The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.20.16

by February 20, 2016 0 comments

“The sun is gone, but I have a light.” ~ Kurt Cobain

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Open As an Amulet’s Eye” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To view more of Bill’s twisted images, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe spared no spat with a priestly pratt; we gave spare change for a brief exchange; we made no fuss o’er a headless nobody on the bus; we sought to be kind from a fire in the mind; we spurned suburban spawn for normalcy in a green lawn; we pursued our peace of brain from blue sky and end of rain; we were drenched in rain again, washed away life’s stains again. Cleansed in the virtue of verse, made new and none the worse. ~ MH Clay

THE RUST AND THE RAIN by Derrick Gaskin

Darkness everywhere when we open our eyes
To tears in the tide’s never ending song.
Oblivion everywhere before we could think
Of being oblivious to right or wrong.
Beauty everywhere until we lose
Our souls, stolen before we can blink.
Silence everywhere, as stars burn
Not for us as we never learn.
Innocence everywhere as their animals kill,
Not for food, just for the thrill.
Freedom everywhere as they forge our chains,
Blood, rust and tears washed away in the rains.

February 20, 2016

editors note: Emancipation sans achievement; being without having been. Cold are the stars from this deep dark. – mh clay

That Rain by Gregg Dotoli

crushing rain woke me
hours after midnight
each drop a flat note
pinged off this leaf or that stone
earth’s white noise
caused a natural claustrophobia
shrinking my mind space
inducing fear
knowing I can’t escape
until it wanes

February 19, 2016

editors note: Reverse effect; occlusion over cleansing. Rain, go away! (We welcome Gregg to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay

Suburban Bourbon by Bradley Mason Hamlin

when I’m stuck
drinking with other men
they try to drink more
or quicker
or weirder

they begin to slur
talk shit
and stare
at my wife’s tits
while telling
their own wives to fuck off

they want more
they want something
they think
they don’t have

but they’ve never
been inside the E.R.
with a bleeding ulcer
or behind the bars
of the Navy brig
or in bare knuckle
fights for life

there are
no easy shortcuts,
just ice it down
and make sure
the lawn
nice and green

February 18, 2016

editors note: For those burb boobs who take “thou shalt not” as a dare. – mh clay

Fire by Arun Budhathoki

There’s fire in my mind
A bright one
Bursting early morning
Burning brighter than anything else
Even the winter looks dull before it

My girlfriend asks me
If I can be uxorious towards her
I laugh laugh laugh
Like sweet winter of Kathmandu
There’s snow here
No snow to cover me up
Cover up my heart and body
My parched hands

My face becoming brighter again
I look for places to gormandize momos
And what I eat instead
Saddening faces and hearts blocked by dusts
And blockade

I have no oniomania
I am penniless like before
Am I depressed looking at the situation of people?
I cannot see people in rural areas
Of struggling Nepal

I don’t see hungry people
Or shivering children
I think of doing pandiculation
Stretch this heart
Stretch this mind
And everything else

Perhaps this is a nocturne?

What you say?

An apology for having a bigger belly
I have loads of books
Call me a bibliotaph

Check my mind please
It is burning
There’s fire on my mind

February 17, 2016

editors note: A consciousness conflagration, sparked through awareness of others’ plights. Fan the one; extinguish the other. – mh clay

OL’ JIM by Ricky Garni

He was the Headless Horseman. But he lost his horse because his horse ran away and of course he had no head and could not find him. So he become The Headless Man Without A Horse. He stayed that way for quite a while and everyone called him that. Eventually people forgot he ever had a horse, and people called him the Headless Man. Eventually, people forgot that he ever had a head in the first place and so he became Jim. Eventually, everybody just called him Ol’ Jim. “Isn’t that Ol’ Jim?” They would say. “I do believe it is. There goes Ol’ Jim, always riding the bus to somewhere or other.”

February 16, 2016

editors note: Affix no name to obvious affliction; making it real, demanding our attention. – mh clay

CHANGE by Helen Harrison

‘Can you spare some change please’
He said; as she walked briefly past
‘Sorry for asking’ the remark that
Made her turn around and start
To rummage through her purse
For available odd coins; even
Staying beside him a while
To enjoy a brief exchange.

I wondered was it good?
Manners that had brought
On a sudden change of mind
And if there was now a new polite
Way of begging in cities these days
Where the average human population
Have delayed reactions to a fraction of
Society that is so different from the norm.

February 15, 2016

editors note: What we can spare for those who live sparely. Say, “Please.” – mh clay


I had some business to take
care of in the hospital and as
usual made my way to the
nurses station and I knocked
on the door and a guy maybe
a few years older than me
opened up the door;
I didn’t recognise him and
I couldn’t see his I.D. badge
as it was hidden beneath
his waistcoat but I knew
he was an outside
visitor from some piss-poor
do-gooder service and I
explained myself and he
appeared awkward and
guarded the office and began
to tell me that he had some
work to do and he began
to point with a limp hand
at some chairs scattered
in the corridor opposite
the office where I could sit
and wait and as he gestured
I said loudly “Pratt” and
then I slowly turned and
walked away and found
somebody helpful;
the following day I
learnt that the guy was
a hospital Chaplain and
he had been rather
shaken and unsettled by
my apparently menacing
appearance and attitude
and I thought, fuck me,
I had been soft on
the pompous old bastard
and next time maybe
I’ll do the right thing and
I’ll clench my mouth
and go find some place to
smoke a cigarette and
pray silently for my
treacherous soul.

February 14, 2016

editors note: In the way, or in the Way; obstructions abound. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? This week’s featured story might make you look at “an eye for an eye” in a completely different way…

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale “Midas Eye” by Yves K. Morrow: “No one wants to see into the future but we can all see it coming. The eye of the swirl claims all.”

Here’s an eyeful fer ya:

I am aware of the fingers clutching my jaw, the green eyes that incarcerate my shrinking visual field. He won’t come with me, not this time, this time it’s a rite of passage. He blows the smoke into my mouth. I feel my uvula shudder.

Today I become a man or I lose my shit trying.

Leaves and slicks of mud slow my passage. The air is full of bone fragments. Each inhale is pitiless. I drop my nose inside the collar of my leather trench drawing in lozenges of moist breath. The sky is split like an oyster, specks of pearl dust igniting within haunting procession of chaste grays. The traffic lights read as eyeless sockets, there are no cars only paper cranes skittering across the tarmac like disembodied teeth.

I turn into a coffee shop after I hear carnival music gearing up in the distance. Any minute the clowns will take to the streets. I fucking hate clowns. The barista is a heavyset man in his late 40s with an unfolding lotus tattooed on the crest of his scalp. The delicate pinks don’t suit his mystique but it’s not really my business. He has no tongue so instead he just hands me a mug and points to an alcove rimmed with books. There is an old couple in the cafe but they are immersed in conversation, the woman is anyway. The man hasn’t spoken a word. Never will if he’s careful.

The titles twist beneath my gaze like amputated lizard tails. I pluck a book from the frame and behind it bobs a gold eye, I put the book back but it’s too late I am aware of his presence. One by one the books retreat until there is a space only slightly larger than a human head.

A cane emerges, a heavy black boot, a trousered leg, a black t-shirt that reads “Don’t eat the meatloaf” and a head of immaculate silver hair. All 7ft of a not quite human male comes from a space adequate only for a newborn. He steps down onto the bench and takes a seat across from me. I can see the mechanics in his left eye but the right is a perfect halo of gold. He points at the jukebox with a slim finger.

“It’s your turn.”

Eye bet you can’t stop reading there. Get the rest of your eyeful right here!


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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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