The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.15.18

by December 16, 2018 0 comments

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.

Muriel Rukeyser

••• The Mad Gallery •••

It’s been our pleasure to feature photographer Sharon O’Callaghan Sheroin our Mad Gallery.

This one, titled “I Hear You” will finish her streak as our featured artist. But don’t you worry, we’re lining up yet another bad ass artisté that is gonna spark your mad-gination’s eye as much as Sharon’s work has!

Stay tuned…!

P.S. To see all of Sharon’s mad snaps, as well as our other featured artists, visit Mad Swirl‘s Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we made no haste to make work taste; we knew what to mean when we meant what to know; we learned to take salt wherever we go; we rested, we listened, we listened, we rested; we grappled with grief, not by it were bested; we sold cards in times hard to help make nice; we rotted and wriggled on bad advice. We run to write to right way round. (We whisper some till quiet resounds.) ~ MH Clay

Oh, Not Again by Chris Zimmerly

She has a halo you can
Always almost see
Her kiss will not set
You free
It lingers like a hook
Now you wriggle on
The line
You are rotten fruit
On the vine
The problem
Wasn’t your
Bad advice
It was
That I took

December 15, 2018

editors note: The dupe after the dare. (See – and hear – another mad splash on Zim’s page – check it out!) – mh clay

a couple easy bucks by Beau Blue

mya and me,
we sold love cards
at the flea market,
hand drawn tennessee dawns
and a poem, hand lettered
under the fold, sacred
words everyone recognized,
five dollars with a pastel
envelope, her best grin.
guys who knew their wives
soft spots bought two or three,
the radio played all summer
/’love the one you’re with’/
as she drew mornings swiftly
through nights as wide as sin.

December 14, 2018

editors note: Ahh! Sweet stretch; those nows on replay. Yes! (We welcome Blue to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. See more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Book Launch by Brian Wood

Once the author, a doctor, has finished
His preamble, he reads from his careful,
Wry book. He tells us that his wife’s cancer
Diagnosis, in her late 30s, brought
Him to a dead halt, that all the things he
Thought he knew, the rich Jewish scriptural
Tradition he was brought up in, just had
No weight. He had to ask the rabbi —nicely—
To hold off on the well-meaning pleas to
God. “My wife and I would face this cancer
Alone. For us the gods, and the stories
They inspired, were human inventions.”

He asks for questions and I smile because
The first one, from a woman who does not
Quite look at him, is not a question. “You…
Say faith is an invention, but… sometimes
At night I go for walks with my husband.
We can see the stars and the heavens. In
The summer there are birds, rabbits, sometimes
We see deer by the lake. I see… God. We
Feel his presence.” The author politely
Waits, to see if there’s more, but it seems this
Magnificat is over.

He breathes, once, twice. “What a great question. I
Don’t tell my patients to forsake their faith.
If religion, if belief makes you lead
A happy life… I’m the last guy to stand
In the way. I’ve advised many patients
To rejoin their temple or church. All I
Argue in this book is that the results
Are in, and the lab says there is no God,
And the math can tell us how we got here.
I’ll say one last thing. The more secular,
The more decent. Where do you want to live—
Sweden or Iran?”

On our way to the train we pass a man
Who’s not sitting or standing at the bus
Shelter; he is not moving at all, nor
Was he when we went by him two hours
Ago. When sober, does he think of his
State? Is it good news to him that for some
He’s safe in the loving hands of Jesus?
That he’ll know one day, even as also
He is known; and that to others he had
Too many cocktails of bad luck blended
With bad choices? What need have we of
Mercy, when there is no judgement?

December 13, 2018

editors note: What need, indeed. Selah. – mh clay

when mind rests… by Olude Peter Sunday

what peaceful sea shore;
flat waters pay triple tours,
and the land says more…

December 12, 2018

editors note: The best environmental policy? Shut up and listen! – mh clay

On Earth as It Is in Heaven by Scott Thomas Outlar

Sometimes the right words to say no longer exist

let the wound bleed out
it is only of the flesh

no sugarcoating left in your voice
or deeds

Sometimes the most sincere prayers simply don’t work

Sometimes the kiss of death comes served with a smile

but mostly we just carry salt
and regret

December 11, 2018

editors note: The Drs say to go salt-free, keep the pressure low. Know it alls; easy to say… – mh clay

