“We didn’t ask. We just did. We just did what was in our heart.”
Ben E. King
••• The Mad Gallery •••
b-boy ~ Mario Loprete
Mad Swirl is proud to introduce Italian artist Mario Loprete to the Mad swirl Gallery and boy, are we excited to have him! With a featured collection in both paint and concrete, Loprete seems to have stories within himself that we can’t help but want to listen to. The cement works fit to the shape of his shirts and feel historic, like ancient artifacts, and his paintings carry a certain deepness with them that set them apart from your average portrait. We’re not sure exactly what Mario’s work is trying to tell us just yet…all we know is that we’re listening. He’s got our attention! And we think you oughta give him yours. ~ Madelyn Olson
To see ALL of Mario’s mad-nificent works, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we scrambled a story in amphigory; we lost her lusty look, seduced by dusty book; we thanked Dad above for his blackberry love; we avenged existence through love’s resistance; we held a harangue in a Big not Banged; we sought to repair a broken affair; we vamped for a vapid vampire rant. We try to write with teeth in our bite (or, at least gum the hell out of ‘em). ~ MH Clay
The Tooth Fairy Is An Ivory Hunter by Tyler Malone
Smile for our family photo, it will haunt a hallway.
Our photographer prayed for face bones.
Give us this day our daily enamel.
Let us forgive those who don’t floss but speak.
He SHUTTERED at those born with 32 thousand dreams
but are now down to gums.
Going gray until color’s not all that’s gone.
As a teen, my dumb wisdom teeth grew sideways,
as wrong as love goes, so a dentist took a few extra
so my jaw worked too perfectly by adulthood and
I always thought they went into my grandma’s dentures.
“Did you pray, son?” Yes! But no one asked if I brushed.
Yesterday forgets before we have an opportunity to,
same as brushing. This picture’s the same, we’re changed.
No one kisses like they used to because they never used to
have enough teeth to assemble a thin cannibal’s bracelet.
Women love jewelry and I’ve made a flashy necklace.
Everyone I’ve kissed was just inspecting teeth to take
or taste words shared with others. These bones deserve better
than me but it all stops at fangs, the tongue, and never digs
to this one deep heart.
That monster keeps growing teeth.
September 28, 2019
editors note: Smile but don’t bite; keep incisors in sight. Threaten love; at least, a good brushing. (Read another mad missive on Tyler’s page; after the bitin’, comes the lickin’ – check it out.) – mh clay
Reunion on Sandy Boulevard by Leah Mueller
Perched on the edge of the
Howard Johnson shuttle van
in my dark red clogs,
I turn my feet sideways,
place them slow motion
on the side panel,
descend into the parking lot.
Cold torrential downpour:
puddles on gray asphalt,
December air fuggy and close.
We waited two years,
and you look different
than I remember: pallid,
anxious, but familiar as shoes.
In an hour, we will try again
to find everything
we did our best to hide.
Afterward, we’ll open the window,
exclaim about the unseasonable
warmth. Four days until
I return to my husband,
and you to the flatlands, defeated.
Meanwhile, my heavy soles:
all I have to keep me upright.
You devour a microwaved burrito
from the corner mini-mart,
our small room reeks of toxins.
“You’re in Portland now,”
I say. “There’s no excuse
for bad food or bad sex,”
but I’m sure you won’t remember.
September 27, 2019
editors note: Some old flames are best left spent. – mh clay
Polyhydramnios by Brittany Griffiths
fiddling in the darkness
pushing up against the walls
in time, it was distended
like a sack of amniotic fluid
drowning in the excess of
too much material
an illusion of growth,
the protection of a womb,
allowing words to infiltrate
through the skin-lining
of the belly
she ate to feed the story
yet to be born
she savored the remaining moments
before it was out of her control
twisted like a knot inside
unable to detangle
the threads she’d bred
she continued living
until the pressure built
up beyond all comprehension
the patterns refused to connect
the lines of meaning never surfaced
and the breath of life within
was suppressed to nonexistence
September 26, 2019
editors note: Stillborn, we mourn; an idea bursting until bubble popped and gone. What was that again? – mh clay
Sun moon and me by Bharti Bansal
You always tucked my blanket at night
Like gravity pulling everything in downward spiral
But today i freefloat in this gravity at night
Just after you kiss me another long hours of lonely ache
I don’t miss us
I just lament for the dead memories
I constantly blow life into
I cut the moon into pieces like mangoes
And eat the stardust
That tastes much like your absence; bitter
But you haven’t dined on cosmos, love
Because if you did
You would have never asked how do I feel
You see sometimes
Sun loses its limbs to rise on my chest
While somedays i become a moontide
Drenching the ones onshore, turning ships and reaching the sky
But on most days
I am like that puddle of water in your backyard
Where the sparrow swims
I exist just like that
And you knew it all the while
So you took your turn
Digging up the land
To bury the secrets inside
You fear my poetry, love
Perhaps that’s why you paint me invisible in your life
As i scream through words like wolves howling in that forest that grows behind your house
There is a house burning nearby too
And the girls from the burning house
Are never asked about the warmth of the sun
You paint burns on my mind
With your words so slow
That i feel the scabs of our togetherness bleeding out nostalgia
Every single morning
I still look towards the sun
And make my burning wounds dive in this sea of fire
Just for you to see them
Do you see?
