The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.24.17

"It's almost required with artists that there's some duality. And I've got duality everywhere." ~ George Michael

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Queer Power” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. To see more of David’s mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we walked through evening's talk; we lit love's flame, fanned it to ash; we brain unplugged, insane unlocked; we buffed a buddha halo to eternal flash; we drew a line to think outside of; we made up mind before the end of; we magic mused through eyes unused. We struggle in our sleep, our sanity to keep. ~ MH Clay

That Is Not My Future by Paul Tristram

School was a difficult maze and prison
to manoeuvre and struggle through.
It was curious to see others
working towards future plans,
set goals and structured inclinations.
Even the girls with no business ambition,
knew exactly how many babies they wanted,
already had the names picked out
and decided which Council Estate
they would like to have their homes upon.
Meanwhile, she only knew for sure
what books were next upon her reading list.
That Reality TV Shows were almost painful.
Her parents were ‘Black And White’
whilst she was ‘Colourful’
and would never actually understand her.
Solitude, vibrates and liberates.
Boys are silly and clumsy
but, in a different way from herself.
‘Chalk And Cheese’ is the best phrase
that was ever invented.
That everyone only focused upon the obvious.
No one thought about the soundless,
ethereal arc of a barn owl’s flight-landing
or found petrichor, old parchment paper
and dying bonfire smoke romantic.
That everybody has eyes but never uses them
to see the Magic which lies in between things.

June 24, 2017

editors note: Wonder is the wand we wave, while pondering those differences. – mh clay

the end of times by J.J. Campbell

of the

the end
of times

is looking
for their

to avoid
taking the
last shot
and failing

i want to
go out with
a bottle in
one hand
in the other

that should
but my

June 23, 2017

editors note: Yes! A gentleman’s hand-job. – mh clay

IN TIMES LIKE THESE by Terry Severhill

Down at the check point they
search us for paper, pencils or pens.
They insist that we leave words,
punctuation and yes our ideas at home.
Safely kept under lock and key. Only
they insist that we give them the key.
Both keys. Sad, but most see no harm
in this. Ideas are dangerous. Ideas should
only be in the hands of those trained in a
rigorous course of socially accepted norms.
Except those whose ideas are an anathema
to those living here. Those go to the head
of the line. And who pays for “free” thinking?
If thinking outside the lines is for-bidden,
why do some want to celebrate those who
color outside the lines? Why is there no
consistency? Please don’t repeat these thoughts.
I still am able to print, with hoarded construction
paper and crayons. I can recall, with fond
memories the click clack and smell of
mimeograph ink and the rocking machine.

June 22, 2017

editors note: Not so new. These ideas are old as man; still dangerous, best left unsaid. (We welcome Terry to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

The Smile of Emptiness and Nothingness by Hongri Yuan

Fifteen thousand years ago
You were a king.
And thirty thousand years ago
You were a slave
Your past life was a long scroll of times
And the next life? How short ten thousand years are!
Yesterday is emptiness and nothingness,
Tomorrow is emptiness and emptiness
Where are you at this time?
Emptiness and nothingness, emptiness and nothingness
Buddha halo, the smile of emptiness and nothingness

June 21, 2017

editors note: No pain in nothing; shine up your halo and smile. – mh clay

CAFÉ BIZARRO by Mel Waldman

After dark,

in the metaphysical night
rush slowly through Brooklyn
enter Café Bizarro
secret meeting place in Midwood
wearing a celestial crown of electrodes
a bestial brain-charger that I plug into a wall socket,
melt into invisibility & dissolve & drift & dream
Sweet Phantasmagoria my lovely Dream-Lady dancing & descending into non-existence

while sipping French Vanilla Delirium
taste my Lady Divine
into the omphalos of the universe
oval mirror of irreality
I follow her into the deep of nowhere
perhaps tonight I shall find Heaven
Electrode Highway
Hell on earth
a hallucinatory stranger a simulacrum or the Chimera-Manager unplugs me

June 20, 2017

editors note: Meet your sweet macchiato of the mind. Your double-shot in that electric place; Alternating Current all the way. (Don’t touch that plug.) – mh clay

Burnt Offering by Aaron Glover

I await, an altar on the cliff. Desperate
to appease, cutting nimble feet
and nicks until I’ve bled a little everywhere,
I trace my match along
the flinty coastline of your desire.

Come. We make the day,
this blazing instant blinding,
yesterday’s husks blistering to ash.
Fortune and madness in tempest,
a firestorm of ferocious consummation.

By night, we flicker upon waves,
a thousand chipped and tipping pieces
by moonlight, braking and gathering
in endless kisses towards the sky,
rocking golden to and fro.

And at the last, after the too much
and then nothing — for it’s true;
flames extinguish, tempests cease —
and memory is embers,
I will spread your ashes across the sea.

June 19, 2017

editors note: All-consuming love burns brightest, fastest. Memory is ash… – mh clay

July Journal: Friday, July 19, 2013 by Don Mager

Beyond the sultry gate, evening picks
its way through warm rambling shadows. It
wears no shirt and knows no sun block is
required by the woods’ illusion
of permanence. The dulcet muffled
modulations of this now listen.
Dim orange light guards cautious steps over
rotting fallen logs and wiry swirls
of thorn brambles. Leaf-filled stump holes have
set small trickster pranks. Just beyond the
moments’ failing gray, a pair of Hawk
chicks bickers and shoves. The adults watch
the half-grown young tuck heads down into
the nest and fold wings across their backs.

June 18, 2017

editors note: No bicker or shove can arrest the turn of night in summer’s heat. Best settle in. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you're in need-of-a-read, we think "A Night without Stars" by Anthony Ilacqua​ will feed you mighty nicely.

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

"Life is smoke you can hold, don’t let it drift into the night sky, taking you with it."

Here's a few drags to get you goin':

("The Crook of Sleep" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter​)

“My planet sweet on a silver salver,” she said.

“What?” he asked. “Dana, that makes no sense, none.”

“What doesn’t?” Dana asked. “It’s a song lyric, Echo and the Bunnymen.”

“Oh,” he said. “I don’t know them.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said.

“No,” he said. “I suppose not.”

“Besides, I came out here to have a break, I didn’t want company,” she said.

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“That, and you don’t even smoke,” she said. “So there’s no reason for you to be out here.”

“Dana,” he said, “I just wanted to get some fresh air.”

“Huh?” she grunted. “Yeah.” She looked around and started to giggle. Of course, fresh air, not hardly. She looked at the dumpsters next to him, at least it wasn’t dirty restaurant trash, but it was trash nonetheless. There was the ashtray next to her and there was a cigarette still smoldering in it, not one of hers, but one from before, burning slowly past the tobacco to the filters of those to come before it...

This is one smoke you need to suck down to the last puff! Get the rest of your read right here!


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Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor


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