The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.15.16

by on October 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Snowflakes Blown into a Keyhole” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To see more of Bill’s mad canvases, as well as our other featured artists, visit our mad Gallery at!

This one closes out Bill’s latest run as our featured artist. Stay tuned for our newest featured Visual Artist coming up this next week!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe called one a shrimp, not because it was short; we played to an ameoba, single cell organism support; we thanked for the pleasures of tasting and seeing; we bopped to the beat of being; we made autumn’s case for summer fruit; we ran through radio to ramen to resolute; we geared up for a golden sleep; we sparked love into flame to keep. Each week we seek new words to speak; to bring certainty and sense, to clarify our present tense. ~ MH Clay


Made of light
& present
without being

present, Emily
knows the feeling
of my attention

is the dull side
of a sharp knife.
I flash only

when the action
of the blade can
work through her

in these poems.
She knows outside
of the art,

all I want to do
is rub against her
until the sparks

find the ceiling
of our locked room,
our safest danger.

editors note: Celestial love to spark a constellation or, at least, trip the fire alarm. (We welcome Darren to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out. ALSO, Darren’s latest poetry collection, “Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly,” is due to be released this November/December by 8th House Publishing. Follow his website here for details. ) – mh clay

Autumn 2014 by Susandale

Mist rising from shorn fields
In it, the ghosts of autumn
Quiet, golden children
Coming to carry summer off
To a cradle of long sleep

editors note: Every year, come children; drowsy for winter. – mh clay

불확실성 by Opalina Salas

I don’t know how to feel about this
Seems to be my mantra these days
I put on some Reverend Green
Look out the window and think and
My whirled up thinkings follow me
To the king spa all skin of tawny
All shapes and shades under the dim light scrubbing
Away our sadness and week
Of unreleased grime
How can you mend a broken heart?
Released under hot veil of bubbles
Sweat out on concrete stools
With tied bunches of herbs
Sloughed off and dripping
In here, no one can see you cry

I don’t know how to feel about this
The small framed Korean ladies
Dainty but strong
Straddle the Western thighs
Of the Americas scrubbing with both hands
To peel away the layers of regret
Shearing us down to a more manageable
Morsel of grief
Buttered skin and then we rinse
The waterfall
Take me to the river
And wash me down
Won’t you cleanse my soul
Put my feet on the ground

And all the other countries say
Look at what those crazy cowboys have done now
Shoot’ em up style
With their guns and their bombs and their drones
Look at what they have sown
It’s all still the wild wild west
Outlaws insatiable for blood
Bang bang, shoot ‘em up and gone
Oh those crazy Americans

I’m just trying to escape into my bowl of Ramyun
I’m just trying to sleep in the dark blanket of Al Green
Mercy Mercy Me
I don’t know how to feel about any of this anymore.

editors note: A wasting week to wash away in radio and ramen. – mh clay

Over Ripe by Dave Kavanagh

Lane choked
with overgrowth.

A slight breeze
stirs a verdant sea
of cocksfoot and fescue.

Feathered ferns unfurl
In hues of green and rust.

Late summer
hangs on tangled threads,
promises and regrets.

Burgeoning deflated,
harvest weeks away.

Air heavy,
humidity clawing
at damp clothes.

autumn waits,
a promise on bated breath.

editors note: And we are now fruit, eager to be picked and refrigerated. Cool, come cool! (We welcome Dave to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission; read more of his madness on his new page – check it out!) – mh clay

SUMMER BLUES by B.Z. Niditch

A Beat poet
cooped up like a parakeet
in a New England winter
tired of TV screens
reruns of faded old films
clouded over
his bloodshot eyes
wanting to be a runaway
or a Rimbaud
here in Vermont
with a red French wine
and French croissant
takes out his sax
to play riffs
along the Green Mountains
yet afraid to be
terrorized from a water bed
abandoned from home
and his made up exercise
on the trampoline
to take up the alto clarinet,
a lost friend from the band
shows jazz’s balancing act
in his disturbed universe,
as my kid brother
throws a football against
a city graffiti wall
found from the Patriots
locker room,
telling him a Chinese proverb,
“Tension is who you think
you should be, relaxation
is who you are.”

editors note: If that was Summer, look out Fall! – mh clay

Pleasure by Mikel K

You are that first sip of coffee,
that first bite of sushi,
the pillow on which I sleep.
You are a sandwich when I am hungry,
a nice cup of water with lemon when I am thirsty,
a pat on the head when I need one.
You are a smile from a stranger,
a shout out from a friend,
a paycheck that covers my bills.
You are a car that doesn’t break down,
a bus that I catch on time,
a grocery bag full of goodies.
You are my dogs wagging their tails,
my cats meowing in approval,
my turtles just hanging out.
You are every good feeling
that I have ever had, and I thank you.

editors note: You are everywhere, even when we’re not. – mh clay

Ameba Pride by Robert L. Martin

Lift your heads high amebas
If you have heads to lift
If you don’t have heads
Then what do you have?
If you lift your feet
Will you fall on your butts?
If you don’t have butts
Then what do you have?

No more jokes
Will be aimed at you
You do have feelings
That we overlooked before
For that we’re so very sorry

Ameba pride is what you deserve
You can walk? or march?
Swagger? swim? or ride?
With fortitude and confidence
If we laughed at you before
We take it all back
You deserve much more than that
You will always remain
The most noble
Of all the nobles
Ameba pride is what you deserve

editors note: I say “amoeba,” you say “ameba.” Either way, say it proudly! – mh clay

The Sports of Shrimp Babies by KJ Hannah Greenberg

The sports of shrimp babies, those decapod crustaceans,
Minus mainlanders’ blue rocks, iridescent stones, ice,
Round little ponies, frosted cupcakes, cockershells, orchids,
Seem calculated for their elongated bodies, nothing more.

When critters rely, primarily, on whirling as their approach to locomotion,
On paddling with swimmerets, not turning cartwheels, nor jumping branches,
They discover screaming for help means screeching or otherwise shrieking
For safety. Consider, stalk-eyed beasts’ shelter’s only found in sediment diving.

Prawn, after all, remain so low on the food chain as to be expendable.
They lack rocking horse dreams, know no warm breakfasts of frumenty,
See no flames tickling heat into empty spaces, except for intervals like
Oil spills, finned predators, many troubles lancing their domain.

editors note: Not so bad, these lives; fried in panko, dipped in cocktail sauce. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Mad Swirl has just the one to feed your need with.

This week’s featured short may cause moisture to the eyes. If you are prone to verklemptitis, we suggest you grab some tissues now ‘cos this one is gonna tickle the tear ducts.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Time, Dreams and Broken Stitches by Tammy Brown:

“Rebuild or die trying, that’s living.”

Here’s a bit to slip you into the mood:

photo (above) “Welcome, Come In. Always Come.” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter

My first born of two sons died nine years ago. It was the day after Easter Sunday and the month prior to his 18th birthday.

Without warning and within moments our lives were unequivocally altered. We were pummeled to our knees, bloodied and broken by the happenstances of life.

He died within 20 feet of his father and I… horrific images permanently seared into our eyelids. In those moments an incompleteness, a piercing emptiness so vast was born.

But the universe is infinite and although it was the apocalypse for us, Earth did not see it that way. She continued to spin upon her axis forcing us to survive the blackest of nights and endure an immense number of colorless days. She prodded us forward. While fully engulfed in our distinct desolation we woke each morning and trudged through each day until eventually the rebuilding of our world, from dust, began…

Get the rest of your read 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…

Feelin’ Grateful,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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