••• The Mad Gallery •••
Pero Dragón III – J. Gregory Cisneros
To see all of J Gregory’s’s simply complex canvases, 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 watched a fool play pocket pool; we feathered a nest with a memory test; we saw, heard, spoke none, evil shot with loaded gun; we sought selfish gain with our right to complain; we prophesied to entitled choosers, turned them into freedom losers; we found the place where X is marked, with map in hand we then embarked; we met her there twixt dream and death, not ready yet for dying breath. So many more we mean to write, so many things to bring to light. ~ MH Clay
Family Tales by Mike Horan
The last few years were strange.
I don’t remember seeing her in anything but
a flannel nightgown.
Always in bed, reading,
or on the way there. Slowly, with many fits and starts
her reality was flaying away
thinning the border between here
and what she lived in dream. Everything
took on the shine of the unreal,
dream crowding in to take over.
I’d visit, stepping through a door that was like breaching a membrane
and I was in her dream world,
like neither of us was quite tethered in reality.
It unnerved me then.
I didn’t understand why she was in such a hurry to go, but
it’s happening to me now and I
find great comfort in being in the place
that I once unwillingly shared with her so long ago,
even while I’m frightened of what looms next.
I’m not done.
August 28, 2021
editors note: Haunted by our dead, we live as ghosts to them. – mh clay
X Marks Everafter by Steven Minchin
Take this and go
with a stabbing of your own
Take this brash assurance
There’s a mark already set across
the eternity you pursue
Take that tattered notice and go
Tack it up against lament
like a map fading against a fear
Take an X to eternity go
Track marks across your Everafter
to keep it intact
August 27, 2021
editors note: Cartography 101: You Are Here! – mh clay
Tools of the Prophets by Devorah Titunik
They believe they are fighting for freedom.
Patriots ready to lay down their lives
To rescue us from the tyranny of
Things like wearing masks.
They gather around their computer screens
To solve the enigmatic clues of prophecy.
They gather around their television screens
To hear and absorb the prophets’ warnings of the
Doom ahead if they can’t stop the changing tide.
They are certain that their god
Ordained that the white man rule.
They will fight to the death to save us
From the dangers of diversity and
Socialism conspiring to displace them.
They pray for the military coup that will
Take over and return the chosen one
To the White House.
And if they were to succeed, they would learn
What true tyranny is like under fascist rule
And realize they were just tools of the prophets
Whose true purpose was to aid them in their
Escape from freedom.
August 26, 2021
editors note: These prophets prophesy for profit; theirs, not yours. – mh clay
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN by Arif Ahmad
I, me, my, mine
is my predicament
this is who I am
I can’t help it
I am such programmed
used for granted
I refuse to realize
the advantage of many
over a few
ever a person
never a nation
then I complain
August 25, 2021
editors note: Oof! So many; more so now than ever. (Congratulations to Arif! He has a new collection out titled, “A Piece of Me.” You can get your copy on Amazon.) – mh clay
The Monkey with the Gun by Jon Bennett
There were 3 monkeys
and one of them couldn’t see
he’d pull down his blindfold
just as the one wearing earplugs
occasionally popped one out
The really sick monkey
with tracheal cancer
could, in a pinch,
use his electric voice box
But these three monkeys
often didn’t like
what they heard
so when they spoke
it was usually to tell someone,
If that didn’t work
there was always the 4th monkey
the one with the gun
and the delete key.
August 24, 2021
editors note: A fourth, for when evil persists. (We welcome Jon to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
THE PLACE OF MY NEST by Vyarka Kozareva
Many years ago
The place was an abyss
Then the fluid lava
And the time chronicles
Made it even.
Mended pieces of history—
A mixture of proofs and mendacity
Which grains refused the sieve of refinement.
Living between concave and convex,
For broken bills.
August 23, 2021
editors note: No feathers, no fly; no lie. – mh clay
Laying Over in SEATAC by Sharon O’Callaghan Shero
Here was a man or maybe just
an old boy [Spectacles and moony face made his age
recherché] Who jiggled his left leg
with profound fury
While his left hand
Slipped into his pantsconspicuous
And proceeded to
I sincerely wished he would leave soon
He was sitting in the enviable seat
brocaded with power outlets
that I so desperately
And yet, I was quite curious for the outcome
August 22, 2021
editors note: There’s more than one way to get a charge. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week:
“We’re here now as we are, but soon, you’ll still be you and nothing around you will be yours, not even your own body or mind.”
Here’s a bit of Bruce’s tale of pasts and futures all colliding and dying at once:
(photo “Rolled to a Halt” by Tyler Malone)
I once worked as the night shift charge nurse for Oak Street Care Center. The hospital where I worked prior to that went bankrupt. So I took the job at the Care Center, a skilled nursing home in my own town. I had been nursing for 13 years by then. In that time I had seen a lot of changes that were making my job more stressful, including the nurse to patient ratio getting worse, an increase in paperwork, computer systems that tied nurses to the desk.
Shifts were 7 PM to 7 AM. I had 42 patients, one entire hall and half of another hall. The other nurse on night shift also had a hall and half of another, with about the same number of patients. We had four nursing assistants, or CNAs. We were expected to keep the residents safe. This was no easy task when many of them had Alzheimer’s and were prone to falling. The evening med pass was huge. I also had a lot of scheduled meds to pass out in the morning.
First on my med pass was Ida. She was in her 80s and had mild dementia. Her friend Leon was nearly always in her room. He was also in his 80s. They had been lovers when younger. Leon would take her out to eat and for car rides. He told me stories about his boyhood in the Great Depression, life during the second World War, and talked about how the world has changed during his lifetime…
Get the rest of Bruce’s recollection right here.
••• Open Mic •••
Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.01.21) when we’ll once again be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our new home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!
Starting at 7:30pm, join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay, along with musical mad grooves from CZWP (Chris Curiel, Chris Zimmerly & Clark Walker) as we kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities…
Come to participate.
Come to appreciate.
Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call…
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’…
Short Story Editor