The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.20.21

by on June 20, 2021 :: 0 comments

“The best poems come from the world, go through the poet, and go back in to the world.”

Paul Muldoon

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Why WorryBleak Teeth

Our newest featured visual artist has been on our radar for quite a while now. Some might even say I requested him to submit his art for a feature… (I did). But could you blame me? Ferrill, otherwise known as Bleak Teeth, creates gritty, creepy characters that don’t seem human right away but have such a human quality to them when you look closely – especially at the all-too-human emotions they capture all too well. They are dark and yet they have a certain lightness to them, too, which also captures a certain human-ness in itself. Bleak Teeth has said that he turns to art as a coping mechanism and we must admit, that translates in such a raw and beautiful way. His work says a lot by saying so little and it’s so brilliantly mad that we Mad Swirlers simply couldn’t resist. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Bleak Teeth’s gritty and creepy cast of characters, as well as our other former featured artists (over 50 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 thought to think on peel and ink; we caressed the heft of whispers left; we found how far to chase punks in a car; we bawled no bleaker than mercy seekers; we got no gains from paper stains; we passed through to get to where we’ll forget; we deigned to drag sick self in a bag. As we devise our diagnoses, we write to wrest our group psychosis from those who would expose (we will write the expositions). ~ MH Clay

Battleground by Mickey J. Corrigan

For many years I carried
all of my vital organs
in a tight sack I called my body
my own little country
where I planned to live out
my allotment of days.

Something puddled inside me
and began to plunder my insides
stealing, vandalizing
what gave me breath, force
leaving my skin-case sagging.

Eventually I dragged to the ER
in a distant land called sickness.
The nurses’ eyes flatlined and
they left me on a plastic chair
stewing in my bile-green juices.
A viral sunset turned bloody
then black, all blackness.

I awoke in a cold white tomb.
My skin had created outposts
for the army building within me
and the invisible soldiers
without passports
made camp, campfire, trouble.

Every few hours medical terror
gathered in huddles in my room
the cells of my body, every organ
responding in kind, building forts
tearing them down again.

Over time the organs surrendered
doctors expanding their territory
brisk teams in white coats
they fought for the side
of full diagnosis
an end
to the unknowns.

Finally with a gasp and a groan
somebody won it all—
mapping my country
with their own place names
and planting a white flag
deep in my flesh, bone
where my life once held forth.

June 19, 2021

editors note: We are here to advance medical science, if nothing else. (We welcome Mickey J. to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Passing Through by Beate Sigriddaughter

Her library books are all renewed
way into June, when she won’t be here
anymore. The last rent is paid. Her bags
are mostly packed, a few changes of clothes
still in the closet. Her flute stays in its case.
No time to play. One cup, one plate, one
glass, one pot still in the kitchen. A loaf
of bread, a hunk of cheese, three eggs.
She doesn’t want to go. She doesn’t want to
stay. At the river bend where years ago
icicles froze sideways in a winter wind,
wild roses bloom on elegant, curved branches.
The magenta cactus flowers, where she found
a fox one year, are not yet out. Her favorite
footbridge over churning water has been closed
as unsafe. Once, after an unseasonable snow,
trees broke all over town. Soon she will forget
all this. Perhaps a few stray images remain.
Thank you, she whispers.

June 18, 2021

editors note: When you leave it all; also, leave your thanks. – mh clay

Meditation on Toilet Paper by Marianne Szlyk

I remember colored toilet paper,
pale pink sheets fluttering
into the toilet bowl, genteelly
staining the Nashua River red.

In some homes, they matched
the toilet bowl, sink, tub, tiles,
even towels and shower curtains.

But no woman
in my family was the slender
woman in the pink nightgown,
perfumed curls as soft as Charmin.

None of us lived in the ranch houses
curled around cul-de-sacs
on the other end of town.

We lived in older homes
where not much matched,
especially toilet paper.

One day, more recently than I’d realized,
colored toilet paper disappeared.
I don’t recall seeing pink paper,
even at Smitty’s or Marsh;

I don’t recall seeing
sheets that tainted groundwater
and matched nothing in my life.

