The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.25.20

by on April 26, 2020 :: 0 comments

“I am inspired. Art comes from art.

Cy Twombly

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Flight of the HarlequinSharron 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 bumped against banality, prescribed a new reality; we sought a new solution to the cause of world pollution; we exposed hyped haters and mean manipulators; we lingered in the lush, sweet touch of the brush; we rode in a cop car after a hard char; we gained insight from old starlight; we slowed down the pace of sheltering in place. All connected through zooming times of face. (Take your mics off mute!) ~ MH Clay

Too much time by Lisa Moak

It’s like we’ve
always been here
locked in a circle
of deja vu.

Waking, the only
difference in night
or day, but still
all the same.

Same walls,
same window,
same faces inside
looking out.

This is our home,
our shelter,
the place we
become us.

But our
safe places
became our
new cages.

Time – the thing we
normally lack –
shoved down
our throats

choking us,
stealing the air,
until we give in
to breathe as one

synced to the sound
of a tiny hand
ticking slowly, so slowly
around the same
empty dial.

April 25, 2020

editors note: Alone together, like before, never. – mh clay

Far and Near by Harley White

Wonders of the world abound
on our earthly stomping ground,
in the seven seas profound,
midst the heavens round us wound.

Images from reaches vast
by astronomers amassed
show in varicolored cast,
cosmic glories unsurpassed,

stories of the great immense,
begging questions why and whence,
scenes stelliferously dense,
bringing past to present tense.

Oh how tantalizing to
lose oneself in starry view
of galactic vision new
where a poet’s words ring true!

Tennyson’s ‘Far–Far—Away’,
penned for Music’s haunting play
with the sounds the words convey
as they whisper, swing and sway,

tells of ‘far’ from past long gone,
murmur from ‘his own life’s dawn’?
breath where ‘doors of death’ go on
through an open curtain drawn?

Whether time or space be meant,
or spacetime together bent,
still, whatever sense is lent,
far’s remote in its intent.

After sunset’s crimson blaze
we may raise a dreamy gaze
in escape from troubled days
to celestial splendors praise.

Will our search of cosmic sphere
teach us to esteem what’s here?
Oft stargazers too I fear
must look far to see the near.

April 24, 2020

editors note: Just stop to gaze at distant star to learn that cosmic dust we are. – mh clay

Florida Man Burns Down House Trying To Bake Cookies On George Foreman Grill by Mickey J. Corrigan

Florida Man opened the door
when the fire trucks arrived
closed the door again.

Florida Man opened the door
when the cops arrived
walked deeper inside
his smoke-filled house.

Florida Man
to the toxic fumes,
in oxygen masks
the furious blaze.

Florida Man
uninjured, unaware
by two liters of vodka,
fired up
got the munchies
got the idea
to bake cookies
on his George Foreman grill.

When orange flames licked
his modest home
blackening walls
Florida Man
of bad decisions
damped the fire
with dry towels
while his cookies
got baked
to a hard char.

April 23, 2020

editors note: What crazy thing has gotten away from YOU while in quarantine? Take care, Friends! – mh clay

Oils by Robert L. Martin

Exotic delights touching skin
like soft roses blowing kisses.
the brushing of love’s tender wings,
the tingling of their romantic touch,
the feeling of heaven on earth,
creamy liquids in their soothing,
their lovely touching and probing,
rolling down the breathing hills,
seeping down into the crevasses,
cooling off the fiery nerves,
rescuing the screaming desiccation,
the abandoned moisture that once was,
the comfort of a rose-like feel,
the soothing breath of the rain
like a rainforest in the desert,
the tears in the soil,
the flowers in the sun,
the embellishment of the naked earth,
the glistening of the reborn skin,
the fruited limbs that shine in the sun,
the glowing that reaches into the groin,
the racing of the heated blood,
the flaunting of the undulating hills,
the secrets of the forbidden valleys,
the words that get lost in the viewing,
the sensual lines that parallel the rivers,
the oils that drip down the banks,
the softness that calls for a touch,
the nervous fingers with lusted eyes,
the thunder that runs with passion,
the taboo that lost its voice,
the sensual rites of the exotic oils,
of beauty that emerges in the sunlight
and shines into the heated loins
and the craving to keep that feeling.

