The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.30.18

by July 1, 2018 0 comments

“The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason. The passionless cannot change history.”

Czeslaw Milosz

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Nuclear Family” (above) by featured artist Elvin Armando

It’s been quite a great run featuring Elvin Armando’s madly macabre canvases!

This one will finish his streak as our featured artist. But don’t you worry, we’ve lined up yet another bad ass artisté that is gonna spark your mad-gination’s eye as much as Elvin’s work has! Stay tuned…!

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 took a turn to self unlearn; we stopped our ear to the music of fear; we looked for lack o’ that ole soul sack; we, with April’s miss, sought break-full bliss; we upset the ease of a cyber tease; we meandered, morose, to bring empty close; we stifled sighs in the stink o’ the sty. We can call it like we see it; while we might, or might not, be it. ~ MH Clay


March’s promise made of Monday…wine and crust.
A piglet ploughs the fields of doughy money
…the bum beholds his pocket vacant, empty.
The Lord looks down and laughs
…the Devil laughs as well
…at all of the sins of pride
whose truth is turned to vegetable and dust
while spirit things have lied
themselves to Hell.

The vagrant is at sea without an oar.
The piglet has to pee
and pisses honey
…five cups of piss at four a cup means twenty
shekels for the piglet’s wife and whore.

Those who rule, are cheated then, by death
and those without by loveless life and breath.
These coins mount up in treasures or in debt
…either way, the women sit and weep
for loss and loss, both light and heavy like a cross
…death’s blackness is the piglet’s only fear
though cool and dark in April… like a tear!

June 30, 2018

editors note: We each hope this is observation, not reflection. “You can see them out for dinner…” – mh clay

NEAR DARK by J H Martin

City freeze
Or subway cold
I can’t quite
Reach out and touch
The shiver at its edge

That distant feeling
Which will not reveal itself
In the neon-lit darkness
Of its own atmosphere

Is it sadness
Or is it loneliness?

I really don’t care
If it’s which or if it’s either

I only want
To feel and embrace
Its closed emptiness
As I walk these streets alone

Rain swept and blurred

Neither here nor there

That is where I want to be

I know without feeling
Is unreal but always present

Far beyond the shadow
Of my silhouette
Far from the shell
Of this pale skin and bone

Fading with these echoes

Somewhere still more alive

June 29, 2018

editors note: That “thing” we all feel; that fascinating emptiness, we can stand for a little, but not for long. Poets whistle in the dark; to make it come close, then to make it go away. – mh clay


Brace yourself Bridget
cause da situation going really happen.

Katsutoshi Takafuji
is knocking on your door

and he’s holding wun wedding ring.

He came all da way from Tokyo
aftah being infatuated on da internet.

So now you feel guilty
about being wun casual cyber hussy

cause he got serious kine intentions
foa make you da woman of his dreams.

Somebody is getting cold feet
and suddenly like be cold turkey.

Too bad

cause he looks so handsome
in his smart business suit

even dough he’s only
5 foot 4.

Maybe if you
wished really hard

and clicked your heels

you could be sent to Kansas
to escape your predicament.

Not too long ago

international dating
wuz so exciting

wen da flirting courtship
wuz wun distant curiosity.

Now flesh and bones
is standing on your porch

and he wants moa
den just being wun pen pal.

Nobody is accusing you

of being extremely frivolous
or untinking

but you going find out real soon

if wun Japanee guy from Japan
gets just as mad as da local ones

wen he realizes

dat he wuz chasing wun wild goose
instead of wun potential romance.

June 28, 2018

editors note: When cyber silly comes knocking, really; can’t break the connection without first breaking the heart. – mh clay

after the floods of april by J.J. Campbell

bright sunshine
on the first of

i hate to see
what kind of
flowers come
after the floods
of april

her long legs
could probably
break me in two

god willing

she’ll be given
the chance

June 27, 2018

editors note: A bumbling bee awaits his rite of Spring. – mh clay

Green Machine by Ian Mullins

Skin’s had enough of me,
wants to shake itself loose
and leave the meat behind:
strut down the street alone
and unafraid, look without fear
and love without fury.

