“Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Anxiety” – Sufia Khatoon
See all of Sufia’s ponderous paintings, as well as our other former featured artists (50 in total) at Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we got to be groovy while making a movie; we pitched a polemic on prettying the pandemic; we made no best of a fast-food fest; we saw the sublime in a laborious climb; we put love into the life of a vet with a knife; we proffered a parody on minders of malady; we sought to give awareness rise to the sadness of unseeing eyes. We open what’s closed to see what’s behind; open doors, open mind. ~ MH Clay
How Can We Humans Be So Blind by Harley White
This planet whereon we reside
gave nature’s bounty far and wide.
We’ve seen our Mother Earth from space
who barely shows her fragile face
as Pale Blue Dot, sunbeam enshrined,
and still we humans are so blind.
The cosmic reaches hugely grand
are vaster than we understand.
We know not of a single place
where kindred creatures would be graced
with crucial features so combined.
But oh we humans are so blind.
We’ve self-importance off the scale,
self-interest beyond the pale,
yet if our sweep of self were more
than just what enters through our door
it could be good for all Mankind.
How can we humans be so blind?
If only we’d be even wise
enough to open tight shut eyes
and seek reality’s true guise
from whence awareness dawns arise,
a search within would surely find
that humans need not be so blind.
July 18, 2020
editors note: Let’s fear not the inward search. – mh clay
Liberal Conservative by Sekhar Banerjee
I yawn at my physician’s chamber
It is again the same all over
He treats me
for all the wrong ailments
The evolution of my paper skin, my sleeplessness
and the maroon bones and the blue fingertips
and my brittle rib-cage
I realize nowadays
He never gets tired of my sickness
He is an odd man, a liberal conservative
Every week I watch him
getting old in his dispensary
of hand wash, masks and maladies
he is now treating me for my lost shadow
July 17, 2020
editors note: Physician on the fence, no cure nor recompense nor shadows found. – mh clay
Before And When Pat Thinks of Rick by Chuck Taylor
Pat thinks of truth in the misty sequoias
and what bugs do boring into their lovely bark,
Pat thinks of the truth in the atomic battles of the sun
and of all long and lovely earthly benefits,
Pat thinks of truth along the puffy pillows
forgotten in bed whispers made long ago,
Pat thinks of truth and what it means to put
A lonely American flag up on the moon,
Pat thinks of the truth of a body’s pungent
luscious smell before you take a shower,
and the truth of the heavy sexual burning
through the years between human legs,
the truth of older weak legs, finding it
hard to rise sometimes up out of the tub,
and the truth of rosy tasty pesticide apples,
the truth of all the tears in all the beach houses
set back of the dunes on the low beach, but
most of all Pat thinks of brother Rick
and of the pleasured pain he took pulling his
knife from its leather scabbard — that comes
back clear to Pat strangely and too often,
how Rick enjoyed turning and turning
his blade as he lay on his small bed,
catching the blade’s shine in the sun
coming in his childhood bedroom window,
how he enjoyed his slurred skewed words
as he felt his worthlessness, having killed
men overseas to serve his crazy country,
growling through his teeth at his sister.
Pat now in the basement of Rick’s heart
down in the storage area of the store
where she and her family of four lived,
“I could kill you…” he told his sister,
and Pat was not afraid, Pat put out a
loving hand to whisper, “I know, I know.”
July 16, 2020
editors note: How deep such love, to embrace the sharp and broken without fear! – mh clay
Crisis Forming by Robert L. Martin
From the soft cushiony life
of pleasant thoughts and dreams,
of life laying out on a silver platter,
of riches settling in the palate
with its sweet breath
permeating the quiet air around,
unprepared for the danger lurking,
hearing its horns blasting,
feeling it digging into the skin,
it’s tentacles grabbing a hold and
taking us up to the graveyard
on top of the hill,
the home of all dreamers,
where all hopes are dashed
and “In Memory of the Fearful”
engraved on the tombstones,
is a place reserved for the
prey of the climbing crisis.
But climbers beware
for the leveling off of the climb
as the weary plague loses its grip
from its laborious ascension,
it’s feet swelling and muscles aching,
it’s evil still in its eyes,
but its influence lessened
as it nears the top
and gone away at the summit.
Alas, ’tis the sighting of the
other side of the hill,
the glorious meadows down below,
the smiling daffodils
and dancing streams,
the ride down a rejuvenation
of all hope, a new spirit in the soul,
a forever jubilation in the heart,
and the end of the course of the crisis.
July 15, 2020
editors note: In the midst of the hijinx – hope. Hallelujah! – mh clay
Love In… by Andy Connor
with a face
like the sludge
on her boots
A man spitting
into a plastic cup
chastise his son
with the C word
that never enjoys home cooking
of cracked statues
A guy talking into his phone
he was alone
Their kids all ate happy meals
July 14, 2020
editors note: Supersized superficiality side-steps the sadness of solitude. – mh clay
Embers by Susie Gharib
He spoke of the menace of ‘embers of Corona’
when coupling with flu in a joined force.
I thought of his use of the word embers
as a very inappropriate metaphor
and wished he’d stripped this hideous topic
of any aesthetic discourse.
The word is redolent in memory with beauty and hope.
When a child, I watched the embers of our fireplace
fade into a heap of paling gold.
Every log unveiled its secrets
in a spectacular, ashen form.
I adored their remnants
because from their midst a phoenix could be born.
The embers of a sunset always linger
for hours in my bosom.
I wait for the embers of a glowing word
to cool before I utter my response.
Even the embers of a dying passion
can warm a lonely soul.
July 13, 2020
editors note: Use pretty to dress pretty. No lipstick for the pig. (We welcome Susie to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay
The Producer at the End of Pre-Production by James Croal Jackson
gorge on whoppers we’re making a movie
this bag of salmon we’re making a movie
sleeping pills we’re making a movie
thirteen hours plus we’re making a movie
I won’t eat pizza we’re making a movie
Caesar salad in the storm we’re making a movie
no one goes home we’re making a movie
watery leftovers we’re making a movie
dropkicked phones we’re making a movie
at the paper cutter we’re making a movie
beets at crafty we’re making a movie
there’s nothing to eat we’re making a movie
thousands of packages we’re making a movie
we’re making the movie Monday what will you be doing
are you going to miss us we’re making the movie
July 12, 2020
editors note: In it or at it; you pick. The movie is being made. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
This week’s timely Need-a-Read is one we feel is much needed! Will you heed our read plead? We shall see…
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-ythe-week:
“The battle of the ages is always raging all around us, and all that’s quiet is us. “
Here’s a dose of what you’re in for:
(photo “Revelation Wars” by Tyler Malone)
For decades anyone in the world who wanted protection from the evil, brutal hands of reality could rely on one hero. That hero is CAPTAIN WHATABOUTISM! Armed with the powers of double-speak, explosive Red Herrings, Cloak of Hypocrisy, the Self-Righteous Shield of Deflection, and his super computer Social Media, Captain Whataboutism is able to protect the people who lives in the bubbles that keep them sheltered.
He is not alone. He has help from his allies The Thoughts & Prayers Twins, Cliché Woman, Dr. Conspiracy, and The Masters of Toxicity. They’ve defeated formable foes such as BLM, School Shootings, The Media, and MeToo.
But this new foe is different.
Appearing suddenly from the dimension called The Book of Revelation is this squad’s most powerful enemy. COVID-19
A.K.A The Coronavirus.
A.K.A Dat Rona…
Will Captain Whataboutism win in his Battles with Dat Rona? Get the rest of this epic battle on 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!
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!
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