The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.12.19

by January 13, 2019 2 comments

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London

••• The Mad Gallery •••

It’s been good visitin’ Stephen’s mad illustration i-mad-gination! But as all good things do, this too must pass. Stay tuned next week when we’ll be delivering to you yet another bad ass artisté that is gonna swirl up your mind’s eye the way Stephen has!

To see all of Stephen’s swirly’n’silly scenes, 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 found digs high priced after a sidewise heist; we lost inspiration from smoke inhalation; we mixed up the mess for ideas of success; we mugged with a monster in mask while dodging a piano crash; we flicked in flight, a parasite; we watched bad choices gone too far, yet never learned, Who’s Omar?; we found appreciation futile for all architecture brutal. We write, we try. When the fire dies, we write to try again… ~ MH Clay

Further expositions on brutalism by Christopher Calle

Are there people who actually like brutalism?
Of course, she says, there’s some brutalist furniture that’s very expensive.
What about the architecture though? What does it say about someone that they like it?
It’s just a taste.
What does it say about you that you don’t?
I consider the question.
She starts naming brutalist furniture manufacturers and I think of her fondly.
All those times we disagreed about cheese, and why the drywall on the ceiling hasn’t
been sanded yet.
I wonder what other deep pools she hides.
What does revolting mean?
I wonder how things can elicit such a harsh reaction in a consciousness I feel I control.
Is the appeal to pure emotion really what lies at the core of quality art if the emotion is
unfiltered anger?
Nauseating, like disgust.
How do you cope with revulsion?
Satisfying the pace of conversation she adds, find something you like in it.
Just try a little at a time.
She hands me the phone, presenting a cultivated list of sculpture.
Iron, extruded square spikes, aged bronze, stained woods.
I scroll, carefully watching for judgment during a sleet storm of annoyance.
Seeking pleasure from a desk edge to the tendon – looking for something to like.
I think about the time I slammed my finger in the door twice.
It helps to objectify them I decide.

January 12, 2019

editors note: Brutalism is best objectified from a distance. We only have so many fingers… – mh clay

Love-Bug by Mike Zone

Love-bug? Are your friends gangsters?
I think they might be criminals
why does your friend carry a gun?
I think that girl
you used to date
has sex for money
what were you and those guys in tracksuits sitting outside the café
at the table with the checkered cloth talking about?
Who’s Omar?
Why are most of your friends Bosnians or Mexicans?
Those black men sure looked happy to see you
Love-bug, you sure write an awful lot about prostitutes
someone once told me they heard
you did a line of cocaine off a stripper’s backside
is that true?
Love-bug, what did he mean by “move things”?
Raves? Drugs? Bosnians? Punk Rock? Omar?
Love-bug, were you a criminal?
When she left me high and dry
on the edge of eviction
barely food, furniture or clothes
left my mother with a breathing tube rammed down her throat
“I need 10,000 dollars.”
“Mike, I don’t have that kind of money but I know how to make it.”
five months later
in court
representing myself
I showed up with
4 track suited Bosnians, two tatted up Mexicans,
my stripper girlfriend and Omar

Pat the bartender watching
the proceedings with glee

January 11, 2019

editors note: When love is this blind, best get a front row seat. – mh clay

Finally I Killed… by Naushena

Each day he came with new comrades
As an army that marches towards its foes.
When darkness overcast the day,
When I am most vulnerable,
He, like a vampire, came
And sucked my blood, drop by drop
Bit by bit
With his weapon sharp as a needle
That pierced my body
Leaving behind, blood stains on my skin, on my face.
The very walls of my room
Stained with my blood and his,
Are a tell-tale sign of my struggle
To save my life from his cruelty
And shrewdness towards me.
How long could I bear?
I winced, I flailed, I smacked and I scratched
But he was undeterred as ever
So one fateful night to free myself from
That measly creature, that parasite,
I took his life, yes!
I thwacked and

the mosquito!

January 10, 2019

editors note: Some bloodsuckers are not lovers at all, but cause for justifiable homicide. – mh clay

Piano by Kate Minter

a chain hanging from the ceiling
a piano hanging from the chain
I stand beneath

it falls

doesn’t smash
the keys don’t fall out
like my teeth

it plays a song
sounds like a car crash
a horror movie
the monster jumps out – wearing a mask
and tries to kill me


it’s just applause
the song is finished

the monster is clapping
in the audience
all wearing masks

so am I

January 9, 2019

editors note: Nightmare? Or, average day in the work place? – mh clay

Super-Star by Tom Hall

Lead the unchanged to back where it was,
And open full-mast on a rail.
Retrace down both paths that forked in the wood.
To achieve is the thing, live a life you don’t fail.

A Pepsi that’s flat really tastes just the same.
A hose up your nose is as sweet.
Cook your eggs differently each morning this week
And that smile inside makes it feel like a treat.

Success is a trick that plays with the mind.
What’s already found ’s what you get to find.

January 8, 2019

editors note: Yes, we make our own metrics. – mh clay


I stagger upstairs on another boozy night
Two reds down and a tinge of nostalgia clouds the air
As I know tonight there are more words to come
From this drunken pen
This drunken mind
But when I get through all the way to my room I realise
Oh shit the damn blasted ashtray has remained downstairs
So down I go knowing no words will get written without any smoke
Not tonight
Not any night
Certainly not in this lifetime anyway
So on I go staggering down then up and now I’m back and damn it
I forgot what this poem was meant to be all about!

January 7, 2019

editors note: Sometimes, where there’s smoke, there’s no fire. Damn! – mh clay


we paid our
one-eyed wheelman
and that sketchy
shade tree surgeon
off Springdale drive…

We split
eighty five large
three ways
and spent
seven days
at The Palms
down in

Just lickin’
our wounds…
while tryin’
to dream up
a better way
to do things
the next

January 6, 2019

editors note: Hmmm. It appears the wages of sin is seven days in Mazatlan? (We welcome K.W. to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission – the first to join us in 2019. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you got a ssslitherin’ feelin’ that you Need-a-Read, you’ve ssscrolled passst the right ssspot!

This is what ssShort Story Editor Ty Malone has to sssay about Scuttle by Susie Gharib:

“The madness is in us, it only spreads when we breathe and when we find ourselves alone in a world when every ear and eye thrives on our expert export: madness.”

(photo: “Slither in Here” by Ty Malone)

Shuffle that moussse right here to get thisss “Scuttle” read on!


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

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