“Whether you listen to a piece of music, or a poem, or look at a picture or a jug, or a piece of sculpture, what matters about it is not what it has in common with others of its kind, but what is singularly its own.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Shaman” (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 made new names in a calendar game; we lamented sadly over breaking badly; we stumbled, sure, into insomniac cure; we drove a driftwood car like a fallen star; we saw another star stop over a king of Korean pop; we found comport with no support; we learned how it feels when trouble’s at the wheel. With every turn the words will burn; there’s freedom in the fire. ~ MH Clay
TROUBLE by Jesse Doughty
look trouble in the eye
and you’ll be sure
trouble is a carnivore
trouble here for the meat and gravy
trouble here for the guilty, baby
run from trouble
and you’ll hear her laughter
trouble gonna chase you ever after
the things you done
and the thoughts you thought
it wasn’t freedom those things brought
a train to Utah
a cab to Kansas
livin’ on a boat in Port Aransas
you can run around but know by now
trouble gonna find you in every town
open doors for little old ladies
spare some change for the orphan babies
then take a ride in this new Mercedes
trouble gonna drive you straight to Hades
write it down
write it down
its too late to turn back now.
March 3, 2018
editors note: So it be, with a capital “T” – mh clay
“There’s Just No Support!” Yelled The Bloke From Up Top Of The Scaffolding by Paul Tristram
There is waiting tragedy birthed
in the tenderest of kisses.
Some folk love war and vice versa.
STOP signs make my amble turn to rush.
Fidgeting works the same, physically,
in both ‘Fight’ or ‘Flee’ scenarios.
She ripped down the drapes
one sunny Winter’s afternoon
and screamed hysterically
no one even stopped to ponder.
They don’t seek to destroy uncultivated land…
you can use this to your advantage.
‘Obnoxious’ is a Label not a Trait…
if you insist upon gaining the attention
of someone who doesn’t give a fuck for you…
then I see only one arsehole there.
Don’t juggle anything you won’t miss,
catch, or which cannot be replaced.
She’s cold again… it’ll keep her safe awhile.
He dipped the till, got caught, then complained?
I have only one ‘Hangover’ left to cash in this week,
and I am yet to disturb or ruin anything.
‘Time’ isn’t money, it’s a loss,
each second ticking away
and drifting behind you into memory…
make ‘em count, and matter… or don’t.
I was ‘Born To Raise Hell’
but lost my footing along the way,
and ended up for awhile on a chain gang,
scribbling down sonnets and spells,
instead of smashing my raging fists
into the face of each new day.
March 2, 2018
editors note: Just, Wow! – mh clay
DAIKON BILLY by Joe Balaz
wuz wun rising star
in da music business.
had bigtime showmanship
and he wuz dynamic
wen he hit da stage.
He wen follow his sistah
to visit Hawaii
wen she wuz invited
to perform traditional Korean music
at da East-West Center wit wun group.
She played da danso
wun small bamboo flute.
Daikon Billy wuz talented too
but he wuz moa contemporary
so much so
dat he just had to check out
da nightclub club scene in Waikiki.
he had wun big following
he wuz going unleash his flashy routine
on da Hawaiian neon wonderland.
He wuz wun unreal DJ
doing his catchy brand
of Asian hip hop
using turntables and electronics
to mix his unusual beats.
Wen he wen do wun guest gig
at wun popular club
on Kalakaua Avenue
he got da dance floor cranking.
He wuz also cute and sexy
so it wuzn’t dat long
until he had wun choice squeeze—
She turned out to be
wun local Japanee girl called Mona
and she wuz da one
dat wen give him his new stage name.
Scratching wun record
like wun super rooster on steroids
he became wun ovahnight island hit
and da crowd just loved him.
he stay spicing up da nights
as da latest crazy flavor
in chop suey paradise.
March 1, 2018
editors note: Makin’ the big time in his own space-time. – mh clay
Facing East at Dawn by Marianne Szlyk
After a photograph by Northscapes Photography, Presque Isle, ME
The driftwood is a hand grasping something
then letting it go. Stars scatter above
as if this hand, not God’s,
had tossed them into the morning sky.
Up there, they grow brighter. They will
fade once lemon sunrise washes away night.
Yet there is light now. Stars band
together into the Milky Way. Clouds form
like clusters of maple leaves clinging to water.
The water is itself. It reflects nothing.
It rests beneath the sky, awaiting sunrise
and its long day as a sparkling mirror.
It contains everything: cans, rocks, hornpout, weeds.
Before dawn its splash on the shore
is quieter. No birds break its surface.
Across the lake, someone’s car rounds the curve
from the next town nearer to sunrise.
Its light is a fallen star. Soon others will follow.
February 28, 2018
editors note: Stars in cars, fleeing the light of dawn. – mh clay
At last! A cure for optimism! by Michael Corrigan
Fifth Dan status in the art of unsleeping achieved,
a school of dead leaves chase each other around the garden
while a three-quarters moon rises like the death star.
