The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.23.19

by on February 24, 2019 :: 0 comments

“I write what I see; I paint what I am.”

Etel Adnan

••• The Mad Gallery •••

It’s been a good run diggin’ upon Tony Gentry‘s ironically mad snaps! But as all good things do, Tony’s feature too must pass.

Stay tuned next week when Mad Swirl’ll be delivering to you yet another bad ass artisté that is gonna sure to stir up some discussions while swirlin’ up your mind’s eye the way Tony has!

To see ALL of Tony’s mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists (44 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe no trabajamos malos con las palabras que hablamos; we smiled at the notion of idiots in ocean; we childly stripped of a manuscript; we danced in the dread of the musically dead; we would be wise in our demise; we sought to span the breadth of our ignorance of death; we reasoned through pleasin’ a self-centered id. These scratchin’s, meek matchin’s of the things we did. ~ MH Clay

Cleanup in Aisle 5 by MH Clay

Scratching shadow
Etching black on gray
Groping for boundaries
We press them
We address our questions
To no ears
But ours

Ours is the answer
The voice we hear
Resounds from our own
Stretched chords
A confusing caterwaul
From which we draw
That one thing
That something
To render reason
From an otherwise
Random run

The rest is just mess

February 23, 2019

editors note: By talking to ourselves, we invent the universe and our place in it. (See two more new mad missives from MH on his page – check’em out). – Mike Fiorito

DEATH by Pat Ashinze

they say death ends all our woes.
i do not know. not yet.
maybe soon. or later. or never.
my bible tells me my soul is immortal.
even other holy books.
and the internet.

but seriously,
it is hard to understand death.
we run away from it every day,
like monks avoiding the touch of sin –
but it’s all encyclical and vaguely brusque.
truth is: death has a way – of making us make
our way back to her macabre bosom.

i have decided to write this like i am drunk,
even though I’m not. seriously, i’m not.
i don’t feel like versing mystic aphorisms.
not on this. people get bored easily.
so, I’ll make this simple. very simple.

death screws with us all. a lot.
it takes the pearls and leaves us wondering
if God really cares about our miserable lives.
death sucks out the things that matter,
leaving dregs, dirt and regret as souvenirs.

Ah… death! alright… i’ll make it simpler:
death is the middle finger that life
points at us all as it whispers her
cold, numbing words in our mundane ears:
“Hey! Nobody has the right to be arrogant!”

February 22, 2019

editors note: No run, no stall; she has her way, she comes to all. – mh clay

Epiphany by E. Andrea Cole

If I die today
My body has given up
If I die tomorrow
Then I have procrastinated
But none of that matters
Because I just realized
That I died yesterday

February 21, 2019

editors note: Forgotten then, remembered now; no later in between. – mh clay

Dead Music Capital of the World by Ty Malone

6th Street, hanging as Jesus Christ’s parents
under their son’s cross, hoping he plays a tune, that dying
is an act for city lights while dirt birds perch
in unfinished future rises freed from walls for now,
not spot lit silver cast from bank windows above

6th Street telephone pole people stuck wearing deep
staples from artists before stripped away by a curbside
rock star Christ with god on a guitar for one song
for the end about how Heaven doesn’t have husbands or wives.

6th Street, I’ll pry by teeth until I taste pecan shells,
bite bare all that’s shucked underneath to taste
the middle of what’s not the best but not the worst on
uneven sidewalks as trusting as a liar’s song escaping
bridge ribs while eastward bats bend sunset waves.

6th Street fangs only for small things, never your neck (that’s mine)
in bars leaned as alchemic notebooks with potions to become
monsters eating cities left behind by light
feet on streets, potholes filled by fallen faces.

6th Street posts holed up as hearts.
No matter who hangs, never
take them down to hold.

See only yourself in asphalt as dusk
skidding brake lights spell out
never go home.

February 20, 2019

editors note: To be a rock god (not cod), where fishers of men string guitars (not nets) to strum up new believers. – mh clay

From Sound to Words by Robert L. Martin

Traveling at a high rate of speed
Like the wings of a humming bird,
From fruitful melodies
And higher cliffs,
Where music reached into the clouds
And mingled with the
Voices of the rain,
It followed me into the darkness
And touched my silent wits,
Myself without substance or worth,
A pebble washed up upon the shore,
And illuminated my soul
With a liquid flame
And drew open the
Curtains of the universe
As I peeked into its pulsating heart
And saw the alpha and the omega,
The gardens of pure thought,
Voices not of this world
But of a sound that touched my spine.

As I wrote the first word
I could sense that my hand
Didn’t belong to me.
It was part of another planet,
A sphere of dreams and higher thought.
I was a genius who knew nothing.
I could feel the words
Flowing into my body,
My prison, my inhibitions, my world,
Hammering them into my mind,
My child of seasoned thought,
Looking into the world with big eyes.

I, of inherited thought,
A manufactured genius,
A child still lost in the wilderness,
Tried to understand what I wrote
As I stood amazed at
What the music did to me.

