The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.25.15

by on April 25, 2015 :: 0 comments

“The greater the step forward in knowledge, the greater is the one taken backward in search of wisdom.” Stephen Gardiner

Welcome to MadSwirl (4)2.0!

As Stephen Gardiner alludes in his sentiment (above), taking a bold step forward requires some wise hindsight as well. We took this site switch-over very seriously as well. We looked both forward to what we were envisioning the Swirl to be. We looked backward at what worked and what brought so many talented & gifted mad ones to our door. This week we stood in the present, bridging what was and what will be with a gleam of excitement with a side of anxiousness. But enough was enough and the time to act was NOW! Yes folks, this is your “official” welcome to 2.0! This week, on 4.20, we flipped the switch from what was to what will be our online stage as we swirl forward.

What can you expect from this 2.0 platform? All that you’ve already come to expect from Mad Swirl. The Poetry Forum will still be stocked daily with the vivacious voices spanning this mad world of ours. The Short Story Library will be chockfull of the finest flash fiction around. The Mad Gallery will still be featuring some mad & swirling visuals to titillate your eyeballs. And of course we will always keep you up-to-date on our upcoming Open Mics & other Swirl-esque events.

What is different? Lots! This creative outlet is no longer a one-way street. You can now interact with the content. On this new stage you, our Contributing Poets, Writers, Artists & Subscribers will be able to comment & share your thoughts and feelings on not only your own work, but also your fellow mad ones work! The new platform also plays a whole lot nicer with the ever-evolving world of social media. Quickly connect to your fave media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) & spread the word on your featured works. Oh, & lest we forget, we got us a Blog! This will give an interactive stage for the whole Mad editorial staff a new tool to use to reach out to you… and you, oh… and you!

As you might imagine, the switchover to this new platform also opens up endless possibilities. We are quite excited to explore this new frontier as we seek the best ways to showcase the finest poets, writers, & artists that color our worlds! And as we swirl on down this mad road, we will surely find other tricks up our sleeve that will make the experience even better.

Happy Swirling!
Johnny O
Chief Editor

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Forever Free” (above) by featured artist Brett “BA” Ardoin. To see more Mad works from Brett, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Mad Swirl is mighty proud to shine a spotlight on the works from local madman, BA. (aka Brett Ardoin aka Zipline Shazam) The choices that BA made for coloring the virtual walls of his new Mad Gallery home are just about what we expected they would be. His collages and illustrations are truly all one-of-a-kind. You can, and probably will, get lost in BA’s hootenanny-land creations. If you’re ready for a lil bit trippy with some subtle twists of spirituality, then you’ve come to the right place. BA’s visual treats are sure to please. ~ Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe polished pretense in pursuit of praise; we strayed from night street loud shit talk drunk to night bus window fox hunt; we doctored decades of forgotten dalliances; we wound up our world’s woes in whale song; we vaunted the verity of virtue in ripping the veil; we listened to a lover’s last words; we filled an empty sky with stars from the mind’s eye. This whole thing is… isn’t it? ~ MH Clay

Star Light, Star Bright

no arms
to break my fall

I wait
for sleep

silent sentry
in the jungle night

I lie cemented
in self

counting black holes
in space

where once
there were stars
to wish on

Harley White

April 25, 2015

editors note: Darkness disables counting sheep, a starless night to steal one’s sleep. – mh clay


My last message may not be, “I love you”
It may not be the apology you need
There may not even be a last message.

I have thought about my last words
More than I have ever spoken any –
I may even leave you with what you have
Already seen or heard another day.

Maybe you do not even deserve my last word
Maybe I made a monument of you with smoke and hot air,
Laying you down on grimy mirrors.

You may even be a lily waiting to float
Like my flightless words on my concentrated tongue.

I like to imagine spending monsoons in a house made of salt
Crumbling marriages and a
Loaf of banana bread, raw in the middle.

My last message may be, “Where are you? Waiting.”
You will not see this message
You are a damsel trapped in the creases of your coat
As you drive to where you think I am, where you think
I want you to be –
Not where you are needed.

“Hold still, I’m on my way.”

