The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.03.17

"Fortunately art is a community effort - a small but select community living in a spiritualized world endeavoring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh." ~ Allen Ginsberg

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Living Daylights” (above) by featured artist Joseph Shepard. To see more of Joseph’s mad collages, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we lifted leaves to lick and stick in memory; we riffed on that for the reason for all; we silenced a piece for peace; we twiddled a thread to keep in thrall; we mixed up a batch of bile; we mellowed away our wiles; we grew a bit duller over color. Some let what they say decide what they'll see. T' other way 'round we'd be. ~ MH Clay

no white kids by John Grochalski

jill says
there ain’t no white kids
and i think maybe there’s an epidemic or a god
but she’s talking about
the first graders standing in line across the street
no white kids, she says
like she saying there are no americans
she’s right though
there are no white kids standing there
most of them are asian
with a few black and arab kids mixed in
they’re all in matching red t-shirts
except the one kid (a chinese one) whose wearing a batman t-shirt
what do you think this means? jill asks me
i’m white and male
i have the inside track on what’s going on in america
since its founding
so maybe i can shed some light
on the sudden disappearance of my race
maybe there’s a frozen yogurt place nearby, i tell her
or a mommy and me yoga class
next to a taco truck or a vegan restaurant in another dimension
but jill just rolls her eyes
she says it’s odd, isn’t it?
like the school has started some kind
of reverse discrimination
instead of simply adhering to neighborhood demographics
she says that class
needs to add some white kids
like adding a dash of salt or a pinch of pepper
i tell her there aren’t any latino or indian kids either
but jill’s not having any of that
last week she told me….america, love it or leave it
and i almost took her up on the request
no white kids, she says again
like a warning, a harbinger of things to come
jill shakes her head and waddles away
just like george washington
after a rough night at fraunces tavern
as the kids outside get a final head count
before being marched onto a school bus
that’s as yellow as a river of piss
and as wide as the mississippi river
right before a flood.

June 3, 2017

editors note: Much ado about color; no accounting for the core. – mh clay

Good being older because I know: by Michael Estabrook

– when to call the plumber and when I can fix it myself (most times)
– we no longer need a bigger house, a faster car
– there are no more corporate ladders to climb
– I don’t have to worry about impressing self-serving bosses
and idiot co-workers
– getting angry over political machinations is fruitless
– not to get into a tizzy over unwanted marketing calls
– I don’t become offended as easily as I once did
like when store clerks call me sir
– I don’t have to laugh at jokes that aren’t funny
– what I’m good at and not
– when I’m tired I can nap
– don’t always have to be right
– music is the nectar of the gods
– I can’t win every argument
– I don’t have to pretend to like football and golf, salsa and beer
– don’t have to paint the entire house over one weekend
– fantasizing about sex is a dead-end road
– memories become stronger and more important especially
when they involve my girl, my childhood sweetheart
– I still feel guilty if I have a slice of pie or a bowl of ice cream
but it doesn’t stop me

June 2, 2017

editors note: The list grows shorter with years; focus, more singular, more clear. – mh clay

Hate Potion by Tom Farris

a bucket of a mother’s tears
3 quarts of a father’s silence
2 gallons of a lover’s fears
spoonfuls of kindness done in malice

2 shakes of a brother’s pride
4 of a sister’s certainty
the scrapings of a loved dog’s hide
a lump of false security

But these are the secret ingredients:
no salt
and all the sugar you can’t afford.

June 1, 2017

editors note: Passively quaffed as though benign; this potion turns to poison malign. – mh clay

Threads by Brendan Gillett

It’s the same
with almost
the tea with honey,
a plate of snacks,
bowl of cough drops,
deep chair in
their favorite color.
All of this is set up before,
so as they sit and sink
I can encourage;
more, more, say more
about that.

When they get up,
into a room decorated with
framed memories,
they rarely notice that
a thread has caught in
the chair.
As they leave, I keep it, usually
placing the end in a box,
but sometimes
taking it out
to wrap around my finger
and reassure myself that
I could pull if I wanted, unravel
their sweaters and stories
and leave them standing with
nothing on. But,
I rarely do that. Mostly,
it is enough
just to have
the option.

