The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.09.18

by on June 10, 2018 :: 0 comments

“I hope to live all my life for my art…”

Gustave Courbet

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“I’m Her Only Witness” (above) by featured artist Elvin Armando

To see more of Elvin’s macabre 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 gained appreciation for a chicken situation; we put a dog face on the rat race; we heard death’s drone from bedrock stone; we filed suit o’er forbidden fruit; we weighed a gait, by water waited; we fastly pedaled from monster metal; we lifted our voice to make a new noise. Newly done, from sun to sun; each day’s tale told, by young and old.~ MH Clay

A new song by Aekta Khubchandani

Let’s throw pebbles and pumpkin faces
in the ocean of sadness,
map our own constellation
dip our feet in the glow blue beach
tip toe with glitter planktons
build a concrete lighthouse,
forget that sand castle
sometimes, dreams come true
sometimes, nightmares do too
so let’s live a page from magic realism
pac-man faces, emoji conversations;
how did we forget the smell of
cartridge papers, ink and feathers;
the length of letters and
the breath that breathes a summer song
the sound of the sea in a sea shell,
our voice above the noise,
wave after wave after wave
skin, the colour of sun kissed sea
eyes, the blue of sky and
smiles like the elephant trunks of clouds
why have we forgotten the simpler things?
rivers and roads that lead to us
the bend, the fall that make us, us
the head, the heart and
another day basked in moonlight
that still tastes of the sun.

June 9, 2018

editors note: What do we make of all we recall? Remembered, forgotten; why, indeed? – mh clay


riding my bicycle

big nasty truck
rolls slowly up behind me

I could be totally terrified

I could be in awe of myself
for holding up
the forward progress
of a snorting goliath

I was ten years old

his horn was loud
as a football crowd

not even retrospect
has me staying in my seat

June 8, 2018

editors note: As metaphoric monsters approach from behind, keep pedaling. – mh clay

The Insane River twice by Richard Weaver

came upon a man who had come to its banks,
a new man who has left home, who is new to the world
outside and beyond, who waits stoically for the water
to recede that he may cross and continue, cross and not look back.

The other side glides away into recesses of night.
He makes camp. Makes a fire for cooking food
if he had food to be cooked; for warmth if it was a cold night,
but it is a night like no other. Stars crowd together
but are unmoved by his fate whatever that may be.
His blood is safe from harvest. His flesh without scent
or savor. The Insane River his companion.

Come morning he will decamp, and again approach the river
to wait for it to glide away, knowing it must, that he must wait;
it is his fate to wait for the river to do what it must when it will.
His will and its coursing are now merged. He emerges
in the morning sun unchanged. Any thought of changing
his course is impossible. His path is water, pure
water. His weight is water. And water waits.

June 7, 2018

editors note: One’s way arrested by water wait. – mh clay

Apple by Polly Richardson (Munnelly)

To the core of nothing and everything
Divinity of ingest cidering bees, non-angelic in waggle,
Unlike moon-shine bootlegged, no peels fermented
after the pulp revealed in revealing itself.
Eve didn’t bite, he swallowed choking swollen pride
Denying themselves true calling
Needs of blossoming to bear fruit,

to stuff skin crackled
to toffee fest, dripping on lips before hardening,
to bake to perfection in heated silence in
bitter-sweet nocturnal juice, and gorged.

June 6, 2018

editors note: No sweeter slice than that which cuts to the core if it. Not brazen trespass, but tasty repast. – mh clay

With the bedrock… by Simon Perchik

With the bedrock it needs
though this city was built
on rainwater: shards

pieced together the way pots
embedded in ancient dirt
let these dead drink by steps

from stone scented with curtains
still damp except for evenings
lowered by hand into the last drop

and foothold – pole to pole
is what the graves remember
as bone, take hold till your arms

fill with towers looming past
and under the marble cliffs
the finishing stroke.

June 5, 2018

editors note: As rock renders bone from stone, memory diminishing until the finishing… – mh clay

Like a fenced-in dog by Timothy Pilgrim

I’ll wear paths behind barbed wire, deep,
start a tunnel every three feet. Pit bull

waiting my chance — growl, howl, foam,
bite any hand holding a phone. I know

moist treats, meaty bones, all will be
distant memory once I escape,

hit the street. I’ll crap lawns, kill cats,
chase Amazon trucks, police, priests,

make veterinarians not charge a fee.
I’ll torture hydrants with angry pee.

June 4, 2018

editors note: All us dogs are awaiting our chance. In the meantime… fetch! – mh clay

The Chicken Riddle by Mike James

All day a chicken sits on one side of the road dreaming of the other side. She’s heard stories from her sisters, but thinks they are either lies or damned lies.

Cars move quickly down the road. No one slows down for a solitary, white chicken sitting on the roadside. It’s a busy road. A busy day. People have lives to live. Cars have services to provide before they break down or get traded. The chicken sits and sits.

She imagines the sun as a giant egg. She imagines clouds as giant eggs. She cannot dream herself to flight. So, back she goes to the barnyard and the clucks of her sisters.

On nights when the moon is full and the sky especially bright and clear, she sneaks from her coop and into the garden and imagines every row of tomatoes a dirt road that even her shadow can cross.

June 3, 2018

editors note: So, turns out she didn’t; existential angst, an’ all… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re in dire need of a read, Mad Swirl​ has got just the fix to cure what’s ailing you!

This week’s featured short story, Who Guards the Lifeguards comes from our very own short story editor Tyler Malone!

