The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.10.16

by January 10, 2016 0 comments

“I’ll paint you moments of gold, I’ll spin you Valentine evenings…” ~ David Bowie

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Pig and Pearls” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. Maria brings us a glorious glimpse at what we can only imagine is the visual representation of creation personified – the chaos in texture, in topic, in tones – is so rich that a quick glimpse will not cut it. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words and yet still, we can’t help but feel like these canvases of Maria’s have even more of a story to say. It’s time we stop telling you about the tale Ms. Sheets is telling us and let you see her story now playing at Maria’s Mad Gallery page… ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe sought to make the madness stop, a dead news cycle’s photo op; we would the earth’s rotation wrest to bring the sun from east to west; we rose from darkness into stardom, the focal point of angels’ boredom; we braved the abyss of questions asked, no answers offered in mysteries masked; we mastered the minute, moments made from being in it; we ducked to survive the disposal of declarative deep-felt love proposals; we played our part to seek the start of heart-felt ages acted out on life-lived pages. Each day a challenge; each life, a new page. Turn and read… ~ MH Clay

AN ACTOR’S PART by B.Z. Niditch

To locate my part
along the bare stage
in a windowless studio
to find his lines
standing in a circle
motionless helplessness
murmuring in gestures
before we go on
or nuance
just to have a chance
to take a part
in summer stock
to survive
the clowning reasons
for several dress rehearsals
and to live
in another’s soul
for an open air season
by the ferryman
and south shore
out by nature’s
scythed grass
for scenes
in the park’s theater
is to be once again alive
expanding my portfolio
once more.

January 9, 2016

editors note: Take stock of your summer (your ever), where all the world’s a stage… – mh clay

I’d steal you a skillet by Emily Ramser

You want to steal a cast iron skillet from Chili’s,
but you can’t till you’re married
per your family’s traditions,
so if I were to steal you a skillet,
I’d be proposing
amongst the crowded chairs and customers
of a chain restaurant,
which makes me wonder
if this poem is a proposal too.

January 8, 2016

editors note: A cast iron proposition for (someone’s) posterity. – mh clay

AT LAST by John Tustinon

He came back in,
closed the door behind him
and he held her,
first by the elbows,
then body to body.
Then he kissed her.
He kissed her
at last,

electrical currents running
between them.
He kissed her
at last.

The sun was bright and bleaching
but it was dark in there,
the air melancholy.
He bent to kiss her neck,
careful not to leave a mark
though his belly was burning hot,
his mouth was on fire,
his tongue dying to leap out.
She made little noises,
almost whimpering.

They had waited ten years.

This was the moment.

Her eyes closed,
his open and aware,
they stood there,
kissing and holding each other
like that, tears
in their eyes
for about twenty-five minutes.

She stood fast to memorize the moment
and he stared to memorize her,
her face, her body,

He left, holding her hand
until the last possible moment
and then he got into his car
to go pick up his kids
and she went home
to eat dinner with her husband.

They had pork chops,
rice, applesauce
and salad.

There were fried onions in the gravy
and it was delicious.

January 7, 2016

editors note: So long to wait, too short to sate; pork chops, applesauce; clean your plate. – mh clay

The Forever Question by Tricia Marcella Cimera

The next time he asks her
she is floating languidly
in a pond.
Her hair moves
with the rushes,
her eyes murky
and muddy.
As he leans over,
her eyes suddenly clear.
He sees himself
Smiling, her lips part.
Bending close, he almost hears
the answer she
He lifts her out but
she dissolves into sand,
trickling into the pond
where she becomes a fish
that swims away
with a twitch of its tail;
can’t be caught.
He shuts his eyes.

When he opens them,
another thousand years
have come and gone.
Still he wonders,
What does she want?

January 6, 2016

editors note: The big one that got away; every lonely man’s fish story. Still no clue… – mh clay

A cloud by Milt Montague

I dreamed upon a cloud
A floating plush cocoon
Of cottony softness
Gently wafting forward

Above the strife below
Beyond the cacophony
Of daily contentiousness
Just peaceful contemplation

Here shall I end my days
In serene tranquility
Where peacefulness and
Quietude reign supreme

I think….I think….
Unless total boredom
Drives me utterly insane
Compelling my return to earth

January 5, 2016

editors note: Monotonous millenia strumming harps. More fun to mess with humans; check your halos at the door. (We welcome Milt to the ranks of our Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

To Welcome the Sun Which Rises in the West by Pijush Kanti Deb

I give a chase to it
yet the sun
doesn’t rise in the west,

I jump on it
still I find myself always
lying below a merciless rapist,

I scratch on it
nevertheless the honey is sucked
by a tartar I have accidentally caught,

I pray to it
but my cheque is bounced back
to my empty purse,

I bribe to it
and then it comes to a stand-still
to welcome my sun which rises in the west.

January 4, 2016

editors note: It costs a dreamer’s ransom to stand the Earth on its head. – mh clay

Aylan by Arif Ahmad

Wash away the washed up Aylan from our conscience
Pretend that it never happened

And somehow undo this stirred up hornet’s nest
Anything that helps prevent bursting our bubble

If this is the Arab Spring
It has to get better than this

Or some other galaxy’s Armageddon
For ours would need to wait its turn

Dog eat dog
Never on this planet, not on our watch

Shall we gather our pieces and do it better all over again
For all of those Aylans who are not going to have a picture taken

January 3, 2016

editors note: Long after the news cycles go cold, lives go dead while we go on. Remember… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? This week we feature a story from longtime Contributing Writer & Poet, Carl Kavadlo. If you’re familiar with Carl’s works, you’ll know he knows how to weave quite the tale. Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story: “Live and die on the page, let the world work itself out.”

