The Best of Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum : 10.22.11

"Think for yourself and question authority." ~ Timothy Leary


This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we caught a glimpse of a new planet; we spelunked the empty places, peace in nothingness; we plowed some rows on the psychic farm; we dodged the dark monsters that did in Daddy, gone Daddy; we mulled some mudpie mayhem, toppings optional; we delved into the dust of past disasters; we shrugged it off and stood our ground, mouthed the mindful manifesto. My, my, my! - mh

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

Individualist Manifesto

I have set myself apart from the world
I choose to be one of the chosen people
I am not a part of consumer America
I am not a number in the corporate cube
I am more than the money I don’t have
I do not heed the subliminal signals in the light box
I live a real life of my own
I leave the house during prime time
I work to keep my mind functioning
I remember the spiritual grandfathers
I read the words of the artist warriors
I do not let my mind solely be filled
with the reflections of digital images
I do not let the media tell me who is right and wrong
I ignore politics because nobody’s right
I use my own mind
I am one who lives for today and lives on forever
I don’t hide myself from the world
I love the way I look even if Hollywood doesn’t agree
I look through microscopes and telescopes
I do not allow the earth to rotate without me
I get actively involved in my life
I get actively involved in others’ lives
I am not content to sit idly by while
the best minds of my generation are destroyed
by the apathy of the general population
I am different than you
Who sits in the supercenter vacuum
Who listens to clichés coughed up by anorexic pantywaists
Who vacates to the ends of the earth
to get away from your worthless existence
Who believes that voting for America’s Next Vapid Star is time well spent
I believe that there is more to life
I believe in things that I can touch, smell, hear, see and taste
I am in tune with the world around me
I am filled with the spirit of light and truth
I may not worship your god
I know that all gods are equally valid
I worship the wind at sixty five miles per hour
I pray to the ink on pages bound imperfectly
I kneel before jugs of red wine
I give offerings to tightly bound threads sealed with acrylic color
I place value on skin contact
I spread love like dust
I can’t keep it all inside
I catch on fire and rise from the flame in the form of vocal vibrations
I do not do what is proper or normal
I choose not to blend in with the rest of the world
I want to be seen and heard
I want to mean something to myself
I am in the world but not of the world
I do not swim with the current
I believe in what I believe in
I believe in answers from star formations
I believe in truth inside a bottle of whiskey
I am not what is popular or conventional, and
I don’t give a fuck what you think, because
I don’t live to please you

- Lilly Penhall

(1 poem added 10.22.11)

editor's note: No corporate memo will circulate this manifesto for all us cube-clones to acknowledge and forward. No social net will publish this to the cyber-ether for us "friends" to "like" and "comment." No one will pay attention to whether we sign on, sign up or sign off. No one will care... except you? - mh


How can I convey to you, who were so young
too busy with the multiple chores of childhood
an understanding of the momentous events of then.

Then the people of the city moved like sluggish insects: that is,
Slowly awaking with each passing moment to the tasks of their day
with coffee cups and a stretch of aching muscles
and a moment's silence before the mirror.
Already the cars flowed from the side roads to block the main arteries
Choking up the streets then dispersing one by one until thinned they flowed again.
A million words raced across the wires like bees
laced with information, deals, prices, deaths.
Reluctant pupils dreamed on school buses,
waiters smoked on diner stoops before their shift.
As the city trotted into the morning like a dog after dinner,
slow and resentful of its own bodyweight.

The martyrs came down from the cathedrals buttresses
like firemen sliding on silver poles
Archangels soared past airplanes wearing old testament fire in their hair and clothes
converting the witnesses dumbstruck below with the eloquence of their flight
the purity of each fall and full stop ending.

The finale was breathtaking,
a giant puff of smoke enveloped the city's blocks
Stone became dust, steel girders writhed like snakes
or shattered like crystal into jagged knives
that ripped the passing breezes. Showers of shattered glass carpeted the streets
Clouds of shredded paper rode the firestorm's gale down through the avenues.

For a year they gathered and swept, painstakingly not a comma or dust particle missed
These mountains into huge vats they had tethered floating like airships above the river
Filled them until they groaned with the strain.
A hundred, a thousand, I cant remember how many.
Filled until, so weighed down they were slapped by the dirty river water at each high tide.
Filled them for a year until nothing remained
Nothing but a huge white space, a void, a blank page.