Alainah Aamir

April 24, 2015

editors note: A place of need, waiting for words; the last could be the first. – mh clay


Peering at words that left a mouth so saintly,
Gleaming the conspicuous motive,
Breaking every ivory tint bone once carried,
Shaking a fist at the sky above, the faulty works
Who created such monsters dressed in skin so pure
Disguised from sickening smirks, poisonous touch
Uncover yourself, rip the veil preventing your true guise
Face the sky once more, breathing its ecstasy
Only human alive in this realm of disguises

– Mahabba Alhaushabi

April 23, 2015

editors note: Acquiesce to constructs of convention, or risk nakedness for ecstasy; alive and true! – mh


Whales, like followers
of Jimmy Jones, give up,
drift, fall to shore,
some pregnant, some hungry,
all weak. On the beach
they show teeth, death’s
ghastly rictus, a grimace,
victims of some evil joke.
Those still alive emit
heart-wrenching sounds, a parody
of mating songs. No one knows why.

Like a tsunami, from earth’s
ruptured core, a wave rises,
and calm, order, peace, and purpose
are no more.

– Joseph Lisowski

April 22, 2015

editors note: Jimmy’s falsetto, not a lullaby; but, a cetacean cry. Wake up or suffer sleep eternal. – mh

Annual Physical

You go to the doctor
at 21, no problems.
Maybe a flu shot.
That’s it.

You go to him
at 40, and you
need a pill or two
and he says
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 60, and you’re
now a fixer-upper.
You need more pills,
he says, and
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 70, and he finds
plumbing problems
and asks questions
to verify that all
your lights are on.
Doesn’t mention
your weight.

You go to him
at 80, and he says
you’re doing well,
all things considered,
but it wouldn’t hurt
to put your affairs
in order.

You tell him
you can’t remember
any affairs but he
can ask your wife.
She’s still raising hell
about someone
named Mildred,
if that was her name.

Donal Mahoney

April 21, 2015

editors note: Not a bad idea; a yearly check on the state of your affairs, memory withstanding. (Another mad missive from Donal on his page; creative cuisine served as comeuppance – check it out.) – mh


I am resting my head on the cold window of a night bus that is crawling its way through the wet streets of North London.

Pints of creamy dark Ale, talking shit with a drunk guy about why the Oscars are always wrong, eating spicy wings that are not spicy, talking to a voluptuous lady about a tattoo of a wizard she has on her shoulder, smoking a cigarette outside a dingy pub, playing a game of pool on a wonky table, drinking cold flat lager that tastes of rotten eggs, speaking to a stranger about who is going to win the champions league, putting a woman’s number into my phone knowing I will be deleting it later, complaining about the music that is playing, smoking another cigarette while crossing a busy street and finally talking to an old homeless man about his impressive beard.

The bus doors open and I am greeted with the sound of the howling wind. I get off and I am walking down a lonesome suburban street when I freeze, I see a fox looking at me from across the street. I wink at the fox and its mystic eyes just gaze back at me.

I then hiccup and I am left alone with only the sound of the wind for company.

Luke Ritta

April 20, 2015

editors note: Encounters condensed as fog on a night bus window, or winked away in the mystic eye of a fox. – mh clay

Can I pay my rent in vinyl?

Contrary to what you may have seen
in films by foreign directors with names
of French origin or Swiss or maybe not
foreign, perhaps Wes Anderson or someone
less boring, domestic, yet with a lauded sense
of symbolism; nevermind what you thought you once
overheard in a dingy café-bodega where the coffee cost
twice as much as next to plenty, tasted like you
should have been paid to drink it, which is ironic
and redeeming, I think it; but forget what you
may have read in a fem­-centric article addressing
cats and pizza; speak of Hunter S. Thompson not Emma
Watson, links to Tumblr, vintage cameras, vintage mindsets
yet still like-­minded, attuned to every modern cause
for concern––disparaging fracking, gentrification,
how militarized we are becoming, how militant
we must become in having to be the best-versed
person in every room while assuming the status
of most reliable resource on every facet of substance
deemed of value by whoever purchased a degree in drivel
or floral-­print dressmaking, all while procuring the ability
to palette-­out a tripel ale, doppelbock or a PBR. Drinking
home­brewed liquor from a homemade backpack, hemp,
reminiscent of a carry-­on catheter––your shoes can’t be leather,
not in today’s market. Yes, you surely saw them
at a darty (day­-party, Charlie) on an NYU fringe colony
in Brooklyn, where the kitschy quirky bars blast syncopated quasi­-beats
for tables full of cross­legged English majors, talks of antidepressants,
writers-­in­-residence, the air of heir in Jane Eyre, something French,
nouveau or nouvelle. Belles jambes, pouvons-­nous prendre
matching minimalist tattoos? Of course, that is, if you want to.

