The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.07.15

by on November 7, 2015 :: 0 comments

“A work of art is a confession.” ~ Albert Camus

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“The Hidden Truth” (above) by featured artist David J. Thompson. To see more Mad works from David’s, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe sat in a seat of puzzlement, conundrums filled our firmament; we grabbed Gaia by the gullet, drained her dry; we handled the candle of a carpet vandal; we made a rabbit disappear, came up, god knows, there or here; we scaled the scaffold of memory to see a paper reality; we shared a shepherd’s shame of sheep devoured (the goats come next); we divvied days of life on earth into shells shot scattered, short on girth. We have what we make for living’s sake. ~ MH Clay

18,515 days today by Jonathan Beale

Those counting blocks
From the demographic monsters
Changing growing twittering
Stumbling on new blocks
From those initial bloody squawks
Screams and coughs
Not metered or rhymed
18,515 days ago
Those spent vessels lie
Like cartridges
Smoking for a while,
They rattle on the ground
As they are spent.

November 7, 2015

editors note: So, praise the lord and pass the ammunition. (We welcome Jonathan to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay

Sheep by Chris Butler

The sheep
feel a false
sense of security
under the sheepdog’s
vigilant eyes
after the black sheep,
with their fearsome
wool of darkness
are outcaste to
the outskirts,
until a few
white wools
lose their taste
for grazing
and radicalize,
then cannibalize
their own kind,
then overthrow
their watchful
protector down
it’s hill,
as a pack
of gluttonous wolves
lurks along the tree line,
impatiently awaiting
their sporting feast.

And the goats
watch the slaughter
helplessly from a
higher elevation.

November 6, 2015

editors note: It’s safe to look down while there’s still higher ground. – mh clay

The Scaffold by Bhargab Chatterjee

The scaffold screwed on
The stony wall of memory
Is strong enough.
Faces on the shelves
And laugh
Like mad men
Who often make me forget
And darkness,
The plants in my garden
Or, even
My pet dog,
Waiting for me,
He forgives my all tortures
But forgets nothing.
Grueling climbing
On the scaffold,
Reeks of lubricant.
The steel pipes creak
Even far away.
In my pocket
The smart phone vibrates
But I never shove my hand
Into it.
The garbage men
Move to and fro
On the street
Like ants.
They are burning
With the summer’s sun
On the dry paper
Of work.
I observe from the top
How all the streets crowd
Around the paper.

November 5, 2015

editors note: Memory or imagination; both look the same on paper. – mh clay

God-knows-where by Grant Tarbard

Thus came silence

This resplendent animation is a
racket, a Three-card Monte that flows as
a scarlet ribbon but always congeals
as a skeleton in the burial
soil, a cranium broken to let all
the milk doves free. This land of marrow is
a cankerous ruse of resurgence, a
slow dismantling of this concealed reach, like
parents taking down their kids Meccano
set. These bones are a magicians top hat,
you can grab at the rabbit’s ear of spring;
poof! It’ll disappear in a puff of smoke.
Beyond the sky of winter’s chill there lies
a clot of midnight and orchid sunset.

November 4, 2015

editors note: Poetic prestidigitators – we disappear; then come up here, there or god-knows-where. – mh clay

Bags of Sage Are Just for Cooking by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

She lights a candle
and I think she wants it
to imply wisdom

when all it means
is that the power has
gone out

but again
with the candle

holding it out
in ceremonial

dripping wax all over the carpet
which doesn’t seem wise
in the least.

November 3, 2015

editors note: One waxes wise while the other wonders. – mh clay

At Meridian Hill Park by Marianne Szlyk

Beneath the welcoming oak tree,
only a block from U Street,
we listen to cicada strings

as the ground pushes back
against our hip bones like suspicion.

Still Earth seems to forgive, her pulse fluttering.
She offers us water; instead, we drink
from tiny bottles we don’t recycle.

She will follow us home from the park;
we will be driving, listening to the old songs,

not thinking of her.

