The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.22.14

"Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason." Andre Gide

••• 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 heard a hot hellion's heated recourse of rebellion; we morphed a manic, med-induced symphony; we framed the fall of a bouncing ball; we made magic in the rabbit hat, stars and bursts and all of that; we perpetrated puppet string pullings to hold hurricane winds in seasonal chucklings; we ripped sky-bright days unraveled into open roads untraveled; we rhymed irregular for verses not divine nor secular. We tripped the light, we shined bright. ~ MH Clay

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

(For Dr Abdel Hamid)

A war without an army, a battle
With no flag. It’s fought inside a darkness
We all have in our minds. No bugle call,
No marching bands - and medals? Even less!
You’ll never be on your own but often
Wish you were! You are trapped inside a net –
A mesh that must be killed, it’s either you
Or it. Can you be a killer? You bet!
The conflict zone is larger than you thought.
At first, and also last, it’s doom and gloom.
But then finally you have to face it.
No glory. It comes down to this small room.
He stands, this man who took you through your fear.
He shakes your hand and smiles, and says, ‘You’re clear!’

- Derrick Gaskin

(1 poem added 11.22.14)

editor’s note: A regular irregular to keep our pathways clear. No brain sepsis here! - mh

Happy is the Day

Happy is the day that on rising,
my body flexes like a bow from head to toe,
and powered by arching spine,
bounds out to meet the world
and all its promise.

Happy is the day
when clouds are light and sky is bright,
and without drug filled enthusiasm,
or drink floated confidence,
everything is just magical,
and happily out of control.

Sad is the day when I am made small.

Why one day should greet me openly
while another rejects me so harshly,
I do not know,
and I really, really wish
that I could know each sunrise,
simply as a call to live,
and see only the open road,
instead of trips on those already travelled.

- Niall OConnor

(added 11.21.14)

editor’s note: Be it a trip or a fall; go for the magic, not the small. Happy day, indeed! - mh


Hold me when you are close enough and
I am pushing you away refusing you my breaking point
at that last moment while turning that bend
like I hold those iron bars in anxiety of sky
molten in liquid blue that permeates my eyes
I am not far neither close
just where you chose me to be
an ear for your personal ramblings
where I have no place to live no shoulders to rest upon
an invitee in the remote walls where you decide the role
and own the strings of monotonous curtains
your lies and truth like an unabashed hurricane
blowing in severity from all directions
from high mountains and deepest seas
ruling and destroying my unconsciousness
when I was yet to discover if I am dead or living
I felt like changing to seasons and at once
cold and warm to domesticated notions
where you can happen to me twice as rapturously
and I can make you cry over my unseasonal chuckles.

- Jyoti Modi

(added 11.20.14)

editor’s note: The object holds the strings. The subject holds the chuckles. - mh


People believe what they want to believe.
Truth is merely another emotion,
Like love,
A rabbit in a dunce’s hat.
Go ahead: wish for true love;
The brightest star in the sky
Is exploding.

- Robert E. Petras

(1 poem added 11.19.14)

editor’s note: Believe what you will; it is ultimately subjective. Reality comes in a flash! - mh

Ballad of the Bouncing Self

At times I, like a butterfly,
May flit from bloom to bloom,
Or with my whimsy set sky-high
To outer space may zoom.
And yet, when all’s been said and done,
I follow what my fate has spun—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

A Muse impels me on a spree
Of whirling swirling craft
Where poems must not mean but be…
Until I’m going daft.
But words, albeit finely wrought,
Can only catch a passing thought—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

When my reality looks pale
I frolic in a theme
From vivid myth, folklore or tale,
Where dreams are what they seem.
And there where’er I romp and roam
I always feel a welcome home—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

I’ve often fallen to the ground
And picked myself back up.
I’ve hungered for a loving touch
And sipped from passion’s cup.
My longings, cravings ruled my will;
Still never could I drink my fill—
For some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

A life led wrong, though full of song,
Will cause us to regret,
When pondering the winters long,
Our faults we can’t forget.
And then we’re washed in bitter tears
For senseless youth and wasted years—
As some may strive and ne’er succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

I said I want to live before
I die, in villanelle,
To learn where lies true wisdom’s door
And shun the gates to hell.
Yes, wayward ways can still begin
To seek and find the Way within—
For some may strive and not succeed,
While others simply do the deed.

- Harley White

(1 poem added 11.18.14)

editor’s note: Follow the ball to sing along, off of the walls to find that song. Do the deed! - mh

My Manic Meds' Truth: A Sonnet in Waltz Time

Make no mistake, its no fun when you're manic.
When it starts, maybe so, but it soon can turn frantic.
When blindsided by sights it can lead to a panic
I'm writing this way to show its not romantic.

I was in a canoe on a still quiet lake,
So you paddle three times and enjoy the ride.
But when I looked down, it couldn't be fake,
A small symphony was playing inside.

I couldn't hear a note, with them all under water,
And I knew down deep that they could not be there.
Just faces and hands that were all in a blur
and then I was past them, but Christ what a scare.

This actually happened because of my meds,
Once more I'd been torn from the reins to my head.

- Tom Hall

(added 11.17.14)

editor’s note: A day in the life of a pendulum swinger; symphonically submerged (one, two, three - one, two, three). - mh

The Hot Water Bottle’s Resignation Letter

Why? The six-month lay-off
confined to quarters
with puffballs of dust
and dropped sweet wrappers
under the bed. That’s for starters.

Then let’s consider
the nerve-grinding torture
of the kettle’s transition
from stone-cold to boiling;
neck gripped: the pouring, the scalding …

the brash demonstration
of no-way-out, of coercion
back into the sphere of action.
No renegotiation,
no fawning reinstatement –

you demand then expect me
to bow and scrape and get on with it.
Well, screw you. I quit.
Why? I want to be free
of your grubby quilts, your sheets,

your inelegant couplings, your feet.

- Neil Fulwood

(added 11.16.14)

editor’s note: When discussing equitable wages and working conditions, every point of view warrants consideration. - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Then we got a truly "mad" tale to share with you delivered to us by writer & poet Ruth Z. Deming. Her short story, "More Decaf, Please!" will make you see what we mean when we say this one truly is an insane one.

Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had a few words to say about this pick-of-the-week story: "Bare humanity, malnourished bones along with bad brains, can't contribute much to our spinning globe, but they can teach us everything. Your own reactions to the world's lessers prove how worthy you are to not be toothless, drooling on yourself, and only knowing hope because someone pretends to love you."

Here's a taste to dunk your mind in:

Willie lives with two other men in a group home in East Oak Lane, Philadelphia. It's literally a beautiful three-bedroom house with lovely paintings on the wall and comfy furniture.

We stomped the snow off our feet when we got inside and Shelly introduced me to Ron, the house manager.

We made ourselves at home. In the kitchen, I plugged in the Mr. Coffee Maker and consulting Ron and Shelly, made 10 cups of coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts Decaf. Shelly cut the cheesecake from Trader Joe's and some holiday apricot kuchen.

We all sat down to eat. The TV was on with a noisy football game. In group homes the TV is always on. I’ve visited half a dozen and they’re all the same. The house managers are very important people and have power over people's lives just like parents.

All of the men talk to themselves. Their histories are contained in huge three-ring binders on the bookshelves which also include the medications they take. All the men smoke like chimneys. The man I sat next to and tried to converse with had eyebrows that draped halfway down his face. Try as I might, I just couldn't get a conversation going with him or any of the other men.

They loved their coffee and finished the entire pot within ten minutes.

Tasty, right? Wanna keep reading? Then move your mouse 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’ Inspired,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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