The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.17.19

by on August 18, 2019 :: 0 comments

“Any art communicates what you’re in the mood to receive.”

Larry Rivers

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Seductive As a Moan of Pleasure ~ Bill Wolak

It’s always a pleasure to welcome Bill Wolak back to the Mad Swirl Gallery and this time (his 6th) is no different! The symmetrical works he brings are always quite the treat; sometimes erotic, hairy, grassy and even phallic – but always right up our Mad alley… and with titles like ‘cultivating delirium’, how could anyone really think otherwise? We think you’ll think so too so do what you do and peruse Bill’s latest Mad masterpieces! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see ALL of Bill‘s crazy collection of collages, 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 lifted life matters from vinyl platters; we wrote delight from a breakfast bite; we did what does from what night was; we recounted the history of what makes a mystery; we liquored last in a pickled past; we made each move with love to prove; we got a lunatic bench back, no emergency contact. ~ MH Clay

In Case of Emergency by Wayne F. Burke

I spent days in the streets of the
city and
nights sleeping on a bench
in Longfellow Park
(some fucking poet he must have been)
and woke with the back of my head
flat as the bench.

I drank whiskey to help me,
to sleep and
for other reasons;
tried to keep an eye open
for demons,
had a job but
like Jesus
nowhere to lay my head
there were no rooms in the city
to rent
until one night
one opened at the Y
and I filled the preregistration form out
after being told by the clerk
to fill in the space labeled
“in case of emergency, notify”
I crumpled the form up and
threw it at him across
the desk,
because who the hell was he
to tell me what to do?

back on my bench,
I realized that
I must be nuts.

August 17, 2019

editors note: It comes with strings attached, but none to you. Bench bound, again. (We welcome Wayne to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

a game of chess by J.J. Campbell

i see the
in your eyes

i’m sure if
you could
creep closer

you would
smell my

two hopeless

waiting for
someone to
make the
first move

too often
this becomes
a game of

so much
to ponder
before every

i’d rather
play risk

August 16, 2019

editors note: Roll the dice and go for Greenland. – mh clay

Lulled Into Submission by James D. Casey IV

How many more years can I live like this?
How many years have I lived like this?

The whiskey talks, but I can’t hear
a word it says.

My body, lulled into submission
by its precious poison.

A rotten man trying to reverse
the years of abuse.

Maybe I’ll donate my body
to science.

Maybe I’ll be the first
successful cyborg.

Able to accept the fact
that I will live on without feeling.

But, I’m doing that now.
So what’s the difference?

August 15, 2019

editors note: Possibly prescient, if not well preserved. (This poem comes from JDC IV’s recent release of “Unwritten Words That Slide Down The Wall.” Read a great review of it by Mike Fiorito on our blog. It will make you want to get your own copy here. Check it out!)

Enigma by Robert L. Martin

The mystery of the deep down inside,
Where probing is a futile venture,
A search curtailed by fear above all,
A witch’s asylum inside the complex mind,
The darkness ne’er to see the light,
Reachable, eerie, dangerous, enigmatic,
Where angels and demons commune,
Where the laws are written on a whim,
Where goodness is a nebulous mood,
Where evil plants its heavy feet
Deep in the ground but sometimes not,
Sometimes in the fire but not always,
Where goblins wear priestly robes,
Where nuptials are devil’s pacts,
Where albs are woven by witch’s cloth
With yarn that winds around the neck,
A hangman’s noose or an angel’s halo,
A language echoing the voice of evil,
Of angels cursing and wavering in peace,
With one foot in chains and the other free,
With hands stained by the devil’s spume,
In houses of horror with saintly rooms,
Letting the spirit run freely through the halls,
Exercising the good with evil intentions,
Living in the balance of good and evil,
Or the irresolution of the two,
The favorable one that fits the mood,
The contentment of the indecisiveness,
Or the volatile mood of the impulse,
Or the mysterious resident that lives inside,
Waving his magic wand
And making up new rules to live by,
The priest clothed in the devil’s apparel,
The one too dangerous to be approached,
Or the one they call the enigma.

August 14, 2019

editors note: Many believe and obey; there’s the real mystery. – mh clay

Variations of a Straight Line by Bill Wolak

after a photograph by John Santerineross

Night is a wine that always
tastes of kisses.

