The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.29.20

by on August 30, 2020 :: 0 comments

“If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.”

Charlie Parker

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“What Makes Light Smile”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 gave rise to exercise; we took our rest to gape at breasts; we bathed in wonder at vertical thunder; we heard freedom talk through a pendulum clock; we learned to flaunt mechanical want; we read through a rambling day of the gamble; we licked love elixir from an ice cream mixer. We savor all flavors, divine all lines, write meaning from dreams. ~ MH Clay


Nobody really knows where it’s from.

Perhaps China’s snow and rice, mixed with saltpeter, frozen to zero
Perhaps Ancient Greece, where Hippocrates proclaimed it livened
the “life juices” Perhaps Persia, with their rose water and vermicelli,
saffron and secret spices Or the Medicis, with their tin ice pots,
strawberries, raspberries, and currants

We can thank the Quakers for bringing it to George Washington
and Carlo Gatti, not a mobster – outside Charing Cross, selling
scoops for a penny

or AB Marsalls’ Book of Cookery, that introduced the ‘cornet’ –
made of crushed almonds, pressed, not ironed –
All playing in a band where nobody was certain of the tune
and yet so lively

Must it have milk? they ask
Must it have saltpeter? Why add rice?
Can cinnamon be added which stings the eyes?
Durian which putrifies the nose?
Mung Bean? Crema Catalaña? Red Bean?
How much milk fat?
How many globules?
How small the crystallines?
What is a colloidal system?

But the question beyond all others
that I always return to
and the answer I always seek, is:

How is it that I was so fortunate to have met you in this life?

August 29, 2020

editors note: And how fortunate are we, if asking the question? (Oh, and sprinkles; gotta have sprinkles.) – mh clay

the treat and that spock lifter to mention a day of the gamble by J. D. Nelson

were you a box of turtle?
the arthur is the chief helmet of the wall

the number of bleeding toes
to measure that parker brothers irrigation

fern the green progression
left of the raisin

be the better beast
that salt is the freeze of the tree

grouch was a grunt
clam to beat a new egg

to be the better wolf
the bright wolf of the winter head

the low glowing worm
the diadem and that landing to meet me

August 28, 2020

editors note: If you would be a bold bequeather, you must be the better beast. – mh clay

Man’s Machines by Robert Ronnow

Might as well go to market.
Gather money, kindling. The economy
scary, debt deep, winter coming. Reminds
me of my youth, cold poor and scared
but living truth? Shit. Never
have I understood life’s meaning,
significance. Not to say there is no purpose
necessarily, just I don’t immediately get it.

Other hand, if you don’t think too deeply
about death, this being but a dream, sleep
of a god snoring with apnea or whose alarm
goes off, gets up for work, spring and expecting
spring’s good as it gets. Rhodora in winter
completely forgets what its blossoms looked
like, how attractive to bees and flies!
It’s probably healthy that everything dies.

The dire economy can bring us together
or lead us to war. It’s cold then warm. Your lover
doesn’t write letters anymore giving
thanks or encouragement.
Friends never really know each other,
nemesis. Just as it is impossible to say
what you mean, your closest lover’s near but
external, forever. You’re alone.

More than ever men have one mind
and finding it’s as easy as flicking on the
tv, huckleberry, but that always was
the problem. We march to war in rows and back
in columns. Learning who you actually are
is difficult as sitting still
ten minutes without a thought or want.
Nothing to say. Nothing to do.

Interior solitude, imperative belonging.
Repetitive dreaming. Until you draw
a circle with a dot at
the center. Stop. Full stop.
On a dry rocky ridge, hot
or in a frozen swamp. One heron
and yourself. It is possible to hear
not far, a car, a train, a plane.

August 27, 2020

editors note: Machine makes Man make Machines make Man… – mh clay

defining the clogs of birds by Shitta Faruq Adémólá

shrieking facets of droppings of little rains; my
eyes are cubicles of tiny falls – when what I
eat is the stains of the mouths of dogs – when in
my dream, I suffer isolation. I want

to learn how to unclog the manacle that sits on
the writhing of my caged tongue – blue
sea and blurred visions. and because my hand is a pendulum
clock, the sisters of my sisters of my
father’s brother chuckle; they moan with jests – my
morning is a mourning of salty ice.

in schools, teachers tell us of parrot’s loquacious
protests, crafts incessantly from the
shackles of hefty hands and boring clogs of chains- we
laugh our lungs, stupid for the truth.

this plight is a sand of non-retreating pain our
hand will only phase its walls of stone – man, I learned
to speak to my shadow in silence – Our Lord’s Prayer(s)
never left the bricks that guide my mouth.

the girl in Sambisa knows how whips get lashed on the
tenderness of backs,
the penises of little boys hoping death is a Plato of
sweet pains; and because we never saw what they see,
we jump like toads into the shoes that wear them.

