The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.10.17

by June 11, 2017 0 comments

“I do not innovate. I transmit.” ~ Andre Derain

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Your Daughter is Older Than You Think” (above) by featured artist Joseph Shepard. 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 sipped sunrises with a stylin’ shark; we jived a jock to make his mark; we slumbered through the tour du jour; we wished a world from deep sea lure; we lifted a life from Mass to passing; we liquored a lush from glass to laughing; we Sundayed to go for a brunch and a blow. It’s a lyrical lark, this walk in the park. ~ MH Clay

Poem with Smoked Salmon Omelet & Fresh Fruit Cup by Scott Wordsman

Sunday. Brunch party. Brooklyn. The drinks
are bottomless. You know what I mean? It’s

a smart enough scheme. You flourish your
instrument, instead of water, waiters pour

booze in it. Someone is brilliant, but I’m not
fit to drink. It makes me less sharp, more

apt to reveal unsavory things. Reader, have
you ever considered the flexibility of BYOB?

Interested in limits, I decided to bring my own
cocaine. Why? asked my date. Well, I replied,

I fancy the taste, but more than that, what it
does to my brain – I like to act fast, speak in

excess. Have you any brunch secrets you wish
to reveal? Well sometimes my eyes quick-drift

to the waitress. She must be twenty, her pants
must contain planets and I yearn for Mars,

for trips to a moon, and not even ours. In my
latent daydreams, she proffers me pills on a

plush velvet pillow, recites verse in a patois so
palatable, so Northern European, I can’t even

stand it. Looking down now, I powder my nose,
then next thing I know, the restaurant dissolves

and it’s just us two, a semblance of we – so we
finish the blow with her gorgeous house keys.

June 10, 2017

editors note: One way to blow your cool… – mh clay

Limitations by Dennis Moriarty

Her laughter is feral
Undignified convulsions of disgruntled humour
As she searches for herself
In the contents of a glass
Her liquid reflection staring back
From small mirror’s of ice.
The gin tapering her lips to a grimace,
The juniper berry’s last flush.

And with eyes like the dull glow of a fag end,
She burns a hole in the darkness
A hole through which she readily falls
Until she lands in her lap
And the drained glass scatters iced fragments
Of reflections across the floor.
For she knows full well the true limitations
Of laughter.

June 9, 2017

editors note: Laughing lush; likes liquor, lucidly lost. – mh clay


Now, finally, I want to carry the clear corn
Resurrected in my grandmother’s veil.
I want to place the selenium where
It must sustain the object
Of this most cautious of customs;
Retain forever the bread Host’s transmutation.

Smoke is rising from the chimney. I will.
Bounteous mother, treat our guests
To a wake of your finery. Figs,
I have gathered.
Tomatoes and crushed almonds!
Sweet yellow wine is to be shared with
The herdsman’s son,
The Carabinieri and those

From the grotto. Not wastrel nor saint
Should forget how you sang
And nurtured here. Concordantly, the eyelids
Will be covered by the palms of your
Confettied hospice. Crickets hum
In nearby thickets. At yuletide I’ll toss

The sachet of camomile into the lava’s
Compendium… then
Lay down
With the corn.
With the veil.

June 8, 2017

editors note: Take what’s passed until we are past. – mh clay

A HOUSE IN ATLANTIS by Clyde Kessler

The boat is gray that wakes from inside
the anchor, 300 feet down, where divers
laugh at empty oxygen, because they’re
skeletons eating Halloween clam-shells
from the eyes inside the planks. Air
dissolved in this water feels like bait-fish
hooked to a thumb, scraps of their fins
are almost starlight at the surface. The boat
meanwhile is drifting like an island full of snow
that melted from a dinosaur’s spine feathers.

I wish I could tell you how to dive
inside a molecule, not like in a magic movie
computer camera trick dubbed in hieroglyphics.
It’s more like the creature that sells heaven
to angels. And it’s more like a castle shrinking
around you, everything on top of Atlantis,
everything’s crazy dream, like prophesying
fish bones and oyster shells fattening the invaders
because somebody used to be a saint up a palm tree.

I wish I could also build you a house in Atlantis
where you could fry pancakes, and sing the blues,
and watch a herd of stegosaurs evolve into willows.
At the end of the year, you’d be ready to surface.
And I’d be strumming along. The door doesn’t lock.
The kids swim with dolphins. There’s a boat
on the roof, and it sings, too. The sky lives there
and it is wishing for itself a world.

June 7, 2017

editors note: We can create, like the creator(s); they started with a word – as do we. – mh clay

Semiconscious. by Luke Ritta

The bus bumps, glides, grinds, turns, twists and climbs.

My eyes open and look at the liver spots on the back of an old mans head.
My eyes open and I gaze into a small red light that reminds me of HAL.
My eyes open and I gaze at mountains, rivers, small towns and a lonely boy walking with a cat on the side of the road.
I close my eyes and see two voluptuous Chilean women caressing each other.

I close my eyes and watch myself sleeping.

