The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.04.17 – 09.16.17

by on September 17, 2017 :: 0 comments

“Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant, or a child in its mother’s womb.” ~ Jean Arp

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Restless As Dream Lightning” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: We cannot get enough of Bill Wolak! The symmetry, the oddity – both pleasing and confusing to the eyes in a way that we dig the most. If you’ve seen Bill’s work before, we HIGHLY suggest checking out this new batch. If you haven’t experienced him yet, get your eyes ready ‘cos you’re in for a visual trippy treat! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see more of Bill’s twisted visuals, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

These past couple weeks in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe paid (no) mind to a party line; we found we got too tired, too hot; we past enhanced with squandered chance; we mourned a heart malady with lost love as remedy; we atoned for our soul while nailed to a pole; we weighed life’s brevity ‘gainst volcanic longevity; we ignored past profligacy for a broken legacy. We’re a broken race, staring into eternity’s face; maybe our words will last; we reveled in the romance of managed demise; we sang with the sun for blood; we glimpsed at a night with lights out, twice; we faulted a rainbow sun; we questioned a one held dear; we fostered insomniac fear; we looked to last in our trash. No waste, no haste; take our time as our time takes us. ~ MH Clay

The Flight That Disappeared by Ace Boggess

Robert E. Kent Productions, 1961

the future judges
all of us

who set out
to write history

who learn to carve
a bomb from granite

we are
those butterflies

fanning their wings
in the Amazon

snuffing candles
not yet lit

those who follow us
will see

we leave bloody
footprints in the sand

September 16, 2017

editors note: They will judge us, but they will not learn. – mh clay

Which Window? by Mark Fleury

After the lava dries behind my
Eyes, and thoughts calcify my pupils wide,
The sky still has space for all of

The planets’ volcanoes. Not just my

Brain’s bleeding rage to stay Spirit-high.

September 15, 2017

editors note: In that day, hope we may find refulgence in the fumes. – mh clay

The Scarecrow by Ash Garza

Nothing more than an illusion.
A body I once was
Now stripped and stuffed
For submissive obedience.
Gagged and bound to a pole He raised
Above the rows from which the crows graze.
Guardian of a land that was never my home.
Taken by a man that found me wandering alone.
Living out my days among the wheat and the grass.
Crows ate my mind;
I don’t remember much of my past.
Nothing left for me to feel.
Emotionless I am,
The emptiness is real.
As for the smile that you see upon my face,
He carved it into me to keep me in my place.
If happiness he sees, then happy I must be.
I know the purpose for me hanging.
It is Him I must please.
Caged is my mind; I’m bathed in agony.
To this pole forever bound
As I watch the crows roam free.

September 14, 2017

editors note: Hung for happiness (whose?). No wonder the crows are scared. – mh clay

when people ask by Tara Davis

when people ask about you the only thing i know to say anymore is that
there was no cure.
you were a disease and i was a body you infected.
listen –
your love came into my system like a needed vaccine. like an answer to all the problems. so i welcomed you into my blood, my proteins, my fucking atoms. i let you in on one molecular level. you felt like heaven in a body that has only known hell. but i can’t put into words how wrong i was about you because, dear god, you fucked me up. you turned into a virus – you invaded all of my goodness. you weren’t a vaccine, you were the virus and i was trying to fight it. you’re the infection and my immune system didn’t even realize it because it welcomed you like you deserved to be there. like you belonged as a part of me.
but you were poison. you were turning my blood purple you were turning my head inside out. i felt like my brain didn’t want to be a part of me anymore. like you hit it with the most wonderful drugs with bursts of dopamine and serotonin but the oxytocin and love from every fucking angle doesn’t help if you just rip them away.
you took my heart away. you took the love from my brain and you sucked darkness into every part of my system.
so now all i have left is a broken heart and the remains of a broken down infection.

