“The big artist keeps an eye on nature and steals her tools.” ~ Thomas Eakins
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Mad Swirl is proud to introduce to you our latest visual artist, Bill Wolak. If his name is ringin’ a bell it might be because his words have appeared in our Poetry Forum since 2011. This time Bill comes to us sharing some of his poetically mad visuals. Most of these canvases are exclusively black, white, and grey – somewhat gothic – and nearly always symmetrical collages. Each piece has an almost mystic and medieval air, though the selection strides through subjects (for example: legs, a penis, is that a butterfly wing?). We here at Mad Swirl pride ourselves on knowing mad work when we see it. And in this case, Wolak certainly didn’t let us down! If you don’t believe us, let your senses check Bill’s works out for yourself and you’ll see exactly what we mean. – Madelyn Olson
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we broke away from unpleasant obeisance; we thwarted the thrill of the close-up kill; we engaged in pursuit of Polaroid perfection; we sprung for the Spring, to learn a new thing; we hoved a high, hopeless factuality; we suffered the loss of relentless rascals to ensure the unending vibe; we wrought words of perfection to keep our direction. Outward gaze, our piquant depictions, staged establishment predilections; peeled away, exposed addictions – stand alone or not stand at all. ~ MH Clay
Switch Your Groove by Paul Tristram
Scattergun out all of those poisonous bullets
whilst sucker-punching that dark cloud
from around your slowly clearing head.
Germinate new energy and adrenalin
way down at the heart and soul’s core,
it’s the middle that matters, always.
Purge and vent the anger and frustration,
then count your blessings and lucky stars,
you made it through and out the other side.
Deconstruct depression, slap apathy away
from your face, put your best fighting foot
forward and brave the brand new day.
Take that bolthole you cleverly kept hidden,
drop the past baggage away from your back.
Time to start over again stronger and wiser,
switch your groove and get onto the right track.
July 25, 2015
editors note: Anytime you need to give yourself a good talking to, these words would do. Thanks, Paul! – mh clay
Dire Prediction by Gary Beck
Service men and women,
vital to society
by bloated consumers
from traumas of life.
Now that we are removing
the capable blue-collar class,
outsourcing jobs abroad
complementing the flight of capital,
the growth of servitude jobs
does not inspire confidence
that we will retain
men and women
who will walk through fire, bullets, blood,
to protect us.
July 24, 2015
editors note: Prediction or prophecy? – mh clay
The last heartbeat by Bozena Helena Mazur-Nowak
It was a day like any other day
an early Monday afternoon in May –
and she was already dancing with the Angels
as her mother read that farewell letter.
She fell limply from the white cliffs
to the ocean whose waves gently bathed her feet,
their susurration a farewell prayer,
then taking flight she rose,
soaring skyward –
riding the winds with wide spread wings
like a white seagull.
The last heartbeat whispered
“Forgive me, Mom
Now I’m happy”
July 23, 2015
editors note: Why choose early departure? Poets imagine. – mh clay
THE AFTERMATH OF FREEDOM by Fathia Jellad
There was no sunlight before today
We saw only shadows kept at bay
It was stark; it was bleak in a way
That used to be Tunisia of yesterday
Freedom came with the sacrifices they made
Thanks to our martyrs fear will fade
Our heroes were gone out of shape,
But their names will remain on the tape
Tunisians revolted against those in power
Obliging them to run and leave their tower
By repeating slogans: Out! Game is over!
People woke up and finally became sober
Ministers stayed hours then left!
That was the quickest shift
Some took the revolution as a bull!
They were ready to ride to the full!
I warn off those having selfish demands!
My Tunisia is the most sacred of lands
Nationalism is not a kind of brand!
I will kneel and kiss her pure sand
As a citizen I will change my birth date
And each 14th of January I will celebrate
Let’s leave selfishness and greed
Love and Unity are all we need
Democracy cannot exist all of a sudden!
Let’s first work to get rid of that burden
Stop complaining about political rights
We need patience to carry on the fights
Let’s work! Let’s save our lands!
And fight for dignity, not personal demands!
