The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.15.20

by August 16, 2020 0 comments

“Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live.”

Charles Bukowski

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“The Castle of Vled Tepes”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 drew the direction of spreading infection; we put to the knife our playlist of life; we found no start for a whistling heart; we deflected the force from a river divorce; we sought safe harbor for a voiceless martyr; we tendered a tale of fatherly fails; we met a sad slacker, sardonic shelf stacker. All the feelings, all the words; some are golden, some are… ;) ~ MH Clay

22 years old and red raw with yellow by Tanner

I was scared to live
and scared to die
so I got a job in a supermarket.

I was stacking shelves
when this loud slap echoed outside:
PAH-CHOW! like a gunshot

so I put my box down and went out there
looking for some crossfire
but it was just some mid-pubescent oaf trying to start his motorbike
as it banged out black farts.
what you lookin at? he said
and I thought:
if he hits me, I might be allowed to go home and kill myself
or, if he hits me hard enough, I might just die here and now.
it was win-win.
so I told him: a virgin, I assume?
but he bottled it. just issued some flimsy threats
and went chugging off across the car park.

why didn’t I just quit and die?
because I knew then
that I was in for a long slow death of shelf stacking:
my personal cowardice
was my minimum wage contribution
to our collective political cowardice,
stacking shelves in our assisted societal suicide
for years to come.

and besides, it was a payday:
they always solve everything, don’t they?

August 15, 2020

editors note: That paycheck suspends us in purchasing purgatory. Be happy. Buy more. (We welcome Tanner to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Three Dads by Mike Horan

Pop had 3 Dads and was
screwed immediately.
The first one,
the biological one,
left when he was small.
The stepfather came along,
beat him regularly.
He didn’t want the competition so
wanted to kill Pop but
the booze killed him first.
Then his foster Dad,
the one he should have had all along.
It was probably too late at that point.
He was already damaged.
That wouldn’t have mattered I guess, if
his third father hadn’t died as well.
From then on he wasn’t guided,
he was enabled
and we all had to pay for that.

August 14, 2020

editors note: The inheritance we don’t want, can’t return, and wouldn’t be us without. – mh clay

presentation of an old discovered species by John Compton

you wanted a harbor safely
harnessing you to the beach
the salt-air to sift through
your mouth like taffy – rejoicing
in the sand exfoliating
your dampened body

anchoring to a known
sunday with a song laden
with some holy scripture
that you can recite
to focus the pain into a hymn
sending it to god

the stillness comes & you
pretend the pounding
of bombs between your thighs
are waves / his eyes
become lighthouses beaming
ships away – too far to comprehend

you are as pretty as before
he ripped away your words
& forced them underneath
his shoe like roaches –
his hand smelling like bleach
trying to wash away your voice.

August 13, 2020

editors note: In a storm, not any port… – mh clay

Yellow Highlights by Jeff Grimshaw

What are you grinning at? she said to the married man on the bridge
Who was contemplating Instant Divorce Via River but
‘Maybe not this river’ as there were yellow & violet highlights
On the surface he could not account for. Am I
Grinning (blink!) he replied (blink!) tracing his upper

Lip with his thumb and then there were floodlights
Turning the stars and the river black, not even different
Blacks, sweeping over the water and finding (but losing
Immediately) the toe of his brown Oxford just before
It & he vanished forever. I guess if you don’t make

A decision, a decision will be made for you? he said
Oh honey, she said you made a decision & took him
In her arms, they rose into the diamond sky, & you’ve
Got more decisions ahead so hang on, up through green
Vapor & violet & and eventually the stars one by one went unblack.

August 12, 2020

editors note: Choosing is easier as we approach the unblack. – mh clay

You Don’t Have to Go Home But You Can’t Stay Here by John Dorsey

for Chris Knopp

true love is six feet away
from where i am standing

the moon is a beautiful sinking boat
when it winks at toledo

my heart can’t whistle

the bar is closed

the sky is a dead industry

the only songs i know

are about girls.

August 11, 2020

editors note: No door, ceiling, or song to keep love true. – mh clay

Turnaround by Sanjeev Sethi

Timorous by design
is my default setting.
For me: enfilade is an empty promise.
In unkind times
experts are called in
to put forward a playlist.
This never works.

Make your menu.
Let others respond
with a moue.
Unrecorded chronicles
buried in bushes
of forest-time
will disappear with the debris.

August 10, 2020

editors note: All determinations will dull in time. – mh clay

Paired Viruses by Tony Gentry

A virus can’t act alone.
Needs your participation.

Just a burr of contagion
sucked in on the air you breathe,

that finds a weak link, a chink in a cell,
there incubates until the fever burns.

Clots your brain, swells your lungs,
inflames the hearts of children
too young to understand.

With this one, we have carriers
who infect others but never suffer themselves
and super-spreaders who sicken whole crowds
as if spewing from megaphones.

How it preys on the weak, the under-served,
those frayed at the end of their rope.

One thing, though, some recover.
Yet speak of its tortures with awe.
How it knelt on their throats and chests
until they gasped their mama’s name.

A virus is a frightful thing.
A virus can’t act alone.

August 9, 2020

editors note: What was once so common, these days uncommon is. Non-sense. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

We spy with our Mad eyes this weekend’s Need-a-Read!

Quantum” comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet Susie Gharib.

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

“Who’s watching who? That’s what we need to truly see.”

Here’s a sneaky-peek:

(photo “Searching, Endlessly” by Tyler Malone)

An auspicious event, a job interview, but what was I to wear for such a formal meeting? One suit could do but it needed matching shoes. The allowance money that I received every two weeks would have to be sacrificed. A pair of designer shoes on display met my eyes the moment I entered a grand store. I could not adapt my taste to the state of being unemployed. I did some calculations and decided to flirt with financial misfortune, and since things could not get any worse, I bought a pair of Cinderella shoes.

I arrived at the University of Quantum Studies, my heart fluttering with hope, and was received with a cordial smile by the interviewer himself, Dr. Donald Dupe, who ushered me into a small classroom with a big glass front. He said he wanted to keep it informal and vanished for a few minutes…

Left ya hangin’, eh? Well don’t fret & get the rest of Susie’s read on right here!


Don’t let the title of Mad Swirl’s featured Need-a-Read fool you, Shit” by Nathan Graziano is anything but that.

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

“With every slur and word, can you taste the blood? Rarely do we see it. But too many have. And it all begins with a word.”

Here’s a snapshot to set the scene:

(photo “The Line We Don’t Cross” by Tyler Malone)

Shit. They called him Shit. Sometimes, while he ate alone at his lunch table, Karl Bennett and his two toadies would walk across the cafeteria and stop at his table. Karl would lean over, the tip of his nose almost touching Shit’s face. “Hey, Shit!” Karl would say, turning his head and flashing a white-toothed All-American smile at the girls giggling at a nearby table. “Do you have fifty cents I can borrow for the soda machine? Do you, Shit?”

Shit would reach into his pocket and hand Karl fifty cents.

But not on that day.

It was Halloween, and Shit wore a Michael Myers mask and an orange prison jumper his father—who was a correctional officer before he was forced to resign after everything—lifted from the county jail. Shit was ready when Karl walked across the cafeteria and asked for his fifty cents. He rubbed the grooves on the handle, the piece hanging heavy in the pocket of his orange prison jumper…

Pick this back up where we left off 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…

Goin’ Crazy(er),

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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