The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.23.17

by September 24, 2017 0 comments

“I want to be a force for real good. In other words. I know that there are bad forces, forces that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the opposite force. I want to be the force which is truly for good.” ~ John Coltrane

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Brief As a Smile Passing Through Lightning” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak. To see more of Bill’s twisted illustrations, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe sounded the depths of sound; we flew up from a fall; we dallied in destitute dreams, spun round; we played with fire, with truths and a lie; we hung up fast when death made a call; we stared through stacks with peering eyes; we found hope, too, once we were through. We put out propriety in mad society. ~ MH Clay

I’m Through by Johnny Olson

Things aren’t like
They used to be
These days
Simplicity is a rarity
Complications cloud
Our minds
Distractions of all kinds
Threaten to sway
The things we say
Or dare not
To declare
These pointless
points of view
Dulling all our
Shining hues
Just trying to cope
And hang on to hope

Nope. I’m through

Things don’t look like
They used to look
These days
It’s rare to find
An open book
We’re mindless drones
Noses bent to phones
Oblivious to the swirling
Mad world that’s unfurling
All around us
Hypnotized by the eye
Of the corporate beast
Who feasts on our meat
And pickpockets our souls

No. I’m through.

Things don’t feel like
They used to feel
These days
The fuzzed up line
Between fiction and real
Has got us twisted
In some unreal reality
All the while technology
Messes up our psychology
Creating prescriptions
For made-up maladies
Manufactured by the pharmaceutical
Companies owned and
controlled by this so-called
Society we call democracy
It’s a fucking travesty.

Not me. I’m through.

It’s due time we
Let loose of the line
Cut the tie
That binds our minds
And blinds our eyes
Make us a society
That’s yours and mine
Say enough is too much
Kick this crippling crutch
And touch reality
Taste it and see it
And really feel it
Be all up in it
Seeking and finding
Colliding the new world
We got duped into buying
With the old world
We thought was dying
And was long lost
and forgotten
It’s not

All we need to do
Is say we’re through

September 23, 2017

editors note: Yes, we are! (Thanks for these encouraging words from our Chief Ed) – mh clay

the stories i was whispering to you while you slept by Panos Panagiotopoulos

we are in a back room
at the old library
where they stack piles of books
on the floor

our palms are buried
beneath ash and dust

your eyes peer at me over tall stacks
of half-torn pages
like twin black holes

you bear the sulphuric scent of the void
in space

we pretend we are somewhere else
all the time

September 22, 2017

editors note: With nothing but words to define our place. – mh clay

MAKING PLANS by Bradford Middleton

The phone rang and I picked it up
From the other end came a near hysterical female voice
I thought, fuck who have I pissed off now?
But this one turned out to be another of those damn automated calls
She told me in no uncertain terms that according to her records
I hadn’t arranged a much-needed funeral plan!

I hung up immediately but suddenly felt my own mortality
At 44 am I already on the way out
And do they know something I don’t know about
On this gloomy, near death Thursday morning
When the only thing to look forward to now is work

September 21, 2017

editors note: When Death calls on auto dial, HANG UP! – mh clay

Easy as 1, 2, truth. by Rachael N. Sanders

You see
You’re Everlasting like the essence of bread and wine.
When you read forever My grandfather’s cheeks were Scarlet with eternity
And I have fervor in infinity
When your heart gives into divinity
And I like to play with heat.
I’ve been watching you. You’re a stop sign.
Your face red like war, And in this trench
With his brothers murmur radio signals like crime.
When calisthenics take hold my tongue
High in a fever and young
My lips cracked and dry
Like mother Earth after Phaethon’s joyride.
In the glass of time and the
Pearl in their ocean eyes
Play with me two truths and one lie.

September 20, 2017

editors note: A burning truth, fueled by mythology and maybe. – mh clay

Destitute dreamer by Hem Raj Bastola

Is gonna think?
Her vague presence
Buried in the
Womb of silence,
And I weep for
Her beauty.

