The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.17.14

”some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.” Charles Bukowski

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Die-Cut 5 (above) by featured artist GM Spear. To see more Mad works from GM, and our other contributing artists, please visit the Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we recouped to retool, postponed a revolution; we cheered the boy in last place, slowed by skin in the big race; we bore a blessing from the unblessed; we sucked a candy fag, slurped a soda pop tipple, hoped to grow up old enough to suck the right nipple; we wrested rush hour rage from stop light bliss; we enjoyed eternal hours to while in a worldly supermarket aisle; we pulled to pieces a slab of sky and social expectations. Not destroy, but disassemble to find the face that we resemble. ~ MH Clay

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

Without Moral.

baby, the sky is falling, she says
the sky is falling.

but we are no children's story –
we have no simple rhymes,
no happy ending.

good does not triumph over evil here.

we are a painstaking post-modern novel,
plot twists wrenched like our hearts,
turned carefully
to move only
in reverse.

I don't know just how to tell her –

that the sky is not falling.

the sky is not

I am reaching up with my hands
(yes, those hands,
those slender and
obedient fingers) –

baby, do you hear me?
the sky is not


I'm tearing it down.

- Logen Cure

(added 08.14.14)

editor's note: No chicken little here; rather a superhero to reconstruct reality. Take her hand! - mh

Speaking of the resurrection and death, wouldn’t it be interesting if we all had one last supper.

Nobody ever thinks about death in a supermarket.
I wanted to dance on a mountain top with you
before death found me and discussed my options.
As if I had spent hours walking down the aisles
and the canned goods weren’t the best partners.
I felt some identity issues amongst the vegetables
but the condiments and I had so much to talk about.
Picking death's receipts in spices and dressing.
I wish death came as a three course meal.
Eating dinner with all the trimmings
ending with the dessert and a slow dance.
Finally a cognac and a long kiss goodnight
and it all begins with a trip to the supermarket.

- Peggy Flora

(2 poems added 08.15.14)

editor's note: Canned consummation of life, special sale in condiments aisle; buy now! (Another, heartfelt, poem from Peggy on her page, check it out.) - mh


I slow down my pulse
at stoplights that glow red for too long.

Tonight, my yoga instructor told me to
loosen up
let go
think of white and
eternal nothing.

Instead, I thought of
running running RUNNING
bright green flashes
car crashes and tense muscles.

- Taylor Gall

(added 08.14.14)

editor's note: Nervous Nirvana and bumper-car bliss. (One) true religion. - mh

Now We’re Sucking The Right Nipple!

I used to sit and watch him
gasp and ‘Arr’ like a Pirate
after taking and enjoying
the first drink of the day.
Drag his left sleeve cuff
across his mouth and belch
like a right old good ‘un.
Then light up a roll-up,
take a massive pull on it
before coughing his guts up
for a good minute or two.
Another go at the glass
to settle his stomach and senses
then I knew that all was
right with the world again.
“Now we’re sucking
the right nipple, my lad!”
He’d say to me winking
with a knowing smile.
As I sat watching his ritual
whilst sipping on my
Shandy Bass can of pop
and chewing on the end
of my candy cigarette,
sagely nodding in agreement.

- Paul Tristram

(1 poem added 08.13.14)

editor's note: True consumers; we will consume all, even ourselves. Suckle early, suckle often, suckle ever. - mh

A Bookless Education

She sits at Jack In The Box
No less than 3 sweaters
Shrouded by one very used coat
Socks and shoes
Have seen better roads

Wary at first
Till 2 days later
She eyed me with trust

We talked about the necessity of mommas
The loss you feel when they are gone
“I’m 98 years old”
I stared at her wrinkle-less face
Decided to take her word for it

Her oldest son died
At a domino game
Cause of death
The crossroads at the intersection
Of a bullet

One brother was killed
Over some dope
We laughed about old men and young women
The curriculum of economics

For my finals
I pressed 2 dollars in her hand
For a cup of coffee
I was told
what to give God
To recognize blessings

- Gayle Bell

(1 poem added 08.12.14)

editor's note: A paperless degree for a cuppa joe - not spilled on your lap, but into your soul. - mh


Run little black boy!
The gun went off; the race began
And the starting line’s still where you stand.
It doesn’t help that you have shoes of concrete,
While the rest got new kicks on their feet.

Little black boy, you need to get to running!

The race is harder for you; no use of complaining
That sunshine’s everywhere, but your lane is raining.
Crying and yelling that this ain’t fair ain’t gon’ help you.
Neither is beggin’, “Slow down!” No! Here’s what you do!


Many have tried and failed. Many already paved the way.
You will help others behind you with the dues you about to pay.
So gotta work harder than everybody if you wanna see the end.
Gotta work even harder than that if you wanna chance to win.

But nothing will happen if you don’t get to running!

- Roderick Richardson

(1 poem added 08.11.14)

editor's note: The Level Playing Field of Life, more level for some than others. (Roderick says he wrote this one "in dedication to Maya Angelou and as always Langston Hughes." Well done, Rod!) - mh

On the street

a stray dog, some cows
loads of tired people…

The buses and three wheelers are back
after the elections


there won't be any

I guess…

- Kanchan Chatterjee

(1 poem added 08.10.14)

editor's note: Let's have elections once a month; keep'em too tired to revolt. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? How 'bout a shitty one? No, not shitty, as in bad, but shitty as in it's a fine was to tie in the title of this week's featured short story, "Two Assholes" by Paul Smith.

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this stink-of-the-week short story… "Of all the assholes in the world, each one of us just one more asshole. All others, though, are the shitty ones. With that, you should sit pretty, but if our collective shared asshole consciousness doesn't get you through the day, just remember what Mel Brooks would say: ‘Keep firing, assholes!’” Here's a taste to tease ya’:

There are lots of ways to get fired. Take today, for example—a call from dispatch that I should attend a nine o-clock meeting. And it’s Friday. I’m not talking about reasons for getting canned—just the methodology, the setup, the protocol. But I’m observant, notice I didn’t say smart, just observant. I watched a year ago in dispatch when Bob S. got called to his nine o’clock meeting. So my antennae were in the up position.

I looked down Randall Road where my favorite laborer worked with the blade and end-loader getting the sub-grade ready for gravel. I would miss him. I told Al goodbye and headed for the office.

Getting called in from the field is one way, but there are others. If you are far away from the main office, let’s say Nebraska, and the office is someplace else, you may get a call from your boss and he’ll do it over the phone because who wants to buy a plane ticket just to fire you? Or if you are in the same general area as your boss, and he’s a gutless type, he also might do it over the phone. It depends.

Get the rest of your read on here!


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Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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