The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.23.16

by January 23, 2016 0 comments

“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” – Lord Byron

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Crown of Thorns

“Crown of Thorns” (above) by our newest featured artist Maria Valentina Sheets. To view more of Maria’s mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at

••• The Poetry Forum •••


This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe upended a random take on an uneaten upside down cake; we acquiesced to actions obvious, deferred to love-drives devious (anything to lift love’s profile in dark places); we named a name, not spoken, marked a love long broken; we struck the mystery from flower and bug, from underneath romance yanked the rug; we erected irrational orders to stop passage of aliens ‘cross borders; we rendered refuge for a poet’s diminished deluge, when words fall into weakness; we opened the divine door for a search of our sock drawer – no judgement, no condemnation. Our divinities are defined by our decisions, pick and choose out loud. Own our choices, be proud. ~ MH Clay

If God searches your room by Timothy Pilgrim

It goes without saying
she will find Legos and games

stuffed into closet, dirty socks
tucked under bed, candy wrappers

shoved far back in second drawer.
What cannot be discussed

is how faith in you was lost,
hidden away so deep,

out of the blue comes this lack
of trust, sudden need to sift

your stuff. Better not bring up
betrayal, question why she

freaks out, intrudes. Head down,
keep busy with the broom.

January 23, 2016

editors note: And don’t forget to replace those trash can liners. Cleanliness is next to… – mh clay

THE LAST DAY by Stefanie Bennett

… After I have conquered some of the world’s ills
In my fashion.
After I have climbed what’s left
Of the parasitical plot and attempted
To bring it down.
After the unwanted-wanted posters
Have yellowed and curled – so that
My name’s been struck off
The records, the too human records…
And I’ve greyed a little –
And shrunk a lot –
And my hands have lost
Their bitter cures…
Will you, once again, take me in!
Take me in and not mind
This new stranger
As your lover of old?

Once I’ve been pensioned out – Yes! I’m aware
That it will happen.
Once it’s known that what seemed
Scholarly and spectacular was no more than
Someone held
Hostage by an every-day innocence.
Once I design… the final line
And I’ve nothing left to do,
Say, or display – will you
Find it in you to forgive
The neglect
I shelved for you alone!
Will you
Forget that I served
But one light; and that
It was your ‘light’!
Will you mind, mind my return
… And keep this gypsy poet

January 22, 201

editors note: Old poets never die; they just rhyme ad infinitum. – mh clay


there is danger
when madmen with vicious gorilla hearts
drink from mason jars of moonshine.

star turns ugly black
First Lady makes duck face
children leak smoke from stomachs.

madmen prideful and happiest
with bully boots and loaded weapons
beauty a thick golden chain.

whatever place we come from originally
in outer space or other dimension
must be a shit hole.

January 21, 2016

editors note: Cross new borders through vats of whitewash, blackwash, brownwash, brainwash. Gotta blend in to be proud! – mh clay

She Trod Without Care by James Tyler

She trod without care in
the backyard, oblivious of the
dandelion and the ladybug,
until you taught her about
wildflowers and red-black
insects that inhabit this place,
a field meant for her to find
joy, meaning, and life.
Now she watches her steps,
avoiding the yellow flowers,
the Forget-me-nots
the lady bug perched
on Forget-me-nots.
Her head bowed, she combs
our land, even the ants are
shown mercy.
“See, now the girl can’t
have fun,” I say, squeezing
the blue beer can, crinkling it.
And you put your glass
of lemonade down hard.
“She’s not a beast like you.”
Our girl, on her hands and knees,
combing the earth like a mine field.

