“The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason. The passionless cannot change history.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Nuclear Family” (above) by featured artist Elvin Armando
It’s been quite a great run featuring Elvin Armando’s madly macabre canvases!
This one will finish his streak as our featured artist. But don’t you worry, we’ve lined up yet another bad ass artisté that is gonna spark your mad-gination’s eye as much as Elvin’s work has! Stay tuned…!
To see more of Elvin’s macabre 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 took a turn to self unlearn; we stopped our ear to the music of fear; we looked for lack o’ that ole soul sack; we, with April’s miss, sought break-full bliss; we upset the ease of a cyber tease; we meandered, morose, to bring empty close; we stifled sighs in the stink o’ the sty. We can call it like we see it; while we might, or might not, be it. ~ MH Clay
IN A WARMING WORLD by Sam Silva
March’s promise made of Monday…wine and crust.
A piglet ploughs the fields of doughy money
…the bum beholds his pocket vacant, empty.
The Lord looks down and laughs
…the Devil laughs as well
…at all of the sins of pride
whose truth is turned to vegetable and dust
while spirit things have lied
themselves to Hell.
The vagrant is at sea without an oar.
The piglet has to pee
and pisses honey
…five cups of piss at four a cup means twenty
shekels for the piglet’s wife and whore.
Those who rule, are cheated then, by death
and those without by loveless life and breath.
These coins mount up in treasures or in debt
…either way, the women sit and weep
for loss and loss, both light and heavy like a cross
…death’s blackness is the piglet’s only fear
though cool and dark in April… like a tear!
June 30, 2018
editors note: We each hope this is observation, not reflection. “You can see them out for dinner…” – mh clay
NEAR DARK by J H Martin
Or subway cold
I can’t quite
Reach out and touch
The shiver at its edge
That distant feeling
Which will not reveal itself
In the neon-lit darkness
Of its own atmosphere
Is it sadness
Or is it loneliness?
I really don’t care
If it’s which or if it’s either
I only want
To feel and embrace
Its closed emptiness
As I walk these streets alone
Rain swept and blurred
Neither here nor there
That is where I want to be
I know without feeling
Is unreal but always present
Far beyond the shadow
Of my silhouette
Far from the shell
Of this pale skin and bone
Fading with these echoes
Somewhere still more alive
June 29, 2018
editors note: That “thing” we all feel; that fascinating emptiness, we can stand for a little, but not for long. Poets whistle in the dark; to make it come close, then to make it go away. – mh clay
BRACE YOURSELF BRIDGET by Joe Balaz
Brace yourself Bridget
cause da situation going really happen.
is knocking on your door
and he’s holding wun wedding ring.
He came all da way from Tokyo
aftah being infatuated on da internet.
So now you feel guilty
about being wun casual cyber hussy
cause he got serious kine intentions
foa make you da woman of his dreams.
Somebody is getting cold feet
and suddenly like be cold turkey.
cause he looks so handsome
in his smart business suit
even dough he’s only
5 foot 4.
Maybe if you
wished really hard
and clicked your heels
you could be sent to Kansas
to escape your predicament.
Not too long ago
wuz so exciting
wen da flirting courtship
wuz wun distant curiosity.
Now flesh and bones
is standing on your porch
and he wants moa
den just being wun pen pal.
Nobody is accusing you
of being extremely frivolous
but you going find out real soon
if wun Japanee guy from Japan
gets just as mad as da local ones
wen he realizes
dat he wuz chasing wun wild goose
instead of wun potential romance.
June 28, 2018
editors note: When cyber silly comes knocking, really; can’t break the connection without first breaking the heart. – mh clay
after the floods of april by J.J. Campbell
on the first of
i hate to see
what kind of
after the floods
her long legs
break me in two
she’ll be given
June 27, 2018
editors note: A bumbling bee awaits his rite of Spring. – mh clay
Green Machine by Ian Mullins
Skin’s had enough of me,
wants to shake itself loose
and leave the meat behind:
strut down the street alone
and unafraid, look without fear
and love without fury.
Who needs a body these days?
Meat and bones rot and break,
but the soul’s a mirrorball
where you bust your moves
flash the ass and just know
I mean know
that you’re safe in the hollows
behind the eyes; they can stare
and glare as much as they like,
you’re nowhere and nothing,
neither man nor woman,
a fluid mess of flesh you can scratch
into any shape you dream,
then leave the rest to rot and ruin:
who needs meat these days?
