“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?” ~ Charles M. Schulz
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Mr. Warner: 1” (above) by featured artist(s) Daniel Ableev & Bob Schroder.
Our newest visual artist(s) come from the land of Europa with some pretty fascinating works that we can’t resist! While in a comic book style of sorts, each cell can stand alone too, with black and white detail that could keep you gazing for days. The visual talent of Bob Schroder combined with Daniel Ableev’s profound and curious story telling skills truly creates an entire artistic experience we just couldn’t pass up. We’re sure after you take a look-see, you’ll feel the same! ~ Madelyn Olson
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we quenched throats parched on a dryland march; we danced to the tune of plenty (came away tired and empty); we learned to bend in a world without end; we sought seaside serenity, watched watchers watch us; we, our love to bless, answered questions with a “yes;” we confused nearsight for insight; we embraced our sick self, left snake oil on shelf. When sickness brings silence, words are remedy! ~ MH Clay
SUN OILED SNAKE SKIN by J H Martin
I tried it once
And it wasn’t good
It just made me sweat
And think way too much
That old scratch
I can’t itch
That pretty wife
That I miss
If all these meat markets
Are cheap flip flops and shorts
Then what’s the point of the sun?
It’s all just –
Me, me, me
Ain’t it babe?
Praise the lord
This tiny locked room
That stinks of dead flesh
You can dip it in chili
And soak it in garlic
But it’s still just a bad photograph
This hollow temple that we bow down inside
This family of blood that we scratch on the walls
This history of bones that we soothsay for signs
I tried it once
And it wasn’t good
That sun oiled snake skin
Rooster, pig, rat
editors note: When the cure is worse than the disease… – mh clay
hallucinations unlimited by Bradley Mason Hamlin
thought I had vision
wearing glasses now
editors note: One’s enhancement is another’s impairment. Rose-colored or raw, keep squinting. – mh clay
AUBADE by Willie Smith
Do I love you more
than dew in the
Do webs irised
in the garden
than the smile I
catch in your
Yes and yes.
For our love
in this breeze
in the heat of day
editors note: Sweet morning’s muse. Love for thanks and thanks for love. – mh clay
Eyes In The Sand. by Dennis Moriarty
Jelly fish look like eyeballs
On the beach
Sockets prized open and drained
Their contents emptied on the
Pernicious corneas watching.
Masterfully I crafted a path bypassing
That optical spillage
Circumnavigating rock pools swollen
By the grimacing reflections of crabs
And down to the sea’s lonely side
Where the horizon fluttered
A bunting of sails
And the waves unfolded flotsam
Of broken sunshine.
There at the edge of that desolate shore
Hearing the gulls
Swearing oaths of allegiance to
Quite alone yet watched by a thousand
Beach combing eyes.
editors note: Nothing like a (dis)quiet(ing) walk on the beach. – mh clay
How the Universe Works by Irena Pasvinter
When your happy world
melting down to a tragic swamp,
sucking you into the depths of sorrow,
squeezing you with the burden of loss,
it’s as if the whole universe is
But rest assured:
the universe stays put,
never mind accelerating expansion.
Even when millions of happy bubbles
burst in a single explosion,
the universe doesn’t budge.
The show goes on,
with or without you,
to get used to
how the universe works.
editors note: World without end (though, not for us), amen. – mh clay
Brief Dreams by Gary Beck
In the intermittent struggle
between capital and labor
that started in the caves,
or even earlier,
the wealthy usually triumphed,
or when briefly toppled,
wangled their way
by any means necessary,
until once again they directed
the destiny of mankind.
revolution, all resulted in masters,
new or old,
as they made the people dance
to celebratory tunes
editors note: The toppers love it best when viewed from the bottom; the more viewers there, the better. – mh clay
hopeless hope until we are a land by Paul Koniecki
of no land
jo-joba in con-
around the latrine
the rats hate it
and it sells
well to the upper-class
sometime last week
after the tea-party and
before the free-dead risers
the kids all got the cough
and i felt the air begin to die
we started what they’ve named
the dryland march
bivouacked i carry water
and teach them to sing
the dream songs
we talk about shade-heaven
and the peacefulness of bridges
how much our teeth hurt
and why we love it
right before it rains
we get to stop
await the spark
and life can catch and gather
mostly i try
to help everyone
editors note: Yes! Just the balm we need for the rash time. Thanks, Paul! – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Mad Swirl has just the one to feed your need with.
This week’s featured short story at Mad Swirl, “Chicken Breast or Rump Roast” comes from long-time Contributing Writer & Poet, Donal Mahoney. Here’s what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about it:
“From youth to ragged age, there’s always feast, you just need to know where to find it. We don’t have to starve.”
Here’s a bit of “Chicken Breast or Rump Roast” to get you goin’:
(photo (above) “Touch Me! Always” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
Freddie and Fern were an old couple, a very old couple if truth be told, but on the matter of age, the truth seldom surfaced. Their kids were grown and gone and had families of their own. All of them lived in different cities and two of them had even asked their parents to sell the house and buy a smaller place near where they lived. But Freddie and Fern, despite all their aches and pains, were an independent couple and they liked their privacy. Seeing their grandchildren was nice but living close enough to have to babysit them, that was quite another matter.
Most evenings Fern would sit in her rocker and work crossword puzzles and Freddie would sit back in his recliner and watch whatever sport was in season. They were very different people but in 50 years of marriage they had always gotten along well. Each was solicitous of the other’s needs. Always had been. But as age encroaches, certain needs change and others remain the same, life being what it is.
Fern, for example, had arthritis pretty bad. Her back was always acting up on her. From day to day, it was just a matter of how bad it was.
Freddie had arthritis in both legs but he could still get around pretty good for a man with his ailments, too good sometimes as far as Fern was concerned, especially when Freddie would get that look in his eye. Sure enough, he would ask her if the next time she had to go to the bathroom, she’d bring him back a Coke from the fridge. And, of course, she always did.
But Fern always knew it wasn’t just the Coke Freddie wanted. The old goat wanted to watch her walk down the hallway. He told her many times she had more bounce to the ounce now than when she was young…
Keep this read goin’ right here!
••• Mad Swirl Merch •••
Back by Popular(ish) Demand: Mad Swirl T-shirts & Sweatshirts!
If you’re MAD and you know it, why not wear it loudly and proudly? The whole Mad Swirl of merch begins here, in our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some “mad” clothing to sport, then you’ve come to the right place.
This merch will be available for the holidaze if you buy before December 15th. They come in all sizes for men and woman and a variety of colors. Come get you some and while you’re at it, why not get one for the whole fam?!
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…
Figurin’ It Out’,
Short Story Editor