“Be faithful to that which exists within yourself”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
laugh louder – Madelyn Olson
To see more of Maddi’s mad new cast of diverse characters & canvases, as well as our other former featured artists (51 in total) at Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we red desert dusted into red moment thrusted; we hugged scared bones with the Messrs. Jones; we caught a kiss of beetle bliss; we made no progress with nakedness; we pawned a presence for convalescence; we rolled a retake of the same for same’s sake; we marked machinations in his qualifications. So much living in the words we make, so much given in the words we take. ~ MH Clay
THE FORCE by Stefanie Bennett
Don Juan, in this quaternary age
Wears a tattered Akubra
The purple spoils of poetry.
Out there, where hawks cross-cut
And the still chattering
Chimney stones are
Reminiscent of a penal code
Dead as death
To mindless bureaucracy,
Our Rake squats
In the quasi-fallout of things.
He has done time
In ‘Nam’; elsewhere; has
Swallows for eyes.
Contemplate. He’ll be President
Any day now.
November 21, 2020
editors note: Add the natty hat and anything’s possible. – mh clay
Wishbone by Peter Mladinic
Two-three, February third
I have no Brylcreem in my hair
an elephant stands in my foyer
my windbreaker pocket holds a rabbit’s foot
I purchase Valentine roses
I haven’t eaten chocolate Easter bunny ears in two decades
I’m the same and not the same
as forty years ago
my parents at the dining room table broke
a wishbone, it was still light outside
early summer night
I’m happier now than forty years ago
even though I miss them
and recently had eye surgery
also surgery on my nose, mouth, and groin
and have seen a car break through the wall
of a Chinese restaurant
it’s been a while since mosquitoes buzzed
in my ear, Two-three
I wear my father’s watch
and remember his voice, and also my mother’s
two nights ago
my friend said
he could maybe see his late brother
here on earth and I could see my parents
since we might not get to see them
after we die
we left our campfire and walked
with flashlights, warming my chilled feet
I need to ask what he meant
by seeing them here, Two-three
an elephant stands in my foyer
a round mirror is hanging on the wall
a lantern sits in a plastic box in my garage
my parents at the dining room table
broke a wishbone
Two-three, I am the same and not the same
November 20, 2020
editors note: All our recaps and random recollections make us the same, two-three. – mh clay
The 13th by Stephen Page
On the bay, unlucky day, or so they say,
But not today, today is Thursday,
Not Tuesday or Friday.
Or is it Wednesday? It’s so hard to keep
Track during these times.
All the days and dates run together.
This morning, Amigo’s left front ankle is swollen,
And he is limping on three legs.
We call three veterinarian offices
We find through an Ogle search.
No answers. We call Marcelo the Dentist,
To ask him for advice, and he calls
A friend, a vet, but the office
Is not open till noon.
He asks us to send a photo
Of the dog’s leg.
Fifteen minutes later, Marcelo
Calls and says the vet says
The leg is not broken,
To just let the leg heal itself,
To let him rest in a comfortable place.
When I explain this to Amigo,
He looks at me with understanding eyes
And I invite him to hop into our apartment.
He lies on our brightly threaded, intricately weaved
Dining room rug, and the rank
Of street dog fills our apartment.
Teresa and I try to ignore it
While we marathon watch
A mafia series on Interflix.
Three or four hours later,
He rises and hops over to me,
And places his snout upon my thigh.
I, thinking he has to pee,
Lead him out of our apartment
Toward the front glass door of the building,
But he does not follow me.
Instead, he hops toward the middle passage
That leads to the service elevator
And the caretakers’ apartment.
Today the caretakers’ sister/sister-in-law
Is working in place of them,
As it is their day off.
Olga works less than the caretaker couple
And hides a lot in the apartment
Always arriving just when you are finished
With needing help unloading groceries
From your car, or loading your car
With suitcases. Amigo limps to the mat
In front of the caretakers’ apartment door
And lies down. I ring the bell.
I ring it again. “Coming!”
She opens the door with a frown,
Sees it is me, puts on a forced
Smile, and then her surgical mask.
She is wearing pajamas
And a sleeping mask is pulled up
To her forehead. “Yes?” she attempts
To gleefully ask. I explain Amigo’s
Leg problem. She looks down at him
With disgustful eyes. I continue, “He came to lie here.
I guess he is accustomed to sleeping
Here as your brother-in-law and sister
Let him inside every night
To escape the cold.
I hear he has a small doggie bed.”
She feigns, “Aww. Poor Amigo.
I will take care of him. I will go get
His bed.” Amigo looks up at me
With ‘It’s OK’ eyes. I pet him
Then return to my apartment.
