The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.06.18

by on October 7, 2018 :: 0 comments

“I give thanks everyday that I’ve been able to take my craziness and make it work for me.”

Fritz Scholder

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Paris rooftops” (above) by featured artist Dan Rodriguez

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

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we took an attack just to turn it all back; we polished the gleam on a mapmaker’s dream; we poured a red drink to have a bronze think; we splattered paint for a Buddhist saint; we took not all on a plane too small; we got no regard from a loud fucktard; we found release from the rest, in peace. Each piece we write from all our pieces. ~ MH Clay

Flat-line by Timothy Pilgrim

Go, pack, leave. Be past tense,
deceased. Party, travel — jungle,
ruins, desert, dirty beach.

Museums, monuments, ghettos
back East. Fly home, collapse,
die alone in the street.

Family circle, land, search
attic for gold, freezer for cash,
argue, fake grief. Lawyer, smooth,

likely to look up brewhaha,
find brouhaha, bill it as research,
write a new will, bill that too.

October 6, 2018

editors note: No peace with the rest in pieces. – mh clay

Whistling Dixie by Randall Rogers

Who is he
but an arching
brow brooding on
the exactitude
shared meaning
no quarter
yet asking none
blatant disregard
of me.
Little bastard.

October 5, 2018

editors note: And who are we to let him get under our skin? – mh clay

Dash 8 by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

The plane is too small.
Some of the luggage is left behind.
It will be at your destination
when you get there.

The stewardess smiles.
The luggage sitting on the tarmac
With sticky tags around the handles.
The plane is too small.

Everyone coughs.
The pilot sounds like a real cowboy.
The seats are too small.
The luggage on the tarmac.

Only 900 were ever built.
This is one of them.
The plane is too small.
The stewardess is coughing.

October 4, 2018

editors note: Let’s get this thing off the runway; all cough together. – mh clay

PAINTING THE STOOP by Robert Demaree

1. 2003

He had been known to paint over pine needles,
Gooey globs of soft pitch, even rotten boards:
One coat covers all!
At first it looks great,
Then little flecks of different shades of gray
Peek through: He decides it’s good enough,
A forbearance he would like to think a trait
That comes, for want of a better term, from God;
Or it may be what makes space ships fall from the sky.

2. 2018

I have stopped looking for metaphors
In things like this.
There will be a time
That will be the last time
That I paint the stoops,
But I don’t want to hear about it.
Instead I concentrate
On the smooth flow of the brush
Over pine, over the layered years
Of other shades of gray.
An ant wanders into a pool
Of acrylic latex, becomes mired
Then relieved of his suffering.
What must he have thought,
What did the dinosaurs think,
What will we think?
But then here comes his brother,
Unaware of danger.
Something to be said for being an ant.
If you were a Buddhist,
You wouldn’t paint the stoop at all.

October 3, 2018

editors note: Or, you could make your mantra, “Om Mane Paint My Stoop.” – mh clay


We’ve been mud
& bird

& dealt with
terrible loneliness

& we needed
a red that could

action us against
our own red,

but after you died
& he lost his legs,

the idea that we

to be softened,
become swamp

again was left

more bronze,
more marble.

October 2, 2018

editors note: Have a seat; think about this… (This one comes from Darren’s recently released collection, Bombing the Thinker. You can get a copy here. Check it out!) – mh clay

The Things I Do Become Calendar by Julene Tripp Weaver

Pure illusion this movement forward, no entourage,
or chattel to carry me, what we never said haunts
me with the strongest memories.

No mountains to climb on my current agenda
the river never crossed was a stone bridge, not a
wooden covered one, how I remembered it.

Trail blaze, to make a new path geological
maps are helpful, sometimes the goal is an
illusion. People talk but what do they say—

impossible to know what anyone means—
sitting with tears your heart brain knows
the answer. Something new must form outside

normal procedure. Yesterday was exactly like
today. It can be difficult to make a new map,
to reconstruct those early years if you did not

keep an outline of your life. Move one day at a
time, let go the mercenary dream, how
much we want but never achieve. Accept

the surprise violets in this long forward
dream. The call of the unspoken, we could have
been closer, or said I love you one more time.

October 1, 2018

editors note: Embrace those surprise violets. Let the map make itself. – mh clay

Burn Victim by Tyler Malone

Her exes have guitars or play guitars
or gave her a ring.
I leave behind a lit refrigerator light to storm
drunk into summer’s inferno and lose my keys.
I know strings, how they break from fingers.
California apologized for winter wildfires, Texas never
offers thick skin for seasons or oranges from trees
to feed and keep quiet until flames claim yards.

