“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“yes!!!” (above) by featured artist Dan Rodriguez
To see ALL of Dan’s mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we sprung a heart sprain on an autumn train; we stood in starstruck random fandom; we struggled in strife for the not yet knife; we dabbled in the dialect of settled muse peace effect; we perched on the precipice of error filled edifice; we ripped out the seam of American dream (not just American, it seems); we thought through the thing, through mayfly wing and superior being. We know some things or some ones are watching, we write to be seen. Our words watch them. ~ MH Clay
the old lights by Cheyenne Gallion
They came from all the boat docks, by the water that grew smaller each day
As it conceded to this particular East Texas July heat
We grew stronger until the fall
Walking barefoot painfully on hot asphalt and sticker-filled yards and sharp gravel
It was only at night they would come, when we turned on the light
We didn’t know then what it was we were doing
Gathering all those small creatures like the moon, they know about the moon
Light, not like our light
Closer than a million years of evolution told them it would be
The old tennis court, we turned on the lights
Old lights, taking a long time to be light
Soon an adult would come and tell us to get outta there, to turn them off
They would not think about the thousands of tiny fragile carcasses, at our feet
All the mayflies from by the lake
Living their entire life in one day, they had flown to us
It was normal to not see them
Until their ritual of death
I would think about a superior being, seeing me for the first time as I died
Seeing my life only then
As one day, so short
Wondering how much of the universe was never understood, to me
I knew the mayflies were glad to have lived
I was glad too, to have lived so long already
If I was a mayfly it would have been 8am-ish of my life then, or sometime in the early
Not very long after I was born
I knew these things
Some days are much longer than others, to the mayfly
September 29, 2018
editors note: In our larval stage we are more adept at decipherment. – mh clay
american groupthink and apple pie by John Grochalski
at school pep rallies mostly
or on the school bus
going to the football game
or the hundreds of them breaking into
or battle cries
then usa! usa! usa!
sounding like ravenous nazis on the prowl
you could only look around
in fear and wonder
at their red faces
the spittle coming out of their mouths
their fists moving like hammers
the blind capitulation
american groupthink and apple pie
as they chanted the same doggerel
over and over again
like it was coming from their hearts
so it is no wonder
to see them all now as adults
pasty-faced and flabby
fat from the heartland
the mendacity of exceptionalism on stolen land
but this time for crooked politicians
still caught up
in the same stupid orthodoxy
that has kept them
shackled to the many
the very blood and soil
that has been strangling
the essence of their humanity
September 28, 2018
editors note: Don’t think Americans have a lock on this. Nope! – mh clay
Drift by Sanjeev Sethi
If tenderness of my heartbeat seems
like tocsin to your ears, the failing is
neither yours nor mine, error is in the
edifice. Sharpness in words is vetted
as children. Adults soak in unctuous
sounds: implorations are incendiary.
We wear the cangue of other births,
some laboriously, some with levity.
September 27, 2018
editors note: Our perpetual pillory; we are shamed or we shine. – mh clay
Essence and Effect of Peace by Prof. Rajdeep Chowdhury
Essence of peace is in
Effect of peace is
Essence of peace leads to exhaustive effect of peace
The shift is apparently subtle
As gracious guise with poignant poise would ease
The tranquil muse to settle
September 26, 2018
editors note: All of these -ities, one can’t refuse to see how peace can settle your muse. – mh clay
phantom by Marisa Adame
there’s an itch between my shoulder blades —
the hardest place to scratch.
i convert to contortionism
and learn to fold myself in fourths.
i dislocate my shoulderbones attempting to eradicate discomfort,
but i break the joint so often, it never has time to heal.
i jump through hoops
and give no second thought to my safe landing.
i trust the ligaments have not yet worn away.
i reach toward the middle of my back:
touch the premonition of a stabbing,
scratch a scab that’s not yet formed,
place my fingers on a wound
that’s yet to come.
September 25, 2018
editors note: Oh, the pain we have in anticipation of the pain we haven’t. – mh clay
Seen And Not Seen by Anne Mikusinski
I stole this title
From an old tune
That isn’t sung but spoken
It reminded me
Of how I
Watched you that night
How what you
And how I went home
And have been writing
About nothing since
How you moved
Caught up in something
Better captured in a picture
Than in thoughts.
But as words are all I have
I’ll just say I still dream about
Obscuring all but the motion of your
On the strings
And how my breath stopped
In that moment
And still does.
September 24, 2018
editors note: To be a fan, to have a fan, to fan the flame and not flicker… – mh clay
Only God Knows by Ahmad Al-khatat
Only god knows how much I need you.
I miss you as much as the snow misses
a moment to fall above the cedars.
Everyone says that I should keep moving on,
but I hear your voice coming toward me
slowly as if I hear an echo from a distance.
Weeping, because of my daily routine, the
autumn season appears twice in one year.
First was from the cloud, second is from my eyes
bitter is how happiness tastes
I smile in my dreams, waiting to see you
before the train comes and leaves me in grief
September 23, 2018
editors note: Such sweet longing; snow slurried, train taken, twice autumn and an aching heart. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you are hungry & you really Need-a-Read, satiate that read need with this week’s featured short from Mad trifecta-ist (Contributing Writer/Poet/Artist & guest Editor) Mike Fiorito!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o’week:
We all look for a place for our head. From the time we fell out of the trees, to those who sleep under the bridges we build, rest is the other half of life.
Here’s a few lines of “The Silence of Slow Time” to stave off your hunger:
(photo, “A Place for Predators to Pray” by Contributing Artist Tyler Malone)
He is crouching on the grass behind a bush, out of wind. Only a few feet away he hears the growling of a tiger. He holds his breath until his lungs almost burst, cautiously letting the air seep out of his lungs.
The tiger lingers, but then seems to stroll away.
It doesn’t matter what we call this being. He is half-man, half-beast. He speaks in a language of mixed grunts and gestures. His eye ridges are prominent. His teeth are crooked like planks of wood jammed into the Earth. He looks like people we know, people that we’ve seen.
The coast now clear, he lifts his broad nose into the air to detect the scent of the tiger. Tigers are known to lay in wait, hiding from a distance so they can pounce on their unsuspecting victims, clawing the face, plunging their fangs into the neck and burrowing into the meat. Once the neck is penetrated, the body goes limp. The tiger knows that the moment the breath escapes the body, the flesh becomes tender and sweet.
The half-man remains still. He waits…
Get the rest of this wild read right here!
••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••
Join Mad Swirl & Swirve (with special guests Ernesto Montiel & Andrew Miller) this 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.03.18) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ Regal Room at the Independent Bar & Kitchen!
Come on out, one & all… share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl Open Mic.
Come to participate.
Come to appreciate.
Come to swirl-a-brate!
••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••
The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 is an anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on MadSwirl.com throughout 2017. We editors reviewed the entire year’s output to ensure this collection is truly “the best of Mad Swirl.” The works represent diverse voices and vantages which speak to all aspects of this crazy swirl we call “life on earth.”
This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl! Get your very own copy of this Best of Mad Swirl (v2017 style) collection 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…
Guest Short Story Editor