The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.22.20

by on August 23, 2020 :: 0 comments

“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take…”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Fear That Makes You Careless”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 bared the bones of a house of stones; we smoked in the school of Nature’s rule; we sneezed at the rumor of ashes and tumor; we sought the bliss of a drug for this; we fell from above through the limits of love; we kissed to the tune of a crescent moon; we solicited far to fill a coin jar (a penny for your thoughts). We write it all out to give what we gots. ~ MH Clay

Middle Poem from A Delicately Debauched & Fractured (Lowlife) Disasterpiece by Paul Tristram

…I garrotted myself, fantastically
with despicable arrogance.
Laughing, dementedly,
at the little, innocent boy
I have ‘Dorian Gray’s Painting’
locked away inside my Soul
…who always gets to pay
the twisted, fucked-up price
of the punishment for my Sins.
That ‘Pulsing’ between Pain
is sticky to the mental-touch,
and extremely addictive…
it sense-smells of yawning,
falling, and broken cockle shells.
It’s almost that time of the month
where I go completely insane…
it’s got fuck-all to do with lunar,
that erratic-thought napalm
has gotta come out at some point.
I was twenty steps behind her,
I froze [Silently] upon the pavement
…and she spun around smiling
“How long have you been there?”
We demand the Truth
until we become an ingredient
in that [Complicated] equation.
We went on a night-time picnic,
we ate amphetamine-bombs,
drank ancient French red wine
and carved blood-flowers
into our post-sex, pale white skin.
“There are no Time-Keepers here”
I whispered, between, distant sighs.
“Only Collectors Of Memories”
she said, confirming, everything.
“I didn’t want to be a Ballerina
back when I was a young girl…
I just wanted to find other folk
who viewed things, sideways,
and felt with their beating-hearts
instead of black-and-white minds.”
I have a ‘Penny Jar’ at my abode
with a label written in calligraphy
‘For All Those Future Experiments
& Experiences Worth Remembering’
and no matter how much money I insert
it’s almost always close to being empty…

August 22, 2020

editors note: Too often, what beat we seek turns out sadly, black-and-white. – mh clay

Kissing my crescent moon by Sufia Khatoon

Past 2 am, the crescent moon is my lover tonight.

Its half-lit face on the eclipsed window is my sadness tonight.

On my bed, my sleep isn’t going to wane my craving for a kiss on my nightmares tonight.

My eyes desire to caress the unspoken words before its disappearance tonight.

My palms cup the lonely moonbeams and urge it to settle on my bosoms tonight.

My heartbeat wants to be held by a heart in the sky of love tonight.

My lips want to rest on the lips kissing my crescent moon tonight.

August 21, 2020

editors note: Lovers; jealous of the moon, jealous of lovers. – mh clay

The Limits of the Sun by Ahmad Al-khatat

Take me to the limits of the sun
Away from the miserable nest
of skeletons, simply because
they remind me of my thirty-five years

Take me back in your warm dream
Where life’s bitterness appears more
like a blooming rose in the direction
of the cemetery, in which we can smile

Take me to the sorrows of our home
To learn how to love without weeping
To learn how to raise you to the rainbow
And learn about each other as we are one heart

Take me somewhere far away so
You and I, we are one route to the darkness
Nobody can get in our way, nor damage us
The ones who are in, they will win and the

Ones who escape will die for being lonely
If you cannot take me anywhere near you
Then allow me to sip on some of the best
poison, since I am weak to go on my own
to the limits of the sun…

August 20, 2020

editors note: Leap for the limits; lose the lament. – mh clay

Drug for This by J. K. Durick

There must be a drug for this
You know, one that gets you
Up out of bed, stumbles you
Toward the medicine cabinet
To take another day’s worth,
First a capsule, then a tablet.
Then the day would begin to
Take shape, to take on color
Dimensions, it would take on
A perspective to unify all this.
There must be something I
Can take, you can take, just
The proper dose, of course.
Take it dry or with a slug of
Water, then wait a minute or
Two and the effects will kick
In, things will become clear
Once more, have a purpose
To appreciate, like a careful
Sonata, a well-turned sonnet,
Or a perfect sunset. There
Must be a drug for all of this,
These symptoms, this headache,
This aching, this pain. There
Must be a drug, there must be
A drug, something we could take
To make this all seem better.

August 19, 2020

editors note: If there is, just say “Yes!” – mh clay

Trip to nowhere by Mike Zone

My father
a giant tumor
My mother- ashes
scattered along
the railroad tracks
how many people
have breathed her in?
who will inhale me?
breathing in both
my sweetness
and disdain?

August 18, 2020

editors note: In with a gasp, out with a sneeze. Gesundheit! – mh clay


Nature’s first rule is predation
a fact in the face
which he could not stand

so he puffed up a cloud
in his glacial station
to obscure that cruel beauty
of the land.

