“Light up the darkness.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Tableau – Alan Murphy
To see more of Alan’s eclectic collages, as well as our other former featured artists (51 in total), take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we braved the mob rush to squeeze through the crush; we grouply freed from quarantine; we watched the screen play to distract the decay; we tried in time to crack a rhyme; we poetry posited while taxicab closeted; we lovers kissed in a porchly tryst; we saw life’s span as a travel plan. Tickle your ticket taker to take your tour to task (take notes). ~ MH Clay
Tourist by Beate Sigriddaughter
A tourist in the world of form, she stands
in awe. Where to look first?
The hunger and the dancing both feel
like great improvements over silence
of assorted molecules awaiting purpose.
A field of blue flowers, a gate filled with trash,
and the fragrance of just opened lilac buds.
How can she tell what is really important?
There, monkeys and wild roses. A couple
dances tango, smoldering enough to turn
the air to smoke. She wants to taste. She tries
to limit anger and envy to Thursdays.
She is enchanted, inflamed, forlorn, the heat
of longing growing in her cheek. Every face
reflects each thought a person ever had.
No wonder she is not as striking as she wants
to be. She wants to wrap herself in sequins,
to move like confetti, to kneel to yellow
mountain flowers and boisterous women
who light up city nights with laughter.
She loves the mystery of Paris and the desert.
This is not hunger yet, this is just appetite.
When she is truly hungry, she will move.
Her hair will not obey your expectations.
February 6, 2021
editors note: Keep your appetite alive (and your Thursdays open). – mh clay
Porch by Don O’Cull
The cog in lovers’ vim is evening’s lambent direction,
calico in conversation and strung across the porch
like a private breathy trapeze
upon which familiar sex flywheels back and forth,
a pendulum ionized by tireless middle-aged voltage.
We kiss like blown sockets,
a corner of every bone has knocked open a bruise of lust,
our crescendo leaves the porch like the treble of sleepless birds
or nervy cusses from a distant dog.
The trapeze collapses and flicks to a quiet crumpled heap.
February 5, 2021
editors note: Ah, sweet swing! Sweet love, sweet everything! – mh clay
IF THERE’S A SKELETON’S ISLAND by Clyde Kessler
An island is growing inside a snowflake.
And there are three closets inside an old man’s skeleton.
Sometimes there’s a very young bluebird with bat-wings
nuzzling the coat hangers. Sometimes Adélie penguins
swim through a keyhole and shake icebergs into shoes.
And on rare occasions, the largest closet will argue
with itself and pry a rib from the skeleton, and say:
old man, your boots chase an empty boat into the ground,
try skiing back home from the dead, try lifting snowflakes
from your eye-holes. Such is the playing of streetlights
on a drunk poet’s taxi ride through Beijing.
February 4, 2021
editors note: Yes, it’s OK to drink and write. – mh clay
Post-Requiem by Stefan White
On this morning golden
as a passage to the afterlife,
I walk corridors roofed with sky,
wearing the old motley hoodie
that has become the livery
of unlovely unlivelihood,
and I have neither lock nor key
and have never seen a rhyme
crack a cathedral—
but where the sunlight touches me
I turn human.
February 3, 2021
editors note: Human is enough to be; stay in the light (wear sunscreen). – mh clay
LIVING AMONG THE MIDDLE CLASSES by Sam Silva
An achy nervousness
among pandemic days
while summer turns toward Fall
and the politics of madness
in the election of it all
and my own old age decays
dully for its sadness
like some disease which slays
with a sleep that fills our eyes
with an image on TV
of dreamy dreamy hot fires
in the skies.
February 2, 2021
editors note: Flat screen, flat deal! We are what we watch. – mh clay
In the Time of Corona
Renga By: Aimee Morales/Ramil Digal Gulle/Niccolo Vitug/Rem Tanauan/Rina Angela Corpus
This empty box has many things inside
as this sacred space, this window frame.
And all around, the stained glass dreaming they are prayers
gleaming in sunrays, filtering light.
In my heart a song promises to grow wings
fluttering in tongues, beating white
as the sheets I try to keep
clutched to my chest, the frail warmth of my heart, my blood
pulsing, rhythmic drops in the ear, singing
of all my vivid lives and dreams
uncaged by quarantine.
February 1, 2021
editors note: Set dreams free, cage or no. (The lines were written by the authors in the order we listed their names above.) – mh clay
Grand Funk Railroad by Julene Tripp Weaver
We waited overnight
camped out to get tickets
at Flushing Meadows Park—
morning came the crunch
the line-push squishing
us front-forward into the
booth, the swell crushing
my chest to near collapse
feet lost from under my
body, gripping my bag,
contorted in sweat, it is
July humid even at dawn,
my precious dollars at risk
as my life, screams converge
hands and torsos rub against
strangers in this claustrophobic
swelter a yell for order,
slow down, a beg follows,
please, there is one breath
left inside, someone rages
There are children, don’t
kill the children! July 1971,
on the verge gasping
for air till the booth opens
the trickle gives, quarter-
inch to quarter-inch,
till we slowly untwine
to exit triumphant with
tickets gripped firm
in trembling fingers,
extricated from the mob
January 31, 2021
editors note: A narrow escape to say, “I was there!” – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you Need-a-Read to sink your teeth into then we got just tale to feed that need!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about our featured read:
“What could a new day bring? Everything you’ve hoped for, or does it carry today’s destruction?”
Here’s a bit to get you on your way:
(photo “A Moveable Freeze” by Tyler Malone)
She had had to get out of the hostel at eight in the morning and stay out until eight at night, and that was in the good days, when she still had a hostel to go to. Now she had a dusty alcove off a hallway of a commercial storage firm, where no one yet, knew she slept at night. Soon someone would notice. Then she might sneak back into the high-rise college residence where she had slept in a washroom, which at least could be locked.
“You can only stay two weeks,” the hostel manager had said on her fifteenth day. “You’ve had your time. You’re not the only one, you know.” She had begged for another night, having nowhere else to shelter. Then she found the storage business’s janitorial area, but even there she had to stay away during daytime, when it teemed with people storing things.
No, she wasn’t the only foreigner washed up on grimy pavements, her last pound spent. Her best strategy was invisibility. But any strategy must include shelter, and food. She had an undocumented under-the-table dish-washing job and leftover food came with that, but shelter cost money. She had tried to hang around the cafe unnoticed at night when they locked up, tried to hide inside—but they did notice. “Go home,” ordered the manager.
Home? No such place since boarding the plane in panicked flight from risk and fear. The airport was the last warm place she could remember…
Feed the rest of your read need right here!
••• Open Mic •••
If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday (aka 02.03.21), you know that Mad Swirl Open Mic once again virtually whirled up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!
Here’s a shout out to all who Zoom’d on in & graced us with your words, your songs, your divine madness…
Musical Overture: Swirve
Hosts: Johnny O & MH Clay
Intermission: Pecan Tree
James Gregory Cisneros
Musical Conclusion: Pecan Tree
Thanks to ALL the appreciators who rode the Mad wave from our FB Live feed! We know you had a choice of what to do with your Wednesday night (like practing social distancing) & you picked to virtually hang out with us!
Now more than ever, we need community, we need creative outlets.
Be safe & ’til next 1st Wednesday… may the madness swirl your way!
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…
All lit up,
Short Story Editor