••• The Mad Gallery •••
“Breathe I” ~ Jada Yee
To see all of Jada’s beautifully chaotic collages, 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 had nothing amiss with a dog in bliss; we Darthed the diff in a rasta spliff; we licensed the lot for doing or not; we left heart behind for humankind; we oceaned again as river and rain; we rang in place with a funny face; we mourned life in the lurch after a roadside search. We’re driven by what we’re given. ~ MH Clay
I know a kid who got killed by the police. by Ron Riekki
He was a kid. His wife was pregnant, but
he was a kid. Just out of high school.
He looked like a kid. He was white.
Most of the people I know are either white
or indigenous or a mix of white
and indigenous or mostly white
but identify as indigenous or mostly
indigenous but identify as white,
and this poet laureate I know who
is mixed said that mixed indigenous
have the same killed-by-police rates
as indigenous who aren’t mixed.
I remember when the cops pulled me
over and I was moving, so my car was packed
to the hilt, where I made sure that the windows
weren’t blocked, but other than that every nook
and cranny was filled with everything I owned
in the world and it was a barren street so it was just
me and the cops and the sun and the day was hot
and it was noon so the sun was ready for a full
day of cooking us slowly and the cops asked if I had
any drugs in the car and I said no and they asked
if I had any drugs in the car and I said no and they
asked if I had any drugs in the car for a third time
and I said no and they told me to step out of the car
and it was a barren street and the sun wouldn’t be
able to do anything and there were no drugs in the car
and the sun was in the car and they told me to empty my car
and I said I couldn’t do that and they said they could arrest me
and I said for? and they asked if I had any drugs in the car
and I said no and they asked if I had any guns in the car
and I didn’t know why they changed it to guns all of a sudden
and they told me they could bring me to the station and
I said there wasn’t anything in the car and they said they weren’t
so sure of that, that the car looked pretty full to them,
but there weren’t any guns in the car or any drugs in the car
and they made me take everything out and I mean everything,
all my property—pillows and photos and books and scrapbooks
and paper that got loose and up and flew away in the wind
and my bedsheets were in the dirt on the side of the road and
a fan was on the side of the road and all my clothes, right there,
my underwear right there, my toothbrush and toothpaste in the dirt
and a car went by and its driver looked at me and I looked at her
and there was nothing I could do and then when the trunk was empty,
the car was empty, they took flashlights and they found no drugs
and they found no guns and they told me to drive more carefully,
when I had been driving perfectly and everything was on the side
of the road, this bizarre sight of a car with all its doors open, the trunk
open, and a lamp in the grass and a mirror up against a rock showing all
of this in duplicate and I put everything back in the car, slowly, them
standing there, watching.
And I had a friend who was killed
by the police. And his wife was pregnant. And he looked like a kid.
Because he was.
December 3, 2022
editors note: A search for drugs, guns, life; but no seizure. – mh clay
Smells Like Old Guitar Strings by Chris Zimmerly
Make a funny face cuz you want to
Why is she hiding in shadow
Make a funny face cuz you can
Leaping from silence
The powers refuse to tell the Truth
All the faces in the mirror’s memory stare like mullet
Their intention is to divide us
Even from 10,000 light-years away
Your broken-hearted smile
Is a railroad bed
Full of train horn
Blasting at the starlight crossing
Eyes are hung up, gnawing
On shadow and light
You are the Angel
Talking inside into Existing
Littoral zone singing Emily Dickinson’s edge of infinity
Then Death is right up in my face
Licking clay from my spirit
Until a ringing bell of light
Is all I am
December 2, 2022
editors note: How to lose weight on the Angel Express. – mh clay
I will never be the same again by Hem Raj Bastola
I am the river,
I am the rain!
Visible cloud my life
I will never be
The same again.
Was a child,
Deep you are
Deeper you want to go.
It is the process,
Anywhere you see.
Struggle a life!
What do you want to be?
Wanted to be like:
The lake stagnant
Not static, an inconstant flux.
