“I’m always writing and reflecting on life. I want to suck it all in.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Untitled (from the series “Wiring Simplified”) ~ R. Keith
To see ALL of R’s crazy collages, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we lit up a lark in the cyber dark; we took a fresh take on a prison break; we followed the thread of ruby red; we were too long aggrieved o’er love, once believed; we learned what long-held sadness did when we took the jar and opened the lid; we walked a garden dawn, to remember one now gone; we found fashion forgotten while talking to cotton. Beware of what you wear; be right in what you write. ~ MH Clay
Cotton Breathes by Ryan Quinn Flanagan
It must be alive. I grab my shirt by the collar and
read the label. Polyester. I knew it felt like I was wearing
someone else’s dead skin around town. No wonder people
kept looking at me. I just assumed they had confused my glowing
personality with the sun. Turns out it was the whole dead skin
thing which is a mild disappointment. I look through my closet
and find one cotton shirt. I promise never to wash it again
now that I know it breathes. Simulated drowning is not cool,
especially if you are the one being water boarded. I am not
some riches to rags fascist on the government dime. Cotton
breathes like I breathe. I think we will be good friends.
When I stick you in my ears, it is a harmless prank. A wet Willie
by other means, but never out of malice. I bet if I hooked
a cotton swab up to an EKG I could get a heartbeat. I realize
you are not much of a talker, but it would be nice to be able
to hear you once in a while, my friend.
November 16, 2019
editors note: A whole new take on friendly fashion. Talkin’ to cotton is all the rage. – mh clay
garden by Jack Henry
lost & alone in the garden
of “give a fuck” i watch first rays
of light drift into a morning sky as my
barren feet crunch across grass frozen
in a thin frost, a lingering reminder
of a rampaging night –
leaves glitter & toss as a sullen wind weeps
through tall branches, rabbits alight from
hiding, eager to sup on morning gifts of
sustenance & life, w/cock in hand i piss
on dirt & rock, dreams still rattle in my skull –
he is gone, he is gone, he is gone –
i stretch & yawn, regain my cup & drink deeply,
steaming coffee burns my lips & tongue yet i
take it all in a single gulp; my head aches & moans,
but daylight inches up my skin, retrieving my
sanity as the warmth of life embraces me again –
yellow & orange & blue flowers bloom, their stamens
erect & eager; petals unfold to receive the gift of
a now risen sun; bees hover & dart before setting down
gentle, rubbing & inhaling the flowers’ scent, its taste sweet
sticky, trickle down your throat; remembrance of your
sorrow as you take me in again –
he is gone, he is gone, he is gone –
November 15, 2019
editors note: Sweet, sad reminders in a garden of gone. – mh clay
Zuw Myon by Nikita Parik
You gifted me a sorrow and forgot your gift
I remain so obliged, it weighs me down
– Faiz Ahmed Faiz
(Tr. Keki N. Daruwalla)
I bottled that sorrow in a pretty glass jar,
Sealed the golden lid shut with mellow
Labeled it ‘Zuw Myon’, and hid it under my
I carried its dull ache around for many a year,
one day its throbbing refused to give in.
So I retrieved it from under my
fed it wood smoke, bathed it in full-
carried it around like sun-kissed
And this time, it accompanied
a glowing talisman, a warm patronus,
broke open the lid one night. Through
edged light I saw letters blossoming
fireflies, nouns clenching and declench-
Mexican daisies, sharp yellow and
And I knew just what needed to be
I swallowed it whole, and a new
glided over the ghost of my last
*Zuw Myon is a Kashmiri phrase of adoration.
November 14, 2019
editors note: Sorrow, simmered and suffered until something to talk about. – mh clay
But Never Again by Alexandria Biamonte
I loved you once.
I craved your laugh,
Your touch, once.
I saved up for engagement rings.
I thought you were brilliant, once.
I thought you could light up any room.
I thought I was so lucky, once,
To have the honor of doing your
I felt safe, once.
I felt chosen.
I felt seen.
I believed you were everything, once.
I believed you would never hurt me.
I believed we could be forever.
And, once we were done,
I even fell for your lies again.
I thought I was the bad guy.
I thought I owed you more.
I felt sick,
I felt dirty.
I believed that I’d ruined your life.
I believed that I was ugly,
Once upon a time
I still loved you.
But never again.
November 13, 2019
editors note: When once is too many (do for yourselves, dudes). – mh clay
Red by Dana Al Rashid
The color of life
The shade of all wounds
It blackens into sorrow
As the sad moon fades away
The ripeness of an apple
The grounding of the reefs
The thread that ties me
To the very first woman
The sign of the times
The culmination; the harvest
Drops of ruby
All flushed down the toilet
The flushing of my face
There’s a moon inside me
A fate knitting machine
I wax and I wane
In the ebb and flow of time
A story teller, an Oracle;
A second heart
The bottomless pit
Of a deep dark well
November 12, 2019
editors note: A self, colored by the first self, the life in all selves. (We welcome Dana to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.)- mh clay
waystation by Jonathan Hine
saw an old friend
at the waystation in chicago
said he just got out of jail
said the life
gets to a person
after a while
said he held strong
in his own way
but it just gets harder
said attending ghosts told him
angels don’t burn
said in the void
they sow nothing
& reap the same
said he was just passing through
on the way to
November 11, 2019
editors note: What truths have you learned in YOUR prison? – mh clay
After Dark by Debarshi Mitra
A halogen haze
descends over the street
like a thought.
Every limb aches,
grab the ends
of a city
at the speed of light,
emerges like smoke,
clutches in its sleep
my open nerve ends.
November 10, 2019
editors note: “…inspired by the works of William Gibson and ‘cyberpunk.’” Keep those ones and zeros flowing… – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
This Need-a-Read comes to us from Contributing Writer Edward Wells.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about “in skin”:
“Some days, it’s best to get by with nature in the palm of you hand, at the tip of your tongue. Running through your blood.”
Here’s a few pithy lines of Mike’s “The Sophia Energy“ to get you contemplating:
(photo by Tyler Malone)
If Tyler’s sentiment rings some truths in you, then give this one a read right here!
This Need-a-Read just might grow on you! “My Amnesia Garden” comes to us from Dan Cardoza.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Dan’s story:
Seasons of love and loss hit like tides and assembles oceans that we swim in for all our years. Keep swimming, keep fighting for air. Keep your eyes to blue sky.
Here’s a seed to tease your need:
(photo “Growing World” by Tyler Malone)
When someone quits you, for whatever reason, even death, there are parts of you that languish, anger, and wither. You fallow empty of sun, thirst for rain.
It can be an emotional cardiac arrest, or a diabetic depression, coma. Instinctively you know, just as the removal of slivers won’t fall trees, to survive, you need to keep growing.
A broken heart has its own sound––anguish. It blooms between hammer and anvil. With sharks for wishes and prayers, it’s death by minnows. I must not be that religious.
It’s been two years, three months, and four days since Rainy left. But who’s counting?
By the way, the spiritual denotation for Rainey is “Counseled Power.” It has an old-school vibe, because of Ma Rainey. She was fondly referred to as the “Mother of Blues.”
From the tops of the mountains that Rainy said I built, she complimented clouds. Only then would she dance and laugh conger thunder to lightning to rain. Many nights I would lie near her stream bed until dawn found us wet. It never felt so good to be alive and tired…
The rest of the roots of this story can be found right here!
••• Mad Merch •••
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Short Story Editor