The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.11.18

by August 12, 2018 0 comments

“Innocence of heart and violence of feeling are necessary in any kind of superior achievement: The arts cannot exist without them.”

Louise Bogan

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“A Close Shave” (above) by featured artist Stephen VanderHaar

Mad Swirl​ is mighty proud to introduce our newest visual artist, Stephen VanderHaar! Stephen brings us a collection of cartoons reeking of pure imagination. With subjects that are primarily animals doing human things, you can’t help but feel rather giggly and whimsical looking at them. We’ll bet VanderHaar’s cast of illustrated characters will bring out the curious little kid in just about anyone. Don’t believe us? Call our bluff and tune-in to Stephen VanderHaar’s innocently twisted world and see for yourself! ~ Madelyn Olson​

To see ALL of Stephen’s mad illustrations, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we made life’s pass through leaded glass; we thought to last through moments past; we took a dip in a Freudian slip; we made self-blame a waiting game; we let the smoke get in our eye from karma, water, earth and sky; we cried tears spilled o’er autumn chill; we got from gleaning our words from meaning. We sow, we reap. We lose, we keep. ~ MH Clay

Ghazal: Some words… by Mike James

Some words are heavy, filled with slow sadness, as
If each is a stone lifted from the pocket of the river.

Sometimes, we search hard for an epiphany. Lift up every
Green, mossy rock. Sometimes, guess what, there’s not one!

As a child, I thought rain had a meaning. Later,
I learned rain has many lovers. Gravity among them.

Once upon a time, I focused on the oyster’s bit of sand.
Now, I think of the lucky pebble in my old coat pocket.

My grandmother, fishing pole in hand, said I talked the fish away.
She believed fish, the best listeners, knew words by their ripples.

I have few beliefs. Words are vines that cover them. Grace is
Just dew that gathers in honeysuckle an hour before daylight.

August 11, 2018

editors note: Hmmm. We become pearls to the extent we, as grains of sand, agitate our world? I could believe that… briefly. (We welcome Mike to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Autumn (Acrostic) by Rizwan Saleem

Under deciduous trees
That shed leaves like heavenly tears
Undone like strings
Memories flutter to the ground
Now all my seasons are cold

August 10, 2018

editors note: It sucks to be the sap, left with the sap. – mh clay

Smoke by Hem Raj Bastola

I am the past,
I am the present,
I am the future,
It is the time I am living
A fruit of: my KARMA.

I am the WATER
Blood in my veins
By the heat, scalding.
I am the AIR a moving spirit
I breath. I am the EARTH,
An elemental dust
A flesh to decay.

I am the SKY,
A lurking void
Of the universe, to unite.
So, it is not me,
What I am saying “I”.

I am a product
Of a FIRE, empty
Like a living smoke.

Smoke! Smoke!!
And Smoke!!!

August 9, 2018

editors note: Where there’s smoke… – mh clay

(for the lost) by Chigger Matthews

I’m riding on wires

before my enemies
wake up

to sweat the demons

in holy water

a waiting game

between me
and the devil
in me

August 8, 2018

editors note: Can’t find a confessor when everyone’s a transgressor. (There’s another, for polite dinner conversation, on Chigger’s page – check it out.) – mh clay

I AM FREUD by Mel Waldman

am Freud

in my winter home & workplace Berggasse 19 in the Alsergrund district of Vienna upstairs alone in my study surrounded by books & antiquities antediluvian treasures lost truths buried in the tombs of time & still my silent friends speak to me reverberating voices of the past swirling around in the seething sea below the oceanic tempest trapped in the abyss within & now I drift off & plummet into the deep of the psyche

am Freud

mind-voyager of Vienna & the world beyond outside the chestnut tree looms in the courtyard & the stone staircase waits for you-my patients & family-ascend & follow it to my office or home here & now in this timeless moment of creation in this exploding genesis

am Freud

Death & Creation, Thanatos & Eros, the Destroyer & Creator dissolving & obliterating the old false ways & fallacious ideas & so it goes we shall face your crippling fears for behold I am the Creator of Psychoanalysis & this is the Apocalypse & the birth of a bold iconoclastic beginning this is a paradigm shift & the smashing of idols this is the revolution-the mind-blasting journey of volcanic revelations from the unconscious & perhaps, the opening of the soul

August 7, 2018

editors note: Slip into this… – mh clay

Return by J.K. Durick

Life gives us so few chances
To do this sort of thing, just
Think of the things, other ones
We missed the first time by
The things that weren’t on
Our list, but should have been
The places we could have gone
The people we missed, books
We should have read, the things
We should have said, the moments
We missed, skipped over as if
We could get here now and
Make a list of the items to do
Next time around, as if things
Were left to the better me,
The corrective angel to set right.

August 6, 2018

editors note: Yes, an auto-correct for life. Is there an app for that? – mh clay

Behind Leaded Glass by A.J. Huffman

This bed
may as well be a coffin.
It is already cold.
And closed.
And full of dirt.
Though I doubt it is hallowed.
But nothing is ever completely accurate
in reality’s slight.
So close the door.
And be content.
is the only thing
that will bother
to follow you in.

August 5, 2018

editors note: Our little blip does not eternity make? I feel slighted, too. Night, night. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured short at Mad Swirl, “Healing Magic” by Lorene Aurelia Holderfield, speaks to the feelings-healing process many of us can relate to.

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

“With each beat of our heart, ink bleeds onto the pages of our lives, healing our wounds one word at a time.”

Here’s a few beats to get you started:

(image “Heart” by featured artist Jon Marquette)

Wash away an obliterated heart. Leave it alone to beat its last thump. Yet, the heart wishes to be seen, understood, accepted, loved. But loved, it never was. Ever a dream and ever a thought, and still this heart strives for it.

This youthful heart stuck inside me… Wash it away. Drown it. Disintegrate all the memories. Wash away the cries. Mute everything. “Save me”, the heart echoes. Unheard. The heart is too deep under the sea of loss, loneliness, and pains building higher and higher. I am an old memory. I am forgotten. Ever forgotten. I am breathing and alive, yet dead inside. I am silenced. But you, my trusting journal, are my voice and only confidant…

Follow your heart and get the rest of this healin’ beat read on 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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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