The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.02.20

by May 3, 2020 0 comments

“The artist belongs to his work, not the work to the artist.


••• The Mad Gallery •••

Behold The Duke!Sharron 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 drank bitter elixir for a hero fixer; we three times bled the thoughts from our head; we sought human relief from machine belief; we froze flagrancy in brisk buoyancy; we proferred a lift for quarantines adrift; we taco schemed over hung Jim Beam; we uttered artly at a garden party. Dig! ~ MH Clay

A Hike in the Tattoo Garden of Capella by Michael Brownstein

We hike the northernmost trail near the glacial wall
of ivory and brass, rust and pyrite, a gold vein
through a spit of silver ore, the path passing under
roped purple vines, thick and settled, climbing wind stalk,
the red ladened clay of storm sculpted paper birch.
Everywhere a flutter of redwings and large velvet ants,
yellow and crimson, a great green eye on each wing.
The way goes into a small dip past a chocolate swamp,
rising to cotton candy arrowroot, mocha creamed asters.
When we make the eighth turn, we enter a field of tall bone grass,
iron shaped bent by sun and rain, a crisscrossing of shade and smell.
The noises around us never deafening, but always present,
chirps, geeks, glops, slocks, chings, slobbers, blimps,
a static and song — so many songs — so many harmonies.
When we reach the ridge, we can see the Cloud Maker releasing clouds,
the Head Tattoo Artist inking the bark on newborn trees,
the Master Gardeners busy — and there is a sigh, a soft burp,
and we begin the short walk home to where the southern trail begins.

May 2, 2020

editors note: Here’s a little side trip for your lock down. (Read another pome about this garden on Michael’s page – check it out.) – mh clay

Jim Beam is Trying to Kill Me by James D. Casey IV

Vicodins and V8
the flying V
hangover cure-all

don’t push your luck
I might be wrong

the smell of the dog
made me vomit
nothing a little
hair of the dog
can’t fix

diet Sunkist
and butterscotch bourbon
vape juice
helped get the taste
out of my mouth

thumping head
swollen feet
I think I had
a good time
but I can’t remember

now I’m hungry
let’s go get some

May 1, 2020

editors note: Quarantine nights? Tacos sound good, right now. – mh clay

The Spring of Our Confinement by Tony Gentry

The neighbor’s cherry tree
a mushroom cloud of pink.
How lovely this spring
In the suburbs!

Awaken queasy at 3
all our homes drifting boats
on a sea of greening lawn
over which we shout

Like thieves we mask
for dinghy excursions
to the islands,
fret over sneezes,
dwindling savings,
wonder if that friend who died…
in winter?

The kids are all home.
It could almost be a holiday.

Bluebirds dart about
hunting likely niches
for their broods.

April 30, 2020

editors note: Ahoy, Mateys! (If you’re still trying to add up the numbers from April, read another mad missive from Tony on his page, “April by the Numbers.” Check it out!)- mh clay

Buoyancy by Bhargab Chatterjee

The stray pebbles cluster around the cracked and fragmented waters. The hydrodynamic forces control pebbles of different sizes; this is an accepted model of secularism. The inner ice-bones of water swell and play the major roles in buoyancy.

April 29, 2020

editors note: Keep your ice cold and your beliefs separate. – mh clay

I Am Human by Ahmad Al-khatat

I am human
from all races
I am looking
for respect,
and good

I am human
dancing with
no silky touch
but on my own
for no reason
sometimes, I
am trying to
live like a human

My name is
human being
My age is the
numbers of
days of the
dead fighter
My soul is
already taken

Another human
I once met her;
she is the reason
why the night is
sad, no matter
what I do aside
from writing a
poem or a song

Can someone
walk me home
I am blind to
trust strangers
I am a silent
human listening
to dreamers talking
to machine believers

April 28, 2020

editors note: Write a poem or a song. We are all humans! – mh clay

Thrice by Susie Gharib

Thrice you pleaded guilty before
a jury of four:
a rake, two ruffians, and a flamboyant bore.
The charge is feticide
of the puerile mind
that lay un-hatched in its paltry womb.

