“When I cannot sing my heart, I can only speak my mind.”
apricity – Patty Paine
See all of Patty’s neat beat collages and trippy digital works, 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 honked a horn hooter, shook a shot shooter; we staggered stuck in the auto duck; we chased the shape of a dream escape; we made the way for a pleasant stay; we forsook bliss for a good kiss; we recalled the rain of a hurricane; we knick-knacked self on a high shelf. All our souvenirs on show… ~ MH Clay
In a Silver Jar by KJ Hannah Greenberg
In a silver jar, behind a cactus plant,
Grow answers, also doubts, by design.
On that high shelf, by crystalline doves,
Perches mirror porcelain bits, extra fine.
By those insignificant cattle troughs,
Splash short-winged ducklings ‘til it’s time.
Smokey dreams seem more often all mirage—
Life’s a murky montage because we can’t align.
October 10, 2020
editors note: We are the tchotchkes with tchotchkes who have tchotchkes. Make sense? – mh clay
RAINDROPS by Robert Demaree
On the dock,
An oak tree my umbrella,
I do not feel
Raindrops so light,
So widely spread
That their faint impressions,
Form Venn diagrams
On flat, gray-green waters
Before they disappear.
The drops quicken:
Which of them will push
The brook beyond its banks,
On cable news,
Which will combine with wind
To bring the white pine
By the turtle rock
To rest beside a windfall
From the Hurricane of ’38?
October 9, 2020
editors note: Each a part of alphabetically named disasters; year after year. – mh clay
Abstraction by Gary Glauber
She was artistic as hell,
creating lovely drawings at will,
like the one of us in the rain
under the giant umbrella.
She claimed it showed
how her tears could not move me
to love her the same ferocious way
she loved me as if I could save her
from the undeniable forces
conspiring against her
in this sad life with its hard edges
and unforgiving tragedies.
Rain is another name for death,
she claimed casually.
But I couldn’t imagine
any five-day forecast
predicting a good chance of death
She was over-emotional,
but she sure could kiss
and back then that might
have been enough.
She was working on a series
of extremist abstract fairy tales.
They’re all about us, she told me.
Wolves and monsters and such
captured in watercolors on canvas.
No wonder she hated the rain.
October 8, 2020
editors note: For lasting love, keep your umbrella ready and your brushes dry. (We welcome Gary to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page AND he has a new collection out, from Cyberwit Publications, “Rocky Landscape With Vagrants,” – get your copy here.) – mh clay
Stay a Little Longer by Ravi Prakash
Stay a little longer.
The Sun is still visible on the treetops,
the birds are still complaining,
the brook has just started to grey,
and the evening is still not dressed up,
there’s yet time to squander.
Stay a little longer.
The ice of silence has just melted away,
let the heat of your words blow it –
like the vapor,
let the fragrance you brought along
Get thicker in the air,
let the drowsy sky rouse and wonder.
Stay a little longer.
October 7, 2020
editors note: The ultimate laydown line. – mh clay
This Place by Stephen Jarrell Williams
Catch me alive on the mountain’s crest
summer wave of wind over afternoon naps
your dreams blending into my dreams
when cities weren’t dying prisons
It took years to find this hollow tree
small room with knot-hole windows
cloud backsides lifting
wondering if they’ll ever touch heaven
But down here
long and hard under man
Woe the wars
we have committed
small and great with the death of the poor
The haters that always crave hatred
they’re coming after me spies of my tribe
jealous with my continuous escaping
within the last treasures of earth
I tell you and you listen
take a deep breath before I exhale
remember this tick-of-time we have shared
A few birds still singing in the branches
a light rain later tonight
love winning in the heart
Their evil footsteps circling
thinking they’ve caught me
but I’m already whispering in your next dream
dream of escape from
October 6, 2020
editors note: So strong, the urge to flee this one to another. So hard, the will to stay… – mh clay
DUCK by Alexandria Biamonte
Squeeze the life
From everything I hold
Duck the system
And without remorse
Making it that much
Not to catch the
Duck my boss
For making me
Deal with all this ducking bullshit with
October 5, 2020
editors note: Duck, indeed! – mh clay
Lionizing Any Human is Just Building the Mane by Ryan Quinn Flanagan
I am no architect, when it happens it is hardly expected
and never my doing, but it seems to me that lionizing
any human is just building the mane, creating myths
out of bad breath, lazy burping sciatica…
Foundation stories so unbelievable they must be true,
that is the opinion and the sentiment;
I couldn’t be more gun shy if I knew the trigger man,
“deconstruction” is a messy word these days, everyone building
everyone else and upon everyone else, but maybe a little less
toot on the horn is just what is needed; all this posturing
and not a single back willing to carry the load –
I don’t blame them, I am no longer a mule…
My back is shot and the shooter is riddled with bullets.
