The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.18.19

by on May 19, 2019 :: 0 comments

“Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art.”

Margot Fonteyn

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Lobster Quadrille ~ Sharon O’Callaghan Shero

Once again, it’s been great to have Sharon O’Callaghan Shero featured in our Gallery. We look forward to what she delivers to us next time! Until then, stay tuned to see who Mad Swirl features next!

To see ALL our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe sent our bliss with a passing sis; we storied fine from anykine; we river poured on a warless shore; we preached all the deets in a thirty word tweet; we drank a life in four swallows – feet stained, cloud loomed, corona showered, moon followed; we learned our lone liberation comes not by association; we rang a bell to free the well. Our lives revive, our flux redux. ~ MH Clay

An obscure flux by Hem Raj Bastola

Frivolous details
Of the regal run,
Unusual and uncommon,
An aesthetic errand

Fertile nation
Of an ingenious thought.
Gathering brainsick,
In a garret to speak:

Kinda fashion,
Outdated and erroneous,
Waiting fickle found.
Doing here and there
Restless and eager,
To be something, be new:

Milking madness,
Tip twirling aloud.
Voice unheard to sing,
The gong, inspiration:
Ring the bell.

Echoes pleasant,
Whose ears are keen
And eyes hungry,
To chew the cud.
Here the aesthetic,
Generates the obscure

May 18, 2019

editors note: Well, melt my bell and call me common; ding ding ding ding ding. – mh clay


Paper clips are not made of plain paper,
Hairpins not thin and woven spun fine as hair;
Lampshades themselves no light sport, but glow taper,
Horseshoe brings luck but doesn’t run like mare.
Bookends in the end yield no twist or surprise,
No happy unions, not a single mystery solved,
No tragic conclusion, no novel surmise,
No character doomed, none whatsoever absolved.
Association here is but a link, quite weak in range
That one to the other connects in manner most obtuse.
In no way is there an osmosis, interchange,
At best one serves, one is of some vague use.
Rely not then upon kinsfolk kindness, on merit strive,
Till at your destination alone you arrive.

May 17, 2019

editors note: No links, me thinks; therefore I… – mh clay

FOUR SNAPSHOTS OF VICTOR by Patty Dickson Pieczka

At 18

Young and in the war-singed jungle,
his face as carved as an old man’s,

shadows of death weave through his hair,
ghosts drifting past his eyes.

His vision holds a secret
darkness of atrocities. The torn

sunlight settles on his skin
and sinks down, slipping into his soul.

His feet will always be stained
from soaking in the blood of this land.

At 28

The sun from a hundred years ago
candles his spirit and settles

on his swooping mustache.
His rough hands tremble from pulling

shadows through time. With total recall
of every thorn and cut, he laughs

as days shred into a pile at his feet.
A retrograde cloud looms behind him,

and he toasts it with a shot of whiskey
that reflects a trail of fractured light.

At 38

A bottle of Evan Williams in one hand,
a double-bladed Pulaski axe in the other,

his grip blurs with tremors. Onlookers
step back. Some know how his mind etches

memories on its wall, how no flood of alcohol
could wash them away. He will repeat each

word of the lecture you missed, recite the
article that drowned in spilled ink-blossoms.

Suddenly steady, he raises his axe and cleaves
the sun. A corona showers him as he hits the target.

At 48

He is in the wheelhouse mapping
triangulations to celestially

navigate the ship’s direction. He sends
the bow gliding through black water

the same way he slips through time,
breaking the currents into thousands

of tiny star-like jewels until the sea
and sky blend into one. He doesn’t

have far to go before his journey
is complete. The moon follows him.

May 16, 2019

editors note: A life in stages; rough work, hard wages. A moon-chased course, none the wear for worse. – mh clay

Bible tweet by Timothy Pilgrim

To begin
God made it all
you know — Eve snake
Moses those laws the ark
manger Jesus
preach teach Judas
cross up he goes
to clean mansions
he’ll be back

May 15, 2019

editors note: Trim your truth to short and sweet. – mh clay

The River’s End by John Macker

Bleached out moon in blue sky
high noon possesses the zen of a snowflake.
The river is a chain that links the lost spaces in
the desert between stars. The stars

are like the remains of any anonymous poet’s
bones that suddenly wash up on shore
somewhere in Mexico. In Palo Duro Canyon
ghost Kiowa follow a Cooper’s hawk to a

dry stinking spring. At the museum,
Shakespeare’s first folio is on display and open
to a page from Hamlet: unpack my heart with words.
It’s Valentine’s Day Sunday, the world is trying

its best to love me. Unpack these words and
underneath in the circumspect late light of day, the
lissome river gathers up the heartbreak, the beauty,
its altar boys, spider’s webs, snake rattles, politicians’

barbaric kitsch, the face of Buddha and deposits them
on some far shore of my mind where there is still
elasticity and order, no war.
A dusky peace settles over the land

just as the river defuses its long, hot summer and
flows slow on the earth into autumn.

May 14, 2019

editors note: Run its course to our soul salt sea. River you, river me. – mh clay


Do wat you do wen you do ‘um
and try not to ovah tink too much.

