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“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Carl Jung

featured poems

American Dreamin'

I've seen the American dream in faded, aged pictures of my immigrant family, who barely escaped Nazi occupied Italy in the bottom of a cargo ship shortly after WWII ended... equipped with not much more than the clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, and seeds of dreams of golden-paved American streets planted in their hearts.

I've seen the American dream in the big-shouldered, blue-collared Chicago streets sewn with train yard threads weaving the cloth of my youth where Midwestern hardened men fought the bitter elements to battle the machinery of box car couplings in sub-zero temps to ensure that they brought the food to the tables of families whose dreams are as basic as having their next meal to eat.

I've seen the American dream in the degeneration of my X generation who were raised in a world chockfull of fears that the Commies were near and "the bomb" would knock us clear into oblivion any day while mama and papa were away at work, too busy trying to make those elusive ends meet.

I've seen the American dream in barely 18-year-olds who raised their right hands with me to take the oath to defend our great nation and wore our country's cloth, vowing to battle those hell-bent on taking away the dreams of our fathers.

I've seen the American dream twisted in Middle Eastern enemies’ eyes, who despise our freedoms and see our dreams as demonized things that these martyrs have destined themselves to destroy.

I've seen the American dream in the Teamstered truck drivers who filled the dock doors with their 18-wheeled machines, trekking our wares over the highways and byways to where they are needed most, to feed this industrialized, capitalized dream.

I've seen the American dream in fearless and feared, bearded bikers who fly their freedom flags on their backs and swear to God almighty that whosoever tries to take away their dreams will suffer the slow and painful death of a treasonous expatriate.

I've seen the American dream in the helpless homeless men who wander predawn outside my urban doorway, looking for some way to survive just another day without starving and hoping their dream turns to views with brighter hues.

I've seen the American dream in the aged lines of our country's elderly, who see that this land is a far cry from what it was way back then and hoping to forget that it's just a skeleton of what it once was.

I've seen the American dream in the children's eyes of the next generation, who will be raised on standardized grades, equal praise, fading classes, unemployed masses, man-made disasters...

I see the American dream every time I look in the mirror and it's clear to me that I am, that you are, that every man, woman and child in this land of the free are the dreamers of the American dream and that the power is in our hands to mold this clay and keep dreaming of better days.

- Johnny Olson

(1 poem added 07.26.14)

editor's note: We are immigrants, all! Better we dream together... (This'n came from our Chief Editor in response to a request for poems on the subject of The American Dream. It's a grand dream we share and you don't have to be American to share it, either...) - mh


The dream is a misconception,
the misconception is a mistake-illusion.

The dream is a mirror,
the mirror is a wish -unfullfilled.

The dream is a shadow,
a shadow that makes me hug it constantly.

- Pere Risteski

(1 poem added 07.25.14)

editor's note: Somniscribed syllogisms shake dream logic; what is waking, what is sleeping? (We welcome Pere to our creative conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Check out more of Pere's madness on his new page.) - mh

The DA/The Criminalization of Reality

This is the end of Gravity.
We can live forever
In a place that does not exist.
What does that mean,
“Living in the past”?
Ourselves the mirrors
That most resemble them.
Do we mostly resemble ourselves
Or do we?
When we look into ourselves
The heroes we hide
Show us their idols:
Artificial, complete,
Completely sterile
featuring The Sonic Dildo
By Patrick Carr.
Sugartime and Lucy
Were his disciplants.
They lived at the collective
With sybarite Jesus
From 2150 A.D.
They said,
There's a scar on your face
For every sin you've committed
And two for every grace.
We found this answer
Searching in the wrong place.
We are our heroes' idols,
I said.
The art of leisure
Is the art of dying easily.
Do not be misled,
Your time is not spent

The hierophants magazined over the waters:
Cognizance and wax.

- Quinten Collier

(added 07.24.14)

editor's note: Reality derived through prosecutorial prowess is trumped by sonic sex and a wax job. (Google Patrick Carr for a giggle.) - mh

Betting On Blue

The feeling, not
the color, creeping into my eyes
as they watch a phone that doesn’t
ring. Your wheel is running,
but I have no marble left to
drop. Time
slows. Distance
ticks off
in my head, leaves
me spinning. Knowing we
will land on double
zero, the shape of repeated

- A.J. Huffman

(2 poems added 07.23.14)

editor's note: Our roulette revolution, a gamble every time. We revolt against loneliness, bet on love; mostly the house wins. (Another good one from A.J. on her page - check it out.) - mh

you don't need gloves, i know which hands are yours

remember when the altitude spoke for us ...
sitting in a park, the trees drugged us with the quiet
you put your hand on my knee and told me
you would let me down–
it was the first time you looked me in the eye
without smiling, the first time you felt your initials
scarred into my bones
you didn't even know–

your thumb was nervous there ...
skimming the dent where i became a child again
and i didn't know what to say to you
because my words had not yet graduated
like yours; they were still in a sandbox,
digging for something that glistened–

i told you i didn't feel like swimming,
escaping the subject at hand, your hand
still on my knee cap, not sure what to do next ...
it was a fantastic grip, one i would write about later
while listening to thunder
through my bedroom window, calling off any
sadness that thinks it belongs in my room.

you said it was not a good day to get wet
and moved your fingers to the grass
where a dandelion stared at us both, cheering
us on with its stretched spine and billowy face
–you snapped it from the root and placed it
in my lap

i could hear laughter by the swing set
so i got up, the weed already decaying
as it hit the ground– i raced to that sound of
privilege filling the air, remembering
a tickled tummy with every upward soar
the motion sickness of falling back, eyes closed
hours of being able to breathe

you asked if you could push me–
i said you'd done enough,
then bravely kissed your cheek.
a storm was leaning against the hills,
already packed
waiting for take-off.