October 4, 2020
editors note: Horns down, pistols holstered; pull your own weight. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about it:
“The age of our lives matches the age of the day: for anything to be affecting, it has to come at the right time.”
Here’s a snapshot of John’s sunrise scene:
(photo “Morning Grocery Run” by Tyler Malone)
My wife and I are new residents of an over 55 community on the edge of the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey and are still finding our way and learning the rules, regulations, and customs of our neighborhood. We feel as though we are living “off the grid” as a simple trip to a grocery store, mall, or restaurant is an excursion requiring a full tank of gas and an emergency survival kit. Living all of our lives within ten miles of New York City spoiled us. Simple conveniences are no longer at our fingertips.
I quickly settled into a daily routine. Each morning I get up early as if I were going to work. I head on out to Dunkin’ Donuts to get my morning coffee and to chat with some of the regular customers. A group routinely meets every day and they sit at a table of four. One day there was an empty seat and I was invited to join. The table is clearly divided. If you are with Trump, you sit on one side and if you are not one of his supporters you must sit on the other side. Luckily, my party affiliation matched that of the empty seat.
I finished my coffee and excused myself. My wife Alison wanted me to go to Stop & Shop to pick up milk and rolls. As I approached the grocery store, I got lucky. The parking lot was near empty so I knew I could be in and out in a flash…
Stroll on right over here to get the rest of this flashy read on!
Our midweek Need-a-Read comes to us from Mad Trifecta-ist (Contributing Writer, Poet & Artist) Chuck Taylor!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this mid-week pick-of-the-week:
“Bureaucracies make us all thieves. Stealing to be live free, but only for a little bit.”
Here’s a snapshot of John’s sunrise scene:
(photo “Easy Ride” by Tyler Malone)
Two drunken men in their late twenties stumble down the steps of a brick house into the street. They ask what the hell I am doing walking the streets of Hyde Park at three AM.
“You looking for a place to rob?” the taller one pushes.
I could shoot back the same line but I am prepared and tell them I’m walking off a hangover. I can tell the tall one is looking for a fight, but the other laughs and pushes him ahead and they are soon down a different street.
I walk all the way from my apartment on Avenue F to beyond the university into a rich neighborhood north of campus where I see lovely Victorian homes I’d never been by in fifteen years of Austin. I walk amazed at the distance one can cover on foot. It’s a cool night in May and the moon is bright and almost full in the sky. Its light makes me nervous.
I am searching for the perfect place to commit a crime but I continue running into more drunks, probably students. We laugh and point at each other.
I want a street with next to no traffic, a street without too many streetlights, a street with darkened porch lights. Some houses have lights on inside as if some insomniac is watching television.
Houses on corners are eliminated for my crime because corners are visible from too many directions. This is Texas and there’s always the possibility you can get shot…
Tip-toe on over right here to snatch the rest of this tale!
••• Open Mic •••
If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday (aka 10.07.20), Mad Swirl Open Mic once again virtually whirled up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!
This month we featured the works of our dearly departed Mad brother, Rob Dyer (& David Parham). The following poets shared Mad memories & performed Rob’s works:
Musical Overture: Swirve
Desmene M. Statum
Brett “BA” Ardoin
After we cheered to & teared-up in our tribute to Rob Dyer, we proceeded to beam our cyber line-up straight out into the wide world of webs & straight to your screens. HUGE grats to these Mad ones who swirled their madness on our virtual mic:
Musical Interlude: Pecan Tree
Atenea Afrodita Garza Leon
Shelby Clay Cross
Thanks to ALL the appreciators who rode the Mad wave from our FB Live feeds! We know you had a choice of what to do with your Wednesday night (like watch the debates!) & you picked to virtually hang out with us!
Now more than ever, we need community, we need outlets, we need to create.
Be safe & ’til next 1st Wednesday… may the madness swirl your way
(& Rob, wherever you may be, have one for me!)
P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, your eye can spy on these virtual Swirl’n scenes 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…
Givin’ a damn,
Short Story Editor