“Truth is always exciting. Speak it, then; life is dull without it.”
Pearl S. Buck
••• The Mad Gallery •••
untitled ~ Eric Suhem
To see all of Eric’s trippy illustrations, as well as our other resident artists (50+ and counting!) take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!
••• The Poetry Forum •••
This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we unstopped the way for R and J; we suffered no lack from what can’t come back; we lived in the lag of our chemical bag; we drew some lines to read the signs; we culled consternation from home decoration; we wrote from reading till heart stopped beating; we dreamed not many when never he any. When ever is only what never is not, we synthesize story from whatever we’ve got. ~ MH Clay
Never He Any by Ken Edward Rutkowski
Never he any never be any rest aligned star crazily meandering through the universe hurling sparks throughout the cosmos down on this Earth he never had any such as traveled far away and back it was a dream he was the Future Past never had he any from beginning to end like the burning string on both sides watching it burn matching light folding telling a story an adventure starts from the beginning but never ends never happened to me we us never me many never he any such are fools lost in the mind a clouded thought in fruition above my head I can see it be sunny weather wind pushes through swiping all reality away it was a dream a dream is never he any somewhat pursed on the pursuit of so called happiness a number a relief a testament to the unhappy lives you’ve lived dream?
June 25, 2022
editors note: Maybe never, if ever. (We welcome Ken Edward to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
someone tilled me with a Troy-Bilt Super Bronco rototiller by Robert Fleming
i can’t eat Alphabet cereal on a soup spoon
because my sugar’s too high
babble becomes speech
i can’t reduce my daddy bulge
because my stomach fat is mega alpha
da is doubled into dada
i can’t erect like a Cargotec crane
because my testosterone is below 300 nanograms per deciliter
cat dog pig multiplied into 2 syllables to caca doodoo porky
i can read my writing with glasses
because reading comes before writing
writing comes before reading
i can divide numbers & write letters
because numbers come before letters
letters come before numbers
i can inhale plants & exhale to plants
because oxygen comes from carbon-dioxide
the chemical periodic table joins letters and number
i can’t beat anymore
because birth becomes death
my EKG is the sound of tinnitus silence
June 24, 2022
editors note: We come out, beat forth, are turned under. – mh clay
My Wall: A Polyglot by Monobina Nath
A monotonous crack
Is the vision
In my mind
Filling the gaps
That can and cannot be
Of sand and cement.
On my wall
Only two divergent colours-
Real and unreal
Like an array
Of striped jeans
The sewing machines.
Till the dots spread
From an incarcerous spell
To tell its plot-
My wall: A polyglot.
June 23, 2022
editors note: Multiple languages to increase our misunderstanding in multiple ways. – mh clay
Black Contradiction by James Brown
The roaring thunder spans out across the darkened sky and tears fall from it, church bells ring out, church choir sings their hearts out, other late-night gunshots rang out, life smothered out; call it code black out, brother against brother killing our own color talking of hate from the others when we demonstrate the hate amongst one another, we were deeply wounded culturally, time has mended that old wound and now it’s a small laceration continuing to be closed by a percentage of a nation until it bears only a scar.
Are we our own racists against our blackness?
Mind over matter, let us debate over what truly matters, black killers or killer cops?
Like black on black crime, our people are the ones who need to truly read the signs (black lives matter all lives matter).
June 22, 2022
editors note: Such contradiction opens to white interdiction. Read the signs, indeed. – mh clay
Bags of Chemicals by Jean Biegun
My scientific son says we’re all bags of chemicals.
He could be right.
I know I leak happy serotonin from my armpits
when he sends the rare e-mail.
I feel warm dopamine vibes
when I look in the mirror at my graying hair
and like what I see
despite the loss of sexy estrogen.
My husband made that new dish I suggested for dinner,
and we both agree never to add habanero sauce
and adobo to anything ever again.
The G-I doc was right when he said the gut and brain
carry on constant conversations.
Our stomachs are screaming at our heads right now.
Some prescription disliked my head last week,
but I sucked in the side-effect rage and did not choke
the innocent bystander spouse.
The day I rejected that last pill in the bottle,
we felt glad we still have our mutual life.
Driving by the lake regularly
makes me feel good.
I count on its chemical beauty
for every prescribed transcendent mood.
Good ole H2O.
It always comes down to the liquids around,
about, and inside us:
their balance, their charge, their corpuscular weight.
Maybe crying isn’t so bad nor sweating
or vomiting after a bad fight or scare.
Bags of chemicals on a watery orb,
a blob in vacuous space — makes you wonder, that’s all.
June 21, 2022
editors note: Gods bless this liquid life! (We welcome Jean to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay
Gone for Good by Taylor Dibbert
A lot of it,
Most of it,
In a lot,
But there are,
That he can’t,
Quite a bit,
Call it a funeral,
It’s not about,
It’s about looking,
For what’s next,
And a quiet,
Above all else,
No other way,
To say it,
He’s not sure,
Won’t ever be sure,
He just knows,
When love dies,
June 20, 2022
editors note: We gotta move on when what’s gone is gone. – mh clay
1966… by Sheighle Birdthistle
Go… and find your own way
Or have adoption if you stay
The screams the hurt all stone
So away from home struggling
I left, so all alone.
My purse all empty but for
Pounds two and twenty
My suitcase with I know not now
My big sister crying do not go.