You know what it means by Harry McNabb

Piece of mind. Metal mind. Heavy metal mind. Try as I might. I cannot you. You cannot me. Death star. Unrelenting. Tree of being. Tree of bubbles in the water. Trace. Trace your hand. Understand. You cannot be real. You are unreal. You are a meal for a godlike being. Oh can’t you see. You’re a lot stronger than me. And I get along, albeit. Albeit. Better feel your digit. Spittle on your digit. On a weird sad evening. Cancer sticks. Your spit. The house quiet and alone and vast like the ocean floor. Beyond read. Beyond mouth. Beyond stick insect. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice to the pariahs. You are them, somewhere. Your hair, your eyes, your mouth, your read, your see, your love, your bothered mucousy drum. Dot. Forward Slash. The onion. Brutal. Objective. No one home. Undead. Wandering in a snow globe. You can’t believe. You want to believe. You want to communicate. But you can’t. Haha, you can’t. Haha, you can’t. Haha, you can’t. You are endless. You tear up pictures of God in your room. Wasting. Being stupid. Adoring. Muscles. Breasts. Redeeming. Spudlike. A dud. Poison in your brain. Rasputin in your eyes and ears. King over pages of forced writing. Goodness. Gracious. Look at the day, try to make out the hieroglyphs. Pleasant dreams. Jar of rainbows. Kicking the kickball. Monster. You. Unloaded. Unwanted. Busy bee. Cowering sleeplessly. Canyon of windows. You know you know you know you know you know you know you know you know you know what it means.

December 10, 2018

editors note: Oh, how much pain will we gain because we do? – mh clay

Chores / What is a perfect line? by Goirick Brahmachari

It’s not about the pace
Nor about this race, or how one must slowly learn to earn some disgrace;
Why one chooses to do the dishes first
Or, for that matter loves sweeping the floor.
But the onions must be cut, the garlic peeled,
Washed one by one, left alone to dry.

You can move slow, you can be fast
Change your pace, slow-burn
The oil or speed heat the water
Bay leaf, salt, turmeric, cumin seeds. Sugar?
The choice is ours

Not to hold onto a set instruction
As long as the taste works.

December 9, 2018

editors note: The proof is in the pudding (if you like pudding). – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week’s featured short story, Damien Ricardo III and Goneril Elektra comes to us from Contributing Poet, Stephen Page.

Here’s what Short Story Editor, Ty Malone has to say this 

“We build better versions of ourselves and our world just so we can be buried under the beauty, the progress, the loss, the change that all outlasts us.”

“Set Life” by Ty Malone

Get this transitional read on right here!

••• Another Mad Review •••

Wet Radio and other poems
By Goirick Brahmachari

CreateSpace Independent Publishing
August 18, 2017

Walter Pater wrote that “All art constantly aspires toward the condition of music,” and I can see how this applies to reading Wet Radio and other poems by Goirick Brahmachari. Not only are the poems about music and musical figures, but I can also hear the words as song. Some poems are incantations, prayers; some are holy visions. All are intimate and personal.

Simply said, the author has a very readable style. While the writing is searching and complex, it is fluid and comprehensible. Brahmachari tackles many different styles and cadences in language that I understand. And none of these poems put me to sleep with repetition. In fact, I was delighted by the constant shifts of meter and the unexpected subject matter. Brahmachari presents a life’s work; there are microscopic moments with cosmic significance. Make no mistake, this collection is a summation of a life. It is an epic… ~ Mike Fiorito

Read the whole review right here! And get your copy here, before they disappear.

••• Mad Swirl Holidaze Merch •••

Extra! Extra! Read ALL about it! Mad Swirl Merch available just in time for the holidaze!

The whole mad swirl of merch begins right here, at our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some mad threads to sport, then you’ve come to the right place.

We have Mens & Ladies tees in all sizes & even MORE colors. We also brought back mad mugs to fill with your favorite coffee, tea and/or whiskey!

New to the line-up: Hoodies! Tank Tops! Phone Cases! Stickers!

Come browse & if something catches your eye, get a little something-something for yourself & while you’re at it, get a little something for your nearest & dearest mad ones in your swirlin’ world!

••• 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

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

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