The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.19.16

by on March 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

“All art is a confession.” ~ Gaston Lachaise

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Just You” (above) by featured artist Chuck Taylor. To view more of Chuck’s mad snaps, along with our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe wandered far in a big car; we studied the suit against thoughtless fruit; we pleasure pilfered from rain, not silver; we gave our best to be the guest; we searched the land for an authorized hand, got self-respect to join the band; we viewed freedom from a balcony, compared boredom there to boredom here; we sought a golden bird instead of eggs and turds. Good for me or good for you. To get both good is good to do. ~ MH Clay

Seeking The Golden Bird by Joseph Farley

There is what you want,
And there is what you settle for,
The bird you try to catch,
And the one that winds up
In your hands.

One may have borne you
On its back,
Across seas and summer fields
To its eyrie
In the peaks of your desire.

The other, well,
It sits there,
And maybe gives you eggs,
Or just turds,
But it is yours,
To feed and care for,

Or pluck and eat,
If you think you are
Still brave and nimble enough
To grab golden feathers
In the wind.

March 19, 2016

editors note: In hand or bush; eggs are for eating, flying is for birds. – mh clay

Nuor by Nika Sabasteanski

the son
of the son
of the lion
is spring,
waiting for dumplings
soaked in eggs and cream,
folded, stirred, and served
by the swollen hands of the lawyer.

the thick winds that tousle his bangs
smell of fifth floor aubergines
swimming in humid tomatoes.
our ankles wade
through the typhoid bathwater
that also cleans chickens and babies.
a wooden sword severs the stream,
dragged along the halls
by a Thumbelina warrior.
the cleft river smooths itself.

and the lawyer takes me to the balcony,
to speak of constitutions,
and babies in snowy playgrounds,
of dying eyes
and dying,
and infinite boredom
cradled in new flats.

I have never felt this fear, I say
and the lawyer is incredulous
her lazy eye widens
and appears to glance at mine for a moment
the swollen hands pour me more orange soda,
sifting through the bowl of chocolates
like sand

the son
of the son
of the lion
sits on the floor building bridges,
an engineer of reverie
in his trundle bed.
The swollen hand arrives at his mouth
with a forkful of Pierogis,
wiping his lip with its finger simultaneously.
He listens to our conversation,
to the lawyer’s fear
her dying freedom.
Who must I be to him?
Some shard of childhood
he’ll store and resurrect
when he becomes a writer.
the day, they brought me
on the tram to Krasno Selo,
through the shortcut,
tripping over tumbleweeds and bricks.

March 18, 2016

editors note: What he will be to us builds on what we are to him. – mh clay

Self-Respect by Pijush Kanti Deb

I have a drum
which is grammatically well tuned
like of yours
as per the universal norm of sweetness
and as usual I long to listen its sweet sound
beating it
dancing and singing,
traversing each and every cavity of human sense
but unfortunately
I have a weakness too
as I lack an ethically authorized hand to beat it
but in the process
my young heart permits me
to purchase the authorized hand
in exchange for
my beloved money and self-respect both
but my old soul restricts me
“No self respect means no life in a life,
so let your drum be beaten by others”

March 17, 2016

editors note: What it means to be beat? Looking for an “authorized hand.” – mh clay

Us Muslims by Arif Ahmad

This is our circus, our monkeys.
The question begs us how to best respond to all this.
Blame everyone else to the hilt for our ills.
Stay in our shell, shocked, shy, never to step out, never to mix.
Keep our eyes closed and pretend all is kosher.
Or wait for some other divine miracle.
Where each one of us is a brand ambassador, I believe for a Muslim today just showing up is not enough.
This is the time to step it up without apologies or excuses.
With smiling eyes and heads held high, at work or play, crawl if we have to go that extra mile.
To reach out, help out, love, impress.
Create some magic, make some good news, lay ourselves out to excel and embrace.
Step out from behind those walls.
Leave our surrounds a better place.

