The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.16.16

by January 16, 2016 0 comments

“If you find something to tell, tell it to your truest, though that make little to tell; the truer you speak, the more you will know to tell.” ~ Laura Riding

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Greggy” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria’s mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe reality suspended for a volatile package unattended; we basked in milk white blossom’s bloom, lilly petals washed by moon; we stood on precipice and teetered, worked our work in darkness metered; we delved in doctor’s therapies, seeking psychic remedies; we conned constellations for selfish validations; we sought the slight ephemery of painful past-felt memory; we tried to find a way to live, bereft of words that will forgive our failure to get it right. Memories, mud degrees of separation; the madness from the mundane. We strive to stand above this melee, we manage… somehow. ~ MH Clay

Some People Never Get It Right by Paul Sexton

Some people drink all night
because it’s what they do,
photographed in Deep Ellum parking lots
while listening to poetry CD’s,
singing Hallelujah
arm-in-arm with a homeless man
named Ray Charles.
Looking for him later
with a banana and cup of hot coffee,
because the world is a fucked up place,
Ray whispered, “Don’t ever give up man,
she’s your soulmate!’ into my ear.
Some people toast the sunrise
giggling and whispering
words of forgiveness,
playing in lawn sprinklers
half-clad at the break of dawn.
They tell each other they
feel like home. But,
people like this aren’t so good at home,
are they?
Some people fall in love with babies
they nickname “Webby”
whose brother asks,
“Where did Paul Sexton get that pretty girl?
At the pretty girl store?”
Some people laugh and cry,
then laugh and cry
so many times together
they become convinced
no one else could possibly understand
them the way they do one another.
They come and go from each other
with a frequency similar to the way
emotions come and go inside their heads.
Some people never get it right
with each other
or with the world.
And people who meet them
always want to give them advice
about what they need to be doing
which mostly they laugh about
and mock
in silly voices,
because they themselves know
that they are more alive than
the smiles on giant crocodiles,
than a million imploding black tar suns,
than most of the rest of you.
Some people never get it right,
but when you meet them
you love the shit out of them
and everybody everywhere
loves the shit out of them.
And you can’t help but wish
they might actually get it right,
not just for each other
and with each other,
right inside themselves,
but right with the world.
A world that, although it seems to love them,
mostly doesn’t get them
or care
or seem to give a shit
about all the million exploding things
they have inside them,
they are trying to get out.
the beauty they possess
whilst drinking and singing Hallelujah
late at night
listening to old poems
about to say goodbye again,
about to say goodbye again…

January 16, 2016

editors note: If you can catch just one of those exploding things; gotta love the shit outta that. (This is one of the many poems and prose soon to be released in Paul’s new book, “Hallelujah!,” to be released on Feb 26 (get details here). Early copies are available here – check it out!) – mh clay

THERE… by Hal J. Daniel III

She’s been gone
For some time-
Long enough to know
I miss her.

Complaining about her absence
Doesn’t get me anywhere-
A “professional”,
Her career “everything”.

Only one thing to do…
I don’t miss her
As much as I did 10 minutes ago.

January 15, 2016

editors note: Oh, to be able to turn that knob on demand. Where…? – mh clay

Looking Up by Bruce McRae

Diffident starshine marred by cloudware,
Orion testing his bow, bull’s-eye Earth
adrift in its own juices, time’s cauldron
on a low simmer, Luna fretting offstage,
not usually one for fluffing her lines,
Sirius below the horizon, madly impatient,
barking up the wrong tree, in so many words,
our race drunk-walking the astrophysical gulch
we passengers nicknamed Spaceship Earth,
regardless of the anthropomorphic slant,
never mind the fact we’re only human,
know-it-all know-nothings in the unknowable,
the span of a life a cosmic instant,
our allotted time just another dark matter.

January 14, 2016

editors note: Astronomy 101; pious platitudes muddled by big-bang ideas. (We welcome Bruce to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of Bruce’s madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Doctor Who? by Tom Hall

I won’t deny I have had my share of therapy.
Doctor’s concur, BiPolar Syndrome’s what my mind keeps prey.
It’s easy to converse with them, they listen quietly.
Their words are few, their thought’s acute, it’s scrips they have to say.

