“Art is the skin of the soul.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
what do you see? – 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 brought specter talk from a desert walk; we sifted the keepers from all seen through our peepers; we swallowed whole for a thirsty soul; we drove through a dream of a monkey’s scream; we slumber begrudged to a cat who won’t judge; we snuggled in to dawn’s paraffin; we awoke from a task, sans book, sans mask. We said it all while thankful. ~ MH Clay
Maskless in Dallas by Marianne Szlyk
Having overslept yet again, I wander
the aisles of a Barnes and Noble
that magically expands to an art gallery,
a toy store, a supermarket, all
without selling the book I want,
nature writing set in the hill country,
all that I will miss on the flight home.
Without that book, I walk out
to the shores of an artificial lake
large enough to be an ocean
with saltwater taffy and a Cyclone
at the end of the boardwalk.
I walk past the bare-chested men
and high-heeled women
who clog this path,
singing, smoking, swigging
beer from brown bottles.
I wake up gasping.
November 28, 2020
editors note: Eyes open with loss not lost. Whew! – mh clay
Paraffin by Sekhar Banerjee
Early morning is the first paraffin
of the sun – white, clear like a headache;
It melts down the earth
and softens the grass
I am lost
Lying face down in the tender
furrows of my soft green pillows like
in the grass, I am the end of this all
This is my home
I listen to
endless morning chants
of worms and millipedes
I am one of them in the morning,
for some more darkness
November 27, 2020
editors note: Dust to dust is all just dust. Snuggle in. (We welcome Sekhar to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
my cat watches in silence by Tohm Bakelas
my cat watches in silence
as i pace midnight floors of agony
and trace shadows with stiff fingers
and lean against painted walls
my cat watches in silence
as i take post at the dirty window
and gaze at the ivory moon
and examine validity of memories
my cat watches in silence
as i dance with madness and terror
and talk to ghosts unseen
and work through ideas not yet formed
my cat watches in silence
as i walk the dark hallways
and whisper words aloud
and begin to slow down
my cat watches in silence
and without judgment
and awaits the snap of my fingers
calling her to bed at last
November 26, 2020
editors note: On the brink of pandemic panic, feline friends bring peace in a purr. Sleep well. – mh clay
On the Drive to the Shaman by John P. Drudge
Over the edge
And straight on through
Of ancient geometry
Our inner reflections
On the wandering wing
Of a condor
Of humming shapes
And cascading colours
Holy pillars of grandeur
Down the paths
Of the cosmos
As I shrink and expand
Hanging tight to the tail
Of a spirit molecule
Only the echoes
Of a lone monkey’s
November 25, 2020
editors note: Scream as scat in the zephyr zoo. Keep the windows down. – mh clay
THOSE DAZE by Willie Smith
One of those days when I can’t decide
how many humps in an m, the number
of ans in banana, how Achilles
could ever overtake the tortoise, Death
and I go walking. Arm-in-arm, he with
his disarming smile, filling my ear with
foreboding and despair. Would I like to,
would I care to, step around into the shade
to share a drop of something cool and
not-so-sweet? After quaffing, after quenching,
after swapping tales of lying and of wenching,
he a bony forefinger raises:
“Now’s the time to discuss,” he hisses,
“succumbing to after-life-lust.” My jaw
drops. Lightning fractures the air.
Death with a rusty can my mouth waters.
The mind a garden of rot and food for no thought.
November 24, 2020
editors note: Pack it in, swallow whole; lest parched, other side, a thirsty soul. – mh clay
never close your eyes by John C. Goodman
when the fever of life is over
passions burned down to smoldering coals
then callous ashes
folded into the chocolate swirl marble cake batter of the past
loves are still there
old contour maps of forgotten countries
violet hills caramel valleys plains of bone
names of towns too faded to read
rivers washed away
now all the secrets are known
the deeds evaporated
what was done or not done acted or not acted said or not said thought or not thought wanted or not wanted read or not read completed or not completed organized or disorganized sleeping or awake
the feelings deployed
the dogs fed the cats yowling the birds roosting the clocks stopped the radios off the doors locked windows closed skylights covered bed made dishes washed table cleared laundry done floor swept ornaments dusted books arranged snakes slither away through the grass
somewhere in there is something of importance
that colors the whole of time
and when yet another failed revolution is over
we will have for an epitaph:
“they lived their lives the best way they knew how.”
don’t look away
never close your eyes
November 23, 2020
editors note: Keep it real. Keep ’em peeled. – mh clay
Have you ever seen a ghost? by William J Watson
Have you ever seen a ghost?
I have, the corner of my eye,
In the mirror.
I turn as fast as I can, but it’s just me staring back.
An older broken version of the person I see in my mind.
The image may change, the hair brown to grey.
The memories remain, was it last year or a decade ago.
Freshman year blends into standing on yellow footprints.
