“I could never deny myself bein’ an artist.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“the lovers” (above) by featured artist Elvin Armando
Mad Swirl is mighty excited to welcome Elvin Armando to our Mad Gallery with some works of art that are right up our alley! Elvin plays (or paints) with haunting, creepy imagery (skulls, blood) juxtaposed with cheerful concepts (a family portrait, butterflies, lovers) in an incredibly unique and compelling way that we couldn’t take our eyes off it. Elvin’s dark works of art were a shoo-in and when you look for yourself, we’re sure you’ll see why. ~ Madelyn Olson
To see more of Elvin’s macabre canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we lived a history for stars to see; we admired an ancient gambler, cast for us in amber; we found jazz to be perfect majesty; we went to real undo, tried to play empty, too; we vented spleen o’er magazines; we thought to be bolder to warm a cold shoulder; we set libido free, soaked in the sap of a tantric tree. From root to rant, leaf to laughter; who says “can’t,” when words come after? ~ MH Clay
Tree of Eros by Bill Wolak
after a painting by Skaii de Vega
One kiss was trying to catch another
as every pore of your skin
opened like a threaded needle.
One leg was twisting upward
to where dawn still sang
through your swirling hair.
Whatever the thunder healed,
split asunder again.
Whatever nakedness promised,
your body offered
with the startling
persistence of silk.
Each leaf first perceived
the blending of dreams
from the intimate waves
of your flexing thighs.
Each branch first sensed
the sap’s slow arousal
from your quivering flesh.
Each root first tasted the deep earth
from the shadow’s sleek pathway
between your steep breasts.
One kiss was trying to catch another
across your body’s anchor
May 19, 2018
editors note: A fantastic (erotic) ekphrastic, inspired by The Tree of Eros. See it here. – mh clay
THE COLD SHOULDER by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Who wants to be the cold shoulder,
that thing that fills the heart with snow,
that thing that wounds your dearest friend?
The rain makes it much colder.
You feel it in the organs of your body.
It leaves your heart frozen and raw.
The cold shoulder leaves you beaten up.
It draws a different kind of blood.
It becomes emotional abuse.
It is brutal like the monkey’s fist.
It’s a silent killer, a slow burn.
It takes you to the ground if you let it.
The gaping wound gets wider.
It plants its roots deep inside you.
It makes your life a living hell.
Walk away from the cold shoulder.
Save your heart from the discomfort.
Go about your business and breathe.
May 18, 2018
editors note: Yes! Would much rather bask in a warm smile. – mh clay
Little magazines. by DS Maolalai
I hate them.
I really hate them,
most of them,
most of those little magazines,
those darlings of the indie press,
5 dollar photocopies
stitched together behind someone’s bedroom door
or the backroom of a dirty floored convenience store,
always with a half dozen poems printed skewways,
and eight or ten stories
including one “penned by the editor”
and some off-colour prints of someone’s paintings
that look like cheap surrealism
spat out people who don’t need to be surreal
to showcase the few little twists
and insights which exist in their minds
when a nice landscape would probably do it,
something their grandmother even could hang up in the toilet
and meanwhile around them the phrases turn like cogwheels,
and spinning in place,
“slowly, steadily he drank”
“in the distance a dog barked”
god damn if these bad poets
really have it right
then what quiet bit of world have I been living in?
I was in a hostel sitting room once
and this french guy was explaining to a girl
over toast and boiled eggs
that he was an artist
and an actor
that he had been prolific in Paris
and now he was here
down on his money
down on his
and I felt
like getting up and yelling at him
what the fuck do you think the rest of us are?
plumbers on holidays?
the bookshelf had three copies of Marquis du Sade
for fuck sake.
art is the hobby of people with cheekbones
who are tired of having an easy time getting laid.
fuck art fuck art fuck art.
and fuck poetry.
May 17, 2018
editors note: Ah, yes! And fuck us poets, too. Never did like my cheekbones… – mh clay
Our Romantic Disrespect for Physics by Steven Minchin
Let’s go undo real
don’t you mean
no more elephants
you take off
to stop strings
and I stay
which has taken
and flashing back
back to me
left while you were gone
ya wanna play?
