The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.19.20

by on September 20, 2020 :: 0 comments

Some of you here on FB knew him as David Parham. I first knew him as Rob Dyer. Whatever name you knew him by, as cliché as it is, to know him was to love him. He was easy with his contagious laugh, sharp with his brilliant mind, a true blue-eyed soul and one of the best poets and writers and friends I have ever had.

I first met Rob via Mad Swirl back in 2010. He submitted a few poems to us, some under his pen name Trebor Reyd (his actual name backwards), some under his FB moniker David Parham and some under his birth name, Rob Dyer. After establishing that Trebor, David and Rob were the same person (he was funny like that) we very quickly built a long-distance friendship. It was an honor to showcase his written poetic word thru these years.

Although Rob lived in New Orleans, we thought he’d make a fine feature act for our open mic. So in 2015 our long-distance friendship became a face-to-face friendship that served to solidify our Mad brotherhood as well as with many others here in Dallas. From that day on, Rob made many somewhat frequent visits to Dallas, always ensuring they landed on 1st Wednesday’s. He’d crash at my place or MH’s and spend at least 2-3 days in town. Many hung-over breakfasts and walkabouts in Deep Ellum, him snapping pics, chatting away with that New Orleans accent that was his signature. We bonded as only two mad poets could. It was beatific.

Trebor/David/Rob, I know wherever you are (probably having a shot with Bukowski) you are seeing how much you’re loved, missed and how devastated we all are at hearing of your passing. You’re probably yelling at us to stop it and go get a shot of whiskey, raise it in your honor and move on. But you also know that it isn’t that easy, m’friend. You touched us, Brother. You will always have a place in our hearts and souls, on our Mad Swirl pages and stages. Your memory will live on… whether you want it that way or not.

Love you Brother Rob. May your Mad soul rest in peace.

Johnny Olson
Chief Editor – Mad Swirl


••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe tripped on travail, hit the head on the nail; we ducked for cover, learned the word (but not the how) to hover; we called the cause for the long pause; we slumbered by without lullaby; we trailed the road on a lover’s ode; we loved again towards dubious ends; we lastly loved from depths to towers, a girl and a guy with superpowers. Another week, not weak, but strong, in love and loss. RIP, Rob Dyer! ~ MH Clay

in matching capes by Alan Gann

red riding hood and superman
spin together
negotiating who saves whom—
man of steel offers to kill
every wolf in the forest
but red has known
too many woodsmen who believe
blood is the solution to every fear
who wear brawny biceps
like a mask
and she doesn’t want to be around
when he catches
lois and jimmy getting it on
in the archives of the daily planet—
not that lois doesn’t love the suit
but playing second fiddle
to every quake and two-bit super villain
leaves her feeling less than special—
and red doesn’t want to be around
when fifty pent up years

she would teach him
what it means to be human
the kryptonite of desire
to live
so the lack of a caress might sting
like the punch of an exploding star
so anyone might love him without fear
without adrenal aftermath of falling
and caught in the nick of time
red could love him
for twinkle and laugh
if only
he would share a dream or two
if only he would let her inside
his fortress of solitude

September 19, 2020

editors note: Ultimate fantasy; super fan gets super hero in super love. (We welcome Alan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Parlous Us by Mickey J. Corrigan

This is not a romance novel.
It’s a short ending
to a long story
you’ve heard before.
Common, lurid tale
of love and something
This is not a whodunit.
The processor is unreliable,
the data corrupt,
the files no good.
Screen version:
You run a move
he follows and lust
follows and ends.
He runs
a move
on somebody else.
You could call this a thriller
but not for you.
There was an intimacy
to our disorder.
Until he killed it.