Got drunk,
In my madness,
Spinning her dream;
In the haywire.
Loitering in the streets
In search of poetry,
Collecting sights
To stir, in alleys.

On a temple porch,
Pondering night,
Did not meet any thought.
Melting by the temperatures
Of: emotion, kissing whose
Unkissed lips.
You create a current,
Oh! Volatile.

Dancing with
The caressing breeze
For the droplets of dew
Distilled tonight.
Surprise of a turn
With sericeous head
And seductive smile
Disappear within a wink
Flying to the world:
Of nymph.

And as a
Destitute dreamer,
Staring at her flight
I wait for an
Early plane
To catch.

September 19, 2017

editors note: Another flight of fancy. Boarding Dream Air, now! – mh clay

the fall. by James Rodehaver


i fell hard enough one day to break bone,
fell flat on my back.
i kept doing it over
and over,
until the weaker protrusions
growing out of my scapula broke clean off.
then i buried my hollow bones,
my shriveled little wings,
deep down in the barren earth,
and i waited.


i waited so long,
a lifetime,
a long and lonely time,
for them to be uncovered.
just so someone could finally
call any part of me a miracle,
and mean it.


i never said i could fly,
lord no,
i’m not an angel.
but oh,
i can grow wings,
and i can fall.

September 18, 2017

editors note: Wings or no; with the right words… (Bear has a new set of chapbooks out, Time Travel for Daydreamers. Get’em here.) – mh clay

Storm of Sound by A.D. Hurley

Such a funny thing –
the intricacies of the voyage.
The waves that lap at your ear,
drift through the canal,
like an ocean barge
being guided swiftly
yet carefully
through a narrow passage.
Once through,
the beating of a tiny drum
Thump, thump, thump
like a Viking ship
encourages the
stroke, stroke, stroke
of oar-hands
gliding it further, further
tickling the barnacles
in a whirlpool of sound;
a complex vortex
swirling through
a twisted ride
before a fast-moving current
picks it up and delivers it to port.

It’s a funny thing.
The complex ride to port.
how the passage can be
smooth and swift
uneventful and fluid,
yet an unexpected storm
can turn the tide
change the current
and reroute the journey –
the sound doomed to drift
on an empty ocean,

September 17, 2017

editors note: Storms of dismissal, disinterest and pride. Watch the weather when you speak. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Need-a-Nything at all to get you thru the livelong day? Then we think you’ve come to the right place!

This week’s featured fix comes from Contributing Writer & Poet, Gayle Bell​!

Here’s what short story editor, Tyler Malone, has to say about this pick of the week, “The Further Adventures of Juvenile Delinquent“:

Life at the bottom, on the edge, making love with past mistakes and never getting tired. The madness of life lived.

Here’s a bit of “The Further Adventures of Juvenile Delinquent” to get you goin’:

(photo “Emptied” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

What I heard in my head was William De Vaughn’s “Be Thankful for What You’ve Got.” There wasn’t a diamond in the back. What was actually playing was a loop of the same five rap songs that apparently our driver picked to put him in El Capo/Pimpin’ mode.

I could make some under the table paper, let the driver. You have lower back pain, show them your card, they’ll pay for it. Get the ‘script and give it to the runner, $50.00 in your hand. I was broke. With my lack of budgeting skills—I need groceries, mad money. It was for good reasons, I can rationalize all kinds of silly shit when the wolf is having cubs at the door.

Anyway, back to the cut. It is about 3:30 a.m. The clinic doesn’t open until 6:00 a.m. I have to pee… BAD. With the exception of two people, everyone is strange and strangers to me. We are people on the margins, some on the cliff end. We all have our needs…

Get the rest of this mighty fine 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…

Good Force’n,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

(image: “Radiance in Blue” courtesy of featured Mad Swirl artist Brett “BA” Ardoin)

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