The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.15.20

by February 16, 2020 0 comments

I think that art has the ability to capture people’s imaginations and make them think that more is possible.

Shepard Fairey

••• The Mad Gallery •••

”Snow” ~ Nawwar Morelli

To see all of Nawwar’s mind bending works, as well as our other featured artists (47 in all!), visit Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we performed triage on a bloody mirage; we filled up whole, impressed by soul; we were crushed by love from god above; we demanded privilege for womens’ tutelage; we built a low wall, a stone “yes” to all; we sought an escape in our hero’s cape; we made Don do penance when we parsed his sentence. We pick ’em, place’ em, and properly space ’em until our sentences are complete. ~ MH Clay


Don Cherry plays the pocket trumpet. I think those are the most beautiful words in the world. For there is nothing more delicious or more red than a cherry, and there is nothing warmer or more comforting than a pocket, especially when you have your hand in it, especially when someone puts their hand in it, and for love. And trumpets are of course lovely, too, even out of context. In fact, if there is anything wrong about this sentence, it’s got to be Don.

February 15, 2020

editors note: But, let’s give Don the benefit of the doubt. ;) (We welcome Ricky back to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his renewed page – check it out.) – mh clay

The capes we wear by Timothy Pilgrim

Superman tattooed on one arm,
Batman taking up the other,

original Wonder Woman on thigh,
you leave her, heinous, behind,

steer for Montana, last best place
to escape. Wine in cooler, extra capes

in the trunk, you hum I’d do anything
for love (but I won’t do that),

reach Missoula, Sula, Lost Trail Pass.
You batmobile hard into the Big Hole,

keep a lookout for evil in cutoffs.
Wisdom is a speck in the distance.

February 14, 2020

editors note: Super smarts for the hero’s heart. But, keep your capes handy… – mh clay

fieldstone by Alan Gann

and placed with the care of spooning lovers
whispering rise to a pulse of flowers
a yes to summer’s green
a wall that whispers let go
to gold and crimson leaves
whispers sleep to everything
beneath the snow

imagine a wall
so confident it doesn’t have to scream
go away you are not welcome here
a wall that stitches seams together

low and humble
sinking beneath the surface of a small pond
crawling out the opposite bank
winding between maples and oaks that one day will
grow large enough to dislodge
a wall whose beauty will not be lost
in the scattering of its stones

after Storm King Wall by Andy Goldsworthy
1997-98, Fieldstone, 5’ x 2278.5’ x 2.7’, Storm King Art Center

February 13, 2020

editors note: Let’s build more of these. (See the inspiration behind this poem here.) – mh clay

An open letter to the Texas Board Of Education: by L.A. Davidson

I see that you removed Hillary Clinton from my history books.
On a twenty point scale,
She scored a five.
You erased Helen Keller, who scored a seven.

I want you to know that the daughters of this system
Will spend their entire lives looking at white men
Flipping through their history books
Searching for some semblance of their undeniable strength
They will not be able to find them
They will not see presidents and trailblazers made in their own image
You are not abbreviating history,
You are erasing our her-story.

I want you to know that you will not succeed in this.
I will raise my daughters with female empowerment.
I will teach them about Hillary, I will teach them about Maya, and Ruth, and Sonia
I will teach them exactly what you are so afraid to recognize:
That they did so much more than take part in history
They are the very foundation on which it stands.
I will teach my daughters the stories of those before them
They will learn that every woman is their sister
If your sister cannot speak, lend her your voices.
If your sister cannot walk, carry her.
When you decide to erase our history,
We will remind you that we wrote in permanent marker.

February 12, 2020

editors note: “How do I get this ink out?” He said, while pulling privilege from his obscurity… – mh clay

[I wonder,] by James Rodehaver

when God cradled
my body with care, and,
making sure that all my fingers
and toes were accounted for,
exhaled life into:

A.) the absence of breath,
B.) a paper wingbox filled with formless prayers,
C.) an accordion-boned empty house,
D.) a desperate cathedral made for waiting on the Lord;

when he blew that perfect breath into this unworthy form,
did he know just how hard his nimbused knee pressed into the small of my back?

I wonder,
was it his effervescent kiss
that mangled my tiny body so,
or was it the crushing weight of his love?

February 11, 2020

editors note: Figuring what to make of a maker’s motivations… – mh clay

Just Shy of Nothing by Devon Balwit

Feather light, a bantamweight
David before Goliath, the soul
struggles to impress.

What can it hurl to knock us flat?
Perhaps awe at a Dahlia’s
fractal fanning, petals like vulvas—

or anguish at suffering,
a rubble-dusted child, a pelican
disgorging plastic.

The soul pulls out all stops.
Already quaint, what can it lose?
Tickling like a stray hair,

it is sufficient unto itself.
We either tuck it back
or yank it out.

February 10, 2020

editors note: So much pluck in self, unseen. Everybody gots soul! – mh clay

Bloody Mirage by Scott Thomas Outlar

I want to chew
on the old pages
of war
you tore
from the scriptures

Mostly eye for an eye
feast until blind

I want to sit
silent and stupid
at the top
of some mountain
in a yogi position
so it all seems simple

Detachment never solved
a single damn problem

I want to lick
the tears
from your cheeks
and hear you sing
about where
the bones are buried
but mouths
have run dry
in this desert
so I’ll bite my own
tongue instead

Drama and chaos
make the messiest bed

February 9, 2020

editors note: No sleeping in wasteland, anyway… Water! Please! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured Need-a-Read, Night Call comes to us from longtime Contributing Writer & Poet, Mel Waldman!

We feel this one is best teased by Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s editorial comment:

“This is our mix of minds and lives, a cocktail of reality and what we perceive to be real. And it’s up to us to be our own bartender. Mix, shake, drink. Live.”

(photo “Beware! A Lady!” by Tyler Malone)

See what Tyler’s referring to in this twisted tale 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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