“The task of the artist at any time is uncompromisingly simple to discover what has not yet been done, and to do it.” ~ Craig Raine
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Mr. Warner: 2” (above) by featured artist(s) Daniel Ableev & Bob Schroder. To see more of Daniel & Bob’s mad ‘toons, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at MadSwirl.com!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we posited to piddle-about for answers in the middle-about; we replaced dastard with dog, though both were golden; we laid down a rap that would show up on Snapchat; we soothed a sight for sore eyes; we floundered for floor “why”s; we wrestled with fear that our muse won’t come near; we surrendered expectation to watch with fascination (every poet is a fire). Poet, muse, middle to end; we tell our tale as our tale tells us. ~ MH Clay
Expect by Trier Ward
I once knew a poet
capable of torture,
full of the fire
I broke my heart
Now it hurts less
because I don’t expect
him to be noble.
I don’t expect anything.
I just watch and wait
as he plays himself out.
He’s still beautiful.
editors note: No expectations; yet, hope for the poet in us all. (Read another of Trier’s missives; the ultimate selfie – check it out on her page.) – mh clay
ODD TIMES by Bradford Middleton
The last few months have been a bit odd
Success has come in some form and now
Well, frankly, it’s all just been a bit odd
With happiness comes a failure of my muse
As I struggle to find the words to describe
How this feels and what it means to me
Because now, as I sit gazing out the much
Viewed window here in the last resort I know
I can no longer be miserable as
For the first time in a long time I actually
Have enough, or will soon do, to get out
But right now all I want to do is remain
As this place has been my world and
I worry that if I move on what will become
Of the muse who came to me in those
Mad, deranged, booze soaked, drug addled
Days when I’ve been stuck here living
This life in the last resort
With the idea of getting out and moving on
I worry as will me leaving here mean I can
No longer create the rough-hewn words I
Laid down here as life becomes
Just a little more comfortable and
With no misery and nothing to hate
What is left for me to do but write about the
Booze but now even that avenue
Down which flooded oceans of primo
Lager, gin, ale, whisky, rum and wine
Have dried up as I attempt to clean up
And survive a whole month without
Even a tipple, surely impossible!
So, if you don’t hear from me for a while
It’s because my muse has become infected
With clean-living, optimistic dreams of a
Life that may very well come real
editors note: Odd times beg the question: Does environment make the muse or, vice versa? – mh clay
…and the floorboards were golden by Tom Pescatore
so that you ran your tongue against them
carving and chipping bone and screw
so that you were forgetful
unable to piece together what had come before
so that you pulled your knees up to your chin
blind to dirt and dust and scruff and tar
so that you took to running knifed edges across grain
drawing up curled veins
so that each needled point penetrated the skin
and left glitters of light in their path
so that with each step the surface gave slightly sinking
marking your footprints your face prints your palms
so that at night it appeared as it did before
but for the metallic taste
so that even though your outside mildewed with collapse
the inside shone brightly in the sun
editors note: Many reasons for the color of the floor. Name yours… – mh clay
Visine by Paul Hostovsky
My left eye is killing me,
I say to my wife. It could be
allergies, she says. It could be
my retina getting ready
to detach, I say, or glaucoma
or syphilis or cancer. Why
do you always have to jump
to your death? she says.
I don’t answer right away.
At the CVS, a whole aisle
of eye drops: drops for dry eyes,
drops for watery eyes, drops
for red and itchy eyes. My eyes
light on Visine and suddenly
I’m sixteen again and smoking
pot every day and trying to hide it
from my mother, cutting classes
left and right and writing
my stupid clever poems
about sex and trees and death.
There’s a poem in here just itching
to get out, I think as I tilt
my head back and squeeze:
two fat drops stinging as they go
to work. And how long before
Johnson & Johnson figured out
the reason for the precipitous jump
in sales? And how long before
I fell so far behind in high school
I ended up dropping out?
The truth is, I’ve been jumping
to my death all my life. Because
it’s good practice, I say to my wife.