November 2, 2015

editors note: We think she’s a pushover; take what we want. One day, she’ll do the taking… – mh clay

Inside the House of Conundrums by Mel Waldman

sit with my puzzles
womb chair

kiss my coconut-scented tome,
a chimerical book of mysticism

sweet phantasmagoria – the ethereal Book of Paradoxes,

I taste impossibilities

swallow a sea of hallucinatory colors falling from the Heavens,
in lapis lazuli, the deep cobalt blue of the divine that opens the 3rd Eye


a diamond and pink topaz necklace
my sanctum sanctorum and swirls around me
multicolored butterflies follow and encircle me

the holy ring of whirling butterflies

dancing necklace,
sit with my puzzles

womb chair

my sacred room
the House of Conundrums

the holy flow of butterflies

pink and gold and rose, wine red and white

the other-worldly sensuous diamond and pink topaz necklace
dancing around my puzzled face

November 1, 2015

editors note: From womb to questions, pretty questions, back to womb. (repeat…) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well then you’ve come to the right place!

This week’s featured story comes Contributing Poet & Writer Harley White. Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about “The Robot”: “I, human, robotically, we’re all just wired that way.”

Here’s a bit (or byte?) to get ya goin’:

(photo: “Future Machine” by Peter Schwartz)

It may sound simple enough to go to your father’s house for Christmas dinner, but the fact is for me it wasn’t. I have tried over and over again to figure out what happens. I start out filled with the resolve to act natural— just be myself— talk to Father as though he were anyone else. But it’s always the same. As soon as I’m in his presence, I become so self-conscious that I can barely manage polite conversation. And I can’t look him in the eye.

I’ve been told I’m too analytical. Maybe I am, but I have to try to figure it out. It seems the more effort I make, the further apart I feel. How can you suddenly get close to a father you never saw while you were growing up? Maybe I’ve built a barrier of resentment that won’t come down. You see, when I was a child, my father was very real to me. I imagined him into the only person on earth who would truly understand me. Someday he would discover me— the daughter he could be proud of— the one who was just like him. I suppose that’s the problem right there. How could anybody compete with all that?

Anyway, I keep thinking that if I get to know him as an adult, my childhood fantasy will dissolve. Instead, I guess I always see him through the blur of disappointment. I can hardly even picture what he looks like. Except for one particular scene. I do have a life-size portrait of him that still shows up clearly.

I was eighteen. I had been invited for Christmas afternoon along with several other family members and friends. Dinner was over and we were gathered around to watch the opening of presents. My five-year-old half-brother had finished unwrapping all but one. The last package was the largest, and in his eyes I thought I could detect a glimmer of the stubborn hope that this time it would be something he wanted.

The present was a mechanical robot. Father intervened quickly before his son could open the box.

“Be careful! Don’t break it! I’ll put it together.”

Get the rest of this read on here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness! Mad Swirl & Swirve parted ways and said our goodbyes to the only open mic home we’ve known, Absinthe Lounge. t’was a Mad Eulogy of sorts as we paid our respects, reminisced on the swirlin’ scenes we’ve seen, and shared 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!)

Thanks to all who shared in the Mad Eulogy. What a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music! Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

(See who was who right here. Photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez)

Johnny O
MH Clay

Mad Cast:
Desmene M. Statum
Carlos Salas
Opalina Salas
Vic Victory
Brett Ardoin aka BA aka Zipline Shazam
David Crandall
James “Bear the Poet” Barrett Rodehaver
Josh Weir
Lilly Penhall
Chris Zimmerly
Konnichiwa Zach Schrotter
Eileen Simeonov
Cassidy Castillo-Wilson
Kristine Jessup
Daniel Evans
Jolee Davis

HUGE thanks to Swirve (Chris & 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!

More HUGE thanks to fantastic photogs Dan Rodriguez (he captured these scenes) and Rosie Lindsey for sharing their mad eye and giving y’all a taste of the night’s mic madness.

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 at The Underpass in December! Stay tuned…


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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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