The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.05.20

by September 6, 2020 0 comments

“The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees inside himself.”

Caspar David Friedrich

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Surprised by Melting Eyelids”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 recalled the truth of a man with a tooth; we joyed no containment for free entertainment; we prayed the way through to do what we do; we wordly were vexed to put meaning in text; we wished to know Mary, we faithless contrary; we queried a tree for what we could see; we self rejected in red-eye reflected. To find full disclosure in crafted composure, keep that pencil movin’! ~ MH Clay


I press the bell
Check out my reflection
And throw the key upon reception

It’s now time
To forget about the time
To strip myself of clothes
And to wreath these bones
In plumes of opiated smoke
And bathe them in the cheapest whiskey

It’s time to drain another glass
To stroke the disconnection wider
To lie back upon the unmade bed
And watch the door open

Of course she doesn’t need to knock
How many times
Have we been here before?

My full pair of parting lips
My paid for company

“Come here, darling…”

Come join me in this loneliness
Come watch it bend and buck

See our shadows join and writhe now
Across the heavy breathing walls

“So big…”
This lie we pay to procreate

“So hard…’
These low-lit nights
We burn away
With pornographic repetition

The money is all there
No more need
To keep up the act or pretense


But for now – I think not
As the door closes on her figure

Stood alone
Naked fried
I think only of the dawn

As it comes in – creeping uninvited
Through the cracks
In the pale-skinned curtains

Its too loud cars and turned up rays
Lay bare
The alcoholic sweat and blackened sheets
Of this tin foil mind

The outside world may be waking now
But I am still inside a dream

A concrete view
A red-eyed reflection

Neither here nor there

September 5, 2020

editors note: Alone, with or without company. Sheltered in place, but never from self. – mh clay

What do you see? by Goirick Brahmachari

A purple leafless tree
How do you feel?
What is in your mind?

What do you want?
To die like a waterfall
Where do you want to go?
Where the roads melt into yellow rhyme
What do you love?
What is in your mind?

What is in your mind?

What do you see?
End of the world
How do you feel?

How do you feel?
What do you hate?
Anything slick
How do you feel?
What is in your mind?
Electric wires
What do you want?
What do you see?
Radiating light
What do you hear?
Loud isochronic tones
What do you see?

What do you see?

What do you see?
Blue grass, green skies
What do you like?
How do you feel?
How does it taste?
My mouth is dry
What’s on your mind?

What’s on your mind?

September 4, 2020

editors note: Existential tree climbing for no hanging fruit. – mh clay


Mary… Mary… Virgin Mary
How did the myth of Jesus grow?

“Free fish and bread
And raising the dead

And oh yes,
the Mary,
we didn’t get to know.”

September 3, 2020

editors note: There it is! The crux of the quandary; all whom we don’t get to know. – mh clay

Broken English by Dan Raphael

When culture takes wing
trailing fluff and flakes suggesting
mayan runes melted into asphalt
lead letters, teflon letters, mercurial vowels

Throw a stone into a dictionary, photograph the ripples
playing back in slo-mo to translate, to blend
elastic letters, porous consonants
plosives without timers or fuses

Since yeast can produce alcohol
can alcohol help our words rise
punched back down and left in a dark dry corner
focusing the spotlights for baking without smoke
the open mike vacuum draws in the friction of crows
mumblings of 5-cylinder engines

Few can handle manual transmission any more
gotta be automatic, cellular, so many tones
tween first and second, all solos, no harmony
spilt beer revealing invisible ink
whether the paper’s from tree, hemp, rags, papyrus
eventually, the archeologists realized that ziggurat
was a novel pressed in clay

I read the words on the screen with conviction
output without input, context-free text
a few new images and a misheard phrase
burst in me with a malthusian froth, muscular riptides
dancing with under-currents that just escaped

I know there’s a set of traps and cymbals around
I’m ready to unroll the scroll disguised as a steel string
pressing the pickup into my forehead
to amplify whatever’s left in there

Will our earbuds sprout in spring
always somewhere in me green and damp,
the sunshine of my love for the next unexpected
enjambment, the myth reduced to a sonnet,
the cliché about to remind us how it got that way

September 2, 2020

editors note: Constructed from the secret codex we all want to crack. There is more than words at stake… – mh clay

I Do by Shreesham Pandey

I do write.
I do feel.
I do say
what I mean.

I do work.
I do rest.
I do make
my machinery clean.

I do love.
I do hate.
I do pray
for God’s sake.

September 1, 2020

editors note: Yes, let’s do (for god’s sake). – mh clay


Slow down.
Park at Kremp’s Florist.
Pack a picnic lunch
if you so desire.

Feast your eyes, with
or without binoculars
across the dust-filled

A crane is reaching for the clouds.
It has no wheels, but treads like
an armoured tank.
It can go as high as
a 20-story building.

Will it tip over?
Nay, the back is weighted
down. The job of the day
is putting in the parking
garage. Pre-fabricated
panels make it easier.