May 16, 2018
editors note: Just another day on the surreal playground; looking for love or a game of freeze tag. – mh clay
JAZZ ROYALTY by Bradford Middleton
Miles smiles his way in on this
Saturday evening, coming to remind me
That tonight would have been the time
I’d be out searching, that elusive good
Time that could be mine here
Deep in the heart of a damp
October night in seedy old Brighton
Town that is probably still
Teeming with those undiscouragable
Visitors down from the smoke
But now I sit here with Lester blaring
From my speakers and I know
That what I need isn’t available
Not here, not in this town
Not outside this room anyway
Where I can dance, smoke and
Drink whatever I damn well like
But the walls are thin
So I can’t raise a holler in
Adoration of a time I never knew
When all the kings and queens of
Jazz would have been my royalty.
May 15, 2018
editors note: Their majesties, Davis and Young, making proclamations palatable to a stranger in a strange land. – mh clay
Preserved In Amber by Irena Pasvinter
Discovered in a bulky chunk of amber,
He was preserved completely, all intact.
Huge fountain of scientific rambling
Sprang joyfully, inspired by this fact.
Not just another prehistoric beetle –
New species were eagerly described
To classify exciting ancient riddle,
To brighten it with scientific light.
This beetle sure was a lucky gambler,
And if I could, I’d swap with him, of course,
For endless years in the golden amber,
Not in the rotting and worms-ridden earth.
But if the stormy sea would cast me out,
Preserved completely, shamelessly intact,
And on a sandy shore I would be found –
Would I enjoy this scientific fact?
May 14, 2018
editors note: Every sentient being’s ambition, aware at the time or not. – mh clay
Starry Sonnet by Harley White
As guideposts in the sky to light the way
the heavens’ stars assist our human sight.
Big Dipper asterism holds its sway
in northern Ursa Major shining bright.
When sets the evening sun on earthly cares,
the darkest nights with stellar beams will glow,
regardless of terrestrial affairs,
in spectacle of grand celestial show.
But time will tell and truth be told at last
once all is reckoned from our mortal lives
what future we’ll create from troubled past
to be recorded in the vast archives.
For constant stars above seem not to mind
the vagaries below of humankind.
May 13, 2018
editors note: Maybe our antics make some blush. That’s why we have red ones, right? – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you Need-a-Read, Mad Swirl has got a hell of a twisted tale to share with you!
This week’s featured short story, “Between You, Me, and The Devil” comes to us from David Provost.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this week’s pick:
“Don’t waste short life trying reign in fun, hoping to still get into Heaven. The blessedly dead are waiting for you to join the party and they have all the time of eternity. But you don’t.”
And here’s a tease to start you out of this un-Dante-esque diatribe read ride:
(photo “Shadow of God” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
We got this one sayin’ — really a lotta sayins up here, but my personal favorite is: “hell ain’t worth a damn ‘less you know why you’re damned.” I ain’t paraphrasin’ neither. We don’t have no time for paraphrasin’ up here.
That’s right, you’ll find out soon, once you too get damned. Hell is actually above all you regular type earth-dwellers. We’re up here just over the exosphere, plain invisible to y’all still mortal. I can see “Heaven” from my house. And no, before you ask, hell is not in fact, on fire. Mr. Dante was wrong and so was my pastor.
Speakin’ of Reverend Elliot (my pastor), he told me if I said aloud: “Jesus Christ is Lord and savior now and forever,” that I’d get a one-way ticket straight to Paradise. But here I am now, sharin’ a two-story shitpad made o’ withered wood n’ streaky glass. My roommates? Buncha’ other Texan white men who slapped their daughters too hard and died o’ colon cancer like me. Goddamn you, Rev.
And if you’re a Christian who refrains from sayin’ cuss words, go on and give your kids back all their pennies from the household swear jar. It don’t matter like you think it does. They say cuss words across the clouds in Jesus Land, constantly. Sailor-mouthed cherubim are prevalent. When Philip Seymour Hoffman OD’d, Mary Magdalene yelled “fuck” so loud, it cracked right through the mildewed walls of our hellhole abode.
I’ve even seen Jesus with my own eyes. Guy’s actually a real booze hound. He sleeps in on most Saturdays, and Sundays too. Sabbath my ass…
Get the rest of this wicked read on right here!
••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••
This year Mad Swirl has engaged the necessary resources to publish a print anthology, The Best of Mad Swirl: v2017!
This will present the best of last year’s works posted on MadSwirl.com; poems (52 to be exact), short stories (a cool dozen) and art (four to feast upon)!
We are excited about this anthology, the first print copy of Mad Swirl to be published since 2009.
We expect to complete this collection in the next few weeks & goin’ to press by late May/early June.
Watch our website and our Facebook page for more details…
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…
Denyin’ Denyin’ It,
Short Story Editor