The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.10.18

by on November 11, 2018 :: 0 comments

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

Kurt Vonnegut

••• The Mad Gallery •••

They’re Gone – Sharon O’Callaghan Shero

This month’s featured artist, Sharon O’Callaghan Shero, brings us photographs that look like they were pulled straight out of a suspense thriller. The way she plays with (little) light and (lots of) dark sets such a mood that you might end up insisting there’s some kind of dark and mysterious backstory to each and every shot. The way she captures her subjects – who almost appear to glow in the night – is something of a story in itself. Each shot has a hint of dark magic to it… and you know Mad Swirl is all over that. You can get all over that too, right here! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see ALL of Sharon’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 picked no purist from a talk-and-take tourist; we untangled two from one over one; we cut the ties (then lashed’em back) to daughter, son; we coughed up caffeine recollection; we pushed (again) apocalyptic expectation; we dreaded demise of wild child Earth; we, tattered souls, sought a kiss of tattered worth. Our worth is worth all, our words are words tall. Speak out! ~ MH Clay

black lipstick and purple fishnets by J.J. Campbell

my neon soul is
trapped up in the

somewhere the
ghost of tom wolfe
is sipping on kool-aid

it’s a paper cut that
never heals

a broken heart that
can never satisfy
the need for revenge

it’s a broken body
struggling to survive
yet another day

it’s a lovely black
woman crying to
an old gospel tune

a lonely saxophone
wails in the distance

and here comes the
last beautiful woman
on earth

black lipstick and
purple fishnets

may my final dream
be those lips caressing
what is left of this
tattered soul

November 10, 2018

editors note: May the last thing we get be the last thing we want. – mh clay


The sun she became a woman
and spread her hot legs
for the young man in the moon
and oh what a wild child
that Earth is.
Never gives you the cold shoulder like Mercury,
the orgasmic war cry of Mars,
tantalizing sighs of Venus,
runs cold, rock-strewn rings around you,
or up and disappears like dark, irrelevant Pluto.

Just lives in blood and sorrow
and the ecstasy of its
history until
it will turn over in bed at last
and do itself in,
suicide by spoil.

November 9, 2018

editors note: Just like Mom & Dad; put all the elements for self destruction into us. – mh clay

Apocalypto by Rose Aiello Morales

They said that it would end this year
like before, before, and before,
spinning, then the thing just stops
and we stand still, no centrifugal
keeps us landed, but the gravity
of situations ends, we will not leave.

They’ve said it other times I’m sure
the year, the month, the day
and we would drink, and laugh
find many ways for people without futures
and fall wasted, not bereft, left strangely calm,
awakened the next morning, still the same.

They said that it would end this year,
in fire, and rain, with floods and pestilence,
but witness every morning the same dawn,
blue sky, the tragic magic of the day,
not today, or tomorrow, nor next month,
though next year, maybe next, perhaps, it ends.

November 8, 2018

editors note: No end to our countless ends; wanting to be gone to be right. – mh clay


Recurring headaches
from caffeine highs
nicotine cravings

in the smoky speeding crown
of evening’s crowded malls

and the big summer sun
and the ice blue pools
whose women strip
to a cloth up their ass cracks

and chat over rum
and Caribbean limes

…this is where the salt went!
…toward the heat of dissipation
and air cooled condos
way too cold

…and a few like me
grow old…

November 7, 2018

editors note: You can mind your salt, but that calendar creeps all the same. – mh clay

Parenting by Alexandria Biamonte

You own nothing.
Those aren’t your toys. I bought them.
Even your clothes, your furniture.
I provided them for you, you do not own them.
But if you don’t clean your room, I will
Take a Big Black Garbage Bag and throw away
Every toy, every dress that isn’t on a hanger.
These are my things, not yours.

Your college says I don’t have access to your grades,
Because you’re nineteen, and I don’t pay your tuition.
Don’t tell me it’s none of my business. That’s bullshit.
I am your parent. That makes it my business. I pay
The insurance on your car, and the title is in my name.
You won’t be going on that road trip, unless
You bring me your transcripts, signed by each of your professors.
So long as you live under my roof,
You are not entitled to privacy.

I’m not obligated to help you
In any way.
You decided to leave
And go play house.
That was your decision. You’re on your own now,
Mommy and Daddy don’t have to bail you out.
You wanted your independence.
Sink or swim.
Just don’t expect anything from me.

And why don’t you ever call?

November 6, 2018

editors note: Our conscientious co-dependence. You need to (we need you) no need to, needs must, need not… – mh clay

Hippasus of Metapontum by Rachel Broadway

Your one over my one,
Sweat heaving in crevices,
In dark bedrooms,
Separated by a thin line,
Makes a whole.
My lover needs me to put
Two and two together,
To tell him it will come out right,
That four is too many,
Or even three.
That one is just enough.
I press soft blankets between my thighs,
I watch him pulling out and away,
Slipping back into the shadows of his clothes.
My Pythagoras, you love this too much,
These equations of flesh and heat,
This me times you,
Keeping me safe in this denominator.
You say fraction upon fraction upon fraction
Can never be zero, but I tell you
The division is already lost.
My name has been forgotten.
The truth is not relative.
You stand laughing in your big boat
While I flail frantically in this sea.

November 5, 2018

editors note: Seek a valuable one, add up to a lifeboat for two. (We welcome Rachel to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Souvenirs by Swagi Desai

I tend to pick some souvenirs
From not only the places I travel to
A memoir of the time spent
A miniature of that awesome monument,
But also from the strangers I meet
A smooth glide to make more space
A smart solution aiding a swift escape

Their bodies are their own worlds
Immersed and inclined in themselves
If it’s a world, it’s a place to visit
If it’s a place to visit, they have a gift shop
Showing all they had in store for the day
All memories that were stimulated
All philosophies that were ready-made
All gestures that were hand-led
I bet you most of it surprised even them

I surreptitiously grab these souvenirs
For no price is asked for them in exchange
But taking them does seem a tad bit discomforting

I go home and stuff them in my jammed jar
Sift through, and inject in my veins the ones
Those that add up to my ideal behavior

November 4, 2018

editors note: It’s nurture when nature drives us to take from all we meet. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read, Mad Swirl has got EXACTLY what you’re lookin’ for! No, really, we do!

This week’s featured short story, Exactly by Contributing Writer Bruce Mundhenke, just might be the exact read you are needin’!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick-of-the-week story:

We’re strong and independent until we want more than what others are willing to give. Then you wait for them to change, but what you should do is wait for yourself to change.

(photo, “Admittance of Loneliness” by Tyler Malone)

Move that mouse of yours over here and see if our hunch is right!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.07.18) Mad Swirl kicked off our 14th year of mic madness! The Regal Room (at the Independent Bar & Kitchen) was chock filled with all the swirlin’ souls we know AND love! ‘t’was quite the Swirl-abration!

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 (trumpet)
Max Oepen (drums)
Dave Monsch (sax)
Carlos Salas (pocket operator)

Open Mic:

Johnny O
MH Clay
Opalina Salas
Bt=rett “BA” Ardoin
Desmene M. Statum
David Crandall
Carlos Salas
Devorah Titunik
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Josh Weir


Harry Mcnabb
Tom Farris
Christopher Calle
Susan M Duval
Jack C. Ritter

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, Joshua 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 and Swirl-abrations with us!

May the madness keep swirlin’ your way ’til the next Mad Swirl 1st Wednesday (12.05.18 @ The Regal Room)

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…

Bein’ Edgy,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Guest Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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