The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.13.19

by on April 14, 2019 :: 0 comments

“The gift of writing is to be self-forgetful, to get a surge of inner life or inner supply or unexpected sense of empowerment, to be afloat, to be out of yourself.”

Seamus Heaney

••• The Mad Gallery •••

I Am He As You Are He As You Are Me and We Are All Together ~ Sharon O’Callaghan Shero

Mad Swirl welcomes back one of our most favorite artists, Sharon O’Callaghan Shero, with photographs quite a bit different from the collection she brought to us previously. Despite a total 180º in color, concept and composition, this series of photos manages to carry the same electric/eclectic air of dark and eerie fantasy, albeit a little bit sillier. And really, what says weary whimsy better than Wonderland? Like Alice with the infamous ‘Eat Me’ cookies, we’ll scarf down just about anything Sharon cooks up. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see ALL of Sharon’s wonderful Wonderland snaps, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe ached unsteady, just getting ready; we slaked our thirst with a taste of first; we leapt to the lee of a bad idea; we tripped and twirled through cosmic swirl; we dreamed a life turned out from strife; we sought for soul in tortured skull; we skulled again, temptations aren’t, if not for sin. If not for never, we’d languor ever. Wrest not rest nor succor sever. ~ MH Clay

Skull-ring by Mike Zone

“you fuckin’ troublemaker,
come over here”
She yelled from the car
dented, black and rusted
giving me tips on drinking and driving
“taking the highway instead of the back roads to avoid police, you have to be smart”
I knew I’d regret getting into the car
later into her
but I did it anyway
just like I spoke to her at the bar
was it the crossbones choker?
the too tight shirt and exploding cleavage?
the weather beaten face with glitter?
how about the exhaust pipe whining cigarette voice?
“I need a man to take me home and use my body like a whore.”
followed by staccato wailing
David Bowie as Pilate
the story of her outlaw father
who definitely wasn’t in Heaven
last temptation
I’m no Christ

April 13, 2019

editors note: Hey, Pilate! Can’t wash’em all-the-way clean with that skull ring on. – mh clay

Torture Chambers in the Skull by Paul Hellweg

Why do we hound and torment each other
when every human skull has its own torture chamber?
It’s been said that humans use only 10% of the brain’s capacity,
urban myth? or thank god and amen?
there’s enough self-doubt and loathing
and indecision to last all eternity
not to mention existential despair
and unrequited angst
multiply by ten and you’d have
either nirvana or hell
your choice.

April 12, 2019

editors note: Harsh the howling resonance, reverberating hell – hush it till we only hear nirvana… nirvana, yes! – mh clay

It was all a dream by David Boski

I had a dream mom didn’t find you hanging
from the banister of the stairs with a cable chord
wrapped around your neck.

They found a cure for MS and you could
walk again, and you loved seeing your
grandson Clark.

I no longer took the time we had for
granted so we started spending more
of it together, going to bars, and basketball
games to watch the Raptors play. Then
you’d tell me how much better the old
generation was; how Clyde Drexler was
underrated, how Larry Bird had the biggest
heart, and how Magic Johnson was just that—

You and mom grew old together and enjoyed
your retirement; often going on vacations
where she would make you take awkward
tourist photos which you hated, but you
returned the favor by getting drunk and
saying something inappropriate in front
of a group of strangers.

Eventually when your time came, you passed
away peacefully in your sleep and if life was fair
that could’ve happened, and I wouldn’t have awoke
from that dream into the nightmare that is reality.

April 11, 2019

editors note: Maybe our dreams (the good ones) are parallel realities. Maybe we should keep dreaming, just like this. – mh clay

Cosmic Calling by Harley White

The cosmos calls us when our day is done
as gazes turn above to starry spheres,
concealed in presence of the sovereign sun,
while once again the dark of night appears.

As gazes turn above to starry spheres
where reigning moonbeams serve to light the way
while once again the dark of night appears,
we muse on how what’s passing cannot stay.

Where reigning moonbeams serve to light the way,
the twinkling heavens glory in their prime.
We muse on how what’s passing cannot stay,
within a moment of illusive time.

The twinkling heavens glory in their prime,
concealed in presence of the sovereign sun,
within a moment of illusive time—
the cosmos calls us when our day is done.

April 10, 2019

editors note: Look again at this celestial shuffle of sentiments wrapped in rhyme; it’s cosmically clever. – mh clay

A Wink by a Nod by Charlotte Ozment

A morning cut short
by decisions
made in the wink of a night,
those moments when you
stopped, turned, reckoned
and celebrated a simple progress
by and about
every yen you ever aimed for
when you lay awake
with eyes wide
and out of order.

