The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.25.20

by on January 26, 2020 :: 0 comments

“Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.”

Virginia Woolf

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The Mad Juju ~ Nawwar Morelli

Mad Swirl welcomes Latakia-based artist, Nawwar Morelli, to our visual ‘stage’ and boy, are we excited to do so! With bendy limbed, exaggerated and deformed subjects, splashes and splatters of pleasing palettes and moody faces galore, we found ourselves instantly drawn into Morelli’s work. Morelli’s art is mad in just the way we like and we’re sure it’s in the way you like too – after all, you’re here so how could it not be! ~ Madelyn Olson

Check out ALL of Nawwar’s mind bending canvasess, as well as our other featured artists (47 total!) at our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe longed to fill the hollow left by a passed love to follow; we laid no blame to draw love’s game; we watched a picture taker, shoot ’em now, puzzle later; we kept our sense of poise while overcome with noise; we let dance mythology cure our mad pathology; we got a recluse painter’s view of the ghostly she in me and you; we heard a grafter’s proud discourse, from “Jack-The-Lad” with no remorse. Write it like you mean it, at both ends and between it! ~ MH Clay

RELAPSE by Brian Wood

It is late and the sun will not be up
For hours yet. At my age dreams are more dull
Than fantastic. In that half trance of
The not asleep I reach for a book I
Read in school, hoping its famously long
Sentences lull me to sleep. And early
In his text he says good and evil we
Know in the field of this world grow up
Together, and are so mixed, it is hard
To tell one from another.

Was he listening? Did he hear my call
Last week? I phoned a friend of mine, someone
I had known for years, and for years she’d
Been sober. But not today: one of those
Calls you wish you had never made: sometimes
You lose just by trying. She is screaming
And raging and boiling. When her brother
Died a light went out and the room stayed dark:
As if death is a wake-up call and your
Phone never stops ringing.

It does not help that he killed himself, which
Her parents lied about, and he left no
Note, no final thoughts, no apologia
Pro vita sua for the vita he could
Not rid himself of fast enough. The booze
Makes her think she is coping but she is
Instead screaming to me about her rent,
Her parents, her landlord, the new mayor,
A hydro bill, and the chairman of North
Korea. A stew of misery.

A runner on her days off, ten miles
At a time or more, this she can’t outrun.
I wonder… if she goes to work Tuesday,
At Vichy, the godforsaken French bistro
She works at in Hollywood, will people
Notice her cassoulet of rage, resentment,
And hangover? But strangers are smoked glass
To us, thick; too late we learn that good means
How good they are to us. And evil
Just as far as we don’t care.

And too late we learn how little we know,
That all souls are blank slates unless you have
Been there on the good days, when the sun is
Up at six and on that day the light has
A way of never dying; and been there
For their bad days, when the sun waxes pale,
Weak, and hopeless, and your parents have called
To say they found your brother’s body… but
They don’t say the pills were pumped out too late,
And there was no note, nothing, and you have
The rest of time to wonder just where
He wandered to.

January 25, 2020

editors note: Pointless, to defend what’s done, when all of life is suicide. Selah! (…but, sometimes, smile-worthy. Read a dog’s POV poem on Brian’s page – check it out!) – mh clay

Your Abandoned Joy by William Taylor Jr.

Kid, no one’s gonna give you
back your abandoned joy

you gotta steal it
when nobody’s looking

or even when they are

flipping ’em the bird
like you mean it

running until you turn
into fire again.

January 24, 2020

editors note: Grab and go! Let not “Stop! Thief!” deter. We’re all thieves. – mh clay

The Hit and Miss Colonic Game Show by Mike James

for Chase Dimock

First prize, a bank bag filled with randomly counted, worn out twenty-dollar bills. Second prize, a one month supply of apple pies, delivered freshly warm each morning, to take the place of bacon and eggs or yogurt and fruit or milk and cereal or a bagel and television or boredom and a cup of sighs. Apple pie always replaces at least two things.

The host isn’t much. A graduate of The Rip Taylor Charm School he checks his watch more than he tells jokes. His confetti hairpiece, older than he is. Some days his lips don’t move. The announcer impersonates him, throws her voice here and there, to keep things happening.

Every contestant gets a t-shirt no matter how he finishes. The t-shirt has the show’s slogan. Harold Bloom said he never thought an Emily Dickinson poem would be used that way.

January 23, 2020

editors note: When your icons are shoved up your dark and lonely, will any Dickinson slogan do? – mh clay

Nonfiction by Sanjeev Sethi

Google and other griefs
chase my working hours.
Nights are cut out for
graphology. In temple of
needs my pelage seeks
your petting. My god
it seems is huffy.

January 22, 2020

editors note: Demanding doggies, we nudge with nose for muse attention. Pet me please! – mh clay

Children of that Ilk by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Children of that ilk get shipped to college
With first-aid boxes plus contact information
For emergency rooms and trauma centers.

Frequently, given lawyer-approved accords,
Also modified expectations, they well marry,
Incorporating stridulating partners as family.

Regardless of whether significant others adopt
The unalome, practice witchcraft, maybe sing
At dusk, their happiness remains compromised.

