The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.23.19

by November 24, 2019 0 comments

“Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.”

Paul Celan

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Untitled (from the series “Wiring Simplified”) ~ R. Keith

To see ALL of R’s crazy collages, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe packed for times ‘neath concrete skies; we dropped convention to get attention; we lamented to let go a dirge’s echo; we let Klez band carry cats through ordinary; we watched another cat’s neglect off self-unrest reflect; we reached impasse while cutting grass; we tried our hand to laugh with sand. Grains and giggles, loud guffaws; we wander out loud. ~ MH Clay

Laughing Duel by Victory

Challenge all the grains of sand that frame all the oceans of the world to a Laughing Duel.
Do it under a full moon.
That’s for the wolf in you.
Clear your throat.
Then start with a giggle that sounds much like tiny seahorse tails galloping through
the reeds of your vocal cords.
Slap those tiny steeds on their asses and send them full fury against those multitudes of
granulated glass.
Next, throw air filled with exultation from your lungs in lumps of laughter
until your chakras wiggle like loose teeth, then realign.
Now it’s the sand’s turn.
At first, the dunes rumble, quaking like a suppressed chuckle,
more felt than heard,
then as the tide rolls in, laughter bursts on every shore around the world in
waves and waves
as the sands collide with salt and sea.
The innumerable grains gasp and howl with joy.
This is the most fun the sands have ever had!
They twinkle like stars, shatter the night and
warm the stony heart of the moon above.
Not to be outdone,
you take a breath
so deep
that it pulls the oxygen from the papery dry lungs of your ancestors,
all at once.
For a microsecond, your throat has the gravitational pull of a black hole,
pulling matter, space and time toward you.
Your heart skips a beat.
Everything skips a beat.
You give birth to a guffaw that sets off car alarms in two galaxies and seven dimensions,
startling livestock everywhere,
and birds all hit the sky in a wing-flapping frenzy
on every planet that has birds.
Your face is drowning in tears.
You shake and rock back and forth and laugh and laugh and piss yourself with glee!

The grains of sand are impressed.
The best thing about a Laughing Duel:
everyone wins.

November 23, 2019

editors note: There, now… Doesn’t that feel better? – mh clay

Perspicacity by Sanjeev Sethi

The past is a wedge holding us
from being metagrobolized by
benefactions we’re wont to-be
offered. No rehearsal awards
these. Those on the waymark
of karmic meter encounter

The report card is cabalistic.
Faith in versal truthfulness
mows the grassplot.

November 22, 2019

editors note: Though dogma dazzles the blind to blindness, confusion keeps a cleaner lawn; no pattern, no patter. – mh clay

Falling Off the Monkey Bars — 8 by Harley White

My cat
comes in at dark
to be petted and fed—

I offer her
my life-long dilemmas.

and sleeps—

lie awake
at the night.

November 21, 2019

editors note: How many stars shine down on us because of uncaring cosmic cats and anxious unrest in the night? – mh clay

The Klezmer Concert by Dominic Tarpey

Our trip to Krakow was not highly organized.
So, I gave thanks to the gods of serendipity
when we came upon an evening concert
of Klezmer music.

The performance seemed very good
even though I cannot tell a good musician
from a bad one.

Maybe the locals do not know it
but the music in the hall
is like string from a ball of yarn
batted around by a kitten
from Wawel Castle to
St. Mary’s Basilica.

Their feet get tangled in it,
thinking of their ordinary life
that may not be ordinary again
for centuries.

November 20, 2019

editors note: Sometimes an age is required to bring “extra” to “ordinary.” – mh clay


After dark, the people from
under the bridge come out,
searching under streetlights,
up and down the concrete,
for a better outcome. They gather in clots,
yakking, muttering, hoarse whispering,
bleeding off the stress of another day spent
penniless, half-asleep, mindlessly tonight awake.
Contemplate their own species getting off late,
hustling to a stop, hailing a cab, hurrying
key-in-fist to the parking lot. Only due to the
purity of their apathy do the people not hunt
these pelts and skins in fine clothing,
rolling along the street, eyes full of loathsome fear.
Till one of their number, crazier than some,
wails to a banker, or a flunky, monkey or mouthpiece thereof:
“Let’s you and me in the back of my Escalade tonight get laid!”
And the heads of the homed at the concrete sink,
a gust of disgust in their cheeks.
“Plus, you won’t do what I just said,
guess I’m better off fucking dead!”
The people in the audience, where once a future sat,
smirk to themselves at those who from the lyric slink.
Hey, the people think: these be the creeps missing a link.
While for a song on both sides thought
dies with the echo, in the alley, of a song.

