The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.08.15

by on August 8, 2015 :: 0 comments

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Belonging” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To see more Mad works from Bill, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

“The artist need not know very much; best of all let him work instinctively and paint as naturally as he breathes or walks.” ~ Emil Nolde

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe bilked a burden, bucked not borne; we glowed in the bones of Gaia slumbering; we journeyed to be jilted, love’s bloom wilted; we spoke the hard questions for answers unspoken; we studied steadiness, standing stock still; we wrested words to wield pronounceable wonders; we foisted forgiveness for personal peace. Borne in the bones of blooms and queries. Written and read to right our wrongs. ~ MH Clay

I Forgive You… by Gianni Sacco

I forgive you…

For what you did. You didn’t know what your actions would do. You were young and hurt. I’ll give you that. I’ve been there myself and know the consequences my own actions have caused. It seems I inherited more from you than first meets the eye.

I forgive you…

For leaving me alone when you’d pick up my brother and sisters. You surely didn’t see the hurt in my watering eyes as the house emptied and I was left alone, lonely. I had my toys to play with. They did a good job of distracting me… for a little while. But deep down I knew I wasn’t included. I learned to deal with the feeling of exclusion. I’m alright now.

I forgive you…

For leaving the child-sized me to sort out who was daddy and who wasn’t. Heavy things for such a tender and young heart to deal with. But because of that, I found daddys everywhere. Teachers, coaches, friends fathers, big brother, uncles, TV characters. I looked and found my daddy in hundreds of role models… but never in you.

I forgive you…

For leaving me to carry on another’s name. I ended up carrying it well too. Even passed the name on. My crooked branch off the family tree has been extended now. 3 times, actually. It’s a shame they will never carry your name. They will pass on this court-induced alias for generations to come. Your blood being carried on the wave of another man’s name.

I forgive you…

For making me seek you out. For waiting for me to ask you the million dollar question instead of telling me. I guess you never realized the clouds of questions that followed me since I could remember. I assume you assumed I didn’t question it at all. I assume a lot.

I forgive you…

For never acknowledging the little boy that still lives inside of me. He speaks to me at night, when all the din of the waking world fades away and all that’s left are twilight dreams and nightmares. It’s when he calls for you that I come. He cries for you to hold him. I hold him for you. He pleads for you to see him. I see him for you. He begs for you to call him son. I call him son for you. Eventually he calms and melts in my arms. I tell him that the fault is not his, but yours. I whisper that the loss is not his, it’s yours. I hold him and tell him he doesn’t have to forgive you, just because I do.

August 8, 2015

editors note: In the end, forgiveness benefits the forgiver more. (See another take on how a bastard bears all on Gianni’s page – check it out) – mh clay

Words by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Fragrant stuffed packages,
Scalloped assemblages,
Tiny dim sum dumplings
Honeyed, cute dainties.

Like middens, where
Shells, shreds, lithics,
Other artifacts, rest
‘Til recouped for use.

Wee phonaesthetic branches,
Twisted from moss, trees,
Hang low over city streets,
Are extant during ceremonies.

This passel, that reliquant
Gruff crusts, debt, sunshine,
Penurious bairns with rich
Debutantes, all together.

Words make sennights unlike
Days marked by painting,
Pottery, whistling, yoga;
They trump limited vitality.

Manifestations coined in
Mots turn many lessons,
Cull creative arts’ core,
Form our culture’s epaule.

August 7, 2015

editors note: Speak them or eat them, this says a mouthful. – mh clay

Still by Chuck Taylor

You better be still. You better be still, still as your mother tried to teach you, way back in a time you don’t remember. All the animal motions, divine and volcanic, will get you only so far.

Roller coasters, a hard, wind-whipped rain, your sports car approaching a curve at ninety—I would never make light of these grand fulfillments. They have their place, but you better be still, learn to sit as you see people wait for a train or a bus, not with resignation, but with a mind at rest, at peace, in the place of the timeless flower.

Whatever you are running from–be it time, be it death, be it the grief of a broken heart, or the suffering that rides with life, learn to be still like a cat waiting at the door. Gather patience like moonlight on a cloudless night, and study the familiars nearby, say a chair or a table, say a sunlit windowsill or books lined up on a shelf.

Know that they come to offer help, wordless like the great beautiful paintings in a museum, in touch with the timeless we carry in our body and mind.

