“The poetry of the earth is never dead.” ~ John Keats
••• The Mad Gallery •••
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we wept over old wounds, snapshots far, brought near; we fostered new fluency in compassionate currency; we shelved a shell, occupant absent, identity unknown; we viewed a vagabond search for home (and love), still looking in Nome; we sought no sound sweeter than a humming heart beater; we wondered the weight of whether brains equate with a feather; we listened, lovesick lovers, for the lowing of a herd of words. Words, our shepherd; we, lost sheep – looking to be led. ~ MH Clay
LOVE POEM by Derrick Gaskin
I remember walking through quiet landscapes
Of English poetry, feeling distant nostalgia,
Drawing out of shadows all those words,
Ideas, metaphors, similes, the usual mechanics
Great poets used in synthetic dreams –
Half asleep, your lightning hit me awake.
For hours, days, an echo of that flash
Rattled around my head – what was it?
Waiting, crouching in a hedge of words
Pulling back dead leaves of autumn, I searched –
And there it was again, streaking across the sky.
Hauling myself up, starting to run, trying to find
The exact spot where you pinned that thunderbolt,
Something so different from the mundane,
From the ‘normal’ careful herd of words,
Like cattle meandering from an open gate,
While yours was a stampede of syllables.
Somehow I tried to avoid the crush of images,
Grabbed one of your poems by the horns.
Slowed it down. But tame it? Impossible.
And that’s how it’s been for 7 years.
The maturity of youth – would that fit?
The rush of a teenager already adult?
But the other evening I saw
Millions of wings soar into the heavens.
Like words in your poems, each bird
Separate, yet close to its neighbour.
Never touching, turning, rising, falling,
A cloud, a murmuration of starlings,
Its amazing shape, ever changing,
As if a master was painting
A living canvas. And then the finale,
As the last line of feathered bodies
Completed their aerial dance, just as night
Fell – but not fallen – the sounds of words
Chattering in my brain. Knowing that
Once those songs have been written
In the sky, or crafted down on your page,
This world would never be the same,
Could never be as perfect, again.
October 31, 2015
editors note: Ah, such love; sought by poets, all. “…a stampede of syllables.” To be trampled by them – divine. Thanks, Derrick! (Another mad missive from Del on his page; a vision of things to come? – check it out.) – mh clay
Beams of Thought by Heath Brougher
The motion of thought
[pro] motion of thought—
is it good for thought to languish
and lean and loaf
and not leap?
the brain is a muscle
slowly turning to blubber
in this post-postindustrial society,
this day and age, please
Science help [but not overly] untether all the wrinkles
the brain weighs a feather
falls just as fast,
October 30, 2015
editors note: Ignorance has the best marketing. Right, Science? – mh clay
air traffic controllers lead the nation in suicides by Ashley Naftule
If I could, I would
tie all my words to the wind;
like notes wrapped around
the legs of a carrier pigeon.
I would let the wind free
to pollute the earth with
my syllables, just to know
under this blue moon
you’d be breathing me in.
I can think of no better use
for all this language
than for it to live
for a few seconds
in your lungs.
If I could help
I’d spend the rest of my life
using all of the world’s sheet music
as toilet paper.
No music is sweeter
to these ears
October 29, 2015
editors note: A turn of verse to keep the beat to your telltale heart. – mh clay
Homeless in Nome by Donal Mahoney
I was beautiful once,
the homeless lady tells
the young worker
who’s filling out forms
before assigning the lady
a bed for the night.
She’s been homeless
for months since
arriving from Dallas.
She’s looking for a job
and maybe a husband
but hasn’t found either.
The worse thing, she says,
is the weather in Nome.
It’s nothing like Dallas.
With snow in the winter
and rain in the summer
in Nome she needs
something to crawl under.
Often it’s a man, she says,
with no home either.
October 28, 2015
editors note: Why, in god’s name, leave the one to dwell in the other? Well, ‘s easy – one rhymes with home, the other with malice. – mh clay
John Doe by Timothy L Rodriguez
The answer is John Doe
A name without a name,
A person without identity,
Sometimes a covered corpse
But always the chance victim.
Between mirror and face
No glimmer of recognition,
A stranger stares back mildly
Curious, doubtless confused
As to whom he really is.
