The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.25.14

"Everything you can imagine is real." Pablo Picasso

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Our newest featured artist, Toby Oggenfuss, brought us some work all the way from space - er, I mean from Los Angeles, California. But that doesn’t mean his stuff doesn’t look like it came straight from some other universe. A universe where city landscapes are curly and swirly and… does this sound up our alley or what?! Toby is clearly not your typical photographer, having created an entirely unexplored technique that defies everything we once thought it meant to take photos. These fascinating and abstract pieces will not only spike your curiosity, but also set your mind wandering, questioning the realms in which you once upon a time saw your own city. Straight lines? Ha! What are those? Yeah, we don’t know either, anymore. If you wanna trip on these surreal scenes too, you know what to do! - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we lingered on lyric life, transcended cube strife; we cinched up tight, imaginary belt, buckled - no doll, no fall; we could no more impostors be, than by wrongly using apostrophes; we swirved 'neath a swing o' sandal-toed safe havens; we laughed, unlike a "b" or "w", un-ensnared smiles came thrumming through; we nurtured nothing into something sweet, sweet something spun back to nothing, demure and discreet; we did long resound with the song of a slammer-bound love hound - howwwwwwwwl with the heart o' the wolf. Clamor, uncloyed for complete satisfaction. Rest in the peace o' the pack... ~ MH Clay

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

Pink Toenails

When vanity became
The powder to her nose,

Jealousy honed
The thorns of his rose.

Love and hate
Were claws of their hammer,

Until he lost control
And landed in the slammer.

- Hal J. Daniel III

(1 poem added 10.25.14)

editor’s note: Obsessed to be her only nailer; he hammered too far, then met the jailer. - mh

Still There Is Something

that corrupts the plaintive nature
of my back brain while bad boys wait
in silent shiny elevators asking me with evil eyes
to say

cold and unforgiving, even of the joy I take
itself of

warm and creative in the watery rush
he felt at the stems of his eyeballs when i told him
to be happy
the watery wet rush he felt but that did not materialize
his evil eyes
for my sweet nothing

- Anna Sullivan

(added 10.24.14)

editor’s note: From nothing (sweet nothing) survives... something. - mh

Engees 6

she honests her laugh loudly
unlike a beetle in a lampshade
unlike a whisper in a crowd
it is hearty, hale and whale big
it flits the air bumble bee hum
and lands like a stone dropped
from a cliff into my chest
where it resounds, thrumming
into a smile.

- Hollie Bolster

(added 10.23.14)

editor’s note: Hell, yes, she does! Thrums me too! Nice! - mh

Golden Grove

Wooden swing, sandal toes.




A silly, sinking feeling.

Sun saved Boat's neck.

Sun saved Boat from Night,
from shipwreck.



beat of red dawn drum,
tune of tangerine rind tenor.


Sea breeze.


Sugar soap.

Sun drop.


- Shashank Virkud

(added 10.22.14)

editor’s note: Safe harbor in a swing's sway; sweet redemptress. - mh

There Are No Apostrophes In Plurals

“So, I finally got him to answer his mobile phone
again last night and I said to him,
'Look mate, you cannot have really meant it
when you dumped me last weekend
because the reason you gave was being bored.
You’re a poet man, you could have come up
with a much better excuse than that one.
I mean, you could have told me that there
are no apostrophes in plurals and that it was
all my fault or something brilliant like that!'”

“Hey Girlfriend, that’s clever…what does it mean?”

“It means that he didn’t put much thought into it
because he didn’t really mean it at all,
he’s just being moody and away with the fairies,
artists are like that, insanely temperamental!”

“Cool, so what did he say this time?”

“He said that it wasn’t an excuse and he’s still bored.
Then turned off his phone and Facebook blocked me!”

“How frustrating, he’s really making you work, isn’t he.
Well, you can’t have that can you, I mean it’s not fair?”

“Hell No, I’ve downloaded a ton of Meatloaf tracks,
I’m going to listen to them all night, like really listen,
then write him a love sonnet, play him at his own game.
I’ll have him in tears before I’ve finished, you watch!”

