“There are worse things than being mad.” Jack Kerouac
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“You Are My Slave” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. David hails from Detroit, Michigan. But the snapshots he brings us appear to hail from some other place altogether. His subjects seem strangely familiar. Almost like we might have seen these scenes on the side of that 7/11 down the street. You know, the wall where all the loco local artists use to express their creative madness? Hey, wait… that’s it! David is combining his fine eye for street art and his gift for photography and catching our eye on what caught his eye. Well, we sure dig what he sees and we think you will too. Why not have a look-see for yourself? To see more Mad works from David and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery. – Madelyn Olson
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we stretched heads tightly, godly beat, dried our tears, forgetful feat; we built no better legacy than to building be; we blazed away a bad one, ignited by a mad one; we saw a soldier standing tall, sentinel on rhapsodic wall; we peered into a rain-soaked box, found no sadness; we found a place where peacefulness lingers, afar from folks who point their fingers; we flipped mother, father, son and daughter to coin a new realm – understanding, justice, peace, love. Build up, tear down; create new worlds with words! ~ MH Clay
We Have Put Away Our Wings To Stand This Close Together
In the center of a large room is a table.
On the table is a coin.
Everyone knows what the coin says.
“Father, Son, Holy Ghost.”
Everyone around here knows that, they go, “Yeah. True.”
Around this table there are old white men, around them young white men with guns.
Anyone who tries to get close, “No Ma’am. No! No! Ma’am you need to step back.”
Believe me. We all know it says, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost.”
I am a poet. I am trying to learn what is next. I know there is another side to the coin.
I speak up in the room,
“Ready or not we are evolving…
There once was no Blockbuster Video
Then there was Blockbuster Video
Now there is no Blockbuster Video
While you were pondering this
I snatched up the coin from the table.
You know what it says on the other side?
“Mother, Daughter, Spirit of Life.”
Oh look, the edge of the coin says something too…
“Understanding, Justice, Peace, Love, Understanding, Justice, Peace, Love”
Are we not looking for all these things? There are two sides to every coin.
They are coming for me now, I flip the coin into the air and a voice sings out,
Spirit of Life
(2 poems added 03.14.15)
editor’s note: Coined in the heavenly mint, a currency worth risking for all. (Read another of Chris’s mad missives on his page, about giving in without giving up – check it out.) – mh
There is a land of perfect safety
hidden and waiting not too far away
across the thoughtful footbridge
and through the doorway of daydreams.
There’s a sign just outside the walls
which always makes her smile,
it proclaims in big bold letters
WARNING: People Who Like
To Point Their Fingers, Keep Out!
She’s been going there since a child
and still does on most week days
when he’s in work and the kids
are out of her hair and both in school.
Without it she would simply go spare,
be as mad as a big bucket of frogs.
The charts, maps and geography
keep changing with the rhythms
of her moods, the weather reflects
faithfully her need for peacefulness,
quiet solitude or fun and adventure.
It stretches on forever yet you can
easily walk it in an hour if wanted.
No one knows about her little paradise
for the rot would only follow them in.
She keeps it all locked away safely
deep inside her mind, in that special
corner that she keeps strictly to herself.
(1 poem added 03.13.15)
editor’s note: Brick and board or unconscious construct; we seek shelter where we must. – mh
finds him once again seeking shelter
down at the UW Fisheries Research Center
in a 6′ x 4′ rectangular wooden crate,
once used for salmon research.
He loves the rain punctuating the box’s top
as do the Iowa man and his dogs
in the “Box Motel” next to his,
the dogs anticipating their beer poached fish.
Some might assume them all sad…
but one shouldn’t make fallacious attributions
that silent men and dogs in boxes
are necessarily sad…
not yet and maybe never.
editor’s note: Refuge from rain; be it box or castle, there’s no (dry) place like home. – mh
These walls our elders built
on hills of root and clay;
the piles mute where
watch towers wait
for consonance in light.
A tune ruminates inside,
uncanny in the cavities.
