The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.16.20

by May 16, 2020 0 comments

“The moment of change is the only poem.

Adrienne Rich

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The wanderer – Darrell Black

Mad Swirl welcomes Darrell Black, our newest visual artist all the way from Frankfurt, Germany (via Brooklyn) with some mixed media that he defines as ‘Definism’ art or: an optical sort of illusion portraying the vast and complicated nature of the human experience. If the definition of Definism alone doesn’t definitely tell you that Darrell was destined for the Mad Swirl visual feature spot, I don’t know what will. With work fascinatingly colorful, simple and yet strangely complex, rich with emotions that are so very human, Black displays his unique perspective of the world around him that also somehow mirrors mine, and maybe yours too, and isn’t that what makes good art great? Creating something personal yet universal? Unique yet so deeply relatable? We’ll let you take a definitive look and decide for yourself! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Darrell’s mixed-media “Definism” canvases, as well as our other featured artists (50 in all!), at Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we found aspirations antithetical to mean realities medical; we learned we’ve misunderstood what we know about life in the ‘hood; we picked a Potala from the Milky Mandala; we arrested an ode from a cataract of code; we sorted sunflowers from darkening skies through a bumbler’s pair of compound eyes; we tasted all from gods above, loving life and living love; we saw a dark and scary thing by wondering to pull a string. We know what we write for but, caveat lector! ~ MH Clay

The day the vaccine was discovered by Mike Fiorito

The day the vaccine was discovered
They gathered in parks.
They marched in parades.
They sang songs.
The world would return to normal, they dreamed.
Then only the very rich got the vaccine.
Then only the celebrities and congress.
The vaccine is available to anyone who needs it, it was said.
To get it, you had to prove you had never had COVID.
Which meant you had to have had a test.
Which not enough people had.
Which not enough people could get;
To get the vaccine, you needed to have insurance.
But not all insurances covered the vaccine.
And due to demand
The cost was very high.
Which meant that not enough people could get it.
Then the parades turned into protest marches.
With guns.
Then many turned against each other.
Those who wore masks and those who didn’t.
Those who were tested and those who weren’t.
Those who had the presidential vaccine stamp on their arms
And those who didn’t.
The day the vaccine was discovered
Was like pulling on the string that held things together.

May 16, 2020

editors note: Poetry? Or, prophecy? Oof! (Read something with a lighter touch from Mike on his page. Check it out!) – mh clay

Love by Polly Richardson

First flutters, deliriously delicious. Wet.
Delusions deviously dealt, betrayal, death.
Unknown explorations, standing bare, complete self. Spring.
The deepest breath, mountains envelope, zen.
The quickening, first suckle, hand-grasp-curl, pout-lip-quiver. Milestones.
The moment vinyl turns, transporting time, rhythmic rotations. Jazz.
Muzzle, cheek, face buried deep, inhalations sweet dung hay infusions,
Toe to hoof. Momentous beats, as one, essences. Summer.
That look, doey-eyes chocolate, all seeing, head-cock, paws
mulching mud frolicking forests, rivers rush. Autumn.
Full throttle, leathers to leathers, pillion countering corners, wind-whipped
senses engulfed, sea -licks. Freedom.
One foot follows the other, imprints, waves -lapping, cast out. Swaddle Sun.
The entire journey, tasting cow, dancing flames, smelling book, supping eve. Winter.
Unknown explorations, standing bare, complete self
The deepest breath, mountains envelope. Love.

May 15, 2020

editors note: Life loved and love lived. Yes, love! (Yes, Love!) – mh clay

Sunflowers and Silence by Kimberly Madura

sunflowers the color of bees
seen with your eyes
wide open,
green eyes, green they
made you uneasy, I
changed them to
but baby don’t
you make
my brown eyes –

space, wide open
and silence
seen but not heard
then suddenly not seen
don’t come knocking
I’m not home anymore
close your eyes
check the
garden, out back
beneath the


and doesn’t it sting, shhhh

May 14, 2020

editors note: A stinging retort for a blind bumbler. – mh clay

ASCII code 17 = DC1 by Daniel Y. Harris

Agon Hack trains a spellican for heterotopia’s mongod
& mongo not_the_admin_db –eval “db.createUser
({user: \“myuser\”, pwd:\
“mypassword\”, roles: [\“dbOwner\”]}).”
He’s contradictory and heteroglot,
against a backdrop burnt in lixivum.
From Middle French céphalique, from Latin
cephalicus (“head”), from Ancient Greek κεφαλικός
(kephalikós, “capital”), from κεφαλή (kephalḗ, “head”),
the high genres are monotonic.

This is pileata Biblia’s (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m)
{or he wears a himation worn
over his tunic. Glucagon
secretion is now stimulated by arginine
or glutamines’ Lucretius (via Alfred Jarry),
ancient mystery cults, Saint Paul, Neoplatonism,
Empedocles and Athenian civic ritual.

