“Does it mean this, does it mean that, that’s all anybody wants to know. I’d say what any decent poet would say if anyone dared ask him to analyze his work: if you see it, darling, then it’s there!” ~ Freddie Mercury
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Balancing the Wind” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. This one closes out Bill’s feature run. But don’t fret, we got lots more to share! To see more mad visuals from our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we took plundering raiders and called them Crusaders; we, with throats parched dry, dreamed of water from the sky; we got handy with his and hers; we buffered the banter of a waiting room ranter; we left young dreams for getaway schemes; we watched our past place fall, replaced by a new strip mall; we removed the line between life and death. All is life when not ready, yet. Speak these words and live forever. ~ MH Clay
ICU by Beth DeSeelhorst
It’s a beautiful day for living or dying
because if you die you live and if you live
you live. Also because so very close to
you a hummingbird sings without a sound
fifty times in the blink of an eye, and did
you hear no sound? That side of the
window pantomimes creation–sunset
hyssop and hummingbirds birthed in
bright silent light. All this packed in a
glance outside the window of ICU
while the serious man at the foot of my
bed (on this side of the window) expounds
in living sound cardiovascular navigation
and one-way valves forcing gravitied
blood to the heart. His graphic words are
seeable and auricular as Casper; he just
doesn’t notice he’s talking about creation
until I interrupt, and in this white space
he says (in parenthesis) he believes too.
All this packed inside the window of ICU.
There seems to be a choice: all these sights
and sounds loosed in hope of more days
to practice endurance so more dawns can
flood the days’ vignettes under warm lights
of hallway nights versus all the sights and
sounds loosed in the nod of death. To hand-
pick divine desire stupefies, and I wait almost
dispassionately, too curious to choose or not
too sure the choice is mine to make because
even through grace, that’s the nature of ICU.
Right. As if wear and tear doesn’t enter the
picture. Geriatrics aside, geriatrics raw, old
mind full, old heart holy, old dreams of wild
rides on a hummingbird’s wings never tried
before… if not for old age there would be no
choice, there would be no time, there would
be a body not yet full, not yet weighted, not
yet weary, not yet wary of healing. Surely it
would not be a beautiful day at all because if
you die you live and if you live you live.
September 5, 2015
editors note: The tick of time, the bier of bed; thin as thoughts in a hummingbird’s head. – mh clay
For the Dust by Joseph Farley
They buy it. They sell it. They tear it down.
Those little pieces of history
In which childhood memories are stored.
You see it go, bulldozed, imploded.
Uprooted, paved over, places
Where you played or loved or dreamed.
A piece of you goes up with the dust,
Rising clouds that will not return as rain.
You watch, saddened by progress
That leaves you farther and farther behind,
Living in a past that no longer exists.
September 4, 2015
editors note: There are riches to be had in razing the past to the ground; no money in memory. No wonder we never learn. – mh clay
At My Daughter’s Beauty Pageant by Melanie Browne
They all approach the
to give their
they all have different
hair stylist (she states
she will “Tease it to Jesus”)
but one gal wants to be
a CIA agent,
and I can’t help
but worry that she’s
one girl wants to
be an astrophysicist,
none of them say
they want to
be a stay at home mom,
none of them say they want
to wash dishes by hand
when the dishwasher breaks,
or calm a crying six year
old who lost
his first tooth,
they don’t say they
want to take their child
to speech therapy
and thumb through
and daydream briefly
about a different life,
maybe in Cuba,
where they learn to play
and the light
the plumeria trees
September 3, 2015
editors note: Adult doldrums defer to liberation in Latin rhythms through little girl dreams. – mh clay
Unnerving by Douglas Polk
eyes on no one,
he rants and raves,
looking at the upper corner of the waiting room,
told to shut up,
he quietly grins,
as if the joke is on others,
the ones missing out,
too sane to argue with,
in the upper corners of the room.
September 2, 2015
editors note: He plays straight man for the ghosts of the joke; makes us the punch line. – mh clay
Hands by April Mae M. Berza
(After Glen Sorestad’s When Hands sleep, what do they dream?)
His hands dream the calisthenics of metals of an automobile,
while hers dream of cooking her thoughts, her passion;
his hands dream juggling numbers, a jumbled telephone,
while her hands dream of imprisoned letters finally freed;
his hands dream a marriage of spoon and fork
as he moves brown rice to his innocent mouth,
while hers dream the bipolar bond of nude fingers
in the canvas plate painting her hunger, her hunger;
his hands dream how the soldier fingers camp the softness
of her breast, her nipple, a caged nightingale,
her hands dream the aggressive texture of his buttocks
as he enters, her finger’s surrender to his hips.
Sometimes his hands and her hands stop dreaming
but lie restless like defeated warriors lost
in the subconscious of hand against hand in combat.
Sometimes hands sleep in the awakening of desire.
