The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.07.19

by December 8, 2019 0 comments

“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

John Lennon

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Untitled (from the series “Wiring Simplified”) ~ R. Keith

To see ALL of R’s crazy collages, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe took our ease in python squeeze; we wavered, willin’ to love a million; we magicked immersion in our new version; we doused a dream in syrup and screams; we  averted a break up with ice in a red cup; we got a late lurch from an internet search; we scoped the tense from words on fence. The paper’s edge is the boundary, we fill the space between… ~ MH Clay

SCOPING by Clyde Kessler

Time hides all its words beyond our voices.
My neighbor swears almost every sunrise
ricochets Mosul through his body. He can’t
say where the fighting ended, or if it ended.
He can’t say why the sniper’s ghost laughs
into his dreams. Victory rattles the screen door,
and losses smear starlight across window frost.

This is what I pretend he’d say if he were a poet,
or a young songwriter traipsing around the backyard
hunting for his words along the chain-link fence.
His guitar would sound like a cold jaybird screeching
at a cat. All his words would burn away like river fog
mid-morning. He’d be telling his family somewhere
the sniper had come back to life to focus the gun-scope.

December 7, 2019

editors note: Listen; intently, patiently. Give them time to find the words. – mh clay

FIVE YEARS LATER: 2015 by Robert Demaree

He called out of the blue,
As they say,
One night in October
About five years ago,
A fraternity brother,
Out of touch—what?—fifty years or so.
We joked about college days,
The self-important fools we’d been,
Swapped synopses
Of our lives’ separate paths,
Offered congratulations
On things heard about or read,
Passing over sorrows.
I urged him to come back
For the reunion some year.
Sounds good, he said.
I wasn’t sure why he’d called.

Then last night, for no particular reason,
I looked for him on the Internet,
As people our age will do,
Found his obituary,
December 2010.
I thought to write his wife
(Untimely condolences
Worse than none)
And saw why he had called.

December 6, 2019

editors note: Oof! Let’s stay in touch so we’ll not be out of touch. – mh clay


There is always more neon
if you’re sitting across the street
from the Burger King,

but I suppose that harsh light
would matter much less
to Emily if the diner had

her favorite kind of round ice
in a red cup. I have trouble
remembering why she thinks

I am one of the best ideas
she’s had. I do know; however,
the ice in her cup would make

her feel happy enough to leave
me with a smile. I keep
track of the places we eat

that have that kind of ice.
Honestly, I didn’t think I could
make her happy this long,

so I keep track of those things.
I’m doing this backwards,
I know, I know, I know.

December 5, 2019

editors note: Sometimes the right ice WILL keep the love fire burning, forward or back. – mh clay

Far Away In The Distant Land (a life in fruit and flour) by Randall Rogers

One morning
my pancakes self-stacked
gobsmacked I held my syrup mid-pour
the blueberries in my pancakes
were coming alive!
The cakes plumped themselves
as if eagerly awaiting assault of my puritan fork,
then the blueberries worked their magic;
the cakes tipped on their sides and
rolled right off my plate!
I caught them at IHOP trying
to join the all-you-can-eat buffet!
Those pancakes. Trying to pass as restaurant-made!
I’ll never forget those cakes,
pancakes of the finest order;
blueberries bursting with juicy goodness,
free-thinking fruit dappled creations
with a mind of their own
went down screaming doused with butter.

December 4, 2019

editors note: It’s syrup will squelch an insurgency on such a morning after. – mh clay

The Magick of Dividing by Zero by James D. Casey IV

a new version of me
every few seconds
a new head
a new mind
a new carcass
picking my bones

spending time
with myself
to keep the romance
let down
with soiled pants

breastfeeding wounds
that speak
with bullets
from my nipples
going in

first equation
magick trick
peeling scabs
so nobody

passing notes
to the fly on the wall
written in dirt
from under my nails

picking my bones
a new carcass
a new mind
a new head
every few seconds
a new version of me

December 3, 2019

editors note: Each loop a zero, each lap, a new… Yeah! – mh clay

ONE MILLION LOVES by Bradford Middleton

I’ve been in love a million
Times; sometimes, rarely, for
A while but often times it’s
Been that brief magnificent
Glimpse of hope. Take this
Last Saturday night, there
I was sat at my usual spot.
Until 2 people i know walk in.

We sit around chat for a bit
And still i remain mostly
Bored as they talk of vegan
Food and the end of the
World. After a while they
Start in on me,
Do you want to leave?
Maybe we can go to yours?
They ask but not right
Now as god sake i need
Something to feast my eyes
On and drink until that
Moment when i know i
Will have had enough.