Thrice you puffed away your yawns
at judge and pawns.
The prosecutor began to snort
at your flagrant contempt of court,
at contaminating nasal ports
with the stench of a voracious tongue.

Thrice you gaped at the bleeding dawn,
awaiting execution on a new-shorn lawn,
no stake or twigs
or a to-be-crucifix
visible within your dwindling zone.

Thrice you felt the dragon gore
inside the marrow of your thoughts,
ravishing your ores,
depleting your wisdom with a bony straw,
dipped through a hole
they surreptitiously drilled into your subconscious core.

April 27, 2020

editors note: Pray there comes a count of four… – mh clay

Everyone wants to be you by William J Watson

The first time a bullet passes over your head, you don’t believe it
20 years old, too dumb to be scared
20 years old, too scared to be brave
Everyone wants to be a hero until it’s time to sacrifice

The first time you kill a man, it feels exhilarating
21 years old, smart enough to make a choice
21 years old, too lonely to care about the end
Everyone wants to fix you “The First Time”

The first time a friend dies, you don’t believe it
25 years old, too ignorant to understand
25 years old, too young to care
Everyone wants to mourn them

The last time you put your rifle down, the saddest day of your life
30 years old, too young to be this broken
30 years old, too tired to go on.
Everyone wants to forget you

April 26, 2020

editors note: But we can listen, if we would, and forget them not. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If the Need-a-Read breezes directed you this-a-away, then we think Tropical Storm by Russ Bickerstaff may be just what you’re lookin’ for!

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

“We want to be the storm rolling and raining down what’s in our bellies and have everyone look up, see us, and experience our vast weight, strong wind, and maybe, just maybe, our eye of peace.”

Here’s a forecast of what’s on the read-radar:

(photo “Above All That’s Below” by Tyler Malone)

The storm had passed by the time that dawn came. Wind fluttered into the back porch from over the lake. It had been a long journey from the other side of the continent but they would need to make it back soon. But before that could happen there would be kind of a long journey in and of itself and that would be kind of the reason for coming out here in the first place.

He left the rental property in what must have been the single worst rental car in the entire state. The thing seemed to be held together entirely by simple hope that it would continue to hold together. Like any piece of technology held together by hope, it seemed to be looking entirely for his permission to fall apart at every turn. He was steadfast in his attempt to keep it from giving any indication that he was at all okay with the idea of it falling apart. He had to make it to a very specific spot in the jungle for a very specific moment that had almost nothing at all to do with a rather old foreign-made vehicle falling apart after years of use by various visiting strangers.

The long, soggy vegetation of the swamp wavered confidently in the breeze that was heavy with anticipation of the coming storm. Passing traffic seemed to be eager to make it back to the garages and carports that were their homes. There had been news of a tropical storm over the weather service. That storm could turn into a hurricane pretty quickly. This was precisely the sort of thing that he was counting on at this moment. It wasn’t precisely what he was counting on, but it was a lot like what he was hoping would happen…

Get to the eye of this story right here!


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

If you’re a fan of Harley’s featured short stories on Mad Swirl, you’ll be happy to read another excerpt from her Sleeping Beauty story “Blooming.

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

“‘They f@ck you up, your mum and dad./ They may not mean to, but they do.’ ~ Philip Larkin, ‘This Be the Verse'”

Here’s a bite to whet your reading appetite:

(photo “Arrested Rest” by Tyler Malone)

My oh so bloomy garden auteurist domain, where savored I wholesale poetic license, was far more fantastic than the famed hanging wonder of the world terraced in antiquity for a melancholy missus by her kingly spouse.

Still and all I wanted the whole blooming world as my garden my luring organa garden my fata morgana garden brimming in the brightest blooms berry bury the lady writing in the holey smithy of my soul minus nimbus, absent bereavement.

In order to thrive and stay alive, the lotus must choose the muddy ooze. Call my Rosamond rubric hubristic or fatuous, I was what I was when I was who I was where I was…… in that bravura extravaganza of beingness.

Here I could rollick adventures vicarious, relish my microcosmic realm, daedal-dee-dee dee-dee, daedal dee-dee the day away…

Get the whole tale (along with the other excerpts from “Blooming) 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  •••

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

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!


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)


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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