November 19, 2019

editors note: They lie where they lay, not laid. These links make a chain… chain… chain… – mh clay

Sometimes Miracles Happen by Sigrid Bergie Feliciano

For years, it was the same.
The headphones rode your head
As you rode the swivel of your chair.
Manning the controls of your computer,
You were a pilot in space somewhere.

Or you whirled in a trance
Around our kitchen,
Creating a feast out of a mess.

Or you lounged with the lizards
On our backyard deck,
Dreamily surveying your gardens
And your inner landscape.
You were in the zone.

I boomed “TONYYY!!”

Or I sent out a tender “Tonyla.”

Even nudged my lips to your earlobe, “Sweetheart.”

Sometimes you answered. Sometimes not.

And then.
Something new happened.
I didn’t notice it at first.
I don’t know how or why or when or where,
It just happened.

A pattern emerged to my awestruck wonderment.
A trick. A charm.
A name that embraced both endearment & annoyance.

All I have to do is slip its two syllables into my mouth
And blow their magic straight to your ears,

And you say, “WHAAAT?!” Or you say, “Yes, my darling, yes.”
And then we talk. And it is good.

November 18, 2019

editors note: With a tickle or a two-by-four; once gotten, it IS good. – mh clay


… At times like these, I wish
The great slab
Of blue and
Horses’ manes
In the wind to
Their science
To landscape
And sculpture out
A space for living:

The pigeon cowers
By monuments
At times like these.

I pack my luggage
For something to do
At times like these.

Drink un-afforded white-horse spirits:
Imagining Mayans in all Levis
Swishing by…

At times
These times.

November 17, 2019

editors note: Our mental Mayans with nowhere to hide. Levis ain’t living space. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Our weekend Need-a-Read, Bellicose Diatribe comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet Randall Rogers.

To give you a hint at what you’re about to get into, here is a bit of Tyler Malone‘s perceptive acceptance note to Randall:

“Locking and loading to clean up the streets only makes the world all the dirtier. It seems like everyone is on that edge all too often: hoping to eliminate the other, or whatever that might mean. We can’t wait to share ‘Bellicose Diatribe’ in hopes that it might bring peace rather than bullets”

(photo “High Ground” by Tyler Malone)

Come dig into this disturbing diatribe with an equally twisted twist right here.


Our midweek Need-a-Read came to us from Contributing Writer Tim Frank. This is one story we think you’ll want to jump right into!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say:

True friends stab you in the front.

And here’s a few lines from “Keeping the dream alive“:

(photo by Tyler Malone)

While Tony gave a speech in his role as the best man for Gareth the groom, he sported a traditional Nigerian royal blue kaftan, clutching a horsehair fly swatter–clashing with the black-tie event–and reeled off a list of Gareth’s conquests that he’d seduced prior to his bride Jackie coming on the scene. Everyone shifted uncomfortably in their seats but when Tony casually mentioned he himself had slept with Jackie only a few days ago family members of both the bride and groom rushed onto the stage and tackled Tony to the ground, knocking off his Yoruba hat.

In an unused communal meeting room in the wedding hotel Gareth confronted Tony, who was holding a frozen steak to his cheek to calm the swelling.

“Why do you always have to make such a spectacle of yourself? Everything’s got to be about you.”

“What are you talking about? I’ve done everything I can to be a great best man to you.”…

Take a leap & get the rest of this raucous read right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl Open Mic THIS 1st Wednesday of December (aka 12.04.19) at 8:00 SHARP as we swirl it up at once again at Top Ten Records!

To kick things off, Chris Curiel’s Swirve (with special guest Carlos Salas on pocket operator & Clark Walker on skins) will start us off with some Mad musical grooves. After that, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay will invite all y’all to join in & share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities.

Come to participate.

Come to appreciate.

Come to Swirl-abrate!

Come be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl Open Mic.

Top Ten Records is located at 338 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

••• Mad Merch •••

The whole mad swirl of merch begins right here, at our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some mad threads to sport, then you’ve come to the right post.

We have Mens & Ladies tees in all sizes & even MORE colors. We also brought back mad mugs to fill with your favorite coffee, tea and/or whiskey! Hoodies! Tank Tops! Phone Cases! Stickers!

Come browse & if something catches your eye, get a little something-something for yourself & while you’re at it, get a little something for your nearest & dearest mad one in your swirlin’ world!


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…

Hand Shakin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

Leave a Reply