the stage
Took it off, down to panties and pasties.

Cops were backstage every show.
They were young and horny.
I was young and scared of jail –
They liked my show, they said.
Afterwards, we all went out
And got drunker.
Still drunk, much later,
No school, no chance,
Why not a carnival?
I was still standing up.

The barker is an asshole.
“Balley, Balley, Balley,”
He screams. Every twenty minutes,
He screams.

Six of us in a one room trailer
Behind the tent, no toilet,
Twelve hours a day.
Put it on, take it off,
An ugly dwarf plays records.
For this they pay us
$150.00 a week.

People bring their kids in the tent.
The cops don’t like us.
The food is rotten.
And the goddam barker screams,
“Balley, Balley, Balley!”

What you saw, Mr. Critic,
Was a stag show.
That happens after carnivals,
At respectable, traditional
Bachelors’ parties,
At the Elks, the Eagles, the Moose –
Old strippers do that.
Tired, slow moving strippers.

No job
No school
No money
No chance
To do but
Lay down.

- Kay Kinghammer

(added 10.15.13)

editor's note: From a poet who landed on her feet - criticize that! (This and whole lot o' life-wrenching poems in Kay's book "Inside the Circus," published this year by Loyal Stone Press - get a copy here) - mh


He slipped and slid all around.
His movements confined to the ground.
Then he got legs and shoes
So nowadays, the news
Is he’s nowhere at all to be found.

- Eoghan Madden

(added 10.14.13)

editor's note: A new spin on an old legend; but, I think he's everywhere - beware. (Thanks to this young Irish poet for taking a mad splash in the Swirl!) - mh


the start is like a batch of metal filing
collected in bile over the years
I wait to form conglomerates
then remove and make them statues...
small, inconsistent ones
to be lost in the dust when I forget
that along with them I went on
with irreversible footsteps unto the world
it chokes me
and when I’ve no air left
I cram them on my throat wrapped
in pieces of cloth
that taste like fear

- Marius Surleac

(added 10.13.13)

editor's note: Idols of our back-up bile no longer protection bring than one can hold one's breath. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Of course you do! Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story, "Fifteen Round Fight" by Jim Meirose: "We could throw the match, but in the toe-to-toe fist fight of life, who would pay us off? But more importantly, who would win?" Here's a taste to tempt you...

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Round 1: In every profession there are a few who choose to rise above the commonplace. / Fighter 1: Undamaged. / Fighter 2: Undamaged. / Round 2: Along the path, each in his own way must, of necessity, exhibit judgment, accept the burden of responsibility, and with diligence fulfill his vital role. / Fighter 1: Undamaged. / Fighter 2: Cut ear. / Round 3: Your visit to Las Vegas in part at least should be tax deductible. / Fighter 1: Cut lip. / Fighter 2: Cut ear. / Round 4: Putting aside the obvious benefits of prestige and personal satisfaction, consider for a moment what an all-Cadillac fleet can mean to you as a businessman. / Fighter 1: Cut lip. / Fighter 2: Cut ear, swollen hand...

You wanna keep readin'? Of course you wanna! Get the rest of your wanna 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...


Johnny O

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor


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