The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.08.17

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Cobbler” (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 were warned against our domi-nation; we got the measure of a child's treasure; we tripped the tries of transportation; we welcomed a new whelp, born from pleasure; we wound the winds of dark, drawn lines; we jumbled judgments, justice blind; we mocked our mirrored self and soul, while on the stage we stood quite whole. It's an act, we react; such words ensue... ~ MH Clay

And I? by David Ratcliffe

We’re nothing alike, my image and I,
it follows me to the bathroom,
denied access, it waits outside,
I bolt the door
and the world snaps shut!

Muffled sound, flat lined outsiders
expunged from my mind’s persuasion,
I tune into the echo of self-indulgence,
appearing to an audience of one.

No one knows out there,
the fiction writer
hiding behind multifaceted, flawed heroes,
one page short of capture.

A little chastisement
interlaced with, odd winks to myself,
there-there old son,
the reassuring stave-off of madness.

Held together by silicone
this one-liner guy,
is tongue-tied by whispers,
‘bitter everything’s’
groan through taps & pipes;
“Loser! Loser! picker & chooser”,
and as tiles pull faces,
I wash my own,
to drown them out.

The scales have their say,
but they’re not to be trusted,
I ignore their ‘fat bastard’ taunting
to peer at reflective deception,
and I buy it
with the only currency I hold.

Adjusting to ‘out there’ acceptance
I prepare to re-enter the peekaboo theatre
where no one is real,
least of all myself.

July 8, 2017

editors note: Self is the most intense scrutiny. (We welcome David to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Strippers by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Evening descends like long black hair
unbundled. And beneath the Empyrean stairs
three gold teeth,
lipstick, a thin, cherry red smile,

and impervious iron hips, Jesus,
drum drum tirelessly thumping
the front stage

Jesus may not have liked it much less loved it –

gals strutting airs as lusterless as martyrdom

Junk heap Magi. Goddess of redneck dives.
Goddess of Georgia hinterlands. Lord,
Death won’t catch me
before the come-hither gals
blazoning disco lights instead of clothes

such devil-may-care.


and every night at Club Tahiti
a block away from Downtown Lounge
a first burlesque startles like a vampire bat
smoldering on the window, a silhouette in wingspan
plastered over the exit sign.

No escape. No ascension.


– again tonight
Lawd-have-mercy steeped inside her emaciated bones
a breastless wonder will join me after dark
fishing from her straps and spangled hose
private pockets
covert interiors on a lark
a photo or two of the family and kids
the crappy kinfolks,
that old man with water on the brain
whose treatments she funds on the installment
per 1st of the month per dry fuck per lap dance
pouts in silence hoping for me to proffer
nickel words
no words
moist words
lucky words
the benedictions that haven’t brought me
any better answers

July 7, 2017

editors note: Confessions from patrons of the oldest profession. – mh clay

The Dark Lines by Bhargab Chatterjee

There are
many dark lines.

Only a few of them
are vertical

on the surface
of my life.

Others form
different angles.

The thicker ones
are embedded firmly

and pierce
through the bottom.

July 6, 2017

editors note: Thick or thin, try not to step over. – mh clay

Savta’s Bijou by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Delicately worked small item,
Absurdly perfect, budding mouth,
Undreamed of newborn toes,
Fumaria blossom fingertips,
Sparrow thighs.

As fair a dinkum as all before,
Exotic, stridulating miniature,
Tiny wonder, splendid miracle,
Boy more normal than rain,

July 5, 2017

editors note: A birthday march; words of welcome for the newcomer. – mh clay

Netting by Colin Webb

spastic filter of branches
catching duskclouds,
hammocked slackly up Fisher Hill
for you

bristly blind of snow up to here
curbing your cigarette break,
bound closely around Fenway slush
for you to love

dirty distillation of static
obscuring sweet mommysong,
cradled tautly under car’s radio
for you to love through

July 4, 2017

editors note: Drag or safety; much to love through every day. – mh clay

Courage by D. Russel Micnhimer

smoke and fire
bomb dust thick
carved with tears
she moves a broken stone
and grabs her dolly’s hand

July 3, 2017

editors note: A scene not broadcast by the nightly news. – mh clay

Letters to America, Number 3 by Kufre Udeme

America, mind your step
Watch it closer than time
Watch it since you must

America, listen to me
No heart thinks of you like mine
O, what whisper of love!

