The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.21.19

by on December 22, 2019 :: 0 comments

“Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defense: The creative act.”

Kenneth Rexroth

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Fear is a Liar ~ Alan Gann

Our newest featured artist, Alan Gann, brings us digital collages that you could definitely say tickle our mad fancy! The themes vary but all convey deep and relevant truths – from one titled ‘Objectification’ to another named ‘Fighting for pPace’ and a handful featuring a certain POTUS – and we can always appreciate art with a message. Not to mention, these works are interesting and layered and quite frankly, a bit chaotic (day we say ‘mad’), in just the right way to make them quite the visual treat. Dig in & feast away! ~ Madelyn Olson

Check out ALL of Alan’s social-commentary collages, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!) at our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe were wary of dromedaries; we matched maid to mensch on a long-grown bench; we shunned our “shoulds” to escape with our goods; we denied the appearance of interference; we dallied in desert doubt, trying to find the right way out; we heard a tale of ancient days from giants in the memory maze; we started from X, let Go begin, turned forever outside in. In stops and starts, we write from our hearts. ~ MH Clay

Tag Everafter with an X by Steven Minchin

It’s time to turn forever inside out

Take this and go on
with a wincing all your own

Take this shaking notice

claim it with your fairytale rust
tag it like a bronzed tooth blacked out

like a license marked up with thick black tape
Go on mark an X across eternity and go

December 21, 2019

editors note: Stand on your spot with gap-toothed smile into the abyss. – mh clay

The Azure Sea by Hongri Yuan

Tonight I thought of the platinum city above in distant space
Where there is no day and night and the giants are interstellar travelers by spaceship
Their words have the dignity of God and create the holy Kingdom
So that the picture of the soul in the maze of memory lasts a billion years
Standing by the azure sea near the great palace with swirling sweet music in the city of the gold

(Translated by Yuanbing Zhang)

December 20, 2019

editors note: Here is a new cosmology; new words from new gods. – mh clay

TRYING TO GET OUT by Roger G. Singer

There’s rain
in the desert
where lizards
and one-eyed dogs
on the
wrong side of the
and bars with
tired neon’s
blink onto
cactus and sand
where nothing
comes alive
lightning and
dry winds
as we try for the
right way
leaving behind
what tries to
hold us back
in the desert
where even the
water has no place
to go.

December 19, 2019

editors note: Seeking the vagaries in a closed system. – mh clay

Non-Binding Treaty by Gary Beck

We were still colonies of Great Britain
and missed The Thirty Years War,
since G.B. had her own problems
and wasn’t meddling on the continent.
So we didn’t sign the Treaty of Westphalia,
the first treaty negotiated without the papacy,
that established sovereignty since the treaty declared:
‘One nation shouldn’t interfere
with the internal affairs of another nation’.
The signers didn’t respect it for very long
and by the time we became big enough
to interfere with the affairs of others
we weren’t obliged to respect their sovereignty,
since we never signed it in the first place.
As long as we had sufficient power
we never let ideas of sovereignty
hinder our aggressive expansion
as we interfered in the affairs of others.

December 18, 2019

editors note: American ingenuity; ever looking through loopholes. – mh clay

Absconding by Ken Allan Dronsfield

We can only be what we give
ourselves the power to be.
Just being yourself in life
can be rebellion enough.
Surviving daily storms
we exist and thrive.
In the deep cave.
We abscond.

December 17, 2019

editors note: Drop the self-suit they gave you upon entry. Make a clean getaway. – mh clay

In the long benchmark by Jayanta Bhaumik

It’s very much a long, lavish bench one fine
Sunday in my mind, you sitting on it, reading a
newspaper striped in yellow crossing magenta,
the first page always me.
It is always an imagination being so kind,
making ruins separable,
making them connect the day you finally never find out.
As I imagine I’ve crossed those, day and night,
the heart says it is sheer a plank made for a deck-party,
the hollering constant upon it, but the strange
faces and disdainful miracles busy swimming below.
I know there’s another unknown day in a week,
and you lift your face from your paper, your face jittery,
like it reads why a love looks like a
subtle mammoth, it is always so much active and in flurry,
because it’s always so much brightened with helplessness.
One day the bench starts growing long,
unstopping, long enough to transcend globe-mapping,
me sitting beside you, jittery again like we’ve no hearts,
we’re only the seekers of this world with
an orphanage beating inside the ribcage in us

December 16, 2019

editors note: Even when benched, the play is prodigious. – mh clay

Once there was a stuttering man who bred llamas by Richard Weaver

though in the beginning he was partial to camels,
and tried his lot at that, single-humped Bactrian,
and twice-humped dromedary, only to fail at both.
Dromedaries proved nastiest. They’d spit.
With great accuracy and foulness. At him.
Were fiercely unloyal. Had no decorum, especially
when it came to table manners. In general, stank
in such a way that the servants and the wallpaper
all gave notice and left the same day. No way
could he ever imagine threading one thru a needle.
He tried his hand at llamas. A cousin of camels.
Allegedly domesticated. He nurtured this delusion
for a week or so, fueled with the vodka of indecision
and a chaser of blindingly prophetic migraines.
He was immune to their long eyelashes, and provocative
eyes. Smug they might be, but smart and friendly
outweighed the spit they aimed at others. Not him.
He finds their humming a meditative mantra.
Something even he can repeat without stumbling
tongue and teeth-first into stupidity.

December 15, 2019

editors note: It’s not the spittin’, it’s the spit on. (We welcome Richard to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured Need-a-Read comes to us from Mandira Pattnaik.

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

“We ache to hurt. Maybe that’s why we say we have love, maybe that’s why we love. Maybe. Or maybe not.”

Here’s a few lines from Mandira’s “Pauses to get you warmed up:

(photo “What Light Can Tell” by Tyler Malone)

Friendship’s the wine of life; but friendship new is neither strong nor pure—Bunko was reading Ernest Young’s Night Thoughts in your bedroom. Reading’s a practice you shared since the early days of your marriage. You smiled endearingly, watched his Adam’s apple move up and down, listened to his solemn baritone reverberate.

Bunko enjoyed your undivided attention.

But that was two earth rotations ago. Tonight he shouts, “Muku! Witch! Get off my back!”

In the ironies of life, the poem was also titled “The Complaint.”

You shriek back, “The Devil himself has a name–it’s Bunko!”

“Look at your hair, like a sprig of a coriander.”

“Yours more like cobwebs on a broom with the face like a shriveled tomato. Not a tomato, too good for you. You’re a shriveled, rotten mango.”

“Just stop Muku, I say!”

“You started, moron!”

Bunko suppresses a choke in his throat, says, “Wish me away, don’t you? Okay! Think I don’t exist. That should do both of us some good!”

Without waiting for a retort, he shuts the door behind him and steps into the unlit lane outside. You imagine him surrounded by monoliths of concrete, swathed in darkness. You think he’s viewing them with regret, some of the apartments housed friends he bantered with, shared the odd drinks with; until they traversed across life and embraced Moksha. You abandon him in your thoughts and unleash your own caged emotions…

Don’t pause, (but DO “Pauses”) & get the rest of your read on 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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