Best friends as young men walking in the desert.
Take fire, return fire, go home, rinse and repeat.
But home was never home, and friends drift apart
Sometimes you send or get a text “Hey, remember when…”
It all washes back to a time when you were brave.
You make plans, but they never materialize.
The next time you meet up, it’s at one of their graves.
November 22, 2020
editors note: Haunt, be haunted. Be brave either way. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If this ever changing world in which we live in finds you with a need for a read, our featured weekend tale, “When There’s No Stage Left“ by Flora Jardine just might fill the bill.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say our weekend featured read:
“We are walking through a wasteland, taking only what’s with us into tomorrow, where nothing is certain.”
Here’s the scene from Flora’s modern twist on a classic haunting:
(photo “Waiting… Waiting… Waiting… Waiting for Life” by Tyler Malone)
When the theater is dark, critics and reviewers have nothing to report. A Drama Reviewer’s pages remain blank; there is nothing to review when nothing is viewed. Reviewer is unemployed, like the actors, directors, designers and stage hands. He sits idle in an abandoned hall, watching shadows flit across an empty stage.
Life is attenuated in pandemic times. People pull apart, solitary. With social life suspended dream-life comes closer. Ghosts cluster on a thinning border. This empty stage is their place, where distance between physical and mental, past and present, player and playwright shrinks to nothing. Specters rise from past shows.
“Dark is how we like it,” they say. “Now, the stage is ours.”
Sneaking into the hall through a side door, against all pandemic lockdown rules, Theater Reviewer sits among the ghosts of stories past. He waits for an anti-show in stillness and blackness, expecting nothing. But something comes, usurping night. An apparition…
There is more to be seen in this ghostly theatrical scene dream. See what we mean right here!
If your heartstrings need a pluckin’, we got just the story for you.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about our midweek featured read:
“On the darkest of nights, that silence of where love once stood says all that needs to be said.”
Here’s a few chords to get your stringed heart started:
(photo “Homestead” by Tyler Malone)
I lift my eyes from my work as a light moves across the living room—the sun glinting off her windshield as she approaches the house. My thoughts are drowned out by the muted crackle of tires slowing their roll against the road. Apprehension turns to dread, turns to defeat, as the garage door opens and the whole house hums. Her car creaks as it wobbles across the dip at the end of the driveway, beginning its ascent with all the grace of a seal climbing a beach.
The hammer bounces in my hand. I tap it four times against the carpet as I consider whether I should set it down to greet my wife at the door. Tap five, tap six. I confirm my grip and return my gaze to my task for the day, the IKEA bookshelf that materialized yesterday afternoon. I sigh just to feel my own breath on my lips. The sound of air moving under my own power calms me. I place another nail on the cardboard backing of the shelf and persist in slowly forcing it into place. Her car door opens, her keys jingle in her hand, the car door shuts. Tap tap, tap tap. Her key scratches at the doorknob until it finds its place. Door clicks, keys jingle some more. Tap tap, tap tap. Breath in, breath out. Heels on hardwood…
Tap, tap, tap on into the rest of “Peace Lily” right here!
••• Open Mic •••
Tis the 1st Wednesday of December
& all around the mic
The Mad Ones will be gather
to create a Mad night!
(& hopefully you too)
Will be bringing poetry & music
to do what we do!
If you’d like to join this
RSVP a spot on this
If you’d rather sit back
& see how we jive
Log-on at 7:30
& tune-in to FB Live!
Join Mad Swirl Open Mic THIS 1st Wednesday of the December (aka 12.02.20), as we once again whirl up the Swirl VIRTUALLY, opening the mic for all you Mad ones out there! Maximizing the powers of technology & broadcasting from Big D & blastin’ off into the interwebs!
Starting at 7:30pm (CST), join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay, along with Chris Curiel’s jazzed-up Krude Awakening as we get this madness Swirlin’ via Facebook LIVE!
This month we will be celebrating the season with a cool-tide Swirl-a-bration!
Come to appreciate. (tune in to our Facebook LIVE feed starting at 7:30pm (cst))
Come to be a part of our collective creative love-child we affectionately call Mad Swirl!
••• Mad Merch •••
Dig this mad face coverin’? Read on!…
Extra! Extra! Read ALL about it!
Mad Swirl Merch available
just in time for the holidaze!
The whole mad swirl of merch begins right here, at our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some mad threads to sport, then you’ve come to the right post.
What’s new? Mad Facemasks!, Neck Gaiters!, Zipped Hoodies!, Fun Socks! We still have Mens & Ladies tees in all sizes & even MORE colors. We also brought back mad mugs to fill with your favorite coffee, tea and/or whiskey!
Come browse & if something catches your eye, get a little something-something for yourself & while you’re at it, get a little something for your nearest & dearest mad one in your swirlin’ world!
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