The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.08.20

by August 9, 2020 0 comments

“I cannot summon up inspiration; I myself am summoned.”

P. L. Travers

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“That Eerie Stillness at the Threshold of Loss”Bill Wolak

See all of Bill’s wild and hallucinated canvases, as well as our other former featured artists (50 in total) at Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe saw the position of an ink physician; we were complicit in the crime of the killing of time; we gave angel flight from the eye of night; we added caffeine to pandemic routine (oom-pah-pah); we grasped for reason in a lonely season; we felt new life begin in a whooshed frigid wind; we went winter wild with the edge of a child. Every precipice begs our precarious peek. Every empty page begs the words we seek. ~ MH Clay

Edge of a Child by Beate Sigriddaughter

I want the edge of a child
in motion, unafraid
of stumbling, just in
the fair moment of absolute
presence, in the misty claw
of sweet anticipation,
with the world on its knees,
begging to unfold.

I want to walk
the wooden pier
of my favorite dream
meandering far
into an ocean without end,
just future after future.

I want to offer myself
barefoot to the sand, or
celebrate the first blossom
of a snowflake, and never fear
the sweet silence of winter.

August 8, 2020

editors note: Oh, this! Yes, this! – mh clay

One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes by Peggy Turnbull

Based on the Grimm story.

I am the lonely spirit
who whooshes among rocky crags
in a frigid wind.

The pulsing galaxy sends
ancient harmonies
and I listen.

The capacious night
that rides with me

Starved child,
imprisoned child,
enslaved child,

imagine a ridge or riverbank.
Sit there.
I will hear your tears.

I am the shapeshifting crone
beside you,
wearing clothes spun with spells.

These poems in my pocket—
eat them.

A new life begins
after the first bite.

August 7, 2020

editors note: Yes! Bring your appetite. (We welcome Peggy to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

in my teenage hands by J.J. Campbell

i remember how your panties felt in my teenage hands

kissing away a sunny afternoon, i was certain i was in love

you were certain it was only a wednesday

i always fell in love too soon, not often enough with anyone
by my side

i could blame it on the dysfunction of my childhood

perhaps i watched too much cinemax before the age of ten

as i have grown older, and watched countless years of
misery pass before my eyes

destiny has a way of shaking everything out the way
it was meant to be

and sometimes you simply have to avoid the mirrors
and realize loneliness has another side to it

the last resort can wait for another night

August 6, 2020

editors note: So many lonely, waiting for another night… alone. – mh clay

Routine by Paul Hellweg

Grumpy old man I be
morning routine disrupted
wife on the couch
coffee in the bathroom
no sitting on patio
no fresh air, no green view
yet coffee is coffee
love is love
life goes on
decaf routine limits imagination
lack of routine, like caffeine,
stimulates the mind

Pandemic and climate change
the world has decaf routine, its own
caffeine-esque disruption sine qua non
brass band booming
oom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah

August 5, 2020

editors note: How does caffeine drive your quarantine routine? – mh clay

Wizard by Milenko Županović

The shadow
of a demon
in the eye
of the night
dreams of the wizard
face of angel.

August 4, 2020

editors note: Wizard your demon dreams to angel night. – mh clay

MURDERER by Brian Rihlmann

Some lines, once read,

are unforgettable, such as:

“For every sin
but the killing of time,
there is forgiveness.“

And I’d like to say
I am innocent of this crime;
I’d like to say
I am no murderer.

But it’s hard
not to draw your blade
when the adversary’s hands
are at your throat.

August 3, 2020

editors note: Who’s the real killer here? – mh clay

Disabled Love by James Brown

Disconnected, vows broken and disrespect running amok; now Sandman carries a Glock, shots rang out now bring the pallbearers out; that clock on the wall still has a TickTock after the Deadly gunshot.

Incriminating words from your mouth need to be incarcerated and your tongue needs to be cut from your mouth and thrown into an incinerator. The reaper keeps a grin for your demise, your end; call the tragedy in tracks of my tears. Let me hit you with these words of precision making your mind fall into a procession, top technician, ink physician; now if you could change something would it be your walk the way you talk or the day you fell apart from your living conditions? These words should make you pay attention, no pictures, pick up a dictionary if any of the words make you weary; revolution, retribution; oh small minds know not of contribution.

August 2, 2020

editors note: All that matters… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If your internal program is telling you you Need-a-Read, Ctrl+O this one! It knows Mad Swirl’s weekend featured tale Walden by Contributing Writer Carl Perrin is what your 0’s & 1’s crave.

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

“Welcome to now! Don’t trust your eyes, don’t trust who tells you to use your eyes. Also, don’t trust your ears. Really, don’t trust yourself. Afterall, you’re all you really know.”

Here’s a tease to ease you into this too-close-to-reality robotic scene:

(photo “Bigger, Better” by Tyler Malone)

You might think I’m a fan of Henry David Thoreau because I’m building a cabin away from everything in the woods in northern Maine. But I have a different reason for wanting to get away.

I started working at the Dalton Corp right after I graduated from high school twelve years ago. It used to be a good company to work for, good pay and benefits. Also there’s a nice looking woman, Anne-Marie, who works in the cafeteria. I would love to take her out on a date. But I’ve been too shy to ask her.

Dalton started to change a couple of years ago. This new guy, Sheridan, started working in our department. After he had been there for about a week, my buddy Casey asked me what I thought of the new guy.

I didn’t have an opinion so Casey said, “Go talk to him. Take a good look at him.”

Later I asked Sheridan if he had seen the Red Sox game the night before.

Without even looking up at me, he said, “I don’t follow sports.”

I tried politics next. “What do you think of the president?”

Everybody has a strong opinion, either pro or con, about the president. But Sheridan said, “I’m not interested in politics.”

When I told Casey about it, he asked, “Didn’t you see anything unusual about him?”


“I have to say, Jimmy, you’re not very observant.”

“Why? What did I miss?”

“The guy is a robot.”…

If that reveal got your code goin’, get the rest of this read on right here!


Mad Swirl’s midweek Need-a-Read, Black Dot comes to us from Henry Bladon.

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

“These are the moments we live for. Don’t die for them, but live and live curious enough to love them all the more. They’re the dots that connect us.”

We’re not gonna give you too many dots to connect since this is a short-short, but here’s a few for you:

(photo “Got a Black Spot/Black Dot of Death” by Tyler Malone)

I had arranged a meeting in the park with the woman who wrote the found poem. When she arrived she was carrying a tattered folding umbrella. She looked at me and said, I think I’ve eaten a whole block of cocaine. Have you ever broken your ankle?

She sat on the bench and removed a hairbrush then proceeded to drag it across her head. I haven’t washed my hair for a week, she said, rather too proudly, I thought. She threw the brush at a nearby rubbish bin but missed and it landed on the path.

She was wearing black. All black. Her only makeup was black eyeshadow. She had what I would describe as smoky eyes. I didn’t get a chance to tell her that before she lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply before blowing the smoke at me…

Connect ALL the dots & get the whole picture right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic​ this past 1st Wednesday (aka 08.05.20), 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

Round One:
Chris Zimmerly
Opalina Salas
Tyler Malone
Suza Kanon
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Cj Critt
Devorah Titunik
Harry Mcnabb
Roderick Richardson
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Paul Koniecki

Round Two:
Heather Soden
Mike Zone
Afrodita Atenea Garza Leon
James Dennis Casey IV
Manuel Alvear
S.a. Gerber
Maya Alvear
Anthony Ripp
Marianne Szlyk

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!

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


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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