The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.06.14

”I am an unpopular electric eel in a pool of catfish.” Edith Sitwell

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Big Fish (above) by contributing artist Sheri L. Wright.

When you think of mundane, ordinary, every-day images turned to striking, beautiful and strong, perhaps the name 'Sheri L. Wright' comes to mind? If not, it might now! Sometimes we need a nudge to remind us that we don't have to go to a gallery to see art, but just look around. The latest photos by Sheri serves as a reminder that just a slight change of perspectives can transform ordinary things into extraordinarily scenes! To see more Mad works from Sheri, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery. ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we were suckered by a simpering salesman; we tried to sustain what we couldn't maintain; we failed the requirements for a rollover retirement; we saw an unsullied sun set everything free for an unbridled run; we languored in eye-lit lust; we flared into conflagration, the stringers of self inflamed; we pondered the possibility that a plane is a plane is a plane. The pilot has turned off the fasten seat belts sign, you are now free to move about the cosmos... ~ MH Clay

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


The man on the plane
beside you
is a plane.

He speaks like a plane
and laughs like a plane
and when the stewardess brings him
a pair of headphones
for the inflight movie
he thanks her like a plane.

He seems a little redundant to me.
Why put a plane inside a plane?
Perhaps this is the new way of doing things.
A way to save on fuel.

No one can be sure.
The airlines are far from forthcoming.

The plane asks for a pillow
and closes his eyes.

When the plane falls asleep
he snores loudly with his
mouth open.

I lean over and peer inside
to see if there is a plane
inside this plane


- Ryan Quinn Flanagan

(1 poem added 09.06.14)

editor's note: Here's some plane speaking for the hard of airing. - mh

The Star Puppets

Sashay to the boardwalk, scurry to the ditch
Just another future song, lonely little kitsch
- David Bowie

The nightmare was neither bad television,
nor kitsch. Whatever it was struck home
light years away. Something blurrily animal, lissomely human,
blurrily moving, a semblance, a leprechaun,
spidered a hush hush mystery screen
too swiftly to pinpoint the family of man’s shadow.
The imagery was archetypal before it was born
on an ancient tree, and the cradle broken
shattering the old limb. A Tree of Knowledge –
Yggdrasil, man’s tree of family and faith, ablaze,
ashing, ashing the route to satellite wonders.
Or were we broadcasting ourselves?

We watched in dumbstruck lassitude,
like couch potato marionettes
shoulder to shoulder, locked knees,
mouths puckering up-down, open and shut.
Which way was the root? Whither the star trail?
-- switch stations, and Sybil’s leaves respelled the fable.
We returned to catch the last theatrical
curtains flying up. Forgive us please stunned expressions –
forgive us silent prayers, rickety
stiffness of trolls on an old geezer’s shelf
who thought we trembled given a pair of loose nails
straining the racks.

We burnt like wood. Firewood.
Pinewood. Redwood. Cedar conflagrations
seared ourselves to our skins. Matchstick trees
hung on lean strings of bark and vein
together. The shock so ironic, so homely, so
astral. Picking up a cup, the cabinet cups,
we said thank you, please, and lay the saucer down
with the caution of house domestics; forgive us the
star puppetry
love less love than a skittish
theatre of strained affections.
Color of scalding. Pink flesh of kindling.
Toothpicks, shaved saplings, teeth
to a forestry nova.

- Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

(added 09.05.14)

editor's note: We ARE stardust, dangling by the singed strings of chance. - mh


If spark is to flame
your eyes ignite desire
whose blame is this-
this raging fire?

- David R. Bowman

(added 09.04.14)

editor's note: Said the flint to the fuel. - mh

Torpor Sun,

allowing winds
to douse your ferocity;

for clouds to billow
wildly, unbridled
across your numb

face. Your dawn
disoriented, perishes
before birthing;

allowing dim shades
to nudge your glariness,

for roofs to construct
over your unsheltering,

for trees to flutter
their leaves in breeze;

for bees to settle
on flowers longer
than dictated.

A winter and spring
are unfettered in battle;

mischief unbound,
abound brooks
and streams rousing;

dishevelled is calm
sans your breathing.


maundering sun,
you are allowing
way too much…

- Sheikha A.

