The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.11.15

by April 11, 2015 0 comments

“Lennon Peace Wall” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. To see more Mad works from David, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

“Words must surely be counted among the most powerful drugs man ever invented.” Leo Rosten

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe tried the doors in a mental sonnet, got lost in three quatrains and a couplet; we counted quarks on mittens made in the ways of a myth-filled place and place of myth; we listened not to a laughing voice, sent away on bad advice; we made a moment Kafkaesque, squashed a bug to poke at the mess; we stomped some more, got vocal, staggered home, drank local; we picked a tarnished penny, put on a minted glint, spent for (we hope) good; we lapped up a lustful elixir then came clean. We coin our conversations in manic madness, our current rate of exchange. ~ MH Clay

Oh my eyes!

Seven women
in red petticoat
bathing in the
slender Sali nadi—
now plunging, now
stooping over
and now patting-
squeezing their hair
as the thigh-high
holy water washes away
their sin; and my sin-
ful question to the
teeming crowd of devotees
busy on both banks
cleaning their faces
or sprinkling the water
over their heads, or
making holy
their unholy mouths (?)—
by the sip of the
same waters
running down to them
from those women’s
purged bodies.

Haris Adhikari

(1 poem added 04.11.15)

editor’s note: Cleanliness is next to body-ness! Believe what you like… – mh

Good Years

Pennies are brown and dirty.
They stink of bus stops.
They will never add up to
a million dollars no matter
how many you collect in jars.
It’s bad luck to throw a penny
away so I always bend down
when I sweep one up.
I’ve heard it costs more than
one cent to make a penny now
and that they are not even
real copper (but I haven’t been
to Snopes to check this out).
If you name a girl Penny,
I’m not sure what you expect from her.
Sometimes at work, I take a
filthy corroded one, where you
can’t even recognize Abraham Lincoln
and drop it in a jar of 10% nitric acid for
an hour- than it pretties up
like the day it was minted and all
the grime of the decades dissolves
away, all the pockets exchanged, dirty hands,
and register drawer dust- it’s gone now
and I see a date-
1957- was it a good year?
Pennies are like us.

Trier Ward

(1 poem added 04.10.15)

editor’s note: At current rates of inflation, a penny for these thoughts costs a fortune. – mh

Heavy Shoe

Coming back in the darkness
after the match
through old pit villages
with the light from newsagents
illuminating the pavements
and the lads on the bus
strike up a chorus of
‘footsteps on the dancefloor’
slamming down their boots
on the top deck
and chanting ‘heavy shoe’
The laughter, the beer fumes,
heading for home
and a night in the local.

– Jon Tait

(added 04.09.15)

editor’s note: Light in the head, but not on the feet. Home is home enough. – mh


I squash the bug
making its way across
the cracked linoleum
and then I remember,
turning my shoe over
with much regret
I look at what is left:
a few random legs
a black splash of innards…
taking my finger
I poke at the mess
I have made
and wonder –
Kafka, is that you?

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

(2 poems added 04.08.15)

editor’s note: An ahimsa encounter with literary greatness. Ouch! (Another mad missive from Ryan on his page – a different kind of encounter, check it out.) – mh


She sent him away——
back into the clouds
on his indigo horse.

She tries not to recall
how he made mornings laugh
down narrow Spanish streets

and markets in Morocco
in his accents of every country,

how they camped like gypsies,
connected the stars
to make candles and dragons,

threw wishes into fountains,
money into wells.

She tries not to listen
as his voice pours down the roof,

fills the rain gutters
and flows into the street

away from their house
built of music
and dreams.

Patty Dickson Pieczka

(1 poem added 04.07.15)

editor’s note: Refuse the dream weaver as he rains wishes back on you; you never refused the dream. – mh


What counts? Well…
Fingers do when
There’s no obstruction.
Colour. Sense –, and
Nonsense –.

– Nudged
By Quarks
And twin-set mittens

– In Babylon.
– In Balashikha.

– Stefanie Bennett

(added 04.06.15)

editor’s note: Meaning from myth derived, by all accounts. – mh

Obsession: A Sonnet

The great states of mind vary endurability.
A faith for Gods can last for thousands.
Routine mental illnesses, clearly less ably.
The ADD’s and CCD’s inspire fewer years and funds.

The sick in the mind are damned to be scotched.
We Schizos, Bi-Polars, Paranoids still exist.
Compassionate, helpless loved ones watch;
Its the “Psychs, Meds and Shady-Shaman Twist.”

That’s me, Bi-Polar for life (without choice).
The manic’s grandiose attitude and more.
Depressed, I’ll want to shut anyone’s voice,
While brooding alone on a Bronte moor.

And all the other different colored doors,
Find ways to rest minds gone to war.

– Tom Hall

(added 04.05.15)

editor’s note: Pick prognosis best matched to malady. Door number one? Door number two? – mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? If you got some milk, we got quite the controversially tasty tale you can dip it in to!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Have a Cookie” by Dennis Milam Bensie: “Have a cookie, forget the woes of the world. Enjoy yourself. Breathe in, taste the sugar, because some people, too many people, will never breathe again.”

Here’s a taste:

My first graders bring in something they like from the outside world to share for Show and Tell every Tuesday morning.

Martin Taccone does his presentation last. He slowly walks up to the head of the class carrying a heavy satchel that looks like it has a bowling ball in it. He carefully takes out something wrapped in a blanket. It’s a ceramic figure that looks like kind of like Mammy, that large black woman who takes care of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.

I lose my breath for a minute. Martin and his family are white. Why on earth do they have a black statue like that in a small town like Parkman, Illinois?

Where do you even get such a thing these days?

Martin pulls the top off and shows us that the Mammy is actually a cookie jar. “This is from my kitchen,” he explains to the class. “My mom bakes cookies and puts them in here for me and my brothers to eat. We call her the Cookie Mammy.

The skin tone of Mammy is pure black: nothing brown or lifelike about it. The white of her oversized eyes bug out like a cartoon character and she has big, red pursed lips. She’s wearing a red and white checkered dress and a kerchief on her head. And, of course, she’s got a white apron over her big skirt.

I’m a bit scared to look at Martin holding the mammy cookie jar right out in my class.

My knees are knocking.

Get the rest of your read on here!


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…

Gettin’ Our Fix,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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