“I write what I see; I paint what I am.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Ujpetre West Ridge” (above) by featured artist Jon Marquette.
To see more of Jon’s mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we bridged the Bay for a resident’s stay; we, lost, were found, word roulette, spun round; we found no fun in the wasting gun; we languished in mad lunacy, too late, came warning prophecy; we did not scratch the crazy itch of a proud persistent little bitch; we filled our head with all things red; we worried life in moans and whines, could not unsee the neon signs. We wrangled some and wangled more; that’s what we use these mad words for. ~ MH Clay
Neon Signs of Depression by Rajtilak Bhattacharjee
One fine day
I woke up,
I used to be
my home, my
job, my money,
I used to be
a few extra years
to live, some
new friends, myself
And since then
not a single day
when I was not.
February 24, 2018
editors note: When “one fine day” comes our way, won’t we be pressed to worry as well? (We welcome Rajtilak to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
Red Stuff by Daniel Klawitter
Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff,
for I am famished!”–Genesis 25:30
Red snapper fish and red velvet cake—
The famous red apple; the slithering snake.
The blood in God’s creatures—the sunset at dusk.
The Indian corn concealed in its husk.
The communist cadre—the red-headed girl.
The socialist padre—the Eurasian red squirrel.
The crimson tide and the precious red rubies.
The color of nipples—on some people’s boobies.
The planet called Mars—the sports car for sale.
The fox in her den—your friend Abigail.
The stop sign on First St.—the pimple that popped.
Mao’s little red book—the tomato you dropped.
The cherries and peppers—the grapes on the vine.
That sweater for Christmas with its horrid design.
The cat in the window—your heart and your kidneys.
And good old St. Nick—coming down the red chimney.
February 23, 2018
editors note: Can’t get enough o’ this red stuff! – mh clay
Persistent Little Bitch by Hannah Searsy
She was twenty-five the moment
She Decided not to let her
Illness Kill me; She had declined
To let herself slowly become
A martyr to that tragic call.
When it felt like her life was broken, headed
Downhill, when she was seemingly
lost in the wilderness Without
A purpose or hope inside her
She always reminded herself
Of that choice.
She was afraid of herself sometimes
Because mental illness had killed
Far Greater minds than hers.
Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath
Always haunt her with their rocks in their pockets,
Their heads in ovens, and their gunshots.
But she was a persistent little bitch
Who was never good at taking
no for an answer, even from
her own insanity.
She always declared aloud to herself that she would
Be just damn crazy enough
To fight fiercely when that ugly black dog
Came lumbering towards her soul.
In that moment, she knew the bastard
Wouldn’t be able to kill her with her own hands.
She determined that her future would not be
A head in the oven, a bullet to the skull, or rocks
Sinking her down into a cold lake.
When her name was written down in the Grim Reaper’s
Black Notebook in red blood,
She had already decided
That it would not be written there by her.
February 22, 2018
editors note: As the lady said, “Might as well live!” – mh clay
Wrapped up in White Coats with a Smile by Scott Thomas Outlar
A cold medicine fog in the head
served over the counter with a kiss
still pales in comparison to the tryst
enjoyed while dancing with drugs
during our roaring twenties
when prescriptions were never sought
because they could be filled
by friends without degrees
to alleviate the suffering and agony
temporarily one dose at a time.
It’s not the same game being played any longer
in these middle-aged years of wisdom
when detached peace has been achieved within
even while tragedies befall the world at large.
Double-edged crosses and encoded helixes
scratch the surface of DNA with a scalpel
to trigger the gene reflex of renunciation in cells
as sanctioned programs drift across television screens.
Woe be to the harbinger of chaos
who arrives on the scene and discovers
that the prophecy he’d been tasked to announce
already came to pass without much effort.
Fallen cities mirror the burning blood
sloshing with designer chemicals concocted in labs
that are pushed to birth a placated future
where pretty neon lights pulse us all to sleep.
