The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.09.19

by on February 10, 2019 :: 0 comments

“Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in.”

Amy Lowell

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Old Canal, Downtown Richmond – Tony Gentry

To see ALL of Tony’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 jumped to the jive of a manic dive; we muddled minds for a cheap by-line; we got in a game of fire beyond flame; we found our flirt while digging dirt; we had no hide from fire inside; we lit the night to whole life bright; we worked the weeks, obedient antiques. What scratch on white can word our night? We will write our ways out of this. ~ MH Clay

Workhorse by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Hands behind the back
could this be an

Civil disobedience
is cutting the tag off your
brand new mattress
with kitchen scissors
of knowing.

Let the deaf mutes make gang signs,
the 40-hour week is waiting.

I have found it and floundered
like idiot archaeology.

February 9, 2019

editors note: Anarchy as artifact. – mh clay

Communing with the Self by Haris Adhikari

Only that much of the trail
is mine
which I’ll cover up
I cannot say
when the trail will stab me
from behind, when I will
a long exhalation.

Life is all in the walking,
in getting somewhere
in being found out
in the steps taken
erased in the footmarks
left behind…
Life is
a strange revelation…
a convergence
of myths and realities.

Oh the brooding Rara*
brimming way up to the sore eyes!
Oh the heart’s squelching
in deep dark of life!
Even one’s own shadow
until the bright stars appear.
Just a little beam of light
unveils the way from darkness;
and I want you to be
that light on to yourself. Illumine
the core of your being, and see
how the whole life brightens…

*The biggest and deepest fresh water lake in Nepal

February 8, 2019

editors note: Self discovery from the journey of self. But, you have to step out… – mh clay

In a Beginning by Dan Raphael

No matter how many trees we peel, how many cars
we turn into mosaics, i know this isn’t my city
though there’s a house with my name on it
overcoats for curtains, faded maps of imaginary nations for floors
how do you hang a one-way door
no matter how many mouths i open water refuses to enter me

First the scab, then the lake
still water brings algae brings fish brings birds
brings a sky to fly in, clouds for nightly shelter
we have no word for sun, no word for walking—
i either fly or run, with or against the ever wind
the traffic in my mind looking for places to work or eat
listening for a name i heard only once,
an accent no song can contain

Once let in
once without rain
the first fire can’t be stopped

February 7, 2019

editors note: Home-boy or stranger, there’s fire in the danger. Get out while you can! – mh clay

Holstered by Timothy Pilgrim

Lord of tunnels, I am free,
outside. A new man,
no longer in my dark period

of burning stalactites.
I fall in step beside her,
briefly desire to be back

inside, maybe after dinner.
Tonight, rain could mean
moist embers. Of course,

following good cognac
and a buttery dessert.
The black-leather love

she points at me excites
a deep urge to unholster
my shovel filled with volition.

February 6, 2019

editors note: Dessert and double your entendre (as you will). – mh clay

Quick & Current by Kenneth P. Gurney

I don’t want to be forced to argue
in favor of my existence.

Just because you cannot always see
my line of thought, my six-foot-five self,

does not mean I will not allow you
the last word as in the past.

I will make do with the clouds
that close in on the mountain tops

and blow aspen branches to the ground
or break pine boughs with heavy snows.

We see the effect of the wind upon trees,
but not the trees’ effect upon the wind.

It is that way with people—
impacts, no matter what type, effect both parties.

I collected enough downed wood
to stoke the stove most of the winter.

Yeah. I spend a lot of time trying to see
the fire’s flame beyond the yellow-orange tips

into the wavy lines of smoke-cloaked heat
rising up the chimney flue.

February 5, 2019

editors note: Up in smoke? No waste when you’re up in it. Selah… – mh clay

Of a Population that Relies by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Of a population that relies on public transport,
Lifelong claims concerning shared technology,
Maybe sourced from foreign realms, where
Splattered bits, forced arms preparations, spew
Counters of steel surfaces, quality checks tally.

In decades past, professional get-togethers
Meant uniting upmarket authors, star agents,
Small press operators, assorted terrorists.
Contemporary balderdash received no salute
Nor did brown does lose their arboreal safety.

The prize of a byline, career-wise, creates
Nonsense reports suitable for tossing diapers,
Rotten fish, roaches. Ain’t no sky high enough
To compensate lost limbs, martial cripplings,
Intensive care units run by the heavy-hearted.

February 4, 2019

editors note: Good news has low market value. On that we can rely. – mh clay

acrophobia by Marisa Adame

the crowd goes wild
when i lose track of my mind
and jump into an empty promise of hands
waiting for wrists to crack under my weight.

to surf on the voices of my demons is to give into impulses as they arise.

people cheer louder for energy they can see,
no matter that the demons cut the cables
and the wires lay bare and ready
to electrocute with their touch.

crowds want to see their heroes fall //
so when Mania comes along, she dances along stage edges
and tiptoes her way into the crowd.
she launches herself into the air with reckless abandon
and i

close my eyes tight
hoping for something to break my fall.

February 3, 2019

editors note: An unsettling scene when the circus of self sets the highwire without a net. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If your Need-a-Read desire is dire, we got one that’s truly outta this world!

This week’s mighty-fine sci-fi tale, Hanging by a Thread comes to us from Mad Swirl Associate Editor & longtime Contributing Writer/Poet/Artist, Mike Fiorito!

Here’s what Short Story Editor, Ty Malone has to say about it:

“This pale blue dot hangs on nothing, but so much hangs on it.”

(photo “The Weight of Roots” by Ty Malone)

If that leaves you hangin’ & hankerin’ to get the whole story & nothing but the whole story, collide that mouse (or finger) of yours with this here link & off you’ll go!…

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.06.19) Mad Swirl continued to whirl up our mic madness at our mad mic home deep in the heart of Deep Ellum… the Regal Room!

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…

Mad Swirl Open Mic : 02.06.19

(click to start the slideshow : photos courtesy of Dan “the MAN!” Rodriguez)


Johnny O
MH Clay


Chris Curiel (trumpet)
Tamitha Curiel (vocals)
Jolene Masone (bassoon)
Clark Walker (drums)


Dan Rodriguez

Mad Mic Cast:

Johnny O
MH Clay
Opalina Salas
Rob Dyer/David Parham
Suza Kanon
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Devorah Titunik
Paul Sexton
Carlos Salas
Tamitha Curiel


PW Covington
Amy Conner
Josh Weir
Susan Duvall
Harry McNabb
Cortlynn Blankenbaker
Elliot Hill
Tom Farris
David Fargeson
Sam Hudson
Trevin Young
Dick Zinnerdorf

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

More HUGE thanks to Regal Room’s Thad Kuiper & staff for makin’ our stay most righteous.

And lastly, but never leastly, thanks to all who came down to Deep Ellum & shared this loving, laughing, lasting night of poetry and music with us!

May the madness swirl your way! ’til next 1st Wednesday…

Johnny O


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…

Recordin’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Guest Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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