Who’s this gaper that meets
Me with a smirk like health itself?
The grin is way worn and the face
Bears scant account of any deed, black
Or otherwise. Did BTK appear
As peaceful to his chance dead?
What line of work calls him?
What system of belief? Which one
Rules — work, faith or another
Master? I still don’t like the lips;
The bias suggests ridicule.
I do not trust this man
Who seems bereft of any answers
And doubtless rife with excuses.
Just look at how he holds himself,
Immune to the question—
Who am I?
October 27, 2015
editors note: All deeds are drained through Doe-ness. No Doe questions; only we are asking. (RIP, BTK.) – mh clay
CURRENCY by Stefanie Bennett
In my night-climbing shoes
And little else…
At the third rung
I told them, ‘I’m assembling
Uranus and the five moons
In less traditional
Circuitry.’ For this
To lock me away, my daughter.
Your grandmother, back in
Forty-one, was the keeper
Of several interlocking
Platinum rings [history’s
Its trail of orderliness] but
Know how she swapped
That war time dowry, worth
A fifth of gross entitlement,
For sacks of rice and sweet potatoes.
These days you cry
Songs of losing; as if I, none of us
Had ever known the pinch
Of letting fall
What was crystallized
– Or consciously aspired.
Damn it! I taught you not
To accept diamond dealerships:
They’re none other than
The dual wall-eyed bitch –, sobriety.
Two moon discs are left us. These
You’ll divide between
Your choreographed children.
May they understand
Compassion is measured
By wealth inherent
October 26, 2015
editors note: Crystals drop and shatter; aspirations scatter. Seek the brighter thing. Yes! – mh clay
Doesn’t really go away by David E. Howerton
It breaks you old pain
suffering from what wasn’t your
fault feeling tears come.
Look at old pictures taken then
your face looked lost now you’re home.
October 25, 2015
editors note: Photo fixed, your perfect pain; framed for all to see, but only you to feel. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Good, ‘cos we got just the one for you to trip on!
This week’s featured story, “Acid, Mom” by Kenta Maniwa, is sure to send you a bit down the rabbit hole. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say: “It’s never what others think, it’s what we think they know, and that’s as crippling as any drug.”
Here’s a bit to trip on:
photo by Tyler Malone
When I was 16 my mom told me not to do acid. She told me a cautionary story about two people she knew who took acid and drove on the highway. It was late at night and they were the only drivers on the road. Then they saw a refrigerator in the middle of the highway. The guy in the passenger seat convinced the driver that they were tripping and that the refrigerator was not actually there. The driver drove into the refrigerator. The car swerved off the road and flipped several times. They both ended up dying. My mom told me that acid was bad because it permanently altered your brain chemistry in a negative way. She also said that acid drained your spinal fluid, turned you crazy, and, in some cases, made you crash into mysterious refrigerators on the highway…
Keep on trippin’ on down the road right here!
••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••
Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.04.15) as we part ways and say a fond farewell to the only open mic home we’ve known, Absinthe Lounge. It’s to be a Mad Eulogy of sorts. This month we will pay our respects, reminiscing on the swirlin’ scenes we’ve seen, sharing what the drunken muses have gifted us these past 132 1st Wednesday’s at the Lounge…
(pssst… before we go on, we think we should say that Mad Swirl’s monthly mic madness isn’t goin’ away. we’re just gonna be swirlin’ our madness upon different stage at our new open mic home… The Underpass Bar located at 650 Exposition Ave in Dallas… starting the 1st Wednesday in December. and yes, Swirve will still be swirlin’ up the madness with us!)
Come on out, one & all. Get a brainful of Swirve, share in the Mad Eulogy if the swirl’n spirit is movin’ ya, & get yourself a spot on our list. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.
P.S. If you can’t be here LIVE, you can view the whole show via our Mad Swirl UStream Channel! Just click here at 8:00pm (CST) and watch the mic madness swirlin’ live.
P.P.S. AND, as you may or may not know, every 1st Wednesday we get all giddy with the swirlin’ madness. Here’s who we will be featuring next month:
December at THE UNDERPASS BAR: A Cool-tide Swirl-a-bration!
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…
Alive & Kickin’,
Short Story Editor