••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Uprooted Bench” (above) by featured artist Aniruddha Sastikar. To view more of Aniruddha’s works, along with our other featured artists, visit our chockfull Mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!
“You are the music while the music lasts.” ~ T. S. Eliot
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we emoted anger o’er unfair advantage (cancer, an insidious adversary); we beat death, not off, but under; we dropped anchor, raised love o’er rancor; we dissed donors dithered o’er faith unwithered (a dollar buys healing or a bad toupee); we soaked in the tub of a bad day’s rub, a liberating end with imaginary friend; we found clarity in a lightning strike, killer transformed to a canine we like; we bore responsibility for nightmare sheep, counted in the cacophony of nightmare sleep. Waking, dreaming; it’s all the same. We’re sleepwalkers in this life-like game. ~ MH Clay
The Night Sings Softly by Paul Tristram
It’s melancholy lament,
in shifting shades of blue,
moon-white through the middle
and humming like a funny bone
As your consciousness nestles,
fidgety in the armpit
and your mind drones on and on,
evading sleep like a ninja.
because those sheep
you started counting an hour ago
now have names, Mohawks, tattoos
and have split up into two rival
gang factions and are about to rumble
down by the Docks, somewhere…
in a place you have never been…
Somehow here’s your old school again,
well, a part of it anyway?
except when you turn this corner,
the corridor leads to Tesco’s,
except what it used to look like
back when you was just a boy…
There’s dice and pears and apples…
and playing the piano, carefully,
even though you never learnt…
And if you listen very quietly
you can just make out someone
slightly snoring… somewhere close by,
I’ll let you into a secret… it’s partly you.
September 26, 2015
editors note: No, it’s all you… the whole thing is you… and me… and them… and everyone. – mh clay
In the Local News by Stephen Page
It begins to rain heavily,
the sound like barrels of water
being poured on the corrugated roof.
Jonathan locks his office door
and settles into his reading chair
to read a bit and sleep.
Just audible above of the sound of water
he hears something else,
like someone rattling
the door handle.
He looks up but the handle is not moving.
Then . . . Bang!
the door caves convexly in,
shakes on its hinges . . .
Bang. Bang. Bang.
Jonathan is on his feet
in the middle of the room,
an antique branding iron
held in his hand
like a club.
(You see, Jonathan has read often
in the local papers
of similar incidents:
“In the middle of the night
a rancher robbed and beaten for cash
in his office.”
“A rancher and his family
robbed at gunpoint in their home
by three ex-convicts hopped up
Not that Jonathan couldn’t take care of himself, but)
The door bangs and shakes two more times.
Jonathan thinks that his shotgun
might be a better weapon,
and just as he turns to retrieve it,
lightning flashes through the skylights,
blueing the entire office,
his ridiculous shadow twice
on the floor,
and almost simultaneously,
thunder cracks and rumbles away.
Jonathan drops the branding iron,
unlocks and opens the door,
and in leaps
and muddy and panting,
shaking water everywhere.
Dominic never liked thunder.
September 25, 2015
editors note: Dog from desperado, transformed in a flash. – mh clay
The Softer Side in My Mind by Tom Hall
It was one of those days; the boss spitting out wrath,
His venom was clinging; I craved to be clean.
I needed to soak in a hot bubble bath,
have some anxiety pills, maybe more than routine.
Finally restored, I pulled out the plug.
The strain and pain swirled down the drain.
But one bubble grew, out-sizing the plug.
I stood back, my rational reasoning in vain.
An amiable bubble, no sense of dread,
He bubbled about while I put on my robe.
He bounced on beside me and saw me to bed.
Then popped and dropped, this curious globe.
I may never be able to prove he was there;
But, I’d made a friend who was both gracious and rare.
September 24, 2015
editors note: Never outgrow her/him. We stressed out adults need imaginary friends. – mh clay
FAITH HEALING 2015 by Brian Wood
All the old tricks in place, no real change. Still
The earnest toupeed man with the deep voice
Implores you to send him your money right
Now, in God’s holy name. By faith alone
Can your small gift be made into the Lord’s
Temple. Depressed? Sick? Simply call this toll
Free line and God, or his word on this earth,
Will answer. He shall supply all your needs.
Easy enough to laugh at these moron
Frauds and their idiot donors, each one
Dumber than the last. So who is calling
These numbers? Who builds these tributes to greed?
