“Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness.” ~ George Jean Nathan
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Undressing Moonlight” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak.
We here at Mad Swirl just can’t get enough of Bill Wolak’s symmetrical sweetness! This time around, he treats us to some splash of color and even allusions to nature – branches of trees, green leaves and flowers. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I can look at each piece time and time again and again and feel like I’m looking into some new and mysterious. And we think that’s exactly what Bill wants! Have a look-see for yourself and if you like what you look-see, look-see again and again and… again. ~ Madelyn Olson
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we stepped into infinity with pleasing inconsistency; we celebrated Lefty Bell, big leg hot water dance so well; we were washed in a wave of wonderment, unable to make a wish; we found everything, soft and hard, here in the sleeper’s sward; we whispered a mystery for the keeping of knives; we locked regrets in frozen rain, a rapid passage to laugh at pain; we danced to the beauty of life, to the beat of a drum. Be it different, or just “Ho, Hum.” Dance the anesthetic, dance to the drum. ~ MH Clay
Shaman Drum by Steffen Horstmann
Rain falling on Tibetan roads emulates
The percussion of the shaman drum.
Born of the melody
The Tingri winds hum.
Born of the kamala trees
where gold hornets thrum.
Born of the stream rushing
Beneath a wild plum.
February 13, 2016
editors note: Nice beat, different drummer. – mh clay
bitter apology by John Sweet
sick of sorrow and forgiveness
sick of winter
grey sky, grey hills, the bodies of
animals left by the sides of
the days all shaped like funnels
a need for oil, for transmission
fluid, for antifreeze
let the gears grind
let the houses burn
no more heroes, okay?
no more angry gods
and i sat there thinking i
should say something, but
there was nothing to say
had known her twenty years
earlier, when she was
beautiful, when i was still human
what happens is never clear
all hearts are clocks
all moments are lost
why wouldn’t you laugh at
the pain this causes?
February 12, 2016
editors note: Not even a chuckle, when you’re chokin’ on crow. – mh clay
The Moon is Still Awake by Jonathan Hayes
The young girl walking by me along the cold hard levee
Crying, crying, crying into the night, as she passes.
“The knives are in the cupboard.”
February 11, 2016
editors note: And the moon has the key. – mh clay
Graveyard Swag (v. i.) by Randall Garrett
Trying to say something smart when there’s nothing to add to the conversation.
Trying to practice equanimity, to remember this illusion, our own creation.
Beginning to hate, questions and doubts, beginning to love, more questions, more doubts.
Beginning again, again, again, twist and shout, echo, echo, faint, ever fainter, fade out.
Swagger wearing a scary mask, that hides a lack of self-confidence.
Swagger inspired to the task, that loves to flaunt it when you notice.
There is no need for you, for true, when I see my flag in the wind unfurl.
There is no me, there is no you, no place for art in this righteous world.
Power that pounds on your door, complicit, no sense of irony.
Power that gives itself away, that hates its place in history.
Violence, a pendulum that swings faster, in an ever quickening cycle.
Violence that cuts through flesh, through blood, words slicing, a revival.
Love that looks its enemy in the eye with an open heart and a smile.
Love from the sweet bye and bye, ready for the kill, or to hold you a while.
February 10, 2016
editors note: What a thrill for a love that kills. – mh clay
Wish by Gilbert Franco
my hands are freezing out in the november sun
here marks the end of something i wasnt so sure would’ve lasted to begin with
i was just trying to live in the moment and give each day a purpose
but i always believed the days had purpose and i always believed in god
i always had too much hope in my heart
or in my head
but they’re both deceiving and nobody will ever convince me otherwise
the stars in the sky shone so brightly last night
and while i sat on my window sill
i could smell lilacs
and i watched one single star fall out of the sky
and i was so mesmerised by its beauty that i couldnt even make a wish
it was like that with your eyes
February 9, 2016
editors note: When wishing is just not enough; stars and eyes shine forever. – mh clay
Afterwords and Beyond by Gayle Bell
This is the soundtrack for the life and times of
Lefty Bell. 57 years
the dust still hasn’t settled.
My inner selves seated at my honors table
praised for their resiliency,
Walk w/ dignity through these streets so mean
Soul De La soul Fela Kuti
wild out music revolution
On the make/semi retired
Loving me immovable
Put the panty drop song on
Sway on the tip
Sway on my thigh
Sway my body
Sip my lemon tea lime
Circa LaWanda Page listening to Wolfgang
pierce the marrow of my heart
Luna sweet like my AfroCuban soul
Big leg hot water sweet potato
honey sticks Smokin hot
laughing at the shadows
I dance the pain out
I dance the pain out
February 8, 2016
editors note: Every after has an ever. Dance to your music… – mh clay
ONE CHANCE TO LIVE by Bradford Middleton
I step through the centre of my mind’s eye
And into the near future of this life
I don’t know where I am and for that, well
Just grateful to have escaped
Glad to be somewhere else
Whilst I experience even more
A whole life of inconsistency
That always seems pleasing to me
This life is meant to be lived
So take it now and do what you will
Because this is the one chance you’ll get
At this craziness called living
February 8, 2016
editors note: We all live it; take it or not. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Got some munchies for some mad words? Good, ‘cos we got a tasty bud of a tale for you to toke! This week’s featured nug comes from Contributing Writer, Austin Brookner. Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about it: “Not everyone can be a rock star, but that doesn’t mean every one shouldn’t try to party like one.”
Here’s 420-ish tokes of “One Billion Stoned” to light your fire:
(photo by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
So it goes like this. My good friend Morgan and I assumed the driving duties. Our other good pals Justin and Nick were in the back seats tripping their balls off on mushrooms saying how beautiful the trees were. Morgan drove the first half of the trip from campus and then we switched and I took over for the rest of the way. But somehow we miscalculated because Morgan only drove for four hours and I had driven for like eight hours and we still hadn’t reached the border. When we finally did, the security was so lax – they just checked our passports and waved us through – that we figured all the cautionary tales we were told was bullshit.
Then it was like another two hours after crossing the border until we actually saw some signs of a city. I was so fatigued and fed up with all the French street signs which I couldn’t understand, plus it was dark, that I mistook a pedestrian walk bridge for an actual bridge. I retired from my driving duties shortly thereafter.
Though we escaped from that incident without injury to man or car, though I don’t remember how, we had a much closer brush with danger later. We were on our way back from Canada – driving free, blowing smoke, and feeling good (which is basically all we did when we were in Montreal).
Passing into Canada was such a breeze that we thought nothing much of the border patrol. So when we drove out of Canada and into upstate New York we were gleeful and were smoking our brains out.
I didn’t even understand what was going on at first. I thought it was some highway construction holding up traffic. By the time the Texan border patrol dude in a funny hat asked us to roll down the window it was too late. We had the wrong driver behind the wheel.
Justin, bless his heart, was fond of wearing his McDonald’s marijuana shirt. He wore it almost every day of sophomore year in college. It’s a red shirt with a big yellow McDonald’s “M” and underneath it says “Marijuana, over one billion stoned.” Justin would wear that shirt in class. Hell, that crazy fucker would light up a bowl during class while the teacher had his back turned and wrote on the chalkboard.
Justin and I were both economics majors and so we shared a lot of classes together. If he wasn’t getting baked during class he was definitely stoned before and after…
Now pick up the proverbial bong, flick your Bic® & move that cursor here and inhale the whole tale!
••• Mad Swirl Blog •••
(photo by Johnny O)
Calling All Mad Poets! Here’s a lil somethin’ thing from the blog at Mad Swirl that all our poets ought to read… a chance to attend “The friendliest poetry festival in the world.”
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