The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.27.16

by August 27, 2016 0 comments

“Poetry is the mother-tongue of the human race.” ~ Johann Georg Hamann

••• The Mad Gallery •••

(click here to to hear the accompanying track to this piece)

“Surveillance” (above) by featured artist Suza Kanon. To see more of Suza’s mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe grieved on paper true, bleeding ink from red to blue; we pulled the lever of atomic never; we lost everything but the weight which pulls us down; we danced in the street in a prismed crown; we sheltered in the eaves of clinking leaves; we wondered at the word of a mystery bird; we slipped in the slur of a cataract blur; we avoided inane talk by an honest jaywalk. Every day we wake in the steps we take. ~ MH Clay

the jaywalker by John Grochalski

we’ve lived in the same building
going on eight years now
see each other in the hallway
the laundry room
in the basement when i’m throwing out
the cat litter, food scraps and booze bottles
on this long street we pass each other
maybe three or four times a day
going nowhere good
me to work or the liquor store or to the grocery
and he to go and sit
in the laundromat or citibank vestibule
and with each passing it’s the same thing
how’s it going?
have a good one
each time we meet in the apartment, too
there are these customs we have
a head nod, a tip of the hat
i don’t know which one of us started it
eight years of these trite greetings
and no other conversation, thank god
well, yesterday i was coming down the street
coffee and a bagel and a wicked hangover this time
and he was coming up the street
we both looked steeled for the same old same old fate
when suddenly he broke between two parked cars
hustled his old ass across the street away from me
with angry people honking their angry horns
leaning their heads out windows to curse him out
on their way to church
not even a head nod my way
eight years broken in one bold move
and as he limped off toward wherever
i watched him
not angry
not sad at being shunned as such
but feeling happy and full of grace
that someone in this world
had finally taken the time to get to know me
and what i really wanted
after all of these silly
wasted years
on such hollow kindness.

editors note: Honesty for false honors? Good trade! – mh clay

Cheap Trick by Jonathan Beale

One slight; one night; once among the neon
and the bar room noise
The chaos
Seemed to be alien vaguely relative, somehow familiar.
The action something invisible something unreal
Although important for need of mankind
The need for when all else has drained
Down away away away…

All their eyes were distracted by
The neon, billboards, and garbage blowing about
Now forgotten
Yesterday’s wants now gone – bellies empty
Unrequired – yet to cut out as a cataract
To forget the image.

editors note: The impossible trick; to unsee a thing. – mh clay

Bird Songs by Christopher Minton

I passed you every morning, for we had a routine
And like a good New Yorker, I kept my head down
I did not look at you, not even once
But I listened, for it was impossible to avert my ears

You spoke to me, uninvited, every time I went by
The things you said were maddeningly inconsistent
They rained down, a chaotic soup of judgments
That I was left to wrestle with in my own time

One morning I heard you smile even before you spoke
“You know what I like about you?” A pause.
“I like the way you make yourself laugh when you’re all alone.
That is,” you pronounced, “cute and quite endearing.”

Another morning your voice wasn’t as soft
“You know what’s really sad?” Silence.
“What’s really sad is how much energy you expend
Worrying about what other people think of you.”

We carried on in this manner, you and I
How many days or weeks or months I could not say
I clung to your sing-song voice throughout the day
Despite my self-admonitions to do otherwise

And then one day, as I approached your nest
I stopped and looked up, making eye contact for the first time
And there you sat, surprisingly beautiful in your knowing
You laughed and the sound echoed across the years

I knew then who you were, and I relished my understanding
Your mouth opened and let fly no words, only a bird song
It was joyful, and I knew what you were telling me, and I believed you
“Now,” you sang, “we’re getting somewhere.”

editors note: “I’ll bet you think this song is about you.” – mh clay

September Journal: Monday, September 30, 2013 by Don Mager

As earth rolls the horizon up and
away from the sun’s unflinching glare,
the long-armed light splashes shifting patches
of sparkling margarita lime high
across the clinking leaves at the tops
of trees. The breeze shakes variegated
pom-pom shimmy-shammies. Short skirts fluff
and shiver their pleats. As they giggle
in irrepressible voiceless
childish glee, miss and hit flutters of
spiraling unhurried leaves drift through
the dark cavernous lower branches
to hide among shadows blanketing
earth. Earth’s roll moves on as the dark ascends.

editors note: Arboreal ecstasies, last minute mayhem before dark. (We welcome Don to our crazy conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page.) – mh clay

