The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.25.18

by on August 26, 2018 :: 0 comments

“I think art is a consolation regardless of its content. It has the power to move and make you feel like you’re not.”

Jeff Tweedy

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Playing Mantis” (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 held an arm to tell off harm; we bloomed a rose from ice cream prose; we wartly seemed a daily dream; we spied our way through a misplaced day; we sang (not muttered) to spark (not sputter); we set our mind on a drink of shine; we crafted new staples from old pine and maples. From twig to leaf, we write for relief. ~ MH Clay

Among the Maples by Christopher Calle

Fall is a greedy lover
Spectacular color sown into gray washed skies
not quite fulfilling the promise of day break’s new temperance
Until suddenly winter breaks
under the repetitive taxation of light.

“I have to go. I have to find something – to feel.”
The paper she holds, white, against the cuneiform of cheap ink;
Lithe in matter’s latency against the pressure – the progression of time.
And needing to grasp for some reason,
the words she sees are not what she hears,
A taped repetition “you’re not good enough.”

Her arm falls aside;
the note held in constancy,
Her search for resonance once more

And through the luster of their glass
Sing, the finches
Passing conversation and hours in toil – in love
Plucky by the bluster
Maples and Pine,
color and texture,
fanning breeze;

She folds the paper, puts it in a drawer
Engages the scene through her solid door;
Passing into future
Energy given to craft
Among the dancing sunbeams.

August 25, 2018

editors note: With a change of season, a change of energy; attention to Fall, not a fall. – mh clay

“I Can Give You the Gift of the Moon’s Shine” by Kevin Daiss

I’ve been in the city bottlenecking
and breathing
slower than the cruisers
who cruise their cars at night.
I play records at the slowest RPM
so the words come out
without sounding uptight.
I hide out
in the dive-down
up to heaven,
come down Lord,
carry me home.
The Bible belt
gets looser on my hips
as I kiss
die-cast aluminum lips.
I spill the salt from my teeth
into the street
where there’s a man
who will lick it from my shoes.
He asks for the time,
but I just hand him the moon’s shine.
I tell him, “Drink this, my friend,
and let the stars in your eyes live.
Let them sparkle
with the city’s tower lights.”

August 24, 2018

editors note: Give all you can. There’s no city ordinance against moonhandling. – mh clay

Before I… by Jonathan Beale

You’d better give me something
So I don’t die
Novocaine for the soul
Before I sputter out
– ‘Novocaine for the Soul’, Eels

There they stand, just angels with dirty faces
The corporate wind to cleanse – somehow does not
Pass by their ultimately innocent faces, Before I…

Misconceive or misconstrue what it means to be you
Give me, give me something, just thread
Before I splutter out… Before I splutter out.

Stuck in queues and queues of queues
There is some misty essence of a quintessence
Still blinded by an ignorant sun

I go on before I splutter out – I need something
As The song reminds of what is known
So here I sit as asinine as the rest

Something must come – the lure is set
Give me something – before I die
Something, before I splutter out, before I…

August 23, 2018

editors note: Some are flint; others, tinder. Together, fire. – mh clay


the sky looks down through
a wounded eye

clouds like broken hands
scattering the dust

I listen to recognize the voice
of rain

moon in early morning
an empty fire that feeds us

the day discovered to be
where we left it.

August 22, 2018

editors note: Eye to eye; we strive to stay in place when being is the thing. – mh clay

lady with a wart by Carl Kavadlo

you see a lady
in a red bandana
turning a corner
wart on her nose

in a busy
wall street

you’ve been
through 3
board meetings

and meanwhile
your wife demands
you make a stop
at the cleaners

on the way home
to pick up
a white blouse

two of your kids
are down
with the flu

and there are
bills piling and
weekend visitors expected

and dinner’s ready…

and at midnight
you dream of
that lady.

August 21, 2018

editors note: Sometimes, things that matter are masked by those that don’t; or… do they? – mh clay

Ice Cream by Wayne Burke

a maple walnut ice cream cone
at Eileen’s Dairy Bar
where Judy
a teenage waitress
Eileen’s daughter
tall and slender,
“a rose yet to bloom”
I told Johnny Garibaldi
who asked what I thought
of her
the words coming unbidden
from my lips
he blabbed it
all over
and I regretted many times
“a rose yet to bloom”
shouted on the street,
on the school bus,
I stayed away from Eileen’s
until desperate for an ice cream
pistachio, butter pecan, black raspberry
I put my thin dime
into Judy’s hand
and she did not say
“thank you.”

August 20, 2018

editors note: Ridiculed for context (not held), when all you want is ice cream (with sprinkles, please.) – mh clay

Not a Tip Shop for Your Fury by KJ Hannah Greenberg

I’m not a tip shop for your fury, a vat for your life’s slumps,
Nosedives smacking against fallen effulgence, pitted esteem.
Tumbleweeds of reduced self-respect, horizons of imbalances.
My self-worth’s maintained as my significance’s not hinged.

Even had I been a ronin, traveling from kingdom to kingdom,
There’d be no rationale to fasten my dignity to your outbursts,
To measure my self-confidence in flashes void of your ferocity,
To engage in precarious operations due to your self-contempt.

I’m no junk yard for your anger, no lamp for your “sunlight”
Wants. I’m all springtime rains evaporating in heated climes,
Dandelion fluff that disperses when winds suddenly bluster.
My quelling frown is meant as distance, disapproval, rejection.

So, remove all luteolous, all argent, all cuprous zar (substitutes).
I’ve no need of middens for company. Self-contained, I take up
With neither misuse nor cruelty, won’t cozy with mistreatment,
Flee from violence, contumely, all manner of your gifted harm.

August 19, 2018

editors note: Whatever the tinge of your mettle – here’s a tell-off template for any and all. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Well Mad Swirl has got one that will give you quite the rise!

Here’s what GUEST Short Story Editor, Mike Fiorito has to say about this pick-of-the-week, Contributing Writer & Poet Chuck Taylor‘s featured tale, “Playgirl“:

“Everyone suffers from penis envy in one way or another.”

And here’s a few lines to get that blood goin’:

(illustration “The Dreamer’s Inconsolable Solitude” by featured artist Bill Wolak)

It was the late seventies and I’d never known any woman like Marie, who would cover one whole wall of her room with naked men centerfolds taken from Playgirl Magazine.

Marie had graduated from the university in Cedar Park and was now in a medical program at Galveston’s Sealy Medical Center to become a medical photographer.

“You’ve got some interesting pictures here,” I said.

“I like men. I like penises. Are you trying to make me ashamed or something?”

“No,” said.

“Let’s go for a walk around the block,” Marie said.

Her apartment was in an old Galveston neighborhood close to downtown. The lovely and ancient wooden two story houses were raised ten feet off the ground and you had to climb steep wooden steps to get to the front door. This was to prevent flooding, if the island ever flooded again, as it had done in 1900, from a hurricane.

We walked in the shade under tall live oaks. It was a great spring day. Puffy clouds dotted the sweet blue sky above.

“What are your plans for the future?” Marie asked. She was wearing a cotton summer top that left most of her shoulders bare and showed a bit of bosom.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Something exciting always comes along.”…

Get the rest of this rise of a 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! 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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