The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.14.16

by May 14, 2016 0 comments

“Real beauty knocks you a little bit off kilter.” ~ David Byrne

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“God Less America” (above) by featured artist Jeff Skele Sheely. To view more of Jeff’s twisted beatific images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe found peace in a fine and dandy-lion; we bore life’s shock, like paper on rock; we reveled in being rained on vs. rained out; we waxed away with words of Will; we wasted away in exile, our only friend an enemy; we recalled another, in time sublime, distanced but not detached; we bounced through the business of getting to YES! Madly maximize, all the way up to it! ~ MH Clay

RISE OF YES by Suza Kanon

affirmative consent has been acquired
initiation sequence activated
all systems go for liftoff
zoom zoom zoom baby

but how do we get to yes
from here to there
i feel your attraction
but do you care? & do i care?

really only one way to see
to move things up a smidge
let’s set aside some time
before water passes the bridge

needed to be certain you were certain
before i let you get in over your head
how sweetly surreal is love’s deep dive?
cause the one you choose is where you’ll thrive

yes isn’t always simple.
but come on,
it could be so simple
if we keep it simple.

uncomplicated, affirmative
asking all the right questions
in just the right order.

setting the mood, stacking the deck
so when the time comes to pop the question
every need has been met

we know not to negotiate through a no
we accept your free will & let it go
but you’ve got to be direct. i’m a literal kind of girl
no good with signs & signals, this is a crazy crazy world

so before this goes any further
tell me, baby, where’ve you been
need to connect on a deeper level
before we take this for a spin.

how do we get to yes?
can’t we just let go enough
to feel that yes rising?
to let it well up deep inside me

till you can taste it on the tip of my tongue
sweet like honey, dripping from my kiss
take your time, but don’t take too long
cause that yes is such a gift

sometimes yes is a slow burn
you start slow & low
in your favorite cast iron
just so you know

its been sweetly seasoned
with love & intention
raising the heat just enough
to give the flavor dimension

so the sugar carmelizes
but doesn’t smoke or get bitter
stir stirring, letting it get so hot
as long as it needs to take to thicken

watch that yes come together
o you’ll know when it’s ready
golden sweet & too hot to touch

give it just a moment to rest
so you can catch your breath
so you can consent
so we can get to that yes

so do it already
no fun to repress,
much nicer to confess
YES baby yes.

So just say it outloud.

& if you can say it outloud
then say it with me now
yes yes YES!

May 14, 2016

editors note: Well, bless our yes. We say, YES! – mh clay

JUNCTURE for C.B. by Stefanie Bennett

Distance, how far away
You’ve wandered
From the maladies
Of attachment.

From the quiet room where
We read Kafka’s tribulations,
My head resting
On your chest,

The clatter of pine-cones
Scudding the roof
… And the wind
At half-mast
Soulfully singing.

Distance. A derivative,
Brought with it
An unbridled
Dark steed

To infiltrate
The yellow night.
The red comet.
The absentee –.

May 13, 2016

editors note: A distance crossed in the firing of synapses. – mh clay


To you –
My dearest enemy

Even after all these years
I still remember

How could I forget?

When your rejection of my parole
Sentenced me with indifference
To remain imprisoned by the past

I know this letter
Is as pointless
As these memories that burn

You don’t care what I think or how I feel
You didn’t then, so why would you now?

No, it’s too late, I know

The days of working for a living wage
The nights of sleeping with a loving wife
The hopes of escaping from this locked room

All of them are gone

All that’s left
Are these yesterdays

The only way out –
To give in to their flames

That consume this empty shell
And intern the ashes of its anger
Inside the casket of these words

This final testament
To my will’s conscious impotence
That I address and leave to you –

My dearest enemy
The one friend that I have left

May 12, 2016

editors note: When those befriended have ended… – mh clay

Willed Words by Harley White

For William Shakespeare

Soft you now – what visions rise from that phrase
which sounds of hushabies and winsome ways,
or conjures damsels in enduring plays
with celebrated scenes that e’er amaze!

One maiden proffered columbine and rue,
yet could not tender blooms of violet hue.
To take is not to give – still ‘twas not true
when twisted villain gave a ring to woo.

