The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.12.15

“I see the poem or the novel ending with an open door.” ~ Michael Ondaatje

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Forgotten Statue” (above) by featured artist Aniruddha Sastikar.

If the name of our newest featured artist, Aniruddha Sastikar, rings a bell perhaps it’s because he is also a Contributing Poet here at Mad Swirl. This time around, however, we get a visual glimpse into his world – or at the very least, how Sastikar perceives it. Art has a wonderful way of giving us a glimpse inside the soul of the artist, shining a diverse light unique to the artist. The light of Aniruddha’s featured work is a dim & dirty light – to say the least – and thankfully that’s just how we like it! Pictures of rusted cars and dirty streets, old doorways with hinged wires don’t sound immediately alluring. But in contrast with bright hues of blues (and even spiritual symbology, quite literally) we see the beautiful dance with the ugly, the sacred swirled with secular collide and we can’t help ourselves in reaching out for more – more of the story, more of the magic, more of the divine hiding out in these unsuspecting places. Give it a look-see for yourself and discover the visual world of artist and poet Aniruddha Sastikar! ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we paid deity with bureaucracy; we soaked a seed with interest; we paused a while in fancy free; we revived our dying world with words; we ran a race by eating crows; we tickled grace for nefarious foes; we got together and nothing happened. Or, so it seemed; our weekly dream did come and go before we'd know. Do we? Did we? ~ MH Clay

I wanted you to have something beautiful for coming so I wrote this this morning for you by Paul Koniecki

We got together and nothing happened
We plugged in and it felt like father of porcelain and mother of pearl
The night fell as a fine blue dress
I wore make-up or blushed
The monk who found champagne by mistake laughed – yelling –
find a virtuous PERSON because their price is far above rubies
I danced my genitals off
My gavel hit the floor
Judges flinched
All the flags burned themselves because inclusion is spelled with multiple eyes
Search warrant ash filled the air like a balloon race
Spock came out in search of spontaneous combustion
Leonard Nimoy whispered in my ear
It happened fast and slow and not at all till it happened all at once
Lake Worth turned upside-down and rained bomber’s tears
Humans talked
Pens refilled with the ball point ink of our most furious anger
writing letters of safe passage irreducible mirth Mother Teresa allegories open wormholes to Utopia and cool clean feather beds
for the restless never rest till the course is run
Our words were sharp and beautiful as Pam Grier in Coffy with razors razors razors in her hair
And her lips were like a graveyard and her hair was like the sun
We got together
We got together and nothing happened
We got together and nothing happened here tonight but flying carpets
Flying carpets of acceptance and love

September 12, 2015

editors note: This is more nothing than I can handle in a night. Deeeelicious! – mh clay


There are noisome worms
In the duodenum of righteousness;
Nefarious infidels who pretend to be redeemed
But detest all aura of rectitude.

They see
Life as an aberrant for tares,
Work ethics as a strike after the wind,
Depravity as a modus operandi;
Needful – a haven for solace

We are pious mediocres,
Morbid at their bidding; puppets
Dancing to the signals of their puppetry

They have sold justice
To the highest bidder;
And have e’en enslaved due process
In the dungeon of mediocrity

Here they are again
With rapturous smiles
Wanting our mandates
So as to stockpile for progenies unborn

Here they are again
seeking to tickle the scrotum
of our grace

Would your thumb
Heed to the behest of compromise
Or the will of truth?

September 11, 2015

editors note: Achieving divine democracy requires grace. Please, tickle my scrotum. – mh clay

STREET LIFE by Willie Smith

Crows pick at the rat
teenage dragsters last night
to the asphalt flattened.
Noisemakers breakfasting
on one less kitchen threat.
The bigger get the guts.
The smaller rip through fur.
A runt wrestles with the tail.
Only at the last moment,
when my foot falls less than a foot
from their feathers, do they scatter,
flapping to the curb on either side.

Continuing, after crossing, on the way
to the bus, the office, the cubicle,
at my back I hear, clockwork like,
them rejoin the feast,
pecking, snapping, tearing;
gargling at a fellow to hop back
from the gargler’s beak
in the gargler’s meat.
Rat bowel stink
through the rest of the
day’s restless turns

assuring me those Crows
who own the Maze
will likewise clean me –
at the end of the day –
sudden, senseless or otherwise
– up.

September 10, 2015

editors note: It appears that only crows win the rat race. – mh clay

If Only Life Were Like Language by Paul Hostovsky

and all the natural resources like words,
then the world would be
an unambiguously better place
because when you use a word
like apocalypse, say, it doesn’t then follow
that there is one less apocalypse to go around–
there are still an infinite number of apocalypses,
more than enough for everyone–and the more
people who use a language the more
the language grows rich and strong
and resourceful and ramifying
with new and far-out ways of saying things,
not to mention all the lexical borrowings that go on,
the exotic words and phrases, and the names–
names of people and horses and hurricanes
and hand creams and automobiles–
and the lists, praise be to God for the lists!
Which is just the opposite of the world,
with its dying rivers and dwindling resources
and endangered species list.
With words you can make stuff up out of nothing
which is more than you can say
for physics or chemistry or corn. Earth’s
the right place for language. I don’t know where
else you could invent an imaginary escape hatch
up and out of a dying world,
and take a little of the world with you
in your pockets, like the jingling coins of a realm,
or like the crepitating bits and pieces
of a beautiful intact dead language
for sprinkling over the smart lunch conversation
in the next.

