The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.13.18

by October 14, 2018 0 comments

“Now the ears of my ears are awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened.”

e.e. cummings

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Port Mansfield, TX” (above) by featured artist Dan Rodriguez

To see ALL of Dan’s mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we tripped ekphrastic light fantastic; we beat a different drum in a new continuum; we heard song sung from rung tongue; we got the dish of a winner’s wish; we spoke of truth not absolute; we would not abuse with the words we choose; we went boxcar bust from smoking crust. We trust what we trust. We write what we must.  ~ MH Clay

SOUL SISTER by Stefanie Bennett

I take it, the crust
Of the moment,
One word
At a time…

Move it
Cross country
Past the livery
Stable, the train’s

Box-cars, all
‘A hoot’
On the half hour
Siding where

… Same as Great
I put it
In a pipe

And smoke it.

October 13, 2018

editors note: Yup! Ride them rails as far as they’ll take ya. Better to smoke than be smoked. – mh clay

D= 1243 Joy by Misty Moore

Are we worth it?
We aren’t living up to our words
Hiding behind them
It’s become the custom, the norm
Tracing it back to before we were born
When we wore our words on our sleeves
Six pointed, yellow stars plead
Not to repeat the past
Make your words last
Fast on them if you must
but, let them digest in your soul
like coal they retain warmth
just don’t expect words to keep you warm
‘cuz words can be torn
when used too many times
That’s why I like to sleep on my lines
Walking on sentences, relating to my mind
You’ll find you need to choose your words carefully
Spoken word, spears like a sword
When in battle, choose your words
to spread fear in the cattle
So hop on the saddle
and ride your words into the sunset
Fuck, lets get wasted on words!
Taste them words
but remember,
once spoke, written, or broken
you can’t erase those words
So face them words!

October 12, 2018

editors note: Dialogue? Discretion? A formula to foment free expression… Ride’em, Cowboys! – mh clay

“The Truth” by Tom Hall

A tsunami arose from so few souls.
The magnificent waves flowing in
For a thirst only an ocean could satiate,
But the receding scars left a dystopia.

At least you can’t spell dystopia without stop.
As a child, I always wondered how big, fat people
Managed, you know, how to, you know, wipe themselves.
Now the years have passed and I am big and fat.
So now I know so much about so many things.

Resulting in a language where “empathy” and “apathy”
Are so alike in practice it freaks me out.
I’d never take that juicy bone from a dog.
If we could just rewrite the world,
And lose that one word: absolute.

October 11, 2018

editors note: Yes, let’s do. Absolutely! – mh clay

IF I WIN THE LOTTERY by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

I will not go crazy
when my wish is granted.
I may be generous.
I may burn some bridges.
I can’t say what I will do.
Blood is thicker than water.
I hope that turns out to be true.
I could keep it all to myself.
I could go off on my own.
I feel vengeance for no one.
I forgive, but sometimes I cannot forget.
I could leave it all to charity.
I could leave and not look back.
I am uncomfortable with forced smiles.
I will listen to my heart.
I will listen closely.
There is great bitterness in the world.
Everything is going to be fine.

October 10, 2018

editors note: Wish well, win maybe; whatever is fine as we make it. – mh clay

A lonely rider by Hem Raj Bastola

In the
Cold desert,
Along with
The howling wind.
On horseback,

A strange
Weather beaten
Unfamiliar face,
Turning back
A grin throwing,
Continues his
Hurried way.

May be,
A herdsmen:
A Dhokpa, singing,
Making alive the air.
Pulling my ears of

And I, lost
In his melody,
Staring till his horse,
In the vast horizons;
Of: green pastures

Still echoes
The tongue of:
A nomad

Note: Those people in Tibet and in Nepal bordering to Tibet, having a nomadic life shifting their flock of sheep, goat or yaks in the high pastures, living under the tent, are called Dhokpas.

