“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
why some are afraid – 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 history filled with the art of the build; we trusted the hand of a fixit man; we saved a glutton from pushing buttons; we whipped up the libtards indulging a blowhard; we envisioned the trial when all choose denial; we eyed the refraction in mind’s satisfaction; we danced above two teachers’ love. It’s our constant move to write in the groove. ~ MH Clay
My conclusive dance frame by Timothy Pilgrim
rigid, classic, like parentheses
trapping a flutter of sparrows
mid-theft, chicken coop, after grain.
No match for hers, corseted tight,
white-laced, as she denied my bid
to diagram our pas de deux
across the ballroom floor. A feud,
two stern teachers, each certain —
how to construct the perfect sentence,
our grammar book of would-be love,
unbound, sections lying random
among whirling couples, the chapter
beneath us, ironically, open to rules
on passive voice, page thirty-three.
October 24, 2020
editors note: A duo’s dance-a-thon devolves into a two-step for one. (Read another on Timothy’s page; a sad sequel for sterility. Check it out!) – mh clay
Dr. Richard Alpert (hippies mourn) by Randall Rogers
It’s a twinkle
particle and sky
used to be now.
October 23, 2020
editors note: Doc! Write us a prescription, a prophylactic to hold off now from then. – mh clay
In Years to Come by Joseph Farley
You will deny
and I will deny
and all will deny
where they were,
and what they said
chastened by the fires
that still burn.
October 22, 2020
editors note: To point the finger or keep hand in pocket; dystopic decisions to come? – mh clay
Will You Please facts not withstanding… by Heller Levinson
Will You Please facts not withstanding in a manner of speaking the ball’s in your court this too shall pass but before & just in case the matter gets out of hand there’s always a stopgap a fail-safe when the moment comes just pretend but play it safe check your battery be convincing these are good people this has never happened before alternate side of the street parking the privileged few it takes years not weeks news leaks fake faucets turn off ramp sideways not an easy decision to make the majority form a majority to make matters worse a light at the end of the tunnel libraries are closing cows smell like fish if there is a remote chance grab the opportunity hedonism arose thank you all for coming it’s an honor to be here
October 21, 2020
editors note: Here’s a discourse far more coherent than current diatribes from a blustering blowhard we know. – mh clay
Cell Phone Instructions by Robert L. Martin
“Hmm,” thought I.
“I pressed the button
on the phone called the
It says that it might cause a fire.
Yikes! My house might burn down.
The way to deactivate it is to
press the (hoseblows) button, then
wait for it to start flashing.
Then if it doesn’t, press the
(powpow) button if you start
smelling smoke. If the smoke
intensifies, press the
(yukyuk) button. If you see fire
coming out of the phone,
press the (flamebam) button that
automatically calls the
fire department, but don’t worry
because it might just be a warning.
If it is, press the (toratora) button
and hope that it is a warning.
If not, you can activate the
(spashsplash) button to turn on the
sprinklers to avoid calling
the fire department. If the
sprinklers don’t work, press
the (barabara) button, and if
it doesn’t flash, press the
(panic) button. If that doesn’t
work, get the hell outta there;
fast, pronto, speedily, swiftly,
like a gazelle or a bat outta hell
or a hippopotamus on drugs;
Goodbye and good luck.”
October 20, 2020
editors note: And, for damn sure, leave that infernal thing behind. – mh clay
The Panel-Beater by David Punter
At first, there was only the receptionist –
rather overweight, dyed blonde, with a smile
that said, ‘Aren’t I glamorous?’ Then she shouted
into the back room and he appeared – small,
far from young, crippled by what looked like
the damage of childhood polio. He led me
at a surprising clip to where my car was parked.
He talked. He said he was an ‘old dude;’
he had no truck with these modern ways.
Now they just look at a damaged tailgate and say
you have to replace it – eighteen hundred quid
a pop. He was right – I’d just been through that
elsewhere. What you need is a real panel-beater,
one who’s seen everything. And then he winked.
He said he could do the job for seven hundred.
It would need clamping, filling, repainting
of course. Good as new. I liked his company;
he had a big, toothy, world-weary grin. I went
back through the office; the blonde wasn’t there,
maybe she never had been. He had disappeared
into a dingy mechanics’ shop, vanished from sight.
The workshop backed onto scrubland, traversed
by motorway slip roads; as I walked away to find a bus
I reflected that, of course, I have no idea whether
he will do a good job. Nevertheless, if you ever
want your panels beaten, and you suspect it could
be done without replacing the whole bloody car,
he comes with my heartfelt recommendation.
October 19, 2020
editors note: How often do we hand our hardware and our hopes to the (in)competence of others? (We welcome David to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
traveling soul by Carl Kavadlo
nyc – if you can picture that 1950’s scene
with larry rivers painting,
david anram on sax,
kerouac writing, allen ginsberg prancing.
the gray buildings, the gray new york,
the creaking dawn, the late-night diner conversations,
burroughs, corso, huncke, gangsters bars
on the west side, jack and bill strolling on 8th avenue only
when they walked on the wild west side
in mad, strange talk.
you wonder about that, sitting here,
the myth of the rainy night of kerouac’s lowell,
that mythic scene and
what it lets you imagine in your head, feel
in your body; the culture of the revolutionary art world
tenor men blowing in abandoned buildings,
shooting junk, mingus, ahmad jamal,
grady tate, monk, wes, winton kelly and that tinkling piano.
of course, of course it was a crest of culture unparalleled in
many respects anywhere.
it lives today, underground, overground, in my ears this
morning, in my eyes
i can tell you
they were building colossal buildings back there,
pyramids equal to the egyptians, monuments, tombs –
trees that would last forever.
October 18, 2020
editors note: Yes, in our ears, too. Listening, building… – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Taylor’s tale:
“Life is mostly routine. But what happens if you break the habits? Will that break you?”
And here’s a tease to get your read warmed up:
(photo “Hanging with Ghosts” by Tyler Malone)
A man fiddles with his top button and recounts his sadness. I sit, half-listening, as the speakers above us garble. With music or talk radio, I’m not sure. When I’ve had enough I go outside to smoke a cigarette. Someone asks to borrow my lighter and calls it pretty even though it’s not. I listen to three strangers discuss politics and it sickens me. A man laughs and then screams, laughs and screams, until the woman next to him asks him to stop.
The walk back frightens me. I’m not sure which side of the street I should walk on and I never recognize any of their names. I call the first person I think of and they pick up after six rings. I lie when they ask if I’m drunk. They have to go. I say me too, thanks for answering, goodnight, sleep tight, and so forth. I pull my keys out too soon, put them back into my bag, and then struggle to find them again. I miss the weight of a car key, its substance…
Stumble on over to get the rest of this read on!
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Short Story Editor