September 18, 2020

editors note: How to love, hazardly ever after. – mh clay

LET ME HIDE MYSELF IN YOU by Wolf Kevin Martin

couldn’t take more than we could toke
let me hide myself in you, all i want
is to fall asleep, wake up next to a goddess

the first time i fell in Love

i had a warm Miller high life in my hand
first thing she said to me around the bonfire
after a couple shots of Jameson,
“Would you like a fresh beer?
You’ve probably talked enough for now”
i hadn’t said a word all night except for
Yes, i would love a fresh beer.

did not recognize myself in the mirror
Love changes you in the most horrible ways
while still standing in front of you laughing
naked reminded to brush your teeth

be on my side/be on your side

all women have a favorite wash rag
some for special occasions
men seldom have much use for these things
unless talked into an impossible day of
drag me over your rainbow

I’m used to washing with pine tar roads and bristlecones
hardness sleeps under stars in fields of wheat
covered in sweat and mud a breath away from creation
wash clothes close to a drainage ditch, culvert of sacrifice
please don’t walk away, i need to feel you close
still looking for her eyes through wisps of feral dreams
a bite to know you’re there on neck kiss soft treachery

another pretty face
another chance to dream
guilty of the same old things

stars blink abandonment

beside the old water tower in Denton, NC,
was a trail, road ends you could walk into the woods to an old sawmill when it would snow, dry kindling and sawdust could always be found to build a fire it was one of the most romantic settings frozen branches crashing far off in the distance her body held close hornets nest heart
breath of kerosene take off iron skin and bones raised on Rock and Roll please don’t give up on me. Quite yet.

September 17, 2020

editors note: What can you say better than this, Cyrano? – mh clay

“Good night sweetheart” by Tess Hunt

I used to wish that
I had been
named Lullaby

so I could go to bed
with every body,
every night.

I was so silly.

I didn’t even need that name at all!

September 16, 2020

editors note: A sweet dream for sweet dreams. – mh clay

Ellipses by Susie Gharib

Our calendar entries have dwindled to a score
of random meetings that you cannot afford,
your memos congested with customers’ calls.

First went our breakfasts in the afterglow
of executive schedules that made my cereal bowl
bereft of yours in an excessive lack of decorum.

Then went our lunch-hours, the much-awaited-for.
The pigeons in the park yearn for crumbs and corn
delivered by hands, so difficult to disentangle before.

My evenings are haunted by nostalgic thoughts
for departed intellectual and visual joys,
for competitive Scrabble, for movies’ euphorias.

I anticipate more omissions to follow,
the script of our life to run out of color,
for more ellipses to connote what is hollow.

September 15, 2020

editors note: … – mh clay

Black Canyon Aubade by John Macker

These cottonwoods are giving the canyon its
narrative of whispers, they’re awakening,
creaking and clicking with herd immunity
and like me haven’t fully transcended the
nuisances of camaraderie. Below in the blistering
sky blue heat we’re flunking civilization, every
day sings like an empty street or one of the book
jacket covers for Camus’ “The Plague”. The forest
decodes my every move. The sun glisters through the
thin ranks of lodgepole pine searching for something
it lost, found, and then lost again. On a tree stump
grow dollops of sweet-scented pitch and I can hear
Keats roar:

heard melodies are sweet but those
unheard are sweeter

nice to know
there’s still room for him in my hardboiled mind that
sometimes refuses to listen or whisper or accept
the sound of simple open space. There’s wave
overlapping wave of grim news from down below.
The colloquy among the trees defies even poetry.
Our two nights were bulbous with silence but I wanted
to tear away from it, relearn some of my forgotten
languages, breathe in banned camp smoke,
stand in wonder at who stoked the fire beneath that
pink dawn cloud
– tumble down into the labyrinthine desert
and evaporate, leave my desiccated heart to the quiet that
knows no shadow and why is every poem now harder to resolve?
A rufous hummingbird, my favorite forest fetish,
darts in and out of the slivers of morning sun like a
blister with wings, trills out a journey of two-thousand miles,
enters my spirit like a new language. Told him I learned a
word today – windhovers – told him we were basically a
benign species, some of us were air signs, water signs,
some more attracted to war than others, many were
sweetness and light with a few fires to extinguish
inside now and then a few embers.

September 14, 2020

editors note: Learning from nature – levitation above the loonies. – mh clay

Heaven Is the Definition of a Ghost Town by Tyler Malone

The first time poetry was read in church, a youth minister
asked if I knew Nine Inch Nails as if they were Christ’s love
and read a confiscated The Downward Spiral lyric booklet.