June 6, 2017

editors note: Mind’s eye as tour guide. “I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.” – mh clay


Da buggah sure can run wit dat pigskin
even dough it’s really made of cow.

Boomah Williams
is wun pretty good running back.

Da only ting is

da knots in his head
stay just as thick as his powerful legs—

Dumber den wun box of coconuts
is putting it mildly.

But foa now
he’s da bull of da campus

and he gets his pick

of all of da girls dat stay ogling
around him.

Scholastics is wun lazy mystery
to Boomah.

He’s relying on his good looks

and breakaway speed
in da open field.

Some college recruiters
stay looking at him.

Dey wondering
about his grades dough.

Boomah is tinking

dat he going skate through
to da next level

just like he did in high school.

He’s already dreaming
of da new uniform.

Even dough some universities

try to accommodate guys
wit easy passable courses

it just might be too much
foa somebody dat no like give any real effort.

I can imagine him
struggling wit such subjects

as Finger Painting 101
and Farm Animal Identification.

Boomah sure can run fast

but not fast enough
to make da intellectual cut.

Da sad ting heah

is dat he not even trying
foa expand his brain

but da buggah going find out
da hard way.

Looks like
you no can change da stripes

on wun manini.

*manini – A kind of reef fish with vertical stripes; a slang term for something small or insignificant.

June 5, 2017

editors note: Big fish, little pond. (We welcome Joe to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Helena the Shark by Catfish McDaris

She told me she was Helena
Blavatsky reincarnated, there
was some resemblance, I told
her her breasts reminded me of
Texas, one sort of drooped toward
Dallas, the other curled like a
Texas longhorn in a Waco twister,
her farts were ungodly, I’m talking
Martian strange, I took her on a
short road trip and told her if she
cut the cheese anymore, I’d stake
her ass to an anthill and lather her
with honey, she just smiled, we got
to the beach, I got out our lounge
chairs and tequila sunrises from the
cooler, I fell asleep when I woke up
a tiger shark was wearing Helena’s
sunhat and bloody bikini top and
was sipping an icy Old Milwaukee.

June 4, 2017

editors note: A cautionary tale of animal attraction. (Catfish has recently released a new anthology of poems inspired by the life of Vincent van Gogh, Resurrection of a Sunflower. Get your copy here.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? If so, we present you “Aftermath” by Contributing Writer & Poet, KJ Hannah Greenberg.

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

“Gifts that go ungiven, those are the tragic artifacts that no amount of dust can cover.”

Here’s a bit of the tale to sink yourself into:

(“The Plunge” (above) by The Second Shooter​)

Denzel couldn’t conceive of anything but jail time in his future. Even if his trial was completed before he turned eighteen, he might be sentenced as an adult despite the fact he hadn’t cause Zoe’s death.

They had been skimming rocks across Kinzua Lake. Denzel had proposed a fishing date, figuring they’d find a spot along the twenty plus mile manmade waterway. It was not yet time for pike, but walleye was in late season and the bass run had just begun. They’d rent a walkaround from Wolf Run Marina. Denzel had been saving up for the occasion.

But by the time they got out to the dock, there were no boats, not even a simple canoe. They parked their fishing gear in a locker, patronized the concession stand, and bought enough Thirst-Quencher to hike the Rimrock Overlook Trail. Denzel kept his small, velvet box in his jacket.

He had wanted to present the diamond to Zoe at Docksider’s. Unfortunately, as was true of the boats, the restaurants’ tables were all bespoken. So, for a second time, the two filled up on corndogs and oversweet juice.

Denzel had next suggested that they skip stones. He would find a way to hand Zoe a particularly sparkly one.

She never received it…

Float on over to to get the rest of this read on!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of May (aka 06.07.17) Mad Swirl​ featured YOU! and as we expected, YOU! delivered like champs!

Here’s a shout out to all YOU YOU’s who graced us with their words, their songs, their divine madnesses…

(click on the pic to get ’em movin’!)
photos courtesy of Dan “the man” Rodriguez

Johnny Olson​
MH Clay​


Mad Mic Cast:
Chris Zimmerly
Kristine Spinner
Rob Dyer
Opalina Salas
Paul Koniecki​
Connor Stratman​
Reverie Evolving​
Alexandra Ramos
Austin Caraway​


Brittny Grifiths
Rebekah Armstrong
Alexander Orokotan
Christina Cain
Brittney Johnson
Michael Neal​

HUGE thanks to Swirve (Tamitha Curiel, Gerard Bendiks​ & Chris Curiel​) for taking us to another dimension of time and space on the wings of their jazzy madness!

More HUGE thankseses to City Tavern​’s Thad Kuiper​ & Noble Tse​ for makin’ our stay most righteous.

And lastly, but not leastly, thanks to all who came out to the Tavern & shared this beat-utifullest night of poetry and music with us!

May the madness swirl your way! ’til next 1st Wednesday…

P.S. Click here if you wanna see the LIVE feed action of our OPEN MIC set…


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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