The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.28.17

by January 28, 2017 0 comments

“The modern artist… is working and expressing an inner world – in other words – expressing the energy, the motion, and other inner forces.” ~ Jackson Pollock

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Trust” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more of William’s mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe looked for life in a pile of bones; we bought a big bag to eat alone; we embarrassed ourselves at an interview; we (tried to) quit the job we didn’t want to do; we mucked in the mire of the PC scene; we handled hard time, if you know what we mean; we watched as dastardly masters dealt (in)justice to the just. Our words would wrangle rightness from all this fuss. Try, we must. ~ MH Clay

ALLIGATOR, MISSISSIPPI by Patty Dickson Pieczka

On that night of snake hiss
and cicada click,

beyond the bristlecones
and the blackjack pines,

ghosts with no faces
and whiskey-soaked souls

came to this place.
Chains and whips

and veins of fire
staining the black earth red.

Can you feel it?
The way the air still thrashes

from the man’s struggling feet,
the hickory tree weeping

its burn of rope,
its blood-soaked bark.

The wind is a saw-blade,
a talon, a fang.

Leaves hold his last scream,
cry his final prayer,

drink sorrow
dripping from the moon.

January 28, 2017

editors note: No justice in this court. These judges, guilty to judge the guiltless. – mh clay

HARD TIME by Joseph Lisowski

As best I figure
nobody got much.
I mean we’re all caught
in some kinda jail
waitin’ for parole.
An’ when it comes
it only means more of the same.
A different view maybe.

You know what I mean?

January 27, 2017

editors note: Jus’ breakin’ rocks… – mh clay

REQUIEM AETERNAM by Miceál Kearney

– Never-ending, eternally relentless

Cis privilege and the Patriarchy
are on the march again. Tweets
from the designated Frontline
Safe-spaces document daily
man-terrupting man-spreading
man-splaining micromanaggressing men.
We’re told clapping can trigger PTSD.
To help combat this, please click. Still
too emotionally jarring for you? Non-binary
genderless jazz hands are perfectly fluid.

Then you get all pissy when people
reasonably inquire if you’re one of them
with equally pedantic preferred furnouns.
My how Brangelina entertained us for a while
until the next episode where a porn star was robbed.
She honeymooned in Cork with her husband:
who, I’ll have you know, invented music.
I hope they didn’t have to touch her?

If that’s not your cup of tea, then fuck off
to the other channel where we Je, Je
Je Suis all over Islam but don’t you dare
make a rape joke and hands off the Holocaust.
Hey! I hear there’s a Trump tape; I guarantee it,
for every race, creed and colour. Every #,
demograph and profitable pool of people.
One for everyone in the audience. And you
get offended. And you get offended.
And you get offended.

Meanwhile, we desperately scramble
to Brexit-proof the budget
as we like and share stock footage
of trite atrocities of dead babies in Aleppo.
And that is the question.
Has Poe’s Law become self-aware?
A troll; an elaborate practical joke.
Right? Allah, Buddha, Satan, Cthulhu.
Jesus Christ on a bike…

January 26, 2017

editors note: PC for pedants. #whenisenoughenough? – mh clay

look at the balls on that guy by Ben Newell

I just wrote my letter of resignation,
saved that fucker
to my desktop for subsequent retrieval;
if only I had the balls to submit
the thing.

But it’s hard to have balls
when you need that monthly paycheck—

auto insurance

I have been castrated
by comfort
as the prospect of homelessness
frightens me.

I’m getting there, though.

Writing this letter of resignation is a step
in the right direction
and when you see me out there on the sidewalk
holding my little cardboard sign
please don’t let my enormous balls
scare you away.