Muscovite by Sheikha A.

it was like doing the cha-cha on a sheet
of glass; the side street was carpeted
by pebbles,

I could as well imagine walking my feet
on tiny rubies, emeralds or diamonds
crunching and grunting

but the watchmen’s children invented a game
substituting marbles cleverly

their laughter filling the air like the sun
sparkling on thin windows, the light
falling on their hair like a crown of prisms

their beams reaching to the sky
telling the birds to join in the play

maybe it had rained stones
the night before
or snowed grey/black crystals –
nothing can be a bad thing
happiness can be transparent, after all –

editors note: Pebbled and child-laughter happy. No darkness on that street. – mh clay

i do not want to lose by Carl Kavadlo

my keys
my mind
my favorite trapeze
a guitar string
the warmth of coffee
friends of the past
nor my coat
nor my hat
in the snowy blizzards
nor the functioning of
the a.c. in the summer
the buttons to my shirt
nor the hair on my head
loved ones

the one
that doesn’t
budge: weight.

editors note: An endless conundrum; let go, hold on. – mh clay

Caution of an Atom by Mike Fiorito

When the bed’s miserly corners
Consort with the ceiling to enfold you,
You reach for the lever – never
Did you think?
Life could shrink
So small that you couldn’t count Angels within its walls?
So small
Air strangles in one last breath.

And near death,
You reach for the lever – forever
Is a long time to dangle your feet off –
Of a sun crushed to the caution
Of an atom.

editors note: Even then, still hope for one ionic bond. – mh clay

High by Katie Lewington

went to the cemetery –
hoping to dig my own grave
look at all these people –
buried away
sky was overcast –
tears were swept back
it seems peaceful and comforting
not at all like death in his early years

well, now look I’ve written some lines
a poem from other people’s dead lives –
current was blocked
that no doctor could stop

I’m writing in red –
unable to find the pen that writes in blue
as b4
habits bespoke –
there is something more than silence something worse –
coming out –
the ticking of the clock
like the train from the tunnel
the sudden light fierce –

books should not be this quiet
they should be crying from the shelves –
life should not be passed should be encountered –
and still that clock ticks

alone with blonde librarian
imagine the romantic possibilities
triumphing any of the stories
in these novels –
I bet

mum of a girl I once knew comes
inside for a look
I know you wouldn’t recognize me now
I think
nobody ever does –
I haven’t changed –

found blue pen.

editors note: So high one can go with the right color of ink. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

It’s Happy Need-a-Read Day! Let’s cheers to that. Howsabout a lil Hennessy on the rocks? And let’s make that a double, another for this week’s featured short story, coincidentally-not titled Hennessy on the Rocks by Samonni Devine.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale:

“Drop your foot, lay roots, then pick up and see what of you is left behind. Live like this and see what’s left and then call it humanity.”

Here’s a sip to whet your read thirst:

(photo “I like my marriage like I like my drinks: on the rocks.” (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

I know this older lady who left her soul in every barstool across the city. She appeared to be this beautiful shade of lost with just a hint of recognition. Her eyes told this alluring story that I was interested in finding out, and I eventually did. The night I met her she told me she dreamt of being a musician. She told me everything—everything that led her to her pain and her self-inflicted demolition. And I felt for her.

“Excuse me, may I get you ladies anything?” asked the bartender.

“Two double shots of Hennessy on the rocks, please.” I replied.

Meanwhile the woman continued to confide in me like I was a new generation guardian angel who wasn’t going to damn her for being marked with a little sin. Sin for being herself. Sin for being hurt. Sin for being lost. Sin for being broken.

“And he broke me,” she continued. “He broke me.”

And I don’t know which broke my heart more, the stone dead look that appears on a human beings face after the fifth double shot of Hennessy, or the pain that lingered in the air once she spoke of him and said his name…

Lift your drink, take another sip & get the rest of your reading buzz on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.07.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass City Tavern! (The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street)

This month we will be featurin’ on of our loco locals & a true mad sista to all of us Mad Ones, poet Desmene Statum! Can we get a big ol’ “UHhhhh!”? YES! What we are really tryin’ to say is: You. Do. Not. Want. To. Miss. This. Show. Exclamation. Point! So…

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ “UHhhhh!” helpin’ of some Desmene, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl. Come to participate. Come to appreciate. Come to swirl-a-brate!

Fo’ mo’ info’ visit our Open Mic page!


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…

Speakin’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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