The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.09.17

by on April 9, 2017 :: 0 comments

“Any healthy man can go without food for two days – but not without poetry.” ~ Charles Baudelaire

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Strike!” (above) by featured artist David Ross.

Our newest featured artist at Mad Swirl, David Ross, brings us a collection of complicated, chaotic works that we could probably stare at for an entire day. Some pieces have words while others don’t but there’s no arguing that either way each seems to tell its own story While each work of art is extremely different – in obvious as well as intricate ways – there is a style that Ross has really got down. We at Mad Swirl couldn’t be happier for that. Take a look for yourself! But when you spend your whole day squinting at each and every little detail, well, don’t say we didn’t tell you so. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see more of David’s mad illustrations, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe scaped goat; song wrote; nuts roasted; brain toasted; horn frogged; life fogged; pop, popped in hip-hop. Jump! ~ MH Clay


in the ghetto

no time is sacred,
no time safe.

comes now at 1st light & through the luminescence of day

into night

after dark
after light.

comes, evil speaks

Brave one; listen to the rhapsody of death.

Pop, pop, pop in bestial hip-hop.

Gunshots shriek
& find the meek

pitch-black darkness

life obliterated

to otherworldly silence & mortal absence in the swirl of ethereal extinction

this is the time you taste the music of trauma

feast on fear.

is the time you bathe in crimson water

taste the underbelly of sin.

is the time you hear the eerily everlasting music drowning in the key of death.

is the time of the shattering

inside the rhapsody & the requiem

a stranger sings of non-being

gunshots gut the grotesquerie of night & gallop into the deformity of day.

is the time to vanish in the music of trauma.

is the time to die & fly away.

April 8, 2017

editors note: We scare them into wanting escape, then give them nowhere to go. – mh clay

That Last Horse Ride by Linda Imbler

Craving the color white,
The lust for grains of paradise,
The once welcome guests
You chose to entertain,
Become as intruders,
As violators who leave a stain,
On your health, on your soul,
On your sensibilities, they take their toll,
Drying up your emotions,
A desiccation of what you were,
A cracking apart,
Like cement without being cured,
Splitting, shifting
All the pretty colors you enjoyed,
Now all merged
Into achromatic totality,
The bright white envoy
Paired with red,
Into blackness has led,
The craving has ceased
Be at peace.

April 7, 2017

editors note: Rest through removal; of color, of breath, of… – mh clay

The Central Divide by Colin Dodds

I am the most single bachelor.
The women who will escape my embrace
are incalculable.

If I was Augustus, I couldn’t count them
with an imperial census.
But I try, nonetheless, in a bar.

No man is truly tortured or crippled
if he’s part of a larger symmetry, if there’s someone
like him on the other side of the central divide.

There’s the halo/turd above the woman.
There’s the halo with teeth,
like an unsprung trap for dreamy animals.

Such a symmetry
would explain all this
mean-spirited strangeness.

And I fear that no such mirror
shines on me
and I am only running farther into the darkness.

I see the symmetry
to my mad zigzag
in a woman’s eyes.

Maybe I’m just horny,
maybe I’m just wrong.
Hunger makes everything unclear.

April 6, 2017

editors note: Or, maybe the hunger ensures natural selection? Evolution is a bitch! – mh clay

IN SEARCH OF MY BRAIN by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

I feel like a human experiment.
Thieves have stolen my brain.
I have no sense of timing.
The mirror does not recognize me.
I feel a dimness of sight.

I walk the streets confused.
I lose myself in these streets.
I am in search of my brain.
I am stuck in traffic.
I am deaf to the sounds of birds.
I am at a loss for the simple things.

April 5, 2017

editors note: Yes, petri dish denizens, we be. No brains, no reason; just drive. – mh clay

Windfall Field Day by Jeff Bagato

gray papoose strolls
in flash bulb light
while a well-armed
leaf blower blows hot
on the bricks,
and the pigeons on
Andy Jackson’s head,
shoulders & horse’s ass
pose a threat to moral decency
there are chestnuts on
the ground
abandoned by squirrels
but looking good
enuff to roast—
Why not?