No need speculate
on wat dey no can regulate

cause dat island lingo
like wun wild dingo

going continue to circulate.

Going be in books
going be on signs

going be on da streets
and inside da minds

of all da people
dat stay doing

wat dey been doing
foa long time already.

So watevah going come
going come

weadah you help it along
or not.

If you like be wun critic
den good foa you

cause people wit da kalakoa tongue
no care wat you say.

Talk da kine is everywheah

and everywheah
wen you share story and make anykine

is wun wonderful place to be.

(kalakoa – multicolored)

May 13, 2019

editors note: Making something from nothing, unlike anything else. Yes, wonderful! (Joe has a new book published, Pidgin Eye. You can get your copy here – check it out!) – mh clay

When you breathe your last, Sister by Pushkar Bisht

Could you take me with you when you depart from the world?
I cannot live without you even for a moment
You are my rhythm if you go, I will lose my rhythm of life
What will I do alone here when I don’t have your company?
I don’t need this life when your kind words I cannot hear in my deep heart
You are just a little cute doll for me with whom I want to share my joy and sorrow
Let me also go with you when the world carries your coffin to the graveyard
I don’t want to mourn behind you
That is the end of my life when you breathe your last
Don’t leave me behind
Hold my hand when you close your eyes forever
Do not betray me if you move alone
I will not forgive you if you don’t take me with you
Promise me, you will not go alone
Please keep the promise not to break it at any cost

May 12, 2019

editors note: Though we make demands; from across the divide, death is deaf. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Happy Need-a-Read Day! This week’s featured story comes to us from longtime Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Fast Asleep

“We stop but does time? Heck no, it’s the only constant other than constantly knowing life goes and goes and goes with out you.”

Here’s a few lines from Harley’s rhythmic fairy-tale inspired story to get your i-mad-gination swirlin’:

(photo “Lie for Time” by Tyler Malone)

The princess speared her palm on the spindle cusp of the spinning spinning wheel and fell down senseless in a death-like swoon.

The old crone started in alarm and tried to undo the damage the spindle prick had done but all her qualms cries pat-a-caking rock-a-bye-babying rub-a-dub-dubbing Mother Goosing ring-around-a-roseying and hey-diddle-diddling failed to arouse the motionless Rosamond who seemed to be beyond revival…

In the tower of the royal palace I Rosamond lay latent, alive in lifelessness. The legend of the Sleeping Beauty all dreamers dream and dread had come to pass…

WAKE UP & get the rest of Harley’s story right here!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Get you your very own copy of The Best of Mad Swirl : v2018!

Our 112 page anthology features 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.”

This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl!

Huge grats & shout-outs to our 2018 featured Contributors (in order of appearance)

Featured Poets:

Silva Zanoya Merjanian
Tom Pescatore
Paul Hostovsky
Jeff Grimshaw
Logan Cure
Rob Dyer
Devon Balwit
Daniel Klawitter
Paul Tristram
Spencer Smith
K.W. Peery
Marisa Adame
Mike James
PW Covington
Ann B-D
James Robert Rudolph
Rachel Johnson
John Sweet
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Dennis Moriarty
Xiaoyuan Yin
Polly Richardson (Munnelly)
Samantha Hawkins
Mark Senkus
Ian Mullins
Tyler Malone
Lillie Davidson
Jason Baldinger
Arun Budhathoki
Steven Minchin
Chigger Matthews
Michael H. Brownstein
Carl Kavadlo
Roger G. Singer
Jason Ryberg
Johnny Olson
Ivan Jenson
Cheyenne Gallion
Timothy Pilgrim
Tom Hall
S.A. Gerber
Francesca Castaño
Dah Helmer
Swagi Desai
Sheighle Birdthistle
Susan Wiggins
Jada Yee
Beate Sigriddaughter
Harry McNabb
Madelyn Olson
Bhargab Chatterjee

Featured Writers:

Jennifer Benningfield
Salvatore Difalco
Zak Block
Tim Dadswell
Bruce Mundhenke
Sarah Ito
Ruith Z. Deming
Chuck Taylor
Mike Fiorito
Tyler Malone
Carl Perrin
Edward St. Boniface

Featured Artists:

Jon Marquette
Dan Rodriguez
Madelyn Olson
Elvin Armando

If we have enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2018” then click that mouse right HERE and it shall be done!


Black Sparrow Dress Up

Shell freshly fractured. Soaking wet, chick wobble, cheep cheep cheep, every sparrow starts naked and bewildered. So does this collection. Then page by year by life experience; pinions form, feathers fluff to cover and warm. Wobble turns to wonder, storms weathered. Nest explored as erstwhile shelter, soon to prison turned. Then flight – sweet flight, skyward flutter, windward soar, new lands; new life, evolved from old. Sparrow flies free. – mh clay

This is Black Sparrow Dress by Opalina Salas. Get it. Read it. Fly…

Mad Swirl Press is very honored to be the publishing home for Opalina’s poetic collection. This 80-page beauty is filled with 20+ years of her powerful poetry and complimented quite nicely with a handful of full-color mind-bending illustrations by artist Madelyn Olson.

Black Sparrow Dress is available at (for you long-distance mad ones) for $20.


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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