The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.04.16

by on June 4, 2016 :: 1 comment

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” ~ Allen Ginsberg

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“battle tested” (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 forfeited fun for a holiday in the sun; we, our politicos refused, for promises devolved into excuse; we honored the dead who gave their lives in our stead; we broke the box for beggar over fox; we questioned the suit for love obtained sans pure pursuit; we practiced spine extraction to enable kindness in action; we suffered the sting of love undone to end with the safety of dinner for one; we got down with the brightness of brown; we dispelled self-doubt in the freedom of getting out. One thing leads to another; inhale deeply, never smother. ~ MH Clay

Kyle’s Ford, Tennessee by Becky Sanvictores

I want to tell this story
from the beginning
though I really only know the end.
When you were five
there were six of you
one pair of shoes
one good dress
between you.
You weren’t yet big enough
but you dreamed of buttoning the collar
of the dress around your neck
spinning like cotton candy
twirling the hem into a tutu.

When you were ten
and there were eight of you
two pair of shoes
one for the little ones
one for the bigger,
you smoothed the dress
over your legs
knocked your knees
pulled at the hem
and folded into the davenport
losing your silhouette to the pillows.

When you were thirteen
and there were five of you –
the little ones died,
two pair of shoes
one put away
one for the rest of you,
wearing that dress
the hem hugging your thighs
just the way men like
you scurried through the door
like it was your fault.

When you were fifteen
there were three of you,
the others had left,
two pair of shoes
and the landlord wanted paid.
You put on your Mother’s dress
grabbed the bottle of whiskey
took him to the root cellar
and paid the rent.

When you were seventeen
there were two of you left
three pair of shoes
one you earned paying rent,
you put on your own dress
slapped fifty dollars on the table
and hitchhiked to Savannah.

When you were eighty-five
and there was one of you
I laced your feet into ballet slippers
fluffed the tutu around your
skinny slim body
and we rolled out the door
of the Magnolia Manor
Fuck the landlord!

June 4, 2016

editors note: A liberation tale. Nicely told! – mh clay

Brown by Arun Budhathoki

Everything is brown
The world
The colour of her
The colour of her eyes
Lighter brown
We are brown
Our world brown too

The kisses we share brown too
Her hair brown too
Her hugs and everything brown

The stars flashes like a brownie
The road stuck between the crossroads
The signs are brown too

My fingers
The words I type
Thoughts in my mind

My skin
The air I breathe
The food I eat
The water I drink

Everything is brown

My heart is brown
My soul
My heart

She makes my world brown

June 3, 2016

editors note: Can’t get no blues when everything is brown. – mh clay

salon musing by Alainah Aamir

Valentine’s day hearts
still hang on the salon ceiling
three days after the day
which makes no sense at all.

Each heart is cut in a different
sort of grotesque because they
know nobody will notice the rough
edges, with a solid concept as this.

That is why he will leave her through
empty inboxes, bubbles of silence
he will slowly pull the wooden floor from under her
so one day she will know with certainty that there is no more need for a second dinner plate.

June 2, 2016

editors note: Dinner for two, undone. – mh clay

How to Give by Nadia Wolnisty


above it is a cap like one for fuel.
I reach back and turn it counterclockwise
to open the little door that’s at the root of all spines.
I use both hands with bent elbows and grab it.
The base is cold and metal like a skewer through a carousel horse.

I inhale. I yank it out.
It goes haltingly—
vertebra by vertebra,
like a locomotive,
one car at a time.

My breathing will be unlabored
like soothing mutters
on a quiet night.
My breathing will be all exhales
without that spider umbrella
of bone between.
I must do this to be weightless.
I must do this to be as water
that never thinks of itself,
but flows and heals and
asks nothing.
I must do this for the give.

And afterward, we could
prop it in some corner,
like a hat-rack for small hats,
or give it to the children
for a curious plaything.
I am trying to trade
my strength for kindness.

June 1, 2016

editors note: The ultimate gift; self as hat rack or curious toy. – mh clay

I WILL NOT LET YOU by Geosi Gyasi

I will not let you
into the wings
of my arm
till you
break it into
pieces the reason
why you choose
to live as a
man instead
of a woman

I will not let you
into the spaces
of my flesh
till you
prove to me
via litmus paper
why the color
of your skin
should be
changed to

I will not let you
sow the seed
of artificial sperm
into the pool
of my womb
unless you
fetch me a song
from the bosom
of your heart

I will not let you
feel the love
of my heart
unless you
prove to me
why you’re eager
to pursue me

May 31, 2016

editors note: Show me yours before I show you mine. – mh clay

OF FOXES AND BEGGARS by Beate Sigriddaughter

How come
I’m tempted to run
out and buy meat to deliver
to a hungry fox,
yet I don’t want to give
spare change to a man
asking for it
by the Lutheran church?

