The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.09.17

by December 10, 2017 0 comments

“The world has always gone forward when people have dared to have crazy ideas.”
Gioconda Belli

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“untitled – (a4)” (above) by featured artist R. Keith.

This months visual artist, R. Keith, brings us some trippy cryptic collages that surely caught our eye. The images and words Keith combines seem random while simultaneously thought-out in a way that only our kind of mad man could ever accomplish! While simple in visuals, each piece has a lot going on. As they say, there’s more than meets the eye! We encourage you, and your eyes, to have a look-see for yourself – personally, I and my eyes had to stare at each about 10 times! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see more of R. Keith’s crazy collection of collages, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we gave what the hell, hiding self from self; we pondered the big ones, “why?” and “where from?”; we paid mind to where blind; we wiggled with worms to make a dead fish; we woke from winter sleepness to sleep in wakeful bleakness; we blamed the blamer, shamed the shamer; we waited (are waiting still) for what we love together, but create alone. Even from nothing, give all! Even in darkness, sing out! ~ MH Clay

Waiting for the poems by J.K. Durick

I’d love to imagine it’s like
inventing some new gadget
something streamlined and
bursting with possibilities,
or coming across the cure
for something that plagues
humanity with rashes and
blockages, or it’s like giving
birth in some way to bits of
me, bawling brawling brats
of me, spitting images and
metaphors into the wise eye
of tomorrow, or it’s like
an explorer, a lost traveler
uncovering a valley where
no one has ever been and
returned to say, the maps
got it wrong, come with me,
or then again maybe it’s like
playing some childish game
again, like at hide and seek,
or kick the can and it’s getting
so dark I finally realize I’m
alone in all this, or perhaps
it’s like I’m playing tag alone
in a blizzard, drawing with
my eyes closed, or singing
a song that has no words,
nor melody till I sing it.

December 9, 2017

editors note: Yup, it’s maybe like that… just sing in your own key. – mh clay

forum by Ellex Sea

When I was 19 going on 20
I found a forum on the internet,
a rebellion of women
begging their bodies to bend
begging their bodies to break
begging their bodies to burn,
stoking flicking licking flames
with their competitive emptiness
masquerading as recovery.

And I let all of their dancing make me feel
like a mountain range,
like my body was all bulge and bloat
just waiting to explode,
waiting to be turned into ash.

Their fire sharpened my bones,
stripped my sinew from its sticking place
as my friends IRL raved about my bravery,
my courage to finally accept that no one loves a fat girl—

—never mind the hair falling out in clumps or
the patches of skin that will never heal,
no matter how much weight you gain back—

—no, the thick is in the thin
and that’s all they’ll see.

These digital women, with their
careful calorie counts and
pictures that all looked like the same person—

—in the forum we were all competing
to be the best version of the same person,
like some dystopian novel where
the girl with the smallest wrists will save us.
The world is watching
and only one of us will make it out alive
and it won’t be the one who threatens status quo with poisonous berries in her mouth,
no, it will be the one who waits until her final gasping breath
to ask for a sip of water,
no lemon.

December 8, 2017

editors note: Don’t shame bodies, the size of bottoms! The real shame lies in the chicanery of the chic, who really only care about the size of their bottom lines. – mh clay

Snow Blankets the Eastern Hills by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington’

Come look. From the balcony.
If you shudder and cough
a moment later you’ll sigh.
Tell me. Is sister sleeping?
Is the landscape weeping?
Is Abigail peeking? This landscape
so bleak and stiflingly echolalic –
Is a white carpet worth a wintry
hemisphere? –
frost’s babbling brook
but mutely monochromatic apocalyptic.
Nearer. Come see the view
nearer the pith.
This may be
maybe may be
what sleep
is like.

December 7, 2017

editors note: And, is sleep what waking is like? (This poem comes from Darryl’s recently published collection, Life’s Prisoners. You can get your copy here. Congratulations, Darryl!) – mh clay

Surfacing by David Walker

As a child, we would catch
our own bait.
My father would upturn
a rock after a rain
and point down.
‘Grab one’ he would instruct
me and I would reach
deep into the sleeve of styrofoam
cups. Handing it to him,
I would stare into the dirt
writhing with worms. He shoveled
earth and its passengers
away before clapping the mud
from his jeans, the ground looking
less alive.

