The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.21.13

"All poetry has to do is to make a strong communication. All the poet has to do is listen." Stevie Smith

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The Longest Mile (above) by this month's featured artist, Tyler Malone.

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum...we tallied torments; we indemnified dying; we worded warcraft; we embraced asphyxia; we poured through passion; we spun a spectacle; we sprang a species. A septet o' voices short on terse, long on lascivious love o' the verse. ~ MH Clay

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

I Say

Let us not decry
the decline of the language,

Let the grammarians
and librarians
and Shakespearians

shake the tiny spears
of their red pens at us.

Let the letter writers
mourn the death of letter writing.

Let the virtuoso
conversationalists grumble
about their dwindling

Let them all
chill. We still
got a handle
on the verbal,

And the language ain't
dying. It's cooking
with oil.

So I say, let us praise
on our geographic

this living gumbo,
this fine and thick
delicious and nutritious

whence all the beautiful
and endangered species
spring, sprang,


- Paul Hostovsky

(1 poem added 09.21.13)

editor's note: This poet says rightly, our literary conventions are in a constant state of construction. (Thanks, Paul! Good to see your Contributing Poet's splash in the Swirl again.) - mh


Familiar vibrations, Siren warmth,
cut through campus windows;
wounds barely cauterised
pulsate from eye to brain:

dress extra red, clinging;
hair extra black, flowing;
twenty men in robes
stare like hypnotised cobras.

- Bryan Murphy

(added 09.20.13)

editor's note: A bit of sensual stimulation for some staid men o' the cloth. Look! There she goes... - mh


I'm spitting my teeth
to the foot of others
I lost my bite
on the Grand Human's
big toe.

I just bark
read and smoke
I do a lot of walking
Eat every once in a while.
And dramatize my
speck of fang
in poetry. Obsessions
can be healthy
healthier than measuring
dosage, I think.

The shadows you walk on
are those who love others so much
that they cannot be with them.

Lovers of the Earth
are full of cavities
to pour
hope and desperation
in through a passion
they can French kiss

I love my obsessions.

- Jeremiah Walton

(added 09.19.13)

editor's note: A poet tranced and tangled in tongue-twined triturations to make the medicine go down. - mh


eyes, so strong, like plastic bags, plastic sacks
as they hold all that water-weight
salt dissolved, in ton-weight drops, pulling, pulling
fighting, silently yearning, for attention
attention on the cheek
water-weight, not slight, the strain of the fibers
of that plastic that those sacks are made of
always water-weight
straining the bags, the sacks, of slight
trickling down to fill the chest, compress the breath, simple salt and water weight, defying the expectancy of mass per droplet, always straining, immeasurable amounts of unknown scales of water-weight
pulling, pulling, silently yearning, for the strain to reach its peak –for the sacks to rip– too much compression, compression in the chest–

and collapse

- Isla Bristol

(added 09.18.13)

editor's note: Even standing in the open air, we are still under water. - mh

Twist and Shout

Twisting Worlds
With Words
Our World
Our Words
Not of the Order
Of the War of Worlds
Or was that Words
That Our War
Our World
Was Made Of?

- Frank Turner

(added 09.17.13)

editor's note: All conflicts; provoked by pronouncements, inflamed by attitude; someone saying, "Are you talking to ME?" - mh

The Reaper

he arrived not long before the noon-day rays

his midnight shroud and eternally dark cowl
swept through in one swift breath

slicing deep into the core with his glistening edged scythe
he seized it in an ivory talon
abruptly wrenching it from its life flowing arteries
he held it up
as though a trophy from a victory won

mandible cackling

he bore into the understanding with abysmal sockets
tampered with emotions and tormented the senses
until the mind was encased in an infinite gossamer tomb

I have come to understand the dual faces of Death
and the true horror of dying

feared for erroneous reasons

the Angel came for my son

the Reaper came for me...

- Tammy Brown

(added 09.16.13)

editor's note: Once again we see, Death is hardest on the living. - mh

Ten Hells and Counting

I once thought the sages of the East were all-knowing.
Touring Ho Chi Minh City, ersatz Saigon,
motorbikes, smog, borrowed helmet too small.
Pagoda dedicated to the Emperor of Jade,
supreme Taoist deity,
other gods, gilded, protect the
generals who defeated
the Green Dragon and White Tiger.
In the hall of Ten Hells,
elaborately carved wooden panels depict torments,
hapless human figures contorted and
convoluted in creative ways,
chained, devoured, trampled.
Devotees and tourists stuffed in tighter
than a full pack of Pall Malls,
air heavy with the pungent smoke of burning joss.
Only ten? I think, taking deep breaths,
wiping away sweat, suppressing the urge to
do a little trampling of my own. Only ten?

- Paul Hellweg

(added 09.15.13)

editor's note: Any number is possible; why not 20? Or, how 'bout none? Make it up hot or heavenly and believe, believe, believe... - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? Of course you do! Here's what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week short story, Going Nowhere by Roger McMurphy: "Spinning hamsters in cages: kissing loved ones, making promises, hoping for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And all always goes well, because it all always goes." Here's a taste to tempt you...

(photo by Tyler Malone)

They came for me in the morning, so I'm told. I had just gotten off the phone and fallen asleep. / "Something something mortgages from First Bank National," they said. / I couldn't understand them. / "Your boss something something." / "Is that so?" I asked. / ••• / In first grade, I took spelling tests. My mom would make me spell out words for practice. / One week I felt unprepared so I spent homeroom that morning writing out words on a sheet of paper. When it was time for the test, I hid the sheet between my legs. / Ms. McGunniss caught me. She asked me how many times I did this. / "Once. I forgot to study this week and needed to keep my grades up so my parents wouldn't get mad at me." I was a victim.

You wanna keep readin'? Of course you wanna! Get the rest of your wanna 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...


Johnny O

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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