Here’s what chief ed Johnny O has to say about this pick of the week story:

Inhale, exhale. Listen to your heart. Save your own soul… (rinse & repeat)

“Who Guards the Lifeguards” starts off just like this::

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

“Dos horas,” their mother said before rolling up the windows and sitting in the music of air conditioning and radio. Bass shook their peeled back window little league football numbers.

The Lopez brothers breathed on reflex as they walked into the volunteer fire department. Voting, city meetings concerning softball field noise violations, and courses on how to give life to the city pool’s drowned were what the building housed. The brothers had never heard of any city fires, so the squat marshmallow man in front of them wearing a fire department shirt must have been exceptional at extinguishing flames. Embers cooled, shrank to seeds to grow to shade, after air and spit flew from his belly and occasionally toothy mouth.

Pointing to the sign pegged on the white wall as immaculate as a newly painted water tower before birds decide they have little to live for, the man said, “Welcome to my monkey house. Chief Al’s the name. And, boys, no smoking.” His face, gums more black-pink than enamel, widened like an expanding radial tire. “We put out fires, never start them.”

Fernando, the younger Lopez, said, “But we’re not going to fight fires, we’re here for Red Cross training to be lifeguards.”

“CPR,” said Gabe Lopez, his voice deeper, more exact and bored.

Through a hallway darkened with shadows from blinds, greying summer sun, Chief Al tossed a practice dummy at the boys’ feet. The dummy greeted them with a permanent gasping airhole. “There’s not much to this, just kiss,” he said as his knees, purplish but white at the tips, dropped. “I know you’ve kissed your mamma, so you know what to do.”

Inhale, exhale. Listen to hollowed insides. Push deep into the chest. Find the heart and kill it with both hands. “Break bones, boys, that’s how this goes.” Inhale, exhale. Kiss, press. Break invisible bones. Kiss…

There’s much more to this lesson that you need to read right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.06.18) Mad Swirl​ hosted our 3rd Annual Dr. Googily-Eyes Healing Circus & Mad Swirlin’ Medicine Show where a whole lotta YES’es were incited and the NO’s crashed hard!

HUGE YES’es to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirled us up a mighty fine night!

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


Johnny O
MH Clay


Swirve (with special guest Monte Espina)

Mad Mic Cast:

(Feature Set)

Johnny O
MH Clay
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Opalina Salas
Chris Zimmerly
Carlos Salas

(Open Mic)

Josh Weir
Christina “Moon Vibe” Cain
Brian Cox
Tamitha Curiel
Patrick Haines
Emmeline Miles
Elliott Hill
Taylor Henry

GREAT BIG YES to Swirve’s Chris Curiel and his special guest Monte Espina, for stirring the Swirl the best way in the world!

More HUGE YES’es to City Tavern​’s Thad Kuiper & Noble Tse for makin’ our stay most righteous. HUGEST grats to friend & proprietor of the Tavern, Josh Florence!

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

May the madness keep swirlin’ your way ’til next the Mad Swirl 1st Wednesday (August 1st, The Regal Room)…

Johnny O

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…

Feature Set:

Open Mic:

Last Round:

••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 is an anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on throughout 2017. We editors reviewed the entire year’s output to ensure this collection is truly “the best of Mad Swirl.” The works represent diverse voices and vantages which speak to all aspects of this crazy swirl we call “life on earth.”

Mad Swirl is a world-renowned arts and literature website. It is a platform, a showcase, and a stage for artistic expression in this mad, mad world of ours; a creative collective of as many poets, artists, and writers we can gather from around the world; from Nepal to Ireland, from England to China, from California to New York City and all the places in between. Our Poetry Forum features works from over 150 contributing poets, our short story library has 140 writers and our Mad Gallery has 40 resident artists.

This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl!

Featured Poets (in order of appearance):

Devon Balwit
Tyler Malone
Brian Wood
James Brown
Lisa Shields
Megha Saha
Miceál Kearney
Clyde Kessler
Stephen Jarrell Williams
Adam Sometimes
Tom Hatch
Mark Senkus
Sanjeev Sethi
Samantha Hawkins
Mel Waldman
Joseph Farley
Heather M. Browne
Aekta Khubchandani
Sarah Karowski
Jeff Grimshaw
Sissy Buckles
Brittany Griffiths
Stefanie Bennett
Gayle Bell
Terry Severhill
Paul Hellweg
KJ Hannah Greenberg
Volodymyr Bily
Beate Sigriddaughter
Harley White
Lisa Moak
Chris Zimmerly
Cheyenne Gallion
Hongri Yuan
John Dorsey
Bradley Mason Hamlin
Peggy Turnbull
Bradford Middleton
Brendan Gillett
Julia Cirignano
Christopher Barnes
Ndue Ukaj
Christopher A. Calle
Peycho Kanev
Opalina Salas
Timothy Pilgrim
Steven Minchin
Marisa Adame
Alexandra Corinth
Johnny Olson
Bijaya Biswal
Sam Silva

Featured Writers (in order of appearance):

Donal Mahoney
J.D. Hager
N.T. Franklin
Philip Kobylarz
Taylor Evans
Ron Gibson
Tyler Malone
Ron Riekki
Carl Perrin
DL Shirey
Mike Fiorito

Featured Artists (in order of appearance):

William Zuback
Joseph Shepard
Mike Fiorito
Bill Wolak

We anticipate this collection will be available June 15th!

Stay tuned to and our Facebook page for more the latest details…


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…

Livin’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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