The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.23.16

by April 23, 2016 0 comments

“Every day I feel is a blessing from God. And I consider it a new beginning. Yeah, everything is beautiful.” ~ Prince Rogers Nelson

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Hard to get a signal – John and the ladder” (above) by featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria’s beatific works, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe saw art as life and capricious wife; we rooted as little ran one up the middle; we ran another, from 1001 daggers into 3 hot cups; we an injured cajoled to laugh and roll; we chimney swept for spills not wept; we found inspiring a climber climbing; we were old uncouth to kick at youth. Live it like you mean it, every minute. ~ MH Clay

That Thing You Kicked In The Knees Called Youth by Samantha Hawkins

Remember when every prayer you drew
through gritty brown lips sounded like Alleluia
and tasted something like watermelon candy

Remember you were never the brightest of gems
but you shined like a diamond anyhow
Where the light danced off of your facets

Remember your edges felt lovely to bask
in the brilliant commentary of the sun

Remember you had teeth for soul and bone for spirit
and you ran all your relationships through a grater
purely for the thrill of flesh-colored confetti

Remember you were once the frustrated virgin
with a week’s worth of borrowed lunch money

Remember the world was your massively endowed hooker
you raided her Victorian secrets like they were candy
and left gaping holes of red through her fishnets

Never mind the shortcomings and contradictions
life was all about the contractions

Remember being drawn to questions that laid more questions
which in turn mated with question marks
but you often ran out your welcome with the ellipses

Remember the sky was not your ordinary dead end
just another mile marker on your highway

Remember you and the angels engaged in heavy pillow fights
made hammocks out of the cumulus clouds
then played hopscotch over the contrails

Remember in the morning you awoke to the slow swish
of windshield wipers clearing the mist in your head

April 23, 2016

editors note: When that thing kicks back; don’t dodge it, grab it. Never let go… – mh clay

Climbing Mounts by Gene Barry

In memory of Joan O’Leary

Life is running around in small shoes,

is seated with groups of the elderly,
the retired, the pre-op, the post-op
and I see that door with Push and obey.

Over the child screams and laughter
a penury of happiness is sidelined
and I feel myself pallbearing as
sibling sounds fill my emptiness.

For Joan is that popular Sherpa,
a mist tampering with my heart;
I have assembled her future with
shavings from her workshop floor.

I am helplessly drawn to taste
the fruit of her stories, am held by
the enveloping of a conveyor
of her summits and peaks.

Meanwhile the shy are out-there,
the out-theres more quiet,
the tone deaf are pleasing ears,
new safe hills are being climbed and

I am a well tended field of roosters
awaiting her hands, an unloved
belly swollen Kenyan child
who has just fallen in love.

April 22, 2016

editors note: From summits of remembrance we bring our dead to life. – mh clay

Multifidus by Leilanie Stewart

They’re lined up in rows
but still uneven
It offends the eyes, the mind, the soul
The tip of the iceberg…
Brown and red – maybe yellow,
you’d be a fool to argue,
let the chain of thought slide down
the flaky guttering
into the bowels of the-
empty chimney

It’s a vessel, only a container
for part of that which is dead
and free
Still, the angles left
on the hollow shell are irregular
and it torments, even blisters
a life fragmented

Don’t even try to understand
what has already been
and passed,
emitted into the ether
like a puff of smoke.

April 21, 2016

editors note: Chimney sweeps; pushing yesterday’s soot into piles of understanding. (It’s a stretch.) – mh clay

Intransigent land by Lakshmi Ganapathi

I sit there watching
The grains of age-old earth
Displaced into mid-air
By bare little feet
Running skipping and hopping

A brief reprieve
from selling their wares
for a game of catch
As business is slow
this time of day

The tourists have retreated
to their sheltered coves
where over beers
they would post
the day’s photos
receiving a hundred likes
from across the globe

There he sits
His arms as thin
as the rusty wheels
of his chair
His eyes dart
ever so intently
tracking the footprints
his friends leave
on the intransigent land

Then she walks
by his side
tracing the scar on his cheek
down which beads of sweat file
She cajoles him to join

And off they go
Her tiny hands pushing
Their laughter piercing
the silence that is creeping
through the ancient cracks
of the temples that once again
recede into their solitude

Till tomorrow dawns.

April 20, 2016

editors note: A friendly difference of opinion; laughter wins over pain. – mh clay

The great wall of China at -19 by Luke Ritta

My brain is thumping.
My face is burning.
My mustache has frozen over.
My thighs feel like slabs of marble.
My body feels like it is being stabbed by 1001 daggers.

But then I see a sign! A fat white cat is sleeping next to a window inside a cafe. I run in and drink three cups of hot green tea.

My organs.
My senses.
My bones.
My blood.

They all very slowly come back to life.

April 19, 2016

editors note: An ancient formula for rejuvenation. At -19, add 3 to 206; reduce 1001 to zero. – mh clay

Little Slot Boy by Robert L. Martin

Little slot boy that you are
Running through the middle
Lost among those big ferocious giants
Who eat little boys for breakfast
As lions eat Christians
And missiles overpower spears

Life made giants for football
And made you for knitting sweaters
Don’t venture onto the gridiron
Life is short enough
You are up for the kill
Stay home where it’s safe
Little slot boy,
Where are you going?

Oh no, you’re lining up in the slot?
Or hiding in the backfield?
With all those giants all around?
Now you’re getting lost in the middle
And they can’t find you
When they see you, you are dead
You, you little needle in a haystack
You little Speedy Gonzales around the bend
You greased pig, you invisible little brat
You’re in for a great big spanking
When they find you if they can
What is that you got in your hands?
Is that a football you’re carrying
Across the goal line?
Hurray for little slot boys!!!
Hurrah, hurrah!!!

April 18, 2016

editors note: Underdogs everywhere, arise! Hurrah! – mh clay

Art by Wayne Burke

no kids
no wife;
sometimes it seems
as if life
is not worth
the living,
and like I missed the boat
but then
whenever I start to write
I think
this art is what
I have to love:
as fickle as it is
as un-glamorous in the
as moody in the night
as meaningless as it
sometimes seems–
in all its flaws
and wrinkles
it still comes through
for me
still there
whenever I reach
for it,
from the dark
or from the most desolate

April 17, 2016

editors note: Fickle mistress though she be; can’t live with her… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! We got a fine read to feed your need on this fine day. Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this slinky story:

“Darkness for many is celebration. It is life. It is love in infinite blackness, where the only light at the end of the tunnel is a scream.”

Here’s a few morsels of “Serpent’s Tale” by Andy Tu for for you to sink your fangs into:

(photo “Giver of Knowledge” – above – by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

My eyes are like diamonds, finely cut in the mirror. The outlines of my face waver, melting into the cracked walls behind me. My tie represents who I am. Neat, perfectly-strewn, nice. Together.

There is no image in my head as I drive through the night. No faces of my dead mother or vanished father, just the recurring voice of that waitress.

You want fortune cookie?

Today is my birthday. I have celebrated alone at this restaurant. There is no family riding in on the trains from out of town, no friends decorating my apartment while I’m away. There is just me, and this smooth paper that remains from the cookie. I rub it in circles between my thumbs and index finger as I steer toward the address on the back of the paper.

367 Eastbrook Ridge

The trees along the sidewalks point at me with their branches. Look, they say, there he goes again.

This is where the address would be, if it were real…

And with that cliffhanger, we leave you to slither your mouse on here and get the rest of your read on


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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