The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.18.18

by August 19, 2018 0 comments

“Words are but pictures of our thoughts.”

John Dryden

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“THIS turtle is going to win the race” (above) by featured artist Stephen VanderHaar

To see ALL of Stephen’s innocently twisted & 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 mined with one who brushed the sun; we tipped a hat to resolution; we bubbled up from rubber snow; we fingered feet to satisfaction; we listed things we’ll always no; we chocolate chewed through love’s illusion; we prayed a place where sinners go. While wording up the revolution, careful not to stub a toe. ~ MH Clay

Sinners by Milenko Županović

in heart
of sinner
in judgement

August 18, 2018

editors note: Sinners are red, heaven is blue; if we do the praying, then judged by who(m)? – mh clay

Skin Hunger by Adrian Slonaker

If skin hunger
were a health emergency
recognized by the World Health Organization,
Gillian’s gentle face would be
plastered on depressing posters
prepared to promote awareness.
She hasn’t done the deed since her divorce
was finalized fifteen years ago
and has misplaced the self-esteem to
foray into physical affection,
especially the sort that requires
copious quantities of exposed flesh.
Bleakly bundled up
in the microtundra of Wisteria Park,
she waxes severe before buying
a box of drugstore chocolate drops,
a chaser to the heart-shaped pizza
that will grease her fingertips
til they glisten like De Beers diamonds
during her Valentine’s dinner-for-one
while she devours a dreamy Doris Day romcom
in the king-size bed where later she’ll
promote her pillow to patient lover.

August 17, 2018

editors note: Sadly sustaining. Happiness maybe; pillow for now. – mh clay

NEVER by Vern Fein

Laughter in sad. No joy in moil.
Nix snicker at sob. Nor smile
at a broken heart.
At no time, a peal of tears.
Mirthful melancholy. Mourn merrily.
Unhappy cackle.
Josh a weeper. Joke despair.
Yuk no yew. Paint blue with hilarity.
Not guffaw at awful.
Deign chortle at cry.
Forget hearty grief.
Neither giggle at the grave or die laughing.


August 16, 2018

editors note: Absolutely imperative! Unless, of course… – mh clay

I NO LONGER KNOW THE QUESTION by Michael H. Brownstein

One by one the cliff erodes,
ice bores deeper,
words stop making sense:
abyss, crucify, alliteration—

passion comes in through fog.
Who claims we must remember?
Skin always knows pain.
fingertips happiness, feet satisfaction.

August 15, 2018

editors note: We can feel the answers. The questions will come, in time. – mh clay

Permanently Dilated Pupil by Jeff Grimshaw

Homeward under the railroad bridge
The crab nebula foams like a spilled beer
She’s watching from her window
The snow is sulfur the snow is rubber
The plume of Con Edison steam
Cocks its top hat like Marlene Dietrich

My pupil will never recover
From her lightning bolt t-shirt
From her carbonated beverage
Or her eyebrow
Wrenched into a square root sign
By her indelible stink eye

White bright world spins around random radio tower
Cadmium yellow or Wreck of the Hesperus red
My brain is saturated with terrible light
My sink is full of Woolite
Everything looks like an album cover
Everything sounds like bubbles.

August 14, 2018

editors note: Enveloped in evil eye, implosion imminent, in a hiss of bubbles. – mh clay

never thought you can… by Volodymyr Bilyk

never thought you can wear a hat like that
it is perplexing to say the least
that tinglin’… mysterious
– ’cause you only got an indigo sky quake malaise
creeping on the surface from the inside
and an alligator heart beat
and that skull skull sax feather
and that crossbones lightning glimpse in your eyes


and you can pour me that
what i knew was blue
and the sun comes up fencing rays against my chest…

– Smooch…

you got to hold on

take me into my shoulder
by this song so hard
cold lonely bit busted
but you’re a trombone hammer gone away
been crude before
and now it is not
but sad shriek doubts wind…

hold on

Rainbow again
see the window down in my hair
careful red dreams so hot necktie cries
Sweet – breath sublime
mamboing “huh” hook
buttonhole down
thumbs freezing dancing…

on and on

Pretend you slash kiss halfway through
that melody says clap
glance nothing pop
and the roaring cough heaves the dress up
wishing more to come
but nothing knocks out longing…

awkward wavering faltering stiff irresolution

August 13, 2018

editors note: More than perpetual patter, this pick-up proposal portends paradise for a perennially patient person (he presumes). – mh clay

Wolfram by Xiaoyuan Yin

“Optics is the philosophy of extracting daylight from night.” In the eternal gloominess
after the withering of a candle, at last he lifted his hands
so dusty with silver grey. People flocked to the pile of ore
he had dug out. “We make a lock out of it,

so daylight will evaporate no more!” Wolfram remained imperturbable
in a Petri dish, shimmering like an unfolding lotus
rising from sacred relics. He looked outside: the earth had been divided into two
by light and shadow. The Old World
in gauzy pink dusk, while oceans in the New World were surging over
a crescent horizon. Once inside the lock cylinder

restless sounds converted into tranquility, spheres of tungsten wires sank and floated up
in branches of the river of night, purged itself of dross
and shone. “Sleep now! The flames on the eastern ranges
will quench it with more heat and light!” They fell asleep with prayers or totems, none of whom rose early the next day

to witness this reunion. Wolfram, a blind saint, wrapped in rays of light
without knowing it, walked past the cliffs, bumped into the sun
but walked again through it, like what he did
back in savage times, he hesitated a moment
wondering what it was, that he was brushing elbows with

August 12, 2018

editors note: Blind blundering; trying not to mistake theory for knowledge. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? We got one that REALLY matters!… or antimatters? Either way, we think you’ll think it matters too.

Here’s what GUEST Short Story Editor, Mike Fiorito has to say about this pick-of-the-week Antimatter Chitter-Chatter” from Contributing Writer & Poet Harley White:

“Indeed Mad Hatter, antimatter matters matter.”

And here’s a few lines to get this matter chatter started:

(image “The inner is a mirror of the outer” by featured artist David Arthur-Simons)

Why are we matter and not antimatter, or are we the latter and think that we’re not? Brought into contact the one with the other, the two would annihilate right on the spot.

Opposites attract— some do— but in this case, it isn’t true; for in that mirror image clash the counterparts destroy their doppelgängers in a flash and thus give rise to high-energy photons, that is to say, to gamma rays, or other particles like antiprotons in what could be another phase…

Get the rest of this matter chatter 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! 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

Mike Fiorito
Guest Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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