The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.17.17

"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality..." ~ Charles Eames

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Street Art, Belfast” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson.

Mad Swirl is proud to welcome back ‘round these swirlin’ parts artist David J. Thompson, with a new batch of mad visuals! David has captured some more street art that we otherwise would breeze past without a second glance. Thanks to Thompson, we get that second glance. We admire the contrast of street art alongside messy half-hearted graffiti or horrid, chipped paint jobs and not to mention, the way Thompson not only captures it, but aims to capture it just so. Get an eyeful in our Mad Gallery! ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we made ourselves malleable, massaged by muses; we assigned astrological makers of matches; we fired the ends of proximity's fuses; we smiled at the swag of sin snatchers; we engendered a goddess from gutter (don't mutter); we counted on crisp recollections, took coffee with cream; we swallowed the swill of a bad life's dream. Dreamers and schemers, we tilt as a team: Word-jousters all! ~ MH Clay

Attack of the Megalomaniac by Ivan Jenson

I don’t know jack
about my ancestors
nor do I give a darn
about my forefathers
and I really should show
more emotion
for the fate of the ocean
but I am too busy
protesting on behalf
of the only
species that matters
are poaching
those that blow their
own horns
and these confidence
take the rawhide
of raw talent
and exploit it
in the flee market
of free spirits
where it is sold
to those who hate
everything about
and then whatever
is left is ground
into stardust
glitter litter
swept away
and then washed
down by suds
of green envy

June 17, 2017

editors note: Saving self through the sin of spin; want more, buy more. – mh clay

A Break In The Weather by Ian Mullins

On the first day back
you can still feel
the long wet gears switching
over and changing up.
See glints of glass in truck tyres
turning over and over,
nailing the asphalt with
every circuit. People moving
as though choreographed
in a dance where everyone
dances alone
until they suddenly lock step
and everyone in the crowd
sings the same song.

But after the first day
the holiday shrinks down to
the size of your suit,
and you realize how small
and fast your daily orbit is.
Trains become silent insects
pacing dead leaves, never
standing long enough to say

I am the man on the edge
of the platform who might be
timing a jump, or merely
timing a train. I live my vacation
deep in my bones. There’s coffee
with fresh cream, if you want it.

June 16, 2017

editors note: Ah, well. Those holidays are only as good as we remember. (I’ll take mine black, thanks.) – mh clay

Bronze Atlas by Gayle Bell

Born of bags, sirens and moon dreams
Jumped on the rail spilling clean shirts
Slipped off your dirty one rubbed it on your
Unvarnished mahogany face
Rubbed deodorant under your curved arms
Unmindful of your budding glory
Shorts highlighted your hint of pubic
Man promise
Run and rise our Moor
You may save us in our decline

June 15, 2017

editors note: Saints of the streets; makers of mythos and money. Who will judge whom? – mh clay

East by Northeast, West of Eden by Rose Aiello Morales

Such is the nature of the beast shrouded,
cloaked in his Sunday worst
having just bit off what he cannot chew,
red/white cluster gathered on a lip’s corner.

I smile because I know,
he and his significant are screwed,
wait, the argument’s beginning shortly,
this place wasn’t Eden, after all.

All for scarcity,
all for lack of knowledge
and the tree stands mocking
now that no one seems to be the wiser.

Foolish few in their beliefs
as mother births a father
and father feigns an assignation with his little girl
because an oak just told him she was naked.

Snakes? The skin is soft and warm
so perfect for the King of Earth’s new clothes,
his children (which are grands) parade as idiots
and uncles that are brothers, sisters, cousins

as the reptile stays to take the blame.

June 14, 2017

editors note: It’s the myth makers who get to assign the blame. – mh clay

Extrapolation by Paul Smith

Sitting at the breakfast table, reading the newspaper
Trying to guess what the market will do this week
Is like
Standing at the edge of earth with a telescope
Trying to figure out the universe
And discovering it is impossible
From this perspective
Because the future is bigger than the past
And the past is bigger than anything we know

Standing at the edge of the universe
Without a telescope
Looking at where it is expanding to and
Measuring yourself against its immensity
Is like
Going to counseling
Just the three of you
In this cubicle smaller than Galileo’s closet
Trying to figure out who will say what
And wondering why you’re
Wasting your time and your money on
This shit
Because the more you look at each other
The smaller you get

June 13, 2017

editors note: Agoraphobics prefer closet to conjecture. – mh clay

For My Ex-Husband’s Twin Sons (1) by Marianne Szlyk

Summer 1996

That summer we still believed in astrology.
Anything could happen. I could learn to drive
stick shift. The Indian astrologer predicted that
my soon-to-be ex-husband would father twin sons,
mother unknown.

All summer stringy-haired women wandered
in and out of the apartment. The hems
of their long skirts were as frayed
as my marriage was. The women brought
bruised fruit and scotch-taped paperbacks of esoteric
philosophy stinking of patchouli. Home from work,
I drank Café Bustelo with whole milk.
One woman stood barefoot in the backyard,
warning me about the man I liked.
All she needed to know was his
birth date.

I imagined driving away with Balzac’s novels
in my trunk. I popped the clutch
and went nowhere.

June 12, 2017

editors note: When Mercury is in the house, apparently, strange women come, too. (We welcome Marianne to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Spinal Kneading by Robert L. Martin

Oh sweet music with thy soft fingers
Come and knead me as heaven lingers
Run up my spine on angel trails
Roll with the waves and burrowed swales

Bring thy melodies to love’s holy feast
Riding on the sun and rising from the east
Prepare me for the sacred fire where love goes
Into an exotic world as heaven only knows

Move inside as tempests flow and flowers sing
As love takes up residence and residues cling
Command my limbs to dance with the sound
Release my tired feet from their earthly bound

Thank you music from your heavenly depths
My spinal kneading followed its dreamy steps
The language of the spirits took form inside
From this day forth I shall abide

Music, sweet music, oh sweet music!

June 11, 2017

editors note: Massage by muse; a little lower and to the left… right… there! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you're in need of a read, we got just the thing to feed your need! Howsabout a helpin' of "Under a Wilder Sun" by Ron Gibson to quiet those hunger pangs.

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

"Some holy days, language is inefficient when compared to a god’s fist."

Here's a bit to get you goin':

("Cracking" (above) by The Second Shooter​)

If you're in need of a read, we got just the thing to feed your need! Howsabout a helpin' of "Under a Wilder Sun" by Ron Gibson to quiet those hunger pangs...

Above the decorative bells, mounted within the steeple of the Lutheran church, a pair of loud speakers blare a recording of bells. The ringing falls from its rafters like shattered glass on pavement. Parishioners mill around, wearing polite smiles that match their Sunday best. Mouths move, heads nod, but no one can hear the other. As long as nothing is truly said or heard, everyone is in agreement, everyone is happy.

The less you know, the better had been Leonard’s family maxim growing up. No one in his family spoke about anything. Family dinners were endured. As long as no one commented on how torturous the dinners were, the surface remained calm, placid, disguising the fact that everyone was slowly drowning.

This attitude followed Leonard into other relationships with friends, coworkers, girlfriends. Eventually his wife, his children. Soon, grandchildren.

If he died, today, nobody would know who he really was, what he really thought. As long as he stayed quiet, he was nothing and everything everyone needed him to be....

Get the rest of your read on 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...


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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