January 20, 2016

editors note: Early indoctrination of ahimsa-awareness? Oh, well! – mh clay

Your Name by Jocelyn Mosman

Your name is not poetry,
but it reminds me of you.
You are a half-shaken snow globe,
scattering cold, empty stares
on everyone close by.
You shed your emotions
like snakes shed their skin.
You are a thousand white horses
drumming their hooves
into your muddy footprints.
I wonder what future generations
will see when they examine
your remains like artifacts
and dinosaur bones.
You are a single sunflower,
painfully beautiful and sad
soaking up light after darkness.
You are science and math.
You can comprehend numbers
and molecules.
You carry yourself like a sestina,
repeating the same six words
in patterns that twist their meaning.
I am your pattern.
I am your paisley and your flannel.
I am your bad habits.
But you must be poetry because
no matter what I am to you,
you will always be guilt
and regret and empty canvas
to me.
You will be tormentor
and muse until I write
the poem that can bring you
No poem will ever bring you back,
so I write love letters
on my palms with hope
one day you can hide
the scribbled words
with open hands.
You are missed opportunity
and almost love.
Our past is millions
of miles of unresolved emotions.
You are a lighthouse
in the distance
beckoning me back to you.
You are my lucid images at 3 am.
You will never come true.
But I’ll keep whispering
your name into my pillow
and wishing on you instead
of candles and shooting stars.
Your name may not be poetry,
but it sure as hell reminds me
of you.

January 19, 2016

editors note: Unspoken, immortal to her; but not to us. – mh clay

Obvious by Jonathan Butcher

On that beach after last orders, the damp sand remaining
stable under our intoxicated feet. That smile of yours as
brittle as the shattered shells beneath our heels, the broken
homes of now long excluded occupants.

It had taken an age it seemed to reach this pinnacle, like a
weeping wound that was never stitched and left to turn septic.
I now bask the clichéd result that was promised for so many
decades and was now slowly delivered.

To seek an end seemed superfluous, to take advantage of
those Friday night vows which were welded together like
rusted chains, and to pass them through the loop of a paper
ring that tears at the first spot of rain.

We stagger up the concrete steps in cold, bare feet; your laugh
now as dark as the boarded-up shop fronts on the horizon. Any
light now completely absorbed, and as you move forward for
that last kiss, I stub my toe for the second time.

January 18, 2016

editors note: Love or lust requited by a kiss on steps not lighted. – mh clay

Pineapple Upside Down Cake by Donal Mahoney

Nothing is anywhere anymore,
Dad shouts over the phone.
His reveille again at 4 a.m.
Will I come over and find it?

What’s missing, Dad, I ask.
It’s midnight and I’m in bed.
It’ll take a while to get there.

Your mother went to make
pineapple upside down cake
hours ago and still no cake.
She’s nowhere to be found.
I called the neighbors.
They won’t come over.
It’s just me and the dog
and he’s asleep.
Son, I need your help.

Mom died 10 years ago, Dad.
You and I went to the funeral.
We buried her at St. Anthony’s.
Remember all the rain?
And then the rainbow shining?

Son, you’re right again
Sorry I woke you but where’s
the pineapple upside down cake?
I’ve been waiting for hours.
A little snack and I’ll turn in.

January 17, 2016

editors note: Can anyone remember where to find the dessert forks? (Another one (fun) from Donal on his page; a glimpse into his musical influences – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Heck yeah you do! Why? Because 1) It’s a great story, 2) You got the means to right in your hands (or desktop), AND 3) You’re ALIVE to read it! Need more reasons to give a gander at this tightly packaged, 293-worded short-short morsel?
Fine, here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about “Coroner’s Office” by Robert L. Penick:

Other creatures own the night, no matter if we say we own them during the day.

And here’s a bit to feed your need-for-a-read:

I thought the worst part of going to work for the Coroner’s office would be the emulsified bodies, the stink of rot hanging in my clothes, an air of finality about my demeanor, decay of the soul and spirit, moral jaundice, an urge to buy new shoes every other week, and wondering at the end of each shift what the hell that was beneath my fingernails. Perhaps the worst part would be the backseat drivers.

That’s a joke.

Turns out it was the groupies. The groupies of the dead.

Every van driver had at least one. A woman who would listen to the scanner and be there when the body came out. Discreet, usually wearing sunglasses, hanging out a couple of doors down from the removal. Mine turned out to be Lilly, an anorexic redhead allergic to direct sunlight and green beans and who carried a hammerless .32 Colt revolver in an ankle holster…

Can’t stop there! You’re already halfway thru. And really, it’s only a couple more minutes of your precious life that we are asking you give. Wanna give it to get the rest of this read? Here ya’ go!


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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