“Gotta head full of ideas that are driving me insane…”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
a reallly bad trip – Darrell Black
To see all of Darrell’s mixed-media “Definism” canvases, as well as our other featured artists (50 in all!), at Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we toured through yore on museum door; we gained fame with a new game; we showed who’s boss in a chestnut toss; we god found bliss in a narcissist; we shook off the starkness of the god of darkness; we sought the mound before evil found; we shushed a yelper, unwitting helper. We did. ~ MH Clay
The Murderer’s Dog by Tricia Marcella Cimera
you were happy to see him
greeted him with joy
he put you in a back room
put his finger to his lips
shhhhhh be a good boy
later a sound rang out
made your ears pull back
your teeth taste like metal
you never saw him or
your soft woman again
the son snarled
some watch dog you are
May 23, 2020
editors note: Confused in the dog house for (not) doin’ your job. – mh clay
evil waits by Joseph Farley
it need not hide
but bides its time
there will always be
a next time
to make mayhem
all that we
poor ants that we are
out of sand
May 22, 2020
editors note: Jus’ keep pushin’ your grains. – mh clay
EREBUS by John L. Yelavich
The twilight elicits images of Erebus.
Wicked fantasies overwhelm mind and body.
A twist of fate incurs a state of despair.
I need to fill my veins with a floating euphoria.
The waitress brings me a menu…
So many choices, so many highs and lows
“I’ll have opiates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Coffee and oxy are a kick start I need the most.
But night falls once again and soon I’m tormented
Demonic delusions, they summon me.
They seek to devour my soul, infuse me with a depraved dependency.
May 21, 2020
editors note: Best described from a well-lit room, “I have been to the other side, saw the light and have come back…” – mh clay
What I see when I look at me by David Francis Effiong
I made love to a god
who did not care
about my size nor
I still see her face
vespers, chants, and
in-between an altar
and some beads;
I laugh now
each time I meet new gods
who ask me if I pray
and when I pray
cos I stopped waiting to be asked
why I look at myself
in the mirror.
May 20, 2020
editors note: God sez, “listen up,” and I hear me loud and clear. – mh clay
Polio by Wayne F. Burke
Charlie Baguette’s brother Davy
had polio and
used a crutch;
he stood by the porch and
played 45’s on a record player
as Charlie and I stripped the
thorny pulp off horse chestnuts
and put the ebony nuts into
a brown shopping bag
and threw the nuts that night
at the Camel’s house across the street
until cops came with their shining blue
into the backyard shadows–
the Camel’s thought themselves better
than us, and were mean too
like the German Shepard they kept chained
in their yard;
Davy played Running Bear
Loved Little White Dove
(with a love that never died).
It was the beat of the tom-tom
had set Charlie and me on the
May 19, 2020
editors note: All rash acts are rational when driven by a drum. (This poem comes from Wayne’s recently released collection, Escape from Planet Crouton. Congrats, Wayne! Read Mike Fiorito’s review of it in What’s New. Buy your copy of it here. Check it out!. – mh clay
BATTERYMATES by Robert Demaree
At 73, I have long since given up
Soccer and basketball with him,
So we have devised a new game,
My grandson and I,
To play in the back yard on afternoons
Thick with the warmth of late spring.
I am the pitcher,
He the rest of our baseball team.
We toss the ball back and forth,
Field grounders and pop flies,
Each catch an out.
Sometimes the other guys reach base,
An errant throw skittering
Into the monkey grass, hidden by
Fallen azalea blooms.
My teammate, playing deep,
Somewhere between childhood and
Adolescence, applies tags to phantom foes
As they foolishly try to stretch a hit.
Our team scores a run
Each time we retire the side.
We have never lost.
May 18, 2020
editors note: A game to play in your seventh inning stretch. – mh clay
EVERYTHING LIVES FOREVER ON MY REFRIGERATOR MUSEUM DOOR by Ruth Z. Deming
Thanks Carole and Gregory for the postcard from Havana.
The turquoise Olds stutters down the boulevard. Only
old men govern in Cuba. Literacy is high, as the Castros
and Company, torture and lock away the folks of good will.
Shirley Sanders, white-haired like me, and slender in her blue top and
looks like a million dollars as her early-onset Alzheimer’s takes away
everything, every single thing, except her bones.
