“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Mr. Warner: 4” (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!
Stay tuned for a new featured artisté comin’ at’cha next week!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we met a striver, a wide aliver; we planted our love on a bench in a garden; we listened to roadkill, our softness to harden; we saw a poet-loving fool with a saccharin drool; we held on tightly to letting go; we reminisced o’er all we know; we gave o’er despair to home repair. All us, all inward; all good for the good of all. Tis the Season… ~ MH Clay
OLD HOUSE by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
The old house is haunted
by things that should be
tossed away. It holds
on to memories and
turns on the nostalgia
of broken dreams.
The old house needs a
new owner or a good
cleaning. It pulls you
in and throws you out.
It makes you long for
things that worked,
but now are broken.
December 17, 2016
editors note: In a depressed market, maybe renovation is best. – mh clay
Standing In the Doorway Of Yesterday by Susandale
In the thin light of March
When naked trees wear
Only voices of the past
Then do I rewind remembrance
Time velvet in depths of shadows
Weightless dreams and distant figures
Standing in nocturnal doors
Light and the way it creates
Atmosphere around the years
The way light falls on yesterday
With its breath of mist
Feathers drawn across
The wet paint of memory
Tremors – Quivers – Aloft in the air
Yesterday, with its lines crossed over
Rubbed thin, crumpled within
The fingers of fate
Ephemeral shadows shading winter windows
Luminous winter light
And the snow that dusts
My windows with dreams
Sweeping with vertical strokes
Wiping over with whitewash
Across the epitaphs of time
December 16, 2016
editors note: All we remember are shadows and light. – mh clay
Fear of flying by Lisa Moak
You, regard in disbelief,
shifting your feet like a bird testing its wings,
the ticket agent who says,
“At 15 you are old enough to fly alone.”
You, fumble anxiously
with belt and shoes,
while the line ahead shuffles and moans,
and I walk beside holding your passport.
You, stare over my head
at the empty tarmac, enduring this too.
“Flying alone must be hard,”
the gate attendant worries.
She has a daughter your age,
but her worries are not for you.
You, tired and annoyed,
ask, “Why don’t you just go?”
Mothers don’t leave,
you must have forgotten
all the days and nights
I have remained.
You, offer me your arms,
spread wide, embracing things to come
while I cling to those familiar.
Then, off you march,
grasping your suitcase,
backpack flung across your back,
towards the dusky doorway,
and don’t look back.
I wave good-bye
to no one.
December 15, 2016
editors note: Leaving is looking and longing for leaver and left. Bon Voyage! – mh clay
the poet at midnight by Dan Evans
she composes poetry
in a spiral cloud draped
across a crescent moon
bold black letters circling
the miniscule page, as she
measures meter and rhythm
by the length of her arms
and the palms of her hands
counting out syllables
with fluttering fingertips
and breath from her lips
pen poised at pristine page
words waiting to awaken
sings sotto voce serenade
against diaphanous backdrop
of lavender and honey
and i, defenseless man
drooling saccharin haikus,
cannot help but love her
December 14, 2016
editors note: Alliterative infatuation evolves into amorous adoration. – mh clay
Dead Dog Music by Gnadia Wolnisty
Your music sounds like roadkill,
I told you when we first met.
Perhaps you didn’t hear me or were a little offended,
because you got quiet.
But I figured this was an okay thing to say
because you had asked me, quite blankly,
if I had ever installed dry wall and if
I had enjoyed inhaling and then coughing up the particles.
I told you No, with all the dignity I could muster,
but was thinking Dear god, that sounds amazing
and I want to.
What I meant, though, was
it’s the music of the real, and
that can be jarring sometimes
and cause for pause – like seeing matted fur
outside your car window.
Roadkill isn’t like other rubbish; you can’t
just pick it up and throw it away
or use a bottle when your ashtray gets full.
There is a particular resilience to roadkill,
even after the damage has been done.
I don’t know what the roadkill is like
over in New York where you are
learning to dance quietly
like the end of a fishing pole,
where you are learning about how small
a house can be, and how to leave the few
safe places you have known.
