The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.05.16

by on March 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Truth is a thing immortal and perpetual, and it gives to us a beauty that fades not away in time.” ~ Frank Norris

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Startled by Unfamiliar Perfume” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To view more of Bill’s mad-nificent canvases, along with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe asked the wind to dance, flew into the face of chance; we smiled foa da camera with incarcerated teeth; we bathed in bloody love, sprung from the war of wills; we, to uncommon love, were hand-cuffed fast, so pleased to see, ‘Oh Yes, At Last!’; we tried to push eternal rest, caught in the funnel of an antlion’s nest; we clung to love-lost memories, hoped to hold a passing breeze; we heard a conversation to make of us a GUNly nation. Snapped out of our revelry by rampant fear and devilry. Let’s write ourselves free! ~ MH Clay

The Gun of the Brownshirts by Chuck Taylor

The GUN is always waiting… waiting for the hand. It sits on a shelf hidden from eyes, so quiet, so patient, yearning for the hand that understands what’s needed. Without the hand the GUN feels cold and lonely. It won’t take any hand. The GUN wants a hand that senses down in its bones all there is to fear. Fear is what keeps a person from becoming great. The GUN knows the hand wants to settle things, here and now. The gun knows it acts as a seed when it marries the hand. A new time begins when the gun is taken. Terror dissipates and the fearless man walks forth. He carries now the answers the world doesn’t know it needs.

March 5, 2016

editors note: Sick and sad is the nation engaged with GUN in conversation. – mh clay

The Garden of Wild Jasmine by Amy Barry

The past survives
in the sweet scented

She walks
under summer foliage.
White hair,
soft as the clouds.
Her features caught
in time’s net of wrinkles.
Warm remembrance
Memories roam,
in sunlight – a blue tit logged
all it saw.

Her search,
real or unreal is not known.
In the passing breeze,
rimmed with tears,
eloquent with pain,
perhaps, it is here –
in the thick softness
of greens,
flowers and soil,
like the end of a warm dream –
in the garden that breathes –
She wishes to enter
and disappear.

March 4, 2016

editors note: All is memory, sweetly sustained; if only we could… – mh clay

THOUGHTS AFTER A WAKE by Terry Severhill

What can be said or written that
could ever comfort the dead or
the mother holding onto, clinging
to the barest shadow of faith that
her beloved may escape that
which stalks us all? Forever is an
awfully long time yet it seems not
long enough to grieve to release
all hope. Remembering is not life,
not reanimation, still she will go
through the motions, repeating
prayers, rituals and random
conjurings in faint hope that her
faith, her will, can evoke a
different outcome. So it is, so it
has always been. We should feel a
connection to our shared past but
we don’t. Hundreds of thousands
of years, thousands of
generations. Bones laid to rest
with furs, flowers, stone tools,
jewelry, food stuff all bear mute
testimony to our shared hope,
shared failure. Amen.

March 3, 2016

editors note: We go through these motions; hoping to create a different future. – mh clay

I’m Dysfunctional Just Like You by Paul Tristram

So let us join forces
and create a beautiful mess together.
Mentally handcuffed
to that cellar radiator
side by side.
How very uncommon our love will be,
I’m neurotically
swinging from the chandelier
just imagining
the magnificent affray
we will be causing
by our un-requiting
Convention’s silly airs and graces.
I love your outer scars
and imperfections
(it’s all but oil on canvas!)
and your inner fractures
make me gasp aloud
in ‘Oh Yes, At Last’ wonderment.
You are perfect,
from your insecure fidgeting
right down to your
OCD structure making
(Touch that door handle again
just one more time for me, baby!)
We’ll get married at Midnight,
when all the ordinary every day folk
are in bed asleep and out of the way
and honeymoon in Merthyr Tydfil
(It’s genius, they’ll never find us there!)
And we’ll have the
‘Hookah Smoking Caterpillar’
from Alice In Wonderland
to vicar over the magical proceedings.

March 2, 2016

editors note: It’s a match made in Wonderland. “We’re all mad here…” – mh clay

mouths drawn like swords. by James Rodehaver

in the lion-hearted morning,
we roll over in bed,
exposing daggers hidden the night before.

we arise to a love like an arms deal,
you will die painfully,
i will die painfully,
both of us rich,
both of us at war,
but this pact will stiffen my spine,
exacerbate your zeal.

there are empty planetariums spinning galaxies for no one,
and here we are, unable to look up,
hands at our sides,
our mouths drawn like swords;
a whole universe wasted by the dilation of your pupils,
and the bated breath that comes with an honest emotion felt between liars.

the only way to make anti-venom is with venom,
and so there is hope in the dna of betrayal.