America, here I come
To loosen your cruel grip
Break the spell of dirty influence
You’ve cast upon holy people

America, stage of hell
‘Despise not sons of gods’
‘Insanity mustn’t be here alone,’ you protest

America, swallow your menacing policy
Of no amity for souls not in your crazy Order

America, O America of Christopher Columbus!
User of men, war-like, power-hunger

America, mind your step
Watch it closer than time
Watch it since you must
Lest another titanic will sink!

July 2, 2017

editors note: Some words from a Nigerian poet. America? Are we listening? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you're in need-of-a-read, we think "The Puppeteer" by Eric Suhem will pull your strings mighty nicely.

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

"How does it feel to have the puppet over your hand, dancing for you? Good? Soft and safe? Now ask that same question to the person with their hand up your ass."

Here's a few lines to get this puppet show started:

("Hands to Make a Man" (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter​)

Bobo inherited the corporation from his father, becoming the principal shareholder and chairman of the board of directors. His first executive action was to have a meeting with the management team to brainstorm new ideas for the budget.

“I think we should invest more in long term infrastructure,” said Manager #9.

“A review of current tax liabilities and implications would be prudent,” said Manager #7.

“I feel that we need more puppets!” blurted Bobo.

Manager #9 interrupted patiently, “We’ve already utilized extensive puppetry in the education and training divisions, we’re overrun with felt and button costs for the puppets as it is.”

“Nevertheless,” Bobo continued, undaunted, “Puppets can be used further in sales, and motivational conferences.” An executive decision was made to introduce puppets into day-to-day operations, particularly the surveillance of employees.

Manager #9 was put in charge of the puppet project, and called a subordinate into his office. “Garth, I see that one of your hobbies is puppetry,” said Manager #9, squinting at Garth’s HR file.

“How did you know that?” asked Garth.

“It’s none of your concern,” said Manager #9, looming over him. “Garth, I’m reassigning you to the puppet project, and the first thing I’d like you to do is gather materials. We’re going to start with little felt cloth puppets that fit over the hand. I want you to go to your desk, pick up your smartphone, and then walk to the sewing supply store. If you need to stop in the restroom on your way out, update me on that. I want periodic reports on your progress at the store, and when you return, fill out a timesheet.”

“Yes, sir,” said Garth, heading out the door. Manager #9 smiled, enjoying the power he had over his employee’s movements...

Surely you can't stop there. Find out the rest of the story right here!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of July (aka 07.05.17) Mad Swirl​ swirled it up madly in the live way that we do every month. This month we opened the mic up to all you mad poets, performers and musicians.

Here’s a shout out to all YOU YOU's who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

(click on the pic to get 'em movin'!)
photos courtesy of Dan "the man" Rodriguez

Johnny Olson​
Chris Zimmerly


Mad Mic Cast:
Kristine Spinner
Jeff Stevens
Opalina Salas
Brett Ardoin
Christina Cain
Elliot Pickens
Peggy Flora
Hector Ortiz
Charles Tuville
CJ Critt
Jeremy Bynum

HUGE thanks to Swirveus (Gerard Bendiks​ on skins & Chris Curiel on trumpet & musical guest Thaddeus Ford​) for taking us to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

More HUGE thankseses to City Tavern​’s Thad Kuiper​ & Noble Tse​ for makin’ our stay most righteous.

And lastly, but not leastly, thanks to all who came out to the Tavern & shared this beat-utifullest night of poetry and music with us!

May the madness swirl your way! ’til next 1st Wednesday…

P.S. Click here if you wanna see the LIVE feed action of our OPEN MIC set…


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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