He admits that Scyphomedusae’s
rocket_launch: rlaunch -w path/to/my_fworker.yaml -l
path/to/my_launchpad.yaml singleshot,
elects his eminent domain.
For decorum’s sake, the scanning frequency is H=30
~275KHz (DP/HDMI)/ 30~160KHz (DVI),
V=48~240Hz (DP/HDMI)/ 50~146Hz.

When addressing the laity, the device control 1
character (DC1), a.k.a. control-Q, or XON,
starts transmission. Raw materials
used for this production are quartzite
(number= 30), chert (N= 22), quartz (= 19), opal
(n=7), agate (n= 6), rhyolite (n= 5), fossil wood (n= 3),
unidentified (n= 2) and quartzitic sandstone (n= 1).
Polydaemons clap and chant
hedocete fesnist atival.

May 13, 2020

editors note: A ^Q, crystalline purgatory for a hapless, hedonist hacker. – mh clay

Each Rock is A Potala Palace by Hongri Yuan

The sunshine is mellow wine
and there are golden palaces inside the sun.
Where a giant is its master,
he told me that I was his shadow on the earth.

I will still be much greater, like a mountain,
each rock is a Potala Palace.
And the epics I chanted came from billions of years ago,
there are huge numbers of sweet homes beyond the Milky Way.

– Translated by Yuanbing zhang

May 12, 2020

editors note: When this rock is done, let’s move to another. – mh clay

The New Projects by James Brown

A place of residency where we the people reside, fences and bush rows the only divide, statistics no lie, 95 percent of black’s now residing, homicide ascending, residency no longer strives where blacks are vandalized.

State of emergency, broken legacy, and residency no more, only reminisce of what was, as the black man wears his hood in the hood, wreaking havoc on the black race; his race.

Insurrectionary acts on the other brothers and sisters who are trapped economically and suppressed by a black racist of the same skin color; black Ku Klux Klan, hooded black men without a revolutionary cause, black man don’t ask why white supremacist wear their hoods in what we call the hood, remove the black hoods and restore our black neighborhoods, a percentage of the black nation holds the black neighborhoods hostage with ignorance.

Let us be understood not misunderstood, our heritage shows the truth of real brotherhood.

May 11, 2020

editors note: If you aren’t there, you have no idea, but this. – mh clay

Takes Guts by KJ Hannah Greenberg

There’s little that’s prurient about surgical tape, gauze stuck in wounds,
Measures of peroxide and Mupirocin. Stitches, staples, special glue,
Likewise cull no memories of court seats, sunny fields, too much icing.

Videlicet, sometimes, a neighborhood’s most rabid visitor is neither
Komodo dragon nor entrepreneur raccoon. There are days when death,
Masked as angels, announces in minor chords its many-faced intentions.

On such anniversaries, it’s best to ignore glorious upstarts, snub promised
Endings, overlook happiness’ plans for vacations, nannies, working cars,
Think less about social strata climbing, give up aspirations of popularity.

It takes guts to eyeball knife-happy oncologists, radiologists with “ideas,”
Nurses stuck on protocol, administrators who neglect to acknowledge
Necessary insurance forms, co-payments, maximum fiduciary solvency.

The “biological hazards” that get removed are hardly the worse invaders
When shift schedules dictate procedures, rich and famous get privileges,
Questions are outsourced to the hands of healthy nationals living abroad.

Yes, the best response to scary attackers, the most prized heroic measure,
Can be called in to fill tissue dispensers, empty garbage bins, perhaps also
Admonish misguided volunteers expecting you to like hospitals ever after.

May 10, 2020

editors note: For any who must navigate medical waters during this storm… (Congrats to KJ on the release of her new collection, “Rudiments.” Get your copy on Amazon here.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read that’ll carry you away, Mad Swirl has just the wings for you…

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

“We didn’t create flight but we copied the birds and invisible viruses to take ourselves to the air, only to always come back down. Sometimes alive, sometimes not, but always different versions of our same selves.”

Airport & Sadness” comes to us from Bharti Bansal and takes-off like this:…

(photo “Highest Skies” by Tyler Malone)

Airports and airplanes always give me a sense of new beginnings. The moment an airplane takes off, gravity changes and pseudo force pushes us back to the seat. Then the flight continues. Everything seems like a celebration with happy stewards walking across the plane, asking if everything is okay. Sometimes a hard turbulence may strike and suddenly everyone is praying for their lives, remembering good old moments, clutching the armrest of their seats really tight. And as the plane stabilizes, sighs fill up the surroundings, and we breathe the same air that once went through our lungs in anxiety.

When the plane lands, gravity changes again and at the moment of touchdown, our feet float and we are pushed ahead, away from our seats. I see beauty in that. For that’s how my sadness has been for me. Always changing gravity, pushing me to the edge sometimes or making me float in nostalgia otherwise…

You’ve reach reading altitude. Please feel free to move about our lil ol dot com & get the rest of this read on 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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