August 17, 2020

editors note: In this case, smoke ’em when you DON’T… – mh clay

Abandoned Farmhouse On Westray by Glenn Hubbard

Beyond unchecked nettles,
it sits in a dip. The gable
wall has settled and the
strata of local stone
have begun to buckle.
Smaller stones, honed for
a snug fit, plug chinks.
I focus the lenses on
the two inclining chimney
stacks. Long unmolested
gulls stare back. Beyond
the far gable end, the land
runs down to the sea.

Here lives were lived,
much love made and
many meals prepared
by patient women who
waited for men to arrive
home to stand dripping
and shivering at the hearth
like waifs, wiping streaming
noses on the sleeves of
sweaters knitted through
the long, dark evenings
of a northern winter.
Here fires that burned
all day were banked up
with care last thing to
keep them in all night
while above bodies
exchanged heat.

Was it death or disaster?
Or was it perhaps despair
at a life hard to bear,
there beneath the slates,
behind the stones?

August 16, 2020

editors note: Stories from stones. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If this weekend finds you Need-a-Read, then A Crawl Toward Reality by Zachary Toombs might be a bullseye for you!

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

“Life. Death. Choices. They’re all at our fingertips.

Here’s a shot of our pick-of-the-week(end) tale:

(photo “Armed Life” by Tyler Malone)

His feet couldn’t handle the pavement. His figure couldn’t bend to the shape of the doorway. But he forced his way along—through the entrance of the bar.

Therein, it bustled. A sort of grime laid overtop everything. It went further than the cigar smoke that hung in the air and the groaning tune that played on the jukebox. It was the murky smell—the dusty veneer that sank into each grain of wood and thread of cushion. Nothing moved. Whether it be the same men who sat at the counter, or the signed photographs on the wall that hadn’t shifted, very little had changed.

When he entered, the tired cycle halted. The door creaked open with more vivacity and force, hitting the wall behind it with a meaty crack.

He towered above all. His stern gaze remained uninterrupted as it sliced through the crowd before him.

The crowd parted for his steps that drove into the planks below.

His shoulders remained sturdy as his march continued to the bar.

The regulars looked him up and down, cigars dangling from their jowls.

He placed his hands on the counter, glaring at the man behind it.

The bartender glared back, with nowhere near the same level of ferocity. His hand worked at a glass with a rag.

The man reached into his coat pocket, unveiling a brass shell. He brought it to the level of their eye contact.

The regulars gnawed at their burning cigars—they glared along with them…

Keep your sights on the target and get the rest of this read on right here!


Our featured story this week comes to us from a Mad Swirl Contributing Poet crossing over to the prose side.

Lace and Paper comes to us from Alexandria Biamonte and will pull some strings.

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

“Home is where you are, not where you’ve been. Maybe now home isn’t a person or a place, it’s where there’s no hate. “

Here’s a glimpse to get those feelers feeling:

(photo “At Home @ A6” by Tyler Malone)

It feels like it should be raining. I can’t quite explain why. In novels and films, there would be a constant pattering against my windows. Shadows would be long and strange. Maybe the rain is a baptism, maybe it’s the tears the protagonist won’t cry. If it was an artsy film, there would be no musical score to emphasize how the character is alone with her thoughts, her head as muddled and cloudy as the sky. In the darkness, she would have a small candle. The tiny flame would flicker, and the camera would linger on it, perhaps with a slow pan back up to the character’s face. Fragile hopes and dreams providing her only light and warmth in a dim and unwelcoming world.

I’m not sure what box my candles are in and, in spite of the urge, I’m not going to hunt for them. Bright sunlight lets itself in, sidestepping the vertical blinds. Two of the panels are broken. I hadn’t noticed during the walkthrough. Outside, there are children shrieking, and a dog barking, and cicadas screaming, and a lawnmower dutifully purring along. I’m sitting in the middle of the living room, on the floor, eating a doughnut off a paper towel. Boxes line the walls, but not enough to suggest that I might be an established adult. No, it’s a lifetime of collected meaningful things, and it wouldn’t fill this apartment if I tried…

Get the rest of Alexandria’s bildungsroman read on right here.

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl Open Mic THIS 1st Wednesday of the September (aka 09.02.20), as we once again whirl up the Swirl VIRTUALLY, opening the mic for all you Mad ones out there! Maximizing the powers of technology & broadcasting from Big D & blastin’ off into the interwebs!

Starting at 7:30pm (CST), join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay, along with Chris Curiel’s jazzed-up Swirve (with special guest, Your Loving Son!) as we get this madness Swirlin’ via Facebook LIVE!

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate. (get a spot on our list at our Facebook event page OR send us a note at

Come to appreciate. (tune in to our Facebook LIVE feed starting at 7:30pm (cst))

Come to be a part of our collective creative love-child we affectionately call Mad Swirl!


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…

Givin’ & Takin’,

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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