The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.23.16

by on September 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Arriving Unseen Inside Light” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To see more of Bill’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 kept love from spoil with garlic and oil; we lost love frustration in lover separation; we stalked in a summer garden for an unattainable dream; we mourned innocence missed by not never been kissed; we found no satisfaction in chemical reaction; we loved to delight in that brother was right; we stood as a casualty of the Nuclear Family. It’s all volatile; elements interact, explosions ensue. Ever changing dynamics ‘tween we and you. ~ MH Clay

A Nuclear Childhood by Donal Mahoney

What if your parents
had never met
had never married

had never yelled
at each other
and instead had wed

someone they loved
and lived peacefully
all those years.

That would have been
their Eden but you
shaking there now

decades later
wouldn’t be with us
cursing the tremors

of a nuclear childhood
you still remember
long after they’re dead.

editors note: Fusion or fission, we are we because they were they. – mh clay

Pamela by Michael Estabrook

Now he’s gone and I find myself
strangely drawn
to the most important woman in my brother’s life –
statuesque, dark eyes, olive skin, perfect hair –
as if she’s drunk from
the Fountain of Youth (he didn’t
marry her, but almost).
And as she tells me she loves opera,
reads Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, listens
to Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Bach
I stumble for my words,
imagining his smirk and that
“I told you so” look in his eyes.

editors note: Loss brings gain; what might have been becomes a wonderful “could be.” – mh clay

My Forte by John Kross

My forte has never been chemistry
especially in matters of the brain
that delicate science eludes me
but give me a knife and I’m a pro
a butcher in a cesspool of
a drowning stagnant me
where the water under my bridge
does not flow out
but backs up tighter than
a meat packer’s drain
overflowing with bloody blobs of
broken promises and good intentions.

editors note: Heart, spleen and bowel; together well meant, somehow badly spent. – mh clay

never been kissed by Catie McLain

i’ve never been kissed
i’m 12 years old and i’ve never been kissed
so i find myself a boy, an older boy, a high school boy
he’s handsome and a little bit racist
and i kiss him on his lips
they’re soft and sweet and somewhat disappointing
but i don’t care and i don’t care about him
all i care about are my bragging rights

now i’m 19 years old
i’m 19 years old and i’m a virgin
i’m a virgin and i feel like maybe if i don’t change that soon i might become one of those spinsters i keep hearing about
so i go to a club and i dance alone
i’m alone until a man notices me
he has lip piercings and a rapidly expanding bald spot.
i go home with him and he soils my purity without a condom because i was raised catholic and am still kind of weird about sex because of it.

and now i am 22 and i have never been in love
i’ve never fallen in love and i sleep with the tv on because the silence is suffocating
so i find a man and fuck him on his kitchen table until he breaks up with his girlfriend
and sometimes when i sit at that table and share breakfast with him i find myself smiling because i like so much what my life is right now
i fall deep for him and i think he has the most beautiful hands i’ve ever seen but i can’t ever seem to say the words out loud
so instead i sleep around and then get angry when i find out that he has gotten himself a respectable girlfriend

and now i am 23 i really am in this moment 23 and trying to figure out how to wean myself from the cycle of sexual and emotional dependency
i’m 23 and i’m dependent on my phone i’m dependent on the attention of men and i depend on strangers to always tip me my 20%
right now i am here talking about my present and i don’t know what to say because i never understand anything until i’m looking at it from the rear view mirror.

editors note: Hindsight as historical fiction, too real for reality TV. What comes next? – mh clay

The Garden Outside the House by Natalie Crick

She was out there again that morning.
Talking, laughing, singing,
The garden filled with sweet birdsong
And the aroma of summer.

The sunset leaked red blood,
Annihilating him.
A love gift or a
Romantic invitation.

She had one eye, he had two.
He was waking from a fitful dream.
It soon became dark,
The sky full of storms.