September 13, 2017

editors note: … and immunity, after all. – mh clay

wolverine by J.J. Campbell

at this
with a
nose and

the fuck
were you
when i
had a

September 12, 2017

editors note: Hah! And, wear was chance when I had the will? – mh clay

Fatigue by Bhargab Chatterjee

Every day my gazes break on her smiles. In the hot summer afternoon I sit on the pavement of her silence. Thrashing dust buses, cars and all other vehicles pass with so many words but they never get down before me; in this scorching heat I sit beside the street dog of my desire who pants with drooping tongue. I visit to meet the “idols of the theatre” in the city where Francis Bacon lives, though dust and heat on the roads make me tired.

September 11, 2017

editors note: Too hot for desire, just keep panting – wait for sunset. – mh clay

“Party Sex” by Peggy Turnbull

My roommate Mark
spends the weekend
on a broken flute, pipes
its one note to political friends.
Do they know the Revolutionary
Trotskyite League voted
to prohibit oral sex?
Through a bus window I see
a familiar Party member ride
a rusty bicycle. He stops to staple
Party flyers onto kiosks. Skinny pony,
drab army jacket, tattered Keds,
I admire his thin body, his
self-imposed poverty, imagine
us on a narrow bed, bare walls,
small room, his hand raised
in restraint. “No. Not that.”
He rides his bike from tree
to tree. In my mind, he
is not free. Except of me.

September 10, 2017

editors note: When it’s time to go independent… Yes. That! – mh clay

Throw Away Lines by Joseph Farley

There is no future for these words,
No one will mumble and moan
This poem in a thousand years.

Read it now and throw it away.
Add it to the trash heap
We’ll leave behind.

A group project
We’ve created
To outlast us all.

September 9, 2017

editors note: Makes one wonder, will our trash outlast our apocalypse? If so, hope the aliens can read. – mh clay

Night Stalks… by Sheighle Birdthistle

Night stalks like common man
with a fisherman’s hat pulled tight
no one talks, as bats scream awake,
They know the consequences of
finding solace in an end game of reaction
of believing in the social media life of others.
Night stalks in all its guises steaming
in sweat filled fields of wild poppies
exciting senses dead to reality
oblivion the only thank you.
The circles closed as carefully cloven
dreams clung to crass Orpheus
and night begins its stalking again.
And again. The ball bounces over
and over as well dressed officials
rule in well lit cabinets. No night
stalks rulers elected or not
Life is a halo ringed existence.
They know nothing about the life
of the fisherman with his hat pulled tight
They know nothing about you and me.
We know that night that stalks.

September 8, 2017

editors note: Sheighle says, “My poem takes you into the realm of sleepless nights and the actual reality of our existence. As night stalks, we meet the poor and the lonely…” We say, “Insomniacs unite! Sheep for sleepless! Sheep for the sleepless!” – mh clay

My Dear by Jada Yee

editors note: My-Oh-My, just keep smiling. – mh clay

GRAPH by Stefanie Bennett

Walking the rainbow’s trellis,
Sun slung to my right arm,
Moon on my left…

Whoever says
Does not offend;

Levels of sanity

Just take that rainbow,

To a fault.

September 7, 2017

editors note: Beauty abounds for the open eye; it’s all possible. – mh clay

2 from, It’s Nighttime in the Big City Haikus by Todd Trulock

The Nightshift Krispy Kreme worker sneaks a nap
in the back of the building.
The O in the hot doughnut sign dies.


A chef comes up with a new soufflé recipe,
long after the second shift has gone home.
The IRS agent turns off his light.

September 6, 2017

editors note: It takes so many little pics to portray a big city. – mh clay

The Midwestern Guide to Time Travel by John Dorsey

for Mark Shaffer

remember to dance in a 10 ft steel cage
one for every year of your life

to dream of a future
filled with flying cars
and international date lines
that seem as limitless
as homespun wisdom

somewhere a little voice
tells you to drown a mermaid
in 39 ft of water or a hill of dirt

it sings for blood
as the sun
touches your skin.

September 5, 2017

editors note: Casualties; your trail of crumbs to mark the way. – mh clay

Old Romeo Puts His Bible Down by Donal Mahoney

Almost toothless now,
old Romeo puts his Bible down,
relaxes in his rocker,
pours brandy in his snifter
and scribbles in his ledger
memories of Mary,
dead some 40 years now.

