The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.31.18

by April 1, 2018 0 comments

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
Vincent Van Gogh

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“smiling while she cried” (above) by featured artist Madelyn Olson.

Mad Swirl is proud to once again feature the colorfully disturbing and beautiful works of our Visual Editor, Madelyn Olson. If the name is familiar maybe it’s because you’ve seen Madelyn’s name from her editorial comments right here in this very land of the Mad Gallery. Others might know her as the emerging and prolific artist. As for me, I know her as my daughter, my friend, my inspiration. Please indulge me for a moment while I brag on my kiddo because that’s what papa’s like me do!

From her first strokes of crayon purposefully drawn outside the lines of her coloring books all those years ago, it was plain to see Madelyn’s divine artistic shine. Today, we still find her creeping outside the lines except now those lines she purposely crosses sit somewheres between angelic and depraved. Her cast of diverse characters, with swimming glimmering eyes and twisted limbs disjointed and amputated, carry a message that cannot be denied. Madelyn’s portraits unapologetically express the rawness of a reality that’s on a twisted parallel of our own. What some of these quixotic subjects have to say may not be what you want to hear but you just cannot help yourself from wanting to eavesdrop.

But don’t take my biased word about Madelyn’s works. After all, I’m her papa and we’ve been known to brag on our kiddos. Go have a peek for yourself and tell me I’m not spot-on with my review of Madelyn Olson’s latest canvases. Go on now, I dare ya… ~ Johnny Olson

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

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we wrestled words in a god-clashed void; we cracked glass shards in lipstick ooze; we shattered on floor, traverse annoyed; we kindled converse, no face to lose; we shined in the glow of gameshow shakedown; we tipped and turned in a half-truth takedown; we danced in the dust of Dreamland trust. Ashes to ever to anything goes; thick in the thorns of that thing you chose. ~ MH Clay

DREAMLAND by Mel Waldman

across the deep of nowhere

the rim of Dreamland


the swirl of the dust devil & the fantastic desert


exquisite chaos galloping through the miasma

phantom mustangs

the music of trauma

I sing the Blues Apocalypse

the requiem shrieks & shatters the ruins of Un-Reality

I vanish

the Blues Apocalypse

nowhere blues

Dreamland’s dystopia

my dissolving self

the Hidden Holy Haven of Ineffable Nothingness

my immortal soul

Dreamland’s blessing

phantom gift
glittering in evanescence & everlasting in the perennial dream of Dreamland

March 31, 2018

editors note: Nothing’s amiss in nothing’s bliss. – mh clay

Effect by Sanjeev Sethi

Sans passports your words fly
to my islet. From far-off places
your eyes key passages. In
reign of entropic radiations
there is no empath. Cushioned
by half-knowledge, in twirl
of half-truths we subsist
in centers of our seeking.

March 30, 2018

editors note: Come, they fly, but land, not. You keep speaking, I’ll keep seeking… – mh clay

showcase showdown by J.J. Campbell

a guy is hoping to
win a boat on the
showcase showdown
today on the price
is right

it would be nice
to just drift off
into the wherever
on a boat

until you realize
you easily get
a sunburn

and never have
any good reactions
to seafood

he bid too much

crisis averted

March 29, 2018

editors note: When winnings outweigh the want of winning… – mh clay

La Belle France by Sheighle Birdthistle

My French friends nurture the empty spaces
Laid bare by malignant ideologies and guns
Young and old, no sorting out of creed or culture
An aged priest of religion gently praising his God
A teddy bear witnessing the child’s life ended.

Music as painkiller, music as memory, scents
And coffee, and croissant crumbling like death
Hot sun blazing on cold bodies breathless
And still we need to make eye contact continuing
The conversation with those with whom our difference
Need never be a death sentence.

March 28, 2018

editors note: Imagine that; eye contact, conversation. Difference without death. Are we listening, America? – mh clay

DIY by Mike James

the way you break my heart
just to play with glue

your hands all sticky
as you piece together
what was fine

each time,
it’s a little different

almost always, there’s
one piece
left on the floor

March 27, 2018

editors note: Watch your step when you go for the glue; there are feelings on the floor. – mh clay

Oral Fixation by Julia Cirignano

I think of putting
The glass tip
Of the dropper
Into my mouth
Feeling it’s smooth
Round edges
And biting down
Until shards of glass
Cut little slivers
In my tongue
Then placing it
Back inside
The tincture

I think of putting
The pink tip
Of my matte lipstick
Into my mouth
Sucking it
And tasting the botanic
Chalky flavor
And then biting down
Into the smooth
Creamy stick
And chewing
The dry clay
Until my mouth
Is full
And pink slime
From the edges
Of my mouth

March 26, 2018

editors note: A “what if…?” scenario with teeth in it. (We welcome Julia to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

THE VOID by Stefanie Bennett

If my hand hadn’t trembled so
I’d not have
Let go of the moon.
Pluto and Mars
Wouldn’t be
Warring it up
And I, I needn’t be left
To conquer
One dismal room
With a fountain-pen,
Four off-white
Walls – and
My head aside
As paper-weight.

March 25, 2018

editors note: Had it, just a moment ago… Paper-weight? Maybe doorstop to keep it open for the gods’ return. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re in need-of-a-read then feast your eyes upon Hairdon’t by Zak Block.

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

“A day is a stream of small moments that should be huge, that should be carried until death. But they’re forgotten because remembering is madness.”

Here’s a bit of “Hairdon’t” to get you goin’:

(photo “All Human Knowledge” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

The dining hall at Cape Rush College, panopticon, explosive diarrhea universal.

Zak sat down to dinner at the table with Jase Hantman and the friends they had in common. And Zak Block had no friends at the table, and that’s what made this unusual. The table, in the dining hall at Cape Rush College, and the dining hall was a panopticon. This isn’t the product of some trenchant imagination: it’s true, you can look this up. So it was a panopticon lorded over by invisible phantoms, things were thought to have lived up there at various times but it was usually an empty space where something might have been once intended built. A mere hundred yards away were the clean living dorms, behind which, the woods where the wolf people met and did whatever it was they did. The wolf people deserve but require no extensive expatiation-upon here. Cape Rush students often came to the dining hall to eat but usually suffered explosive diarrhea after thirty minutes.

And on that tantalizing note, we’ll let you get the whole “Hairdon’t” story right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl & Swirve (with musical guest Aaron Gonzalez & artist Edward Hatter, painting LIVE!) this 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.04.18) at 8:00 SHARP as we continue to swirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ City Tavern!

Come on out, one & all… share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities, & if the spirit is movin’ ya get yourself a spot on our list. Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.

Come to participate.

Come to appreciate.

Come to swirl-a-brate!

P.S. For you Facebookers out there, check out our Facebook event page and get yourself a spot on our pre-list!


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…

Mad Lovin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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