(added 09.03.14)

editor's note: All that living of life unchecked? No telling what mayhem a moving sun might make. - mh


The difference between
skunk slush & iguanas,
scorpions on your tongue,
Aristotle like the feathered rawhide tip
of a whip, the noose, the noose,
the mannequin behind GM airbag
or the rollover retirement
along a bruised halogen stretch
of Alligator Alley.

- Alan Britt

(1 poem added 09.02.14)

editor's note: Ouch! Like the lady said, "...might as well live." - mh

Of Things You Might Consider

the ram’s kiss
skin rough as alligator tongue
the feeling of fur.

cows in their peasant uniforms
wind piercing like a squeal: a pig
in terror –

the pile of rose crumbs I’ve dropped
a needle through a teddy bear’s eye
mickey mouse hung from a
string –

the delicacy I’m serving
things my hands do

the situation I’m containing.

- Richelle Dodaro

(added 09.01.14)

editor's note: Consider the caprice of poets; no containment here, but everything let loose - look out! - mh

Sale Item

The guy who sold me this
even guaranteed it
doesn’t work here now
that I need him and
his wonderful sense
that things will work
will go on – his brave
words in the face of
reality; certainty like
his shouldn’t pass
from this world, but
his former manager
and co-workers seem
reluctant to recall
his smiling face, his
way of getting a person
to walk out of here
with over-priced
potential junk
under his arm
on his plastic, smiling
completely sold
never guessing he’d be
back in two days
looking for someone
who may or may not
have worked here
sometime in the past.

- J.K. Durick

(2 poems added 08.31.14)

editor's note: Another victim, vanquished by a vanished, positive purveyor of products untried. Caveat emptor! (Read another one from J.K., deviled in the details, on his page - check it out!) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Good! We got a fine one for ya’!…

This week's featured short-short is a sordid and sad tale that will grab ya’ from the first few words. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story “The Mystery of Mister Hollywood Zero” by Erica Merkow… "Just think that tonight, when you look up at the night sky (and you should) all that starlight is millions of years old, and it's traveled across what we call space, away from its dead origin, just to see us along with disgusting stars we look up to."

Here's a taste to tease ya’:

Oh, roll me over, in the clover, red hot rover, white cliffs of Dover…

Yeah, man. Cry me a river, baby. You came alive once, once in a blue moon, Angie, and it hurt me so badly to see your frantic performances on the patio stage as you, demonstrating no talent at all, sought to rely on your physical beauty to somehow pull you through the darkening nightmare of your life. Your voice, hoarse from too many cigarettes, cigarettes given you by using malcontents who wanted a piece of you for their self-gratification; your poetry a litany of hurt; then you disappeared.

I watched you, restive, worried, as you drifted into exhaustion after a longish drive to San Antonio, a drug run, and the green lounger, matched to your lovely skin, somehow made me sad to know how easily you allowed yourself to be used. Truly, in another world, you would have been an Irish beauty, yet the stories you told me horrified: You, walking alone through a dark part of town, a little too tipsy as you walked uptown, and the gang-bangers in their tricked-out car with spinners and black-light flashing, slowing down, threatening to rape you; how you screeched-out, and then proudly told me your voice had frightened them into moving on, away from you.

What on earth were you trying to do with your life?

After tasting that, how can you stop now? Eat up ’til you’re full right here!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday at "Mad Swirl featuring... R.A. Hernandez" was absolutely everything we'd hyped and hoped it would be... and MORE! After reading R.A.’s words in our online Poetry Forum for years, it was a pleasure to have him live on our stage!

Thanks to ALL the wonderful poets and musicians who came to Absinthe Lounge to appreciate & participate in our mic madness. t'was a fine night to be alive and in our Mad Swirl world. In case you missed this Mad action, here is a visual the line-up of who was who…

(photos courtesy of Dan Rodriguez. to see 'em all, visit our flickr page)

R.A. Hernandez

Johnny O
MH Clay
Chris Zimmerly

Mad Cast:
Paul Koniecki
Carlos Salas
Opalina Salas
Andy Duvall
PW Covington
Jasmin Kinnard

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.01.14) at 8:00 sharp, when we will swirl it up madly in the LIVE way that we do every month. Get to the Lounge early, dig upon the musical musings of Swirve and this month's feature, loco local poet & musician, Kerseymere!

Come one, come all! Mad poets, musicians, actors, singers, circus freaks and Elvis impersonators... come-n-strut-yo-stuff. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.

AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin' madness. Here's the line-up for the rest of 2014!…

November: Karen X
December: Paul Koniecki


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
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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