February 21, 2018
editors note: The future is soon to be our tragic past. So hard… to… wake… zzzzz. – mh clay
Fitting End by Timothy Pilgrim
This being America, everyone’s been offed,
mostly shot. We grabbed Colts, Berettas,
Glocks — fitting end for love, friendship,
forgiveness, trust. We wasted rapists,
burglars, thugs. Those of different skin
or faith, friends we hate, our boss.
Knocked off waiters who whine, delay,
text a lot, shoppers ramming carts,
stopping mid-aisle to tweet, flipping
us off. Cheating lovers, drivers
who stink-eye, speed, pass. We blasted
telemarketers last. Every trial,
over in a flash. Defendants,
lawyers, all were snuffed. Even judges
wasted jurors waving guns.
February 20, 2018
editors note: We seem to be going truly viral. In the end, the guns will buy themselves. – mh clay
Airs Trouvere by Robert L. Martin
That force that came in search of me,
From the city streets and from the sea,
From heated passion and raging fires,
From solemn melodies and melted lyres.
It came into my house, my frozen palace.
It slipped through the guards, the hallway past.
It took me prisoner with its own silent words.
It flavored my breath with its exotic herbs.
It threw me into the ocean and set me adrift.
It hovered over me then gave me a lift.
It dug into my heart with its gilded shovels.
It dragged me thru’ stately mansions and hovels.
It took life and hung it over my rusty eyes.
That I may see the silent words of the wise.
It dressed up the rhetoric in flamboyant suits,
And marched it in front with drums and flutes.
It swirled with the tempest and played roulette.
It climbed in my dream and brought the sunset.
It broke into my house in the name of poetry,
That power that came and left me be,
As my feet were implanted in the ground therein,
My heart broke loose and danced with the wind.
February 19, 2018
editors note: Sweet reverie, come dance with me. Thanks, Robert! – mh clay
FIVE DAYS AS LONG-TERM RESIDENT by Bradford Middleton
It seems like a lifetime ago now
A time when it seemed fine to blow my wad
Enough to last a week now just on books
In a legendary shop in this town
Where I was apparently living as a long-term resident
It all started as things often did back then
One of confusion as I navigated streets
I’d never walked all the way from
Oakland to the infamous North Beach
And a hotel of ill-repute
When I’d booked it the only thing that mattered
Where location and the amount of $$ and this place
Fitted in perfectly as it didn’t cost much
But as I walked up Columbus I viewed
The entrance and other places made of legend
Walking in I noticed the cage at the end of the corridor
That apparently was the reception so up I walked
And introduced myself only to be shocked by the response
“Oh yes, our new long-term guest” the guy stated
And I thought that was odd as I was only staying five nights
And then I saw it, a notice that told me
There were rooms for an hour.
February 18, 2018
editors note: All seek long-term residence; but, ultimately, pay by the hour. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you’re in need for a quick read, then “The Cholesterol Epidemic” by Salvatore Difalco, clocking in at 384 words, will fit that need perfectly.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story:
The first bite, that’s what we yearn for as we chew anew, over and over. We feast for that same first bite when we should be taking a first step just to take that same step towards something more.
Here’s a bit of it to get you goin:
(photo “Hungry Yet” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
No need to fudge on the details, give them scope. Let them dominate the sketch. For instance, the orange art deco chair and ottoman you found at a flea market. You stopped using them after the termite infestation. The termites have long since fled their porous frames. Insecticide sprayed late destroyed any malingerers. Death comes in many guises. That is to say, in many flavors. The insecticide reeked of oranges and onions, an onerous combination.
When did I decide to intrude upon the prelude of this thought piece? When it seemed the reader might hurry off to the washroom for bladder relief, or to the icebox for a snack. I recommend carrot sticks or apple slices to anything hydrogenated or cholesterol-spiking.
Actually, cholesterol research yields mixed results. Eat less and walk more. That is my simple recipe for longer life. Eat less, walk more…
Get the rest of this nitty-gritty yet strangely sagely story right here!
••• Mad Swirl Swag •••
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Seein’ & Bein’,
Short Story Editor