January 25, 2017

editors note: There’s the problem with being a starving artist… the starving part. – mh clay


He didn’t bark –
he was the icy type –
his look slowly worked the meal grinder,
turning my confidence into hamburger –
then, when he was done,
he dismissed me
with a fierce wind
that blew me from there
like a paper bag running frantic
down the sidewalk –

that’s why,
when you saw me later,
I was nothing more
than a battle-scarred frown
and a mind that felt frayed
like a run in a stocking –

I can still see your face,
small and inquisitive,
pretty but not too pretty,
picking my version of events
out of the conversation like lint –

what could I say?
I was lamb – he was slaughter –
my resume was as thin
as the paper it was typed upon –

but never mind –
the air was rustling up spring.
days met my demand
for something longer and warmer,
and the coffee shop smell
was strong and friendly enough
to hire me in a minute –

but life doesn’t end with one rough situation
so what if I didn’t get the job I wanted –

I got the job I didn’t want –
and my ultimate disappointment
did my confidence
a world of good.

January 24, 2017

editors note: No self sale when not self sold. – mh clay

Payday by Jared Pearce

After his dad paid him in cash,
Joe let me tag along to the seven-eleven
Where he blew all five dollars
For a sack of candy. It was a stash
Like I had never seen or bagged.

He didn’t share any of the loot,
Which was ok; I was amazed knowing
A boy could meddle like a man
In a capital world, calling on commodities,
Letting his bank roll do the talking.

The longer we played the more risks,
Greater ventures we pursued, yet
Always we hearkened for that Friday
To steady us, to allow us to continue.

January 23, 2017

editors note: Invest all your earnings in the commodity of your choice and reap high returns (belly-ache or benevolence?). – mh clay

Bones by Jasmine Sanchez-Ziller

Bones on top of bones
heavy cold stone bones
heaped in a pile

Draped in muscle
limp languid motionless muscle
ravenous for revival

Brain engulfed in murky liquid
sludge blood clogging up veins
dead tissue floating
marrow leaching pain

Limbs dense and swollen
stuffed with tar and grimy sand
paralyzed with exhaustion
unmoved by command

Organs wheezing, gasping for air
suffocating with gravity
oxygen deprived
system decaying rapidly

Flesh sheathed in sunken skin
a barren wasteland
forgotten and forsaken

Bones on top of bones
betrayed neglected withered bones
heaving in a pile

January 22, 2017

editors note: Dysfunctional, but through daily determination. (Listen to Jasmine read her poem here. Learn more about her story on her website, here.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well Mad Swirl has got what you need from Contributing Writer/Poet KJ Hannah Greenberg!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about KJ’s story “Stupid“:

“Hop in, we promise we’ll take you to madness as quickly as possible and invade the safest of private places. And if you see a body, don’t worry, after the first you’ll see more than a few.”

Here’s a bit to get’cha goin’:

photo “Antiqued” (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

Buick. Nice polish. Oops. My key fell and scratched the paint job. Stupid rich folks.

Camera. Burnt orange. Dumb color. Will they notice this new line on their windshield?

Asinine Volvo. Fancy Shmancy. Look at that! So many bags from senseless stores. So much money wasted! Oops! I think they now have a slow leak in one of their front tires.

Hmmm. No parking zone. Absurd! I need parked cars. This city’s half-witted!

Ooh. That’s a nice car. Zenvo, I think. Weird looking, but what a beast! Daddy wanted one. Ha! In his dreams! He drank up his wherewithal. Black with navy detail. Very sophisticated. Here’s another detail. I wonder if they’ll detect it.

Wait! There’s a purse inside. Looks like money spilling out. Hmmm. The door’s not locked. That’s crazy stupid. Someone could help themselves. Someone should. Look at that sunhat under that purse. I fancy that, too. It can go right here, in my walker’s hanging basket…

Get the rest of your need read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join forces with Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.01.17) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ City Tavern!

Come on out, one & all. Get a heapin’ helpin’ of musical mad grooves from 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!

Catch us swirlin’ up our madness at The City Tavern located at 1402 Main Street • Dallas, TX

P.S. If you’re a Facebook’r and want to get on our pre-list, visit our event page and let us know you’re gonna be there.


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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