The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.22.18

by on September 23, 2018 :: 0 comments

“An artist’s duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany.”

Nick Cave

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Feather in Ice” (above) by featured artist Dan Rodriguez

Mad Swirl is mighty proud to feature photographer, Dan Rodriguez. Dan has been a big part of our Swirl world for years, capturing the swirlin’ scene at our monthly open mic (see hundreds of his open mic pics here). What we never knew was that Dan started out as a medical photographer. Now it all makes sense… his shots are so precise and perfectly captured that you can almost see the scientific mind behind the magic! Breaking the mold from his usual badass open mic photos with this collection, we see divine diversity in his subjects. Whether it’s as big as a city, small as a bug, light as a feather or deep as a canyon, each of Dan’s photographs are captured with the same thoughtful focus. In that way, Dan allows us to see the beauty in all – big and small – that we might’ve otherwise missed. With that said, you do NOT want to miss a single shot of Dan’s featured collection. Get you an eyeful NOW! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see ALL of Dan’s fab photos, as well as our other featured artists, visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we couldn’t hush a sugar rush; we acted like a teen not weaned; we held a friend near, though only a beer; we walked a tightrope ‘tween illusion and hope (all the while stifling a sneeze); we flipped a coin, two rivals to join (a remedy both sides to please); we wore down the faces of folks’ resistance; we lamented to learn of the Devil’s existence. He’s in the details… ~ MH Clay

Lamentations on the Discovery of Evil by Linda Imbler

In my teens
I always slept with the radio on.
Even in slumber
I’d hear my favorite songs.
But, I awoke two different nights
and my regular music wasn’t playing.
That’s when I knew the world was changing.

First it was Martin
and then it was Bobby.
I spent the next hours
repeatedly sobbing.

The day after each event
I met with my friends.
Through our tears came sounds like the
ragged breath of tired dogs.
We stood as ones stupefied.
What were those sounds heard within the train?
It seemed
as if stars screamed
as we chanted for the sun to rise
against the news of those days.
The reporters
with their steely dissection
of the facts
were as
nettles on our hearts.

How many more years
would we be subjected to fears?
How much pain this all caused
even after the radio button was paused.
“Don’t worry,” they said,
“There will come a settling of what’s been dusted.”
“No,” we told them,
the world will never speed up again
because the center is now rusted.
And what we once believed
will never again be trusted.

We knew the Devil was a liar,
but he still showed us a horrible truth.
That man may love,
but also hate
and only man can create
those things that can’t be soothed.

September 22, 2018

editors note: It’s a hard pill, the consequences of our free will. – mh clay



September 21, 2018

editors note: Haunted? Or, humbled? Depends on the take… – mh clay

KINDNESS ALL ON by Saloni Kaul

When there is direct active verbal sparring
And people at each other senselessly sharp lash,
Or when head to foot in the thick of it downright jarring
Discordant voices like arrows at war point clash;
And when with frail unsteady rule of tide’s thumb
Unwarned the scales of fortunes startling dip,
There’s always some bright remedy quite close at hand
For that one restless wavering coin to flip.
For who are we to yell and shower blame,
Firm ostracise those left out in the cold,
Who living on shoestring from some strange shores here came,
And slam the door on faces lined with problems old.
May kindness-courtesy be at your threshold,
A smile heralds a seachange in the life you stark behold.

September 20, 2018

editors note: Heads or tails; winners and losers? Why not combine to see what two can do together? – mh clay

Precarious Is an Understatement by Ethan Goffman

I am perched
atop a knife edge
balanced on a dead
tree trunk
on the lip of a volcano
suspended on a sheet of melting ice
floating on an ocean boiling with rage
itself in a miniscule depression
on a vast turtle’s back.
The turtle is
flapping its tiny flippers
desperately trying to cross
an ethereal nothingness
punctuated by wisps of mist.

There cannot be wisps in nothingness.

All of this is an illusion
conceived in the mind of a monarch butterfly
radiant with hope
or with love
or with nihilism
on the edge of extinction
perched on my nose
like a universe of feathers.

I remain teetering on the knife edge
as it cuts into the sole of my foot,
the fate of my soul
floating in
the misty, empty air.

