“Art is the triumph over chaos.” ~ John Cheever
••• The Mad Gallery •••
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we caught a catcher’s POV; we met a man unnoticed, if not unseen; we thought through a thing, therapeutic; we cloistered in a confessional; we sneered with a sphincterly smile; we polished to pleasing a blossom big; we fingered the light of our beginning. Beginning ever, ending never. ~ MH Clay
Aneurism by Jeff Grimshaw
Tied up the garbage & intended
Or so I said
To toss it in the dumpster but
Once out the door
I kept walking, plastic bag in hand,
Up the alley & past
The pungent metal cans, simply could not
Bring myself to lift
The lid of the dumpster knowing what must
Have been there
Given the lunch special that day &
I kept on walking
Even after the alley snaked up the hill
& was no longer paved
Was no longer an alley by any sensible definition
The path twisted into the trees
Trees that shortly I could no longer
Identify & heard animals
& birds extinct or never evolved & the garbage
At the end of my arm
Was no longer garbage but rather the germ
Of a new world
& I stepped through one impossibly thin
After another, my legs growing tired
Or so I thought
In fact they were becoming new legs & ached
From their newness as I
Barely daring to breathe pushed through the final
Viscous portal & released
The throbbing light at the end of my fingers.
May 27, 2017
editors note: The unauthorized text of the new Genesis. Creationists, rejoice! – mh clay
tournesols by Kiriti Sengupta
after Vincent van Gogh
make it alive, I said,
give them the sun and a parrot
if you think right
at least some gay, yellow shine
wish he was listening to me
while he painted the sunflowers on canvas
life would not have stilled
had there been water in the vase
May 26, 2017
editors note: Nothing still about this life. – mh clay
Angle by Sanjeev Sethi
Pratfalls stoic like saints leave me
with doctrines I pooh-pooh as I
saunter directionless. Unlike me
querists are quick learners. My
body leans on you, social setups
chide me for this pose. In its slant
is my smile. I’ve no time to mull:
can there be another flexure?
This sigmoid is for me.
May 25, 2017
editors note: …and the whole world smiles with you. – mh clay
Cubby Hole by Patricia Walsh
I crawl through the extremities of a cubby hole
Sheltered through the cracks of a lonely shelter
Repeating myself through the stark crevices
A story to be told over baseless tea.
Watching the Catholics watching
The prim waitresses milling about
An insult overheard, though, blank to offers
Of salvation through works, cussing the wasters.
Buttonholing the professors, slick with complements
The plagiaristic soul skims the laptop
Scans his grievance to the highest bidder,
Probably chuckling at his desk in his office
Ghosts remain in their territory. All I know
Is he didn’t vacate this earth soon enough
An exile from propriety, offering my honour
The orgasmic grail never settling matters.
Enough money to eat and drink
Some satellite watching eats at your soul
A limiting barcode sends you to hell
All your persuasions burning in your brain.
I sit in the cubby hole, darkened, safe
Until what’s over with comes around again
Never loving you, in stead of research
I crawl out again, wiser and better.
May 24, 2017
editors note: Exposed or ensconced, exile is imminent. Might as well stand in the open. – mh clay
Letter to my Therapist by Adam Sometimes
My dear therapist
I am sorry
I am sorry for ghost white lies
You labeled me
PTSD or ptsd or PeeTee Es Dee
And blah blah blah
It doesn’t matter, to me
And I told you the flies-in-my-gut truth
The things I don’t remember
That you somehow coaxed me into reliving
I’m still unsure what all I told you that day
It was most certain a unique kind of hell
One I’m sure you have never endured
your knuckles curl
when I enter your room
How the seat is two feet farther back
I see you tremble, Fiona
And I never knew scars could cut
But I see you bleed
When we pick my scab
I’m sorry Fiona
But I think it’s too late
Is just a ghost white lie
May 23, 2017
editors note: Shared hell, shared fear. No distance can keep so close. – mh clay
WATCHING HIM GO by Mark Senkus
he might just be that man
sinking into the sidewalk
as you walk by he
smiles at you but
to that place we call
and he is glad to
be seen in his going
to be recognized in
this moment as
a form of finality
a book closed on
a shelf no one will need
to dust again.
May 22, 2017
editors note: He might be we are him and all vanish in time, so… It’s nice to be noticed. (We welcome Mark to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
To my child-eyes by Chigger Matthews
from The Baseball Key
To my child-eyes
The gear looked like knights’ armor.
The implicit danger of the aptly titled foul tip and
My nads covered by a reinforced plastic cup
Filled me with a godly fear of death: still I yearned for invincibility.
I liked the heat-too-hot for others. Sweating under the mask,
Spellbound by the illusion no one could see my eyes,
Taking, interpreting, and giving secret signals to the elect.
I had knee-pads like lobster-tails and my shins were painted blue.
The chest I wore let me take blows that would kill grown men.
My mitt was a shield. My right arm a whip-sling.
On the field I was a war-machine.
May 21, 2017
editors note: From a knight of the no-hitters. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Need-a-Read? Excellent! ‘Cos Mad Swirl has 232 words for you to feed your need with.
Here’s what short story editor, Tyler Malone has to say about this week’s featured read:
“Smooth seas don’t make good sailors same as paradise doesn’t make good people.”
Here’s R. B. Ejue’s short-short story “From the Lips of an Old Sea Captain” in its entirety:
(“Stowaway” (above) by The Second Shooter)
Or rather, I suppose I shall tell you now. You see, Bent was part of a British expedition expect’d to go around the horn of Africa, but three weeks after sailing out of Tenerife, the crew discover’d that a strange kind of mold was growing inside a majority of their water barrels, making the water undrinkable. They had to make a hasty stop along the coast to go in search of water. A search party was sent out with Bent as its head. They were suppos’d to return to the ship in the evening, irrespective of their findings. But come twilight there was no sign of them. When they had still not return’d that morning, another search party was sent to find them. Of this second party of seven men, only one return’d, Bent in tow, both of them injur’d and frighten’d. Their story was as sorrowful as it was revolting. The second party had arriv’d at a Negro village just when the savages were about to put a machete to Bent’s neck, so that they could boil him the same way they had boil’d his mates. The other members of the rescue party had been lost in the ensuing battle. Bent was allow’d to retire at the first port of call the expedition found, and as you would expect, he got on the next boat to Europe, and has never sail’d since.
Peruse Mad Swirl’s entire short story library right here!
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Short Story Editor