“The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born,
the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.”
Stricken (above) by featured artist Mike Fiorito.
To see more of Mike’s colorfully crazy collages, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we gripped a cliff; we dripped (from) a riff; we stumped from trunks; we pained disdain; we stickled the sick; we dredged up eggs; we went stat with a rat. No more than that! ~ MH Clay
Fables of the reconstruction by Terry Severhill
We started on Wednesday
It was cold
But the foreperson was hot
Got laid off for looking
Shit that ain’t no way to treat a veteran
No I’m not going to tell you all about that time
When the billie bongs nearly trashed the gray house
Used to be off white n a fore that kinda yeller
They was just doing their thing all
Limpy and crusted over on they heads
Had chiggers and all kinda stuff
Next thing I knows I gots to run after them
I didn’t have no gun or nuttin so I pick me up a rat from the alley
The rat is all like “put me the fuck down dude”
But I just squeezed him harder and ran faster
When I almost caught up I haul off n throw that
Ratty hard. I mean those billie bongs knew what hit them
After all them rats is all soft and a sqiushy like
All natural and can’t hurt no one.
The billy bongs slowed down to discuss whether that rat was ripe enough
To eat raw or it they should cook it
First they had to catch it
Cause it bit billie in the bong area
That was the break I needed
Needed cause my arm hadn’t healed up proper like
I was at the deli or the gun store as I like to call it
How do you go into a place filled with lube jelli and rags n vats of ???
They said I could eat it
Oh hell no I ain’t going to try anything, first in line or not
Still can’t gets the taste of burnt socks and rubber outta my mouth
I noed that the sar-gentle man was not going to let me just up n walk
Shit the billi bongs were still milling bout the place and
When they gets a thought into their heads they just don’t wanna let it go
Not that I blames them oh no they has nuf trouble jess thinking one thought
Soes they wanna keep any they ketch
Sees they hang out round doors and setch cuz people just leaves em their.
Thoughts thet is.
You knoed what I mean like the time you gone and
Walked into the kitchen n forgot what n the hell am I doing here??
Soes I just got me a nuther beer n went back to the livn room and
Damn I was gonna call me a pizza.
November 11, 2017
editors note: To reconstruct a life is hard enough; to reconstruct a path to where you left the phone, even harder. (We appreciate Terry and all our veteran poets for his and their service.) – mh clay
ENDOTHERMIC VERTEBRATES by satnrose
according the chambered eggs
feathered hearts of dinosaurs
the laying descendants at our feet
eating the crumbs we so magnanimously share
waiting for a future past
November 10, 2017
editors note: Comfort in compost; everyone’s future past. – mh clay
Protect by Nadia Wolnisty
I have swallowed the cardboard,
chewed it to a pulp and gulped
it down. It tasted like stale,
dirt, and chemicals. Scabbed my tongue—
a hard pill to swallow.
The lump stayed in my throat,
through the flight and back to Dallas
through my body dissolving.
It made my limbs creaky and slow—
a hard pill to swallow.
And through the hospital it stayed,
the world of soft blankets and voices.
I stood flimsy and moist. My eyes grew
at the sight of you, small, ill-kept.
A hard pill to swallow
because when you swallow with eyes
nothing can wash it down. Unblinking,
the nurses sit and stare at their phones,
here only to watch the risk. They give
a hard pill. To swallow,
I hold up water in a plastic cup, because
your arms are useless in bandages.
They look like dead crabs. I try to give
you shelter, but I am made out of cardboard—
a hard pill to swallow.
November 9, 2017
editors note: No comfort in cardboard; ill circumstance for both. – mh clay
Contempt by Bhargab Chatterjee
An homage to John Ashbery
When I mark the two edges
of a contempt
with a sharp pencil
It bestrides on the two edges
and pushes them away.
‘I just walk around
Into the dusk-charged air.’
Vividly smell my own perspiration –
the monster inside me
replicates itself in an endless variation.
Is contempt a chess-board?
“…I cannot explain the action of leveling
why it should all boil down to one
uniform substance, a magma of interiors.”
November 8, 2017
editors note: A word impossible to define for those who are above it. – mh clay
The Sweaters Surrounding My Incongruence Die by Daniel Kuriakose
I’ve not felt much at home. It’s not the family.
They’re great. In fact, there are small elephant figures
we keep in the house. Some are brass,
with wavy colorful lines and wavy trunks.
I have one wooden elephant.
It’s not afraid of mice the way some are,
so I’d rather not call it an elephant.
I am myself not usually afraid of mice,
which is to say I am unusually afraid.
It’s been far too long.
I’d prefer if I grew over time less so,
but I do not think this a realistic trajectory.
That makes me sad.
Sometimes, when sad, I think of elephants,
and the sun’s gone already for a blue swim into the horizon,
a blue-grey touch like elephants over everything.
November 7, 2017
editors note: They are everywhere; reminders of what we can never forget. – mh clay
YESTERDAY CRASHING INTO TODAY by Edward Lee
Smelling of stale perfumes
and rusted razor blades
you slice yourself back into my life again,
and as I bleed for the first time
as I bleed all over you,
I smile and ask for more,
thinking myself the luckiest man
that you have chosen
to reopen all my old wounds.
November 6, 2017
editors note: But, it feels so good when they stop! – mh clay
Dangle by Steven Minchin
I don’t know what I was gonna say
you’re the best decorated corner
I’ve ever seen
you nearly touch the floor
with your upright part
most up right now
your legs freestyle in low air
your arms trying to be come
of your head
I think I wanna touch you somewhere
fear that I’ll fall off
if I do
November 5, 2017
editors note: When love is best conveyed from afar, maybe. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? This week’s featured short story comes from Mad Swirl’s resident Marine Corps Veteran & Chief Editor, Johnny Olson.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about “Tales of a Grunt’s Battered Battle Boots”:
The things we carry carry us, leaving the lucky to be buried with their boots on, to carry on life’s wars, life’s victories, life lived.
Here’s a step or two of this grunt’s tale to get you goin’:
(photo “A Grunt’s Battle Boots” by Johnny Olson)
If these well-worn, war-torn, badly sand beaten, sad looking field boots had a voice, the tales they would tell of scenes they had seen when they once enveloped this grunt’s feet.
As I pulled these battered boots from an old forgotten box of Marine Corps memorabilia that I was sifting thru, this duo spoke to me and presented the keys to memories long ago locked up and put away for a day I didn’t think was going to come this soon. But they came in rapid-fire succession as I reflected, reminisced; replayed scenes that we, me and my old field boots, dealt with in our times together…
To get the rest of this tell-tale story 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