The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.19.17

by on August 20, 2017 :: 0 comments

“There is a pleasure in being mad which none but madmen know.” ~ John Dryden

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Walken” (above) by featured artist Shelly Denning. To see more of Shelly’s mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe lazed in sand as surreptitious peepers; we mused on blues in a jazz venue; we remembered a man, empty house as grave; we awaited the warm-up where more is cheaper; we sowed in peace, our name to choose; we ran as wild, our selves to save; we saw, deceived, betrayed in love, enough to shame the moon above. If our eyes be dark, then where is our lightness? ~ MH Clay

Seeing is Believing by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Go exist in a decommissioned
missile silo in rural Kansas
for top dollar

for all I

I have seen the whole
of the human race
live horribly

and continue
in the worst
of ways

betraying the ones
they love
so convincingly

the moon could land
on itself

and call

August 19, 2017

editors note: Moon landing or man handling; all part of the same conspiracy. – mh clay

OUR BEAR AND OUR WOLF by Cheyenne Gallion

Our bear and child of bear
Waking us
A fourth time
I woke up and got out of the stained sheets, mattress
Soft and bitter, rind of memory
From here to where there was water

Our wolf knew all the things we thought
Not to talk about that day
Eye here and here
With us waking, naked and wondering
Where we left
Everything we knew we knew last night
Or two nights ago or whenever
It was, we decided to cut through the night
Lights lingering in a timeless white lie

Believing over and over
Yesterday–Last year
That one night in January 2013
That spring when I could do anything I wanted and not die
Like those dreams we both had
To lie about to remember

Like those concrete cows under the tree, empty
Trinity River basin in the dry winter heat
Of Dallas’s concrete asshole still steaming
From last summer and last year and that one time
Electricity sprang from the cables above us and Saunter, black
Angel, in a dark dark moment
We collided with
Each other and all
The things and things and things
That came after the sparks
All ours to destroy
Ourselves with, together as we remembered
Each other for the first time again
And again and again
We ran like the children of bears and of old wolves

August 18, 2017

editors note: All our unknown aspirations, howled and growled in animal intent. (Read another from Cheyenne on his page; a companion to this one, an age-old adage from when were young. Check it out!) – mh clay

Choose your name by Surbhi Anand

Wash your lime, peel yourself
Be blue gem,
Never be in hot pursuit
O blunt! Lopsided smile
Your spirit has muster for yourself
Make a bid
Sow your peace seed
Then you will sound
By your fruit name
Set out… !

August 17, 2017

editors note: Know your tree, then fall not far from it. – mh clay

½ Truth by Brittany Griffiths

Hey –

(a hand on my shoulder)

Hey –
It’s going to be a short while longer
The machine takes several minutes to warm up

(the modem blinks a red eye after sleep
three-prong stemming
when there is work to be done)

Hey –
Are you okay?
There is water behind the counter

(the mumble rises through my shoes
laughter in the dark
right outside the room
the things they say in secret)

Hey –
This paper is too thin
Try to fix it by keeping a distance

(a woven hum from somewhere below
trapped under boards
made of paper, made of tree roots)

Hey –
It’s 25% off after fifty
More is cheaper

(the backward wire vibrates the cord
of a rubber sole that peels on contact
to toe the water)

Hey –
Remember the time
This looked familiar

(step into the clutch of a close feeling
a frayed, threaded carpet burn
scar of value)

August 16, 2017

editors note: What’s going on? Are we conspirators or conscripts; unconscious consumers, coerced and cloyed? – mh clay


a true Danish story

This is the land lot,
while the vegetation around – the only surviving mark
of the house that succumbed once the man did.

Every time he headed to and back from the seas,
the Viking descendant left and returned to his abode
surrounded on every side by trees as high
as his giant build.

One night, alas, he couldn’t make it back,
abandoning home all on its own – first time ever!

All that the following morning witnessed
was a catacomb
of roof and walls and trees flattened aground,
and a flock of seagulls paying their last respects
up in that patch of a mournful sky.

Copenhagen, fall of 2016
English Translation by Arben P. Latifi

August 15, 2017

editors note: The story that place can tell when person has passed. – mh clay

Thelma at HR-57 by Marianne Szlyk

After setting down her plate of chicken,
red beans, and rice, Thelma settles in,
full skirt spilling over the folding chair.

