The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.20.19

by July 21, 2019 0 comments

“I know now that there is no one thing that is true – it is all true.”

Ernest Hemingway

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Family Portrait ~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 pond-ward turned to glad announce the yearly return of a tenth of an ounce; we stood in big dog bark bite scene, held the gate shut fast between; we played with the price of self sacrifice; we conjured clear of here, not here, to her proclaim, not disappear; we adjusted to ‘hood activities erratic, diffused by loud arias operatic; we slurped a delicious emission, a blue-born wax-worn transmission; we dreamed of lethal butter gas, transcendent violence power passed from strike to streaming consciousness. So slight the strokes we make of ink on paper, so soon dispersed our vocal vapors. No speak, no hearing, no fall felt… ~ MH Clay


Here we are wet and moldy in a trench.
Here we are in World War One.
Here we are in France.
You can be a German if you want.
I’ll be British or maybe French.
We are warring brothers of the trenches
We smell of rotting corpses all around.
We are both wet and muddy,
Stumbling to fit our gas masks on our faces.
Somebody’s sent our way the mustard gas.
We don’t know if it’s from them or us.
The winds are variable that way.
There weren’t supposed to be but here we are gasping.
The machine guns have stopped spitting death.
The air’s the color of mustard
And everything’s still and quiet.
You feel in another world
And you almost relish the moment.
You don’t expect to survive this shithole war.
You want to ask one of your buddies
In the trench to kick you in the ass
For allowing your stupid self to get in such a pickle.
We were all such dum-dum bullets.
If you’d become a chemist instead
You might have invented a ketchup gas
That could nullify the mustard gas.
You’d relish the idea that all the poison
Gasses could be named for garnishes
As hurricanes were named for women.
I’d make a mayonnaise gas that melts
A soldier’s skin into a pasty white.
A peanut butter gas that when it clogs
Inside the body causes a slow death
In the shape of a peanut shell.
A butter gas that makes you dream,
Before you die, of a better world,
Smooth and creamy. Both you and I
Will float above our trenches in the
Butter gas beyond at last all the farce
Of nationalism, away from racist
And homophobic cracks, to embrace
As only human lovers are able,
Dreaming to a transcendent space.

July 20, 2019

editors note: Seeking the ultimate condiment of compassion. Please! – mh clay

Soaked Lips by Devika Mathur

These lips utter a pause of lipids
time after after
like a powdery cough.
they bloom and shatter
with details,
wisdom of lush lights
a fluid, a shade,
a soft sunset resting on my backbone

Each petal a dandelion of rays,
imperative words
upwards and sidewards,
spitting veins dipped in blue ink
blue sky…a blue world.
Porcelain drops of dew
like lust to wax
a moment of spurring thoughts
defying existence, one by one.

July 19, 2019

editors note: With every word, we defy. (We welcome Devika to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Ode to the Hollering Neighbor by Laura Lee Washburn

She’s known for registering surprise.

Though she does it mainly with volume,
the occasional lilt,

it is why her children love her,
why the dog answers only to her.

The neighbors, at first annoyed,
soon learn to think of opera.

Next door, reading a book or swatting flies,
her arias lift them out of their thoughts

suddenly, all at once, Zowie, Look!,
unexpectedly out of the blue her loud

and infinite wondrous world.

July 18, 2019

editors note: A different view, a new adventure. Zowie, Look! – mh clay

Quatrain of Female by Tricia Marcella Cimera

Arrogance is my state of grace —
I announce I am here
Humbleness is a silent place —
In deference, I disappear

July 17, 2019

editors note: No more should this pendulum swing be swung. Be here! – mh clay

Sacrifice by Joseph Farley

I won’t give you
the satisfaction
of tasting my blood.
I will drink it all,

not leaving
a single drop
for you to lick
from the floor.

July 16, 2019

editors note: My blood! My life! The sacrifice is yours. – mh clay

Stand Off by Dennis Moriarty

At first it is inconsequential and I pay it little attention.
Something more aroused than a whisper,
But much less defined than a whimper, a sound
In an embryonic state,
A decibel searching for identity.
My approach is casual, silent, but as soon as I
Touch the gate the sound is born,
Comes to life swelling like an organ in an
Empty church.
And I imagine that just around the corner there is
A rib cage rattling, a chest heaving, a larynx bulging.

From its bark alone I can tell the dog is big,
Instinctively I step back
As the shape of the sound rips up the yard, a big bull head,
Cropped ears and docked tail hurls itself at the gate.
In the stand-off that follows
It regurgitates old anger, regards me with contempt,
Openly mocking my cowardice.
Stares me down, issuing me with a challenge,
A challenge I simply cannot accept.

July 15, 2019

editors note: During these dog days, hold the gate between you and the bite. – mh clay

POND, 5.3.19 by John L. Stanizzi

1.14 p.m.
61 degrees

The hummingbirds returned today.

Pluck and aerials this 1/10 of an ounce, and
ovations are due each the time hummers return, as they did today.
Nervous polliwogs, disperse with every step I take, and
dive, bellies flashing white, vanishing into the mud instantly.

July 14, 2019

editors note: This poem is part of a 1-year project called POND; “Everyday, at different times during the day, I visit our pond with notebook and camera in hand. I jot down some notes… Then I head home and write a four line acrostic using the letters P, O, N, and D.” Cool!
– mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s Mad Swirl “Need-a-Read” series brings us the tale, He Belongs to Nobody by John Macker.

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

“Creation, destruction. Repeat, repeat, repeat, but never repent.”

Here’s the opening lines to get this dream read started:

(photo “Lift a Glass to Creation”  by Tyler Malone)

Coyote sings us into presence and then laughs his ass off. Sings us into the soul of winter, into resistance, into euphoria. He knows he’s just a moon-illuminated rumor, dog with no name, knows he’s as much a mnemonic device as peyote is a serial killer…

Get the whole dream-maginative prose punch 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…

Bein’ True,

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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