The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.16.18

by June 17, 2018 0 comments

“He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.”

M. C. Escher

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Metamorphosis” (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 doctored away a night apple at day; we braved cold self-discovery to give up all to entropy; we stopped our ears in shriek of fear; we swat flopped for blank whops; we amazed at a minotaur, lost in his game; we set a sad suitor’s desire to the flame; we memories meted, in missing made blue, the only one seated at breakfast for two. Missers gotta miss, eaters gotta eat. It all comes out of the words we meet.~ MH Clay

All the Things I Will Not Say At Your Funeral by Samantha Hawkins

You should be here
Not because I am some kind of lonely
And I particularly miss
your queer brand of truck-stop killer humor

or your searching,
godforsaken-green eyes
that seem to drink up all the insecurities
out of my throat

or that designer blend of
new car fumes and old blue denim
that wears on your skin
better than any cologne ever could

But because having breakfast
every other Tuesday morning
in this hole of a diner was your idea
And I only ordered these couple

of overcooked egg whites
burnt bacon and dead-on-arrival toast
because I thought you would be here
But you’re not here

And that black bile posing as coffee
sitting in the middle of our table
is growing older
than the text I sent you hours ago

And the waitress with the “Becky” hairdo
is serving me right now
a dish of vicious side-eye because
I’m holding up a table for two

I should tell her you are dead
therefore you will not be joining us
And where you are
there are no hole-in-the-wall diners

No do-overs or overdone eggs
no me, no us, no kids and a fence
Just six lifetimes of dirt
and all the moonlight you could want

I should tell her
you’re being buried at this very moment
in a tie too green for your taste
And a vest too small for your ego

I almost went to your funeral
Just to see how you look with
a smile that bares no teeth
and a haircut that costs more than $5

I almost went
just to give you hell for skipping out
on today’s bill for breakfast
But instead I came here to honor you

June 16, 2018

editors note: Coffee to coffee and eggs to eggs; from toast we have come, and to toast we shall return. RIP! – mh clay

Sorry by Aru Bopardikar

Seized by the dream
I reached out
And you took my hand
With hesitant fingers

Our eyes met briefly
And I admit
There was a sparkle
In the way I smiled

You smiled too
But with dignity
Still bewildered
Struggling to resist

But I bit my lip
And wound my hair
Around my finger
Just the way you liked

Then you melted
And burst into flames
Smothered for so long
In the depths of time

I snapped back
As the heat burned me
Took a sharp breath
And turned away

You were left behind
Yet again
Picking the pieces
Of what you couldn’t have

I am just so, so sorry…

June 15, 2018

editors note: Supplicant seeks siren for what neither can share. Sorry, indeed. – mh clay

Alley by Jeff Grimshaw

Today when I cut through the alley
The alley did not cut through
It flowered into a labyrinth
And I didn’t find my way to the center
And I didn’t find my way to the end
And I could not find my way back to the start
I could hear the broken radios buzzing
And the frantic dog who could not answer the phone
And the young couple arguing about whether
The toilet paper should roll from the outside
Or the inside
And in the far distance
Slices of toast popping out of the toaster slots
Like corpses
Sitting up in their coffins
In a John Carradine movie.

But why be morbid?
I know you will find me eventually

I sat with my back to the coiling wall
And sharpened my horns.

June 14, 2018

editors note: String your sanity out behind, murder the minotaur, lose your mind. – mh clay

blank whops by Volodymyr Bilyk

blank whops
abysmal frantic strays.

bevels the strident clamor

– dither, sip…
entangled thereafter.
sigh – odious,
an afterthought:

bellow and quack;

flap, flop, clap – slop –
kinkle vain plop:

the swish, the tick –
the fly rambles.

-blink`bat –
throbbing tired
plonks to shadow:
“twines smoke skew”…
quake void

tire beep dazzle
/ abash blast:

viscid whiff


June 13, 2018

editors note: A full whop has a squish at the end of it; a satisfying, fly-death-dealing… squish. – mh clay

The Shriek by Linda Imbler

The shriek,
the ear piercing harbinger
of escalating devastation.

It always starts with the shriek.

The screech owl,
power from the sky,
feathered menace
swooping down,
destroying the mice,
rolling their bones,
dive bombing,
tearing them apart.

Their homes strewn across the landscape
as the pulse of life winds down
and the shriek subsides.

June 12, 2018

editors note: Deaf to destruction; shriekers never stay to hear the sobs, see the stark desolation. – mh clay

absent company by Marisa Adame

the birds know that cold shit ain’t right,
flood their way to warmer skies, spoon themselves
across the equator two at a time and i
fly in the other direction–


to the cold // crisp // dirty
snow that’s been dragged through arctic mud a thousand times.

sweat steams off my forehead,
escapes into eyebrows for just a moment of rest.
i wasn’t made for rest
the way the birds were
taking their sunny vacations at the first sight of snow.

“if you want something no one has, you must do what no one has done.”

i become an explorer, searching
for the aurora borealis under my skin
so i can become light itself.

i will have a feast upon my flesh
picking, searching for something beyond myself to offer to the stars
and when my motivation is filled with holes,
the cold will creep into the hollows of my bones
and inescapable madness will burrow its way into my nervous system.

the principle of entropy:
we have a habit of watching things rot.

i melt under pressure like ice cubes in the palm of a hand.
i search for starlight in my esophagus
to release it in the dead of night with a ceremonious scream
asking the ancients if i will be remembered
past my time.

June 11, 2018

editors note: Accolades to those bold explorers who conquer the wastes, personal and geographical. (We welcome Marisa to our crazy conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Red apple by Hem Raj Bastola

In a nightmare,
I awake.

In the unconscious
Hours of sleep.
A thought in me
Was eager
For: beauty.

Her face is:
A red apple,
With a juicy bite,
I realize.

June 10, 2018

editors note: A midnight snack for an apple a day. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re in need of a read on this Father’s Day, look no further than this fine familial tale from Susandale, titled A Light That Called His Name.

Here’s what short story editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick of the week story:

Life is a through other lives, moved by memories remembered, only to replace what was remembered before. Looking to connect to the past when you’re not in the past troubles some people to the point where there’s no future, and that’s true madness.

A Light That Called His Name. starts off just like this::

(photo “What Time Takes” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

Through a hollow darkness the Cherokee son traveled. He looked up to see a moon riding the skies and stars galloping across the heavens. Carrying the searching song of his soul, he journeyed on until he came to a mountain that he looked through to see another world beckoning. This was the world that held the spirits of all things…

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

••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••


“The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017” is NOW available thru Amazon!

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.”

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

Get your very own copy of this Best of Mad Swirl (v2017 style) collection 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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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