Perhaps there are more squirrels,
less dogs, more birds, or some big elk.
But I think if you make music like
the flash of fur and red through a window
then the cruelty of heavy things
won’t ever make you frail.
December 13, 2016
editors note: Something to have on everyone’s playlist. – mh clay
Who Loved These Gardens by Logen Cure
You hold my hand as we walk through Kew Gardens
(it is morning, this is London) and we laugh at how
it’s pronounced like the letter Q and I think
that things are not as phonetic as they seem.
It is morning (and London)
and you are wearing your new shoes
and I am wearing my new coat
(we bought these things in hopes they would last),
and as we walk, we read the benches.
Set free to enjoy the
I think about how people choose their place,
how they make homes of swans to feed and paths lined with daffodils
and it occurs to me that my place—
my place is wherever
your here is.
We are young (and this is London)
(good morning) and I am thinking of tomorrow and
tomorrow and (I’m sorry)
and the daffodils and benches
(I’d like our initials and an ampersand
or nothing at all).
December 12, 2016
editors note: Wherever your love is planted, there will your garden be; & or nothing. – mh clay
I STRIVE by Stephen B. Fleming
I strive against the haters
The master debaters that call themselves statesmen.
I don’t like your states of mind, men.
You say you want to serve but you swerve to the curve of your ego.
You go where the money is, the fear is and smog the air with unfeeling blindness.
There’s no kindness in your policy that I see.
I strive to seek the truth your lies disguise.
To dissect the torrent of information
The filtration of the voices that seek to explain but just drain my will.
I strive against my flaws and vices.
So many devices to stop me from perceiving the grieving of my soul
That obstructs the vision of a clear decision.
The hate within is the barrier to see the carrier of the hate without
To know the truth with a big T and little t.
Not just to see but act.
The fact of Truth is more in the act.
I wear the cloth of sloth too often as my garment.
But to persevere is to fight the fear.
To be alive.
December 11, 2016
editors note: A call to be the “I” in strive. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Mad Swirl has an easy one to feed your need with.
This week’s featured short story at Mad Swirl, “Easy Money” comes from Austin Brookner. Here’s what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about it:
“Success is tis one truth: opportunity. Being somewhere in the world and seeing some way to come out living better. Some, though, can’t keep their hands to themselves and they only stand close to others to steal a dollar from their pack pocket.”
Here’s a quick steal of “Easy Money” to get you goin’:
photo (above) “Quick Bite” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter
I’d been walking around the east side in circles. I felt sluggish and in pain. I had to go somewhere. I had to eat. Like mother says, “a hungry man is an angry man.” I decided I would stop off at Piano’s for their happy hour lunch special. Burger and a salad for five bucks. Can’t beat it.
Where was I? Damn, this is the annoying part of town where the streets and the avenues aren’t numbered. Let’s see… Eldridge, Allen, Orchard, Ludlow. So four more blocks. Gosh, how could four blocks feel like so many? As though someone would have to manually pull me along with a chain. I dragged my bones into the joint. There were only two other customers—a young gentleman, eating a burger and gazing out over his beer, and a young woman rapt with her phone. Occasionally the woman would lift her head away, only to ponder what to type into it next. When she reached for her martini glass her eyes never drifted from the screen.
My burger arrived and I greedily went after it. The young gentleman was now reading a paper. The young woman was reaching into her pocketbook to pay her bill. She was prepping herself as though she had important things to go do. It occurred to me that people were getting younger. Then it occurred to me that maybe I was getting older.
When I finished my meal I went outside and sat on the bench for a smoke before returning to pay my check. A man came out from a bar next-door while I was smoking and said aloud to no one: “Awww, they split.”
He sat down next to me.
“Hey man, what’s going on?”
“I’m fucked up, man.”
“That’s good. Nothing wrong with that.”
He looks around, lets out an “Accgh,” and like a man possessed goes back into the bar he just came out of…
Smooth rollin’ so far! Keep this need-a-read fix goin’ right 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