April 22, 2020

editors note: Here are oils I call “essential.” – mh clay

Storm’s Coming by Devorah Titunik

Can you feel it?
The pressure is building.
A storm’s coming
A bad one.

Not the barometric
Pressure, not that
Kind of storm.

The pressure of
Human struggles,
Of fear, hopelessness
And frustration.

True evil knows just
How to use it.

They take our fears and
Turn them to hate.

And while we’re busy
Each other they
Quietly lock our
Prison doors.

We’ve seen it before
Yet how easily we
Fall into its grip.

How much blood
Will we allow to spill
Before we stop letting
Them manipulate us?

Will we ever learn?

We call out the others hate
And ignore our own.
While those
Behind the scenes,
Smile, knowing they’ve
Already won.

April 21, 2020

editors note: Who’s gonna buy your big umbrella? – mh clay

The Pasture by Byron Hoot

The horses feed in the pasture across
from me, the birds fly from tree to tree,
the sky shows its colors in the sunlight,
and the wind is still for now.

These are unaware of what we face.
They are at the mercy of what
we do, though they may have been
teaching us what we have refused.

Our relationship to, with
the natural world – its dangerous,
seductive grace and beauty –
its sense of time skewed

by the false gap, the great lie
that says we are separate from
the world though we have
come to be defined as the creature
who pollutes – air, water, land,
heart and soul and mind and
body – nothing left clean
from our touch.

And we face this pandemic;
surely something will come
to us other than getting
back to where we were.

April 20, 2020

editors note: Or, will we wash our hands of this, too? – mh clay

“our subscription to reality” by Jason Baldinger

you confessed the magic
had drained away
I listened for coyote
stared at a red sky
smelled rain coming
waited for my turn
at the joint, sharing
this anxiety is too much

a man sheep monster
lives down the road
he hypnotizes people
to fly off the trestle
most times as they step
toward oblivion they find
their wings give out

I dunno, maybe none
of this is magic, maybe
our subscription to reality
ran out, there are moments
at red lights I don’t think
I have anything left
another failed sex symbol
drinking a lukewarm cup
of ginger turmeric tea

maybe it’s all different
we’re not the same
people we woke up with

she said right before
she went under she
saw a man at the window
he smiled maniacally
laughed it was a dream
it flashed, it landed, harmless

April 19, 2020

editors note: Open or closed, blinking is thinking and what’s wonder is real. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you gotta deep Need-a-Read feelin’ swimmin’ in your soul, you know where to flow to!

Dangerously Afloat comes to us from longtime Contributing Writer & Poet, Kleio B.

Here’s Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s take on it:

“We all float together but we all sink alone.”

(photo “Float On and On and On” by Tyler Malone)

Drift on over and sink into Kleio’s craft right here!


Mad Swirl’s midweek Need-a-ReadEl Rialto” came to us from John Macker!

Here’s Short Story Editor Tyler Malone’s take on it:

“The only unit to measure time in our hearts is moment by moment until it leads up to where you are now, looking at shadows dance and vaguely seeing, hearing, remembering yourself in their shapes”

Here’s a tease to get you eased into John’s read:

(photo “Holdin’ to Rememberin” by Tyler Malone)

My old friend visited Las Vegas with his Katrina rescue shepherd, stayed at a nostalgic Motel 8 on the main drag, urine and stale disinfectants warded off most demonic spirit possessions in the late 1970s. Rescued from nowhere, its neon sign stared off into the abyss of economic calamity like a peyote vision. Calamity Jane once left with an STD without paying her bill. We drank cheap cervezas after a night at the El Rialto and still laughed at the Russian anarchist’s signature saying in The Iceman Cometh: “Monkey face, buy me a drink!” He taught me how to navigate to the bathroom around his fanged sphinx of a dog, Cooper, whose eyes followed me like two impenetrable black moons. Our ancient altar boy days sprouted wings. Every shared memory an article of faith, a confection, as decorative as the book of Kells, glory was distance, the gravitational pull of the past as powerful as the ardor of friendship. We were comfortable in our familiarity, ahead was merciless uncertainty, but a grudging acceptance of the future contributed to our equilibrium. Peace had many constituents that night. We loitered over no particular shadow, but the years apart had left us distinct, bereft, searching the night sky for new vocabulary, something unfamiliar to say. A teenaged car accident broke his back but not his spirit and every new day he woke up a survivor seemed premature. One of New Mexico’s gratuitous smashed fruit sunsets reminds us how we’re no longer as enchanted with our momentums…

