“Every artist seems to me to have the job of bearing witness to the world we live in. To some extent I think of all of us as artists, because we have voices and we are each of us unique.” Jane Rule
••• The Mad Gallery •••
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we spent a surreptitious submitter only to see him come again; we sneaked by the destroyer, a lone surviving voyeur; we molted mean and maudlin fears, a second self to join; we nabbed a narrow escape through a wraith-run dreamscape; we squeezed a tear to splash upon forgotten words; we plied the prisoner’s dictum – to rot and roll, a victim; we saw a corn stalker stalked, college bound through scandalous talk. Spent, sneaked, nabbed, squeezed, plied and vilified; just trying to get ahead. ~ MH Clay
Under belched clouds
in Nebraska’s sunny sky,
chugged staccato rhythm,
a zombie cadence
for marching pubescent pluckers.
She walked through
miles and miles of corn
erect wiry-haired stalks.
No breeze ruffled
tousled yellow-silk tassels.
A budding song played in ears,
The summons for snatching
buzzed and buzzed.
She yanked sticky plumes
with sweaty palms,
pollen speckled her face.
August slipped by that summer.
It wasn’t her plan to become
part of monster Monsanto
or lose her virginity in a cornfield.
She was earning money for college.
(2 poems added 03.28.15)
editor’s note: Innocence turned to unintended complicity, caught in the coils of the combine. (We welcome Sharon to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page, including another new one – echoes out of school.) – mh
An orange jumpsuit
Stung by zeal
doses of pain
I hang off a rock
In a storm of stardust
My soul clings
To desert winds
For fifty years
I crave a cigarette
Red lights flash
A siren blasts
Teeth fall out
I gasp for breath
My headless body
no longer belongs to me
I’m a pebble
Kicked down a road
– Milton P. Ehrlich
editor’s note: A sorry plight; cravings addressed with a kick in the teeth and roll on the road. – mh
The Tear on the Cheek
There it goes,
There it overflows,
There it wanders
In a swift feather-like manner
When wind blows
As if to be forgotten
To be the dew
Inside a book bitterly written
To moan in silence
To hurt to torn
To be doomed to an everlasting mutiny
– Ilhem Issaoui
editor’s note: Write the book sweetly; squeeze that tear from joy, instead. Write sweetly! – mh
Dolmens cast massive shadows in the narrows,
From where funnel clouds once rose in the narrows.
The wings of mynah birds shed pulsing sparks
In a cloud of ash that billows in the narrows.
Cotton grass is silvered with frosted dew
Where glistening fog flows in the narrows.
Moths dove into the flames of stone lanterns
As the shadows of wraiths rose in the narrows.
Like quivering wings, brittle leaves rise
In gales laced with echoes in the narrows.
Shafts of starlight flicker as sibyls rise
Like mist from shallows in the narrows.
Wisps of moonlit fog encircle the ferry
A cloaked figure rows in the narrows.
Pike shine like steel knives, gliding
Through sunlit shallows in the narrows.
(1 poem added 03.25.15)
editor’s note: Fat happenings in a skinny place… (We welcome Steffen to our growing congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Check more of his madness on his new page.) – mh
The second self of me is the gift
The adventure in need of a path.
A stone to be dislodged.
A bridge that crosses every part,
leading to passions and fears.
It’s a road without a friendly door
or room without a place to hide;
My second self forces me to sunlight.
I’ll shed a skin, maybe between clouds
or a under a soaking rain
and find a place I best fit in –
my second self and me.
(1 poem added 03.24.15)
editor’s note: Better two-for-one than full price; make ‘im fit. – mh
The mountain lion
The mountain lion with its dusty
and white cloud colors stares
down at me from a tree.
I twitch into a shudder
of half-madness but just keep
walking at the same pace as if
to say I am not a threat to you,
you king of the forest
in these Idaho valleys and hills
of densely green colors.
No movement behind me,
no roar of hunger.
I move on without another
soul to tell.
(1 poem added 03.23.15)
editor’s note: Tip-toe passed your ultimate demise; postponed for another time, when hunger roars. – mh
On the Prowl
Having a poem published
at a new venue
is a lot like getting laid.
The process of submitting pieces
blindly to editors you don’t know
is like the hunt
when courting a new girl.
The acceptance letter received
stating your work will appear
a few weeks down the line
is like foreplay –
massaging, kissing, cuddling your date.
Then the poem is published
and it feels like blowing a load –
you’re spent, a little embarrassed, and
not really into it anymore.
Ten minutes tick off the clock
and you’re ready to conquer the world
all over again.
– Scott Thomas Outlar
editor’s note: We must be poly-amorous panderers to priapic poets. – mh
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Good, ‘cos we got just the one to scratch that itch! Heck, it might even get a rise outta ya!
Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “The Jazz Mine” by John Oliver Hodges: “The power too many want is the power over the bodies of others. That’s true power: powerlessness”
Here’s a taste to get ya’ going:
Yola stepped up front to check the hedges. I slipped the rag from the slit between the seats. It’s the rag she wipes—or should I say swipes?—her mammalian gourds up with eagerly each day’s end, her mammalian gourds meatly, not enormous exactly, but filled to bursting with stuff, call it guts, might as well, or grits, what the hell, or fat. Having from the slit grabbed Yola’s bat—I mean bandana, excuse me—I found some ivy heads poking up from the dreaded Asiack, the Asiatic. It’s the awfulest tangled mess you’ll dip your hands in ever. It’s jasmine. Jazz mine, jasmine, it’s the same shit, take your pick.
So I wrapped it, Yola’s rag, around a beefy poison outcropping of it, a head. I went ivy head to ivy head doing this, then put Yola’s rag back in the slit between the seats.
I deserved one time of being shitty in my life.
I wanted to be open-minded, not limited in my experience by the fear of being shitty.
I wanted to educate myself at the expense of others…
Get the rest of your read on here!
••• Open Mic •••
Is it a coincidence that this 1st Wednesday falls on April Fool’s Day (aka 04.01.15)? Nope, it’s actually perfect timing! Hijinx & madness will be had starting at 8:00 as Mad Swirl & Swirve will be doin’ what we do! This month we will be sayin’ farewell to Absinthe Lounge as we know it, reflectin’ on the past 10 years we swirled it up there, & looking forward to the new & improved Absinthe Lounge coming to Dallas in May!
So, come one, come all! Mad poets, musicians, actors, singers, circus freaks… come-n-strut-yo-stuff! Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.
RSVP (via Book’o’Faces) to get you a spot on our mic list here!
For folks who live out of town but would still like to view our mic madness, we’ll be capturing the swirlin’ scene LIVE via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel.
AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with this swirlin’ madness. Here’s the starting line-up for our 2015 season:
May: Opalina Salas & Maggie Smith
June: Brendan McCormack (LIVE from Ireland via Skype)
July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore
Don’t be a fool & make Mr. Googily-Eyed-Guy-T pity you. You wouldn’t like him when he’s pityin’! Just go to the mad show!…
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…
Short Story Editor