September 9, 2015

editors note: When all else is gone, open wide to eat them. Apocalypses for all! – mh clay

Must Give Us Pause by Harley White

If death ends all we see
in Nature’s laws—
to be, or not to be,
with no applause—
and seas of troubles flee
when life withdraws,

then how we choose to plumb
the waters deep…
or whether dreams may come
in final sleep
need never foil
our glee of fancy free…
though mortal coil
may give us pause…

But what if there be more
than what we know—
a door beyond the door
to come and go?

What further living dream
may round us form,
in endless norm,
that carelessly we cause,
and doth existing seem,
must give us pause…

an independent and
dependent clause
of consequential strand
must give us pause…

another cosmic clime
in timeless time,
a stream of conscious I’m
in reasoned rhyme
that carries all our flaws
must give us pause…

who’ll snatch us from the jaws
of slated fate—
that we create…
then vainly grasp at straws—

must give us pause…

For should we risk perchance
to miss the mark,
but dizzily to dance…

what dream of dark
in coverlet of gauze
may whelm our dying pause,
and pierce with karmic claws…

to make us heed
in thought, in word, in deed,


must give us pause…
must give us pause…
must give us pause…

September 8, 2015

editors note: Yes! Maybe this whole life we blink is just a pause; a deep breath to take before we dive into the real thing. – mh clay

Seed by Hem Raj Bastola

Dry soil today
At least breathe, a little
Many days later it will rain
Those cemented seeds
Unable to burgeon
Will break
To come out.

Coming out
Springing shoots of life
Burned soil today is like:
Soldered weapon in the furnace
Of a blacksmith.
Eager to fill a life
Those dust particles
Sharpening the embryo
Of a seed.

Opportunity today
Expectation of a similar seed
I soak up an interest
A seed to live a life
Today, tomorrow
And unlimited.

September 7, 2015

editors note: Nothing sedentary in the life of this seed. “Soak up an interest.” – mh clay

FORM FILLING by John D Robinson

“Have you a partner?” I asked,
knowing him well and that he did not.
“Yes I have” he said quickly.
“Oh okay, is this a recent thing?
What’s her name?” I said.
“It’s a he” he said “and it’s long term,
I mean it for eternity”
“Oh, a he!” I said surprised.
“Yeah” he said “Anything wrong with that?”
“No nothing wrong with that” I said,
“What’s his name?”
“His name?” he asked.
“Yeah, his name” I said.
“Jesus Christ” he said softly,
“It’s Jesus Christ”
“Jesus Christ!” I said
smiling and grinning.
“Yeah” he said seriously
looking at me hard.
“They’re asking for a date of birth” I said
“Well, everybody knows that!
Christmas Day; twenty fifth of December zero zero
zero zero!” he answered with confidence.
“Okay” I said “Now they’re asking for proof of birth;
a birth certificate”
“Fuck me!” he cried “The Bible,
that’s His birth certificate,
He’s got millions of birth certificates
all over the world!”
“Alright” I said
“They’re being awkward now,
they’re asking for
a national insurance number”
“Jesus don’t need no
national insurance number;
but okay; here’s
His national insurance number;
JC 1” he laughed softly.
“Okay” I said “Now if the authorities take this
literally you will loose your single person
reduction for your taxes”
“Okay” he said “That’s fine;
I’ll gladly pay for Jesus,
I mean, after all man,
He paid the ultimate price
for us all didn’t he?”
he looked at me
for reassurance.
“Maybe” I said looking away,
out of the window
and into the distance.
“I’ll pay for Jesus” he said. “I’ll pay”

September 6, 2015

editors note: Hmm. Don’t we all pay for him? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? This week's featured story still has us trippin'! Don't worry, we'll share some of this mind-altering tale with you.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale “Hallucinating Pigmies“ from R.A. Hernandez: "Life is one hell of a confusing, crippling drug, but then again so are drugs."

Here's a bit to trip on:

The first time I’d dropped acid, I was nineteen and living in Seattle.

A guy I worked with at a coffee shop in the basement of the Elliot Bay bookstore said he had a connection.

After work we drove out of the city, into the hills, where his guy lived.

The exchange was quick but eventful. The old hippie lived atop a hill on a small farm. He seemed preoccupied with something other than the transaction at hand. It could have had something to do with the large number of nude elderly hippies that were standing in the field next to a brightly painted barn.

We got the goods and were back at his place in no time. We dropped the acid and waited.

Before we took the mind altering drug I had asked him if it was cool to do it at his place. I knew he lived with his girlfriend and I didn’t want to cause a fuss, but he said that it was cool and not to worry.

I took him at his word.

Needless to say, his girlfriend arrived and was not happy by what she found. I was jettisoned into the rainy autumn night with little explanation, a halfhearted apology and no offer of a ride home. I wish the ordeal had killed my high, but it didn’t. Instead it had left my mind shaky. That control I felt just before getting shoved out slipped away and the rain wasn’t helping any.

I decided to walk back to work and see if a coworker would take me home. I wasn’t sure if she was closing, work wasn’t far, but I had to hurry.…

Feel the story about to kick in? Then get the rest of your trip on 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...

Seein’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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