“You just get the vibes of your surroundings and it rubs off on you.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Ova – Sharon O’Callaghan Shero
To see ALL of Sharon’s madly systerious 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 saw girl turned gunner, for not being a runner; we dismissed a dastard, too much of a bastard; we bounced in the blur of being in stir; we crept, crawling far, as a fast falling star; we lost our mind, thought truth to find; we failed to go from contaminant glow; we tripped as faith taker, spun by a toy maker. We sing their songs, or we write our wrongs. Write, right? ~ MH Clay
Vapor Creation and The Artist at Rest by Steven Minchin
Smoke begets smoke
and men who say begets
fading wisps of men
like this one
here again on flimsy pages
which are actually screens before men
this man here begets smoke
and lets it summon whatever
strings of men and other things
that it can get spinning
through any natural air
as if they where a toy
a frail whirl of a toy
here again at the end of a grip
that’s forever bound to this man
and all that he begets
November 17, 2018
editors note: Slip a slice from the infinite string, see if the smoke swirls there. Then pick another… – mh clay
And by Ron Riekki
They didn’t know it,
but there were hazmat buildings
right next to an elementary school.
We were separated by a deep ravine
and trees that I was told
couldn’t be removed
without biohazard gear,
the branches so infected
that you could break them open
and a devil made entirely made of snow
would pop out.
Through a small clearing
I found a spot
where I could see the elementary school
looking like a romantic comedy film star
sunning on a boring Tuesday.
I screamed to it
but it didn’t listen.
I turned around
and went back in the building
where I was told
I would be exposed to radiation
whether I liked it or not.
November 16, 2018
editors note: We may bloom toxic now, but half-life is forever. – mh clay
Sonnet on Mind by Harley White
When reflecting on the nature of mind
Of what wit or wisdom do we dare speak?
For the wind in the sky is all we find,
In a round and round game of hide and seek.
It’s mind over matter, sages surmise;
With power of mind as their driving force
Deductive logicians philosophize
From ‘We think, therefore we are…’ as the source.
We muse; we spin, in dreaming delusion,
Our webs of thought, until nought we behold,
And heady with sense, fall in confusion.
Or is yet the end of the story told?
As our labyrinth journey turns and twists,
We lose our way in miasmas and mists.
November 15, 2018
editors note: We can, head down, arms tucked, sneak by; or stride through, head up, arms wide. – mh clay
THE SKY CAN FALL AND WE CAN HIDE IN CLOUDS by Michael Brownstein
How do you know which day it is when night falls
or the minute hands within an hour’s seconds,
but we can draw the stars across our trees
and count leaves, the breeze, their seeds.
Tomorrow may be too late to remember
and the face of the clock too obscure to forget,
but we can drive into the ocean darkening
and watch shadow blackening, harkening.
Last evening the Northern Star fell from grace,
plummeted into our garden’s late afternoon tea,
but we heard it’s echo—its echo?–in its final falling,
stalling, calling, trembling into a kind of crawling.
November 14, 2018
editors note: Cloaking clouds, umbrella sky; loudly rips the hole where stars fall through. (We welcome Michael to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
Drinking Old Scratch & Another Night In The Local Nick by Paul Tristram
Rinse and fucking repeat…
why do you keep doing this to yourself?
There is something important,
fundamental, broken inside of you,
but the doctors either can’t find it,
or simply do not understand.
AA only gets some of it right,
there’s more, it’s deeper…
spiritual, like a damn soul-sickness,
a pox, curse and cancer of the mind.
How long will they keep you in this time?
It won’t be more than necessary,
not like when you were in your prime,
and they enjoyed trying to torture you…
now you’re labelled ‘Chronic’
and more an annoyance than a challenge.
One more Styrofoam cup of lukewarm water,
and the SHAKES are shifting gear.
You spit upon your grubby fingers,
and use it to rub the dried blood
off your ghost-like face.
Not for appearance sake,
but, because when you are released,
you already know,
that your first steps of freedom
are taking you to one of two places…
the nearest barstool,
or, depending upon how many pennies
you have in ‘Property’ … shoplifting first.
November 13, 2018
editors note: It’s an acute flair-up, or a drawn out affliction. Either way, take your meds and move on. – mh clay
A Sad Bastard of Syria by Sheighle Birdthistle
I broke into your soul and wondered where I was
Dante’s inferno was a rest home in comparison
Colours of your cruelty met me, envy greens of
Jealousy and raw red of anger with the purple
Of rage and the stinging smell of badness engulfed
Me as I shivered and tried to shrive your shadow
What conception birthed a mongrel so gross so lacking?
What is a soul that has no connection to humanity?
I broke into your soul not to heal you nor to understand
The whirling dance that you have ascribed as yours
Is the melting pot dance of all the Devils of Hades
My goodness is eroded by your evil as you contaminate
I broke into your soul to find a devil equal to your hate
There is none
November 12, 2018
editors note: Do you, once in, attempt to assuage? Or, hightail it the hell out of there? – mh clay
Cultivating Cabarets by KJ Hannah Greenberg
The gilded compère, looking after the vetting, eyeballed the night’s balladeers.
Where, in others place, people had lamely spit on winners, his hall boasted no
Fewer than eight eventual Grand Champions; his producers knew that singers
Had to inhabit personae to suit modern audiences – they were forced to scream.
One “little girl,” eliminated after two rounds, sat at home, cleaning not one, but
Two smoothbores for purposes of comeuppance. She’d read that chest and head
Were keen locations for placing holes. An officious technical director was first,
Followed by a misogynous boom operator, a bossy runner, and then an intern.
She gunned down the stage manager and gaffer, too, before taking her smoking
Weapon to her noggin. Afterwards, an aging videographer worried over many
Bits of blood, cloth, viscera (his supervisors improperly monitored nearly every
Contestant, were the worse clock-punching connoisseurs cultivating cabarets.)
November 11, 2018
editors note: Watch out! Judge with diligence the gracious winner; even more, the sore loser. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Surely there are lots of things you need but if one of them is a need for a read, stop your scroll roll & heed this post!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story:
Pluto: the universe’s greatest underdog. Not forgotten, just downgraded. When Earth is forgotten, maybe Pluto won’t hold onto our disrespect and hold an icy vigil for our once curious explorers, and even our condescending star gazers.
Here’s a bit to get you warmed up to this cold celestial neighbor of ours:
(photo, “A Dash of Life” by Tyler Malone)
Most haven’t a clue what to do here on Earth to fix our gargantuan plights…
Still Dwarf Planet Pluto in Kuiper Belt ring, in that most amazing of flights, has been closely surveyed, contemplated, perceived, scrutinized, photographed, (not to mention its moons), long after discoverer Tombaugh departed, though ashes of his were on board the spacecraft in its celebrated flyby New Horizons (complete with its software glitches and trials) robotic probe mission to Pluto— that’s traveled so far more than three billion miles— nine years after launching was started.
Whew, what a feat unbelievable— a visit that seems inconceivable!
Aye, it’s historical, phantasmagorical, stirring us rhymers to ring metaphorical…
But what of the bonny blue planet we dwell on, that humans are making a virtual a hell on?!
Does anyone care that our weather’s awry and that layers of sky are corrupted on high, that the seas have contaminants no one has heeded, and water is scarce where it’s very much needed, while frackers are fracturing terra to death and the air’s so polluted we can’t catch our breath!?…
Get the rest of this pondering read right here!
••• 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