print issuepoetry forumshort storiesthe mad gallerycolumnsopen micfriendscontactsubmissions
home | poetry forum

“Every artist seems to me to have the job of bearing witness
to the world we live in. To some extent I think of all of us as artists,
because we have voices and we are each of us unique.”
Jane Rule

featured poems


Sleep between the leaves
in the secret dawn
of summer’s fallen shanty town.

They drowse in the clasp
of veined, watery leaflight,
in nature’s frail golden eggs,

In shells and tatters and curls
spun from the coin-washed sky.
In the quiet, cold,

Clinging to the damp walls,
red tinged their houses rattle,
turn over under the rake.

And suddenly they are trembling.
Because it is the season—
smoke swirls across the yard.

They are the meek, the helpless.
Baptized by the rain, they will not inherit.

Too small this town.

- Russell Brickey

(added 03.31.15)

editor's note: Too often meek is mauled, raped by the rake of mighty. - mh


Sweat and Saliva

He’s a hot mess of a man
All sweat and saliva
Belching on his pot roast and beer
Blind to the parsley, the napkin ironed

He groans when asked to wash
Refuses to use that damned floss
So high falootin’
His trusty ole peppermint pick lodged
Deep within his swollen gums

He grabs for her tits
Claws at her derriere
Angry that all he scores is a manicured swat
The tinkle of silver charms
She was the queen of West Texas

Now a mean ole mother
He mutters under his stale breath
Cracking another can
Not noticing her freshly curled hair
Or the Home Beautiful magazine, $1.99
Dog-eared by her side sagging
Not looking anything like a home coming
Or anyone’s high school dream

- Heather M. Browne

(1 poem added 03.30.15)

editor's note: The shame of mutual disappointment; keep those bodily fluids to yourself. - mh



Never thought I’d live to see
My own Octo-gen-er-ity
The daily complement of pills
Have staunched so many ills

I am the first in my line
To reach this magic time
As I stand to face
The finish of the race

Each day I go anew
To confront life’s brew
Of ache and tired muscle
Amid our diurnal bustle

I take my quotidian stand
A toast to Medicine Grand
For a long and healthy life
Buttressed by my loving wife

- Milt Montague

(added 03.29.15)

editor's note: Better living, longevity and love - through chemistry. Viva, Milt! - mh



Under belched clouds
in Nebraska’s sunny sky,
irrigation pumps
chugged staccato rhythm,
a zombie cadence
for marching pubescent pluckers.

She walked through
miles and miles of corn
heat swollen
erect wiry-haired stalks.
No breeze ruffled
green leaves,
tousled yellow-silk tassels.

A budding song played in ears,
The summons for snatching
male tassels
buzzed and buzzed.
She yanked sticky plumes
with sweaty palms,
pollen speckled her face.

August slipped by that summer.
It wasn’t her plan to become
part of monster Monsanto
or lose her virginity in a cornfield.
She was earning money for college.

- Sharon Frye

(2 poems added 03.28.15)

editor's note: Innocence turned to unintended complicity, caught in the coils of the combine. (We welcome Sharon to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page, including another new one - echoes out of school.) - mh



An orange jumpsuit
Fiendish rogues
Stung by zeal
White-hot iron
In measured
doses of pain
I hang off a rock
In a storm of stardust
My soul clings
To desert winds
No smokes
For fifty years
I crave a cigarette
Red lights flash
A siren blasts
Fingers bleed
Teeth fall out
My tongue
has disappeared
I gasp for breath
My headless body
no longer belongs to me
I’m a pebble
Kicked down a road

- Milton P. Ehrlich

(added 03.27.15)

editor's note: A sorry plight; cravings addressed with a kick in the teeth and roll on the road. - mh


The Tear on the Cheek

There it goes,
There it overflows,
There it wanders

In a swift feather-like manner
When wind blows
Running thither

As if to be forgotten
To be the dew
Inside a book bitterly written

To moan in silence
To hurt to torn
To be doomed to an everlasting mutiny

- Ilhem Issaoui

(added 03.26.15)

editor's note: Write the book sweetly; squeeze that tear from joy, instead. Write sweetly! - mh


The Narrows

Dolmens cast massive shadows in the narrows,
From where funnel clouds once rose in the narrows.

