“When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Big Eye Bug” (above) by featured artist Dan Rodriguez
It’s been our pleasure to feature photographer, Dan Rodriguez, in our Mad Gallery. Dan has been a big part of our Mad Swirl world for years, capturing the swirlin’ scene at our monthly open mic, and we are proud to showcase another side of Dan’s photog gifts!
This one will finish his streak as our featured artist. But don’t you worry, we’re lining up yet another bad ass artisté that is gonna spark your mad-gination’s eye as much as Dan’s work has!
P.S. 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 gave up the game to achieve poet fame; we were all the rage on the temple stage; we found worth in an absent heart; we slammed a door, gave rats a start; we secured our firewalls; we built on found flaws; we big bone bit when this is it! This! ~ MH Clay
THIS IS IT by Jeffrey Park
This is the thing, the core,
the white-hot molten heavy metal
at the center of it all.
This is the moment of truth
and you really don’t want to know
about the consequences.
No friendly shadows here,
no cover and no u-turns allowed.
This is the beating bloody heart
of the matter, with all its
irregularities and arrhythmias.
This is the times
and they are a-doing something,
I’m just not sure what.
This is the place where
that can’t be postponed or avoided,
the place where we lock eyes,
hands, legs, pelvises,
hold tight to each other
like a pair of mongrel dogs fighting
over a great big juicy bone.
Sure, it may be a few days past
its gnaw-by date
but it’s still mighty tasty.
November 3, 2018
editors note: Yes! It and all and only until the next is it. – mh clay
To the chains by Jonathan Beale
After Torquato Tasso
She was aware!
And so, those impossibilities metaphysical or otherwise:
Butterflies, and moths avoided those weighty deeds and rings of iron:
Invisible to the original draft or sketch –
Yet could somehow exist alongside
The honest nature of the muse – indefinable
Where the darkness bred
Bluebells out of the rock face
Here is where purity has its harshest test
Leaving a path for those to come
As for skating on thin ice
Flaws will find flaws –
His epic mind covers a mass of cracks
“as for the ‘understanding’ who knew & why cells that
Grew you.’ Made you just to torture you for a congruence of another world.
November 2, 2018
editors note: All hail, the Holy City. Not made for us, but we for it; not here, but on the other side. – mh clay
A Day among Unacquainted Firewalls by Yin Xiaoyuan
It was late autumn, when vines of lightning climbing down through the windows turned red.
Carpenters hit the walls with square hammers,
but barely scratched them: “Remarkably solid.”
For a moment was he assured that fireworks of noises were all shut out, where they faded and were chilled thoroughly.
When he summoned these words he suspended himself in the moonlit minty air outside, like a frost-covered ghost
Security Level: Low
Shadows emerging from the horizon
flooded over the streets and church spires.
A cast of crabs, a field of Rafflesia arnoldii flowers,
or just wisps of Mansonesque lines.
They applied grinding wheels to his mortal frame,
sanding off his coarse wrappers, eating all bulbs and roots in his territory.
Window glass grew scalding, ready to grill,
–They ended up as rags on a clothes line.
Security Level: Medium
He received a message–
“I’ve been outside for 3 days. I wonder why you just kept neglecting me, I saw you drawing the brocade drapes, your eyes following the track of the sun… Now I’m as dried as roselle flowers.”
Security Level: High
Giant jellyfish rose like floating candles–the surface blacked out.
Constellations grew in the dimness like coral reefs–the surface blacked out.
A ghost ship skimmed over and scared off seagulls–the surface blacked out.
…It never lit up any more.
He stayed in the quiescent darkness for 30 minutes, or 30 hours–the flowing of time is so intangible.
This will be one of the scenes in his biography, with the chapter title–“Finally Safe”.
He was found slumped over his keyboard. The computer was on, formula calculations going on there on the screen.
Waves of characters overlapping and erasing one another.
Task Manager showed: There was no “currently running program”.
As serene as a smile after the curtain call.
November 1, 2018
editors note: A strong wall; safety from fears without. But, what safety from fears within? (We welcome Xiaoyuan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.)- mh clay
Down Below by Joan M. Donovant
It was a basement apartment.
Concrete steps without a handrail.
Faded blue chipped plaster walls.
There was an aroma of stagnate steamy
air and garbage. Light
bulbs hung from brown wires.
Echoes of dripping water. Heavy
footsteps in the hallway above. Pipes
ached from sending hot water to the
floors above. The furnace growled with
energy. Wires emerged between beams
and openings in the walls. A metal door
slams shut, waking the dead while
stirring the rats.
October 31, 2018
editors note: On this Hallows Eve, we wickedly wonder what could lurk on either side o’ that slam. – mh clay
Puja by Dah
I know you’re somewhere.
Not here. Ceaseless. A slit,
a tear. Those sheer
appearances. Fast. Viral,
see-through. Constant. You.
Between our world: the mid
-point: living tissue. Gifted lips
to shoulders. Sketching: heart
–beat to beat: beast of lovers:
human offerings: puja.
slips: frail. Temporal.
All the magic: in disarray:
in your absence:
my heart can do no less.
October 30, 2018
editors note: In the giving of worth, our offerings are scattered magic, designed to please (or appease). – mh clay
Stagecraft At The Temple by Christopher Barnes
Our guru cyclones in –
Pantomime dame falsies,
Snazzy banana ear-rings.
We’re alert or lie-abed,
By calibre, disembarrassed souls.
Headway is fundamentally a pose.
October 29, 2018
editors note: And the best showbiz is beatitude. – mh clay
A TRADITIONAL POET by David Subacchi
I am a traditional poet
I write sonnets and villanelles
I’ve got a publisher and an agent
To tell me what kind of stuff sells.
I am a conventional poet
I stick words together in lines
I measure the gaps between them
And make sure that everything rhymes.
Please don’t insult my intelligence
With your scribblings in free verse
And as for spoken word and slams
I can’t think of anything worse.
I am a living dead poet
My biography already released
And my collected works will follow
As soon as I am deceased.
October 28, 2018
editors note: To ensure acceptable accolades, best write your own. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If your need for a read is tuggin’ at your sleeve, you’re in the right place!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story:
Until morale improves, the beatings will continue.
(photo, “Shades of Good Men” by Tyler Malone)
Move that mighty mouse of yours right here & get your read on!
••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••
‘t’was a dark & cold November night in the year ’04 when Mad Swirl first hosted our 1st Wednesday Open Mic… and here we are, 14 years later, still stirrin’, still swirlin’ & still Mad! Who woulda thunk it?! But here we are…
Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.07.18) at 8:00 SHARP & help us ring in our 14th anniversary by swirlin’ up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, The Regal Room (located inside of Independent Bar & Kitchen)!
Swirve, with special guests Max Oepen (drums), Dave Monsch (sax) & Carlos Salas (pocket operator) will be gettin’ this partay goin’ so don’t delay!
Come on out, one & all… share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities & if the spirits are 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 our 14th!
For you ‘bookers out there, visit our Facebook event page & get you a spot on our list!
••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••
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! 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…
Guest Short Story Editor