September 1, 2015
editors note: Two for the task at hand… – mh clay
FUGUE: DROUGHT by Mark J. Mitchell
Don’t move piles of pebbles.
—Sappho, Fragment 143
A mountain escaped leaving
one pure tear—
a small lake just
to tease the city.
We dream of water here
and wake up
with dust tears
coating our pure lips.
So we take turns
kissing that lake.
We may taste it but —
teased — we can’t swallow.
Someday we’ll escape dust
like the mountain and we’ll drop
real tears in to the heart
of a dry, impure city.
August 31, 2015
editors note: With words as water, we would quench parched minds. – mh clay
Crusader (i) by Michael Corrigan
On the last Tuesday of November, anno domini 1095, Pope Urban ii, speaking outside the French city of Clermont, called for “a holy war to rid the holy land of the vengeful forces of Islam”. He offered “a cleansing of all sin for those purified in the fire of battle” and so began the first Crusade.
The first of many.
On the march to Antioch
heat killed the horses
quicker than any lance,
chevaliers rapidly reduced
to fearsome, armoured infantry.
Our progress marked
by a steady circling
of carrion birds,
Beneath their darkling promise we marched, always onward, to Jerusalem.
Eighteen months before;
on the dockside at Brindisi,
we stood for hours
in an unfriendly sun,
as captains, nobles,
the great unwashed,
God’s grim parade
in homespun and motley,
a many mouthed mob
all bad breath
and broken teeth,
checked for weight
then passed aboard.
“A light ship for a heavy sea”
the stewards shouted
heaving our possessions
“no point in complaining”
they smilingly declared,
killed his first Saracen,
with a handaxe to her head,
four more he killed within the hour
daughters all of the cloven headed woman,
skilled, he was, in the red work of slaughter.
“God’s will, God’s will” his raw throated roar.
August 30, 2015
editors note: Here’s an old story of the West trying to cleanse the East. We never learn… (Two more in this series by Mick on his page – check’em out!) – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Well then you’ve come to the right place ‘cos we got a captivating tale for ya’!
Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week tale “The Wizard“ from Chris Bedell: “It’s fantastic, it’s magical, it’s wondrous. It’ll kill all of us. It’s called life, and it holds us all captive.”
Here’s a bit to bind ya’:
(photo by Tyler Malone)
I think most people called him the Wizard. To me he was just a monster because there was no way that a guy that keeps an 18-year-old girl in a shed for 23 hours a day was going to win kindest person of the year.
Although the shed had a window so it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
Who was I kidding? It was no way to live.
I lived in the shed for as long as I could remember, unable to remember anything else. Even remembering that my name was Lucy was challenging.
I gazed out the window, biting down on one of my nails.
The descending sun meant it was almost time for dinner. Not that it mattered or anything, as I was still a prisoner no matter how I spun the situation.
A cloud crackled through the air, making a plate and glass of water appear on the table.
Did I mention the shed also had a table and a chair?
I shuffled over to the table, shoving the piece of toast into my mouth in one sitting.
You would have thought I never eaten a meal before. The water was a different story, as I’d have to make it last the whole evening.
A popping sound exploded across the air, causing my plate and glass to disappear.
Oh well! Morning would come around before I knew it, and I’d get more food and water if I were lucky.
A shadow slashed by the window hours later since a daily evening check was another part of the routine.
It was nothing for me to be flattered about though since the Wizard didn’t even bother to come in and talk. Although it was probably a blessing he didn’t come in and force conversation, as I got enough of a glimpse as it was from his glowing red eyes that reflected out at me from the window.
Most people would’ve gone mad at the thought of being held captive indefinitely, but not me. I was biding my time until I could break free…
Get the rest of your read on here!
••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••
(photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez. Check ’em all out here)
Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness! As Swirve started their jazzy madness, the crowd found their way to the stage with their heads boppin’ and their fingers snappin’. As the last notes were fading away, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay got the show goin’ with an introduction of our featured poet Sebastian Paramo! Sebastian proceeded to unleash upon us a poetic feast! But no worries, you can still view it on our Mad Swirl UStream channel.
After a brief intermission, the mic got opened up to the mad ones who filled the Lounge. And what a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music ensued! Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…
Desmene M. Statum
James Barrett Rodehaver aka Bear The Poet
Konnichiwa Zach Schrotter
HUGE thanks to Swirve (Chris Curiel, Tamitha Curiel, & Gerard Bendiks) for keeping the beat til the wee hours of the night. We got taken to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!
More HUGE thanks to fantastic photogs Dan Rodriguez (he captured these scenes) and Rosie Lindsey for sharing their mad eye and giving y’all a taste of the night’s mic madness.
And finally we would like to thank ALL of you who freely shared their hand claps, finger-snaps, hoots and howls with all the mad ones who got up on this sacred mad swirlin’ mic.
We look forward to ALL the m-adventures to come! Stay tuned…
October: Alex Pogosov
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