The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
••• The Mad Gallery •••
Justice ~ Fernando Carpaneda
To see all Fernando’s wonderfully madly mysterious works, 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 stepped in the way of a ricochet; we loved to see what comes on three; we holidays rated, their virtues debated; we scurried away, from hunter to prey; we heard a thing ‘bout a tiny king; we turned from derision, a shift in position; we made a sublime wasting of time. Our tics turn to talk to words on a page. ~ MH Clay
Plenty of Time For It by Joseph Farley
I waste my time,
And I waste yours.
It is an age of luxury
There’s so much time
And so much nonsense
That could be done.
Poetry fits in there nicely
Between the bowling
And the balling,
The drugs and booze,
And the ignoring
Of all valid excuses
To do something better,
Like taking a piss
On a deserving grave.
November 4, 2023
editors note: A perfect pissant puts off again. – mh clay
Shifting Position by David Ratcliffe
I turn towards the light, fearing hope, stone
faced in the wake of a smile, shutters down
as muscles of my eyes flex. Through layers
of skin brightness filters encouraging a flicker
of lids and movement of limbs an answer
to a call. A call I recognise as the warmth
of compassion provides a shiver. Though it’s
just a moment’s bliss before nimbus intervals
weep and lean on my bones pushing them into
earth. Pistol-whipped, dazed, warped at the knees,
I become drenched in the brutal depths of
mortality, biting hard on consumed memory,
shuffling on a journey to redemption, one stride
ahead of the slow crawl of acceptance. Yet,
in the midst of the storm grey beads cultivate
roots, promoting growth, strengthening resolve,
feeding understanding as I wake and smell
the bullshit, shifting position to follow the sun.
November 3, 2023
editors note: A pivot from putrid to pleasant. – mh clay
Tiny Mice by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
I followed the procession of tiny mice
driven through town in a tiny motorcade.
I could not bring myself to laugh because
I was told one of the mice was the king
and that tiny king had the power to
sentence me to a life in prison where
the only meal I would be fed would be
Swiss cheese and scraps of copper
wiring. The tiny king mouse was white
as snow and had dark black eyes. The
queen was white as snow as well but had
one green eye and an eye patch on the other
eye. It was forbidden to gossip about
what happened to the queen’s missing eye.
November 2, 2023
editors note: Tiny grist for a gossip group. – mh clay
Natural Prey by Mickey J. Corrigan
After decades of sweet flesh
on demand ripe as cherries
time shifts your branches
thinned out, flashing
lights frighten you now
small animal, woman in linen
afraid the sky will descend
directly on you so scurry,
scurry into thigh-high grasses
lie down and wait, wait
for the stalk, the hunter
boot heels hard as bone
black eyes blank
on your shivering ribs
furry head so deep
in the soft green nest
you’ll miss the kill shot
when the spotlight flickers
goes out for good.
November 1, 2023
editors note: A hapless hitch to hide in ditch, turned from hunter to hunted. – mh clay
The People Who Say Halloween is Better Than Christmas by Ron Riekki
are sexier. But the people who say Christmas
is better than Halloween are nicer. Except for
the people who are angry about it. The people
who think Halloween is better than Christmas
like to listen to punk, sometimes. The people
who think Christmas is better than Halloween
tend to make more money. They also own
more guns. It doesn’t make sense. Nothing
makes sense. At least that’s what the people
who like Halloween better than Christmas say.
I know. I’m one of them. Here comes a ghost!
October 31, 2023
editors note: How many guns do you own? – mh clay
Third Love by Guest Poet James Croal Jackson
If the first love was our god the second a figment the third
proves an existence of friction the lives intertwined
forced connection of time and distance
I mean a highway
of guitars strumming the speed limit & talk
of marriage premature
such that our love was born x-rayed in bed with wanting
to run away that kind of escape is magical
blue smoke in the night
on the back patio of an apartment by the river
the burn of lips and wind carry us further
October 30, 2023
editors note: Charmed by a third to make whole. – mh clay
Ricochet by Guest Poet D A Angelo
The moon is sleepwalking again. You bump into it
on the way to the kitchen for a 3am snack. Sleeping alone again.