Eviscerated by the drugs, I’ve tried psychologists.
They talk much more and make much less with themes that don’t abut.
I’m not after my “Happy Place” or psycho-chatter myths.
I watch them smear with butter knives, where scalpels need to cut.

The last group of intuitives I let in are my friends.
Their problem is they snarl back and never give out meds.
Well, that’s not true. But they love me, they’ll stay there in the end.
It’s crazy ’cause I can’t make use of twenty cogent heads.

So, do I glean truths from these varied groups or am I self-absorbed?
Oh. Maybe that’s the illness that I ought to have explored.

January 13, 2016

editors note: Self-diagnosis; over the counter, under consideration. – mh clay

Precipice by Ian Mullins

Why so frightened
of the edge? Yes it’s dark
it’s strange,
gravity might easily
pull you under,
send you spinning down
into a space
that has to end somewhere,

but you love the dark, remember?
You love to tumble
then claw your way back up,

but every time you make it
aren’t you a little disappointed
that the climb was no higher,
that you returned
too much like yourself?

Maybe it’s better to shake
and squeal,
howl like a dog in chains
knowing you need
the chemical cosh
to live the way
they say you need to be living;

but look down, stand close,
are you ready to pay that price?
You do your best work
down there.

January 12, 2016

editors note: Embrace the illness; create to the cure. – mh clay

Calla Lilly by Heather M. Brown

Creamy curl of white slides
spooning into daylight’s wake
softened light

Cello strings serenade
this swirly sea
waking ocean’s froth and foam

Her ear curves to hear
sweet morning’s song
dance and sway

Ankles curved
embraced with satin ribbons
mossy green and bright

January 11, 2016

editors note: Sultry siren, burgeoning blossom; description so sweet, have to eat it with a spoon. – mh clay

Sign Here by Melani Grace Tiongson

My label reads:

And I’m adorned
with cautionary tape and
stickers warning of
“Explosive Contents Inside.”

Handle me with care in transit and
Do not leave me unattended.

Keep me at room temp–
and even then
you’re still not safe.

On second thought,
This purchase is unwise.

But you didn’t know, did you?

I’m sorry.

(I’m a parcel that can’t be returned.)

January 10, 2016

editors note: No refunds. Buyer beware… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? F@ck yeah you do! And do we got just the right sh!t to feed that muthaf@ckin’ need!

(If you’re wonderin’ why all the swears, well it’s in honor of this week’s featured short, “Cussin’ Paul Gets Religion” from Contributing writer and Poet Donal Mahoney.)

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this kick a$$ story “Human moments can age as well dynamite until they’re something more than explosive. Catastrophic, even until the very end.”

And here’s a bit to feed your need for a read:

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Word spread fast at the poker club where the retired men of the community meet to play almost every day but not on Sunday out of respect for those who went to church. But this is Saturday and the word is out that Cussin’ Paul, in his 80s now, a charter member, wouldn’t be coming to play anymore.

The word is, Paul’s gone back to church and wants to stay clean as he put it recently to his friend Pete. Too many times he starts cussin’ when he’s dealt the wrong cards and he wants to stop all that. Better not to play cards and not cuss. More important things lie ahead.

Paul is no holy roller. He doesn’t think a man goes to hell for cussin’ but cussin’ can lead to worse stuff, and he’s too old, he says, to deal with getting upset anymore. Some people get upset and get over it. Not Paul. Anger lingers in Paul for offenses big and small, real and imagined. He doesn’t look for trouble but if trouble comes to him he remembers for life who brought it to him.

He tries to explain to Pete over a glass of apple juice—Paul quit drinking too, not that he thought a man could go to hell for drinking in moderation but Paul does very little in moderation except perhaps pray. In fact, until he got religion recently, Paul never prayed since kindergarten. But he has always believed in God and he knows—not simply believes—that one day he will meet God.

“About a minute after I die, Pete, I’ll meet my maker and I’ll have to explain all this crap I’ve done. Not a pleasant experience to look forward to and I don’t want to make my dung heap any deeper.”…

Don’t b!tch & moan that we left ya’ hangin’. You can get the rest of your read on right 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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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