August 6, 2015

editors note: It comes when we aren’t seeking, when we cease stressing; it comes… – mh clay

Simple Matters by Scott Wordsman

These are the days when your body feels
like a mound of meat stuck on thick
twin skewers or a bike trudging on
with two flat tires. Shifting your flesh
from one room to the next, you ponder
The Great Migration of six million people
and why you never learned in school
of the guys who just sat down and died
without thinking twice. Maybe in a movie,
a photograph, you saw them, yet only
through the stories of the living did you
witness the lives of the dead. Gone
are the ballgames, great steak dinners
hearts in trees with four initials, two
adjacent, welded together forever
or whatever that means. When I read
my poems to my parents, they look
down at the floor or into their hands
as if tucked within the cracks
of their skin, answers would appear:
answers to questions like Why bother
making the bed in the morning? Who
holds you at night when you sleep
alone? If I fix my dog, can I fix my life?
When my phone dies, do I die too?
The world is becoming only a place
for those with legs and transient hearts.

August 5, 2015

editors note: Asking the right questions, making sense of the answers; not so simple (We welcome Scott to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


at this point where I am walking
towards you savoring the moment
for something which I now know
you knew so you spoke and then
suddenly I did not have you
you did not have to permit me and as for
that which I then did not fully
understand and still don’t I had not a
clue but because I inflicted the fine
you were just disappointed in me
and I frankly admit I must have been
amazed but the feeling that was
attached to that was most of the rea-
son that perhaps it happened the
way it did and as for me who des-
ired happiness I still had to pass into
another life as if I were reincarnated
as someone else and so as if my
monopolized lines excluded me
from the typhoon of your emotions
and then if that which cannot be
thrown high enough to take a chance
is where I could not now how far I
would have to go to possess your
love and so now I think I have achieved
safety and blame myself no
longer I do not have you any
more but that’s okay and here we are

August 4, 2015

editors note: Another case of “You are Here!.” Origin to destination with story in between. – mh clay

CORNERWAYS by Lana Bella

Mirage comes to where she is sleeping,
under an old beech tree.
Light bleeds through her not knowing
the dark has gotten there first;
they pass cornerways,
brushing up stares and blossomed threads.
Had waking crept over her eyes to let tiny
slits of blue sky sneak under the lids,
she would see her skin has been sewn with
a pink suit of the early dusk,
brain neurons have caught hold of flirting atoms,
and fingertips have spanned like butterflies’ wings–
sensing naked air from the breaths of earth-coiled roots.
Mineral wisps settle like something had thrust through
the smoky grass,
its shapeless gown braids gold of small bright birds
and yellow leaves
melting down in lush mimosa over her gathered elbows.
She is a quiet cocoon cast inside the standstill of time,
blue veins hunt for scorched mercury–
where the things of dark spruce up the flesh,
and the plumes of light glow through the bone.

August 3, 2015

editors note: How’s a prince to wake this sleeping beauty when kissing corner ways (We welcome Lana as our newest Contributing Poet with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Who Am I to Burden You? by Louis Marvin

Annie sang a sad song, while they died of aids, smiling for the camera, on the Live 8
the smile said, “Who am I to burden you, with my death?”
So instead they gave, in their dying time, smiles all around.
They gave, when all was being taken, when the light was soon to dim.
Oh mother, oh Mother Theresa, oh mother, where are you now?
In my dying time, I would not presume to burden you.
So the last you see of me, is this lovely smile.
Good-bye. And their song was over.

August 2, 2015

editors note: Another slice o’ the soundbite cycle. Appeals to our mercy chalked up to marketing. No ears, no ears. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then you’ve come to the right place ‘cos we got two tasty tales for ya’!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week tale “A Shout of Bones” from Contributing Writer Addie Soaraki: “In the end, we’re all just bags of bones for the gods to sort.”

Here’s a shout to please your readin’ eyes:

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Happy would have been the astral night when nothing moved of its own accord but moved instead according to indistinct laws none of us supposedly normal people comprehend, yet as we walk together, my girl and myself, downtown streets echo like the distancing and forlorn tunes of a Shakuhachi flute, an end-blown Japanese instrument that, while it does exist in time with various aspects of any child’s long-buried Pokemon deck, has nothing at all to do with us.

Let us emphasize the “nothing” part of our detachment. Nothing is wrong with me. Nothing is right with me either. Although I am holding Clarissa’s hand in my own hand, it is as if our hands are “equipment,” not signs or even symbols of some sort of abiding-yet-lonely expression of mutual affection in the face of vast, implacable forces no one really cares exist or not.