Night is a promise
that only nakedness sustains.

Night is a cormorant diving deeper
into a turbulent river.

Night is the seventh tarot card
still wavering in your hand.

Night is the incomprehensible
solitude of lightning.

Night is an evanescent smile
passing like a streaking spark.

Night is a mirror of shadows
only breathing your hair.

August 13, 2019

editors note: A fickle femme to sustain you through to sunrise, if you’re lucky. (See the pic which inspired this bit of ekphrasis here.) – mh clay

Poem at the Breakfast Place by Paul Hostovsky

The girl who rings me up at the breakfast place
is wearing a T shirt that says BREAKFAST SANDWICH
across her chest. “How’s the breakfast
sandwich?” I ask her, not looking at her breasts
because I am by nature a fearful and shy man
and because I like talking about things without referring to them
the way you sometimes can in poems. “It’s really good,” she says,
and gives me a smile that says she doesn’t
like poetry but likes this poem so far. “I would love
to have that breakfast sandwich every single morning
of my life,” I tell her as I give her the money
for my Earl Gray tea and apple cruller. “You must change
your order,” she says, misquoting the last line
of Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo.” I look down at my cup,
my cruller oozing apple, then furtively at her lovely young
torso. “Life!” I correct her as she hands me my change,
frowning at me now, not with displeasure but
concentration, like she’s really trying to get this poem.

August 12, 2019

editors note: It’s the most important meal of the day. – mh clay

Life in the Archives 1978 by Marianne Szlyk

Inside the darkened storefront that would soon be
a bright Asian restaurant, fading album covers
from just ten years ago armored the wall,
protecting clerk and customers from the revolution
outside, jazz in the doorways on Mass Ave.,
and soft rock in the offices upstairs.

Customers’ blind fingers searched
through the dollar bin
as their eyes heard the songs
on each album. I don’t remember
what played up in the front.
I didn’t know those songs yet.

I do remember stopping in these archives
that used to pop up all around the city.
I remember paying a quarter for one LP
I played for years.

Later after moving to Indiana,
I found the college town’s archives,
a building adorned with primitive paintings
of dead rock and pop stars,
some of whom would never have been
honored in the archives back in 1978,
some of whom had been kids my age.

By then, the archives on Mass Ave.
had become a bank with Boston ferns,
plants and children’s pictures on every desk.
I don’t remember what I listened to
on my first visit, but I remember
what I had heard at lunch
at the grill near the med school:
The Talking Heads’ “Take Me to the River,”
a crack in the archives’ façade.

August 11, 2019

editors note: Searching the stacks for proof that what we were makes who we are. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

We’re not going to do a shout-out for this week’s Need-a-Read. Instead, we will let it speak for itself.

Here’s a few lines from Silence by Annapurna Sharma:

(photo “Here, Now, Forever”  by Tyler Malone)

Silence. Silence is a contagious word, she muses and looks at sea. Warm waves hurry to meet the sun burnt rocks. The gold of the sand shimmers in the glow of the night. Silvery orb of the moon twinkles, one last wink and then ducks behind bales of black cotton. She scribbles on the sand:

there is silence

in the rush of waves

in the downpour of rain

in the gush of verse

in the outpour of love…

Get some more “Silence” right here!

••• Another Mad Review •••

Unwritten Words That Slide Down The Wall by James D. Casey IV
Cajun Mutt Press (May 28, 2019)
Available at Amazon

James Dennis Casey IV (JDC IV) goes by a few names: Magick Gonzo Outlaw Poet, Madman Philosopher, Artist, Pirate, Owl Lover, Cat Lover, and Weirdo. I’m sure there are more things he’s been called or calls himself. But in reading his poetry collection Unwritten Words That Slide Down The Wall, I can see how those names all apply. I’m going to address just a few of JDC IV’s personas as they inform the poems in this collection. You’ll have to get a copy of your own to discover more of JDC IV’s many incarnations.

This collection is a cannon blast of honesty, love, emotion, ideas, prayers and dares. The Madman Philosopher is funny crazy but he’s got a heart as big as Texas

Read Mad Swirl Associate Editor Mike Fiorito’s full review of James Dennis Casey IV‘s newest book 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…

In the mood…

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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