“…once you get to the point where you’re actually doing things for truth’s sake, then nobody can ever touch you again because you’re harmonizing with a greater power.” ~ George Harrison
••• The Mad Gallery •••
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we took our ease with a morning tease; we found a long time lodger in a favor dodger; we dodged some more from a predator; we walked through the mind of a leaver behind; we slipped and slogged in the wisdom of dogs; we lost faith’s stand in white-washed hands; we remembered the whole of a beautiful soul, not ugly in absence. Represent! ~ MH Clay
Shoshi’s Ugly Poem by Ann B-D
I think of you stilled
Under the earth,
Clods of clay, and your melting flesh.
Shreds of cloth
Clinging to your twisted limbs.
But that is not you, and never was.
This thing, this stilled thing
The most alien and wrong of it all,
This stillness is not you.
You, who were always
So ticking over with motion,
Rhythm, and the juice of the dance.
You, who even as you sat,
Sat alert and bright-eyed and aware.
You, who even when not moving
Had the beat of life running through you,
Waiting for your time
To jump into the circle again.
And it is so wrong, this stillness.
You, gone from yourself,
Yourself gone away and the body left behind,
A lump of putrescence,
How fine that you are gone, really.
You would never have stood for this outrage,
This breakdown of holy life,
Of the joy of your life.
You would have been horrified
At what you have become.
Better it’s done,
Done and gone,
But the awful stillness stays.
And this is an awful poem, I know.
But I am haunted by your stillness.
Awful absence of motion
The craziest proof of all
That you are really gone.
February 25, 2017
editors note: Hard to not notice those not here, when they were so much here, before. – mh clay
THE PACIFIST by Stefanie Bennett
Beyond reasonable doubt
There’s an entrapment
Of the spirit
Contorts to ~
The abandoned echo,
Perversity preys upon itself.
Humankind is not
The white-washed hands
Of faith’s tactician
Where hearts, hung like
February 24, 2017
editors note: Makes a combatant’s mouth water. – mh clay
LADIES & GENTLEMEN by J H Martin
And we wait
Like stations for buses
Like boards for announcements
Like pigeons for crumbs
As if the end’s going to change
As if it’s going to get better
As if we’re going to get wise
Like Muhammad Ali
To say we’re the greatest
Means even less than our words
February 23, 2017
editors note: Just keep waggin’ that tail… – mh clay
Credible Urge by Paul Tristram
He skippers down nightly
under an old piece of tarpaulin,
connected to two trees,
off to the right hand side
of the beach
in the warmer months.
When Winter comes,
there’s the 2nd floor
of the derelict Fire Station
up on the North side of the city.
Busks the harmonica for pennies
outside of Boots the Chemist
up until around noon.
Soup-runs evening meals
and bathes in the ocean
no matter the weather.
Carries no trinkets or reminders,
wishes back nothing
which he has lost.
Apart from survival,
is directionless and purposeless,
were never his forte anyway.
Only haunts this city
because it’s far friendlier
than the last couple of places
He’s neither happy nor contented,
just chilling patient,
in his own roundabout way.
For a ‘Credible Urge’
to raise up its head,
as strong as the last one,
which set his footsteps
wandering far away
from that life, wife and children,
his nature bade him leave behind.
February 22, 2017
editors note: It takes focus and determination to stay in the same place. – mh clay
SUPPLICATION by Clyde Kessler
Speed changes the hum from a shadow
to a wall, from a finch to one wild shoat
scrounging through the reeds, oinking
where the parasites have married its voice,
and the herd has wallowed and rooted away
the swamp. Speed is impossible here.
Predation is real. This gator-sized spider
is cupping sunlight in its web. This python
that whispers your name can squeeze stars
through its ribs. The snake’s heart is silent
even when its rough jaws distend around you
and most of the world feels like a gunny sack
on its tongue. The hum is like water spooned
from a cactus far away. You keep wishing
until God does all the wishing for you. You
have felt like running faster than all the water
you are walking on, because the sea is rising.
February 21, 2017
editors note: The water’s span from predator to prey, only a prayer’s breadth away. (We welcome Clyde to our crazed conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
Cowardly Soul by Patricia Walsh
Five years’ plans are a lot to take in
A chunk from one’s life irreplaceable
Nationalising train wrecks from another’s sin
A question of language eating home.
Down to the bones of me bum, laughing at poverty
I take on many tasks to see me right
Voluntarily working, suiting the nighttime
Where the moon is cried for all the time.
Slipping in and out of windows, a famously high drop
Underscores a necessity of holding the fort
With a sword in the thatch, fighting whoever
An enemy only bearing factual news.
Nothing to descend. Swearing not to have children
Close ranks with progress, sleeping in time
Wiping hands on the tablecloth in front of spies.
Not wearing a hat to keep secrets in
The dark-furnished bedroom keeps the time
Looking out for favours detached from kind
Not sullying the gait of your colleagues.
February 20, 2017
editors note: Sometimes, there’s courage in keeping out of the way. – mh clay
Morning Wrapped Herself in Negligee by Heather M. Browne
Morning wrapped herself in negligee
Hazy silk and stars
Embroidered flowers stitched
On satin strings
As evening’s final breath lingers
Kissing moonlight tendrils morning dew
His haloed cloud and misty veil
Curtaining his demise
Heat always rises
Equally curling toes or hair
February 19, 2017
editors note: Cohabit the curl; the having which comes from heat. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you’re in need of a read, still yo’ mind! We got just what you need right here in this week’s featured short-short by Ron Parker.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about “Be Still My Mind“:
“When all you know is an angry language, no one can understand you. You live a mute life with no voice except one that’s destined to be six feet under history, and forgotten by those with tongues that speak for their hearts.”
Here’s a lil bit to still your mind:
(photo “Jesus Is My Co-Pilot” (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
I was meditating on being grateful for my reliable truck when I transformed into an angry white man directing a fear struck Mexican to pull over. I could see him wondering if his brown ass was gonna be kicked by a Trump supporter.
While approaching the construction vehicle, I noticed the load was held by one strap and glanced at my side mirror to change lanes and pass then looked up to see a large tarp slip under my truck at 70 mph. The Nissan sucked it in like a dog eating chocolate and immediately began evacuating itself of melted and torn plastic while the cars behind became obscured in opaque dust and smoke…
I bet you gotta see how this read ends. If so, here ya go!
••• Open Mic •••
Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of March (aka 03.01.17) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ City Tavern!
This month Mad Swirl is proud to be hosting the book release of poet Paul Sexton’s fourth book “Machine Of Almosting: Poems 1993-2016“
This feature set will have local poets reading pieces from the book including: Johnny Olson, M.H. Clay, Roderick Richardson, Josh Weir, Paul Koniecki and Paul Sexton.
Books will be available for purchase and signing for $15
Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ helpin’ of musical mad grooves from Swirve, share in the book releasing 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