The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.07.19

by September 8, 2019 0 comments

“Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day.”

Grandma Moses

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The Unexpected Merging of Whirlwinds ~ Bill Wolak

To see ALL of Bill‘s crazy concoction of collages, 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 saw soul-stained man bang on handled pan; we braved a crash landing for some understanding; we gave alms out for cheap self-doubt; we clamored to climb, bound in the buzz of being in the place where Kilroy was; we peeked through a prism of silly-gism; we acquitted god in long arrears, just couldn’t find a jury of peers; we bounced from butterfly to crab in sky, imagination to defy. Highwire writers, we; balancing words without a net. ~ MH Clay

DEFIANCE by Clyde Kessler

It might not be strange to find a butterfly
on a battleship, middle of the Indian Ocean,
middle of heaven’s torn wings, sulphured
and bleached into a child on a raft, or a shark
finning through lightning. The butterfly wants
to say its name is Rosita, or Candelita, or Wall,
or Iceberg. It hungers for marigold nectar all day.
It says its flesh feels like a frozen bullet, what
that feels like is all the pages of a book torn out
and burning in the middle of the battleship
when the storm is over, when the radar screen
says there is nothing real out there, nothing nearby,
just wave after wave, rising through the Zodiac
where the only thing with a chitinous exoskeleton
in the sky is a weird crab heavy with its giant stars
and nebulae scheming and scheming to grow wings.

September 7, 2019

editors note: Living where life ought not to be, sky or sea; or suburb here with you and me. – mh clay

G-D ON TRIAL by Mel Waldman

Losing faith, a cracked invisible egg drifting homeless in the universe, G-d slipping away, a raw concept with no reality, only Freudian wishes, and an oxygen-spiritual tank in my dreams, and G-d on trial. Now, it seems I’m homeless too, a wandering creature forgotten by You, no Mother, Father, just G-d on trial. Lost, in a galaxy cul-de-sac, I pray to a make-believe Savior; I pray because there’s nothing left to do but appeal to a Higher Power, or cry incessantly, for no one sees me; or die laughing, inhaling laughing gas in Hell’s vast but desolate prison, where the invisible sit in solitary confinement for eternity, drinking a wasteland of sadness or uproarious madness, and pondering a runaway G-d who betrayed them from the start, a G-d intoxicated with nothing more, perhaps, than a fugitive dream He can never fulfill, a G-d on trial.

September 6, 2019

editors note: Such great expectations we have. Knock, knock!? (no answer…) – mh clay

More Or Less by Paul Smith

The older the priest
the shorter the sermon
the smaller the despot
the bigger the hat
the smaller the burger
the greater the fries
the Lesser Antilles
give me the willies

September 5, 2019

editors note: And, far as we’re concerned, willie can keep’em. (Where’s my hat?) – mh clay

Social Climbers by Stew Jorgenson

to reach
the top but
it seems like
everyone else
is racing to the
bottom of a mountain
of mass-produced crap
rolling downhill impeding
your will in an avalanche of
half-assed measures imitation
flavors and little plastic souvenirs
that last ten thousand years to remind
us all that Kilroy was here on a pile of
garbage left by social climbers at the summit.

September 4, 2019

editors note: In our race to the bottom, to be on top, let’s not forget what else rolls downhill. – mh clay


I tossed a couple of notes his way.

Okay, so it was a few bucks I could spare
and he seemed so grateful
I could have patted myself on the back
there and then.

Did I really think he was going
to get himself a meal?
The angel on my right shoulder whispered,
“Of course he will.”
The devil on my left, of course,
had him headed for the liquor store
as soon as my generous back was turned.

That’s the trouble with panhandlers.
You don’t know whether you’re doing them a favor
or they’re just conning you.
That’s the trouble with guys like me
who reach into our pockets.
Is it their need or our own
we’re really catering to?

It’s a transaction I can live with.
Of all my self-doubts,
this is among the cheapest.

September 3, 2019

editors note: A charitable deduction; cheap self introspection. – mh clay

High by Kimberly Madura

The pink kite against the purple sky –
free to fall, under the weight
of time and yet still floating up on
the buoyancy of love (and oxygen)
gravity – bringing me down.
And you understand me incompletely

September 2, 2019

editors note: Says kite to string, lover to loved. Keep it up! – mh clay

Texas by Jeff Grimshaw

Just a little bit drunk
I left, first, a hand print on the wall
Rusty from tomato sauce
And then, after an argument I can not retrieve
With someone I can not recall,
A flower of blood (?) on the bed sheet;
Mistook it, upon awakening, for another hand
But there were seven fingers,
All too thin for me.
While I was rinsing the taste of
Dirty metal from my mouth
My sweet angel outlined that stain
With a magic marker (black)
I thought you would want to keep this she said
(Me staring at her, the ends of my belt
Dangling stupidly)
It is exactly the shape of your soul.

Would have thrown away
Or certainly washed
The sheet right then and there, soul
Or no soul, but that night
I learned the very sight
Perhaps also the smell
Of it got her going but good
Me and the angel
Banging away like a screen door in a hurricane
On top of my seven-fingered soul

If it is my soul
Frankly it looks more like
Texas to me
With a couple extra

September 1, 2019

editors note: Let soul search cease when set in stain. Look no further than your Texas panhandled bang-fest. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s installment of Mad Swirl’s Need-a-Read series is testament to these sometimes wonderful & sometimes horrible but always powerful things that we all call words.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about our featured story:

“What’s on your tongue weighs down all of humanity. An ocean that rises, all gravity that pushes down, it’s all recollected in words that attempt to articulate beauty or recollect destruction.”

Here’s a few of the 397 words Michaela Eppler masterfully placed together in her editorial story, Power of Words:

(photo “Spelled Out”  by Tyler Malone)

There is a saying that has been around for quite some time now: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.

I reckon just about everyone, whether five or fifty, have heard these words several times over. Now often said by those who had just moments before sent their own verbal arrows flying right into one’s chest. It probably started with good intentions, and I am most certainly not saying that everyone who uses it is bad or a bully. But anymore it seems to me to be an excuse to ignore the very real and significant effect our words can have on our fellow human beings and environment.

Words have power…

Get all of the wonderful words on words right here! (Word!)

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.04.19) Mad Swirl once again whirled up our open mic madness! HUGE GRATS & shout out to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirl us up some googily madness!

Here’s a visual of who is who:

Mad Swirl Open Mic : 09.04.19


Johnny O
MH Clay


Chris Curiel (trumpet)
Clay Stinnett (skins)

Mad Mic Cast:

Johnny Olson
MH Clay
Vic Victory
Chris Zimmerly
Cortlynn Blakenbaker
Harry McNabb
Tamitha Curiel
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Annika Michelle
Brett “BA” Ardoin

~ intermission ~

VP Crowe
Elliott Hill
Susan M Duval
Jack C. Ritter
Zack Schrotter
Vapid Space Cadet
Tim Urban

HUGE thanks to the the fine folks at Ruins. Specifically bartender Danny, sound dude Sam & promoter Matt!

And lastly, but never leastly, thanks to ALL WHO CAME to support the launch of our creative collaborative love-child & share in this googily, loving, laughing, lasting night of poetry and music!

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

Johnny O

P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feeds, your eye can spy on the Swirl’n scenes that was 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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