The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.23.20

by May 24, 2020 0 comments

“Gotta head full of ideas that are driving me insane…”

Bob Dylan

••• The Mad Gallery •••

a reallly bad trip – Darrell Black

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 toured through yore on museum door; we gained fame with a new game; we showed who’s boss in a chestnut toss; we god found bliss in a narcissist; we shook off the starkness of the god of darkness; we sought the mound before evil found; we shushed a yelper, unwitting helper. We did. ~ MH Clay

The Murderer’s Dog by Tricia Marcella Cimera

you were happy to see him
greeted him with joy

he put you in a back room
put his finger to his lips

shhhhhh be a good boy
later a sound rang out

made your ears pull back
your teeth taste like metal

you never saw him or
your soft woman again

the son snarled
some watch dog you are

May 23, 2020

editors note: Confused in the dog house for (not) doin’ your job. – mh clay

evil waits by Joseph Farley

It waits
it lingers
it need not hide
but bides its time
evil knows
there will always be
a next time
another chance
to make mayhem
cause pain
and destroy
all that we
poor ants that we are
have assembled
out of sand

May 22, 2020

editors note: Jus’ keep pushin’ your grains. – mh clay

EREBUS by John L. Yelavich

The twilight elicits images of Erebus.
Wicked fantasies overwhelm mind and body.
A twist of fate incurs a state of despair.
I need to fill my veins with a floating euphoria.
The waitress brings me a menu…
So many choices, so many highs and lows
“I’ll have opiates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Coffee and oxy are a kick start I need the most.
But night falls once again and soon I’m tormented
Demonic delusions, they summon me.
They seek to devour my soul, infuse me with a depraved dependency.

May 21, 2020

editors note: Best described from a well-lit room, “I have been to the other side, saw the light and have come back…” – mh clay

What I see when I look at me by David Francis Effiong

I made love to a god
who did not care
about my size nor
my gut
down there;

I still see her face
vespers, chants, and
in-between an altar
and some beads;

I laugh now
each time I meet new gods
who ask me if I pray
and when I pray

cos I stopped waiting to be asked
why I look at myself
in the mirror.

May 20, 2020

editors note: God sez, “listen up,” and I hear me loud and clear. – mh clay

Polio by Wayne F. Burke

Charlie Baguette’s brother Davy
had polio and
used a crutch;
he stood by the porch and
played 45’s on a record player
as Charlie and I stripped the
thorny pulp off horse chestnuts
and put the ebony nuts into
a brown shopping bag
and threw the nuts that night
at the Camel’s house across the street
until cops came with their shining blue
light and
we ran
into the backyard shadows–
the Camel’s thought themselves better
than us, and were mean too
like the German Shepard they kept chained
in their yard;
Davy played Running Bear
Loved Little White Dove
(with a love that never died).
It was the beat of the tom-tom
had set Charlie and me on the

May 19, 2020

editors note: All rash acts are rational when driven by a drum. (This poem comes from Wayne’s recently released collection, Escape from Planet Crouton. Congrats, Wayne! Read Mike Fiorito’s review of it in What’s New. Buy your copy of it here. Check it out!. – mh clay

BATTERYMATES by Robert Demaree

At 73, I have long since given up
Soccer and basketball with him,
So we have devised a new game,
My grandson and I,
To play in the back yard on afternoons
Thick with the warmth of late spring.
I am the pitcher,
He the rest of our baseball team.
We toss the ball back and forth,
Field grounders and pop flies,
Each catch an out.
Sometimes the other guys reach base,
An errant throw skittering
Into the monkey grass, hidden by
Fallen azalea blooms.
My teammate, playing deep,
Somewhere between childhood and
Adolescence, applies tags to phantom foes
As they foolishly try to stretch a hit.
Our team scores a run
Each time we retire the side.
We have never lost.

May 18, 2020

editors note: A game to play in your seventh inning stretch. – mh clay


Thanks Carole and Gregory for the postcard from Havana.
The turquoise Olds stutters down the boulevard. Only
old men govern in Cuba. Literacy is high, as the Castros
and Company, torture and lock away the folks of good will.

Shirley Sanders, white-haired like me, and slender in her blue top and
looks like a million dollars as her early-onset Alzheimer’s takes away
everything, every single thing, except her bones.

I laugh. A famous artist Robert Whitley shown with his massive throne-like
wooden chair, stabbed his wife. Rage on, Bob, but remember, thou shalt
not kill.

Janis Joplin and Marvin Gaye reign on the bottom half of the fridge.
Their photos
from the stamps that went out years ago. Ain’t no mountain high enough
to keep
Marvin’s daddy from shooting him or Janis from shooting the big H.

A pair of legs stride across the fridge, purty legs like Rita Hayworth
or Lana Turner, as I open the fridge door and pick out a big shiny
Red Apple.

May 17, 2020

editors note: What’s going on in YOUR museum? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s Need-a-Read, The Devil May Feel comes to us from Omar Hussain.

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

“In life, we’re always heading towards the end. But there are other endings along the way.”

Here’s a few “lines” to get you goin:

(photo “How to Feel When Falling” by Tyler Malone)

It’s Tuesday night and the table is full of weeping women, various stages of sex appeal, holding paperback books with the power of the universe coursing through their hands. The throbs of infinite emotion beating in their hearts. They are all on the same page. The same paragraph. Cindy reads every word aloud while everyone else follows along. Her satin blouse flashes skin and midriff from a button she missed.

I hear Diane sniffle to my left. She is not alone. Her friends, guessing all of which she made at church or the country club or by playing Mahjong at the community center, hold crumpled Kleenexes against their cheeks, dabbing them lightly against their skin.

“He reaches for her hand and leans in for one last enduring proclamation of his affection, of his love,” Cindy reads.

The table vibrates as the X-chromosomes metaphysically orgasm.

The same book is cradled in my hands. I flip it over and stare at the cover.

I want to feel something. A tinge of sentimentality or hope or even fucking sadness. But I feel nothing.

A greater impulse summons me and I head to the bathroom. The barista stares me down as I pass by the counter. He’s seen me do this before. Like last Tuesday. And the Tuesday before that. I ignore his bullets of judgment fired from the chamber of his eyes.

The door locks behind me.

My hand reaches inside the front right pocket of my jeans. A small zip lock baggy, half the size of a debit card lies perfectly still in the center of my palm. I shake free a small shard of glowing crystallized magic and smash it to powder against the metal toilet paper holder. It’s time to get down on my knees. It’s time to pray to the God of man-made drugs and processed endorphins. I hold one nostril closed and breath life in through the other. Dragon fire rips through my sinuses, behind my eyes. The burn lingers.

Now I feel something…

Get the rest of this wild-ride read right here!

••• Another Mad Review •••

Escape from Planet Crouton by Wayne F Burke
LUCHADOR Press (December 24, 2019)
Available at Amazon

Since we run in some of the same writing circles, I’ve known and loved Wayne F. Burke’s poetry for several years now.

To my ears, Burke’s poems tell very American stories. They read like Merle Haggard and John Prine songs, briefly told and with powerful, but relatable images.

With Burke’s latest collection, Escape from Planet Crouton, he has again made lasting poetry out of lonely, desperate, and even unremarkable voices.

Do yourself a favor. Get a copy of Escape from Planet Crouton, turn on some Prine or Haggard, sit back and take the journey.

~ Mike Fiorito

Get Mike’s entire mad dissertation 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.”

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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