The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.04.18

by August 5, 2018 0 comments

“What we play is life.”

Louis Armstrong

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“The Irresistible Momentum of Attraction” (above) by featured artist Bill Wolak

It has been our pleasure to share the imaginatively twisted & constructed canvases from Resident Artist, Bill Wolak.

This will finish his current streak as our featured artist. But don’t you worry, we’re lining up yet another bad ass artisté that is gonna spark your mad-gination’s eye as much as Bill’s work has!

Stay tuned…!

To see ALL of Bill’s crazy collages, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we caught our breath o’er a digital death; we see-sawed between alone and known; we cleared a drain while stopped on name; we were not where we’ve been, like feathers in wind; we, ‘tween chance and will, saw – endless love as the law; we proved, obedient sacrament-arians, that christers can’t be good vegetarians; we turned to diamond stone from rock while tripping on a water walk. If it’s what you feel, it’s real! If it’s what you write, it’s right! ~ MH Clay

Acid On The Lake by Randall Rogers

Silver seas
turning my
green pyramid
to stone
like it wasn’t
solid rock
I slip
walking on water
into depths
of subliminal archetypal

watch out for that propeller!

August 4, 2018

editors note: Sublime symbol of self in search of something for an acid stomach. – mh clay

Dual Sacraments powered by Everafter by Steven Minchin

it tasted like nothing
and a little bit of water

but we were looking for flesh
more flesh
to keep an old infant wounded
new flesh
to spring from the pedals
on top of the alter
trampled beneath us
offering eternal flesh
to sustain
a dark holy trembling
shaking below
an eternal boy’s flesh

August 3, 2018

editors note: Faith in good ole corpus and calix; powered by Everafter, or maybe Everclear? – mh clay


Daisy Grace, at first the world will be all
One to you — cold, wet, warm, dry. When things don’t
Pan out, two tall giants will come ’round
And set you at ease. It’s later that life
Gets more diverse, and when you’re about ten
Or so, they will tell you that by divine
Plan, or random chance, the earth spins, in space,
On top of nothing, at x miles per hour,
Looping around a large gas fire. Nothing
To stop us from spinning. Any day
The fire could go out.

(At ten these thoughts could make my heart stop still.)
Some at school will say that chance makes most sense,
That in a void there was a bang, atoms
Formed, then rocks knitted into planets,
And the waters came. That truth like speech is made,
Not found. At home your mother and father
Will speak of the great hope, that he who is
Love made you, the stars, all the rocks. Holy,
He moved upon the waters. That wisdom
Was with God in the beginning of his way.
That there is nothing by chance.

On a still morning in the fall in Sisters,
Your own journey will begin, and may your
Life be the same blend of awe and beauty
As your name. Burn brighter than any helium
Fire. When you fall in love, be an ever
Fixed mark. And when you make your choice, divine
Will or random chance or could not care less,
Be the soul who makes all souls lighter; that
One person we all know, who really does
Forgive and forget, who is too busy
Living to judge, whose law could only be
Love without beginning, love without ending.

August 2, 2018

editors note: It’s not what you know, but how you love. – mh clay

Here We Are Again by Julene Tripp Weaver

We went through things had an upswing
when we believed
in love and goodness,
and the world wasn’t such an unsafe space.

We could ignore the riff raff believe we were
doing good with our small donations our
pity poems, the way we acknowledged the problems.
We drank lattés during meetings we made rules

lost in archives. Now, miles from a bright future
we buckle in the wind surprised at the swindle
how much slid away, how wrong we were
about what might have been right. No, it was never

but we held hope a feather in the wind falling
into gutters where a storm rages and the homeless
live against weather, with wet socks and cold feet
that atrophy with their loss of circulation.

There are so many traumas to contend with
to caress and hold close but out of sight this work
we do endless a battle for our salt for our pittance,
what we should give to be here. For we hold this world,

our corner, together, sweep our gutters and give hand-
outs more than we are able, we fall behind bruised
yet must rise from each stumble pray the next
generation will take on washing the feet of those

who’ve walked miles we behoove them pay forward
for what has been inherited. Yes, it is a mess
with many to blame. Years of serious backlash
to weather, but keep standing find the footholds.

August 1, 2018

editors note: No exchanges, no refunds, all sales final. – mh clay

The Estabrook by Michael Estabrook

The plumbers two of them here for hours
trying to clear the kitchen drain:
snakes plungers Shop-Vacs . . .
and still the damn drain remains clogged.

Greg says to Dave go downstairs
check if the water is flowing
by listening at the Estabrook. Wait, what?
Did I hear him correctly? The Estabrook?

That’s my name. Greg’s brow furrows.
It’s a standard pipe fitting collects multiple drainlines.
Yes still used today.
Estabrooks are all over the place.

Wow. I never knew.
Why haven’t I ever heard of it?
None of the 47 million plumbers I’ve used in my life
ever mentioned The Estabrook. Bastards.

Anyway, we had to call Roto-Rooter Plumbing
& Water Cleanup, cleared it in 10 minutes.

