The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.04.17

by November 5, 2017 0 comments

“When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.”
Robert Mapplethorpe

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Bottled Jelly (above) by featured artist Mike Fiorito.

To see more of Mike’s colorfully crazy collages, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe mused to see’em; we charmed karma; we rebounded, though grounded; we exhumed an exhibit; we regaled an old rocker; we game faced a color race; we swang a shirt (no hope in rope), felt life’s hurt. Our machinations are beat from hearts, not machines… ~ MH Clay

The Passage by Peycho Kanev

The soul, suspended in the dark wet sleeve
of the shirt on the clothesline, hides
from the sunset

The sky’s engine purrs like a cat,
coiling inside its grayness

Shadows grow and darken the house –
all the rooms bulge with obscurity
and gather around the flickering candle

The man in dirty overalls sits in the barn’s shade
and looks at the rope, hanging from the beam,
gently swaying in the wind.

November 4, 2017

editors note: Many doors to choose; only lead from here to there. – mh clay

Almost Equal by Arif Ahmad

This game we were playing making faces at each other
Except I was the only one to end up on the altar
Turns out that with my name I should not have been playing this game
And also that I was a shade too dark
I tug on my freedoms before I write
Please God, please
In another life let me be blond, blue-eyed and white

November 3, 2017

editors note: There it is! What color is privileged where you are? – mh clay

Alternative History in Staunton, Virginia by Marianne Szlyk

The man who sings my favorite song
wanders the streets of this small city.
He no longer carries his guitar,
too heavy for walking past seventy
on uneven brick sidewalks
that all run uphill.

An ex-smoker,
he catches his breath
beneath the marquee
of the last one-screen movie theater,
the one that used to show
movies he liked.
It reeks of buttered popcorn.
He moves on

past the site
of the old Woolworth’s,
the one that sold his records
back when they were hits,
when they crept out of open windows
even in this mountain town,

before they clung to him,
never leaving the room
with the reel to reel tape,
never leaving home.

November 2, 2017

editors note: The last one to sing his song is himself. – mh clay

Fundamental by Bhupender Bhardwaj

The skeletal tridents of the equidistant electricity poles with their faint parallel
Metallic wires were the only marks of distortion on the otherwise crystal clear exhibit
On display that day. The eye with its lid was free to roam the distances unlike the buntings;
Eyelids of the window-frame that kept fluttering in the draughts. Wherever you saw, huge trees
Carrying not only the sunlight upon their canopies but also the load of adjectives— ‘green, yellow,
Airy, angular’ and which signified above all the verb ‘Grow’
Two cows, their flanks scintillating bright were pulling along the iron ploughshare
Riveted upon which was the ubiquitous farmer.
Strain and Push on that side
The black cotton soil breathing on this side
Man and animal were making the ground yield to the passion
Of crops that would bud slowly.
Dung smells, hovering dragonflies, the heaped-up sugarcane
And the fuming heat waves were pointing to something deeper lurking below the veneer of superfluity;
Were pointing to something more fundamental which could not be averted.

November 1, 2017

editors note: The inevitable dirt nap which comes to all. – mh clay

ONLY THE GROUND by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Only the ground could break my fall.
Only the ground could cover my bones.
Only time will tell where and when.
Only time will buckle my knees.
My feet will go out. My torso will weaken
and slink into its coffin. I will fall
headfirst into the darkness or light.
I have no idea how it will end.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
eternity will meet its finality.
Only the ground could break my fall.
Only time will buckle my knees.

October 31, 2017

editors note: We’ll all land in land… in time. – mh clay

Karma Balance (time see-saw) by Gregg Dotoli

every action generates outcome
a whipped back
a kick in the teeth
a swollen black eye
dire news


a returning lover
dreams realized
bluebird reverie
found puppy
olympic joy

what was becomes
peanut-can snakes of cosmic spring
cruel infinite jokes
karma kicks/kisses
a perfect balance as past melts future
we reap our doing
only nows exist

caged by destiny or fate driven free
unknown rains on all humans

October 30, 2017

editors note: Always keep an umbrella handy. – mh clay

Mummies of the World by Sheri Gabbert

Mummies are fascinating but please,
respect the dead. No chewing gum. No drinks or food. No grieving
for the small ones or for the warriors whose heads were worn
around a victor’s neck. No rosaries for the medical bodies,
pieces of the philanthropic on display.
I count the dead as I count my steps, counting coup,
coup de grâce, please, god, let there be a bench.
Read the captions, the stories, the hieroglyphics,
but do it quickly, my feet hurt.

October 29, 2017

editors note: Mummification through museum meandering. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re in Need-of-a-Read, “The Showing of the Psychic Wares of Patricia Styles,” from Contributing Writer C.B. Johnson, will fill that need quite nicely.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story:

Dine with the death daily. But beware, you won’t ever lose your appetite and they’ll grow only hungrier.

Here’s a bit of “The Showing of the Psychic Wares of Patricia Styles” to get this read goin’:

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

Peter Styles checked and double-checked his messages. She was going through with it. Patricia Styles, his sister-in-law, was putting her psychic wares on the market. She had listed them in an ad posted online and shared across her networks. Everything must go!

Peter had been asked by Patricia to an advance showing in the event that he happened to like something and wanted to buy at a pre-auction price. Patricia was the writer of a food blog, Patty’s Patties, with a one-time viral following, and it was supposed that her psychic wares would be rich in visceral gastronomic sensations. The page views were already over a hundred and the auction wasn’t even live yet.

Peter had no sense how to dress for this occasion, so he dressed for a fancy restaurant. He went in his best suit, a suit of multi-use charcoal cotton, for the showing of the psychic wares of Patricia Styles. He reflected he intended to wear the suit on the day of his brother’s imminent funeral, the funeral of Henry Styles. He had bought the suit especially for a friend’s wedding, had bought it with dual use in mind, knowing without wanting to know that he would soon enough have to appear at his brother’s funeral, because Henry was terminally ill and quite visibly dying a slow but sure bed-ridden death…

Get the rest of this right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.01.17) Mad Swirl stirred it up once again, this time celebratin’ our 13th year of doing so!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with your words, your songs, your jokes AND your divine madness…


Johnny O
MH Clay



Mad Mic Cast:

Chris Zimmerly
Opalina Salas
Matthew “Chigger” Haines
Emaan Majed
Carlos Salas
Tamitha Curiel
Aaron Glover
Vic Victory
David Crandall
Hannah O’Brien
Hector “Nico” Ortiz
Austin Caraway
Reggie James De Carlo
Aaron Kelly
Lidia Ortiz

GREAT BIG thanks to Swirve (Gerard Bendiks skins & Chris Curiel trumpet and musical guest Hanzu) for stirring the Swirl the best way in the world!

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

And lastly, but never leastly, thanks to all who came out to the Tavern & shared this loving, laughing, lasting night of poetry and music with us!

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

P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, it’s not too late to be a fly on the wall. Check it out in all its LIVE glory 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…

Workin’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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