Get this rest of this recollected tale right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic  •••

Here we are, a month later & still in the land of isolation. If you too feel stuck at home & really feeling the need to connect, ain’t nuthin’ s’gonna stop this Mad show from Swirlin’!

THIS 1st Wednesday of the May (aka 05.06.20), Mad Swirl will once again whirl up the Swirl and get the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there! Tune-in to our Facebook page & catch the LIVE feed.

Join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay at 7:30pm (CST). Musical guest Your Loving Son (YLS) will be jamming with Swirve & getting this madness going!

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate.

Come to appreciate.

Come to be a part of our collective creative love-child we affectionately call Mad Swirl!

Mad Swirl is calling ALL you poets, musicians, writers, singers, storytellers… from ANYWHERE in this swirling world to some & strut their virtual stuff!

If you’d like to get on the virtual list:

  • Send us an email at & send us a friendly note
  • Give us a “Going” on our Facebook event page.

If you’d just like to watch:

Tune in HERE!

See all y’all this 1st Wednesday!

••• Mad Swirl Anthology  •••

Times are tough & money’s tight. You don’t need us to tell you that. We feel you.

In tough & tight times some beatific art, poetry & prose can be cathartic to the soul. And since it has NEVER been about the money for us but ALL about spreading the Swirl’n word ’round this Mad mad world, we dropped the prices on our entire “The Best of Mad Swirl” anthology collection to essentially our cost.

Get v2017 for $14, v2018 for $15 and the newly released v2019 for $16! 

All the info you need to get you one, two or all three years of “The Best of Mad Swirl” is below! (unless you’re already sold, then in that case get: v2017, v2018, v2019)


Get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2019” right HERE!

Mad Swirl’s 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.”

And just in case you’re not quite sure what and/or who Mad Swirl is…

“Mad Swirl is an arts and literature creative outlet. It is a platform, a showcase, and a stage for artistic expression in this mad, mad world of ours; a diverse collection of as many poets, artists, and writers we can gather from around the world; from Nepal to Ireland, from England to China, from California to New York City and all the places in between. Our Poetry Forum features works from over 150 contributing poets, our short story library has over 170 writers and our Mad Gallery has over 45 resident artists.”

On 04.20.20 we Swirlers did a virtual LIVE launch of this Mad-tastic collection. It went something like this:

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

Huge grats & shout-outs to our 2019 featured Contributors (in alphabetical order):

Featured Poets:

Ahmad Al-khatat
Joe Balaz
Hem Raj Bastola
Ann B-D
Gayle Bell
Bhupender Bhardwaj
Alexandria Biamonte
Christopher Calle*
Mick Corrigan
Swagi Desai
Joseph Farley
Mike Fiorito*
Brian Fugett
Iulia Ghergei
Brittany Griffiths
Kenneth P. Gurney
Kristina Krumova
Kimberly Madura
Tyler Malone*
Devika Mathur
Maeve McKenna*
Bradford Middleton
Steven Minchin
Lisa Moak
Ian Mullins
J.D. Nelson
Madelyn Olson*
Johnny Olson*
Charlotte Ozment
Durga Prasad Panda
Nikita Parik
Rob Plath
Dan Raphael
Brian Rihlman
Randall Rogers
Walter Ruhlmann
Sanjeev Sethi
Roger G. Singer
Paul Smith
Paul Tristram
Agnes Vojta
Trier Ward
Scott Waters
Julene Tripp Weaver
Harley White
Bill Wolak
Brian Wood
Chris Zimmerly*
Mike Zone*
Milenko Županović

Featured Writers:

Michael Brownstein
Salvatore Difalco
Tony Gentry*
Susie Gharib
Stew Jorgenson
Tyler Malone*
Jim Meirose
Vivek Nath Mishra
Bruce Mudhenke
Hunter Reardon
Dan Rodriguez*
Chris Wilkensen*

Featured Artists:

Alan Gann*
Chuck Hatton
Mario Loprete
Sharon O’Callaghan Shero

*performed at launch

If we’ve enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2019” then get yours right here!