He saw her solemn death dance,
Wet and electric,
An Autumn widow wearing grey.
It was starting to happen again.

editors note: And it will keep happening if we walk in that garden, obsessed with that invitation… – mh clay

I’ll Say Goodbye To You But Not To Love by Ralph Freda

The 8 a.m. zombie brigade files past me for the final time…
Neighbors, who have found too late in life that they have been slighted…
Along halls, riding elevators, and down the stairs…
(Maybe it is their seventh time around, maybe their first, maybe somewhere in the middle… I don’t care)

I have grown greedy for the gold and the fruit of angels such as Mozart and Picasso and Ginsberg and Updike…

(Remember: in this life, the selfless act of love and a woman are singularly and together the most beautiful thing; impossible to ignore)

Once I knew the joy of being alive…
Now I know the happiness of not having to live alongside you…
I say only two prayers – the first is that I don’t awaken in the fires of Hades, should they exist; the other, that should this be my first time around, or my seventh, or somewhere in the middle, I may never awaken to know the face of the Hell within which you live…
…and again see the horrible moon without mystery in the sky…

editors note: Here’s to hope; that love and mystery be eternal, suffering not. – mh clay

Aglio E Olio by Jeffrey Park

The torrid sizzle
of their meeting
could have easily resulted
in a lifetime
of congealed regret,

but fortunately
for the olive oil,
in today’s online economy
revirgination is only
a mouse click away.

editors note: There’s an app for everything. (Read another of Jeffrey’s jabs on his page, about a dog’s life – check it out.) – mh clay


From a lecture given in Biology 6040, “Animal Behavior,” East Carolina University, 2008

With limited intelligence and absolutely no knowledge of Biophilia
But tons of testosterone, money and privilege,
They kill our big-eyed deep water Marlin as a gaggle of local dock Creeps
Give them cheers and big bucks to do so.

None of the high testosterone Yuppies has a bloody clue
About top-predator biology, anthropocentricity or exploitation.
Some might call it the “Tragedy of the Commons.”
What if the big fish are cognitive and have feelings?

What about their being hoisted up to cheers and fist pumps,
Their last big-eyed vision being that of their upside down “high T” murderers?
What about those gut hooked and released
To swim in painful circles for the sharks to plunder?
My wife, saddened by the spectacle,
Asks if they clean and eat the “poor big fish”.
I tell her the rule of my Mississippi grandfather:
“If you kill it, Boy, then you shall eat it,” which they blissfully ignore.

I respond further by saying that the 5 hundred pound Marlins are doomed to the wall,
Stuffed, mounted and once again staring down
At those who placed them there;
Their tissue, viscera and sinew most likely going to cats, blue crabs and incinerators.

They call this type of exploitation “Ecotourism;”
Say it’s good for the economy.
They embrace the pontifications of Aristotle and Saint Augustine
And all that “humans are on top the evolutionary shit pile scala naturae Judeo-Christian nonsense.”

None have read anything about biodiversity,
Pelagic predation,
Human etiologies to the crises in the world’s oceans,
And, I am absolutely positive, nothing on the cognitive ethology of fishes.

So what do you Nawth Kackalacky students think about this Outer Banks anthropocentric outrage?
“I’ll tell you what I think.”
And what is that, Ms. Midjette?
“Dr. Daniel, you should be fired for lecturing like this!”

editors note: Used to be it was just fishing. Now, every move mangles something else. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

What’s the clock say? It says it’s time to feed your Need-a-Read’ness!

This week we are featuring Contributing Writer, Paul Smith and his tale titled The Lion Sleeps Tonight

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

“Sorry, but never say you’re sorry. It’s the word you can’t wash out of your mouth.”

Here’s a bit to slip you into the mood:

photo (above) “Welcome, Come In. Always Come.” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

“Did you come?”

She was quiet, laying there on her back, her eyes closed. I guessed she did. She acted that way. I was just asking. She didn’t answer. I felt stupid asking a second time, but did anyway.

“Did you come?” I asked.

“Yes! Yes!” she said in an exasperated tone. “I did.”

“Sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be sorry. And don’t ask! God!”

“I thought you did. I just wasn’t sure.”

“Why do you have to ask? I could tell you came. So did the people upstairs. So did everyone in Borneo.”

“Sorry,” I repeated.

“Stop saying you’re sorry. You are ruining everything. Just hold me.”

I rolled her over and held her. It felt good for a minute. Then I got tired of it. She smelled like she came. I was getting hungry. I looked at the clock beside the bed. I decided to hold her for five minutes. That should be enough for any woman. I started timing myself.

“You’re watching the clock, aren’t you?” she asked.


If you find you’re also watching the clock, no worries. You’re halfway there. Get the rest of your reading rocks off right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.05.16) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ badass City Tavern!

This month we will be featurin’ loco local singer/songwriter Jake Kinnard!

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ helpin’ of musical madness from Jake, groove to some Swirve, share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our open mic 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!

The City Tavern is located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

For more 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’ Our Minds,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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