i do not trust you,
nor you i,
and therein lies the promise of a bloody alliance,
but still,
we break pacts like hearts in the night.

we circle and swoop like falcons,
talons out,
razor wings,
this will end badly for both,
one will die on top of the other,
but no one will live to claim victory.

warriors thrusting sun shields,
hiding gleaming swords behind our fear,
we retreated until our backs met,
and then we entered the truce of a new dawn together.

if i die with my dick out,
know i was not unprepared,
i am an opportunist with my time,
and i know what’s coming.

in the field at late afternoon,
you are my crown,
and my assassin.

because no matter what,
you’re both on my mind,
and in my head.

we dance around each other
like fighters in a death waltz,
we play chess with body parts,
and we play to win.

love happens along the way maybe, for a while,
but the goal is to dance with your opponent,
and know your place is with them on the battlefield,
because to love is to spar on equal footing.

seasons are not enemies,
but burned-out cycles of orange and green,
of color and decay,
working together to inspire us,
to ensnare us,
and to kill us.

so do not forget, my honored adversary,
my wounded viper,
my snarling love,

by another name
is war.

March 1, 2016

editors note: With mutual victory and defeat assured; truly, all’s fair… – mh clay


Let’s hear it
foa anadah candidate

to be considered
foa da Stupid Crooks Hall of Fame.

He wen post
wun selfie photo of himself

holding wun large amount of cash
on social media.

Dat wen help da authorities
to quickly zero in on him.

Da money
dat he wuz showing off wit

wuz part of $45,000 he wen steal
in four armed bank robberies.

Wun informant told da investigators
dat he wen spend some of da cash

on wun old Corvette
and wun root canal.

Da television news

focused on da work
dat wuz done on his teeth

and da viewing audience
taught it wuz kinnah amusing.

It wuzn’t too funny foa da thief
wen he wuz arrested dough.

Most likely he wuzn’t smiling eidah

wen dey wen sentence him
to 18 years in prison.

Tings going change foa him now.

He going have free food
free uniform
and free room and board.

To top it all off
da buggah going have free dental.

February 29, 2016

editors note: When crime doesn’t pay, you get health care. (A pome in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin English, “Foa da fun of it!”) – mh clay

the green balloon by Laura Minning

excerpt from “a verbal collage,” november 2006

I watch the wind
with earnest intent,
and ask it
for a dance.

It takes me
by the hand
and sets me free.

February 28, 2016

editors note: A successful search for that elusive Helium of the soul. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? This week’s featured story, from Contributing Poet/Writer Arun Budhathoki, isn’t a cheerful one but if vengeance and comeuppance is your thing, this one just might put a smile on your face. Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story, Killing the Rapist: “Just as day births night, violence births violence. Just as stars, hate becomes is endless and hangs over our heads, and rarely is it justice.”

Here’s a bit to get you started:

He buried his corpse in an open field. The evening was filled with utter silence and no living person passed the site. The sky looked perfect pale by the rays of glowing moon. Ajay dusts off his hands clapping strongly, lifts the shovel and starts punching the mud to flatten it. After finishing up he stands unmoved, overwhelmed with pride, and shouts: “You bastard, this is what you deserve.” He spits at the grave of the rapist. Phone rings.

“Yes, it’s done,” he speaks proudly.

“Good job, now get out of there quickly before someone sees you,” an unknown voice orders.

He carries the shovel and gets inside the car. As he moves away from the murder scene Ajay tweets: “@ajaythekiller: rape is a crime and the criminal needs to be killed.” Soon after he tweeted a score of tweeps reply, retweet, favorite and quote it. But no one knows that it is for real…

Get the rest of your read eat 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 featured longtime Contributing Poet Quinten Collier all the way from the Rocky Mountain HIGH state of Colorado. With the help of the interwebs, it felt like he was right there with us at The Underpass. If you were there to toke the poetic smoke he fired up, then you know how delicious his 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…

photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez

Johnny O
MH Clay

Quinten Collier

Gerard Bendiks
Chris Curiel
Tamitha Curiel

Dan Rodriguez

Mad Cast:
Suza “Hep Kat Mama” Kanon
Sean “TA2” Buttram
Opalina Salas
Roderick Richardson
Vic Victory
Carlos Salas
Paul Sexton
Vic Victory
Jen Bochenko
James “Bear the Poet” Rodehaver
Harry McNabb
Jay “Holiday” Gomez
Sean St. Stevens
Nadia Wolnisty
Gabe Mamola
Anthony Harris
Anthony X Haynes
Griff “Warrior Poet”

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.

Who’s featuring in April? Dallas singer & songwriter, Kelly Nygren! 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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