“Being an artist is dragging your innermost feelings out,
giving a piece of yourself, no matter in which art form, in which medium.”
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Bethemoth 45 – Alan Murphy
With this one we close out Alan’s feature run in our Mad Gallery. But don’t you fret, we gotta new featured artist coming your way! Stay tuned…
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 ‘shroomed out fo shizzle on the guy with a chisel; we loved sublime with hand on spine; we savored the swish of Lady Luck’s bitch; we covered our fanny against slaps from Granny; we memory foraged from vacuum storage; we mem’d again, beached from when; we lit candles as tokens of brightness unbroken. All these fires, as cold descended, we kindled and tended. ~ MH Clay
For the graves of failed hopes… by Shitta Faruq Adémólá
because I know the philosophies of
the mirror that laughed at my ugly eyelash,
the seas I sew with silk meander like the
thickness of whetted throats, calling the bastard
brother in the grave that forgot to light me
the remnants of his brain
to calm the stenches of a battered kwashiorkor-n* boy.
I don’t want to see how the hope of a black boy
breaks like the branches of Mimosa, like
the flood running down the streams of my eyes, and
like hell again, because hell is a smoke that crawls
incessantly into the feet of night children to,
with daggers, break the brightness that lights here
in our hearts.
I don’t want to see how hope falls like unripe mangoes,
because if they do, half of
the moon will see the impulses of their
brokenness in the right thumb of malignant fires,
and we will burn more than the hell that slapped
our faces before.
I want to yearn for the sounds of fallen
stars, like how gunshots thrill the hearts
of a little boy.
I want to see how hope rises like perdition, not for it
to stake the lives we hold, but for our candles to stand
thicker, and light for themselves, hungry looking lights.
*kwashiorkor – a form of malnutrition caused by protein deficiency in the diet, typically affecting young children in the tropics.
February 13, 2021
editors note: Hungry lights to devour a dark famine. (We welcome Shitta Faruq to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
All memories left by Timothy Pilgrim
do not haunt me
as much as the ones
that fled like virus deaths.
Blew out, in fact,
like a mistral, mask-less,
whipping toward Arles,
like police, all white,
taking another Black body south
a pile of them on the beach
by the deceased sea.
February 12, 2021
editors note: To be ghosted by such is better. – mh clay
Dad, Space-Saving and Watertight by Samantha Kalla
I connected the vacuum.
Sucked the life out of your clothes.
Plastic suffocated into iridescent canyons
Each fabric gave its own death rattle; cotton gurgled the longest
Your cologne (Acqua Di Gio?) and Pabst Blue Ribbon
You, combing your hair before a date with Mom
You, sneaking to the rusted refrigerator in the garage to chug a paper-bag beer
Is it still a drinking problem if it’s out of sight?
I see you in the compressing clothes
You, inviting a homeless woman to our Thanksgiving
You, asleep on the couch
You, awake when I change the channel
You, reaching into the glovebox for Marlboro Lights
Are you still a smoker if you only breathe in half the pack?
You, in neon golf shirts
You, in that checkered snow hat with the ear flaps
I found out it’s called an ushanka but
You were already gone.
Cancer connected the vacuum.
Sucked the life out of you.
Freckled skin dwindled into opaque papier mâché:
For three months, I watched your plastic crinkle until
There wasn’t much emptiness left for the vacuum to take
Grandma bought you a cardinal red stocking cap to wear
To find you in the next life
Thanksgiving in September, and then you left
She kept the ashes, but I kept the rest
My quiet compaction of Dad –
Space-saving and watertight, tucked into a box in the garage.
