“Good art in general aspires to something, as a good painting aspires to something, almost spiritual or holy.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Cain ~ Nawwar Morelli
To see all of Nawwar’s mind bending works, as well as our other featured artists (47 in all!), visit Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we bereaved a poor blighter of a lost typewriter; we danced in the day of “Laissez le;” we put the stops on a bottle of schnapps; we tripped in a twirl to love a cut girl; we squint sustained to blur self-shame; we gave adoration to a benign creation; we let memories try to forward justify. Forward or back, we write what we lack. ~ MH Clay
Sunset by John Najjar
I sit in silence this evening
pondering how past events have led up to this day
how each feather of wisdom
drifts silently in the medium of memory;
the know becomes the unknown
thoughts linger for a brief moment
evoking overwhelming fear,
the distant sound of hunting dogs
merges with listless regrets
that never find resolution
but drift in and out of memory
questioning endings and beginnings
forming the garment of the self;
this wooly coat is pulled tight
against a chilly world.
This mirrored reflection stings the heart.
Yet each fully experienced moment
lights the darkness
leaving us no time to question
what might have been,
comfort is found only in hindsight.
I hope to touch vague longings
seeking intangible resolutions
that move through this experience of succession,
I search for another pattern
to hold reason and passion in tension.
I am lost in the marsh of memory
where phantoms lead me into speculation
searching the might have been
I tread over long-dead leaves
seeking lost hopes.
I struggle with these unresolved contradictions
as I move towards a dark future
where shadows juxtapose dissimilar images
erasing the known;
these images intertwine into frightening shapes
forming reflections that are not one but many;
tearing myself from myself
I know this pale future
laughs at these futile attempts
to avoid knowledge too painful to face.
Still, something remembers;
memory is present to a self,
something is explored
someone does this exploring;
or is this feeling a card house
built by the imagination
to protect the self against a cruel night
too severe to meet with an unprotected gaze?
February 8, 2020
editors note: Our future laughs from a dark beyond. Maybe shades are best for looking into the past? – mh clay
If I were a god by Susie Gharib
I live by a harbor in the Mediterranean Sea,
where a breed of mosquitoes with enhanced immunity
has robbed my Summer and Autumn nights of elysian sleep.
I pray for Winter to kill their unhatched offspring
but coldness that relieves brings pain in its wake:
it displaces birds with sparse and denuded trees,
kills butterflies and other fragile species.
We pay for the sins of Adam and Eve,
but what have birds done to almightiness
that freezes the frail on frosted twigs?
I confess thoughts that many would consider blasphemous.
If I were a god, I would keep warm with the palms of my hands every feathered friend;
I would decree an exodus of butterflies to every household that has to have a winter-proof compartment,
where children and butterflies play as snowflakes perform their annual rituals;
I would forbid killing for sustenance,
so no creature will have to feed on the other in a cycle of violence;
I would erase the stigma of Cain from every forehead;
I would allow man to pluck apples that are sagacious;
I would not inflict everlasting suffering because of a single act of disobedience;
I would be more forgiving.
February 7, 2020
editors note: Praise this god for a fine and benign, new creation (but, no mosquitoes, right?). – mh clay
Supermodel by Kleio B
The lenses were large,
The mirror larger!
With squinted eyes,
She stared at the mirror.
The sun rays suddenly,
Blurred her squints;
Creating a mirage,
Of a girl gone slim.
She liked this moment,
She prolonged the pause;
Creating an illusion,
Fashionable and posh!
The clouds cleared the image,
But with the squint intact;
She strutted down the aisle,
A supermodel in her thoughts.
February 6, 2020
editors note: Squint sustained to the opposite of shame. – mh clay
Cut Girl by Carl Kaucher
As if the pain were inseparable
from the stagnant air
or the waves of gravity
flowing from her coal black hair.
Her pale skin the color of death
accenting a dagger pierced nose and brow.
Her glossed black lips snarled
beneath cold weapon like eyes all blank
on a dank day in a nowhere song
sung like the random knife cuts
up and down her arm.
Scars that stitched the air with tragedy
and carved reality into the solitude
of her desolate mind.
Her savage Gothic eyes
passionately glaring in despair,
sooth blissfully turbulent
Every word she spoke
madly adorned the sadness of her soul
For, the enemy was conceptually me
and she was the number seven
dressed in black
playing chess with the devil
like a character in a Bergman film
tattooed to her left thigh.
I wonder who promised her salvation
cashiering in a drug store at Bar Harbor, Maine
where I stopped in for a beer
all parched and worn
on a warm summer’s day dying
as the sun wept crimson sighs setting
behind dark magenta clouds on the horizon
Its tears collected along the razor’s edge
when the red droplets flowered and flowed
and I know she wanted to kill me.