This night though they seem
Adamant, they don’t like
It here and as soon as one of
Them says we should leave
I stand and grab my drink,
Draining it swiftly just as
She walks in. A stunning
Beauty i’d waited a whole
Damn lifetime for but soon
They were dragging at
My arm, saying
‘Come on, lets go!’

December 2, 2019

editors note: Phantasia interruptus. Oh, but, she could have been… – mh clay

Python by Timothy Pilgrim

In another Coleridge dream,
my lithe python, eager

to please, slithers off
down the carpool lane.

Glides slow, pays the toll
takes the proper exit,

finds the store. She buys
chips, cheap beer, dip,

splurges on a Lycra skin.
Hemmed in at rush-hour,

she threads traffic, somehow
arrives home, brew still cold.

We toke, drink, eat all the treats.
I squeeze her tight again.

December 1, 2019

editors note: S-s-s-such sweet suffocation. S-s-s-s-s-s-s-s… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read, you can feed that need right here with Contributing Writer/Poet/Artist Chuck Taylor‘s Some Men Think This Way

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick of the week tell-all-tale:

“Our memories are ours, and it’s up to us to do something with them before they do something with us.”

(photo “Heart Like A Broken Window” by Tyler Malone)

Do something right now & get this read right here.


Our midweek Need-a-Read came to us from Contributing Writer & Poet Ruth Z. Deming.

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

Misery doesn’t love company, it demand its. Like God, it creates a world to worship it.

Here’s a few notes from “Gwen Ifill Is Dead” to get this lonesome tune into your head:

(photo “Living Among the Dead” by Tyler Malone)

It was one of those lazy November days, the sky was a blah grey, with an impenetrable fuzzy blanket across the sky. I pulled into the driveway of my condo, just in time to find something to eat and watch the PBS Evening News. My late husband inculcated the importance of this in me, and it was now my duty to keep up with our ever-changing world.

I hadn’t a real friend in Willow Dale, as our condo was called. Removing my pantyhose as I walked inside and also my shoes that pinched, I went over to the glass table in front of the television, and picked up one of three remotes.

Click. It went on. I was half an hour early. Thank God for the mute button.

Undressing, I stuck my head in the shower to rid myself of some of the grime of the day. Joanne’s boyfriend had dumped her, Ted had another fit when he saw someone park in a disabled only spot, and Ed was doing great as a tour guide at The Grundy Museum.

These were my clients at The Atrium down by the wharf in Bristol, PA. At lunch I’d take my peanut butter and jelly sandwich plus an apple and walk to the Bristol Wharf. I’d sit on a stone wall and watch the waves go up and down, up and down. My head would clear. Occasionally a sea shell would roll in and I’d put it in my pocket. At home on that glass table, the shells were spread out. I had no idea that in time they’d lose their color. When I found a conch, I’d hold it up to my ear and listen to the sound of the sea. How I wished Jim and I had children, but his damn heart finished him off…

Finish Gwen Ifill Is Dead right here!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of December (aka 12.04.19) Mad Swirl once again whirled up our open mic madness! Once again we did our thang at the historic Top Ten Records! HUGE GRATS to them for opening their arms to us Mad ones & shout out to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirl us up some googily madness!

This month we celebrated the season with a big ol’ YES to the Yule!

Here’s the Mad ones that contributed helped us Swirl-abrate of landmark year by sharing their poetic & musical gifts with us:


Chris Curiel (trumpet)
Carlos Salas (pocket operator)
Clark Walker (skins)


Johnny Olson
MH Clay
Opalina Salas
James “Bear” Rodehaver
Alan Gann
Cortlynn Blankenbaker
Chris Zimmerly
Tamitha Curiel
Harry McNabb
Carlos Salas

Here’s a visual of who was who:

Mad Swirl Open Mic : 12.04.19

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 feed, your eye can spy on the Swirl’n scenes that was right here…

••• Mad Merch •••

The whole mad swirl of merch begins right here, at our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some mad threads to sport, then you’ve come to the right post.

We have Mens & Ladies tees in all sizes & even MORE colors. We also brought back mad mugs to fill with your favorite coffee, tea and/or whiskey! Hoodies! Tank Tops! Phone Cases! Stickers!

Come browse & if something catches your eye, get a little something-something for yourself & while you’re at it, get a little something for your nearest & dearest mad one in your swirlin’ world!


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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