The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.15.18

by September 16, 2018 2 comments

“Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant, or a child in its mother’s womb”

Jean Arp

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Rodeo Diver” (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 shoveled the soul from a body dug whole; we gave faith a wink with a kiss on the neck and hands in the sink; we half staffed flags on frequent rope, transitioned from despair to hope; we heard a jealous talker accuse a lone walker; we had some fun in Gay Paree, a four-way, hashish pole dance spree; we stood, serene, in a sunset scene; we matched machine man to winterscape pristeen span. Drop the paper, pick up pen; find new words to speak again. ~ MH Clay

November Journal: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 by Don Mager

Like the silent loping of a deer
as it emerges out of shadows,
passes and subsides in the distance,
beneath the ripe gold of the full moon
a solo runner glides down the street.
His tireless legs glow white and lithe in
washes of lunar clarity. His
white gloved hands piston-pump the frost cleaned
air. Beneath his hood, breath clouds spurt from
his thrumming oxygen-flushed heart. His
loping stride passes the house. Without
a shift of gear, his body leans as
he glides up the steep hill.

The morning
paper dangles from the watching hand.

September 15, 2018

editors note: Man is machine where watching is wonder. (This submission is part of Don’s new collection, The Present Tense, Allen Road South: Annus Mirablis, you can get yourself a copy here. Check it out!) – mh clay

The Salty River by Stephen Page

I was standing on a grassy hill
overlooking The Salty River
that winds and flows
along Santa Ana’s North-Western border.
The sun was about to set
and the star was turning orange.
The Ponies and The Calves were leaping about
as if celebrating the survival of another day.
The corn was knee high, and the wheat fields
were shorn to short stalks that looked
like the three-day blond stubble of a recently shaped beard.
Birds were chirping and singing
like they too were reveling in the End.
The Cultivators were nowhere to be seen,
their noxious machinery fumes and pesticides
not clouding the air or poisoning the Earth.
The Gauchos were all in their homes
with their families, eating, or drinking mate.

Just as the sun disappeared over the horizon,
The Pink Flamingoes in the river hued red.

September 14, 2018

editors note: To look upon a scene; to be the scene; the scene in you; belonging… – mh clay

Crazy Horse by Catfish McDaris

Al and Cat met in Paris
they ate some horse and
crepes and strawberries
near Jim Morrison’s grave

In the Metro many men were
pissing on Willie Nelson post-
ers but not on Francis Cabrel
Cat knew a chick with a friend

They were dancers and they
loved sliding upon the pole
after hashish and vino, there
were two smiling happy poles.

September 13, 2018

editors note: This horse is smiling, too! – mh clay

not a love poem by Mike Zone

she asked
“Where have you been?
Why haven’t you written?
Want some pizza?”
“I’ve been hiking in the mornings
smoking pot on the trails
thinking about eagles and wooden mermaids”
like a wolf
low humming growl
glinting ocular orbs slit
“Who is she?”
“There’s no one”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“There hasn’t been in years
I like my solitude”
“If I didn’t exist, would you be with her?”
“There’s no one.”
“Is she the mermaid?
Does she swim to you in wet dreams?”
“I like being alone.”
silence – but there’s an emanating
underlying white noise – mounting
“I’d like to continue my walk.”
gripping tighter, my coffee’s paper cup
“You’re going through
an awful lot of lengths to protect her.”
seconds pass
swoops like a bird,
arms spread wing-span
popped out wide awake eyes
“WHO!-WHO!” high pitched
“What are you a fuckin’ owl?!” she accused
unlike an owl I’ve accrued no wisdom

September 12, 2018

editors note: Woke, if not wise. – mh clay

Below the Summit by Johnny Olson

Half staffed flags used to be a rarity but sadly, not so much these days in this here land I so love.

I’m from the X’d generation that was born into believing that we were the best nation in the world but swiftly learned soon after, from perpetual disillusionments, the disappointing lesson that no, we are not.

We’re just the cracked & shedded skin of the glorious U S of A that we used to be.

