The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.05.17

by on August 6, 2017 :: 0 comments

“Art is what you can get away with.” ~ Andy Warhol

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Dude” (above) by featured artist Shelly Denning.

Our newest featured visual artist, Shelly Denning, isn’t new to the Swirl at all. It’s just been awhile since she’s been around. But back she is & we’re very happy that she is! Shelly brings realistic works of icons just about anyone would recognize. The details Denning captures are impressive, to say the least. Take a look at The Dude, for example, and you’ll think you’re looking at a still straight from the movie itself. Still, despite the realistic nature of Denning’s work, there is something special, strange and maybe a little bit mad about each piece. And if you know us, you know that’s just what Mad Swirl can’t resist…and we hope you can’t either! ~ Madelyn Olson

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

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe went the way of two Ks; we fanned the flames of love gone wrong; we lived a love on film as days; we mended moon like legend’s songs; we lost the flower, lamented land; we risked to reach with open hand; we ended, impaled on a black crow’s teeth (jagged edges, wrought from beak). We ain’t goin’ no where – caw and clutch the quivering wire. ~ MH Clay

New Mexico by Chris Zimmerly

I am old crow
Scalpel beak a sonorous horn
My star spangled smile
Seems smooth
On the atomic level
I am jagged as the crest
As the sun comes over the mountain
I stand astride the continental divide
Tears flowing from one eye going to the Pacific Ocean
Tears flowing from the other going to the Atlantic Ocean
Here I stand on this obsidian razor blade
This edge moment time
The dawn line comes
Cartwheels across me now
I remember her because I see
The dawn line reveals
The murder of morning crows
Jettisoned from shadow’s rest
Two pairs swing on their wings
So black they flash nitrous
Each swoop in the warming air
Binds their lifetime bond tighter
I am lone crow
She’s gone
I clutch my talons tightest on this empty telephone wire quivering
On the edge of I-10 staring west
As the moon is torn from its own face
Leaving black flashing silver
Her smile sparkles
Opalina eyes
They tear like crude rainbows
On the wet stone sharpening our knives
Holding our breath
Kiss kiss kiss
Breath is black hole melancholia
I am lone crow witness
Talons clutched tightest on empty wire
Her shadow wing is passing
Is a kiss on the cheek
5 senses cooking up
Face fireworking 4th of July
Alcoholic hole for eyes
Grab me inside, Melancholia
Just where she wants me
On the heartstring plucking it with her talon
We fly in mad memory
Punctilious Blue Angels
Unaware we uncaring of the dangers of love
That if we touch
We’d fall from the sky and die
So closer and closer we move on the air
I just want
Her talon tap on the heart string
Our shadows hover inside each other
We kiss our beaks
Against the dawn line
Revealing a murder
The jettisoned pairs
Beating their wings
Straddling the continental divide
I am seemingly smooth
But jagged as a mountain mourning.

August 5, 2017

editors note: Cross-country cogitations on the consequences of crows. (Read another fine set-o’-lines from Chris on his page; it’s a hot (sweet) one.) – mh clay

Reach by Polly Richardson (Munnelly)

Out of
Darkness comes flight
In skies, beautiful dawn
raise head towards nearly moon,
Hush, the breeze wraps arm around
stretched palms south, holding, holding, release to
feel rushing nothing, invigorate the mind, blow creases
north, cheek to ear, feet to earth dampness falls.
Reach inside the work undone, clasp it and dance dance,
Spin like it’s your last breath, last love, last time, spin.
Turning sods smile under knocking toes reaching deep curling, release, beetle
stills, hear silence sing-songing and love doesn’t beckon this time despite clacking loud and all turn to cows, swinging udders regurgitate notes get back, get back in
time, to love and yellow boots hip-hopping the yaga monster holding hands singing Marvin Gaye. The fields part grass, lowering meadows to leave dew drop hover in her matrix reaching low aching to greet moon-shine casting shadows as curling toes fondle still, moments imprint


turning insides out facing clouds and brace, brace against the force and smile, smile to brighten decades carried in eyes that find themselves on lowering hills, swinging cows in hailing all as if last chance
last chance to embrace it all and sway as if never
out of


August 4, 2017

editors note: Yes, take it all; as much as two hands can hold! (Congrats to Polly, who is a featured poet at the Blackwater Poetry Festival in County Cork, Ireland this weekend.) – mh clay

Atlantis by Milenko Županović

Lament on the land
pinch the flower
from the book of civilization
I cry every time
When I see dry land
bandaged in black
suffering for homeland
I cry and pray
last trace of beauty
hidden within us.

August 3, 2017

editors note: An ugly erosion; the loss of land begins within. – mh clay

healing sun by Milt Montague

the moon is growing sad and listless as it sickens
traversing the sky radiating vomit
a very sick satellite

the sun, great mother force tries to heal the rift
with its powerful rays to overcome the negativity
generated earlier

so far the sun is in ascendance
BUT beware

the moon is secretly gaining strength
may become a worthy contender
in this battle for the life of our planet

we must gear up for the battle ahead
our lives and those of our families are on the line

August 2, 2017

editors note: Metaphor, myth or maybe; something’s going down. – mh clay

Better Than a Movie by Jeff Grimshaw

Who is better than a movie? Not me,
Although sometimes when I am soaking in the tub
I am pretty good. I walk down
The aisle of shampoos and conditioners at the supermarket
And imagine these beautiful liquids
Sitting on my bathroom window sill glowing like
Stained glass windows as an old
Stephane Grappelli record plays in the other room,
And that is almost a movie.