March 16, 2016

editors note: What “we” make “them” do to live with “us” makes “them” the better. – mh clay

Bridging the Gap by Bhupender Bhardwaj

The self-possessed person who takes pride
In twirling his mustache, adjusting the bow
Of his tie, in patting his wallet like a pet
Is the poorest and the richest person is
The one who derives utmost pleasure
From not collecting the silver coins of the rain
That shower down incessantly from the
Mint of the sky but from watching its
Darts hit the earth’s board and his heart
Which is its bull’s eye.

Why is it that one does not see that the
Grave edge of reason can bloody the
Face of happiness, that pretentious behavior
Can lead to ruination and that a stomach ache
Can dissolve one’s ego, pride and possessions?

After it has finished raining, pools of pristine water
That contain the sky, newly born trees and the turtle
Floating downslope across rills say to us, “Only in
Proximity to us, can you gain your lost self.”

March 15, 2016

editors note: Can’t fill a pocket full of coins with freedom or blue sky. – mh clay

To Eat the Rowan’s Fruit by Marianne Szlyk

The rowan is the sign of the thinker,
its fruit as bitter and seedy as thought.
Thin, orange pulp barely covers the pit.
Birds and deer avoid the rowan’s berries,
eating them last, after the frost.

I once knew someone who claimed
to have eaten this fruit.
It was something to tick off his list
like the juniper berries he smoked
or the rainforest he later visited.

One must boil the fruit, strain it
through cheesecloth, sugar it,
ferment it, or serve it
as a jelly with gout-giving game.

But he never mentioned
how bitter
or seedy
the rowan’s fruit was
as if he had gulped it down,
without thought.

March 14, 2016

editors note: Tasted better or tasted worse; before you bite, consider your source. – mh clay

THE BIG CAR by Roger G. Singer

I got out the big car, the flashy one
where you’re absorbed into the soul of your seat.
We turn on the black roads with no names
past road signs peppered with bullet holes
and other signs pointing each way to towns
and places somewhere to go.

The moon plasters a gray canvas like my
single headlight, beaming a path of night.

Cold and flat, suspended and smoking the
old car slips past cemeteries where we tip
our hats at the crossroads where tales of
life changing like Monday morning sheets
turns the heads each way while praying.

The road is hard as it surrenders the lost
and curious at deserted rest areas where
carved initials in picnic tables tell a story.

March 13, 2016

editors note: Smooth cruisin’. A story to tell, pocket knife ready. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good, ‘cos we got a beatific read for you.

Once in awhile a piece will come across our mad desks that we have a hard time classifying. Is it a poem? Prose? Or perhaps a Beaten prayer? All we know is that this week’s featured poem/prose/prayer, “The Brooklyn Hallelujah” by Contributing Writer Hannah Frishberg, raised a holy Awww-man in us! Here’s what Chief Editor Johnny O had to say about this tasty tale: “Deities come in a multitude of diverse forms. Who is to say which one is holier than thou’s? Ultimately, whatever gets you to the holy Hallelujah is all that matters. Can we get an Awww-man?!”

Here’s a few verses to get a rise outta ya:

(photo courtesy of Hannah Frishberg)

I’d like to thank God and Long Island and the Dutch for giving me the Hallelujah of naked sunbathing 300 feet above Red Hook with Russian dicks and rooftop fellatio atop century old abandoned warehouses with their apathetic dock workers, black netting condemning the building and freeing our nights to watch the sunrise, to camp out in this cement sanctuary closer to the precinct than our parents.

Because who could sleep when there are empty airports at the end of Flatbush and forsaken sugar refineries in Williamsburg all calling my name Hannah Hannah Hannah.

We, the forgotten hulks of Kings County!

And the Prospect Expressway sounds like the Atlantic if you close your eyes.

And Ocean Parkway is all Sinatra in my grandfather’s Lexus, all Jay-Z in my dealer’s Hummer.

And there is a freight line which runs from Canarsie to Bay Ridge, didn’t you know? I can take you there, it’s overgrown with weeds and needles and we’ll climb to the tops of locomotives and stare across the East River.

And barefoot street races in Bensonhurst bring color to the midnight luminescence of the pre-dawn streets as lax mothers watch our drunken hula hooping from the porch…

If this holy sermon is raising up an Awww-man in you too then get the rest of this confessional 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

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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