Chorus: Oh, the men in orange
hard hats and glowing orange
vests. Oh, their Igloo containers
filled with water and Orange Crush
and Italian hoagies from Wawa

Crows – count em! – fly high
and squawk over the scene,
thinking Humans are so complicated!
“We just use twigs, cigarette stubs, and innards
of seat cushions for our comfy nests.”

Max, get your daddy to drive you over.
A sight like this you will never forget
I can just see you jumping up and down
and catapulting over and into the
swiveling crane, to help while the driver rests.

August 31, 2020

editors note: Crows may squawk, but none can gawk better than we. – mh clay

Bud Devore by Bruce Mundhenke

Standing there in his bib overalls
In front of the corner store,
Drinking soda, unshaven and shabby,
Stood the man named Bud Devore.

He worked at Brown’s store for soda,
And maybe a little loose change,
Sometimes he talked with the customers,
Most of them thought him quite strange.

He walked down the alleyways humming,
He fixed up old radios,
Where he learned electronics,
Only the good LORD knows.

I interpreted for him sometimes,
His speech hard to understand,
Rheumatic Fever afflicted boy,
Speech defective man.

His brother gave him a walrus tooth,
Then his brother moved away.
Bud was proud of the walrus tooth,
He showed it off every day.

Nobody could beat him in checkers,
At least, nobody in town.
He took on all comers in his old shed,
Until very few came around.

It seemed Bud was around forever,
Though he eventually faded away,
But he is still standing in front of Brown’s store,
When he crosses my mind today.

August 30, 2020

editors note: We all have such ghosts, remembered as place is passed. (We welcome Bruce to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re strollin’ the innerwebs with a Need-a-Read feeling shadowin’ you, take a load off & dig on into A Moonlit Shadow by Al-Bayan Ghirra.

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

“Who are we? We’re the past. What are we? We’re the past. What and who can we be without the past?”

Here is a bit to get you on your readin’ way:

(photo “Walking with Birds” by Tyler Malone)

“I’m in love with that moment when I go to sleep, when my head sinks in the pillow and my body goes deep in my bed.” It’s a moment of giving one’s self up to the world of dreams. What a misty enigmatic magical world in which we may interact with our subconscious mind! It seems that all the thoughts hidden in our subconscious mind wait for us to give in to sleep to break free. It seems like you’re watching your life, backwards and forwards, in a more chaotic manner than life itself.

Although the disease was never his biggest concern, he wouldn’t think of leaving the house if it wasn’t for the big brother. All that he needed is a small room where the big brother isn’t there, for he was always watching, criticizing, and giving orders.

“I’m going for a walk,” he said to his mother.

“Are you crazy!” She exclaimed in fear.

“It’s not the end of the world.” He said, although he didn’t mean it.

The disease in the air forced everybody to stay home. The streets were almost empty. He gave his mother a strange look and left. Words stopped at the edge of articulation and disappeared into thin air. Lately, there was a war inside him, his thoughts were too dark to be declared so that they would either put him in a straitjacket or get him behind bars…

Get the rest of this pithy walk-about read right here!


Mad Swirl’s midweek Need-a-Read comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet J H Martin.

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

“Half remembered half lives, that’s what will keep us from living full happiness.”

Here’s a bit of J H’s Les Papillons Noirs to get those reading juices flowin’:

(photo “Half Life” by Tyler Malone)

‘ …La nuit, tous les chagrins se grisent; de tout son cœur on aimerait, que disparaissent à jamais, les papillons noirs, les papillons noirs, les papillons noirs…’

From inside his black pea-coat, Jacques took out his phone and looked at its cracked screen.

Why he hadn’t changed the ring tone, he had no idea.

It had been over seven years since they’d got divorced and he had been deported.

Shaking his head, Jacques put the phone back without answering it. That wasn’t what Simone wanted from him. As she had said many times, that wasn’t what their situation was.

On the south side of the river, Jacques looked out across the gray water and tried to focus on the large white dome on the other side. A structure which had been built to celebrate the millennium but had long since changed its name and purpose.

Jacques nodded at his shifting thoughts.


The Pearl Tower. Shanghai. Spring Festival.

“Baby,” his wife had whispered, nuzzling her cheek against his own, “I just know this year is going to be a good one. Don’t you think?”…

See what Jacques thinks about that right here.

••• Open Mic •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic​ this past 1st Wednesday (aka 09.02.20), 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 & MH Clay

Round One:
Johnny Olson
Michael Clay
Opalina Salas
Brett Ardoin
Paul Koniecki
Devorah Titunik
Mike Zone
Amy Conner
David Parham
James Dennis Casey IV
Marianne Szlyk
Stefan White

Musical Interlude:
Your Loving Son (Carlos & Opalina Salas)

Round Two:
Harry McNabb
Dan Raphael
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Martin Hache
Afrodita Atenea Garza Leon
Edward Wells
Heather “Handy” Soden
Jack C. Ritter
Anthony Ripp

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!

Johnny O

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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