We were sitting on a bus stop bench at around six in the evening on a Tuesday afternoon, ships of clouds moving together into an armada of vapor when the bus suddenly squealed to a stop and accidentally (or purposely?) popped a seemingly careless pigeon with its one-ton wheels, a loud noise not unlike that of an automotive backfire but nevertheless organic in its embrasure against the instrument of Death as we seem to believe we know.

Seeing the hollow cavity of the crushed pigeon was like looking into an extra thick balloon made of skin. I could see no bones. Bloody mess formed a quite beautiful splatter pattern that perhaps Jackson Pollock would have appreciated during one of his drunken, front-yard spectacles of throwing paint onto a canvass. In that sense, the death of the pigeon of rainbow neck was simply not original here in this urban hollow overseen by rows of empty skyscrapers.

Is there a pigeon Heaven, I asked Clarissa.

Heaven is for the birds, Clarissa laughed. And with that I felt the bomb go off.

The bomb. Not a real bomb. Only a fragmentary insight exploding my head…

Get the rest of your read on here!


Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the second pick-of-the-week story “The Swim Club” from Contributing Writer Ruth Z. Deming: “One must dive deep, head far enough down to where the ears pop and the mouth fills with breaking water, before you know how the oxygenated world really tastes. Once you master the art of drowning, all that’s left is the bliss of living.”

Here’s a bit to get ya swinnin’:

Look at me. Four days later. The black and blue marks only get denser and that arm of mine. “Go to the doctor,” everyone tells me. “You might have a torn rotator cuff.” It’s the arm that’s the worse. When I got home from the competitive swim, with Band-Aids on my feet, I couldn’t move my right arm. Although I could peel off my bathing suit, I could barely get into my lacy green nightgown.

Everyone was there at the Upper Moreland Swim Club. I had practiced for weeks and even had my stylist Nicole trim my hair so I looked rather like a boy.

Artie shouted: “Ready! One-two-three,” and then shot a toy pistol into the air.

Ten men and women jumped into the Olympic-sized swimming pool. The same swimming pool that David Berkoff, an Olympic Gold Medal backstroke champion, had practiced in, right here in our town. Not in California or Florida, but tiny Upper Moreland, Pennsylvania.

I’m a breast-stroke champion in the forty to fifty age bracket. Like David Berkoff, when I hit the water, I stay submerged as long as possible. I’ve developed the lungs of a bagpipe player. But Berkoff was surprised one year at the Seoul, Korean Olympics, when a black-haired Japanese swimmer, who swam without a bathing cap, beat him by 13th of a second.

After the swim meet, we ordered food from the snack bar and sat over in the picnic grove. I fluffed up my hair so it would dry nicely, as I munched on a hot dog with spicy mustard and drank down a chilled bottle of Coke.

“This is the life,” I said holding up my Coke for a toast.

“Hear! Hear!” said Michael.

These were my friends. Funny, I was a shy little girl who could barely mumble out loud when I got to kindergarten. But in first grade, our family joined The Upper Moreland Swim Club and life began to open up for me.

I still haven’t met the man of my dreams. My childbearing years are just about over. There’s a reason for this. And it’s a damn shame. It’s also a secret that I almost had to reveal when I excused myself at the picnic grove…

Get the rest of your read on here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

(photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez. Check ’em all out here)

Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness! As Swirve started their jazzy madness, the crowd found their way to the stage with their heads boppin’ and their fingers snappin’. As the last notes were fading away, hosts Johnny O & Chris Zimmerly got the show goin’ with an introduction of Texas Beat poet PW Covington! PW took us on down the roads that only he knows and goes to. Did’a miss it? But no worries, you can still view it on our Mad Swirl UStream channel.

After a brief intermission, the mic got opened up to the mad ones who filled the Lounge. And what a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music ensued! Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

Johnny O
Chris Zimmerly

PW Covington

Mad Cast:
Suza Hep Kat Mama
Dan Evans
Carlos Salas
David Crandall
Alan Gann
Kelly Cheek
Opalina Salas
Konnichiwa Zach
Bear The Poet
Vic Victory
Elliot Pickens
Mike Adriani

HUGE thanks to Swirve (Chris Curiel, Tamitha Curiel, & Gerard Bendiks) 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!

Thanks to Absinthe Lounge, who has given 126 reasons to give all the mad props and love that we do!

And finally we would like to thank ALL of you who freely shared their hand claps, finger-snaps, hoots and howls with all the mad ones who got up on this sacred mad swirlin’ mic.

We look forward to ALL the m-adventures to come! Stay tuned…

September: Sebastián Hasani Páramo


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…

Breathin’ & Walkin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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