“Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music & never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers & warriors.”
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Death Mask – Bleak Teeth
To see all of Bleak Teeth’s gritty and creepy (yet oh so attractive) 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 breathed to breeze to blossom freeze; we, mischief earth, travailed at birth; we drew up a riddle, four digits to diddle; we got slim satisfactions from daily distractions; we mourned a queen of silver screen; we phoned a clone to clone a phone; we asked the why of a bakery buy. Our answers are stories for questions divined. ~ MH Clay
Receipt by J. K. Durick
Lives collide, bump up against each other
in unusual ways. Like today, today I was
looking for Ernest Dowson’s poetry. Like
any good English major, I think of him in
terms of his most famous line about days
of wine and roses, one of those lines that
people in general remember but rarely go
beyond the movie to the poet who wrote
them, a young man who lived to be thirty-
two and is not read much anymore. My
father left me The Poems and Prose of
Ernest Dowson, so when the urge hit to go
back over the poem, I had a source, a book
gathering dust in the family room bookcase.
When I opened it to look, I must admit I never
found the poem, I got distracted, a life bumped
into mine. In the book, acting as a bookmark
was a receipt for four grain raspberry, cookies
I guess, seventy-nine cents each, a total of
three sixteen. It was November 12, 2012 at
10:28 AM at the Ferrisburg Bakeshop in North
Ferrisburg, a quick stop I’m sure, something to
tide him over on yet another crowded day, used
a card so his name is there. There’s nothing odd
about all this – but why was this random receipt
in The Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson, must
have been there for years, and why today with
me looking for days of wine and roses and finding
this small piece of someone else’s day?
July 17, 2021
editors note: When the whys of our whats and whens wrest wonder. – mh clay
CLONING by Robert Demaree
At eighty we have,
With a certain optimism,
Bought a new smartphone.
They lie side by side on the counter,
The old and the new,
Passing information one to another.
If only humans were programmed that way:
Contacts, dimly remembered,
The great hits of the ’70s and ’80s,
The secret music of the passage of time.
July 16, 2021
editors note: And one day, our phones will carry us. – mh clay
Silver Screen Shots by Linda Imbler
That sad day when she had no will of her own.
A birthday cake pop-up,
but wearing a mask, wearing a TRUE mask,
troubled in a bikini.
Try screaming louder.
A $700 an hour who?
Leave the earth, after cocaine.
Delete, delete, break your silence.
Flash, flash, she should flash her midriff.
Leather pants, still single, why so sad, why so serious?
An illusion that will not die.
Cozy, cozy, after a terrible fall.
Rent, rent, rent, the world has changed.
One hour before his death,
still no will for the one who raised the bar.
July 15, 2021
editors note: Exeunt icons. Arrive eulogies. – mh clay
2 Haiku: at the stadium & my stern boss by Enobong Enobong
at the stadium…
my team nets the ball
I’m still gazing at her
my stern boss blushes
at unpunctual new
July 14, 2021
editors note: Two of many modes of daily distraction. – mh clay
THE SONG THAT HUMS FROM A BIRD’S MOUTH by Osho Olaitan Jeremiah
This blazing ball of fire is
what I can’t touch in its eyes.
If I do, I’ll have four fingers left
to draw the print of my feet.
The waves of beautiful waters that glint
blue and the downpour of its dryness is the
lines of steam beneath my eyes…
I hopped over.
I felt the sweetness of lilies
and the blue cover cloud in my mouth.
And, a finger thrusts into the windows of
my dream, so I’d have four fingers to read
the parables in my palms.
Father left me in the portrait of his hunched
And, I took in my hands a dimple
from his chin and the Apple that destroyed
Adam in the tube of my lungs.
And in his back, the tongues of thorns were
unsheathed to slay his last egg.
My face was painted with beautiful
ridicules so that I’ll glimmer with filth and
my body was steamed in the hearts of
embers so that my wrinkled skin would be
mocked like the tales of the viral ugly
Brother bought me a pen and sister, a peel
of woods to craft the photograph of my
father whose body was shaken in the
Now, I found solace.
And I am the boy whose palms bleed to
write an anthology of his own plights.
July 13, 2021
editors note: From apples through eons, from father to son. – mh clay
My murdered land. by Ojo Victoria Ilemobayo
The street lies gloriously in ruins,
One step in the soil- just like travail at birth.
Our murdered land is painted with tussle and beautiful pangs,
And night is mixed with servile fearfulness and veteran buzzing mosquitoes at a feast.
Beware of the one-eyed macho- a monstrous visage,
So hallowed and gracious in terror.
Our people bathe joyfully in airborne disease and dine with freshly baked infection.
Our feeble mouth war, day in and out,
When your sun is gone up, our sun just walked in- the season of a million mischiefs.
July 12, 2021
editors note: Some lands have it better than others, better than this. – mh clay
FROST BLOSSOM by J H Martin
In the field
There are crops
While in the city
There are whispers
Of new beasts
By their shadow
I bring my breath back
To the food
To the breeze
This April brought frost
And cherry blossom
July 11, 2021
editors note: Reap riot and ruin or bring back breeze. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week:
“Blame it on the weather and not our nature.”
Here’s a bit of Edward’s story to get you started:
(photo “Secret Shapes“ by Tyler Malone)
The moon laid a strip of light on the dark ocean. The reflection was soft except for the crests of the waves catching the light sharp and white. The ocean seemed so quiet. “Nothing.” John outlined roughly the shape of the moon. “You don’t think it’s a little windy out here?” He held up his right hand to gesture at the ocean. “Yeah.” John was starting to get the feeling that something was off. “It’s supposed to be the moon,” John said. The wind blew in slowly. It seemed almost too slow. Katy smiled and poked at the moon on the canvas. “Listen to your grandfather. He’s a very smart and wise man.” Katy tapped a finger against the moon. “So are you.” John was becoming more confident. John took a brush and painted a stem and leaf on top of his moon. He glanced back at Katy, who giggled…
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Walkin’, Kickin’, Learnin’ & Lovin’,
Short Story Editor