The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.14.19

by on July 14, 2019 :: 0 comments

“All of my words, if not well put nor well taken, are well meant.”

Woody Guthrie

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Carry Gravity ~Tyler Malone

To see ALL of Tyler‘s poignantly poetic photos, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe fought four fears, close at hand, chose to live as long as we can; we jumped for the joys of godly toys; we splashed home again in remembering rain; we slept as life graduates, heavenly job candidates; we found sadness sublime in a clanging wind chime; we bent human celebration into viral infestation; we lost love’s stake in a coffee break. We drink, we dally, we try again; we leave some words, or at least, a stain. ~ MH Clay

One Acidic Tooth to Another by Tyler Malone

Into lungs for straws and out to kiss
as if earth flooded for two of us, our sins,
annual attempts to drown summer.
Rain spots as we walk soaked asphalt
but it hasn’t rained since April.

Music won’t ever melt hearts, August will.

The 6th love language is remembering someone’s coffee order.
How much coffee actually hit our lips
as late summer atmosphere ate palms,
ice disappeared, fast as a favorite sunset.

Cups empty – leaving rings on tables, not fingers.

We held dull hands, numb to grasp
the sun and hold to mouths.
Taste heat and imagine it’s not blood
pulled from above, our god’s a gift from a hanging snake.
Go ahead, drink! Summer’s as temporary as Eden.

Empty cups – do they speak of what filled them?

Empty, all I have and know is who I am. All that’s left,
nothing to offer but two



On emptied cups.

July 13, 2019

editors note: Belle and beau, barrista borne to a common craving for caffeine, if not companionship. – mh clay

Cooled Boiled Water by Maeve McKenna

I am trying to bend a mind.

Can I imagine the moon as a suffocating balloon,
ready to inhale, siphoning lungs from the earth –
which is a cardboard box of discarded toys,
metal and plastic. Or stars the eyes of a wolf-pack
in the dark world forest,
glaring behind spindly trees –
which are needles in a pin cushion. Just that.
Or rivers as paths guzzling swamped ground,
drowning the carcasses of roads that lead home –
which is a state of familiarity only.
Or bodies as a surface to sketch new ways,
tracing escape routes through veins –
which are tracks of blood –
which is cooled boiled water
dredging metal and plastic from a cardboard box,
while starry eyes take aim with spindly pins
and puncture flesh,
and the river path devours familiarity,
and sketches are cuts on a skin map
bleeding cooled, boiled, water.

July 12, 2019

editors note: Objectified by the object of our consumption. How’s that bend ya? – mh clay

wind-chime melancholy by Marisa Adame

sadness births itself into a chorus
that trickles its way onto my tongue:
one strong thought at first
that dissipates
into a cacophony of
insults to myself
for taking up space.

i’m sorry // i can’t make it.
i’m sorry // that i’m here.

i’m sorry i can’t sing for you my sadness
with a tune that makes sense to us both.
i disappear
like a metal melody broken on air,

clanging itself
into nothingness.

July 11, 2019

editors note: Solitude, wind-soughed to settle on tongue, tingle in ear; alone to moan. – mh clay

Overqualified by Ivan Jenson

I am being groomed
to be entombed
it happens every night
when I lay down
and cross my hands
over my chest
like my grandfather did
when he napped
and like a graduate of life
in death I will be
and buried
deep with my diploma
and ready
to submit my resumé
which will be
whatever the heck
my gravestone
words will say
and as for me
I will be hired
by the HR department
of eternity

July 10, 2019

editors note: It’s tough to sell that 5-Year Plan when dead is forever (but, HR has the form for that). – mh clay

The rain remembers by Christopher Calle

The rain remembers her lovelorn ponds
See how they roll and babble
Speaking life to the trees and wind
Baptized in color
The smell of wet chlorophyll and lightning
A soothing mass lofts her mallards, skating effortlessly
While white cranes flicker
In soul’s blue embrace
Her comforting message
You’re home
The rain remembers.

July 9, 2019

editors note: Shelter in that blue embrace of soul. Remember? – mh clay

GOD’S TOYS by Vern Fein

What if all the stores
collapsed into rubble
hauled away?
Or disappeared into the sky
like some concrete Rapture,
all the children left behind
no way to buy new toys
no need to wheedle parents?

Children look at playthings
in their homes,
broken, rusted, boring.

What for
the children of Eden
had Adam and Eve stayed,
eschewed the apple?

Skip rocks in a stream,
swing on a tree branch,
fruit wars,
count the stars,
love their pets,
outrace the four rivers.

July 8, 2019

editors note: God’s toys, toy gods; who plays with whom? – mh clay

Fear by Janette Schafer

after Sheila Squillante

In the Fear of Being Abandoned, there
is a house devoid of conversation, the
dull drone and flash of a flickering
television. There are empty lady pints
of Haagen-Dazs draped in dusty cobwebs,
cardboard pizza boxes loom high
like a house of cards.

In the Fear of Loneliness, the skin is
blistered and chapped from the
cold void of a lover. The frozen air
flays the tips of your thumbs,
turns nipples into shattered glass
and useless nerve endings.

In the Fear of Harm, you still flinch
at quick movements though no one
has raised their fists for years. You rub
your hand over invisible rubicund wounds,
trace the outline of an imagined mark,
push the index finger into the
indelible tenderness of pain.

In the Fear of Delight, you keep your
organs close and small: pleasure removed
is pleasure destroyed. Better to push aside
a world you cannot live in for very long.

July 7, 2019

editors note: A four-fold affront from the only thing we have to fear. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Seems there’s always a need for something. Some need sandwich sauce, others Need-a-Read. If you happen to fall into one or both of those categories, you’ve scrolled past the right/write post!

This week’s featured short story comes to us from Mad Swirl Contributing Poet & now Writer, Jeff Grimshaw!

Here’s what Short Story Editor, Tyler Malone​ has to say about Jeff’s story:

“What sauce do we really need? If life is bland, open up everything and pour. The spice of life is every damn thing you can get put your tongue to.”

Here’s a bite of Jeff’s Pulled Pork Sandwich to whet your reading appetite:

(photo “Spice of Life”  by Tyler Malone)

One day Perry Beckett took a pulled pork sandwich to Bone’s basement and when he got there, he said he wished he had told them to put more sauce on it.

“So take it back over there and tell them you want more sauce on it,” said Bone.

“They got the sauce in squeeze bottles on the counter,” said Perry Beckett. He was looking sadly at his sandwich.

“So?” said Bone. Perry had worked out all the things that were going to happen today, at least the things he had some say over, and going back to the pulled pork place was not on the agenda. He could not say this to Bone because it would sound crazy. So Perry said, “It’s okay.”

Bone’s basement was on the second floor of a building on Van Houten Street. Van Houten runs alongside the Passaic River below the falls where subterranean basements are a terrible idea. Bone had a piece of shirt cardboard with Bone’s Basement stuck to his door with a push pin. It was very much like a basement, only it was sunny…

Do Bone & Perry get them some pork sammy sauce? You’ll never know unless you go to Mad Swirl’s lil ol’ dot com to get yo’ 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…

Meanin’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

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