The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.06.16

by February 6, 2016 0 comments

“I am getting so far out one day I won’t come back at all.” ~ William S. Burroughs

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Fish Goddess” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria’s mad-nificent canvases, aslong with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe extended an arm for one last grasp; we would cast away the fear of watered skies, washed in the weir of animal eyes; we wended the way of wrongly wrought days; we entered iconic endings, fraught with impotent fendings; we stared into unsaid situations, infidelity fueled non-conversations; we delved the depths of depraved machinations, love or lust, at least, for hire; we ticked the tock of time to measure lives to celebrate for pleasure. Life, so short; legacies (we hope), so much longer. Read and write to make it so… ~ MH Clay

Sonnet on Time by Harley White

Is time a spiral stairway that we climb
Whose unendingness we seek to borrow
To the last wrought syllable of our rhyme
Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow —
The fusion of the future with the past
In dizzying dimensions ever new
Which hurl us headlong in a void so vast
That what we view as false appears as true?
We must peer through bars forever blocking
Upon the threshold of our promised land —
At the gates of eternity knocking —
Outside we stand — albeit hand in hand.

Through the rush of time we’re ceaselessly swirled.
How heartless is the transience of this world!

February 6, 2016

editors note: Hand in hand we stand against the great Tick Tock. (Another one from Harley on her page; a birthday present – check it out.) – mh clay

LOW HILLS by William C. Blome

Rich dudes have their run of the place here,
place where low hills press down in earshot
of falling black water and women so fucking
tired of washing garments, they hang
their breasts out to dry on hooks
chiseled from fine fountain stone. These
are the same women who squeeze your arm
in between their lacquered fingers
and then push your fingers into their lips
and far, far further back, just so
long as your lucre be green-and-gray paper
and not some nasty alloy.

February 5, 2016

editors note: Love for lucre. How low will you go? To buy? To sell? – mh clay

Betrayed by Shirin Hasrat

Lips tightly sealed
avoiding eye contact
They sit
in stone cold silence while
tumultuous emotions rage
hurricane like
around them.
Hurt, anger, disbelief make
a Molotov cocktail
just waiting to explode.
Perspiring profusely he stares
at his feet as if
the answer
to her unasked question
lies there.
She shivers
at his frigid indifference
and wonders
how easily
he let a passing fancy rip
into fragments
the fabric of
intimate companionship
woven lovingly for over
two decades.

February 4, 2016

editors note: Look before you leap or you’ll be staring at your feet. – mh clay

Phantom Pastoral (excerpt) by Quinten Collier

The Christ and the barbed wire,
The musical cigar, wineskin,
Jewel encrusted sirens:
The horizon drying on the factory roofs,
Winking lies at the hero’s funeral–
Last supper of cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
Mother was fair,
Papa died in his rocking chair:
They were the lucky ones.

Forgotten on the bottom rung of a hospital bed:
Is this what it takes to be forgiven?
Unremembered son; every blade is the last, every glance.
Nobody should die young,
But you make the paper.

No more wanted photos
And no hero’s return.

We reach for the mirage that cast us off
As the dressing room consumes her changing.
What can you teach perfume?

What was and isn’t still awaits,
Says a street urchin in an amulet of paradise,
I read all your letters by fog
So my ghost would remain haunted.
Give me your veil–
I once had hope.

The crossed stars on a boy painted with scars.
His crown lit by the unborn part of town;
Who was he? Fires that never burned,
Dragging his fortune like a prince
Who never leaves his war.
Scripture recited in empty bars.
The body of the host
Sealed as the petals of a stillborn rose.

February 3, 2016

editors note: All live a hero’s life, all made sacrifice; body and blood. (Read this in its epic entirety on Quinten’s page – check it out. Also, read our review of Quinten’s latest collection on our Blog – check it, too.) – mh clay

Definitions by Rose Aiello Morales

No book
of magic,
spells misspelled
or simplified,
uncommon use
brings out
much more
than common in us,
common wrong.

Back doors,
are locked
to certain people,
admittance gained
by those
speed read
between some lines
who realize the secrets.

in words of code,
bald rules
were never meant
for anything but broken,
when an “x”
is not an x,
except when used
in obfuscation.

the right of
others, flaunting
flagrante delicto,
gallows hanging
outside churchly squares
and never any holy there.

Taste water
on your tongue
know feast from thirst
as liquid becomes holy
from belief, suffused, one body
of ability who walks on water
frozen, trial by fire and ice,
believers grasp the truth
that’s closest to the chest

get it wrong.

February 2, 2016

editors note: When answers abound, the trick is to ask the right questions. – mh clay

Sprinklers by Christopher Raley

I heard it from the narrow alley
along our house, water hissing
through the tightly clenched mouths
of my neighbor’s sprinklers.

I peeked over the fence. His lawn
glistened faintly in the full moon.
Yellow grass glowed more distinctly
pale than his few clumps of green.

What a long winter. What a long, dry winter
of ugly shapes dark, cold and cracked.
I saw them piled up on his lawn,
all those fear-fraught things, as if begging

for a mercy cast out of the sky —
begging me, mind you, for something
that is not mine to own that I should give it.