I laugh. A famous artist Robert Whitley shown with his massive throne-like
wooden chair, stabbed his wife. Rage on, Bob, but remember, thou shalt
Janis Joplin and Marvin Gaye reign on the bottom half of the fridge.
from the stamps that went out years ago. Ain’t no mountain high enough
Marvin’s daddy from shooting him or Janis from shooting the big H.
A pair of legs stride across the fridge, purty legs like Rita Hayworth
or Lana Turner, as I open the fridge door and pick out a big shiny
May 17, 2020
editors note: What’s going on in YOUR museum? – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
This week’s Need-a-Read, “The Devil May Feel“ comes to us from Omar Hussain.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this lofty pick of the week tale:
“In life, we’re always heading towards the end. But there are other endings along the way.”
Here’s a few “lines” to get you goin:
(photo “How to Feel When Falling” by Tyler Malone)
It’s Tuesday night and the table is full of weeping women, various stages of sex appeal, holding paperback books with the power of the universe coursing through their hands. The throbs of infinite emotion beating in their hearts. They are all on the same page. The same paragraph. Cindy reads every word aloud while everyone else follows along. Her satin blouse flashes skin and midriff from a button she missed.
I hear Diane sniffle to my left. She is not alone. Her friends, guessing all of which she made at church or the country club or by playing Mahjong at the community center, hold crumpled Kleenexes against their cheeks, dabbing them lightly against their skin.
“He reaches for her hand and leans in for one last enduring proclamation of his affection, of his love,” Cindy reads.
The table vibrates as the X-chromosomes metaphysically orgasm.
The same book is cradled in my hands. I flip it over and stare at the cover.
I want to feel something. A tinge of sentimentality or hope or even fucking sadness. But I feel nothing.
A greater impulse summons me and I head to the bathroom. The barista stares me down as I pass by the counter. He’s seen me do this before. Like last Tuesday. And the Tuesday before that. I ignore his bullets of judgment fired from the chamber of his eyes.
The door locks behind me.
My hand reaches inside the front right pocket of my jeans. A small zip lock baggy, half the size of a debit card lies perfectly still in the center of my palm. I shake free a small shard of glowing crystallized magic and smash it to powder against the metal toilet paper holder. It’s time to get down on my knees. It’s time to pray to the God of man-made drugs and processed endorphins. I hold one nostril closed and breath life in through the other. Dragon fire rips through my sinuses, behind my eyes. The burn lingers.
Now I feel something…
Get the rest of this wild-ride read right here!
••• Another Mad Review •••
Since we run in some of the same writing circles, I’ve known and loved Wayne F. Burke’s poetry for several years now.
To my ears, Burke’s poems tell very American stories. They read like Merle Haggard and John Prine songs, briefly told and with powerful, but relatable images.
With Burke’s latest collection, Escape from Planet Crouton, he has again made lasting poetry out of lonely, desperate, and even unremarkable voices.
Do yourself a favor. Get a copy of Escape from Planet Crouton, turn on some Prine or Haggard, sit back and take the journey.
~ Mike Fiorito
Get Mike’s entire mad dissertation right here!
••• Mad Swirl Anthology •••
Mad Swirl’s 108-page anthology features 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on MadSwirl.com throughout 2019. We editors reviewed the entire year’s output to ensure this collection is truly “the best of Mad Swirl.” The works represent diverse voices and vantages which speak to all aspects of this crazy swirl we call “life on earth.”
This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl!
Huge grats & shout-outs to our 2019 featured Contributors (in alphabetical order):
Hem Raj Bastola
Kenneth P. Gurney
Durga Prasad Panda
Roger G. Singer
Julene Tripp Weaver
Vivek Nath Mishra
Sharon O’Callaghan Shero
If we’ve enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2019” then get yours right here!
In tough & tight times some beatific art, poetry & prose can be cathartic to the soul. And since it has NEVER been about the money for us but ALL about spreading the Swirl’n word ’round this Mad mad world, we dropped the prices on our entire “The Best of Mad Swirl” anthology collection to essentially our cost.
Get v2017 for $14, v2018 for $15 and the newly released v2019 for $16!
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