Do you feel the burns yet?
Because if you did
You wouldn’t have tried to coax me into believing
How my wounds were just moons of a planet,
Calm of the night,
Morning and evening star of a sky that belonged to me only
But it is easier running than saving
And you were a good runner, a champion
You have been running ever since from me
So all you do is
Sometimes look at the mirror
And see me, my burnt mind with a reflection that taunts you, haunts you
You paint the mirror black and smile
That’s how you hide your sins of breaking someone
Trust me i am no saint either
So here i write this testimony of guilt
For you to take like a pill
And cry under that shower of yours
And shout to the walls, “am i a bad person?”
Just know this darling,
Answer is yes
Because the bricks of your home are the debris of my existence
For all I know, my existence wants revenge…
September 25, 2019
editors note: A poet scorned, vengeance from verse. Sad, sweet, and severe. – mh clay
Blackberry Missive by Tony Gentry
July afternoon in Virginia
our father skips lunch
to stride the dry pasture
in work brogues
to that thicket
sprout like purple
polka dots and
wades into the briars
and bees until
and forearms bleeding
he’s filled two gallon
Because we love cobbler.
One of the things
the war took out of Daddy
you’d have to guess
was trust in saying much.
So what if he never
told me that thing,
I mean what’s the worth
in words when you
can taste it like that?
September 24, 2019
editors note: Here’s to “that thing” however we express it. – mh clay
Two Loves Have I? by Chuck Taylor
Her body, an body, you tell yourself,
Never as good as words, never as nuanced
As the sounds arising off the skin of page
And your finger tracing the text,
Much better than the tip of your
Tongue across the ridges of her
Soft flowered ears
Yes, text rolls much superior to
Her hand massaging your foot’s insole,
Much better than your nose drifting through
Her long and sumptuous hair
You know the feel of her spine
No way competes with the flexing
Spine of a book
There are no sounds to her lovely lashes,
No off rhymes off the blue of her eyes
There are never tears, never the constant why whys
When you turn on the light in bed with a book
But stop now and demand of yourself that
You put aside your fears, your rationalizing.
You know how the pain of her makes you say
Unending garbage of stupid things
You know in the deep of all your aches
That no printed book has ever
Moved and sighed like the liquefaction
Of her sweet and shining words
September 23, 2019
editors note: Erotica as reading as erotica. – mh clay
Ibble Bibble by Richard Weaver
hung out in the Saint Louis Cathedral
during the day, mumbling in monotones
in one of the back pews. One of the day-people
the Quarter offered up to those who were afraid
of what the night might bring. If his words,
without reason, alien to logic, ever reassembled
to form a simple sentence no one I know
ever heard it. He babbled, not in response
to questions or voices heard or unheard.
An inner calling, but not an Aesopian language,
saying one thing as rhetorical misdirection,
but meaning another. It was the syllables
that mattered most, his skimble-skamble
stultiloquy a mystery to the devout who entered
for obsecration or redemption, a show of faith,
and heard a darkened voice, an amphigory, a burbling,
bursting bubble of blathering, not sacrilegious,
quietly comforting like a Möbius strip rosary.
September 22, 2019
editors note: Clamor over clarity; noise for poise. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you really Need-a-Read, heed this post!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say:
“Gotta live until you’re dead, because every day you live, it’s one day you’re dancing closer to death.”
Here’s a bit of “Chesterfield” to get yo’ mojo goin’:
(photo “Angelic Gargoyle” by Tyler Malone)
Chet sat on the edge of the courthouse lawn. He was a thin black man. He wore khaki slacks and a green t-shirt and had a fedora hat on his head. It had cooled off a little now that the sun was going down, but it was still hot. Chet took a drink from a half pint bottle of Jim Beam, then offered me a drink. I passed. I told him I had been working in the sun in the switchyard at the mill all day, then sat at the corner bar and drank beer after work.
Chet told me he hadn’t worked for a few days. Chet was a coal miner but he missed a lot of work. He told me one time that coal mining interfered with his drinking. He told me he had been staying with Carolyn a few days but she run him off. Carolyn was a black nurse that Chet hung out with at times. I had a couple of joints rolled. I took one of them out of my cigarette pack, lit it, then passed it to Chet. Chet took a long hit, then passed it back.
“You want to go to Springfield, Doug?”…
The madcap adventure has just begun! Get the whole scoop right here!
••• Open Mic •••
Join Mad Swirl THIS 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.02.19) at 8:00 SHARP as we swirl it up at our temporary Mad mic loco home for OCTOBER, Top Ten Records!
This month we will be revisiting 2008’s Mad Swirl Blue Note Issue. It’s hard to believe it has been 11 years since we released this collection and thought it due time to resurface this mad-tastic line-up!
In case you weren’t there back in 2008 (or need a refresher), here’s the Mad ones that contributed their poetic & musical gifts for this collaborative project:
Chris Curiel (trumpet)
Gerard Bendiks (skins)
Tamitha Curiel (vocals)
After the feature set, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay will open up the mic to invite all y’all to join in & share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl Open Mic.
Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl Open Mic.
Come to participate.
Come to appreciate.
Come to Swirl-a-brate!
P.S. October’s open mic will be ending earlier than usual so come early to get you a spot on the abbreviated list!
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…
Short Story Editor