May 31, 2016

editors note: Maybe we’re confused. Isn’t it, “Do unto foxes as you would have foxes do…” or was it something else? – mh clay

Memorial Day 2016 by D. Russel Micnhimer

Today we honor and remember ultimate sacrifice
Of all who answered and served our country’s call;
Who fought and in gore of battle took their final fall
For each of us they gave all their yet lived fill of life.

They held freedom they were living worth fighting for
No matter what their age or when in history time
Called for their service, many went in their prime,
Never to return from the horrors of the current war.

Today we mourn their lives, place flowers on their graves
And flags to mark weapons they brandished in defense
And offense to defeat enemy before they breached the fence
Preserving the land of the frees and homes of the braves.

We know that stopping of their hearts, no matter when,
With each free breath, we take, we give them life again.

May 30, 2016

editors note: Lest we forget to remember, freedom was never free & never shall be. ~ Johnny O

Same Old by Gary Beck

When election year arrives
presidential contenders
have already worked hard
telling us what we want to hear,
however unrealistic.
Once ensconced in office
promises are forgotten
while the burden of problems
generates excuses.

May 30, 2016

editors note: Surprised? So much we promise ourselves is lost to our own excuses; why would we expect any difference from them? – mh clay

HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN by Bradford Middleton

The window is open but my curtains are drawn
A nice gentle breeze wafts through, it is salty yet fresh
I stumble to my feet and peer through into the daylight
The wind seems kind of fresh but the clouds are an ominous mass
But still there are people who insist they’re on holidays in the sun
Determined to lie on the beach until the storm takes hold and hopefully sweeps them away

Our beach is a shingled mess, invaded every weekend by lager-fueled teenagers
Can’t they just fuck off, leaving us in peace to enjoy our town?
I sat and thought about it the other night, alone in situ at the pub
And it occurred to me we’re only really alone at Christmas when the students go home
It’s then I love this city, a place of peace and tranquillity
Leaving the mind to wander and speculate on plans to escape

May 29, 2016

editors note: Remember to bundle up; layers, layers – with a generous sunblock base. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Maybe you don’t NEEEEEEED-a-Read (although 9 outta 10 mad docs would say you’re wrong) but we know you’re gonna “WANNNNNNNA-Read” Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White’s gem of a story.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this week’s featured read “Frieze in Miniature”…

“There can’t always be what we desire but there’s always going to be us and what we can imagine.”

And with that said, here’s a few flurries to get your feelers feelin’:

(photo by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Sunday and snow. A promise made— a promise kept. Laden with oranges, apples, chips, crackers graham, muenster, and wine to placate my misgivings, a thermos of cold water, mittens, blankets, and four rain-booted children bundled for snowball battles, quivered with impatience— up Angeles Crest we plunged.

Destination— snow— 7000 feet.

Carsick children— and me.

Still no snow.

Destination— Big Pine…

To be continued right here!

••• Open Mic •••

All we gots’ta say today is Awww! OK, we have a LOT more words to share, what with ALL the poets & musicians and pics & links & tags & whatnot’s we gots…

A HUGE shout-out to our virtual feature, the fine folks from the Southern Collective Experience. Poets Charles Clifford Brooks III & Scott Thomas Outlar along with musician Kaleb Garrett, brought their poetic & musical a-game! We never doubted that they would & they over delivered on the badassness!

If you couldn’t make it to the show and wish you coulda, there’s some live shot video of The Southern Collective Experience’s feature set right here. (and more where that came from right here!)

Thanks to all who came out to The Underpass & shared in this collective 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

Southern Collective Experience: Clifford Brooks, Scott Thomas Outlar, & Kaleb Garrett

Johnny Olson & MH Clay

Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks, & Tamitha Curiel

Mad Cast:
Maggie Smith
Justin Booth
Opalina Salas
Chris Zimmerly
Desmene Statum
Carlos Salas
CJ Critt
John May
Suza “Hep Kat Mama” Kanon
Vic Victory
Gabe Mamola
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Jen Bochenko
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Kristine Spinner
Sean “Ta2” Buttram
Gnadia Wolnisty
Samonni Devine
Red Crow

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!

Thanks to The Underpass’s Mike & Leo for having such a badass & fine establishment and welcoming us mad ones into their home with open arms.

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.

May the madness Swirl your way ’til next 1st Wednesday…

Your Mad Googily-Eyed Guy


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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