“Art includes everything that stimulates the desire to live.” Remy de Gourmont
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we exalted in eight’s existence; we scored a swat from romance that was not; we raked the repose of the moth egged weak; we lurked in the lees of what no one hears, cares, sees; we sheared shorn sheaves from what the knife edge leaves; we cut in the line of phone-tagged bottle buyers sublime; we parted the ways to hard-fought sober days. So many words to state the struggle; strive, stand! ~ MH Clay
Unseen parting of ways
Unseen parting of ways, spoken broken vowels, suffocating in your own liquored dreams of illusionary and elocutionary vows, I’m that toxic waste vessel adrift on dry land with a soaked soul a hundred percent intoxication no participation on parting of ways only an array of empty bottles for days as others are amazed at the rainbow flavor thirst I display and liquor bottle parade, I care not about charade as life inside me fades;
unseen parting of ways
battling shakes and sweats awake I forgot to pray for my sake as I lay in my own wet mistakes full of hate on my wet alcoholic date;
unseen parting of ways,
from the war trench to the gin bottles I infiltrate, old tattered uniform, drunken parade rest and depressed, gin bottles my belief of suppression. Mind state without commonality of debate, full of war hate,
unseen parting of ways.
(1 poem added 04.04.15)
editor’s note: Our victors return to become victims while we argue over the price of compensation. Sad! – mh
there was already a line
to the back of the liquor store when he came in
the only black face in the entire place
we were somewhere in the upper middle
drunk from an afternoon in the grassroots tavern
but wanting more to kill the night
the wine store kept the smaller bottles of alcohol
behind the counter at the register
it was the store’s way
of teaching drunkards the value of patience
or to stop them from being so damned cheap
he found me right away
my wife claims that i have that kind of face
it’s welcoming and the antithesis to the fiber of my very being
he said, hey man, you know how it is
then started motioning up toward the register
of course i knew how it was
but something about him rubbed me
it was rare that i found a face in this world as welcoming as mine
most people were ugly without even trying
i said, i know how it is, man
that’s why i’m standing here with all of the other stiffs
i said, getting in front of me won’t help your cause any
he said, look, man
so i said, why don’t you go and ask each
and every person standing behind me
if they’re cool with you cutting then i’ll clear you a space
well, he just stood there with kind of a crooked grin
i wondered about the type of person
who found his face a soothing salve to come home to at night
he said, what if i just cut you in line
a man must do as he must, i answered
then he leaned in
he reeked of vodka as i reeked of beer
we were brethren of a sort
i thought to myself that i should’ve let him cut me
but then he called me a peckerwood
ain’t nothin’ but a peckerwood, he said
hear that honey, i said to my wife
now i’m the victim of racial intolerance
he went to the front of the line
cutting each and every one of us
the cashier sold him a pint of rum without hesitation
the hoi polloi held their bottles and gasped
their conceptions of law and order thrown to the dogs
someone called him an asshole
as he waved to the crowd on the way out
the woman behind me
threatened to get the manager
everyone else just stood there
checking their phones
a pack of peckerwoods
waiting on anarchy
waiting their turn in line.
(1 poem added 04.03.15)
editor’s note: A slice without a knife; a line, a pint and a hapless pack… – mh
My patience is a gibbet
Around it my neighbours stroll
And whisper keeping their eyes on me.
The cognitive forms of my desire
Indulge my clay feet;
Though I sit quietly on a stool.
Then they go back to the field
And bind the paddy sheaves
For interpreting history.
I throw my laughter high
To the meridian
And tease their knives.
(1 poem added 04.02.15)
editor’s note: They can’t cut what they can’t reach. Hang high! – mh
A Throatpierced Sound in the Night
lonely as america
no one hears
Miles blows translucent blue melodies
snare keeps time with double bass
piano for continuity
psychic feelers come back empty
no one listens
down fall the masks
muted slow arpeggios cover faces
behind stone curtains
no one cares
dark pursed lips press against
fingers stab valves
air beats against me while
no one watches
inside my ash covered space
long, outheld notes cross time
whines sprinkle up a staircase of stars
slow soft keys whisper
no one’s there
up against the wall
then the resolution comes
a free ringing trumpet tone
sponges my face, bathes my body
in liquid timbre of relief that
no one feels
dare not peek behind the curtain
to see the man behind the magic
we all play roles in this masquerade
our secret sins equal out with age
no one knows
there is no great listener in heaven or on earth
just a call and answer, sometimes only a call
frequencies shared too often grow tedious
can a lifetime of unison even be bearable?
no one holds
maybe belief runs across this great Beat path
carved from interminable sand
constant sun and shaky fluorescents
cast everlong shadows on every bump and pebble
no one sees
(1 poem added 04.01.15)
editor’s note: Bleak and bold, america – everywhere; no one! – mh
THE WHITE MOTHS
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
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
(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
editor’s note: Better living, longevity and love – through chemistry. Viva, Milt! – mh
••• Short Stories •••
Need a read? Well, we got one for ya but ONLY if we’re friends. Say it! “Yes Mad Swirl, we are friends.” Cool. Now we can share the latest addition to our short stories library, “Friends” by longtime contributing writer, Jim Meirose.
Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale: “Animals, some of us. Animals who want to be loved, all of us.”
Here’s a quick glimpse:
photo by Tyler Malone
The two sat in an empty plain windowless room with one door, at a thin legged wooden table, on folding metal chairs. They’d been playing cards.
You know I want to hear it, said the larger, heavily bearded man.
What? said the skinny bald one.
That you’re my friend. I want to hear you say that you’re my friend.
The skinny one put his cards down and waved the air.
I told you. I have no friends. What is the definition of friend, anyway? Do you know?
Well, I guess it’s just liking a person—
No! he said, raising a hand, it’s being attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. That’s what the dictionary says.
So? That applies—
No, it doesn’t. I’m not attached to anyone. I have no friends. And that includes you.
But I’ve got to get you to say it—can’t you just say it for me? Even if it’s not true?
Get the rest of your read on here!
••• Open Mic •••
This past 1st Wednesday Mad Swirl bid adieu to the stage where the mic magic all began over 10 years ago. (If you hadn’t heard, Absinthe Lounge at its current locale will no longer be our Open Mic home. But don’t fret, we will be easin’ on down, easin’ on down, easin’ on down the road to their NEW locale come May Day.)
The vibe on the mic was a bit more nostalgic than usual but just as mad as always! The whole swirlin’ world of mic madness came full circle. The faces that have graced our stages thru the years seemed to be swirlin’ in from all corners. ’twas quite the night to be a part of this final-ish show. Thanks to all who came to celebrate, appreciate & participate last night.
In case you missed this Mad action, here is the line-up and a picture show, (thanks to Dan Rodriguez) of who was who…
Bear the Poet
Suza Hep Kat
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
HUGE thanks to Swirve (Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks, & Tamitha Curiel) for keeping the beat til the wee hours of the night. We got taken to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!
And as always, big THANKS to the patron saint of the loco local mad ones, Kevin Christensen, owner of Absinthe Lounge, who has given 124 reasons to give him all the mad props and love that we do!
We look forward to ALL the m-adventures to come! Stay tuned for…
May: Opalina Salas & Maggie Smith
June: Brendan McCormack (from Ireland)
July: John Kelly & Stefan Prigmore
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