The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.09.20

by on May 10, 2020 :: 0 comments

“He who cannot howl will not find his pack.

Charles Simic

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Moondust FrontSharron Ott

It’s been an honor featuring Sharron’s moody mixed-media canvases, but as with all good things…

Stay tuned next week for our next featured artist! Until then, see all of Sharron’s moody mixed-media mad collages, as well as our other featured artists (48 in all!), at Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we lamented the passin’ of calm and compassion; we wound up wise from a look into eyes; we riffed on the rash of Harvey’s named trash; we found relationship reverie in a special delivery; we indulged in some fast fun to not be just anyone; we tackled our tremens by picking some lemons; we basked in the best of a rainbow mess. There’s a pot o’ gold! Grab it! ~ MH Clay

Covert rainbow by Timothy Pilgrim

Light is not lithe, scientists say —
it has weight. So, time,
long, long known as a property

of gravity, too, may be packing
a few extra pounds.
Giddy with this knowledge,

I daydream a rainbow —
so voluptuous, so heavy,
her sides billow, spill

from the sky. Red, green,
indigo mix together, splash down
at both ends. Bluebirds find

gold worms, fill backpacks
with them, fly south early, retire.
I am hired as a janitor,

get paid double overtime,
work all night, clean up the mess.

May 9, 2020

editors note: Better to keep your dream pristine, or to revel in your mess? – mh clay

Picking Lemons by Hem Raj Bastola

Her jaded beauty
Polished with dainty:

Resplendent glowing,
Linament spread.
Her fiddling and trivia:
Inviting attention,
In the street.

I see them,
Curious to look at.
A turn of affiliation:
As I interface.
A prick on my fingers

I find myself
Picking lemons,
On a tree.

May 8, 2020

editors note: When life gives you lemons… – mh clay

NOT JUST ANYBODY by Roger G. Singer

there’s an
opportunity of

to go the
other way
avoiding the

to immediately
impose on
something to
believe in
without striving

receiving the
of everything
you’re out of

becoming more
than anybody
not just an
leaving the
rough road

May 7, 2020

editors note: On your road to self-discovery, who do you think you are? – mh clay

Delivery by Devon Balwit

I take a mallet to your metaphor,
fish among fragments,
but come up empty.

Won’t you put anything
into my hands—
the most beggarly narrative?

Imagine me naked
in the snow,
not a single blanket?

Why a circus?
Why all the hyphens
thrown like darts?

You bar the door
and bar it again.
Have you no needs?

I appreciate
homage, but all mirrors
have backs

we cannot hide behind.
Come out. I promise
to hurt you

only the necessary amount.
Deliver yourself
in amnion and shit.

I wait to catch you,
to slap from you
a living breath.

May 6, 2020

editors note: Indoor games while in lock down? Shelter from self. – mh clay

Recycled Sestina by Paul Hostovsky

It’s hard to feel good about
single-stream recycling

and those enormous receptacles
with the name Harvey written on them
trundling up and down the highway going
who knows where?

They remind me of that sestina
about recycling, the one with my name on it
and plastic, paper, glass, cardboard, aluminum, tin
thrown together in a kind of calibrated jumble
in every stanza,

each recycled end-word coming up
again and again, like in a tumble drier,
the whole thing revolving
around a single bad idea. It was garbage

and I never published it. But E.L. Harvey,
the waste management company with the big receptacles,
has other ideas. And Harvey is published on the broadside
of every truck in the fleet, all of them hauling around

the same questionable idea. I’m stuck here behind one now
in traffic going nowhere, thinking about
my poem. It all gets sent over to Asia, you know,
for processing. Then they send it back over here. Talk about

waste. Talk about pretense. I mean that would be like me
throwing away my sestina, then translating it
into Chinese. Then rehashing it here and putting
my name on it. Then waving it around in your face
like it was something to feel good about.

editors note: When you think about it, we’re all recycled materials. Let’s self-regulate, Folks! – mh clay

Deep Sockets by Anthony Dirk Ray

everyone is familiar with
the presence of innocence
and grace in the eyes of a child
but if you look hard enough
you can find elegance
in the eyes of a junky
or a janitor
even a madman
and if you really stare
look at just the right angle
at the perfect time
you can observe the entire
beauty of the whole world
in the eyes of the dying

May 4, 2020

editors note: Reason to make eye contact. – mh clay

The world no longer listens… by Haris Adhikari

The world no longer listens to
the language of calm,
the language of compassion,
the cries and agonies of the
caged, distressed, and dehumanized
innocent beings…
the autonomy of the individual
branching— into the blue firmament,
the flight of free and festive
birds of this Heaven,
the telling transience of
dancing dewdrops slipping down
or disappearing at once
from the green laps of Mother Nature,
the majestically mindful unfurling
fiddleheads… battling with
the rough winds
above the flinty fissures,
the untiring support and strain
of the roots and pedicels
of the exquisitely blooming
lotuses and dancing water lilies painted
on the canvas of mud and mire,
the dolorous call
of good souls on Earth,
the slow and painful passing of
Faith and Trust,
the bellowing shade of
humanity… No longer…
does the world listen to. And,
no wonder, they no longer
understand these things.

May 3, 2020

editors note: Let’s turn “no longer” back to “not, yet.” – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Got a feelin’ you might Need-a-Read? Then this week’s featured short, Feeling Loss by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri will scratch your itch & guarantee it’ll get you right on the feels!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick of the week tale:

“Look at your hands. Those prints, your parents gave you. A few of those scars, they gave you as well.”

At 101 words, this holiday inspired (but not dated) expose is too short to even tease so…

(photo “Holidays Decay at Home” by Tyler Malone)

…please trust us & get your read on right here!


••• Mad Swirl Open Mic  •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic​ this past 1st Wednesday (aka 05.06.20), Mad Swirl Open Mic once again virtually whirled up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!

We beamed our cyber line-up straight out into the wide world of webs & straight to your screens. HUGE grats to these Mad ones who made our virginal virtual a success:

Mad Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel)

Johnny O
MH Clay

Round One:
Polly Richardson
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Lillie Davidson
Tyler Malone
Vic Victory
Chris Zimmerly

Your Loving Son (Carlos &Opalina Salas)

Round One:
Josh Weir
Harry Mcnabb
Suza Kanon
Paul Koniecki
Meg Frances
Mike Zone

Thanks to ALL the appreciators who rode the Mad wave from our FB Live feeds! We know you had a choice of what to do with your Wednesday night & you picked to virtually hang out with us! Now more than ever, we need community, we need outlets, we need to create.

Be safe & ’til next 1st Wednesday… may the madness swirl your way!

Johnny O

P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, your eye can spy on these virtual Swirl’n scenes right here…

••• 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!


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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