These days “we the people” of these “united” States are quite divided between:

Left and right…
Brown and Black and White…
Dems and Reps…
Libs & Tea Partiers…
Haves and the eternal have nots…
Scientists and religious zealots…
Gun-toters and gun controllers…
Me too’s and their #’d accused…
Baby boomer gloom’s and millennial’s baby shoe blues…

We once stood united in our dividedness but the state of our current union is slipping below the summit and our half staffed flags are living proof that we are on our deathbed. Every day our symptoms get worse. Daily headline news crawls report on the condition this Nation is in. Each beat we get closer to the throes of death.

What this time has warranted this visual symbol of 1) respect 2) mourning 3) distress? Was it yet another sad school shooting? or a man-made and/or mother nature disaster? or a mass killing? or a domestic terrorist attack? or some dignitary death?…

I shake my head in disbelief at the immense grief and grave danger our country is on the precipice of experiencing. We are in the lousy care of loud-meowed fat cats who sit back, cleaning their teeth, readying themselves for the feast they are about to receive. These fat cat vs. mouse games they play, the battles they wage, these are the Wars that sit ominously on our horizon:

Race Wars;
Economy Wars;
Class Wars;
Environmental Wars;
Terrorist Wars;
Immigration Wars;
Technology Wars;
Second Amendment Wars;
World War Wars

… the list could go on if I wasn’t so mad and saddened by what I see. Sadly, this is our reality.

So now, when I see the all-too-common half-staffed flag, I think to myself – this display is not for anything specific but a general statement about the state of this dying divided union.

The red white and blue’s stunted ascent halfway up the pole shows how this once great nation of ours is on life-support, quickly dying and the half-staffed flag is in mourning for what we the people were and what that sickly Stars and Stripes once stood for.

Epilogue: I woke up today to see the flags once again blowing freely in the breezes, the sun rays kissing the withered edges, a lone bird perched proudly upon the mast and a feeling creeped in, awakening in me again a sense of hope and never dying pride for this land, OUR land, of the free.

September 11, 2018

editors note: Consider this. Choose hope… (Thanks to our Ed-in-Chief for his honest expose.) – mh clay

Water by Ron Riekki

People ask me
if I believe in God
and every time they do
I think of kissing her neck
from behind with her hands
in the sink, holding the wine
carafe like she loved glass.

September 10, 2018

editors note: Love (and cleanliness) is next to what you believe. – mh clay

Dig the body whole. by James Rodehaver

Dig the body whole,
A proper vessel’s hollow;
Six feet at a time, fold
Your shovel into the shallow.

Pull grief stones to surface,
Wet dirt easier to plow,
Make the system nervous,
Centralize all feeling now!

Dig the body clean,
Toxins fit in quite well,
Till comfort zones spring
Up and health hard to tell.

Push off with force from habit,
Let bad thoughts be composted.
If optimism’s hard to grab at,
Try being lightly toasted!

September 9, 2018

editors note: From root to rhyme; (de)compose yourself. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you are finding you Need-a-Read, look no further, Mad Swirl has got you covered!

This week’s featured tale comes to us from Susie Gharib.

Here’s what guest Short Story Editor Mike Fiorito has to say about this pick-of-the-week:

We’re are all in a state of perpetual healing.

And here’s a bit of A Wind-Bent Daffodil to get your need fed:

 (photo “ego separation” by Contributing Artist Jennifer Lothrigel)

He asks me to count to ten. I am lying in a bare and chilly room ion a very high and narrow bed, which he helps me to mount with the aid of a few steps. I’m wearing a pair of feather-light slippers. He looks so ridiculous in his green cap, a strange color for such a muscular man who slits the human flesh. I shiver.

“Are you scared?” he asks with a kind smile.

“Terribly so,” I answer, thinking of my mother across the seas and her grief in case I do not wake up.

He tenderly holds my freezing hand as a needle penetrates my skin, diffusing its sleep-inducing substance. I lose consciousness before my half-uttered three.

When I wake up, I see a large room through a window which is fitted to my bewildered face and the sound of my breathing is a heaving sea of crowded puffs. The oxygen is not to my liking and the mask makes me feel out of breath. My eyes feebly inspect the eerie warden which is full of women. The doctor is asking questions of a few of them. When he sees my eyes wide-open, he releases me of the mask and asks me how I feel…

Get the rest of this read-need feed 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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