I would be the revenge
for a dark love crafted in her crazy dreams.
Yet, I wanted to tell her that I loved her
but could manage only a mollified pity
that felt dirty and shitty
so, I had to get away
and though suicide may save the last cut girl
I’m hoping somehow this poem
might keep you alive.
February 5, 2020
editors note: Love this one and run for your life. – mh clay
Perhaps by James Brown
I may relapse with the company of a bottle of peppermint schnapps, now I become Japanese kamikaze crashing to my death no way out, me and peppermint schnapps.
Perhaps I will dodge the bullet and not pull the cork from the bottle and say screw it now I will not awake with a smell of peppermint schnapps fluid.
Perhaps I will remember the steps while the clock strikes twelve as I prevail, driving nails into that craving beast that dwells inside of my fragile frame of a shell, so I will not feed the hunger of that beast inside.
To be happy I left the dry river, trees without leaves that bare no shade, no more quivers nor heaves from cascading beer cans and whiskey bottles shadow lingers, step by step I see clear, no more fears, I maintained as the seasons changed and words of my peers made me brave to fight the crave.
February 4, 2020
editors note: Words make brave to fight the crave. Yes! – mh clay
Jewels by Linda Imbler
When Spring is in
the air, but not quite arrived,
when the King’s Cake is naught but crumbs,
after Endymion and Rex
have strutted their stuff,
we will endure
the fuzziest examinations of ourselves,
the day after we have hoarded
all those bejeweled singing strings
and rolling doubloons, but
in the meantime,
let the good times roll!!
February 3, 2020
editors note: It’s no lazy lay to “Laissez le…” Introspection after is hard work. – mh clay
Portable Grief by Earl Wilcox
It’s a universal feeling of loss
an unfilled void
defying sense or wisdom.
For some it malingers
a few weeks, months.
it never ever leaves.
There is no end to it—
malingering for years.
We miss a voice
a ragged smile
a telling word.
Akin to the emptiness
a famous poet
feels after separating
from his portable type-
between our campus and his home
in New York City.
He called me often–weeks
his writing companion.
I called him some
to be in touch.
More than a year
later we met
I saw for a palpable
second in his eyes
his need to hear about
his help mete.
My friend, the poet,
is now gone.
I try to assuage our losses
–the poet’s and his portable typewriter–
by bringing us together
in lines of this poem.
February 2, 2020
editors note: Whatever we use to bring the muse, it hurts so much to lose. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
This week’s Need-a-Read comes to us from Mad Swirl Contributing Writer Mark Benedict.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this wild story:
Let us be animals: free, only occasionally muzzled. But let us be animals.
We think “Summer Creatures“ is pretty foxy… for a story, of course. But don’t take our word for it, give this one a look-see for yourself…
(photo “Oh, to Be an Animal” by Tyler Malone)
Jasper was cleaning out a smelly animal pen when he realized that he had a dopey crush on his boss’s daughter. Until this moment he had just assumed he hated Anna less than the girls he went to school with, but now he saw with disgust that he didn’t hate her at all. Her face was stuck in his mind like dried mud. Exiting the pen, Jasper opened the holding cage on the ground. Fireball, a slender red fox, came scampering out. She rotated her radar ears, scratched her neck with a whirring back paw, and then zipped into her pen.
“I got a question for you, kid,” Mr. Crowley, his burly boss, said when Jasper saw him in the yard later. “Is anything wrong? I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile.”
Jasper shrugged. What was there to smile about? In another month, it was back to stupid school and no friends and dumb teachers. Not to mention that the fox sanctuary wasn’t exactly his idea of a thrilling summer job. He liked the foxes okay, but it wasn’t like he sat around all day cuddling them. More like cleaning up their turds. Also, despite the dumbbell courses they put him in at school he was smart enough to realize that Anna, blonde and earthy and a year older, would never like him even as a friend. Except later that very same day he started to wonder…
Wonder how this one will end? Wonder no more! Fluff up that tail & get the rest of your read on here!
••• Open Mic •••
This past 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.02.20) Mad Swirl whirled up our open mic madness! Once again we did our thang at the historic Top Ten Records! HUGE GRATS to TTR for opening their arms to us Mad ones & shout out to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirl us up some googily madness!
Here’s the Mad ones that contributed helped us Swirl-abrate by sharing their poetic & musical gifts with us:
(photos courtesy of Alan Gann)
Chris Curiel (trumpet)
Tamitha Curiel (vocals)
Brett “BA” Ardoin (percussions)
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Thanks to ALL WHO CAME to support our creative collaborative love-child & share in this lasting night of poetry and music!
May the madness swirl your way! ’til next 1st Wednesday…
P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, your eye can spy on the Swirl’n scenes that was 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’…
Short Story Editor