The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.18.20

by April 19, 2020 0 comments

“Art should be an oasis: a place or refuge from the hardness of life.

Fernando Botero

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The Eagle and the DovesSharron Ott

To see all of Sharron’s moody mixed-media mad collages, as well as our other featured artists (48 in all!), visit Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we made no defense of our false pretense; we met a rude dude, all coarse and crude; we took downtime in clowntime; we drowned a clown’s grin in a half-cup of gin; we picked a pretty Dada ditty; we argued, one to one, self-read, lost and won; we found none to blame for our strange numbers game. We can count up to the countdown, but don’t count us out. ~ MH Clay

Plague Poem for Day Nineteen by J.K. Durick

I never was a numbers man; they lost me back
in grade school, while I spent my time looking
out the window, wishing, hoping for something,
anything beyond, plus this, minus that, numbers
progressing across the board, the fractions and
decimal points, times this, divided by that, as I sat
daydreaming, daydreaming about what I could be,
would be outside the space allotted for learning
this hide and seek, the sleight of hand of numbers,
but now, all these years later, while daydreaming
remains, has become a necessity, the numbers have
come into their own, have become the measure of
my world: my age, my weight, my blood pressure
progress at alarming rates, and now public concerns
play out in numbers that are hard to understand, the stock
market pogoes up and down, gets its own sub-screen
on the news, while scientists call out projected death
tolls, a hundred thousand, two hundred, like auctioneers
standing in front of charts/graphs giving a visual proof
of what the numbers can do – finally telling us we’re not
in grade school anymore.

April 18, 2020

editors note: I wonder if one of those numbers is mine and if it’s… up? – mh clay

Logomachy by Jayanta Bhaumik

I read myself. This oomph of rationality. How the oddball
silently skyrocketing inside my body, its diurnal
science always unsettled

How the rest is not struck, at night too. But lettered. Insects pull
themselves to the bastion-elements of, oh, the
poor fire That becoming the best screenplay, written for
a prejudice. Me-&-Us, sitting in a reactive row, looking at
the open fire, vs unshaken moths, out in the window

We then grow metal roses out of a short curiosity.
Without plucking their smells, the road goes ahead. That’s how
ninety months like April tell me to walk on. Roads and roads and
roads of wasteful logomachy thus making the circle complete.
Which, essentially, means they let me spread the galaxy again,
with the legs and wings of thirty mythologies.
And I finally get the river coming out decoded, decoded

In this river, it is my global birth fishing. On the bank, a magic
word, falling neither from the sky nor blackboard, manifests in
the most living creatures. Disembowels creations to prove
my premature salts, papyrus, woods, dreams and urban wishes.
Then prepares a bagful of alphabets free to burst to my body

You know you can only fuse or abandon me, never read

April 17, 2020

editors note: Spoken or read, we only have these little things to express everything, anything. Oh, my word! (We welcome Jayanta to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

dusk dying… by Volodymyr Bilyk

dusk dying etherized,
do dooryards doubt?

Do Do do do
dress drop drown
downed drains?

growing hair hair hair hair!) hair
— half-deserted Hamlet hands
make marmalade, and matter matter;
if impossible

out overwhelming overwhelming oyster-shells:
peacefully! peach?
question question, question…

singing skirts – sky’s
pillow-pillow pinch,
Slipped smile,
jaw meaningless
motion motion;
twinkle tide

So so so so


Murmur music
“mountain mountains mountains mountains mountains
mountains mountains mountains mountains, mouth”

brown brown brown brown
But But But But But But But But But but but BY
cicada’s chuckle
la la la la

April 16, 2020

editors note: “Partially constructed out of and written around my and my wife’s attempts to memorize Eliot’s Prufrock and spell it like a tonguetwister. Pretty much a bunch of mondegreens strung together into a cohesive narrative” Yes! – mh clay

Half Empty by Henry Bladon

A clown was sitting on the kerb outside a shop; he had his head in his hands.
Resting beside him was a coffee cup half full of gin.

A cat looked up from licking his paw. He paused and said,
What’s going on? You appear to be sulking.

The clown started shaking his head. It’s the end of the line, he said,
my life is reduced to trying to make snotty children laugh.

The cat snorted. If you don’t mind me saying, it looks like your mug is half empty.
When I’m dead I‘m having a bronze statue put up in my memory.

I could be doing something more meaningful like collecting seashells,
said the clown, or even counting egg-shaped pebbles on the beach.

Not exactly Panglossian, are you? said the cat as he trotted off.