She sips Diet Coke, her one concession
to a snug waistband, as she watches
her husband step up to the spotlight.

She closes her eyes, tries to forget
the other musicians crowding the stage
at this Thursday night open mic.

She opens her eyes once her husband
plays the first notes on his guitar
in this dim, smokeless club. She recognizes

the song, “Blue Moon.” He’s played it
at home many times, sometimes fast, sometimes
slow. The notes hang in the air

like perfume would if anyone wore it
nowadays. She shushes the thin girls
at the next table although she knows

his guitar is louder. He speeds up,
and rainstorm notes flood the narrow room,
obscuring the distant moon.

She imagines the notes rushing onto 14th,
nipping at the ears of couples.
A young man in a vintage suit

raises one eyebrow. Her sister Callie winces,
lifting a bottle of low-carb beer
to her black lips. Thelma sits up,

letting her dinner cool as she applauds.
Then an old man raises his horn,
bringing the song back to jazz.

HR-57 was a music venue in DC

August 14, 2017

editors note: A little swing ain’t a bad opening for a mic. – mh clay

Nude in the Dune by Walter Ruhlmann

The sun strikes the sand, the skins – all unveiled, tanned.
A black cap on an iridescent towel appears from the dune
at the back of the beach, a yard or so from the shore, a head
rests underneath, not buried in the sand – it also bears shades.

Behind those smoked glasses the eyes perceive sepia colours,
beach things: striped parasols, rainbow towels,
waves calmly licking the steep descent to the sea,
sails slowly moving on the far horizon, on the azure.

Moist and sticky from sweat and sun lotion, the bodies lie
bare naked on the sandy beach like inflated balloons
or dreamed models from a wet dream, an erotic film
played at dusk in the dark of a room, a solitary fresco.

Laughters disturb the peace, children fooling around,
a gull maybe, or a girl whose shriek erupts from nowhere
and lacerate the ears, the sun-dried dreams from half sleeps.
Other heads raise, groans are heard, bodies turn over,

ready for a second round of toasting in the blazing light
of August. All ages gather there, all shapes admitted.
Breasts and penises visible for anyone’s masked eyes,
pretending to sleep, to read, or ostensibly glazing, shamelessly.

August 13, 2017

editors note: No shame when all sneak the same peek. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Good, ‘cos we got one to share!

When it comes to this week’s featured short, “THE DEEP STATE” by Carl Perrin we think Aristotle may have put it best when he said, “Life must imitate art because there is nothing true, other than our manifest emotion.”

Here’s a bit of art imitating current events:

(photo “Mother’s Eye” (above) by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)




Human beings have shown themselves to be too stupid to govern themselves. They fall for the most outrageous lies and vote for candidates who are clearly unfit to govern. Our movement was started to protect people from themselves. We are the Deep State, the bureaucrats who actually make the government run. The movement is made up largely of androids and those human beings who are rational enough to recognize the danger we are in. Over the past six years we have been able to get our members into key positions in every government agency.

Just two years ago we were able to save democracy from President Parson’s attempt to destroy it. When Parsons tried to declare a state of emergency that would have suspended all civil rights, the members of the Deep State were able to stop him. Our people in crucial spots in the military, the intelligence services, the judiciary, and congressional support were able to roll back the state of emergency before it could take effect…

Get the rest of this too-close-to-reality read on right here!

••• a Mad Swirl Speakeasy •••

Thanks to all who made it out last night for our inaugural Mad Swirl Speakeasy! To say “what a night!” would be an understatement. We thinks “Awwww!” sums it up best.

HUGE grats to our features, Ryan Quinn Flanagan​ & Cheyenne Gallion for shining their mad light upon us all.

And more HUGE grats to all you mad ones who howled until the clock stuck midnight…

Johnny Olson​
MH Clay​
Chris Zimmerly
Opalina Salas​
Carlos Salas​
Vic Victory​
Kristine Spinner​
Tom Farris​
Tony Hernandez​
Brett Ardoin​
Cj Critt​
Tamitha Curiel​
Paul Koniecki​
Reverie Evolving​
Cieson Mebane Stansbury​
Steve Hopper​
Kiva Helgesen Hopper​

Stay tuned for the Fall Edition!

P.S. Check out the live feeds right here!

Ryan Quinn Flanagan Feature Set
Cheyenne Gallion Feature Set
Open Mic


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…

Goin’ Mad,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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