The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.13.17

by May 14, 2017 0 comments

“I have begun to think of life as a series of ripples widening out from an original center.” ~ Seamus Heaney

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“MEAT” (above) by featured artist Joseph Shepard.

Mad Swirl’s newest featured visual artist, Joseph Shepard, while a bit of a renaissance artist, really wow’d us with his collage work that we just can’t resist sharing. Each collage is incredibly unique and though a bit of a blur when minimized, you can really get lost in them when you look up close. At that point, even, with your interest peaked, you may find yourself wanting to zoom in even closer. Don’t worry – we do, too. However, the appeal of these chaotic collages might very well be that you can look and look and still not see the whole depth of it. That’s just how we, at Mad Swirl, like it. Take a look for yourself… and spend as much time as you’d like! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see more of Joseph’s mad collages, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe called out woe for the status quo; we suffered the sin of sheets in the wind; we saved the world with self in hand; we studied the scene of a street queen; we went from nightmare storm to gap-toothed smile, no harm; we made a monument to the myth of a man; we applauded an ecclesiastical outcast’s entrepreneurial approach to porkpie hats. Call in the cows, put out the cats. ~ MH Clay

The Odyssey of Pastor Harold Schnabel by Donal Mahoney

Listen up! It’s Deacon Simon here,
reporting on Pastor Harold Schnabel,
the minister we long ago defrocked.
Remember how he went to Holland
years ago. Hard to believe but
he’s coming back a millionaire
who made his money
running a bordello for midgets
with Peyronie’s Disease
in downtown Amsterdam.

He hired his staff carefully,
favoring double-jointed women who
understand the geometry of angles,
isosceles and otherwise.
He’s coming back to take advantage
of an American Renaissance
in porkpie hats. He says men
will wear them once again
this summer and possibly forever.
It will be the same porkpie hat

made famous by Buster Keaton,
the beloved comedian,
who for years was chief custodian
in Harold’s congregation, long before
we deacons finally defrocked him
for simony, calumny,
heterosexuality and serial fraud.
Anyone who thinks Harold’s wrong
about an American Renaissance
in porkpie hats needs to remember

the startling success he’s had
running that bordello for midgets
with Peyronie’s Disease.
The staff of ladies he recruited.
made Harold a millionaire.
We defrocked him for cause but
he’s an entrepreneur extraordinaire.
He knows midgets and porkpie hats.
So, please, join me at the airport
Sunday morning after services

so we can make Harold’s return
to our beautiful city a boffo event.
He’s giving out free porkpie hats
to everyone who comes to greet him.
And big discounts to all midgets
with Peyronie’s Disease planning
a trip to Amsterdam this Spring
to admire–what else?–the tulips.
There will never be another Harold.
Let’s welcome Pastor Schnabel home.

May 13, 2017

editors note: Ecclesiastical outcast turns entrepreneur; pleasure purveyor with a keen fashion sense. Welcome back! – mh clay

Rebuilding Him by Kathy Lohrum Cotton

Today the chaff begins
its skyward drift
as she sifts through

a lifetime of photos
that become a few moments’
montage at his funeral.

This is the widow’s work:
constructing a mythic man
from his finest qualities

and most handsome profiles,
gilded with every scrap
of accomplishment.

He is the better version
she will recall
all her remaining days,

a polished monument
she can visit
without regrets.

May 12, 2017

editors note: We’d all like to be the best memory of us we can be. – mh clay

Dreaming by Sarah Karowski

it never stops.
this bass that’s
constant running
heaving breathing
infinitesimal worry
now it’s done.
wide-eyed, searching,
updown updown updown
she sits. with her notebook
filled with crimson—teeth?
looking up, she spots me—
smiling little wings
she’s gone—my gothic angel—
gone to the Haudenosaunee—
close eyes, comes this yearning
pangs of mortality did
pierce my gut, now this
flowing—this essence—
my entirety—flowing, gushing, bursting—

now dry
and so, I cry, salty
tears of jejunity
paradoxical lust
to mean something
to anyone, but—no—
–don’t leave this room
–don’t step out this cage
–stew in this pain
–you deserve this
now quiet.

open again—slight chirping,
sun kissed cheeks ever warming,
on soft, calm, green—
turn to see you next to me,
you’re smiling with two missing teeth—
no worries—
ephemeral tranquility
disturbed by a

May 11, 2017

editors note: Let the Jungians have their fun. Better to wake to a beeping alarm and a gap-toothed smile. – mh clay


So what is she wearing exactly?
Not a short, short dress,
but a man’s eyes.
Certainly not a tight halter top
over small breasts.
Those are fingers surely,
fingers with pink ruffles.
And the red of her nails
is just a mirage.
The paint is really smudged across
another’s churlish loins,
the ones beating like a heart
in his underpants.
And beneath it all,
there may be a body
but a body of what?
Of evidence?
Of water so clear
a guy can see his creepy face
in it?
So who is this one
traipsing up and down the sidewalk,
just this side of midnight,
as the cars roll slowly by?
She’s driving those cars.
And it’ll cost her.

May 10, 2017

editors note: And the driven will pay… – mh clay

movie night by Victor Clevenger

in 1998 harry stamper saved the world
when he detonated a thermonuclear
bomb on an asteroid i witnessed his
demise unfold from my couch with a
boner because his daughter grace
really tripped my trigger back then
i closed my eyes with a firm grip &
waited for the explosion

May 9, 2017

editors note: Sating self while others save the world. Now, popcorn… – mh clay

Fleeting Muse by Eliah Medina

The stench of our sheets
Haunts me longer than my vice.

May 8, 2017

editors note: Open window; grit teeth… – mh clay

Status Quo (A Sure Thing) by Gregg Dotoli

Uncle Sam/hog
El Niño/Terror-child
Glaciers/Au Revoir
We’re > Done

May 7, 2017

editors note: So much resistance to our struggle for stasis. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Than dig upon Mad Swirl’s featured short story Digging the Day” by Linda Imbler.

Here’s what short story editor, Tyler Malone has to say about this week’s featured read:

“Hear that out on the streets, between the buzz of streetlamps and the shuffle of sheets behind walls in the dark, the echoes running the rim of stained wine glasses? That’s where some people find life in another dimension.”

Here’s a few lines to entice you with:

(“Live Something, Just Don’t Tell Me What To Do” (above) by The Second Shooter​)

In the early bright of this damned yet blessed universe, the sweet taste of white madness numbs my tongue and cigarette smoke inhaled fills my lungs. At the foot of the bed, that chick’s panties lay over my feet, while sheets are leaking off the bed all over the floor. It goes that way, doesn’t it?

We slept with an open window, now feeling winter’s bite, but before that, we rode the carousel of snow covered horses with sharp shoulders which poked us here and there. We rode up and down, around and around. The ride went on for hours. I prayed it would last all night long.

My tobacco stained fingers dipping into that Holy Grail. Later, we dosed each other with buzz and each named a deity. Not that flash in the pan spiritual high. I mean the long essence of Buddha, rapturous, organic. She, an ebon angel who cracked my spine, my secrets. She absorbed my immortality and she will share it for generations on end. That midnight blue chick I met last night on MacDougal, her demeanor upbeat and her sensibilities more conventional than Benny’s, who I met six days ago. He with the moniker I assigned him. He with his pocketful of bennies, I enjoyed them both for a few turns of the earth…

Dig the rest of this mad 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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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