July 31, 2018

editors note: What common household appurtenance is named after YOU? – mh clay

Apart (from me) by Kimberly Madura

I know no one
and no one really knows me
and in that I am free –

I want you to know me
but you don’t know me
and in that I am trapped –

shifting back and forth
back and forth on this see-saw
across time, apart
never really making progress –

my world and theirs
my world always so different from theirs
them me
them me –

now tell me, why do you want to be free?

July 30, 2018

editors note: I see; we seek the comfort of captivity, when it’s alone to be free. – mh clay


Our desktop, age 12, expired quietly
Last night, after a long illness,
Surrounded by loved ones.
Address BF801276…
In its declining years
It was still able, slowly and with
Great difficulty, to find
The best price on gas,
The route to Nova Scotia.
But twelve is pretty old, even in doggy years,
So when we saw the dire language
On the blue screen,
We despaired of heroic cures
And entrusted it to the Cyberhospice
Who thought they could save
My e-mail list, some files;
Other things gone,
Like certain memories, irretrievable.

I used the library’s computer today—
New operating system—
And saw a list of files
Not meant for my eyes:
Resumé update,
Draft for Mom’s obituary.

If our new computer should last twelve years…
Better not to speculate.
I do hope they’ll return the
Old hard drive.
I plan to keep it
In an urn
On the mantle.

July 29, 2018

editors note: Alas, this digital demise. RIP. DOS, DVR, RAM… LOL. (We welcome Robert to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

STOP RIGHT THERE… that is, if you Need-a-Read! If not, feel free to scroll on by.

This week’s featured short story tip-toes the fine line between prose & poetry, which is all kinds of up our alley! And we think Kleptomania – of music, people and conversations” by Contributing Writer Kaushiki Saraswat will be right up yours too!

Here’s what Chief Editor Johnny O had to say about this pick-of-the-week:

“Make it! Borrow it! Steal it! It doesn’t much matter how you get your peace of mind, just get it!”

Here’s a few words to get your click goin’:

(photo “Bare Light” by Tyler Malone aka The Second Shooter)

I come back to a dark house. It’s so dark every time I open the door that I rush to switch on a light. Any light, big, small, doesn’t matter. And in seconds- as I see the outline of furniture and other things kept- the house transforms into a home. (Look at me, investing life into the lifeless. Look at us.) I, who loves the dark, needs a flash of light for a few seconds to make peace with the empty by knowing that it is not so empty after all.

I make my way into the space once again, finding the floor in the semi lit and semi dark room and light up the candle lamp. The fragrance of the oil mixed with the water reminds me what life smells like. Oil and water can never be mixed but it’s surprising how in that moment- the memory of a home 1500 kms away, merges with the present- and once again, every effort, every struggle becomes worth; regains its meaning, rekindles purpose.

I wonder, often, if humans construct walls or walls make up humans. Because every time a family leaves, they seem to take away the music along with them. All that the walls are left with, is the dead echo of a time when it felt alive. They leave me with a playlist that they like and I’ll enjoy…

Get this rest of this pros-etry read on right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Back in November of ’04, we never imagined we’d be Swirl’n up the Mad mic all 13+ years later. But here we are!

In these 13+ years we had us a few homes & all were mighty kind to us and each venue will have a very special place in our mad Mad hearts. But times directed us to get on the road…

This past 1st Wednesday of August (aka 08.01.18) Mad Swirl continued to whirl up our mic madness at our NEW mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ Regal Room (at the Independent Bar & Kitchen)!

This month, besides breaking in our badass new digs, we also showcased the local and worldwide works from our “Best of Mad Swirl : v2017” Anthology.

HUGE GRATS to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirl us up a mighty fine night!

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

Mad Swirl Open Mic: 08.01.18

(click to start the slideshow : photos courtesy of Dan “the MAN!” Rodriguez)


Johnny O
MH Clay


Chris Curiel
Tamitha Curiel
Max Oepen

Featured Works by:

MH Clay
Alexandra Corinth
Christopher Calle
Lisa Moak Wallis
Opalina Salas
Chris Zimmerly
Gayle Bell (read by Victory)
Cheyenne Gallion (read by Carlos Salas)
Johnny Olson

Open Mic:

Annika Michelle
Paul Sexton
Desmene M. Statum
Brett Ardoin
Devorah Titunik
Vic Victory
James Barrett Rodehaver
Christina Cain
Harry Mcnabb
Susan M Duval
Josh Weir
Erica Stephens
Tom Farris
Emmeline Miles


Dan Rodriguez

GREAT BIG YES to Swirve’s Chris & Tamitha Curiel and their special guest Max Oepen, for stirring the Swirl the best way in the world!

More HUGE YES’es to Regal Room’s Thad Kuiper (sound), Brian & Lisa for makin’ our stay most righteous.

HUGEST grats to our Patron Saint of we Mad Ones & proprietor of the Independent, Josh Florence!

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

May the madness keep swirlin’ your way ’til the next Mad Swirl 1st Wednesday (09.05.18 @ 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…

••• Best of Mad Swirl : v2017 •••

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

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…

Playin’ & Livin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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