And what about your eye, is it
still killing you? she says. No, I say,
but now my feet hurt. And also
my right knee. That could be
from all the jumping, she says.
editors note: Hypochondria or soothsaying; if we’re gonna jump, gotta see. – mh clay
Insta Queen by Hannah Searsy
Toil and trouble
Fire burn and
Build me up an Instagram queen
Posting her local lattes
And modeling screeds
Fucking skinny bitch
With her undercut
And nipple piercings
Star tattoos and colored hair
A pinch of crop top, a bit of Wicca
A slap of that, you know, attitude
Let’s keep it up and she’ll get thinner
Look at me look at me look at me
She says with sparkle and smiles
Let’s be like every bitch
Except for me
editors note: Celebrate your common uniqueness; on line, always better than off. – mh clay
The Three Bears by Chrissie Morris Brady
After the golden haired girl had run away
after intruding and breaking furniture,
Papa Bear carefully fixed the bed and chair.
Mama Bear served fresh hot porridge.
Baby Bear sadly said, “It won’t be the same.”
So they all had a think and then Papa Bear
took his family to town to buy new locks.
Instead, they came home with a Golden Retriever.
editors note: After upheaval, loss retrieval. – mh clay
Aye, Funny, Innit by Paul Tristram
How you can drink yourself sober.
Love someone too much.
Be in the wrong place at the wrong time
and not even realize it
until Fate’s sealed up all boltholes.
Get out of bed on the wrong side.
Wear that smile on the other side of your face.
Why kicking a dog when it’s down
is to be applauded these days.
How everyone loves a Winner
but everybody wants to stop them getting there.
Solitude and Loneliness
have absolutely nothing to do with one another.
End a ten year marriage by squeezing
from the wrong end of the toothpaste tube.
The Left is wrong, the Right is wrong also
and the sensible answer
is sitting somewhere in the middle
but no one’s ever looking there.
You get in trouble for retaliating.
Most murders and rapes will be committed
by someone you’ve already
smiled at and shared a coffee with.
editors note: We were laughing, until it happened… Not so funny, anymore. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Mad Swirl has just the one to feed your need with.
This week’s featured short story at Mad Swirl, “Repressed Slumber Party Memory Syndrome” comes from Gregg Williard. Here’s what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about it:
“Remember the innocence you never had. Pretend to carry all the details of when you were a better person with you because the burden of being a good person never weighs enough.”
Here’s a bit of “Repressed Slumber Party Memory Syndrome” to get you goin’:
(photo (above) “Memories Set in Stone” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
It was the night of the slumber party. The little brother served bowls of ridged potato chips and garlic and onion dip to the teenage sister and her friends in pajamas. But wait! Wasn’t there a truck driving past the house at that moment? Try to remember! The truck was painted violet with decorative tendrils of fuchsia, and silver, remember? But wasn’t that a strange color for a truck in the late 1950s? And what was such a truck doing on your residential street? It was doing something! But wait! The fuchsia tendrils, there was a name for such decorative flourishes! Was it customized detailing? Try to remember! Such designs appeared on hot rods and souped-up V-8 dragsters. But wait—the little brother didn’t care about engines or cars, or trucks! Memory follows appetite! Follow that appetite! The chips! They were ridged! The edges rippled, as if cut with special scissors! And those scissors are called pinking shears! Cutting such saw-toothed or wavy or ridged edges is called pinking. The tendrils on the truck were fuchsia and silver…
Keep this memory goin’ right here!
••• Mad Swirl Merch •••
Back by Popular(ish) Demand: Mad Swirl T-shirts & Sweatshirts!
If you’re MAD and you know it, why not wear it loudly and proudly? The whole Mad Swirl of merch begins here, in our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some “mad” clothing to sport, then you’ve come to the right place.
This merch will be available for the holidaze if you buy before December 15th. They come in all sizes for men and woman and a variety of colors. Come get you some and while you’re at it, why not get one for the whole fam?!
••• Open Mic •••
Mad Holiday Hijinx Swirl-ebration!
‘t’is the season for some Holiday Hijinx and a perfect reason for Mad girls and boys to Swirl up some noise! Bring your holiday hoots and howls together; the whole spectrum of expression this time of year invokes. It’s all you, all us, all together in our Mad Holiday Hijinx Swirl-ebration!
Join we merry Mad ones (with musical guests Bendiks-Hendricksen) this 1st Wednesday (aka December 7th) The Swirl-ebration starts at 8:00pm sharp and lasts until no more cheer can be shared!
Come on out, one & all. Share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our open mic list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!
Catch us swirlin’ up our madness at The City Tavern located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX
P.S. If you’re a Facebook’r and want to get on our pre-list, visit our event page and let us know you’re gonna be there.
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