The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.14.17

by on October 15, 2017 :: 0 comments

“To destroy is always the first step in any creation.”
e. e. cummings

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Flashback of a Recurrent Hallucination” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak.

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

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe welcomed 6 new Contributing Poets and 1 returning Contributing Poet. With them – we bared our breast (and soul, at best) with hope to rest; we bent to breaking, aloof muse waking; we stripped the leaves from Tree of Life, exposing only bitterness and strife; we wrested reality from criminality; we offered advice to make stupid sound nice; we unleashed love’s power in a sunset flower; we lamented the things of life’s deep dings. Those we touched are by memory made real; we write to recall how they made us feel… ~ MH Clay

P.S. This week in our Poetry Forum we experienced a rare confluence of creative vortices, all stirred up together in the Swirl. Six new Contributing Poets (CP) and one returning Contributing Poet, all within one week. For forecasters of freak art events, this phenomenon is impossible to predict. But, we can look back and admire the handiwork of happenstance, right?

The Ding in the Porch Rail by Linda Imbler

There were lots of dings that spring.
The hail hit hard and frequently,
but the biggest ding, the deepest,
was the one my youngest brother made.
Of the five of us,
he was the most brave,
the most Devil-may-care,
the most take-it-as-it-comes.
We spent so much time outside
when summer came,
and we would melt like popsicles.
I remember so much:
the harmonic tumble of two brothers
or even three,
wrestling each other across the lawn,
jumping for distance from the porch steps,
our limbs akimbo.
Yet somehow we landed in one piece.
The serene tombs of all the animals we buried,
from birds to butterflies.
A baby rabbit whom we could not save.
The arranged cadence of our marching,
playing army in the field,
as the only girl, I got to be the general!
Our sugared trance
after candy bars and pop,
some we filched
in order to miss Mom’s lecture on tooth decay.
But she knew anyway.
The youngest,
his laggardness, how we’d wait for him,
but once he caught up,
Watch out!
He put the deepest ding in the porch rail
and in my heart.
I sit here now on these very steps
and remember our fun and remember his face
before he stepped onto that plane
to go to war.
I look at that ding
and still I wait for him.

October 14, 2017

editors note: So bitter-sweet; our dings, our waiting. Until that day… (We welcome Linda to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

HYMN TO A RED BLAZER* by Alisa Velaj 

The whole of me is a red blazer,
when the sun’s disk at sunset
is a glowing ember
yonder the islet.

Without a red blazer,
every dusk is a widower.

The fog over the valley
cannot smother the red blazer.

I’d so often wait for you at dusk hours –
a red blazer being the eye-witness.

Three red blazers
are three promises
in the grove of loneliness!

Give me a single red blazer
and I’ll then bid farewell
to my boreal nights!

Not even the most froward raven
would dare look straight in the eye
of a red blazer!

Only the phoenix**
will rest on the red blazer
through eternity!

* Red Blazer – a wild or decorative garden plant of the Sylvia Splendens
family, appearing in cultivars of varied sizes and colors, also known as
Scarlet Sage when its flowers are dark red.

** phoenix – a mythical bird that burnt itself to death to reemerge from
ashes every 500 years. Only one phoenix.

English translation by Arben P. Latifi

October 13, 2017

editors note: Only one longing, reborn in every lover’s heart. (We welcome Alisa to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out here.) – mh clay

Costumier by Christopher Barnes

Noting your fascist quirks
Are repeatedly unstomached?
(Hitler bowtied.)
Disguise em
With our Mickey Mouse get-up.
(Treblinka, Christmas lights.)

Copycat Walt,
To sugar any backlash.

