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“Only those things are beautiful which are
inspired by madness and written by reason.”
Andre Gide

featured poems

Night is lifting out

Night is lifting out
like some kind of stain
and here I sit
between the entrance and exit
of the sky
I exist in this place
in the overlap
that binds the drift and the rise
I am most comfortable
in such lukewarm confusion
where nothing found
is what it seems
and everything lost
will reveal itself and be restored

- Bekah Steimel

(added 11.28.14)

editor’s note: We await, after loss, the joy of finding; the angst of anticipation. - mh


Shirts and Skins (Thanksgiving Mornings)

Maze-fed country boys pray to one god on game day
before televised tradition, when morning games pre-game adulthood.

By late afternoon’s traditional feast, all will be NFL MVPs.
Super Bowls, not equations, couplets, complex histories or simple metaphors
inspire, only giving thanks to bodies maintained to be entertained.

Balls, the hopes of inner-cities—it’s the same as for country rats
raised on Nike and gravy-laced overtime heartbeats,
time spent dreaming about being the sexiest men dead or alive.

Some boys savagely skin themselves, demanding nudity with
Gatorade-stained mouths, cornucopias of curse words.

Shirts and skins!—the death sentence of fat children.
Running, like swimming, is safe in a shirt: no one knows what’s underneath—

Games are wars, and boys know bodies don’t matter, only the body count
over grass the color of badly born babies born to be picked last.

Savages and sweat-dressed saviors pretend to play
with knuckles the color of Sun Dancers, the game is everything
we were born to be and be thankful for.

- Tyler Malone

(1 poem added 11.27.14)

editor’s note: On Game Day, it's the winners who give thanks; the losers wash the dishes. (This Thanksgiving Day missive comes from our own Short Story Editor and poet, Tyler Malone. Hey, Tyler! Thanks!) - mh


the sun is a secret legend in the dark

on nowhere's edge
the blinds let in

a runner
of moonlight

like some old movie
we forgot we loved again

the deep regularity
of your breathing

tells me you
may really be asleep

our neighbors are

branches on windows
and tongues

against the gin
writing and writing

i am numb with
silent noise

you roll in
to me

and i
am lost

- Paul Koniecki

(3 poems added 11.26.14)

editor’s note: In the mid of night, the sun is only a story. A warm body is real. (Paul will be our feature poet at Mad Swirl Open Mic, next Wednesday at The Absinthe Lounge. See two more of his new mad missives on his page; come out next week to hear him read - maybe some of these.) - mh



There are things that make you come out of yourself:
starlings suddenly swooping up out of the trees,
scared off by car horns and four-letter words,
or it was just collective urge to write
out visual grammar gone berserk:
all dots and commas and asterisks
gone crazy against the sky.

Startling from our point-of-view,
usual from theirs.
Together a thing that makes you come out of yourself.

There are things that make you get over yourself:
“Why do cars keep losing their tire lids on the
side of the road?” “Can you imagine that
for me and describe it really good so
I can imagine it too?” And “You
can be stupid but only if you
let me be stupid with you.”

Startling from our point-of-view,
simple from theirs.
Together a thing that makes you get over yourself.

There are things that turn your selfdom inside out:
when a fellow says he almost met his maker,
and weeps not from fear of losing his wife
(or his life), but from shock and awe of
almost meeting his maker; would your
heart rip out of its bag of bones to
catch up to this kind of love?

Startling from our point-of-view,
humbling from his.
Together a thing that turns your selfdom inside out.

- Beth DeSeelhorst

(2 poems added 11.25.14)

editor’s note: Surprises come from within when awakened by happenings without. (We welcome Beth to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. See another awakening poem and other madness on her new page - check it out.) - mh



One of my actors
in my Original Theater
roller bladed
to his audition
he had tunnel vision
of his lines
with an eidetic memory
so I kept my eye on Adam
he left us
for the Big Apple
since I had no funds
to pay him for his worth
then went to Hollywood
and became a star
but when I needed him
he always came back
to us in roller blades
until he fell off
listening to Coltrane.

- B.Z. Niditch

(1 poem added 11.24.14)

editor’s note: In this screenplay, the story writes itself in roller blade time; actors speak in jazz riffs. - mh


Long Wait

A swim at the beach by night
and a bottle of cheap ‘Port’.

Beans and weenies at the hotel.

The muted sound of a Sax from
an open window across the alley.

An orange moon begs to share
light despite the drawn curtains.

Love lies dying in the dark
she exhales like a deflated balloon.