I was to marry in six weeks
But babies cause funny tweaks
And every day as I was ill
The signs were noted without skill
To understand ‘cause I was young
A new young life had already begun
So my love he came for me he
Traveled fast to take me free
Into his arms where I belong
I left in tears and cried for years
And love that child through many fears
So friends left my life family and kin
Because I broke the status quo
Of marriage first but no one knows
The stress of knowing why they tried
To stop our love and keep me tied
To family and the only way
To be docile and so correct and
Never let outside suspect
That no one could put us apart
A Romeo who loved his Juliette
With all his heart
June 19, 2022
editors note: But, unlike R&J, this tragedy has a happy ending. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you need-a-read, we got one bottled up and ready for your consumption! Check out the “The Haint Tree“ by Janice C. Carter!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the weekend:
After all, how many of us are looking for the afterlife? We’re looking for what’s after right now, nothing more. Nothing less.
Here’s a few sips to quench your reading thirst:
(photo “Those Who Watch” by Tyler Malone)
It was the kind of night that made you wonder what lurked in the shadows. The wind howled through the trees and leaves swayed from its bluster. The sun should have set for the evening, but a thick layer of blackening clouds extended as far as my eyes could see, making the time seem closer to midnight. The marsh smelled heavy with pluff mud while the winds whipped across the emergent soft-stemmed vegetation. The grassy stalks shimmered with beads of mist, like dew kissing a morning lawn. Suddenly, bright streaks of lightning darted across the pitch-black sky.
Why did I leave my car? After having time pondering, I should have stayed there. It would have made more sense for me to wait right there, alone in my car, my dead car. I shook the image of the impact with the tree from my mind. You may be thinking the same thing I am. Why in God’s name did I leave my phone at home? Or did I? I again rummaged through my handbag, to no avail.
A strong smell of wet asphalt permeated the highway, signifying a recently added layer. The road beneath my feet looked as dark and foreboding as the sky overhead. Three miles ahead—my mind reflected upon my decisions while I trudged along the shoulder of the highway. If only I had not swerved to miss the animal in the middle of my lane. At least I missed it, and it is still alive.
A torrential downpour commenced. I pulled the hood of my jacket over my head and secured the snaps down the front to keep out the chill. The rain and dropping temperature felt like they were penetrating my very soul. I shivered.
Knowing houses in the area were few and far between, I wondered if I would get a ride home or get to call someone for help. I continued walking, cringing at each rumble of thunder, allowing the bursts of light to guide my way. In the distance, I saw a faint porch light. I neared the darkened house. I knocked on the door and rang the doorbell.
All was in vain, as not a soul came to the door.
When the ding of the bell fell silent, I turned to face my destiny in the dark of the night. A blue shimmer caught my eye on my right side of the front yard while a streak of lightning darted across the sky. At first glance, I saw only darkness within the tree. My eyes adjusted to the dim porch light, and I saw beautiful cobalt blue bottles hanging from each sturdy limb. Fishing cords allowed some bottles to swing back and forth, while others were stuck on leafless branches upside down. I reached up to touch one of the swinging blue bottles. A prismatic maelstrom erupted from the center of the bottle, seized and entangled me in the draw of its vortex, and sucked me deep inside the small bottle…
Climb up into the rest of this tale right here!
If you need-a-read, our featured weekday story “The Scar“ by Roopa Menon is sure to leave a mark.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the weekday:
New homes: new wounds.
Here’s a few nibbles to whet your appetite:
(photo by Tyler Malone)
I met Mr. Pereira one foggy morning. The building where he stayed was a long walk from mine; the icy wind constantly brushed against my cheeks and chest as I walked down the dimly lit pavement.
When I finally reached the building, I couldn’t see it as it had slipped behind a thick blanket of fog. I hesitated for a second before slicing through the blinding white curtains. A staircase, polished and winding, awaited me on the other side. It led me to the first floor, which had one large flat at the end of a long corridor. A sole bulb guided me to the flat where he stood, holding a large key the size of a decayed tree stump. The light flickered but Mr. Pereira stood still. In the fading brightness, I saw the scar. Or was it the scar that spotted me? I couldn’t tell, but once I saw it. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It was thin and light brown and it partitioned his wrinkled tanned face as one would neatly slice open a watermelon. The key, in proximity, resembled a gnarled bone. Wordlessly he led me inside where ivory-colored walls, gray sofa, and wooden cupboards greeted me. The furniture was sparse, but every piece was in its designated place, like organs in a human body.
Just as I finished approving the classic white cabinetry with stainless steel cookware, stove top, and an unspoiled dishrag in the kitchen in my head, I heard a voice, more like a high-pitched squeak.
“There is only one condition: you have to move in tomorrow.” Said Mr. Pereira.
“But…” I started but stopped as soon as I felt the disapproving glare of the scar upon me. “But…” I began again, deliberately turning away from the scar, when another high-pitched squeak interrupted me and my thoughts.
“It’s cookie time, everyone.” It was Mrs. Pereira. But I didn’t notice a petite woman that thrust a plate of cookies with big chocolate blobs on my hands, only her long, thin scar. Now there were two scars, I thought, and nervously took the cookies and ate them. Once I bit into their chewy parts, I couldn’t stop. I went on until the warm, oozy chocolate coated my tongue and quelled my doubts.
The two scars meant business…
Find out what the biz is 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…
Short Story Editor