See, boys and girls were never meant to sit out
Seasons, monitor spouses, collaborate with no
Hope of change, drink no more than bitterness.

January 21, 2020

editors note: Cure the illness in the ilk; slurp sweet, too. – mh clay


Fire at night! Fire
in the coal dark cold
of an ice like desire
that chokes the eyes
like wicked smoke
under shrouded skies
and bilious smog

…and a breathy toke
on a deadly drug
which sells the soul
which howls like a dog
in lightning storms
against thunder sounds
whose big guns bellow a hundred rounds
on our crumbling station
our crumbling forms
our tired nation
our hell-bent choir.

Fire at night….such wicked fire!

January 20, 2020

editors note: Public works or public outrage? What’s happening in your city? – mh clay

The Other Side by Devorah Titunik

The sirens blast
We know that
Means. 15 seconds
To a minute to
Get to a bomb shelter.

We are always in
A state of alert.
Can you imagine
What that’s like?

Israel doesn’t
Retaliate until
Hundreds of bombs
Fall in a single day.

When that happens,
The world media
Reports it as if
Israel was the

We, who live here,
Are demonized and
Accused of all kinds
Of ugliness.

While those who
Bomb us, kidnap us,
Stab us and launch
Colorful balloon bombs
To kill our children,
Are presented as victims.
Are praised by leaders
And former leaders
Of our allies, the U.S.

I wonder, how long
Would America or
Any other country
In the world,
Allow their people
To be bombed
Without firing back.

My guess is
One bomb would
Be enough.

Criticized because
More of our people
Don’t die, because
We invest in protecting
Our people. It’s not
Our fault the other
Side invests in
Terror tunnels instead.

We’ve offered peace
Many times and it
Has been rejected.

We handed over Gaza
Without pre-condition.

Yet we’re still the villains?

Israel has been
This world’s bitch
For way too long.

Unless you are willing
To be bombed without
Responding, unless you
Are willing to allow
Terrorists free rein
In your home,
You need to stop
The hate NOW.

Take a walk in
Our shoes before
Telling us how we
Should respond.

January 19, 2020

editors note: There is always another side… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Mad Swirl’s weekend Need-a-Read comes to us from longtime Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White!

Blooming is the third excerpt Harley has shared with us from her Sleeping Beauty series. Here’s a bite to whet your reading appetite:

(photo “Above, Below, Between Us” by Tyler Malone)

There was kiss me under the Golden Bough mistletoe, yes Virgil says it was gilt wholly golden, so named possibly from the clinquant tint the cut limb acquires when kept to wither glittering through a season. Was not the sun’s firelight, or a modicum thereof, supposed to radiate from this shrub gathered all in all to celebrate the two solstices even a tiny offshoot of which has been said to inspire Tiresian dreams if picked Midsummer Eve and put under one’s pillow? Parasite perhaps yet did not the above mentioned bard poetize Aeneas finding his way illuminated by dint of the glint of its yellow berries and rustling golden leaves twined in shining gleam about the boles of the shady holm oaks at the very gates of hell where he was guided by the fabled flight of a pair of doves into the immemorial depths of the nether woods to that double tree of glimmering branches? … Do not many charms and legends still hold that this Golden Bough possesses the magical virtues of opening locks and shielding against witches and trolls? Might a sprig or twig of mistletoe have been placed propitiously in my cradle?…

Get the whole tale right here!

p.s. in case you missed the first two, check out Harley’s author page & catch up!


Mad Swirl’s weekday Need-a-Read comes to us from John L. Yelavich.

Here’s a few lines of Drifted Away to sift thru to get your read-need goin’:

(photo “A Walk Alone” by Tyler Malone)

Off like a shot, the years just drifted away for two young men. John and Nick grew up together on Harrison Avenue. Their fathers worked at blue collar jobs and the mothers stayed at home. The moms didn’t all bake cookies but they were there to put band-aids on the scrapes and cuts and cooled the bruises with ice cubes from those cold metal trays.

In the summer of seventy-one the world was magical and it was theirs to consume. Money was short and the days were long. Desires ran high and spirits were in full bloom. They cruised along the main streets of neighboring towns with their eight track players loudly blaring The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

John chased the bright lights of New York City. After settling in to a studio apartment and a job in the garment district, it didn’t take long for him to become disillusioned. Urban life had lost its glow. A simple dinner out was a major event and the cost of living was full of wasteful excess…

Catch the drift? Click here & away you’ll go!

••• Open Mic •••

We’re back & ready to show 2020 wha’s up!

Join Mad Swirl Open Mic THIS 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.05.20) at 8:00 SHARP as we swirl it up at once again at Top Ten Records!

To kick things off, Swirve (Chris Curiel on trumpet, Tamitha Curiel vocals) will start us off with some Mad musical grooves. After that, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay will invite all y’all to join in & share in the Mad Swirl’n festivities.

Come to participate.

Come to appreciate.

Come to Swirl-abrate!

Come be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl Open Mic.

Top Ten Records is located at 338 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208


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

Leave a Reply