Get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2018” right HERE

Our 2018 112-page anthology features 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on throughout 2018.

Huge grats & shout-outs to our 2018 featured Contributors (in order of appearance)

Featured Poets:

Silva Zanoya Merjanian
Tom Pescatore
Paul Hostovsky
Jeff Grimshaw
Logan Cure
Rob Dyer
Devon Balwit
Daniel Klawitter
Paul Tristram
Spencer Smith
K.W. Peery
Marisa Adame
Mike James
PW Covington
Ann B-D
James Robert Rudolph
Rachel Johnson
John Sweet
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Dennis Moriarty
Xiaoyuan Yin
Polly Richardson (Munnelly)
Samantha Hawkins
Mark Senkus
Ian Mullins
Tyler Malone
Lillie Davidson
Jason Baldinger
Arun Budhathoki
Steven Minchin
Chigger Matthews
Michael H. Brownstein
Carl Kavadlo
Roger G. Singer
Jason Ryberg
Johnny Olson
Ivan Jenson
Cheyenne Gallion
Timothy Pilgrim
Tom Hall
S.A. Gerber
Francesca Castaño
Dah Helmer
Swagi Desai
Sheighle Birdthistle
Susan Wiggins
Jada Yee
Beate Sigriddaughter
Harry McNabb
Madelyn Olson
Bhargab Chatterjee

Featured Writers:

Jennifer Benningfield
Salvatore Difalco
Zak Block
Tim Dadswell
Bruce Mundhenke
Sarah Ito
Ruith Z. Deming
Chuck Taylor
Mike Fiorito
Tyler Malone
Carl Perrin
Edward St. Boniface

Featured Artists:

Jon Marquette
Dan Rodriguez
Madelyn Olson
Elvin Armando

If we have enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2018” then click that mouse right HERE and it shall be done!



Get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017” right HERE!

Our 2017 92-page anthology features 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on throughout 2017.

Featured Poets: (in order of appearance)

Devon Balwit
Tyler Malone
Brian Wood
James Brown
Lisa Shields
Megha Saha
Miceál Kearney
Clyde Kessler
Stephen Jarrell Williams
Adam Sometimes
Tom Hatch
Mark Senkus
Sanjeev Sethi
Samantha Hawkins
Mel Waldman
Joseph Farley
Heather M. Browne
Aekta Khubchandani
Sarah Karowski
Jeff Grimshaw
Sissy Buckles
Brittany Griffiths
Stefanie Bennett
Gayle Bell
Terry Severhill
Paul Hellweg
KJ Hannah Greenberg
Volodymyr Bilyk
Beate Sigriddaughter
Harley White
Lisa Moak
Chris Zimmerly
Cheyenne Gallion
Hongri Yuan
John Dorsey
Bradley Mason Hamlin
Peggy Turnbull
Bradford Middleton
Brendan Gillett
Julia Cirignano
Christopher Barnes
Ndue Ukaj
Christopher A. Calle
Peycho Kanev
Opalina Salas
Timothy Pilgrim
Steven Minchin
Marisa Adame
Alexandra Corinth
Johnny Olson
Bijaya Biswal
Sam Silva

Featured Writers: (in order of appearance)

Donal Mahoney
J.D. Hager
N.T. Franklin
Philip Kobylarz
Taylor Evans
Ron Gibson
Tyler Malone
Ron Riekki
Carl Perrin
DL Shirey
Mike Fiorito

Featured Artists: (in order of appearance)

William Zuback
Joseph Shepard
Mike Fiorito
Bill Wolak

If we have enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2017” then click that mouse right HERE and it shall be done!


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…

Inspirin’ Inspiration,

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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