The world’s turning vegan, baby.
June 26, 2018
editors note: No shoulder, no chips; no stiff upper, no lips. Shape to shift as you please. – mh clay
This New Jazz Age by Jonathan Beale
From Beale Street to the Trump Tower
The free-falling age has yet to find its niche
Where the self-policing police
Find freedom to be just what they want to be
The rules are there ‘for the others’
And not to bother us with
From North Korea to the Sears
This Twitter age has moulded our fears
To where language lies
like a broken animal whimpering limping
Where only those in the law or in the know
Understand the pattern understand the flow
As they familiarize themselves with their place
And the lie of the streets
Where the once free-falling jazz age
Collides with this new.
June 25, 2018
editors note: This new “music” is hard to follow; melodies malevolent, bad beats, best to run from, not dance to. – mh clay
Unlearn Me by Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Is that a security detail walking beside you,
or a cane?
The car won’t start
and the mind won’t stop.
If you could unlearn me, you would have by now.
Quality demonstrates craft.
Quantity illustrates consistency.
Dizzy hopscotch girls jumping into the sun.
I wouldn’t spend another dime
on this nickel of a life.
Afternoons are best for me.
Mornings should be banned.
June 24, 2018
editors note: Quality, quantity… quandary. Not another dime on the nickel, except maybe for coffee. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Happy Need-a-Read Day! We’re not sayin’ “A Foreshadowing on the Avenue” by Sarah Ito is a happy read though. Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s comment on this art-imitating-life tale sums it up perfectly…
“A life in dreams bleeds to reality, so always be ready. Lock and load, look into the sun, and see what looks back.”
Here’s a few lines to get you goin’:
(photo “Healing Hands from On High” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)
It was snowing lightly that mid February morning as I prepared for my hike up a slippery Greenwich Avenue. It was Sunday, a special Sunday. My eighth grade class was gathering for Mass, followed by a pancake breakfast prepared by our parish priests, Monsignor Brannigan and Father Prizzi. My class had recently achieved statewide recognition for our accomplishments in arithmetic and spelling, and this celebratory breakfast would be our reward for a job well done.
In the lobby of our apartment building I met Betty, my neighbor and best friend.
Betty was two years older than me but we got along like twins. Pulling our knit caps down against the biting cold, we hightailed it up the icy avenue, occasionally skidding in the slush. The town’s intrepid maintenance crews would ordinarily have the streets scraped down to the pavement, but it was a weekend, and it was still early. We were the only two pedestrians out on this frigid New England morning.
“I’m hungry,” I said to Betty. “I can’t wait to eat something.”
“Me too,” dittoed Betty. “I sure hope Monsignor and Father know how to cook.”
Suddenly the sound of a backfiring vehicle erupted and a white Cadillac passed us, struggling for traction on the slope of the avenue. “That looks like Father Prizzi’s car,” I said. “I wonder what he’s doing out here. He should be in church getting ready for Mass.”
“Probably went to the A&P for the pancake mix,” replied Betty. “Come on, we’d better hurry.”
We arrived at Saint Mary’s and climbed up the old stone steps. Terrible noises, popping and moaning and screaming, could be heard coming from within…
Get the rest of this too-close-to-reality read on right here!
••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••
To all the poets, writers & artists who are featured (& sent us your shippin’ info) in our “Best of Mad Swirl” 2017 Anthology, your complimentary copy will be on its way in a week-ish! For those who have yet to get yourself a copy, go to Amazon right now and get this 92-page, full-color Mad collection!
The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 is an anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on MadSwirl.com throughout 2017. We editors reviewed the entire year’s output to ensure this collection is truly “the best of Mad Swirl.” The works represent diverse voices and vantages which speak to all aspects of this crazy swirl we call “life on earth.”
This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl!
Featured Poets (in order of appearance):
Stephen Jarrell Williams
Heather M. Browne
KJ Hannah Greenberg
Bradley Mason Hamlin
Christopher A. Calle
Featured Writers (in order of appearance):
Featured Artists (in order of appearance):
Get your very own copy of this Best of Mad Swirl (v2017 style) collection right here!
••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••
Mad Swirl’s new home will be at the Regal Room in Deep Ellum starting August 1st! We are gonna miss our former home, City Tavern. ‘twas a good two year run there but due to space limitations with their new location, we gots’ta hit the road!
Stay tuned fo’ mo’ info’…
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…
Bein’ Madly Passionate,
Short Story Editor