And here’s a bit of “For Rosealie” to get your need for a read goin’:

(photo by Johnny Olson)

Outside, the chair was right in front of the building, and they were drinking rotgut wine. I noticed two Latinos and a West Indian with one of those high caps with yellow, green and red swirls. One of the Latinos wore a waist length, brown army jacket. The third guy was in a big, overstuffed armchair, springs splitting through.

He had been at 320 East 71st Street for 17 years, three at Park Avenue and 68th. He had lost his wife due to divorce, lost much of his practice due to his divorce. Patients looking for stable relationships lost their faith in him. He moved to this place in Chelsea, which wasn’t too classy as far as his neighborhood went.

I was with him from December, 1979, through February 8, 2002, this shrink named Haynes Milton. He helped me find a job and finish a degree and stabilize my life and get some creativity and even meditating. He knew all about the unconscious. He wore his special, three-piece, powder blue suit, among others, tan, and beige. He looked like a riverboat gambler. A very serious man. He had a large bookcase, a purple-motif Persian rug. I lay on a black, leather couch facing a wall, staring at a painting of his, a guy mowing a large, green lawn. The standard setup in each office.

It was a time I was teaching people to get high school diplomas. I was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a job he’d gotten me.

Fridays, I’d move north on Lorimer Street, filled with small, wood frame houses. Most of it was still the old Italian neighborhood with social clubs for the men. The neighborhood was becoming gentrified with briefcases walking out of the little tenements, all the while my shrink’s life was coming apart. The L took me from Lorimer, through all of the Manhattan stops through Eighth Avenue – First, Third, Union Square, Sixth. I transferred at Eighth to the E, rode one stop to Twenty-third Street, walked through the grounds of a housing project to Twenty-fifth and Ninth, upon exiting facing a large, brownstone Catholic church across the street. Then I’d cut left, to my sanctuary of psychotherapy, as the church was the sanctuary for many.

A strange premonition on the train, the night before I’d dreamed of Bedford Avenue, the last Brooklyn stop before First Avenue…

Don’t miss the train of thought (so to speak;) of this story! Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Oh what a night it was in the land of Swirl’n mic Mad-ness! This past 1st Wednesday Mad Swirl-abrated the new year at our new open mic home at The Underpass. Huge SHOUT-OUT to this month’s feature, Dallas Poet Jolee Davis. If you were there to taste the poetic stew she stirred up, then you know how MmmMmmMadlicious her set was!

Thanks to all who came out to help share in their delicious madness. What a night of the beat-utifullest poetry and music it was! Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

(All photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez. See the whole Flickr slideshow right here)

Johnny O
Michael Clay
Chris Zimmerly

Jolee Davis

Mad Cast:
Desmene M. Statum
Carlos Salas
Opalina Salas
Roderick Richardson
Vic Victory
Daniel Evans
Maggie Smith
Brett “BA” Ardoin
David Crandall
James “Bear the Poet” Rodehaver
Josh Weir
Suza “Hep Kat Mama” Kanon
Randall Garrett
Anthony H
Daniel Frank
Lindsey Yarborough

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 and Scott Wayne McDaniel for sharing their mad eye and giving y’all a taste of the night’s mic madness.

Thanks to Mike & Leo at The Underpass for opening up this fine establishment to us mad ones and making us feel right at home.

And finally we would like to thank ALL of you mad ones 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 still yet to come! Stay tuned for February’s feature:

Dr. Googily-Eyes Healing Circus & Mad Swirlin’ Medicine Show: Inciting the Rise of YES and the Fall of NO (a celebration of the death of hate)

For more news & info, visit our mad mic page.

••• Mad Swirl Blog •••

The Swirliverse Expands by MH Clay

In 1999, a Big Bang in the Swirl took place in a living room in Dallas. Three creative catalysts conspired to do something crazy; start a creative platform for artists of every ilk to place their work. These elemental individuals; Johnny O, Cheyenne Gallion and Lisa Carmen, published the first zine under the name of – Mad Swirl.

Since that singular event, Mad Swirl has expanded into zines, an open mic, this web site, festival participation and special events (we call’em Swirl-Ups). Our rate of expansion continues to include more mad poets, artists and authors every month; with plans to move into publishing and other media in the year ahead.

This month, American Way Magazine has published an article about Mad Swirl in Texas and the Blackwater Poetry Festival in Ireland. Check it out: Poets Across The Water

We are ever grateful to the Mad participants who made this possible; Gayle Reaves-King (journalist and poet), Gene Barry (Blackwater Festival Founder/Chairman and poet) and Brendan McCormack (poet); all of whom are Contributing Poets on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum. It’s this kind of synergy that makes our Swirliverse expand!

Jump in – make a splash – create a stir. Let this Swirliverse expand to include you.

“…we’re all mad 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…

Paintin’ & Spinnin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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