And when I returned within she was still hiding
inside the plea of hunted animal eyes.

February 1, 2016

editors note: We would wash away winter fear, but water reaches not within. – mh clay

Exe in the Infirmary by Steven Minchin

even in hate I nurse you
it’s okay
if you don’t remember
you were recoiled

dealing at about 80 proof
with your red back exposed
glaring with the marks
of bottle coping, and your new friend

who’s raw glass edge ripped you
a surface wound, an outside emblem
of what you hid up front – of what
your lips hinted at above the pillow

it hurts!
what are you putting on me?
as you fell out
it was all I could see

the glaring color of your back
you’re back
and at the end of one my arms
there’s a fist

at the end of the other
a last grasp at tenderness

January 31, 2016

editors note: A case of care giver meets careless liver. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Hungry for some delish words? Oh GOOD! You’re in for a treat! This week’s featured tasty tale comes from Contributing Writer and Poet, Harley White. Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story: “A new you is as easy as hating yourself each and every day. No matter the accomplishment or sense of satisfaction, ignore it! No one wants that. No one wants imperfection. Society has no need for complexity. The last thing the world should need is more variety. No one wants art.”

Would you like a nibble of “Transformation”? Open up and say ahhh:

There was no getting around it anymore—Annie’s stomach had become a definite protuberance. The problem seemed to be her fondness for food.

Still, Annie was not devoid of the tendency toward self-evaluation. Browsing through the fashion-filled pages of Damsel magazine, she had become aware of another hunger experienced when studying the color portraits of lean, hollow-eyed models, accompanied by a disturbing decline in her enjoyment of eating. Inside the back cover of Damsel was a mail order form with which one could receive a gilded full-length mirror. Since the only mirror she owned was on the medicine cabinet, she decided to take advantage of the offer.

The package arrived, and Annie mounted the looking glass in her bedroom. Then she stood back to examine the purchase. But the mirror reflected what it saw, which was unfortunately Annie. She sank sadly into a chair.

Luckily, though, Damsel’s resources seemed limitless and Annie escaped into an article (marked advertisement in fine print) about a ranch to which could retreat those ladies who wished to achieve the perfect figure. There was a picture of a fat woman tagged before followed by a slim young lady captioned after. Also included was a summary of the healthful activities and daily diet (which seemed to Annie the only drawback) that one would follow during each adventure-filled day of the four-week program at the Feather Goddess Ranch, just outside of Someville in the Midwest.

Making the necessary arrangements, Annie locked the door with finality on obesity to embark on her journey into slimness.

Get the rest of your read eat on right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Hello m’fellow Mad Ones. I am Reverend Brother Elder Swirl the 7th. You might remember me from the Dr. Googily-Eyes Healing Circus & Mad Swirlin’ Medicine Show (inciting the Rise of YES and the Fall of NO)…

This past 1st Wednesday we gathered to give praises to the affirmative and damnation to the negative. Our good friend and brother in madness, Doctor Googily-Eyes was there in his YESness and was dealin’ the healin’ at the Underpass. If you were there, you probably still feel the YES vibes reverberatin’…

Thanks to all our mad bruthas & sistas who came to witness on this holy-1st-Wednesday. Praises to ALL ye mad poets & musicians who cameth to participateth, appreciateth, & supporteth the holy YES!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez

Johnny O
MH Clay

Reverend Brother Elder Swirl the 7th
Brother Deacon MH Clay
Opalina Salas
Chris Zimmerly
Hep Kat Mama
Carlos Salas
Brett Ardoin (videographer)

Gerard Bendiks
Chris Curiel
Ed McMahon

Dan Rodriguez

Mad Cast:
Tamitha Curiel
Maggie Smith
Paul Koniecki
Vic Victory
Three Actors
CJ Critt
James Barrett Rodehaver
Jen Bochenko
Lindsey Yarborough
Tom Bannon
Danielle Brown
John May
Anthony Hayes
Daniel Frank

HUGE thanks to Swirve 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 photog Dan Rodriguez (he captured these scenes) for graciously sharing his mad eye and giving y’all a taste of the night’s YES 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 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.


••• Mad Swirl Review •••

It is always a pleasure to see our Contributing Poets have their work published. Here is one worthy of note, published last Fall by Bobtimystic Books from Brooklyn, New York:

Chem Trails (Collected Poems: 2008 – 2014) is a compilation of poetry by Quinten Collier, one of our Contributing Poets since 2010. Many of the poems in this volume first debuted on his poetry page.

This collection contains old and new works in a single volume; The Mind a Fractured Circus (2008), Visions, Asylums & Encomium Paintings (2008), Out of the Ether (2008) and new works in Chem Trails (2014). The three earlier collections have been available on Amazon. But, this collection, combining all four, (also available on Amazon) can be purchased directly from Bobtimystic Books on their site.

Read Chem Trails cover to cover, in one huge consuming gulp (you’ll survive a better soul); or, pick and choose, like a big buffet, nibble here, slurp there, eat and ideate. Either way, you’ll find you need a bigger hat size when you’re done. Pure fun!

– mh clay


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…

Takin’ Off,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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