You, hermetically sealed:
Your cologne (yes, Acqua Di Gio) and Pabst Blue Ribbon
Rusted refrigerator in the garage, homeless woman, Marlboro Lights half empty
You, in neon golf shirts
Sometimes, I unseal the plastic and meet you there
You smile at me
You, in that checkered ushanka
February 11, 2021
editors note: Keep your memories fresh for ready reminiscence. – mh clay
As the World Squirms by Wayne F. Burke
NO drinking, smoking, swearing
Running, jumping, loud voices
wearing of shoes, lying abed, locking of doors
eating in between meals, these were the rules
we followed in the
minimum security house
Grandma on guard, except
during soap operas, Brad and
Eleanor, their warped children, warped lives;
she cooed and smiled, frowned
told evil Denby off, tsk-tsked under her
breath over the
my brother and I
until commercial break
she sprang up out the chair
chased us down to
deliver a slap or
the strap or
something else the
kids on the soap operas
February 10, 2021
editors note: If only they had fast-forward back then; no time for commercials, no time for… – mh clay
The Chrysalis Touch by Paul Tristram
Wow, and absolutely fucking Wow again!
Last time I saw her…
it was a mugshot in the local newspaper,
dirty hair all-dragged-up in a scalp-bunch
crowning a drawn, scabby, drug-face.
She’d just been given Anger Management,
and a 12-month Conditional Discharge,
with £150 in Fine and Court Costs…
for taking an ex-girlfriend hostage,
and threatening to slice off her perfect toes…
First Offense, and a looming stint in Rehab
… legally, it sounded about ‘Even’ to me.
That must have been over a year ago now
… and I just clocked her swishing, oh yeah,
fucking Swishing her way up the High Street.
Face all full and healthy, eyes glistening,
crap-British-sunshine bouncing off her hair
… and wearing a thin floral, cotton dress,
that would look shit on anybody else but her.
There was a trail of heads a-turning behind
(both male & female) as she swaggered by.
She half-smiled, as she passed me standing
“Wotcher, Pauly… long time no see, hunni.”
I reciprocated the warm affection right back
“Just keep doing what you’re doing, love…
because Lady Luck is your bitch right now.”
February 9, 2021
editors note: When you’re no more the bitch; swish, baby, swish! – mh clay
“When can I see you again?” by Brittany M. Ortega
Something about the body, I tell her,
something about the body worn
like missing paint on storm cellar doors.
Something about the savvy of hands
that know many ways to (mis)handle books,
but having bent many and, displeased with their shapes,
know Now that it is best to keep
one hand cradling the spine
while the other softly divides
“Ew”, she says
and I laugh because
at the ends of these nights
the question always comes
And I feel many things
about sums it all
February 8, 2021
editors note: Handle your books with care; guarantee years of reading pleasure. – mh clay
Teenage Pagan Hell Cat at the Altar of Eros by Jeff Grimshaw
Don’t touch those empty beer cans
Leave your Magic Marker in your pocket
This calls for spray paint & science
I am sitting in a puddle soaking my underpants
I am smiling cuz the shrooms kicked in
& I can see the glowing trails of the stars!
No wait it is raining. Who has the yellow paint?
Paint the “A” in “McHALE” yellow
It was chiseled in the tombstone by some
Like guy with a chisel yeah & then
Outline it in black & paint a circle around it
Like it is like sinking in the liquid stone
O god who has the bag of Twinkies? I am
Sopping wet & the sky is on fire, I
Need CARBS. & sex. That is science,
Jeannette. Wait wait that is not paint
That is pepper spray. O Jeannette O
God O God my eyes what have you done
With the Twinkies??
February 7, 2021
editors note: The best-laid plans of mushroom (wo)men. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you Need-a-Read then you’ve scrolled to the right place because this week’s featured story “Run-On Ron” by Eric Lawson breaks the rule of using periods and we are aOK with that because that’s the way we roll so we’re giving you a slight tease to help you get this rambling read going and it starts off just like this:
(photo “Running Low” by Tyler Malone)
There once was a putz named Run-On Ron after some poor sod who always tripped when he ran and became useful as a human speed bump in the same way beer supports the morale of the working man that usually complains about not enough money but hates to work overtime when life is too short on some kind of dream about dessert toppings being on sale for insanely-low prices that would make your cat learn calculus and even sew that annoying rip in your favorite trousers that nobody seems to like the way they’re snug in all the right places you wish some hot mama would notice instead of drooling over her rich ape of a boyfriend that never listens to what she has to say…
…no need to take a pause here when you can get the rest of this rambling read 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’ it up,
Short Story Editor