- Paul Tristram

(1 poem added 10.21.14)

editor’s note: With Meatloaf as muse, this girl is gonna take that poet down. Shoulda played your apostrophe card, mate! - mh

intruder alert


This on a slip of paper atop the kitchenette counter,
greeting me upon my return from work,
triggering mucho panic;
I can’t help but wonder
what else they did
while popping in,
so I inspect my toothbrush
for signs of sabotage,
sniffing the bristle,
then it’s on to my smut collection,
checking for pilfered porn
before scanning my library,
focusing on Bukowski
as we all know his stuff
attracts thieves;
finally concluding at the liquor cabinet
where I examine myriad levels,
breathing a sigh of relief;
everything seems cool,
just another attack—
I really should get help;
if I had a sex doll
I’d lock her chastity belt
and swallow the key
with my morning

- Ben Newell

(added 10.20.14)

editor’s note: Worry over what popped out from a popped up pop-in. - mh


despite leaves turning toward her silently
mouthing words to string quartets she sighs
gardenias fill the air with attention
their aroma seeps widely the office
calls unaware our conversation shifts
necessities prevail over coffee

apart from the filament connecting
two hands along gravel studded lamplight
only her eyes finely hint these railways
speak multitudes past breezy boulevards
eventually maps reach their limits
rumor has it her friends plot the journey

rivers away the department debates
whether she should have written that letter
delightful strands perhaps the rope bridge holds
the climber pulls her aside to inquire
while gliding through stark cornfields we notice
reflection heavy upon our shoulders

desk drawers alight with anticipation
supervisors discuss their agendas
love beyond burdened glass the cubicle
too fierce to touch watching from the break room
cellos their last streams warble around us
she follows the tune as it wanders past

- Michelle Villanueva

(added 10.19.14)

editor’s note: Too often, missed goes the music, hunkered down in a cubicle trench, fighting a paper war. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Howsabout a story about writing a story? OK, then howsabout living a life that inspires a story to be written? Then check out the latest addition to our short stories library, "Five Weekends" by Carl Kavadlo. Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Writing takes a lot, mostly a life lived. There’s nothing wrong with spending a life writing down the world; waiting for it happen, though, that’ll kill you. So live! So write! Write to live and live to write! "

Here's a bit to get you goin':

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Tony was trying his thirteenth draft on this piece, 1234 words, into the top of the fifth double spaced page. It was a true story in Tony’s own life about how he almost got screwed, due to the follies and games that men play, out of a musical gig. The musical gigs were important to Tony as a livelihood and a passion. He had a beautiful voice and an extensive knowledge of popular and standard songs. The bossa novas, the Frank Sinatras, and so on, through the various rock and pop idioms. He doubled on guitar. It was one of those pieces where the parts couldn’t quite get put together, at least not in Tony’s mind.

Like most creative writing students at Touro College on the west side of Manhattan, this student did not bring in something new. This is what made them creative writers—they already had the drive. They put themselves into the hands of more experienced persons, to cultivate their talents.

In other words Tony was having a rough time with the piece.

“Dr. Whitmore,” he said, “it’s got all the fucking ingredients, I just can’t make it stick.”

“I know,” Whitmore said. ”It’s not unusual for beginning writers to struggle.”

“Let me lay it out to you, if you have the time.”

Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

t'was 10 years ago that Mad Swirl first hosted our open mic at Dallas' Absinthe Lounge. Way back then we never would have guessed that we'd still be doin' it to it all these years later. But guess what? We are! Why? Because of you... and you... and ALL you you's out there who have been appreciatin' and participatin' along with us all those years!

We here at the Swirl approached this auspicious occasion with keen consideration. We asked ourselves, "Selves, who would be the best performer to feature at our 10 year Swirl-a-bration?" The answer came back clearly, "Mad Swirl!" Yes, of course, Mad Swirl should be AND will be our feature! And who better to help us celebrate this momentous mad milestone but YOU, our fellow mad ones!

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 help us celebrate our 10th Open Mic Mad Birthday Swirl-a-bration!

After our feature set we urge you stick around to get yourself a spot on our list... first come, first on the list! Which means... get there early!

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. RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) on spot on our mic list here!

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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