A man wearing a red hat appeared from the shop
holding up a board with the words GIN SALE written in chalk

April 15, 2020

editors note: No matter how you gloss your pan, gin’s a good drink, but barely a passable polish. Squeeze the wheeze, Bozos! – mh clay

just clowning by Jean Bohuslav

coulrophobians fear clowns
i know a dog terrified of scare-crows
he might also be coulrophobic

plants apparently respond to sound
some may wilt at the reverberation
of the word C-L-O-W-N
depending on the tone of course

nurseries might need warning signs
in case children call out in fear
there’s a clown

could that mean they cause delight
and disaster
like the one who made out
on his bosses desk
with the loudspeaker turned up
or the clown in the hot rod who cut us off

what about political clowns
who care more about keeping their jobs
than running the country

weirdly dressed people with fluro hair
piercings and tats
have been mistaken as part of a circus
is it only their intention that seals the deal

don’t get me wrong
i find these trendies interesting
some of us need to brush up on dress codes
for our own good

perhaps we could then goof around
without being called bozo

would this mean some outfits actually
encourage laughter or just draw a crowd

would wearing placards help
so that we don’t laugh at foolish mistakes
made by ordinary people

a clown carriage on trains may be useful
there’d be titillation around the stations
without fear of retribution

would all this fan-fare be too much for the serious
would their buttons be pressed to the limit with
misunderstandings and too much tomfoolery

encouraged whispers of
we’re only clowning
could be quite soothing
perhaps a homeopathic remedy for some

April 14, 2020

editors note: In the daily circus, it’s difficult to corral the clowns from the crowd. Check your shoes. – mh clay

a lousy cheeseburger by J.J. Campbell

the way her ass used to shake
haunts you every time she walks
out of your mind

i once did a line of cocaine off
a hooker’s fine ass

she charged me $50 to let me
watch her blow my friend

i never told her he hadn’t
coughed in weeks

i tend to laugh when someone
is murdered and cry when the
homeless rob a child for money
to eat a lousy cheeseburger

it’s the quiet nights alone,
listening to old otis redding
records, wondering which
plane crashes next

i never wanted to be famous

i once had a woman congratulate
me on mission accomplished

i still laugh when i see her behind
the counter at burger king

holy shit, you sure this thing is
made from plants

if i actually liked people

i suppose i wouldn’t have
to drink alone

April 13, 2020

editors note: An uncloyed curmudgeon; well versed in distancing, social and otherwise. – mh clay

Disconnected by Sheighle Birdthistle

She looks out through the windowpane
Sea and sky have blended to one
Yachts moored with tall moaning masts
In the harbor of discontent
Reflect the feel of the nation
And the blasting inertia rains on limbs
As the wealthy prepare to sail.

The sunrise is perfect delight
Sunset is a fire raging mad
Class war is hidden in purple rage
As nations pretend to vote again.

April 12, 2020

editors note: Some clamor to be heard. What they miss are ears to listen. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read that’s outta this world, you came to the right place in space!

This week’s featured story, Human Malfunction by Kenneth Gordon, is best teased by Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s acceptance letter to the author:

“(your story) is out of the world and also what so many need to read on this world. We’re not in this alone, no matter how we live or what we believe. Maybe some of our mad readers will hear that voice screaming at them from their heart after your story. Maybe not. Either way, we can’t wait to share your story…”

(photo “Blast off to Somewhere!” by Tyler Malone)

’nuff said… (blast off here!)

••• Mad Swirl Anthology  •••

> OFFICIAL LAUNCH 04.20.20 <

We here at Mad Swirl are VERY excited to give birth to this collective creative love-child that is our “Best of Mad Swirl” anthology for 2019!

Although current events have hampered a proper in-person performance and launch, it has also allowed us to explore other means to spread the good Mad word about this year’s collection! This means we can break out of the local Dallas/Ft Worth borders & showcase our contributors spanning this mad mad mad world of ours.

Here is the line-up of those who will be joining us for the Facebook LIVE Launch


Johnny Olson*
MH Clay
Tyler Malone*
Madelyn Olson*
Mike Fiorito*

Featured Poets:

Christopher Calle
Devika Mathur
Maeve McKenna
Chris Zimmerly
Mike Zone

Featured Writers:

Tony Gentry
Dan Rodriguez**
Chris Wilkensen

Featured Artist:

Alan Gann

*also featured poets
**performed by MH Clay

If THIS line-up isn’t enough to get you all ramped up for 04.20, then READ ON…

Our 108-page anthology features 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on throughout 2019. We editors reviewed the entire year’s output to ensure this collection is truly “the best of Mad Swirl.” The works represent diverse voices and vantages which speak to all aspects of this crazy swirl we call “life on earth.”

This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl!

If we successfully enticed you enough to wanna get your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2019” then stay tuned to all of our Mad channels for the news to break on 04.20.20!


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…

Shelterin’ in space,

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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