The wings of mynah birds shed pulsing sparks
In a cloud of ash that billows in the narrows.

Cotton grass is silvered with frosted dew
Where glistening fog flows in the narrows.

Moths dove into the flames of stone lanterns
As the shadows of wraiths rose in the narrows.

Like quivering wings, brittle leaves rise
In gales laced with echoes in the narrows.

Shafts of starlight flicker as sibyls rise
Like mist from shallows in the narrows.

Wisps of moonlit fog encircle the ferry
A cloaked figure rows in the narrows.

Pike shine like steel knives, gliding
Through sunlit shallows in the narrows.

- Steffen Horstmann

(1 poem added 03.25.15)

editor's note: Fat happenings in a skinny place... (We welcome Steffen to our growing congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Check more of his madness on his new page.) - 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
Tyler Malone
Johnny Olson

contributing poets

Sheikha A.
Alainah Aamir
Haris Adhikar
Arif Ahmad
Ann B-D
Jhon Baker
Amy Barry
Gene Barry
Hem Raj Bastola
Gary Beck
Gayle Bell
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Sheighle Birdthistle
Alan Britt
James Brown
Heather M. Browne *
Melanie Browne
Sissy Buckles
Arun Budhathoki
Francesca Castaño
Bhargab Chatterjee
Kanchan Chatterjee
Sunya Chavi
Ralph-Michael Chiaia
Joey Da'rrell Cloudy
Quinten Collier
Virginie Colline
Michael Corrigan
Rina Angela Corpus
Laurie Corzett
Logen Cure
Susan Dale
Hal J. Daniel III
P.K. Deb
Ruth Z. Deming
Beth DeSeelhorst
Joseph D. DiLella
Paul Donnachie
Jesse Doughty
J.K. Durick
Rob Dyer
Joseph Elenbaas
Neil Ellman
Michael Estabrook
Joseph Farley
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Peggy Flora
Ralph Freda
Sharon Frye *
Taylor Gall
Rafael Andrade Garza
Derrick Gaskin
Silas Gorin
KJ Hannah Greenberg
John Grey
Tobias Griffin
John Grochalski
Kenneth P. Gurney
Alan Halford
Chris Hamilton
Zachary Scott Hamilton
Dawnell Harrison
Paul Hellweg
R.A. Hernandez
Michael Holme
Steffen Horstmann *
Paul Hostovsky
A.J. Huffman
Clinton Van Inman
Ivan Jenson
Randall Johnson
Jericho Joyce
Santosh Kalwar
Peycho Kanev
Carl Kavadlo
Michael R. King
Kay Kinghammer
Paul Koniecki
Craig Kurtz
Michael Atreides Lair
Elissa Landrigan
Donal Mahoney
Ally Malinenko
Louis Marvin
Brendan McCormack
Catherine McQuade
Silva Zanoyan Merjanian
D. Russel Micnhimer
Bradford Middleton
Steven Minchin
Rose Aiello Morales
Ian Mullins
Polly Munnelly
Gina Nemo
B.Z. Niditch
Chiranjibi Niroula
Lisa Olson
Stephen Page
Jeffrey Park
Irena Pasvinter
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
David Rutter
Gianni Sacco
Opalina Salas
Aniruddha Sastikar
Paul Sexton
Lisa Shields
Roger G. Singer
Kayla Siobhan
Willie Smith
Addie Soaraki
Desmene M. Statum
Alex L. Swartzentruber
Melani Grace Tiongson
Paul Tristram
Mel Waldman
Anthony Ward
Trier Ward
Harley White
Bill Wolak
Brian Wood
Changming Yuan
Chris Zimmerly

* new entries (03.25 - 03.31)

forum archives

2015 archives

2014 archives
01.2014 - 12.2014

2013 archives
01.2013 - 12.2013

2012 archives
01.2012 - 12.2013

2011 archives
01.2011 - 12.2011

2010 archives
01.2010 - 12.2010

2009 archives
03.2009 - 12.2009

Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum
over 10,000 poems swirled... and counting!