May 31, 2017

editors note: Interviewees, unknowing if not innocent. Interviewer, intentions ambiguous; keeping his options open. – mh clay

Monastery of Silence by Milenko Županović

Priest every night
says a prayer
near the church
with the blue dome,
in a dream
music the last time
an unnamed grave
silence echoes
before sleep
strange visions
music dreams
enigma forever
at the door
garden full of flowers
through the light
of faith
the music of the past
through dreams
reaching out to him
with a cross
in his hands
a requiem for
an unknown grave,
dream prayers
light in centuries.

May 30, 2017

editors note: Seek forgiveness in dream for peace in the light; in the end – may it rest. – mh clay

The Framer by Brittany Griffiths

she removed the lens
when the sidewalk shift
scraped the caked mud
off her feet
along the line,
square crossing sign,
reaping rubber meat
I tell you not
what flashing lights
will do to worsen sleep
dreaming of a narrow alley
dark & incomplete
a landline signal
low-fi & weathered
briny trigger
against the grain
sparkling in the night
trying to find the way
it goes up
a green cylinder
in my pocket
by way of
& mixed violations
inclined to capture a moment
on the cusp
of happening
it’s easier to tell
defiance from
choice of chance
to extend
a piece of yourself
releasing the tense
evolution of
unconscious recollection
open to suggestion

May 29, 2017

editors note: When god walks into the next room, then forgets why he went in there… (We welcome Brittany to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

If To Reflect A Few by Inna Dulchevsky

That perfect moment when
The rays of the sun drip
Through the trees in a haze
And reflect on the lake
Where the water greets me

Rain is a lifetime away
From the room’s emptiness
Morning mist dries up when
The wind breathes life
Into the diminishing silence

My haunted memory
Picks at me every time
I try to follow the movements
Turning behind the dark corner
Hoping to escape the faint echo

The change in the season
Draws the unseen line when
Heat gives way to cold and paints
The tree leaves in rainbow before
I collect a few for my album

May 28, 2017

editors note: Picking past perceptions from polaroid leaves. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Feel that itch? Yep, that's your need-for-a-read you're feelin'. Luckily, we here at Mad Swirl​ have got yo' back.

This week's featured story, "Low Key Elephant Man or Whatever" comes from Greg Burkholder.

Here's what short story editor, Tyler Malone has to say about this week's featured read:

"We’re all animals, but some of us now how to be true beasts."

Here's a bit of a scratch to relieve that itch:

("In Need of Stampede" (above) by The Second Shooter​)

“David, come with me, please.” Mr. Watson thundered. His normally happy, half stoned face was solemn as he pushed himself up from his desk and gestured toward the hallway. Everyone in the classroom looked up from their quizzes and love notes and knives gouging fancy S’s into the desks to watch me follow Mr. Watson into the hall.

I glanced at Rupert and he winked at me. (What type of person winks?) Yesterday, after he asked me if I look that way because my mom beat me with a frying pan, I snuck into the gym during the football team’s weight lifting sesh and pissed into his Gatorade bottle. When he came out of the locker room, I watched him from my perch on the folded bleachers as he picked up the bottle, took a sip and dry heaved then threw the bottle across the gym as his teammates chortled. When he saw me I flipped him the bird and left. He was just the type of muscle bound pussy who’d run whimpering to a teacher.

Mr. Watson shut the door behind us with a soft click and knelt like he was going to ask me to be his forever beloved.

“So what did I do?” I asked, concocting my best innocent tone.

“Nothing, David.”

I looked at the buttons on his shirt. Bright yellow? Really?

“Look, I am going to show The Elephant Man in class today and I wanted to make sure you were comfortable.”

I didn’t know what the hell The Elephant Man was or why it would make me uncomfortable. The only things that made be uncomfortable were surgical needles and post-bean poops...

We know your need-a-read jones is piqued now so scratch that itch at our humble lil .com!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.07.17) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ City Tavern!

This month we will be featurin’ YOU! Who? Yes, YOU! So YOU better be there or be…

Come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

Catch us swirlin' up our madness at The City Tavern located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

P.S. If you're a Facebook'r and want to get on our pre-list, visit our event page and let us know you're gonna be there.


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
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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