The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.15.14

"To create one's world in any of the arts takes courage." Georgia O'Keeffe

••• The Mad Gallery •••

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

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we found a cure for clinical sadness, better than drugs is love for madness; we idled a day for a muse gone away; we pilfered the wings from a bird who talks, not sings; we shared fatherly joy in the face of a sleeping boy; we listened to romantic talk of a supine angel, lined with chalk; we read a mad missive, longer than shorter, which led a young child to hope's sweet border; we counted out love from lucky stars, our guaranteed commitment for scars. From madly loved to love infused; a week not weak, but strengthened by muse. ~ MH Clay

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

It's Always Been only from Everafter


there's no other
there's only this

there's me here again

our It's Always Been

a committed
return on

your vested scars
should they ever fade

- Steven Minchin

(1 poem added 11.15.14)

editor’s note: If you win it, gotta keep it won. Takes the "C" word, friends, the "C" word. - mh

For Arlene: On Condition of a Smile and a Giggle

Abstemious children make pledges,
On condition of a smile and a giggle,
Particularly to groups of powerful
Individuals tending not to surface.

Given sunshine, also assorted conditions,
Plain folks’ knowledge of astral energies
Can safeguard their entire communities,
Capably thwarting alien armies’ coupes.

Understand, militants’ muckles of wrapped cloths’
Flagged folds, absent creases, frees no fierce
Brothers or local lovelies, plus fails to presage
Inscrutability collected from the obstreperous.

The most dire cases of hostage taking pops eyes
Wide open, culls imperturbable affections, strikes,
Catalyzes the Stockholm Syndrome, suffers naught
After “merely” traumatizing isolated families.

Accordingly, when exhaling peppermint puffs,
Stretching to reach for hinted revelations, recall;
Keep all kemp and rimrock secured, brush both
Jaws twice daily. Plus, if protesting, write smarter.

Else, jackanapes will continue to make patent
Not-so-clandestine alliances with mercenaries.
See, embolden doggies sleep, chase no intruders.
As well, robust defense technologies can belly up.

When we love enough to die, to undergo whole
Tortures willingly, our cousins stop fashioning
Expiries. Even if permanently crippled, we’ll
Live to travel to hope’s more peaceful borders.

- KJ Hannah Greenberg

(1 poem added 11.14.14)

editor’s note: With a dictionary and this dalliance, we learn once again; everything works out in the end. - mh

You swallowed me with your eyes

I looked down at you
Propped up on my elbows
As we laid in the center of the street—
You in a stainless white dress
Showing your perfect knees
And me in a hoodie and jeans—
And the stars weaved through the branches above
Appearing as they always have
And the city snored in the night
While I traced your perfect body
With white chalk—
Later writing an angel fell here
Underneath the outline—
Stopping as I connected the head
To the neck
And got caught within the black void
Found deep in your eyes
And I felt my soul merge with yours
As one entity of spontaneity
Breathing in the golden eternal moment
Which lunged my lips towards yours
In my most ambitious leap
As a man
Only to fall short
Missing the ledge
And receiving your glorious cheek
That didn’t seem so glorious
As I tumbled
All the way down.

- Jerry Moffitt

(added 11.13.14)

editor’s note: A long fall and a hard miss to brave a leap at an angel's kiss. - mh

A Boy’s Face in Repose

With his face still and his eyes closed,
with his face still and his chest rising and falling
at the reigns of some wild dream driving him reckless,
with his face still and his mouth clamped down
on the tattered skirt of his stuffed animal companion,
with his face still and his arm crooked back
over his head, fingers tangled in mopped strands
of hair still damp from the shower,
with his face still, with his face finally so still
you notice where his cheekbones rest,
notice the small freckles slowly over the years
marking the degrees of his smile,
with his face still
who can tell what will be?

What old buildings will find him?
Brick walls, bouncers of a thousand voices before him,
chairs scraping floor back through the decades
and forward into unseeable distance,
and friends laughing into formulas of life
as if they invented this place.
But who am I to say they didn’t, or he won’t?
No air has passed over chords
like it has over his, no corners
of mouth have turned precisely the angles
his lips swell into, no eyes take the pigment
of any other soul and give it to the open spaces
as his, perhaps to be received, perhaps to be judged,
perhaps to be loved, perhaps to be preyed on,
perhaps to be shut out entirely.
With his face so still
is there no other desire but to hold in stasis?
Or must I always let go and watch him away?