The butterfly flutters frantically
trying to reach the end of the universe
it has itself created
but unable to lift off from my huge semitic nose.

Perhaps it is going backwards
it will die soon
it will live forever
Although if life is an illusion
then death is an illusion.

I am struggling to juggle
three flaming bowling pins.
My hands are burning.

I don’t know how long I can suppress a sneeze.

September 19, 2018

editors note: In all this tuck and tumble, we strive just to stick the landing; now this? No landing? (We welcome Ethan to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

MY TRUSTY COMPANION by Bradford Middleton

Another Friday night and home alone
Beer by my side whilst my mind contemplates
Just one more smoke as tonight don’t feel
Like one of those nights; It’s too bright
Outside as solstice means it’ll stay like this for
At least a fair while longer and I can’t be
Dealing, not tonight, with dragging my
Weary old body down the road to get a
Drink on so tonight, I sit home alone with
A beer by my side, my trusty companion.

September 18, 2018

editors note: If you can count the friends you have on one hand, holding a beer guarantees at least one. – mh clay

Check Out My Crib by Ivan Jenson

I don’t know
any more
than an infant…
I too, cry
through carefully-
constructed words
so that I can be held
by the attention
of others
and intellectually
coddled and cuddled
with constructive
criticism or better yet
the suckle of warm
milky praise
just because I don’t
wear diapers
or suck my thumb
doesn’t mean I am
all that evolved
or that the Rubik’s cube
of my dilemma
has been absorbed
and absolved
in fact I am still
trying to lose
my baby fat
and am still
getting weaned
off my teens
and have to stop
teething on the midlife
midwife of midnight
who sings me lullabies
getting me ready
for her very last
goodnight kiss

September 17, 2018

editors note: It’s all wail and wiggle from womb to tomb. – mh clay


Tic-Tacs, Orbit Gum,
slimy Beef Jerky.

What’s a huge Hershey Bar
with Almonds doing on the
rack near the National Enquirer?

Stealthily, this diabetic
puts it in her cart, along
with my healthy foods.

Driving home, I tear off the
brown paper wrapping, and
munch on it while the raindrops
pound on my windshield.

Is it worth losing my eyesight,
or having my toes amputated to
satisfy a five-minute taste

The windshield wipers

September 16, 2018

editors note: What doesn’t kill you (now?)… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read, then stop your scroll and allow your mouse to layover right here!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week tale, “Donald Peterson” by Contributing Writer & Poet Ruth Deming:

“This is how we grow: together or apart, apart then together. Or it never happens. What happens, though, is life.”

And here’s a few lines to get your read-need goin:

 (photo “Proper Dose” by Contributing Artist Tyler Malone)

There was a long stopover from the American Airlines flight from Seattle to Cleveland. She wore a loose fitting dress with tiny birds seeming to fly off into the distance. Lucy disembarked with old carryon baggage coming apart at the seams. She made sure her name was visible on the small plastic card as she lugged it to the nearest café.

She walked around and picked out a bag of barbecue potato chips, a carton of chocolate milk and peanut M&Ms. The clerk popped her snacks into a plain paper bag – how dull, thought Lucy – as she slowly walked back to the waiting area.

Two hours remained.

An older man was seated, his legs spread apart, knees almost reaching his chest, meaning he was very tall, and she sat opposite him. His blue eyes seemed to smile at her. She picked up her things and pointed to the seat next to him.

“May I?” she asked.

“Sure,” he said. “I always feel lonesome in airports.”

She explained she had been visiting her cousin Phil and his wife Barbara in Seattle. “Wish I hadn’t gone,” she said. “They get along terribly. He yells at her for everything. The casserole’s raw in the middle. The floor is filled with crumbs. And he calls her names. The ‘C’ word,” she said, sotto voce.

“My wife’s in a mental institution,” he said. “She was the most wonderful woman when we met. Baked breads. Gardened and made bouquets for everyone we knew. Appeared on TV shows that featured her talents, including a portrait of our young son, Don, Jr.”

He paused and cleared his throat. “She drowned him. Two years old.”…

Get the rest of this random-meeting-meets-fate read 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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