Alone now—

Once again, fighting the long
wait until dawn.

Out of drink…
Out of smokes…
Out of luck.

Losing the fight thus far.

- S. A. Gerber

(added 11.23.14)

editor’s note: "All good things come to those who wait!" say those who got what they waited for. - mh


(For Dr Abdel Hamid)

A war without an army, a battle
With no flag. It’s fought inside a darkness
We all have in our minds. No bugle call,
No marching bands - and medals? Even less!
You’ll never be on your own but often
Wish you were! You are trapped inside a net –
A mesh that must be killed, it’s either you
Or it. Can you be a killer? You bet!
The conflict zone is larger than you thought.
At first, and also last, it’s doom and gloom.
But then finally you have to face it.
No glory. It comes down to this small room.
He stands, this man who took you through your fear.
He shakes your hand and smiles, and says, ‘You’re clear!’

- Derrick Gaskin

(1 poem added 11.22.14)

editor’s note: A regular irregular to keep our pathways clear. No brain sepsis here! - mh

Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum

welcome to the Mad Swirl poetry forum. we have collected poetry from the maddest poets from the maddest corners of the world and have showcased them here in the forum just for you. this page is in flux, living and breathing, evolving and changing constantly... so please come and come often for the latest submissions. if you would like to submit poetry for the forum please see our submissions page.

staff poets

MH Clay
Cheyenne Gallion
Paul Koniecki *
Tyler Malone *
Johnny Olson

contributing poets

Sheikha A.
Haris Adhikar
Arif Ahmad
Ann B-D
Jhon Baker
Claude Barrett
Amy Barry
Gene Barry
Hem Raj Bastola
Gary Beck
Gayle Bell
Mike Berger
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Sheighle Birdthistle
Alan Britt
James Brown
Heather M. Browne
Melanie Browne
Sissy Buckles
Arun Budhathoki
Francesca Castaño
Bhargab Chatterjee
Kanchan Chatterjee
Sunya Chavi
Ralph-Michael Chiaia
Quinten Collier
Virginie Colline
Michael Corrigan
Rina Angela Corpus
Laurie Corzett
Hal J. Daniel III
Holly Day
P.K. Deb
Beth DeSeelhorst *
Joseph D. DiLella
Paul Donnachie
Jesse Doughty
J.K. Durick
Rob Dyer
Joseph Elenbaas
Neil Ellman
Michael Estabrook
Joseph Farley
Zach Fishel
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Peggy Flora
Ralph Freda
Taylor Gall
Rafael Andrade Garza
Derrick Gaskin *
Silas Gorin
KJ Hannah Greenberg
John Grey
Jake Grieco
Tobias Griffin
John Grochalski
Kenneth P. Gurney
Alan Halford
Chris Hamilton
Zachary Scott Hamilton
Charlotte Hamrick
Dawnell Harrison
Paul Hellweg
R.A. Hernandez
Michael Holme
Paul Hostovsky
A.J. Huffman
Clinton Van Inman
Genevieve Jenkins
Ivan Jenson
Randall Johnson
Jericho Joyce
Santosh Kalwar
Peycho Kanev
Carl Kavadlo
Michael R. King
Kay Kinghammer
Craig Kurtz
Michael Atreides Lair
Elissa Landrigan
Pd Lietz
Todd Macaulay
Donal Mahoney
Ally Malinenko
Louis Marvin
Brendan McCormack
Silva Zanoyan Merjanian
Bradford Middleton
Steven Minchin
Rose Aiello Morales
Ian Mullins
Polly Munnelly
Gina Nemo
B.Z. Niditch *
Chiranjibi Niroula
Lisa Olson
Stephen Page
Jeffrey Park
Irena Pasvinter
Lilly Penhall
Robert E. Petras
Patty Dickson Pieczka
Timothy Pilgrim
Douglas Polk
Nalini Priyadarshni
Christopher Raley
Sam Rapth
Gayle Reaves-King
Roderick Richardson
Pere Risteski
Luke Ritta
Sy Roth
Walter Ruhlmann
David Rutter
Gianni Sacco
Opalina Salas
Paul Sexton
Lisa Shields
Roger G. Singer
Kayla Siobhan
Willie Smith
Desmene M. Statum
Alex L. Swartzentruber
David Thornbrugh
Melani Grace Tiongson
Paul Tristram
Kufre Udeme
Mel Waldman
Anthony Ward
Trier Ward
Harley White
Bill Wolak
Brian Wood
Changming Yuan
Chris Zimmerly

* new entries (11.22 - 11.28)

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