The walking shadows tell their tales of woe,
before to dusty death they’re called to go.
Tomorrow and tomorrow creeps its pace
as time pursues us all in ticking chase.

Yea, pageants may dissolve or cloud-capped spires
and sweet birds sing no more in ruined choirs…
But soft, beloved Bard, abide in peace!
The wonder of your words will never cease!

May 11, 2016

editors note: With the anniversary of his death just past, Harley reminds us how much we are lovers of Will’s words. – mh clay

Personal Rules of Interpretation by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Personal rules of interpretation, like flattened leafy thalli,
Those foliose growing among cold rocks, usually yield little.
See, accretion requires, whether among persons or flora,
Simple, direct, functional choices to cull truth, survive daily.

Not possible to pay enough cottonseed oil or cornmeal cakes
To generate aesthetic norms, to ride the best merry-go-round
Horse, to pump hard, extremities burning, down a high knoll;
The sun fashions brightness and shadow, makes gusts pucker.

When clouds puff voluptuously, when sky cotton also drifts,
Raindrops get blamed for bollixing picnics, for messing with
Outdoor concerts, backyard weddings, volleyball games, jazz.
(Nothing’s said of the many sere gardens that bloom thereafter.)

May 10, 2016

editors note: Bust for one, blessing for another. How do you see it? – mh clay

Silence by John Najjar

I sit here tracing these words across this screen
Looking for other possibilities
That can slide beyond the measures of reason
These days my day’s measure is spent
Searching possible futures
That leave me stranded here
In this distant present:

Measuring each word written
I sit in a shady place
And pace each line away
Writing a last refuge
A prisoner pacing the yard
Each word a step
In this battle with meaning

Experience will remain
A mixture of loss and gain
I am torn between a head
That reasons
And a heart that knows

I trace borderlines
Weighing possibilities
One past with another
Looking for connections
Still experience remains
Wrapped by silence
I will not let this rocky world
Shatter me.

May 9, 2016

editors note: Paper wraps rock every time. – mh clay

Lion Of Peace by JoyAnne O’Donnell

Within the silver linings on a break of a wave
a white cloud crash
lifts waves on the moon’s pull
rain into dripping rainbows
colors with golden arches
keeping birds singing from the highest perches
God’s holy tree
Angel’s seven seas
Peace within time of the sun maiden’s charm
of flowers and peace fresh as a white daisy

May 8, 2016

editors note: Jus’ dandy! I’ll take an order of that with love topping. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? If we’ve been doin’ our jobs correctly, you do!

This week’s featured tale “The Gun Shop” comes from Contributing Writer Ron Riekki.

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say this week’s pick… “The heavy gloom of the human condition sometimes seems to lighten when we come into contact with one of those aliens we call people. The blood we all know we love to spill is all the more devastating when it keeps hearts beating through the experience of simple conversation.”

Here’s a few lines to set your sights on:

(photo “Lock and Load” – above – by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

The gun shop sign, I have to admit, was shimmering. Other than that, it was a piece of shit, but the sun blessed the thing when I drove up.

I was armed with statistics. My hands were shaky. I’d wanted to do this for a long time. I knew how many kids kill themselves with guns each year. I had citations for the number of housewives killed in Alabama. I knew how many accidental shootings, on-purpose shootings, gun show shootings, and every kind of shootings there were. In America. I didn’t have a clue about foreign country shootings. That was too much information. It took me long enough to plan for this.

It was the sign that drew me in. The quotes on it angered me worse than Geico ads. I just hated the place, the way it would sting into my mind with their gun puns and holiday gun greetings. Happy New Gun Year!

The door to the place seemed yanked from a factory. Inside, it was orange and empty. It smelled like a strip club. Don’t ask me how I know that. I’m no angel.

I expected customers but was very relieved when there weren’t any. Customers, I figured, would be the wild card. I just imagined the testosterone, the strange neo-con angry quotes I’d get back. What I got was emptiness…

Wanna know the rest of the story? Sure you do! Get the rest of your read on 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…

Down for the Count,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Leave a Reply