February 19, 2019

editors note: A man, no script, to manuscript; muse-ic man. – mh clay

For Everyone by Paul Smith

For every snowflake that falls on the tundra
there is a package on Amazon’s conveyor belt
in Seattle or Arlington
with a trinket or a gold watch or a
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
that someone will open up to find
because it is not what they thought
so they send it back and get hit with
a restocking fee
and complain to Amazon or VISA or
about how badly they’ve been treated

For every time a man has whistled at
a pretty girl on a street corner and
got nothing to show for it
another pornographic website pops up
in cyberspace showing
how big your dick can be
or how easy it is to get women
or offering you cyberchats that will
change your life
so now cyberspace
is almost as big as the universe God created
on the first day

For every grain of sand on the beach
there is a drop of water in the ocean
for every drop of water in the ocean
there is a piece of junk plastic swirling around
in the Great Pacific garbage patch
a vortex bigger than Texas
for every piece of junk –
straws, Coke bottles, seat covers, sandwich bags
there is an idiot throwing them in the ocean
thinking to himself
‘this is no big deal
It’s just a straw’
for every idiot who throws a straw in the ocean
there is another idiot who thinks
the first idiot should be taken out and shot
so that humanity is divided in half
into two groups of idiots that
hate each other
this is part of God’s plan

then a poet comes along
a real wise guy and says
there are more idiots out there than
plastic junk in the ocean
than grains of sand on the beach
than drops of water
than snowflakes
than stars in the sky
all that is untrue
God, in His wisdom
when He made the universe
saw to it that there will always be more stars
than idiots
we are constantly discovering
that the universe keeps getting bigger
as our telescopes improve

so the poet‘s claim gets weaker and weaker
it is almost like God is saying
‘I made you in my image and likeness
but I’m never going to let you gang up
on Me
I’ll keep both sides of you fighting
each other
until you reach a critical mass ’
so He
in His wisdom
one day may just
scrap this universe and start over
make another one
with sand and stars and galaxies and constellations
and make wiser poets out of us
who look up and see God
smiling like a Happy Meal

February 18, 2019

editors note: To us idiots, everywhere: Wake up and smell the Happy Meal. – mh clay

¿En Que Idioma Hablas Tú? (What language do you speak?) by Lillie Davidson

1. relating to Spain, its people, its culture, or its language

When you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish, I will tell you that my language is a restless child, always hungry and impatient, always reaching for things it cannot grasp.
My language is beautiful, it is selfish, it is brave.
When you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish, I will tell you what it’s like to be full of paella and too much love.
My Spanish is knowing God in more than one language
It is beautiful, all knowing, impossible.
It is who I am.
Sometimes, I forget how to speak it.
I reach for syllables that do not come, but somehow manage to be present.
They fill parts of me I did not know were empty.
My Spanish teases the President and cannot be deported.
It is asking myself whether or not I am white,
My Spanish is “Are you awake yet?”
“There’s a lot of work to do today.”
My Spanish is begging my tías to tell me about their homeland,
Sometimes too much, sometimes not enough.
My Spanish prays out loud
My Spanish is siéntate niña, y escúchame
When you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish,
I will tell you that I earned a dual literacy certificate in the fifth grade.
It’s the silence that hangs in the air when I’m done talking in my AP class
Or the color of sangria fruit
My Spanish is a half-written story that weaves between two languages
It cannot be governed nor deferred.
It is an emotion and a way of thinking, a system of belief.
I am the halfway point between two countries,
Hispanic American.
My language was fed to me in tortilla Española,
It was read to me out of the Bible
It made me who I am.
My Spanish esta muy hambriento
My Spanish is bien ruidoso
My Spanish es muy callado.
Now I understand why my grandmother never learned how to speak English.
She planted her language like seeds between my lips
And I never gave it up.
When you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish,
I will tell you I am descendant of an immigrant who never got a citizenship
I will tell you I am not a dream to be deferred
I will tell you I am Hispanic American, and in my grandmother’s country, we don’t build walls.
We are proud of who we are and we will not be silenced or governed or deported.
When you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish,
I will say,
Yes, I am.

February 17, 2019

editors note: Whatever we speak, speak freely! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Then you’ve loco-motioned to the right place!

Here’s what Short Story Editor, Ty Malone has to say about this week’s featured read Train Tracksby Michael Brownstein

“No matter which direction we step, that’s where we’ll now live. Or die. Not choosing to move is movement; it’s still life. Or death.”

Here’s a teaser to get you goin’:

(photo “On Rails” by Ty Malone)

“The shortcut to Steven’s house was about two blocks from the train station. Every day he walked on one of two train tracks. He could smell the home cooked meal his sister had bragged about two hours earlier. When he saw the train coming towards him, he took a step to the left and easily reached the other track. He did not know of the second train until it was too late and that was that…”

If you choo-choo-choose to read how this story ends, get the rest of this read on 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…

Seein’ & Bein’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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