This is what the barren desert of unwanted desire does —
a ricochet from the game of Russian roulette played in dreams.
Take the bullet. Take it.
Catch it in your teeth like a gift,
like the greatest gift you’ve ever received.
October 29, 2023
editors note: Time to lock and load, lonely hearts! – mh clay
••• Short Stories •••
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week:
When it’s time to grow, then it’s time to go. So go!
Here’s a few nibbles to whet your read appetite:
“Baked Goods Baked Well ~ Tyler Malone
“Someone is holding their finger on my door buzzer,” Renee said to her newish boyfriend, Neal.
“It’s probably Michael,” he said, and rolled his eyes. “It’s Sunday. He knows you’ll have some tasty morsels for him.”
Michael is Renee’s brother. He is round with a turned-up nose. He is a better baker than Renee but lacks any sort of follow through. He can’t create a recipe and put it into production to save his life. He has left that to Renee who dreams of opening a bakery in honor of their late father, Frederic Gaston, one of the most famous pastry chefs in New York City. He worked for the Waldorf Astoria for his entire career, leaving a dream of opening his own bakery on the table.
Renee had recently taken a baking class to improve her piping skills. It is where she met Neal, owner of No-Two-of-a-Kind Bakery. He had told her that the name One-of-a-Kind Bakery was already taken, but he was not deterred. She couldn’t make sense of any of it, but knew he wasn’t looking for her opinion.
“You should probably let him in,” Renee said to Neal.
“Let’s pretend we’re not here,” he said. Neal walked the edges of the kitchen, past the island, and into the adjoining room, pushing himself into the drapes, peaking just a little. “It’s not Michael, it’s Tiffany,” he said, and buzzed her in…
Renee would have selected Tiffany, not Michael, to be the one to leave out in the cold. Tiffany was Neal’s ex-girlfriend. Neal hooked the two women up because he wanted them to infuse his business with their talents. Unfortunately for him, Tiffany would not leave her more secure position as a local bank manager to manage his operation. She was only interested in Neal’s sugar, and said as much…
Get the whole bite right here!
••• Open Mic •••
If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.01.23) at our OC home, Barbara’s Pavillion, then you know that once again whirl’d up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!
This month we celebrated 19 YEARS of swirling up open mic madness! It has been quite the journey for us from that Fall day back in 2004. We ventured from Absinthe Lounge to The Underpass to City Tavern to the Regal Room to Top Ten Records to COVID-virtual and celebrated last night’s milestone at Barbara’s Pavillion! Thanks to all who indulged us in our trip down memory lane. We look forward to the many more Mad mic memories & moments to come!
Thanks to ALL the participators & appreciators who rode the Mad wave live at Barbara’s:
Swirve (Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks)
Brett “BA” Ardoin
We know you have a few choices of what to do with your Wednesday night (especially LAST NIGHT, with the Texas Rangers World Series win!) & you picked to hang out with lil ol’ us!
Stay tuned ’til next 1st Wednesday… ’til then, may the madness swirl your way!
P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, your eye can spy on the whole virtual Swirl’n scenes right here…
••• Mad Swirl Press •••
Mad Swirl started with ink on paper. Our very first issue, a self-titled zine was published in 1999 and consisted of 32 glorious Xeroxed pages filled with poetry, prose, art and a whole lotta miscellaneous madnesses. Thru the years we published six issues of our Mad Swirl zine along with a handful of poetry chapbooks for a few local loco DFW poets. Sadly, those projects are now out of circulation.
Fast forward to today…
We never lost the connection to our inky roots. Starting in 2017 we got the print itch again and began publishing “The Best of Mad Swirl” anthologies, as well as a few other poetic gems for some mighty talented folks we know. If you haven’t snagged you a copy yet, here’s your one-stop-shop…
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