I sing for a night of a happy moon –
I wish to hear the fall of stars, coming
to define to me the ancestral home of freedom.

August 26, 2020

editors note: Enslavement more severe demands a freedom more clear. (Thanks to our brother poet from Nigeria for this point of view.) – mh clay

g lass etc. by Bhargab Chatterjee

water + copper sulphate
create fear tissues
on a substratum
animal boasting
powered by
a vertical thunder
takes a hot bath
in a cold evening
relatively stark
swallowed fire

August 25, 2020

editors note: Ahhh! A hot bath to quell the fear and dull the thunder (slight case of heartburn after). – mh clay

SIGHTS TO BEHOLD by David Spicer

I dream of golden and silver phoenixes
They fly above various eyes at a wake

They fly above my eyes before I wake
A pink-cheeked baby rides a Weimaraner

The Weimaraner turns pink as the baby
as I watch you disrobe in the black tower

No one sees you disrobe in the black tower
A riderless stallion arrives legs in air

A thorn-crowned stallion with a rider arrives
Both horses and the rider gape at your breasts

Your breasts gape back the horses and rider leave
You stand on the window ledge naked with birds

The birds on the window ledge stand nude as you
I love golden silver phoenixes in dreams

August 24, 2020

editors note: Now we lay us down to sleep us down to lay we now to dream. – mh clay

A DUMB(BELL) TALE by Mandakini Bhattacherya

All shapes are possible at home
with a dumbbell, opined a friend.
And I cocked an ear
and thought, indeed,
dumbbells also come in all possible sizes.

The sternness of a dumbbell is hard to match.
When I enter my room,
they look at me with a strict eye,
chhota bhai and mota bhai
(the thin one and the fat one)
lying under the almirah
in a covert mode of operation.

I panic, I freeze, I cringe with guilt.
I have ignored my passports
to Svelteland for too long.

Dumbbells, however, are all-forgiving
(coz they are dumb!).
Once you embrace them,
beef-steak or hourglass,
dumbbells are a panacea
for all-encompassing boredom
during an endless lockdown.

August 23, 2020

editors note: What shape are you? Be buff, not bored. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This weekend’s edition of Need-a-Read comes to us from Anindita Sarkar.

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

“Find yourself and yourself alone in the face of the waters.”

Here is a bit of “Frayed” to get you on your readin’ way:

(photo “On the Surface” by Tyler Malone)

I watch the tide of darkness seep in through the periwinkle curtain against the pane of my bedroom window. The birds have stopped chirping. There is no sound except the occasional vehicles that honks on the stray dogs. Nothing has changed. Only that I have retired and my arthritic limbs impede my movement.

I wait for my wife in the semi-dark room sipping on a cappuccino. Today morning when the joyful screams of swallows aroused me from my tranced out state I saw her leaving with a big towel in her hand feeble like a starving animal. She barely talks nowadays. The body which once struck me as a seductive yell of womanhood, now it’s only a wisp of air. Although I never inquire about her expansive network of siloed events, I know she goes to the lake every day, one of the several man-made reservoirs with a hydroelectric dam at its end. She goes there with her colleagues, a troupe of literature lovers and the former professors of Auden University.

I hate it…

We bet YOU won’t hate the rest of this story! Get the whole picture right here!


Mad Swirl’s mid-week Need-a-Read comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet, Harley White!

The Spindle is the fifth except from her larger work titled “Sleeping Beauty” that Harley has shared with us.

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

“Unlock the door, go deep, deep, deep, deeper into madness. But that’s where you want to go.”

Here is a tease to ease you in:

(photo “Waiting for Your Feet” by Tyler Malone)

One day like all seemingly other days a long impending day that was to be set apart from all other days by the opening of an impenetrable chasm I idle found myself in medias res wandering wandering intrepidly all about the palace running round running running round about the castle restlessly questing searching aimlessly for new corridors galleries hallways passageways exploring everything unexplored exploring everything there was to explore exploring exploring headlong heedless up down seen unseen patios courtyards quadrangles balconies terraces verandas roving about from one apartment to another from suite to suite opening doors to kitchens pantries sculleries laundries salons parlors anterooms atriums foyers vestibules banquet rooms ballrooms guardrooms by-rooms even dungeons roaming as my fancy took me straying into nooky niches alcoves ambries cubbyholes corners cloisters colonnades opening posterns doors to sanctums closets ateliers bedchambers boudoirs bathrooms crossing aisles archways gateways gangways bridges climbing up down in out round about ascending descending belfries watchtowers clock-towers cloud-capped towers bent on bent on bent on bent on………

Explore more of this tale 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 one of the 25 spots on our list (only 7 left!) 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…


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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