In the light of a blink
you attempt to stop
that headlong and dawdling crash
into a stunted future
where you are no longer able
to sustain growth.

But daylight makes a habit
of white-washing those
directions, and next you know
you’ve turned desire
into disdain and
all hell breaks loose.

April 9, 2019

editors note: What was clear in the night strikes fear in the light. Sometimes, the dream is better. – mh clay

First Love by Lisa Moak

When love was new,
each heart beat raw,
every breath
pulsed red,

and you wrote
poetry with
lines oozing
sticky sweet.

School days filled with
bubble gum kisses,
teardrop hearts and
breathy talks behind bleachers.

When it looked
like life itself was beginning
and ending with one word
one touch, one look,

and adults said
things like
“you’re too young
to know love.”

Disco ball nights,
pink petals and baby’s breath
fell like confetti on
crowded dance floors.

Then he danced
with someone new
as you embraced
the last song – alone.

Pain pulsed
in your ears
sounding like
deep divers gulps,

and your heart
slowly melted
sending droplets
to your toes

then adults patted your hand
repeating shallow words
you couldn’t comprehend
about fish and the sea.

April 8, 2019

editors note: When we thought one wish was for one fish, we cried oceans… – mh clay

I Destroy Myself Making Up For You by Swagi Desai

For me to paint my nails
For you
I have to pluck them out
Paint the beds
All red
Hide the bloodstains
And then stick
The hazy nails
Back on

For me to contour my face
For you
I have to scrape the scalpel
On the knife
Wield it to the bones
Of my cheek
Drag along the lines
Of my jaw
And then pat on some cream
To mask the pain

For me to enhance my eyes
For you
I have to leave on quests
In the forest
For the best shades
For my lids
Line them with the ash
Of my own burns
And then pick out the lens
To blur the day

For me to colour my lips
For you
I have to light a matchstick
And bring the flame
To warm till the blood rushed
Up to the surface
Longer in the corners
To line it darker
And then coat on the gloss
To exaggerate the reality

April 7, 2019

editors note: Oof! With so much sacrifice to look nice (to go out), might just as well stay in (no doubt). (We welcome Swagi to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Today’s featured short story comes from a near & dear soul in our Mad Swirl world, photographer, writer & friend Dan Rodriguez.

Here’s Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s insights on Dan’s telltale tale I Have a Mistress:

“The time we have is not ours, and spending time writing and beautifying the world swirling around us is to be celebrated. Writing stops the world even for a bit because this world, the time we have, isn’t ours. We belong to time.”

And in honor of Dan’s courageous battle, we present “I Have a Mistress” in its entirety…

(photo “Shared Horizon” by Tyler Malone)

Back in 2017 I acquired a mistress, or should I say she attached herself to me.

I informed my wife of the mistress and she begin to cry and said can you get rid of her. I said I will try. But now she is with me all the time. She demands to go shopping with me and then I must head home with her.

At the grocery store she demands certain foods that she knows that I cannot have but she says that it would make her stronger.

She makes me remember my past and when I get something wrong, she goes, that’s not the way it happened and you know that I’m right because I am in your head.

Sometimes she sits in a corner with me as I cry about the past, the present, the future, what’s to come. She is silent as I cry.

She has been attached to me for about a year and a half and she is getting stronger.

But I feel she will be leaving me soon.

On our 44th wedding anniversary I gave my wife a gift and a card. I wrote this: I will love you till I feel your last kiss upon my lips as I take my last breath.

Ah, my mistress said, that is beautiful, but I will be with you even after you take your last breath.

I call my mistress Eris

But her real name is Cancer.

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Coming 05.01.19: The Best of Mad Swirl : v2018!

Our 112 page anthology will feature 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on throughout 2018. 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.”

And just in case you’re not quite sure what and/or who Mad Swirl is…

“Mad Swirl is a world-renowned arts and literature website. It is a platform, a showcase, and a stage for artistic expression in this mad, mad world of ours; a creative collective of as many poets, artists, and writers we can gather from around the world; from Nepal to Ireland, from England to China, from California to New York City and all the places in between. Our Poetry Forum features works from over 150 contributing poets, our short story library has over 140 writers and our Mad Gallery has over 40 resident artists.”

This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl! Stay tuned to our social media channels and our website for more official teases!…


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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