The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.23.17

by April 23, 2017 0 comments

“Caress the detail, the divine detail.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Throb & Ween” (above) by featured artist David Ross. To see more of David’s mad illustrations, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe sojourned in suburban splendor; we indulged a dalliance behind a door; we lost libido; we lost perspective; we lost confidence; we lost innocence; we lost another life. We lost, we lost; and gained the world. ~ MH Clay

ST GEORGE by J H Martin

That’s just how it is
On any given day here

The bad backs for benefits
The psychotic breaks

Nobody cares
If you have just moved in
If someone has
Put a brick through your window
Or if you work on the bins


That’s all that matters here

Pornos for girlfriends
Emergency loans for the fear

That someone is coming
At any time of the day

That rat-a-tat-tat
At the back of the brain

Like those pink pills
Those any pills
Sleeping tablets at noon
Always chewed never swallowed
Like the street by blue lights

On any night
Like last night
Coming down off bad speed

The fire engines, police cars
An ambulance for the stabbed

No, I said, officer, I didn’t live there
No, I said, officer, I didn’t know a thing

I’m sorry, I shrugged

That’s just how it is

April 22, 2017

editors note: No quiet days in this neighborhood. (We’re doubling down with JH today; read another, tightly wound, on his page here.) – mh clay

A little of this, a little of that by Joseph Farley

Saints have their warts.
Demons hide their halos.

We’re a mixed bag,
never all of one
and none of the other,

Too much effort
to be pure
good or evil,

Don’t be surprised
by the devil’s kindness,

Or when an angel
Sets you up for a fall.

April 21, 2017

editors note: We can’t take life personally, can we? (Say! Joseph’s got a novel out, Labor Day, available from Peasantry Press. Learn more about it here.) – mh clay

No Baby by Scott Silsbe

My grandfather would keep us kids quiet by saying,
“You’re gonna wake the baby”—even when we all
knew there wasn’t a baby in the house. I was young
and even though he was my grandfather, I couldn’t
get a good read on him — I didn’t know whether or
not he knew that there wasn’t a baby in the house.

April 20, 2017

editors note: Always keep’em guessin’, Gramps! – mh clay

Magnifying Glass Plus Ant by Daniel Kuriakose

The only place open
at this hour in the century: Kohls,

with clothing hung
in rows of full, unoccupied people.

A rabbit-like loneliness
outruns the bike I ride to my insides.

Man who throws
a glare from his eyeglasses
sifts through me:

I am a fake.

April 19, 2017

editors note: It is a struggle to find relevance in consumer-land. Best to dodge the glass. (We welcome Daniel to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Her Discourteous Libido by Michael Marrotti

My initial thought
is fuck you
when she
turns me down
for sex

It usually ends
with me fucking me
a scent of loss
from my hand

Resent travels
by my side
like a love letter
return to sender

has my hands
softer than
they should be
balled up
in fists
on the verge
of going postal

April 18, 2017

editors note: Libidos unlinked. – mh clay

The Calendar by Alex Johnston

It was all there:
I explored and climbed
through gravel and roots in embedded cars, earth cars,
stratified nowhere buildings
which hum inside of
nowhere bricks, red out there in
piles of autumn sticks
that house potato bug
tape worm ancestry shoe rocks metal

Everything his, into the smoke of my father’s machine shop.
I shuffled past with fistfuls of hot venison,
with fur clumps by the wood stove.

Inside, this: rubber mallets hooked into walls, grease hands
with black faces like coal movies. There was more meat in tin foil,
more meat than tin foil. It came from the woods on a day
like today when black face and rubber mallet went to hunt, in boots
up to my eyeballs––

and a calendar of naked girls, the first ones I’d seen,
hiding like me in the back of the building. I who like
the day was short, flipped through the months, for months.

The thighs of June, the confederate blossom of May,
And April — affective breasts, who sees me from behind the
wheel of a Camaro. Both of us grinning,
both of us hiding from our fathers.

April 17, 2017

editors note: Forbidden fruit; sweetest in secret. – mh clay

Ramsey by Samantha Hotz

My dad would say
we were from a
small town up North, so
close to New York City
that we didn’t
live in

Beaches of fake tans,
boardwalks of fake people —

Like the homeless man
stumbling through town
in work boots,
pushing his house in a
ShopRite cart.

didn’t belong.

Herds of mothers in
painted on spandex who
drove to Starbucks in
Range Rover Audi Lexus
top down Prius in sunglasses,
Jersey girl’s don’t pump gas
bumper stickers
and gossiped about
someone else’s

They only had my name and
their twisted version of what

did in the woods.
(which was
partly true)

pitying my mother,
scratch out our insides.

I sat back in the corner and listened —

The witch cackled,
twirling hag hair around her
manicured finger
like it was someone’s
husband —

Until the high school boys
showed up,

threw cash
in my face,

and chased me

April 16, 2017

editors note: Rumors, reality; summertime suffering for both. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week’s featured short comes from R.A. Hernandez.

Here’s what short story editor, Tyler Malone​ has to say about this week’s read:

“Having a good time but wanting to go to Heaven when we die is what some people call a conscience, but to live and not worry about death, tell that nagging angel on your shoulder to go to hell.”

And here’s a bit of R.A.’s “Swimming with Eve” to slip you into the need-a-read-mood…

(photo “Get Lost (Find Yourself)”by The Second Shooter​)

The creek water was milky after a full mornings rain. The song birds singing their tunes in the rising humidity of the afternoon sun.

Shelly yawns and stretches her arms up high and looks at me. I can feel her.

I’d kiss her again, but I’m afraid. How long before she gets bored and moves on, I wonder? Plenty of boys in the school yard wishing they were me right now. They’d gladly hand over their own Mommas to take my place and be all too giddy to lean across and kiss her, and wouldn’t think twice about it, Hell or high water, rain or shine. Hell, I want to too, I done it before, but I’m still afraid. (I already said that once) and it’s still true and she’s still looking at me and I still ain’t doing a damned thing about it.

With her arms up over her head, she pulls at the back of her shirt. My heart skips a beat.

“What are you doing?” I say.

“It’s hot.” She says. “I’m going for a swim.”…

A tease of the tease just begs please for you to get the rest of this read on right here!


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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