Tunisia today is no longer the same
Her betterment should be our single aim
July 22, 2015
editors note: Poetic visionary fervor and ideals. Can we remember? Can we renew? – mh clay
yellow puke suit by Chase Spruiell
waster paper. into the bin.
clumsy hands. clumsy words.
inconsistent machine. blabbering
human. on the fault line of
true feeling. bankrupt emotion.
purged from readings of Kurt
Vonnegut. another’s words.
in my mouth. mixed up sputtering.
false emotional vomit. dressed
for the parade. yellow puke suit.
21st century literature. dressed
in yellow. proud of the purge.
Bukowski would buy me
Here’s to you, Hank.
you are what you eat.
July 21, 2015
editors note: Ah, yes! The false starts, the iconic influences. I could use a new suit; think I’ll eat some kale… – mh clay
Why We Have Drones by J.K. Durick
Early on killing must have been close up
With something sharp, a dagger-like stick
Or stone pushed home, up so close that
You would almost embrace your enemy
Feel his strength yield a bit, up close you
Could hear his last words, even when you
Didn’t understand them, you heard them
Even smelled and tasted them, felt them
On your cheek, a last word and his last
Breath, then the nothing of his death
A dead weight to push aside or lay down
Perhaps stumble over, blood literally on
Your hands, your weapon, your clothes
The smell and feel of it, a reminder of
What you have done, hard to wash away
Something that intimate must stay with
You, follow you, haunt you, and play games
With your imagination, reversing the roles
The blade piercing your stomach or chest
Your blood, your last words, or changing
The partner in the dance, your best friend,
Your wife, your children, killing them all
This close up.
July 20, 2015
editors note: Easy, when one can do it through a screen. Why not? We do everything through a screen. – mh clay
drifting away by Linda M. Crate
seeds of truth
naked beneath your tongue
refuse to be uttered,
and i shy away
because mother taught me not to
i waxed and wanned and disappeared
like a new moon—
yesterday i opened my eyes and
decided that life is too short
for me to wait on you
to step onboard my ship and do anything more
than to drill holes in my dreams,
and so i will throw you
you will be forgotten as all history is
someone will make the mistake of repeating you
but i cannot warn them
there is too much distance i must yet
i will be long gone before you realize
and you will try to call me back
to find that i was not the
same person as yesterday and i will no longer
obey you or your ridiculous
July 19, 2015
editors note: A tea party rebellion of personal proportions. Nice! – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Good! We got just the read to feed your need!
Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale. “SGLI” by Texas poet & writer (and Mad Swirl’s August Open Mic feature) PW Covington: “The dead dictate the lives of the living, that’s how it’s always been. Your ghost will do it too. Absence, sometimes, is more of a problem than presence.”
Here’s a few lines to get your need fed:
photo by Tyler Malone
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.
I hadn’t even heard he had been killed until I got all the paperwork, forwarded from that years’ old address on the base in Kansas. He had died in Mosul, or somewhere like that. Some kind of explosion. I found his name online in a list of soldiers killed that month, but it didn’t say exactly how it happened.
Benefits awarded “By Law,” the paperwork said. I guess we were still technically married. No one in his family even told me. His parents always hated me. I hear that they buried him at that big Army cemetery in San Antonio. I heard it was free. I imagine there was a bugle and a flag.
I didn’t even have a checking account. It took me over a week to find a bank willing to let me open one, just so I could deposit the check. I couldn’t find any other way to cash it. I have the starter checks, brochures about mutual funds and Certificates of Deposit. The lady at the bank said that I need to “put my money to work for me.” Is it really my fucking money?
It still isn’t real to me. How am I supposed to feel? I was on the phone begging for a couple of extra days to pay the light bill, while that money was doing whatever it takes to clear and post to my account. It took five days, there was a weekend involved. I got cut back to like 15 hours a week at the dollar store because it’s the summer now and kids are out of school. They always hire three or four students. I put in for a job with the city a few months ago, but never heard back from them. I think I didn’t do good enough on the typing test they made me take at the employment office over in Cuero.
What now? Does any of that even matter?…
Tempting taste? If you’re hungry for the rest, get your read feast on 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…
Seein’ & Stealin’,
Short Story Editor