October 9, 2018

editors note: Grin caught, attention pulled, ride on… – mh clay

Floor Drum by Dan Raphael

As if on the floor, surrounded by things to hit time with,
smiling up toward the light, hundreds of sensors
on the bottoms of our legs and butts
reading the earth, feeding the street
aching to flood like a dog at the door,

What comes to my house not my house, space i borrow,
time i’m eaten by, ignoring how the house declines,
becoming more transparent, like 85 year old skin
still attached but increasingly scripture.

How paper can sometimes take human form, any form it wishes
when properly given the blues, when swimming beneath
the red horizon, flying like a star made from a paper cup—
a way to fold space and make it solid

As some napkins have bones, some whale bones
got wrapped around my body as if i was a ship
taking how many to what they weren’t ready for

A knock, a thrum, a semi going through a phone pole
so much held in we get deep enough for neutrinos
so far from home, so ready to dissipate our om, our back-beat:
if music then dance & other dancers

October 8, 2018

editors note: A different beat requires a different drum; so long as you can dance to it. (We welcome Dan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Midsummer Moonrise by Marianne Szlyk

After “Midsummer Moonrise” by Dwight William Tryon (1892)

At first glance, you see
just prettiness,
a haze of green, flurries
of brushstrokes,
scent of turpentine.

Be patient.
Yellow and white flowers
appear, plants
for which you’ve no name.
You might know them

as you walk past them. Or
you might not.
The gash of silver
water opens
up, reflecting chalky

moonrise, yet
water does not dis-
solve this parched moon.
With time, you see needles
on pine trees,

copper blight elsewhere
as wind rifles
through. The gash of water
widens. You
smell the earth at night.

October 7, 2018

editors note: Check out this image, and you will smell it, too. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re finding you Need-a-Read, Mad Swirl has got just the read to feed your need.

This week’s featured short story comes from our very own Short Story Editor (and Contributing Writer, Poet & Artist), Tyler Malone!

Here’s what guest Short Story Editor MH Clay has to say about this pick-of-the-week:

Thankfully, return to place is not to time. Let the dead bury the dead.

And here’s a few teasing lines from Girl Next Door to feed that read-need:

(photo, “Heading West” by Contributing Artist Tyler Malone)

“Thankfully, return to place is not to time. Let the dead bury the dead.”

And here’s a few teasing lines from “Girl Next Door” to feed that read-need:

After racing stop signs jutting from small town Texas school buses dull in pre-dawn’s sunray deprivation, I park where we used to play. Tossing basketballs into a net without a backboard, occasionally one would volley next door where my friend’s dying heart was pushed by an electric wheelchair and a young shaking hand. A teenage boy dying from ataxia, the heart was the last thing to go. What didn’t go are the neighbors across from Dad.

Mr. Villarreal was a football coach whose teams didn’t score often but he did with young students. Across the street, he washes his Jeep with one hand and waves with the other. He’s the only sex criminal with a college degree in town. The only other person with a degree is his wife, my old principal. Both their waves sync. “Our city’s prodigal son,” greets Mrs. Villarreal.

“Just for a bit. I finally decided to make sure my Dad is still alive.” A lie tastes better than morning coffee while early sunshine hits Jeep windows soapy with city water rolling in foam. In front of what’s left of my old home, plastic flowers from Mom’s funeral permanently bend, faded pastel petals tinted to the limit. This is what happens when she leaves you: you’re left out in what was before her, a false old world, long dead. Even the local sex criminal lives with love.

Dad walks out the front door keeping a smile he’s had for years at the sight of his son but knows what brings him home.

“I found love, then found how quickly it goes.”

Dad leans towards me in a rushing hug. “It leaves out of nowhere, same as it arrived. I’m here, Son. I always have been.”…

Get the rest of this nostalgic read-on right here!

••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••

“The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017” is available NOW!

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 is an anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on 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! Get your very own copy of this Best of Mad Swirl (v2017 style) collection 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…

Wide Awoke,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Guest Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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