June 17, 2021

editors note: If we ever find pink fossils, maybe then we’ll recall. Until then, white’s all right! – mh clay

Deus Misereatur by David Susswein

In the fall and crush of the wrecking wave
where the abandoned sailors, weeping
pray alone; deus misereatur

In the dimmest light of day descending
where the fumes of civilisation cut the
open wounds, deus misereatur

In the fall and shower of love upon
the head of the loved, who does not love
and cries, deus misereatur

In the fall of rain on the clay baked
in the mother’s calming womb: spits on her
daughter, deus misereatur

In the hunger of lust that comes unto
us, where the skin touching as the setting
sun bleeds its colours on the earth and the
moon breaks, as the lovers taste each other
in a dream in which neither is a part,
and in the bitterness of unanswered
echoes after near-sleeping, the lover’s soundless
plea, deus misereatur

When the voice has run hoarse like the wolves
howling, as the pain of living has ruined day
and night, deus misereatur

When the mother’s womb has spawned another ‘hero’,
and the son forsakes his child, the orphaned
world cries, deus misereatur

When another morning has come, and with the
cockerel cries a thread of grey storms, the clouds
forewarn, deus misereatur

When all the longing I have felt for you
has burned its roots and lays ash on my tongue,
I wail, deus misereatur

When the sky is black where hope is dream
in a land without night, and the creaking
world swells to bursting the scream of nothing
over the heads of the still living… In
the bed soaked in blood that has been bled
over you, by somnambulist dreamers
run into the chased caverns of night, of the nightmare
inside a nightmare hounding out the breath
of pity, closed… closing a clenched fist to love.

And alone in all the useless wanting;
among the toys of childhood, they are all
broken, deus misereatur

If the ending of laughter is the sound
of waking… I cut myself to bleed in
to your cracked dry lips; my blood
all that remains to me; an emptiness of failing words.

June 16, 2021

editors note: Fail not so say, and wake – god have mercy! – mh clay

Punks by Wayne F. Burke

standing on the main street of Framingham, Massachusetts
holding my thumb up
in the air
and watching all the cars in the world
drive by me
and all the drivers look like assholes
to me
and a car goes past with some punks inside
and one punk gives me the middle-finger
and I turn and chase the car
as the punks point and
laugh at me until
their car slows then stops at a red light
and I gain ground
and the smiles of the punks disappear
their eyes widen like doll’s eyes
and the car squeals out and
I chase it to the
next light
and the punks in the back seat hop around
like monkeys in a cage
as I close the gap again
and the car shoots ahead
and I chase it to the next red light
which the car blows through
and I give up,
out of breath
still pissed
but not really
a bunch of punks.

June 15, 2021

editors note: Too pooped to punk. – mh clay

The kohl eyed lady from the midlands by Goirick Brahmachari

Lying naked for hours together, we escaped to Wales for weeks.
You sang to me of Codeine, the vivid extraction process,
Sketched, step by step, in your journal.
The skeleton faces, your naked breasts, distilled encryptions-
Your self-portraits of your black hole flashes, your head rested on corners of the walls, trauma.
Existential fears, childhood, youth, substance, punk, abuse. My silent heaves.
Your sublime eyeliner presence, your aesthetic body, voice like that of the winds of the woods.
Watching the Bloodstock photos together, you sketched abstract images on my bare back.
How you coloured my nails with different shades. I miss cooking
For you when you were unwell. How you panicked when I became unconscious,
Testing my pulses every 5 minutes. Death then would have been a perfect ending.
The drunk impromptu singing sessions; the crazy Valentine’s feedback, ruminations about benzodiazepines
And opioids. The silent metro rides, drunk screams at pubs. The kitchen smoke. And, how I
Would always end up running down to your house through the grey late night,
Lost, every time, when all the gates are closed.
Only to taste your folklore dreamscape and the pasta that you would cook.
Colours of all colours, oh, the queen of anarchist performance masks!

All I am left with now are your whispers,
Some torn pages from your journals and a frozen
Rose that you had put between my teeth.

June 14, 2021

editors note: Manic memories, mellow or muddled, must… – mh clay

And I imagine by Hem Raj Bastola

Obscure still!

Humid veils
Of thought,
Venting mutely;
Silent world
Of shadows.

Devout artist, dig.
Neverland seeking,
Rubbernecking spirit.
Begetting progeny:
Parcel of the seed.

Rind is peeled,
Content served,
The ink spilled;
To entertain:
The dreams.

And I imagine.

June 13, 2021

editors note: Writing the dream where the dream writes us. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re in the midst of a dog-day & find you Need-a-Read, stop right here and get your fishy read on with A Fish Story” by Contributing Writer Phyllis Souza.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week:

“Best friends will always do best friend things, things independent of decorum, social mores; things that transcend species.”

(photo “Homegrown” by Tyler Malone)

Go to Mad Swirl’s Short Story Library to get your fishy read on!


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 bein’…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

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