December 6, 2017

editors note: Childhood parsing of bait from baiter. Next comes fish from fisher. – mh clay

Blind by David Susswein

i can’t see no vision i’m blinded
i see:
Houston in rivers,
the whiteman and blackman.

swimming in a pearl of sot.

looking out! the news, worldwide is about.

but i don’t live there.

i live in Freetown, Sierra Leone
i live in Karachi, Pakistan
i live where the dying are.

i am drowning and i am dying.
my skin is too grey or black,
my pocketbook is too unfilled

Lloyd’s insurance of last resort
will never cover me.
i’m too dirty, polluted, worthless.

I Am the First; soon, you will suffer this way too.

December 5, 2017

editors note: Don’t turn a blind eye; lest, from this first come many… – mh clay

Fate & Destiny by Haris Adhikari

A thistledown!
A cotton fiber!
A mountain range!
Ascents and descents!
A Sisyphus!
A useless but
Beautiful struggle!
Of fate and destiny…

But hey!
Was the fiber struggling
At its own will?
Wasn’t there this playful breeze
At play?
Isn’t man— who believes in ‘destiny’—
A victim of the rootless storms?

Bang! And there was—
There came planets
From the star? Hey!!
Where did the
Stars come from??
From the void??
And if so, where did the void
Come from?!

December 4, 2017

editors note: So many questions, right? In fear, or fun, we devise our own answers. – mh clay

Oh, What the Hell by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Gracefully inept at life’s perfection
gleefully disorganized and simple
who put the milk in the top freezer?
at times I think Leprechauns reside here
hiding things and stealing my coins in a
glowing and rising of the autumn sun.
I think I forgot to buy the sweet cream
good thing my favorite color is black,
since the toaster forgot to pop again
burnt toast and tepid black tea today
ribbon-like clouds drift off to the east.
chickadees return to the empty feeder
rain arrives, my umbrella misplaced.
I have five, but can’t find even one.
adapt to life with it’s imperfections,
oh, what the hell, might as well smile.

December 3, 2017

editors note: Hell, yes; might as well… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read-ead-ad-d? Is there an echo in here-ere-re-e? Dang technology!

This week’s featured short, The Internet of Things comes from Carl Perrin-rin-in-n.

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

We get better, that’s what makes us human. We also get worse. They both define us all but which one defines you the most?

The Internet of Things starts something just like this-his-is-s:

(photo “A Lifetime of Deals” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

I’m writing this from Motel Six, where I have been staying for the last three weeks. I have a nice little house in the suburbs but my wife Stella won‘t let me back home.

Stella is a good woman even if she’s stuck in the last century. She still has a flip phone, and she won’t have anything to do with a computer. A couple of months ago I came home with an Amazon Echo. While I was setting it up, she kept complaining, “Those things can spy on you.”

God! She’s so paranoid. Have you ever seen an Amazon Echo? You can do anything with it. You can turn lights on or off, adjust the thermostat, play music, check the weather or your calendar. You can get the news or ask it a question. It can answer almost anything you care to ask it. More stuff is coming. In a few months you’ll be able to order pizza or any takeout and have it delivered to your house. The Echo is voice activated. All you do is talk to it, and it will do what you want…

Want to get the rest of this read? Just tell your Echo, “Alexa, take me to Mad Swirl​ to get the rest of this read!”

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of December (aka 12.06.17) Mad Swirl​ stirred it up again! As always, we opened the mic up to all you mad poets, performers and musicians.

Here’s a shout out to all who warmed our cockles by gracing us with your words, your songs, your divine madness…


Johnny O
MH Clay



Mad Mic Cast:

Hector “Nico” Ortiz
Christina “Moon Vibes” Cain
Paul Sexton
Kristine Spinner
Carlos Salas
John Mayy
Cortlynn Blankenbaker
Opalina Salas


Gabe Mamola
Alexandra “Ellex Sea” Corinth
Jazzmen Victoriaa
Christopher Calle
Lidia Ortiz
Cj Critt
Lezlee Lee

GREAT BIG thanks to Swirve (Gerard Bendiks skins & Chris Curiel trumpet) 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…

Movin’ Forward,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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