– Scott Wordsman

April 19, 2015

editors note: Oh, to be so cool, new-school, nobody’s fool. Yes, I want to (I think, or better think twice). – mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need a read? We got one that just might give you a rise!

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Caucus at the Parking Meter” by Donal Mahoney: “Men, yeesh, it’s always about that one thing, isn’t it? All most men want, though, is to live long enough for parts of their body to become legend.”

Here’s a tease:

For years Rocky’s Diner had always done a great business for breakfast and lunch but his dinner business had fallen off recently as folks moved to the suburbs, got married, died or simply went elsewhere to eat. He thought about closing early but he had a small cadre of elderly men, many of whom had been his customers for two or three meals a day, and Rocky didn’t know where else they might go to eat. They were all single now for different reasons—divorced, widowed, never married or deserted by a wife who had become fed up. Most were in their late 70s and early 80s and not renowned for their civility. They were a crotchety bunch but Rocky liked them all. He himself was in his late 60s, happily married, and didn’t have to worry about money, thanks in large part to loyal customers like these elderly men, some of whom had been eating at his diner for decades.

Many of them would arrive for dinner—or supper, as most of them called it—at 6 p.m., their unofficial appointed hour for the last meal of the day. Depending on their mood, they would either take a stool alone at the counter or pile into one of the red vinyl booths. In a booth, they hoped to be joined by others who might also have spent the day alone, watching television, reading the obituaries or maybe playing solitaire.

Conversation in the booths ran the gamut from politics to religion to dead wives and ex-wives to girls they should have or shouldn’t have married. Occasionally, the conversation in one booth would be joined by those in the booth behind, in front of or across from that particular booth. If the weather was good, sometimes the conversation would spill out onto the street afterward where, weather permitting, the men would gather around a parking meter and continue their caucus.

It was on just such an evening in spring while the caucus at the parking meter was in full swing that an attractive young lady walked by, heels clicking, skirt swaying, and all of the men paused and assessed her with murmurs of appreciation. She was, they all agreed, a very nice young lady.

Get a full-on rise right here!

••• MadSwirl Blog •••

Mad Things Now & Coming by Poetry Editor MH Clay

Wow! Here we have it, (4)2.0 – a new direction in the stir o’ the Swirl! We have a cool new look and usability that says, “Hey! We’re Swirlin’ in the world-wide web of the 21st Century!” I like it all!

But, I’m most excited about the opportunity we now have as your editors to share our ideas about this creative conspiracy we share; what makes us choose the works we post, what we think about the creative process, opinions and ideas about various artistic forms and more… (read more)

Madness, the Meaning of Dots by Short Story Editor Tyler Malone

It’s a tragic world, but so much worse if there’s no concept of expression. Other than yelling at the television, not much happens in far too many places. That alone can at least lead to endless unhappiness when escape is doubtful, when the real world you know is the executor of anything expressive. In church pews or in textbooks, you leave a mark, making blank spaces beautiful. And that’s it. That becomes love, and love becomes a four-letter word—a true passion, something to rinse out with soap. Worse, you find something fulfilling that’s not a team effort or something that can be cheered for as a city. Falling in love with experimenting with isolation at any cost holds no value for too many people. For those who do love the click of their own keys or the scribbles of their own sentences, thank goodness for Mad Swirl… (read more)


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…

Steppin’ Up… & Back,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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