First the fossil bleed
breathes the stain back
to whitewashed whispers;
the cattleshed rattles,
bolted to the well and
a draught in the rain song
roams the drop down to
a spell, till stone traps
it in holes again and a
low call sucks the ruin,
the crow stalks. A rumour
in the wall calls to war
now measured with its beak,
to fingers dancing darkly
on the ivory, the strain
in piano keys an officer
scales, beating vowels
of desolate air, vocals
crowding loudly to exile
from corners and crescendos
a shadow flares, entomb
the final note fall.
He lies in waxing smoke,
his tunic lead on open sky,
his rifle pointed to the night,
melody « in memorium »,
and the awful quiet.
editor’s note: A city sings in silence. The sentinel stands guard. – mh
HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS (IS THIS THE END?)
I’ve got to look in at myself
As I can’t look out to sea
That damn scaffold is still in the way
When it will ever come down
And what it will mean
I still don’t know but I have a feeling
My old landlord died and a huge
Amount began to change
The new paint work means the place stinks
Signs went up proclaiming that
Smoking wasn’t allowed and
Anyone found would lose their deposit
As a result of the scaffold and
The signs my paranoia grows to the
Point where now I sit in
Darkness whilst the work goes on
Outside/ Inside it’s just me
Blazing away at my own paranoia
On the inside I’m just worried
About my job, a rent increase and
How I’ll survive another cold winter
Last year was hard and the forecast is bad
Just to prove that life ain’t ever easy
But what is there to do? I just got to carry on…
(1 poem added 03.10.15)
editor’s note: They said it was arson; the accelerant, paranoia. He said he was just carryin’ on… – mh
I Am Building
a profession, a tower, something
erected, intended to reach
heaven, a structure
of large size,
facilities, an establishment
for factors of manufacturing,
a dwelling, to endure, sustain,
withstand without yielding
or submitting, the basis,
the groundwork of anything,
the lowest division, the act
of founding, of establishing
(1 poem added 03.09.15)
editor’s note: We all aspire to edifice; sell naming rights to highest bidder. Whose building are you? – mh
Our tilted heads
Only flesh fearing the inevitable
Infinite space the heart of God
Spirits living within that beat
Never crying again
Forgetting all of this
That we have done.
– Stephen Jarrell Williams
editor’s note: An empty slate, all past is passed; God-beat achieved. – mh
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Check out the latest addition to our short stories library, “The Spanish Drummer” by Carl Kavadlo. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: “Forever starts with a Sunday, the day God rests but people create art.”
Here’s a few notes to get the tune goin’:
photo by Tyler Malone
We first wanted to start a wedding band. This is where I met Scott Howard. He was a fat guy playing keyboard across from me in a Manhattan rehearsal studio.
The next week I had him over at my house.
I watched him wobble up the walkway. We lived in a place called the Butcher’s Co-op on Midwood Street, Brooklyn. I stood in the kitchen and watched him from my second floor view. He had nothing but a pullover, white turtle neck ski sweater for outdoor apparel. It was late November. It was twenty degrees that day.
I stood there waiting for him. He had picked an outrageously early time: nine-thirty in the A.M.
He strolled, all three hundred and fifty pounds of him. I watched him out of a small, narrow window. Then he disappeared into the doorway. The buzzer rang. We were on the second floor. I rang him up.
Now that you got the melody, why not hear the whole song? Get the rest of your READ on RIGHT here!
••• Mad Happenin’s •••
Sure, you have an evening of St. Patrick’s Day mayhem planned for your self; so, why not maximize the festive day and start your evening with us?
Gene Barry, Chief Editor of Rebel Poetry Ireland and Chairman of the Fermoy International Poetry Festival, will join Johnny O, Founder and Chief Editor of Mad Swirl, to host this event.
Readings from the collection by the author and local poets, Chris Zimmerly, Opalina Salas, Johnny O joined by Gene Barry, too.
If you can’t be here LIVE, you can tune in and view the whole shebang LIVE via Rebel Poetry’s UStream
Admission is free.
Join us for a fun time – St. Patrick wants you to!
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…
Short Story Editor