When Romeo was young
and dark and dashing, Mary
was the perfect foil.
He can see her dancing
and hear her laugh, a note
no mockingbird would try.
He tells his chauffeur,

“Bring the car around.
I need to buy a diving board
for the swimming pool.
The doctor says I’m terminal.
Six months, he says.
I want to dive in Mary’s eyes
tonight and drown.”

September 4, 2017

editors note: Victor, not victim; calling his shots to the end. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-read? Well we got a couple tunes to get your read groove goin’!

Here’s what short story editor, Tyler Malone, has to say about this pick of the week:

The worst music ever heard, ever made, ever loved, won’t accidentally be the soundtrack to the end of everything. It’ll be as intentional as the fires that burn down everything we’ve built.

Here’s a few notes of Contributing Writer Jim Meirose​’s “Scales” to get ya groovin’:

(photo “This Is Inspiration” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Come in! came a voice.

Hurley went in and confronted a bald well-built man in a wife beater undershirt with an electric guitar strapped on, playing scales slowly with no amplifier to the tick tock of a tall red metronome. He didn’t stop when he saw Hurley. He just nodded What do you need?

I need your name.

The ticking of the metronome and the tiny sound of the unamplified notes set the pace for the conversation.

My name’s John. Why? What’s your name?


So what do you want, Hurley? What can I do for you? Why do you want my name? Is that all you want?

Pretty much—but how can you play those scales without a break and talk to me at the same time?

Because I’m the best guitar player in town. Maybe in the county. Maybe even in the state. Mostly because I spend four hours a day playing these scales like this…

Catch the rest of this tune right here!

September 16, 2017

If you’re in need of a ANOTHER read, Mad Swirl has got 185 words that’ll do the just the trick!

Here’s what short story editor Tyler Malone had to say about “Bloody Rock” by Kleio B:

“We crawl, we crawl all over you, all over everything. We are the blood that keeps the heart of violence beating.”

Ready? Set… READ!

(photo “Blood of Blood” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

The sun was blazing green hues, the earth was sprouting blood like dust. The wind was icy and heavy- almost suffocating.

Sunburnt twisted limbs dug. They fissured the serum of earth with violence and tickled the tarnished soil with their sickles and spades. Each brutal sweat evaporated into miasma. The wailing chill swallowed the filth, the trauma. Violence sniffled into abjectness.

The arid restrictive atmosphere was burning through the hides of those slimy creatures that were wriggling on the scarlet soil. They were like veins that had burst in a body and found a different pathway from the nervous system.

The seams spreading like vile branches covered the scorching ground, never succumbing to the underground lava that knocked on the earth’s soil for release. Small ants preying on the mounting limb like veins, sucking in the plasma of the soil, grew to dinosaur-like heights. They scurried on the ground, thumping, crushing the wounded vegetation into fountains of red.

Gradually, crystal dews fell in torrents like angels falling from the sky. Sadly, as they fell they melted into puddles of well-cut pink rhombus of blood diamonds.

September 10, 2017

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.06.17) Mad Swirl stirred it up again. This month we opened the mic up to all you mad poets, performers and musicians.

Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with your words, your songs, your divine madness…


MH Clay
Opalina Salas



Mad Mic Cast:

Paul Koniecki
Raquel Genae
Carlos Salas
Reverie Evolving
Sam Hudson
Matthew Haines (Chigger)
Rita P

~ intermission ~

Tom Farris
Tamitha Curiel
Aaron Glover
Lex Corinth
Aaron Kelly
Catie McClain
Darius Frasure
Lee Phan

GREAT BIG thanks to Swirve (Gerard Bendix on skins & Chris Curiel on trumpet and musical guest Thaddeus Ford) for stirring the Swirl the best way in the world!

More HUGE thanks to City Tavern’s Thad Kuiper & Noble Tse for makin’ our stay most righteous.

And lastly, but never leastly, thanks to all who came out to the Tavern & shared this loving, laughing, lasting night of poetry and music with us!

May the madness swirl your way! ’til next 1st Wednesday…


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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