The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.04.14

”Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.” Louis Aragon

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Photo (above) by featured artist Rosie Lindsey. To see more Mad works from Rosie, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we rained stones from the sky; we lingered over loss through a mirror; we delighted in a dishwater dalliance; we spit-dropped dromedary drama, sizzled to silence; we bumbled a beeline into a hell of hail; we wound down wandering to a daily way; we concocted a combination to wrongly right the world. In a week transpired, wisps of whispered wonders afire. So goes the sweep o' the Swirl! ~ MH Clay

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


As Courtney lies sleeping on the couch beside me
Sleeping - trying to be sleeping
I dream, typing, dream
She watches the details
Wondering how far away Dallas is now

There, the Trinity River knows things that most people don't think about
Ghost cows chatter
Trinity dries
Carries many secrets it forgets
And forgets to tell

It has smelly water

My phone vibrates
Too dangerous to answer
I set it on the table
Next to the weed

Something misunderstood
It means too much to me
Is there a way to undo what I've said
Perhaps a drug
Perhaps a combination of drugs

- Cheyenne Gallion

(4 poems added 10.04.14)

editor's note: Synaptic replay, looping, lingering; our glaring blunder, irretrievable…along with sleep. (This submission from our Mad Swirl co-founder is long overdue. We are pleased to see some new works from Cheyenne - as a matter of fact, 4 new works. See Cheyenne's latest verses and vision on his poetry page: ROBOT ALCHEMIST, SUBURBATRONIC INVASION and HELLO AMERICANS. Check'em out - do it now.) - mh


The walk to work is always the same
Even on the days when you go a different way
The walk to work is just the walk to work
The walk to that place you invariably loathe
That place that slowly drives you insane
Until the day when you don’t have to do that walk anymore
Then it’s another walk to another place
But still it remains the same
The self-loathing and the hatred of what you do
And the walk that still remains the same
Just along different streets to another building
The walk that drives you slowly insane
My walk at the moment is one of the most beautiful
Along the seafront and into the heart of town
People come on holiday here just to do the walk I do everyday
But still it’s just the walk to work
The walk to that place you loathe so much
The walk to that place that drives you insane

- Bradford Middleton

(1 poem added 10.03.14)

editor's note: Poetry to make the mundane bearable, the hair shirt wearable. - mh

Rubber Bullets

"Thank God they’re only rubber,"
I think, as the bullets
Rain down on us like hail.
We try to move with the crowd,
As it scatters like the rats
Who usually rule these streets.
One wrong move, one slip of the foot,
We’ll go down and if we do,
There will be no getting back up.

Feeling the hard welts
That are starting to rise
Around my tender, aching ribs,
I think, “How did this happen?”
How did a Cinco de Mayo street party
Degenerate into this?
Mad panic free for all;
Every man, woman and child for themselves,
In a vicious storm of black, rubber bees.

About this time, to my pleasant surprise,
I realize I’m still holding my beer.
“Thank God for small favors,”
I say to myself while simultaneously realizing
That’s a lot of Jesus talk for this atheist.
I’m running wildly now and
Have no idea what’s become of my friends.
“They know how to get home,” I think,
“I can’t hold their hands all the time.”

Turning a corner, into an alley,
I am stopped dead in my tracks,
My beer bottle slipping from my fingers and
Smashing loudly in the street below.
Blocking my way are 6 fully armed riot cops,
Their guns trained on my torso.
As I drop to my knees and put my hands up,
I have the abstractly lighthearted thought,
“Even bees can kill you if they sting you all at once.”

- David Rutter

(1 poem added 10.02.14)

editor's note: But, they won't sting if you don't annoy them, right? (We welcome David to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page - check it out.) - mh


uninterested in love
world events
the thousand-year camel
delicately balanced
on his own elongated shadow
and spits
into the fiery sunset
just for the ephemeral thrill
of seeing the droplets
and dance.

- Jeffrey Park

(1 poem added 10.01.14)

editor's note: A ruminant's take on the Middle East conflict; a spit and a sizzle. - mh


You walked into the kitchen
I was busily occupied
With the minutiae of living
Washing dishes
I half turn to greet
Blue and green eyes meet
And that was that.
Never was an embrace
So nakedly undressed
Lips on lips pressed
As hungry bodies
Innocent of each other
Found a memory place.


- Sheighle Birdthistle

(2 poems added 09.30.14)

editor's note: An amorous angler's kitchen catch. (See another vibrant verse from Sheighlie on her page - check it out.) - mh

The End

I let you go without protest;
the room still smells of you,
a soft musky-floral scent.

I sit down on the sofa you were
sitting in. The fabric
still warm from your body.

I close my eyes.
Your face flashes,
then disappears.
When I open my eyes,
I see myself staring
at my reflection in the mirror;

Outside the night continues,
the city
continues, but our world
starts to give way.
Our story stops now.

- Amy Barry

(1 poem added 09.29.14)

editor's note: The sweet, sad eternity twixt the end of a story and the turn of the page... - mh

River Ouse Haiku

sky heavy with stones
the lighthouse under the waves
the wake of her soul

- Virginie Colline

(2 poems added 09.28.14)

editor's note: Such leaves a delightful haiku hole... to fill with hope. (Read another heart-harrowing haiku on Virginie's page - check it out.) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Are you thirsting for something? Perhaps we can quench your thirst with a read! Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Warm Company" by Oleg Razumovsky. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Why are we ever celebrating? Why does it matter, let’s celebrate!"

Here's a shot to whet your whistle:

In the morning I woke up knowing that I was absolutely broke, but it was necessary to have a drink. Very urgent. A matter of life and death. I got up, thanking God it was not necessary to dress because yesterday I fell asleep fully clothed. Outside it was very cold and my zipper was broken. I almost froze my balls off before I reached Dawn’s Tavern, where my buddies usually congregate. But fuck, it was empty. Everybody was still sleeping. What to do. I barely scraped some change for a small glass of beer, alone. I tried to talk the barmaid into giving me a drink on credit but she refused, the grated pussy, saying, 'I once poured a guy a shot of vodka on credit, but he never gave me money back, since then I don't trust anybody for any reason.'

Yeah, no luck, I mused, looking out the window at a completely empty, extinct downtown. For the third or fourth day, I really lost the count, people are celebrating a holiday. Probably they got a little tired, finally. Waiting for company, I thought about one summer day when I was without a cent and I felt lousy. Nobody was around to help me out for fuck's sake.

Go on, belly up to the bar and get the rest of your read drink on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday at "Mad Swirl presents... Kerseymere" was absolutely everything we'd hyped and hoped it would be... and MORE! We knew when we put this multi-talented mad man on our list of features that he would deliver a show that would send vibrations up and down and all around the Lounge. And did he ever! Huge thanks to Kerseymere for the mad memories.

Thanks to ALL the wonderful poets and musicians who shared their words, their verses and their fine light with us. t'was a fine night to be alive and in our Mad Swirl world. In case you missed this Mad action, here is the line-up of who was who…

(photos available on Facebook, courtesy of Rosie Lindsey)


Johnny O
MH Clay

Mad Cast:
Desmene Statum
Bear the Poet
CJ Critt
Gayle Reeves
Carlos Salas
Jared Ryan Maldinado
Tony Hernandez
Opalina Salas
Harry McNabb
Trier Ward
Jonathan Fernandes
Sebastian Paramo
David Crandel

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.05.14) 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 help us celebrate at our 10th Open Mic Mad Birthday Swirl-a-bration!

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!…

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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