These, the night lives of heroic, adventurous, self-deluders,
this, the nocturnal dreamscape of late middle-aged Indiana Jones’
pot bellied Bonds’ still queasy from that dry martini, shaken not stirred,
or was it the kebab that took the wind out of your sails and ruffled the duvet fiercely?
The theatre of other-self, beginning to feel like an emotional lock-in
for sadists, psychopaths and drinkers of mammies milk.
Could’ve been a contender, could’ve been an accountant,
a Hun, a Vandal, a Visi-Goth, a Cossack, an Engineer, an En-tre-pren-eur,
a smiler who waits with a blade up his sleeve, for those he believes to be less,
or any other symptom of a good school and nuclear self-regard.
But the file and rasp of early shaping, the ruin and render, roil and moil,
of all things planned and unplanned, taken and undertaken,
leads to a blackbelt in sleep deprivation and the happy knowledge
that finally and at last there is a cure for optimism.
February 27, 2018
editors note: A prod for the downtrod(den). – mh clay
A Promise To Break by Elizeya Quate
all the way OPEN.
(I don’t care
if it hurts)
as long as
ing me, OVER
February 26, 2018
editors note: Such cads, who can’t be trusted, even to be untrustworthy. – mh clay
Names For Months in A New Queer Year by Brendan Gillett
There are many news stories about
trans* people. None of them are another
Everyone wears heels and lipstick or
cuts their hair short or wears a suit and
cries or cares or acts and
dresses exactly the same because there are
so many ways to be femme.
3. Pride March
We take to the streets to celebrate spring,
a time of renewal, a reminder that we will
Kiss a boy! Kiss a girl! Kiss whoever you want!
Everyone’s a little gay these days.
MORE KISSING! OR NOT! LIVE YOUR LIFE!!!
6. Queer June
It’s too hot to be anyone other than yourself. Get
comfortable with that, with you, and let everyone
In case you were curious,
the Moon is the only thing that will be
“just going through a phase” this month.
Summer is winding down, but it’s still
high time to be the best gay you can be.
No one does anything they are not
fully into, and no one tells them
they need to, either.
No-holds-barred fuckfest for
all genders. Again, if you’re into
that sort of thing.
We gather around tables with claimed
and found families, thankful for making it
this far while mourning those who are not
at the table.
Hibernation, rest, cuddling up
in our dens, feeling safe,
preparing to transition
to another Queer Year.
February 25, 2018
editors note: Not too late to retool; pick your fav POV and change it up. It’s still a new year. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you find yourself with a need for a read, we think “Basic Needs“ by Steve Slavin will feed that need indeed!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story:
What we want may not want us. No one wants to live like that, but that’s how life wants us to live.
Here’s a tease to get you goin’:
(photo “Knock Before Entering, Wipe Before Leaving” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
You know exactly what it feels like when you really need to pee. And you can’t get to a bathroom fast enough.
I have found myself in that situation far too many times. But the time that was perhaps the worst was when I arrived at a crowded party, headed right to the bathroom, and found a line of five or six people ahead of me.
A kind soul directed me to go through the kitchen where I would find another bathroom. I pushed my way through the throng, hoping that I’d find it and that it would be unoccupied. As I flung open the kitchen door, I saw a woman about to take a gulp from a bottle containing a yellow liquid.
“Stop!” I shouted.
She looked at me with apparent curiosity.
“What’s that you’re drinking?”
“Apple juice. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. You can go ahead and drink it…. Um, is the bathroom in there?”
“Yes, just go through the maid’s room and you’ll see it.”
I rushed to the bathroom, and joyfully relieved myself. When I came out, she was still in the kitchen, sipping from the bottle. She smiled at me.
“I think we just had a Kodak moment, but we would have needed a caption,” she said…
If your needs are indeed teased, get the rest of this read on right here!
••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••
Join Mad Swirl & Swirve this 1st Wednesday of March (aka 03.07.18) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ City Tavern!
Come on out, one & all… share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.
Come to participate.
Come to appreciate.
Come to swirl-a-brate!
P.S. For you Facebookers out there, check out our Facebook event page and get yourself a spot on our pre-list!
••• Mad Swirl Swag •••
The whole mad swirl of merch begins right here, in our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some mad threads to sport, then you’ve come to the right post. We have mens & ladies tees in all sizes & more colors. New to the line-up: mad mugs to fill with your favorite coffee, tea and/or whiskey!
Come browse & if something catches your eye, get a little something-something for yourself & while you’re at it, get a little something for your nearest & dearest mad one in your swirlin’ world!
(And in case you’re wonderin’ why we are selling our wares, all proceeds will be used to fund our PRINTED Mad Swirl Anthology! Yep, folks, we are gettin’ back into the print biz!)
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…
Short Story Editor