The poet said “In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life lived according to love”
Nothing would ever shake it and nothing
Would cure it. For some lucky ones it all
Fits somehow and, being blessed, bless. Some flail
About for no cause, not caring whence they came
Nor where they go. And others – born into
A world far too severe – must watch The Man
From Toupee in the hope he can bring what
They never found by things seen with unseen
Things too far to help; as if part of man
Is programmed to be unhappy, and takes
No consolation from love past or love
To come, what they hold dear, or how bright their
Light might glow. As if part of us indicts
The dark. Which could be how the preacher from
The Church Of The Airport Marriott sleeps
At night, knowing he fools no one who sees,
That his funds come from those so lost they trust
Cash sent by mail means a revelation,
One that was always good and always true.
September 23, 2015
editors note: I’ll sell you faith. With that and your dollars, I can buy a toupee. – mh clay
PERPETUAL DELIGHT by Tapeshwar Prasad
If I’ll go inversely
back in time;
I will work my diligence
to drive, past moments alive
Rigid be the thorny path,
will furrow back our time;
and work out, conquering
Lovely spaces to conjoin
Not by any quota of flesh;
But by an anchor of love
will moor the story of our land, and
Spread our saga with perpetual delight
September 22, 2015
editors note: Love is the better anchor. Yes! – mh clay
Illusionary death Orgasm by James Brown
I have masturbated with death
as it inflects a painful stimulation
making my heart ejaculate from
With the loss of equilibrium my
mind swings like a pendulum…
the orgasmic grip of death
suspended from a point of
Yes; I have looked death in
its empty hood face;
dark abyss, soul sucking, gripping,
tearing, pulling, and
castrating silent predator;
Countless times I walked away
but not before death penetrated
my mind as I felt I had no protection
from death’s infection.
Now I sit in gloom in the darkness
of a room pondering the next time death
appears, will God adhere? I will speak;
“My flesh weak, my mind weak, and I
know that my soul is yours to keep.”
September 21, 2015
editors note: Not so easy; coming or going. – mh clay
Anger by Ally Malinenko
It took a month
little over, actually
before the anger
welled up inside
so fierce and hideous
like a black ink
that filled the cracks
between my teeth
and I spit it all back at
with hot tears
and my dear,
you just sat there on the couch
your head tilted back
and let it wash over you.
Even when I told you
you weren’t trying hard enough
Even when I was horrid
and scared and bitter
you sat there,
with your head
your eyes half closed
your James Baldwin book
in your hand
after you had just told
me all about your plan
to read four novels by
every author you pick.
You tell me,
there’s nothing I can say
that’s going to be right.
and I lie and tell you you’re wrong
but the truth is
you are right
because right now
I hate the world
and everything in it
September 20, 2015
editors note: So hard, this journey; so deep, this pain. Sometimes anger is all we can muster; better than no feeling at all. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Of course you do! If we are doin’ our jobs right, you should just about be addicted to gettin’ a read fix every week!
Speakin’ of fixes, this week’s featured short story, “Cured” from Contributing Writer Jim Meirose is in yo’ face! Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: “How we see ourselves is crippling and a killer, but facing ourselves is what makes us fully grown humans.”
Here’s a few features to fill in the picture:
(photo by Tyler Malone)
Featureless, he sat before the therapist. Blank faced, serene, just a slit of a mouth in his smooth round face to go on, to speak, to answer; no eyes, no nose, nothing.
So how do you feel, asked the therapist. How do you feel today? What brings you here?
The mouth moved in the smooth peach fuzzed face making words.
The quest to grow old through drugs, he said. The quest to grow old through drugs has consumed me. I need a morphine drip, Doc—fix me up.
I’m not that kind of doctor, said the therapist. But why do you have this on your mind?
Because it is painful to have no face—I cannot see, I cannot breathe but through my mouth. I sit here.
Well we are here to solve that—tell me more.
I just am in pain—I need—
All at once, a heavily lined forehead appeared on his face.
I need the drugs—I—
The therapist exclaimed But look! A feature has appeared on your face!
The blank faced man’s finger came up and touched the forehead.
Ah—well. So it has—but I still need the morphine drip doctor—I am still in pain—the pain of growing old and nearing death—
You are not nearing death, said the therapist. He wrote something in his notepad and then said So go on—tell me more.
The mouth and forehead writhed on the eyeless noseless face. It did look painful. The blank faced man said It is all in the quest to eat the crust—the pot pies when serving four you always have to ask who wants theirs flipped and who doesn’t. I’m told it all lies in the quest to eat the crust and the need to grow old, with drugs—hey doc—how about a Percocet—I—
A chin formed under the mouth with a noticeable cleft and a small beard.
Look, exclaimed the therapist—look what has appeared! Touch your new chin! Touch it—
My God, said the blank faced man, touching his chin. So there is one—
Yes, keep talking keep talking that’s your cure—…
Keep READING, that’s the cure to knowin’ how this short ends! Get the rest of your fix 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…
Short Story Editor