Neither can stop the cycle
Nor any trick to Dam.
Ever fickle is a human!
Change is what?
A phenomenon you see.
In order to exist and to be,
Meandering I flow
Stage to stage passing.
To the ocean finally.
December 1, 2022
editors note: I sea therefore I am. – mh clay
leave your heart behind by Andrea Damic
war, destruction, refuge
taken in shelters, if
you are lucky to stay alive
children in tears,
mothers exhausted hiding their fears,
trying to survive
she heard it said, to
leave your heart
have faith, that
one day you shall return to
your ‘abandoned’ kind
until then, memories
linger, burning; unsure if
luck is what kept her alive
slightly unhinged, or
stupidly naive, hoping…
that somewhere else
lives a better,
November 30, 2022
editors note: The price to pay for survival at any cost. – mh clay
Absolute License by David Dumouriez
We name it life, unknown of what it is.
Within it, we exert some thousand wills
responsible for dullness, ecstasy, and craft.
Random ends in ignorance produced
by those whose only mission is decay.
We’re not, and then we are, and then we’re not.
Brief wearers of this chain of straw,
we owe no one. There’s nobody to owe.
When faced with choices, we can do or not;
for ultimately nothing parts the two.
We can manufacture ties of loyalty,
but these exist alone to test or break.
Unpalatable it is, perhaps,
but no opinion counts that’s worth the name.
This is the blood and bone of us.
Some it scares; others liberates.
November 29, 2022
editors note: License without learner’s permit; we’re destined to drive this into the ground. – mh clay
Darth Vader in Jamaica by Robert Fleming
open your passport to Jamaica
two light-years from the Death Star
smoke a spliff?
Will spliffing take me to the dark side?
Will jerking capture the force?
bend your back under a metal bar
Will limbo-ing convert Luke-Sky-Walker to the dark side?
walk on broken glass
Will glass-walking make Leia love me?
put-on a lime thong
Will thonging release me to the surf side?
Darth darkens the war of stars
still the force lights the Kingston night
November 28, 2022
editors note: It all starts with spliffing. The Force Be(ware) With You! – mh clay
MY DOG WHO WEIGHS MORE THAN ME by Michael Brownstein
My hand goes through his fur as if it were sand,
his loose leaf skin water,
and he lays his large head on my lap,
his work as a dog done for today.
It is time to sleep.
He snores louder,
his body still,
all of his exuberance and noisy appreciation of life
idled to a list of breaths,
the warm sand of his fur,
the cool water of his skin.
November 27, 2022
editors note: An enchanting entrapment. – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
If you’re chasing down a read then catch this week’s featured story, “The Pursuit“ by Henry Felerski!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week:
We know where it all went wrong, even if we don’t know where it all goes. What an awful responsibility but what a free way to live.
Here’s how the whole hunt begins:
“What Keeps Us in Pieces” by Tyler Malone
When Peter was arrested, at first I was shocked. Shortly after, a numbness set in as I listened to other opinions on the event.
My friends said there’s no way he did it. Peter was our friend, they remind me. He was gentle and trustworthy and he would never do something like that. I reflect on the sneering remarks they made behind his back about his desperate attempts to woo Cindy West.
My parents told me Peter was always troubled, that it was just a matter of time before he set off on the criminal path. They reminded me that they always thought he was a bad influence. I reminded them of the time they invited Peter to spend a week over summer vacation in Florida with us at my great aunt’s…
Track down the rest of Peter’s tale over here!
••• Open Mic •••
Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of December (aka 12.07.22) when we’ll once again be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION and from our Mad Zoom Room (broadcasted via FB Live)!
Starting at 7:30pm, join host MH Clay & guest host Desmene Statum as we will kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities with some musical grooves brought to you by Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel, Gerard Bendiks) followed by our usual unusual open mic!
Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call… Mad Swirl!
The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin’ on… NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in our Mad Swirl’s World? Then come by whenever the mood strikes! We’ll be here…
Short Story Editor