Who is better than a movie? You are,
At least you would be if you kept sour cream & onion sprinkle
In your kitchen. ‘You’ve been soaking
For half an hour,’ you would call to me as the microwave buzzed,
Notifying us that the popcorn is ready.
And you’d pad into the other room
To flip the old record over, moving through
A dozen pools of beautiful light,
And that is almost a movie,

Maybe even the same movie. I’d dry
My hairy legs while you plucked black kernels
From the Fiestaware bowl
And the camera would cut from one of us to the other,
Music crisp and loud while you pluck,
Muffled and soft while I rub.
In the background, a bottle of lavender shampoo (blurred),
And puddles shaped like my feet
All the way down the hallway.

We are not better than a movie, because
Nothing is better than a movie. But we
Can be as good as a movie,
So long as the light cooperates
And gravity does not fail,
Even without sour cream & onion sprinkle
To redeem all disappointments.

August 1, 2017

editors note: Still a great story, even if it goes straight to DVD. – mh clay

Up in smoke by Mike Zone

wandering the night
in the heat – the rain
pierced by the rays of your heart
the razor blade-coated man appears
glinting underneath the pallid street lamps
I saw the labors of love in the lunatic devil’s eyes
it didn’t sound like we know how to survive
but we loved in each other mutilating each a tender bit of soul
something of the song I sang
as he slashed me across the chest running – without laughter
thieving our nocturnal music
awaiting the gauze-girl, that enchantress of death and misery
harnessing the pendulum of oblivion
which one of us not being a nightmare – excalibur concepts
we can reach out all
we want lady of the lake, slut of the sea
salt crystals in her hair, barnacles between her teeth
pearl skin of deathly decay
the avalon of despair- where no wounded heroes come back
but that’s really the point of it all, isn’t it?
kingdom gone, the germination of hope
this is why poetry lingers – like the gas leak in an apartment
outdated lines – rusted, broken
sometimes it’s better to asphyxiate – in a delirium of delightful dreaming
but I rather light the match with a cheshire cat smile
take a puff from an overly expensive cigar
take the whole damn tenement down with me

July 31, 2017

editors note: If he can’t have then no one can. Calmly walk to the exit nearest you. – mh clay

Tidings by Sanjeev Sethi

Efficiency of the memoriter ingress
allows you to come calling as easily
as another niggle of myself. Rain hits
upon me, in doing so it robs me of
my right to say, No. This is Nature’s
way, kowtow or kaput. Ocean, an
oriel away gurgles and giggles to
share finespun specks of its latest
amour. I listen: it leavens.

July 30, 2017

editors note: “kowtow or kaput” – couldn’t have said it better. Thanks, Sanjeev! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! If you’re lookin’ for something “mad”-gical in your read this week, we think that “Jack’s Cow” by Laura Beasley will give you what you wish for.

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

“In most stories, on most days, the most minor of characters deserves the best existence.”

Here’s a few morsels of this short-short to get the spell goin’:

(photo “Fairy_Tale_Setting” (above) by Tyler Malone)

Jack and his mother were so poor they had only a cow. When the cow stopped giving milk, his mother told Jack to sell the cow. You knew that. What about the rest of the story? What about the old man with the beans?

Why trade magic beans for a cow? The old man was a secret wizard and was dying. He wanted that cow for his granddaughter. He housed the cow in the guest bedroom and called the girl to his bedside, “I will die tonight. Listen to the cow and care for her. She will protect you.”

She buried her grandfather the next morning.

She fed the cow salads on china platters. She bathed the cow and dressed her in silk dresses. She rubbed her ears and massaged the cow’s hooves with peppermint lotion. She told her adventure tales and sang lullabies to help her sleep.

The cow said, “Moo.”

One week later, debt collectors pounded on the door. This was a time of debtor’s prisons. The girl hid in the shadows when anyone knocked.

When she served the cow breakfast in bed, she told the cow, “I know you say ‘Moo,’ but I wish you could help me.”

“You only had to ask, sweet girl. You have at least three wishes.”…

If your wish is to keep this read goin’, click your mad-gical mouse right here & your wish will be granted!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of August (aka 08.02.17) Mad Swirl​ swirled it up madly in the live way that we do every month. This month we opened the mic up to all you mad poets, performers and musicians.

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


Johnny Olson​
MH Clay​



Mad Mic Cast:

Vic Victory
Paul Koniecki​
Kristine Spinner​
Opalina Salas​
Tom Farris​
Reverie Evolving​
Austin Caraway​
Suza Kanon​
Carlos Salas​
Tamitha Curiel​

~ intermission ~

Rebekah Armstrong​
Aaron Glover​
Christina Cain​
Matt Sachs​
Emiliano Santiago Sarabia
Cynthia Schulte​

HUGE thanks to Krude (Clark Walker on skins & Chris Curiel​ on trumpet and musical guest Ed McMahon) for taaking 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 below to see Parts One AND Deux of the LIVE feed action of our OPEN MIC sets…


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…

Gettin’ Away,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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