I remember evangelical sweat pits, a trimmed gold goatee,
Big Red ruby sunglass lenses. Did he see the whole world
through blood?

Reading “Heresy.”
“Someone dreamed up a god and called it Christianity.
Your God is dead and no one cares.”

Broken, given to a dead god, he asked: Tell me what you think.
I picked palms for splinters but saw donut crumbs and Dr. Pepper sugar.
Who could swim with holes in hands? Maybe we all will walk on water.
Like music, nails didn’t kill Jesus. They helped Him hang a little longer.
All I could think was that Jesus doesn’t need prayers, he needed prayer.
He prayed, died alone. He prayed, God ignored. No one cared.

Repeating “Heresy.”
“Someone dreamed up a god and called it Christianity
Your God is dead and no one cares.”

Eyes all red, he spoke again, whole heart on his tongue.
“Would anyone die for this?”
Red shades, he wanted to crawl up a cross to show off
it’s easy to die for sin songs and hear music of God’s silence.
Indifference, that’s God’s music-just as good as dead.

Repeatedly reading “Heresy,”
someone dreamed up god and called it you die, no one cares.
Maybe he cared to keep words to begin a religion
of industrial music to bet on and beat on a dead horse
to bring on doomsday as music already plays.

No one cares. Do you care? Does God?

Someone dreamed up God is dead but God never bled.
Maybe Jesus knows and knows He could have returned
but now He’s in Heaven, as useless as all dead
suffering God’s songs all about Himself.

Maybe Jesus traces unheard prayers into hands, deep, wide, and holy,
listens to Nine Inch Nails, knows Trent Reznor’s haircut was a miracle,
misses times when water was wine while angel choirs sing so loud
prayers die at Heaven’s doorstep like day-old newspapers and remembers
when people gathered and listened but He had no songs because
He wasn’t dead enough for music to speak for Him.

Maybe Jesus remembers when He was heresy,
when all around him were bodies full of blood
before ascending to dead ghosts we pretend don’t watch us
and thinks He could have sung that someone cared enough
to dream Him up, to send a dove, but kept silent.
On nine inch nails, His body bled for a world in red.

September 13, 2020

editors note: Coffee, Bun, or Buttered Toast! (Read another of Tyler’s mad missives, posted on his poetry page, it’s about color recognition. Check it out!) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Our featured weekend read, Dear Mother, by John Lane, is sure to pull a string or two in you.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this weekend pick-of-the-week:

“They fuck you up, Mom and Dad. They don’t mean to, but they do.”

Here’s a few plucks to get your feelers feelin’:

(photo “Family Reunion” by Tyler Malone)

Dear Mother,

You promised that you would never leave me, and you promised that you would always love me by speaking those three words, “ I love you,” and you promised that you would give me the sugar water whenever I felt the anxiety, and…

…and get the rest of this read on right here!


Mad Swirl’s midweek Need-a-Read, Another Sequel comes to us from Leroy Vaughn.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this mid-week pick-of-the-week:

“Every year is another sequel to the bloodbath that was the year before, and we all buy a ticket and simultaneously can’t wait for the next sequel already.”

Get your engines ready to get teased is 3…2…1…

(photo “Pedal at Rest” by Tyler Malone)

Maxxon Studios decided to make a sequel to Vanishing Point. The original movie was made in 1970 using a white Dodge Challenger, and the star was named Kowalski. Kowalski was a Vietnam veteran. He’s delivering the Challenger from Denver to San Francisco, and a chase starts after he has a run in with the cops in Denver. There’s a black radio disc jockey called Super Soul that guides him through the car radio.

A sequel was done in 1997 using a white Dodge Challenger also, but a newer model. The star’s name is Kowalski also and he’s a Desert Storm veteran. The disc jockey is a white conservative called the Voice.

In this sequel an unknown actor will play Kowalski and he will be an Afghanistan war veteran. A Bollywood beauty will play the disc jockey part. She’ll be called Super Voice…

Speed on over here to get the rest of this revvin’ read on!


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’ true to our madness,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

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