From glass, an unlocked bedroom window,
I bled onto a pillow under open air, a lave of falling ash.
Hearing gridlock before tomorrow’s first brake light,
all I say to the burning atmosphere is
Let me be the crack in your concrete
as I think about our buried first poem,
the one about traffic and kissing
at every stop.

But now, it stops with ash on the wind,
torn down with words I put back to my teeth
to talk backwards and build her up a world.

September 30, 2018

editors note: We can count down, but can’t start up anew. The burns are 3rd degree… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Got a need for a spooky read? With All Hallows Eve comin’ up, we got just the frightening fix to scratch that itch!

This week’s creepy tale, The Forensic Dry Cleaners of Murray Hill comes from Contributing Writer, Sarah Ito!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this spooky pick’o’week:

You’ll never guess what’s under the bed, in the closet, or right out in front of you.

Here’s a bite to get the flow goin’:

(photo, “Bite Marks: Love Lines” by Contributing Artist Tyler Malone)

Seven a.m. in Manhattan, and I have a full week of meetings looming ahead of me. Latte in hand, I take my Hillary Clintonesque navy pantsuit into the dry cleaning shop next to my hotel.

“Just a pressing,” I say to the olive-skinned woman behind the counter. She is dressed head to toe in black, a shawl embroidered with threads of gold draped over boney shoulders. Something about her, perhaps the simmering coals of her sunken eyes, makes me think “gypsy.” She casts a withering glance at me; a look of pure disdain.

“There is hair on this garment,” she announces, stern, her voice betraying a hint of Romania, or perhaps, Transylvania. She holds the jacket up and away, as if it offends. “Yes, hair. Much hair. You need dry cleaning, not pressing.”

Well, yes, I have long hair and sometimes a few strands end up on my clothing. But I don’t need dry cleaning. I have a role of tape that will take care of that hair…

“Your hair. And cat hair… two cats.” She turns the jacket inside out, flicking the lining with the tips of her frighteningly long fingers. “Dog hair, too. BIG dog.”

What?! How does this Yvonne DeCarlo look-alike know this?

“You stay at the hotel? I give you discount on dry cleaning…Come back tonight” My furry clothing clutched in her bejeweled hands, she disappears into the rear of the shop, leaving me with a hastily scrawled ticket. I was dismissed.

I return dutifully at six p.m. to pick up my suit. The clerk, a bent old man bearing a frightening resemblance to Bela Lugosi, retrieves it promptly, and indeed, upon my inspection, the suit has not a hair visible to the naked eye. Curious, I ask him, “How did the lady who works here know the different types of hair on my clothes? And how did she know I live at the hotel?”

The clerk, his pointy ears protruding from his shrunken skull, looks at me, confused. “What lady?”…

Wh-wh-what?! A gh-gh-ghost? You won’t know unless you move that mouse of yours right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Notes of Gratitude to the Mad Ones : 10.03.18

This past 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.03.18) Mad Swirl continued to whirl up our mic madness at our mad mic-ness home, Dallas’ Regal Room (at the Independent Bar & Kitchen)!

HUGE GRATS to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirl us up a mighty fine night!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with your words, your songs, your divine madness…


Johnny O
MH Clay


Chris Curiel
Ernesto Montiel
Andrew Miller

Open Mic:

Johnny O
MH Clay
Opalina Salas
Josh Weir
Carlos Salas
Christina Cain
Suza Kanon
Brett Ardoin


James Barrett Rodehaver
Susan M Duval
Elliott Hill
Emmeline Miles
Harry Mcnabb
Christopher Calle
Brian Cox
Alice Alesia
Phillip Todd Brewer

GREAT BIG YES to Swirve, for stirring the Swirl the best way in the world!

More HUGE YES’es to Regal Room’s Thad Kuiper (sound), Elana & Lisa for makin’ our stay most righteous.

HUGEST grats to our Patron Saint of we Mad Ones & proprietor of the Independent, Josh Florence!

And lastly, but never leastly, yes Yes YES to all who came out to the Regal Room & shared this loving, laughing, lasting night of poetry and music with us!

May the madness keep swirlin’ your way ’til the next Mad Swirl 1st Wednesday (11.07.18 @ The Regal Room)

Johnny O

P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, it’s not too late to be a fly on the wall. Check it out in all its LIVE glory 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…

Embracin’ Crazy,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Guest Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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