- Christopher Raley

(1 poem added 11.12.14)

editor’s note: Alas, we must let go. Though we'd like to give them answers, they must formulate their own questions. - mh

Wings Wanted

...lend me
your wings
for a day or two
little Munia

Let me too
like you
fly across skies
sit atop
broken roofs
flowering trees
whistle away signals of love
echoing empty airs

I promise
I shall return them
on return
if I ever do...

(Munia is a name usually given to a Mynah bird.)

- Aniruddha Sastikar

(added 11.11.14)

editor’s note: Keep'em. Fly away and talk, talk, talk... - mh


Under the netted shade
of a straw, makeshift gazebo
in his ancestral garden
on a day of peaceful spells
amongst budding orchards
opening legacies forlorn
or the scent of love secrets
burrowed within seeds,
searching for heart,
he sits with his comrade pen,
silver, glinting variations
of vested perceptions
vociferous to ooze through
the tip of an unused heirloom.

A few sparrows skitter
and hop in wavy circles
peeking inquisitively
either in or at a business
not their own.
He amuses at their careful
approaches; a hop forward
followed by craning,
more peeking, pretending,
peripheral glancing,
hopping two steps aside,
fluttering their wings,
ignoring the subject
flying back a circle
repeating the process.
He smiles endearingly,
at the persistent exercise,
as a sparrow glares
suspiciously first,
haughtily next, upon
realizing the spotlight.

The hours quickly dissipate
into a darkening horizon;
birds and orchards retract
as night time deepens
over intents dulled
by the end of another day,
he trundles back to the house
where banished memories
await the weight of his soul
that he may visit
in hope for inspiration.

- Sheikha A.

(1 poem added 11.10.14)

editor’s note: A familiar frustration to seekers of their muse; birds only. (We welcome Sheikha to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this poem. Read more of her madness on her new page - check it out.) - mh

Loving, Unconditionally

She loves you with blood running down your nose
From the bottle of diamonds you swallowed

She loves the rush of the drive to the hospital,
The wedding screen, the jewelry of needles

She is there to feed you porridge at midnight
To cry with you on bathroom floors, to wipe
The stains on your bed sheets – your wrists.

She is there when you call her with tales
Of anaesthetic-induced euphoria

She is there when you ask for the balcony view
Because you like the choice it comes with.

She is nearly there when you call her, saying
They’re letting you go – she is half there

At your meetings, always a pocketed
Apology – a bouquet of flowers with wheel marks.

She smokes like a chimney when you tell her
The seasons make you feel beautiful,

You love her even though she is boat in rocky seas
A train that never pulls in.

You are there when she calls you at half past
Something. She asks you not to call again

As she won’t be around, makes you promise
To send a message when you reach the institution.

- Alainah Aamir

(added 11.09.14)

editor’s note: The clinical description of "crazy love;" hard as diamonds. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? The latest latest addition to our mad conversation, "The Story About a Dog's Name,” is from loco local writer, poet, & friend Roderick Richardson. This one might amuse?...or offend? ...or both? But that's what we've come to expect from Roderick's words. His works sometimes are amusingly offensive, yet we ALWAYS walk away with a little bit better understanding of life in this mad mad mad world!

Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week story:
"Death begins with language. With one word, the world crumbles. If all of existence began with a single breath from a single timeless entity, and we said that we'd take things from there, then collectively we'll speak up and damn ourselves."

Here's a bark before the bite:

One day a twenty-something white woman was walking down a sidewalk, in the suburbs, when she bumped into an elderly black man. She was startled because this man was walking the biggest Rottweiler anyone has ever seen. “What a big dog!” the white woman said. “What’s his name?”

The man then tied the dog to a tree and told him to sit, and the dog did just that. The man immediately asked the woman to walk a few yards away, and whispered, “His name is Nigga.”

“What? His name is Nuh—“

“Hold on!” the man interrupted. “You can’t say that! I’ll explain…”

Get bitten right 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...

Bein’ Courageous,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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