When the huge vats were towed out to sea
a brass band played on the pier until it became dark.
This is the dust of our daily bread, we’ve eaten it now for a decade without respite.
Crunched mouthfuls of glass each morning; choked on dust;
broke our teeth on the shattered rusting girders.
Soon the vats will be empty, thousands have expired in the cause of digestion.
We’ve swallowed the angels with their flaming hair and the martyrs with their fiery eyes.
We’ve choked down great volumes of scrap until our blood flowed from every orifice.
We brought in the women the children the deaf, blind and dumb and all have succumbed
in consuming the mountain of rubble until nothing remained.


- Danny McFadden

(added 10.21.11)

editor's note: Even though the anniversary of this disaster has passed another year, this poem is timeless. Scars last a lifetime... - mh

Mud Bucket

It's the weirdest thing I guess I do
and telling you, means we are special friends
I am a full grown man that makes mud pies
no, not with my grandkids or their friends
no, not to lure kids to a nightmare
I simply am a full grown man that likes to make mud pies in his backyard
like a man that likes to dress in his wife's clothes while she is at work
I go into the backyard, get some dirt in this old mud bucket
I get the hose and I make mud pies
I put stuff to represent toppings on them
I have it down to an art form

- Louis Marvin

(added 10.20.11)

editor's note: Hmmmm, we wonder, what backyard flotsam would suffice for toppings; fudge chunk, cherry swirl or pistachio nut? - mh


We can’t forget granddad, granddaddy
Daddy O’. He, too, like Dad, like boyfriend
allowed the deep dark slithering monsters
to take him away far gone from his kid
kid kiddos, his wife. Farming accident
they say. Farming accident they claim.
Truth. Let’s speak the facts, leave the
verisimilitude at the barn and enter,
go deep into the scene. There he is. Gone.
Gone daddy gone. Look at it. Face him. See.
Bullet. See the bullet. It’s not in his foot.
Not in his leg. Not in the tin roof of the barn.
It’s in his head. His hair, salt and pepper like
Dad’s, his head, has a bullet like Dad’s.
This is how we lose men in my family,
This is how they go. Boyfriend, father, grandfather
All taken by black dark dank evil slinking
stalking monsters. All taken by their hand.
All taken before their time.

- Elizabeth Glass

(added 10.19.11)

editor's note: May we learn to stare down those beasts, not let them devour us. May we remember those who didn't, but not follow them. - mh

In This Path of Life

The rush and crowd in worship,
These chime, chanting, offerings;
To invoke and gather blessings.
All seems to fall,
Fall into their proper place of chaos.
A chase for their own shadow.
For, peace and power dwell within;
In solitude and contemplation.
Whence truth transpires and illuminates,
A Path with no trail of fear.
Where ideas and hopes spring.
If only we seek this clarity.
Break down barriers and fences;
The volcano of hatred embedded,
Be flooded by love and compassion.
Discern anger that destroys; love that builds.
If only we look at the reflection so fair,
In the mirror of life that never fails.
A destiny in our ploughing hands;
Sowing sprouting seeds of a strong will.
Dedicating to victory and rejoicing failure as a giving of no return.
If only we blend in the heart and mind;
A heart of no vices, given a free ride.
A mind tamed upright in control of life.
Walking in this Path of life;
Let every moment kindle a hope,
A new inspiration and a new beginning.

- Laxmi Prasad Bastola

(added 10.18.11)

editor's note: Yes, you tillers of the psychic soil, "You reap what you sow!" - mh

My Favorite Places

It's the empty spaces
my soul craves,
sand-blown desert,
wind-swept glacier,
marshy tundra,
no people
no trees
no cars
no roads
no trails,
and most goddamn definitely
no cell phones,
where simplicity
expects nothing,
and the void without
soothes the void within.
teeming life
befuddles and confuses
and cares too much
about itself
to notice
other beings
that other emptiness,
the one
right here,
right now.

- Paul Hellweg

(added 10.17.11)

editor's note: We are a lonely planet; filling our emptiness with noise and activity to hold back the void. - mh

One Day

I’ll slip into the driving seat,
Steering the world out
Of this long dark tunnel,
Friends following me
Shouting directions
Their voices raking me
Like sullen bullets.
Our first glimpse of the new planet
Will be a skyline fringed with whispering trees,
A crown of hills with emerald lakes,
And beings lining the roads
With offerings of hot tea
Fresh bread and new ideas
For our hunger –
We are starving,
Yes, they know it,
It’s been so long
Since the dawn
Was so generous
To people like us.

- Derrick Gaskin

(1 poem added 10.16.11)

editor's note: I'll crawl into the back seat of that car and let the driver take us to that day. Let's go! - mh


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 poetic conversations going on in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We'll be here...

Questioning EVERYTHING,

Johnny O

MH Clay
Poetry Editor


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