- Mandolyn

(1 poem added 07.22.14)

editor's note: Staying dry, her toes to the sky, promise to let down, offer to push high; playground love. (We welcome Mandolyn to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this poem. Read more of her madness on her page.) - mh

Young Love

Blossoming from a minute spark,
It dances with passion—
Igniting a host of naked flames
That surround untouched bodies
And unexplored emotions,
Waiting to start the Catherine Wheel
That's masquerading as a beating heart.

Explosions of deep, new-born connections
And overbearing crescendos,
All maintained in a catastrophic reality
Balanced with a serendipitous mirage
Made real with every moment,
Every second and every memory that's born,
Defining two people as a hopeful truth.

- Christopher P. P. White

(added 07.21.14)

editor's note: Fun with fireworks, all sparkle and flash; treat the burns after... - mh


There’s this girl I know, a complete lush by all accounts
She thinks poems should rhyme but I got no truck with those old ideas
She loves the way my old poems sound in her head; garnering negative
reactions from audiences
Wherever they were read; a night at an organic gastro-pub renders
people speechless over their locally sourced vegetables
Then there was the time we got so drunk I couldn’t actually read to a
crowd of blue-rinsed Daily Mail readers
On one of those first shows, when the nerves took hold, I have vague
recollections of falling off-stage

She will say she’s broke until I see her in town; quaffing absinthe no
less and with absolutely no shame
Occasionally I will send her a text to see about a drink and no matter
what it so often seems this way
I’ll end up buying, being pleased to get out, and she’ll promise that
next time it’ll be her turn
Until next time which is so, so long when it happens all over again
We’ll arrange to meet and I’ll end up buying and before we leave
she’ll suggest some point later that week
Only to then ignore my texts and leave me hanging again; and then when
we do she’ll ask why we don’t do this as much!?

- Bradford Middleton

(1 poem added 07.20.14)

editor's note: A stand-up poet falls for a fickle femme groupie; trying for free verse while she wants rhyme. - mh

Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum

welcome to the Mad Swirl poetry forum. we have collected poetry from the maddest poets from the maddest corners of the world and have showcased them here in the forum just for you. this page is in flux, living and breathing, evolving and changing constantly... so please come and come often for the latest submissions. if you would like to submit poetry for the forum please see our submissions page.

staff poets

MH Clay
Cheyenne Gallion
Paul Koniecki
Tyler Malone
Johnny Olson *

contributing poets

Haris Adhikari
Ann B-D
Jhon Baker
Claude Barrett
Amy Barry
Gene Barry
Hem Raj Bastola
Gary Beck
Gayle Bell
Mike Berger
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Sheighle Birdthistle
Alan Britt
James Brown
Heather M. Browne
Melanie Browne
Sissy Buckles
Arun Budhathoki
Francesca Castaño
Kanchan Chatterjee
Ralph-Michael Chiaia
Virginie Colline
Michael Corrigan
Rina Angela Corpus
Laurie Corzett
Hal J. Daniel III
Holly Day
P.K. Deb
Joseph D. DiLella
Paul Donnachie
Jesse Doughty
J.K. Durick
Rob Dyer
Joseph Elenbaas
Neil Ellman
Michael Estabrook
Joseph Farley
Zach Fishel
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Peggy Flora
Ralph Freda
Taylor Gall
Rafael Andrade Garza
Derrick Gaskin
Silas Gorin
KJ Hannah Greenberg
John Grey
Jake Grieco
Tobias Griffin
John Grochalski
Kenneth P. Gurney
Alan Halford
Chris Hamilton
Zachary Scott Hamilton
Charlotte Hamrick
Dawnell Harrison
Paul Hellweg
R.A. Hernandez
Michael Holme
Paul Hostovsky
A.J. Huffman *
Clinton Van Inman
Genevieve Jenkins
Ivan Jenson
Jeremy W. Johnson
Randall Johnson
Jericho Joyce
Santosh Kalwar
Carl Kavadlo
Michael R. King
Kay Kinghammer
Craig Kurtz
Nicole Kuwik
Michael Atreides Lair
Elissa Landrigan
Pd Lietz
Robert D. Lyons
Todd Macaulay
Mandolyn *
Donal Mahoney
Ally Malinenko
Louis Marvin
Silva Zanoyan Merjanian
Bradford Middleton *
Steven Minchin
Rose Aiello Morales
John Najjar
Gina Nemo
B.Z. Niditch
Chiranjibi Niroula
Lisa Olson
Stephen Page
Jeffrey Park
Irena Pasvinter
Lilly Penhall
Robert E. Petras
Patty Dickson Pieczka
Timothy Pilgrim
Douglas Polk
Nalini Priyadarshni
Christopher Raley
Sam Rapth
Gayle Reaves-King
Roderick Richardson
Pere Risteski *
Luke Ritta
Sy Roth
Walter Ruhlmann
Gianni Sacco
Opalina Salas
Paul Sexton
Lisa Shields
Ray Sharp
Roger G. Singer
Kayla Siobhan
Christopher Smith
Willie Smith
Desmene M. Statum
Alex L. Swartzentruber
David Thornbrugh
Melani Grace Tiongson
Paul Tristram
Kufre Udeme
Mel Waldman
Anthony Ward
Sheree La Puma-Watson
Bill Wolak
Brian Wood
Changming Yuan
Chris Zimmerly

* new entries (07.20 - 07.26)

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