October 12, 2017

editors note: Astute advice for any apolitical boob. (And a “Welcome back!” to Christopher, too. He has returned to the riotous ranks of our Contributing Poets with this submission. You can see his page again here.) – mh clay

a poem about fighting by Mike Zone

my co-worker- potato shaped
bronze tinged with a pudding consistency
an immobile juggernaut
lives across the street
from work
his mom picks him up in her beater
rust eaten coffin
battery operated kitten purring venom
last rites
it’s getting grotesque
this act of not walking home
at night, after work
his neck has vanished- eaten by swelling flesh
mimicking his mouth and the rest of his
gluttonous structure
nearly half my age
looks nearly twice
has a Bukowski quote tatted on his arm
never read him, doesn’t even know who he is
turned 18, asked the artist for something
cool, something meaningful
ask him something about meaning,
life, living, fucking, the globalized villa of discontent
dumbfounded silence
glare of malice
one day, walking down the street
wearing my pineapple shirt- I pass him
on the way to work
walks past me
eyes shut- head phones on
drumming away but never to
so, I decide at break to ask, “Say Roger, you live in the complex across from here, why don’t you just walk home instead of having your mom put the extra wear and tear on the car?”
“First, Zoller, it’s none of your business, second, I’m gay, third Trump is president, my mom says there’s all sorts of evil people out there who want to do me harm for being different, not that you’d understand.”
“Yeah, being a working class, non-religious half-Jew, I have no idea what that’s like but sometimes an ass kicking is good for you.
toughens your character
develops your pain threshold
I was bullied from elementary
all the way through high school
by the time I made my rounds to the bars
I was able to knock most washed-up jockos
and casual business pricks flat on their asses
bang and threaten to run a train on their girlfriends
and get most my drinks paid for
of course, it helped
I was a criminal then”

October 11, 2017

editors note: Discord in diversity brings counsel from criminality. (We welcome Mike to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Deforestation. by Dennis Moriarty

I watch closely as she deconstructs
Her smile,
A grimace earned the hard way.
Eyes flaunting naked
Lips lisping words that pop and fizz
Dissolving their meaning.
I watch closely as her hands tremble
In the pockets of her soul
And her emotions gather pace
Like a tube train
Hurtling towards tunnels of spite
And bitterness and hate,
Whole sentences
Tangled around the root of her tongue
The lines of construction.
Word after word without foundation
In a myriad of confusion.
She pauses
To gather the words around her,
Each one the keeper of another’s
And I watch as she drags them
Kicking and screaming to the edge
Where, like forlorn birds,
They concede their habitats
To the deforestation of her mind.

October 10, 2017

editors note: These days, it’s all reduced to scream on screen. Swipe right. (We welcome Dennis to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Darling by Katie Lewington

to wake the muse
must you be sent mad
leave fruit to rot in their bags
taste the blunt steel on your arm
& stroll as Midnight frightens
alone stars
the muse, like the scent of bacon frying
has you craving, hunger
leading you further

those strangers, here’s my number
what’s your story
let me take notes

furious lame glory
in the weary hungover dew
come morning
nudge the muse, wake wake wake
up you
i am scratching
& cry so loud, screeching

paper creates a universe
& expands our views
a voice in the dark.

October 9, 2017

editors note: For all our sweet talk and coaxing; she grants emptiness like light for the blind. (We welcome Katie to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

rubber: by Aekta Khubchandani

My body wakes up to get stubbed
I have holes in my belly
I taste of imprints of nail cracks, pencil points,
grey and brown of paper, page and canvas
my lungs cough out whiskers like shavings
of my tangible body
I taste of my own departure
soul leaving body leaving soul
part by part in threads of what I was once clothed
I smell of sweat and palms and pokes of points
I smell of a gutter of an artist family
I bend and thump and puke my service out
at the knees of their fingers
fat flesh strangles my breadth
the inch of my length makes music
the one a rape victim would howl
when his voice box is on mute
I wonder if we’ve had a voice at all?
when they shred my leftovers
part by part, I see teeth and claws
scraping off the plastic gown
I can smell my death at a feet’s distance
The bin-yard waits for banter
slaughter is religion and recreation
of art.
there, I hope I’ll rest.

October 8, 2017

editors note: And, until that time – we create. (We welcome Aekta to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well if you do, we have a holy one for you!

At 362 words, Contributing Writer & Poet Milenko Županović‘s Saints is a quick read but it’s quite thick with poetic prose.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week:

In our most ancient tombs, what’s exhumed is what we don’t want to be remembered as us.

Here’s 30 words to tease ya with:

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

Ancient tomb hides a secret, a painter with a vision, without redemption, the madness of the moment, the fire of saints, a hermit in prayer, unreal church in the distance…

Get the rest of the 332 hallowed words… 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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