Who needs a body these days?
Meat and bones rot and break,
but the soul’s a mirrorball
where you bust your moves
flash the ass and just know
I mean know

that you’re safe in the hollows
behind the eyes; they can stare
and glare as much as they like,
you’re nowhere and nothing,
neither man nor woman,
a fluid mess of flesh you can scratch
into any shape you dream,
then leave the rest to rot and ruin:
who needs meat these days?
The world’s turning vegan, baby.

June 26, 2018

editors note: No shoulder, no chips; no stiff upper, no lips. Shape to shift as you please. – mh clay

This New Jazz Age by Jonathan Beale

From Beale Street to the Trump Tower
The free-falling age has yet to find its niche

Where the self-policing police
Find freedom to be just what they want to be

The rules are there ‘for the others’
And not to bother us with

From North Korea to the Sears
This Twitter age has moulded our fears

To where language lies
like a broken animal whimpering limping

Where only those in the law or in the know
Understand the pattern understand the flow

As they familiarize themselves with their place
And the lie of the streets

Where the once free-falling jazz age
Collides with this new.

June 25, 2018

editors note: This new “music” is hard to follow; melodies malevolent, bad beats, best to run from, not dance to. – mh clay

Unlearn Me by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Is that a security detail walking beside you,
or a cane?

The car won’t start
and the mind won’t stop.

If you could unlearn me, you would have by now.

Quality demonstrates craft.
Quantity illustrates consistency.

Dizzy hopscotch girls jumping into the sun.

I wouldn’t spend another dime
on this nickel of a life.

Afternoons are best for me.
Mornings should be banned.

June 24, 2018

editors note: Quality, quantity… quandary. Not another dime on the nickel, except maybe for coffee. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! We’re not sayin’ “A Foreshadowing on the Avenue” by Sarah Ito is a happy read though. Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s comment on this art-imitating-life tale sums it up perfectly…

“A life in dreams bleeds to reality, so always be ready. Lock and load, look into the sun, and see what looks back.”

Here’s a few lines to get you goin’:

(photo Healing Hands from On High by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

It was snowing lightly that mid February morning as I prepared for my hike up a slippery Greenwich Avenue. It was Sunday, a special Sunday. My eighth grade class was gathering for Mass, followed by a pancake breakfast prepared by our parish priests, Monsignor Brannigan and Father Prizzi. My class had recently achieved statewide recognition for our accomplishments in arithmetic and spelling, and this celebratory breakfast would be our reward for a job well done.

In the lobby of our apartment building I met Betty, my neighbor and best friend.

Betty was two years older than me but we got along like twins. Pulling our knit caps down against the biting cold, we hightailed it up the icy avenue, occasionally skidding in the slush. The town’s intrepid maintenance crews would ordinarily have the streets scraped down to the pavement, but it was a weekend, and it was still early. We were the only two pedestrians out on this frigid New England morning.

“I’m hungry,” I said to Betty. “I can’t wait to eat something.”

“Me too,” dittoed Betty. “I sure hope Monsignor and Father know how to cook.”

Suddenly the sound of a backfiring vehicle erupted and a white Cadillac passed us, struggling for traction on the slope of the avenue. “That looks like Father Prizzi’s car,” I said. “I wonder what he’s doing out here. He should be in church getting ready for Mass.”

“Probably went to the A&P for the pancake mix,” replied Betty. “Come on, we’d better hurry.”

We arrived at Saint Mary’s and climbed up the old stone steps. Terrible noises, popping and moaning and screaming, could be heard coming from within…

Get the rest of this too-close-to-reality read on right here!

••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••

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

To all the poets, writers & artists who are featured (& sent us your shippin’ info) in our “Best of Mad Swirl” 2017 Anthology, your complimentary copy will be on its way in a week-ish! For those who have yet to get yourself a copy, go to Amazon right now and get this 92-page, full-color Mad collection!

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!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Mad Swirl’s new home will be at the Regal Room in Deep Ellum starting August 1st! We are gonna miss our former home, City Tavern. ‘twas a good two year run there but due to space limitations with their new location, we gots’ta hit the road!

Stay tuned fo’ mo’ info’…


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…

Bein’ Madly Passionate,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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