Inside I wash my hands with liquid detergent,
Spray the apartment with Truthsol,
And sit in my plush chair,
To watch more TV.
November 19, 2020
editors note: Taking care to find a caretaker who’s not you. – mh clay
from The Woman in an Imaginary Painting: The paradox… by Tom Montag
The paradox is
that in her nakedness
she finds privacy.
We see skin but cannot
look within. A line
of darkness divides
The mystery will
not open for us.
She is an entrance
you cannot enter.
November 18, 2020
editors note: When an eyeful sees nothing. – mh clay
CREEPY-CRAWLY EROS by Mandakini Bhattacherya
Branching off into leaf-beds,
the limbs of trees become the sinews
of your arms that knead ecstasy into me.
Your embrace is a spider that ambles
bow-legged up the trunk of my body,
marking punctures at each bite,
trailing saliva that spins
a wistful web of welts.
Tendrils of poison shoot through blood,
making fingers clasp and feet thrash,
as a scarab scurries across my bare back.
In the morning, swollen-shut eyes
whisper the naked chant of happiness,
as my heart hums and whirrs
a lazy beetle’s song!
November 17, 2020
editors note: An arach-Nin for the bug-lustful. – mh clay
Mr. and Mrs. Jones by Donna Dallas
When signatures are scrawled
on every page marking
every year… every death
and every dollar
When checks are cut
and we amicably shake hands
our eyes glimpse
the waves under each other’s souls
Here’s a page we didn’t write into the script…
the mark of
… End …
We sit mad
with fear in the hopes
we did the right thing
although we were doing the right thing
yet it wasn’t quite right
but what is exact and perfect and so
magnificent that we couldn’t get to?
will ever compare to your solid
and strong body
holding me in the dead of night while I cried
of a fear
that I only now
understand as regret
those nights wasted
thinking it will always be
November 16, 2020
editors note: Keep a loose-leaf ledger, rip out regrets to no end. – mh clay
Burnt Desert by Kimberly Madura
Soon, we will go to the desert,
that orange desert
and stand on those crimson dunes,
melt into the cherry rust sand –
surrounded by burnt dust and scorching gold sun
Sand and bone, our bones –
unbroken and elemental
fusing into the soft curves and
clean shape of the chili red quicksilver below
We will drink whiskey from the canteen
and dance the Polonaise from memory,
make primal screams of rapture,
and of bliss
When we get there it
will be worth everything
to have survived –
it will all boil down to this
– just this moment.
November 15, 2020
editors note: Bone surfing on sand moment grasped in eager fists. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say our weekend featured read:
“We are all one, but all aren’t one. We carry what we don’t want to: the other. All of us.”
Here’s a tease to ease you into this featured read:
(photo “Bloodless Ranges” by Tyler Malone)
He awoke as General George Armstrong Custer. What’s more, he was in the thick of the fight. The Indian took stock. “It’s ironic,” he told himself, “but I’m General Custer.” Just then an arrow flew past his chin. The Indian as Custer looked around. He and his men were trapped! On the crest of a tree-less rounded hill! With hostile Indians attacking all around! Then it hit him: Jehoshaphat! It’s Little Big Horn!
The Indian smoothed his whiskers. He was a redhead now, a general. In seconds he realized they were in trouble. A series of arrows took out the man next to him. Everyone was firing. Arrows, showers of them, steadily came in…
Get the rest of the dream scene right here!
Mad Swirl’s featured mid-week read comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet, Susie Gharib!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about our midweek featured read:
“SWe can’t see what happens next, only what’s gifted to us presently. Hindsight is perfect clarity, but keep your eyes wide open for what happens right now.”
You’ll really want to get your eyes on Susie’s ironic tale, “Irises.“ To give you a glance, here’s a teaser for ya:
(photo “Eyes on You!” by Tyler Malone)
t was not the torso that Greeks and Romans sculpted for generations to immortalize the ideal physique; neither the Celtic mane of a Scottish highlander nor the stature of an Amazonian warrior. It was simply the freckles on his irises that brought it all about, an obsession that changed the entire course of my life. His eyes reminded me of the planets I used to view in one of the books on my dad’s bookshelf when I was a child. They possessed a celestiality that emboldened my gazes beyond the limits of etiquette. I never wasted a chance to observe the velocity of their hues when he sought my opinion on one of the designs he placed upon my desk, which he frequently did. He must have attributed my prolonged gazes to my meditative habits for he had caught me in the act on several occasions, gazing at the moon in a semi-swoon. He was always too polite to interrupt those communions and left it to the caretaker to inform me that it was time to go home. I was the first to arrive at work and the last to leave a tranquil environment that I preferred to my flat in a very noisy compound…
Feast your own irises on the rest of Susie’s story 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