Start a fire here
at Jackson’s feet,
& in a little tin can
place the testicular nuts
freed from their spiky sac
& glistening;
into the fire
they go,
& glow,
and steam & sizzle —

Andy’s nostrils
flare like when a pigeon
opens its beak to coo —
as the nuts roll out hot
on a fresh copy of Examiner;

Dolley takes one
delicately in two fingers
forming a quaint O,
blows on it with
lips pursed like
a harlot —
and winks!
before taking a
delicate bite
with a kissing sound;
then I turn
& she’s gone;

the gray papoose
pats the grass
with his paws like he wants
to smooth out the world,
but the world
passes in a
of tobacco smoke
& the beeping
of a bus’s

what’s to do
but take a hot
nut as big
as his head
& start to gnaw
the world (this world)
to bits
to bits
to bits

April 4, 2017

editors note: When presented with a chance for reconstruction; gnaw, baby, gnaw! – mh clay

The Why of It by Devon Balwit

Sometimes you are whole,
growing wild and for no
purpose but to catch what
light you can. In calm,
you respire slow centuries.
When the wind rises, you
rustle mournful or whip
to a clatter. Tickled by
feather and claw, you rock
and sway, rock and sway.

Sometimes, though, fate
plays rough. Felled and
stripped, planed and pressed,
you are made to keen from
the grain. The ones still
standing do as you once did,
look elsewhere, leaving you
to transform loss, alone,
tapping deep into heartwood
for a tale, if not for a song.

April 3, 2017

editors note: Sometimes, a song is reason enough. (We welcome Devon to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

BENARES by József Bíró

chase a goat away
– blood – red ribbon on its neck –
you will heal on the third day

April 2, 2017

editors note: For what ails you. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read Day? If you’re looking for a mind-blowing read to bring in this weekend, then Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White, wrote just the tale for you!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say:

“With that first explosion, with those first fiery molecules, with that first spark, life wasn’t born, madness was created.”

Here’s a bit of Before the Big Bang to get your reading juices flowin’:

(photo “”First Hint” (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

What sparked the Big Bang? Should we give a dang how the experts debate as to what might predate it or seemed to exist? Speaking for myself, I cannot resist a fantasy spree of drifting away in reveries vast about our fabulous, fathomless past.

Utterness whereabouts always were there, and singularities melt in thin air, when we consider an alternate plan of how life began—the yin and the yang—how galaxies sprang—before the Big Bang… For what if in fact the notion is cracked, and in Big Bang’s case it didn’t take place to set up our pace in deep outer space?…

Astronomers might lead you to THINK you know how this ends, but you’ll never know until you get the rest of your read on right here!!

••• Open Mic •••

This 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.05.17) we swirled it up madly in the live way that we do every month. This month we opened the mic up to all you mad poets, performers and musicians.

Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

Johnny Olson​
MH Clay​


Mad Mic Cast:
Paul Sexton​
Desmene M. Statum​
James Barrett Rodehaver​
Taylor Denise Teachout
Afton Claiborne​
Mark Mark David Noble​
Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi​
Elliot Pickens
Nadia Wolnisty​
Carlos Salas​
David Crandall​


Paul Koniecki​
Vic Victory​
Austin Caraway
Opalina Salas​
Tom Farris
Maggie Smith​
Jake Kinnard​
Austin Caraway
Reverie Evolving​
Hector Ortiz​
Cj Critt​
Aaron Glover
Aye Nero​
Sarah Karowski
Brian Cox​

HUGE thanks to Swirve​ (Gerard Bendiks​ & Chris Curiel) for taking us to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

Thanks to all who came out to the City Tavern​ & shared this beat-utifullest night of poetry and music with us!

May the madness swirl your way! ’til next 1st Wednesday…

P.S. Check out the LIVE feed of our OPEN MIC set here.

P.S. A minor technological difficulty cut the LIVE feed short, here is the opening video.


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…

Eatin’ Poetry,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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