The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.17.20

by October 18, 2020 0 comments

“Art, to me, is the interpretation of the impression which nature makes upon the eye and brain.”

Childe Hassam

apricityPatty Paine

See all of Patty’s neat beat collages and trippy digital works, 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 stopped a while by an old sundial; we picked apart one’s love of art; we stitched a plan for a monster man; we asked which comes when – the poet, the poem, or the pen; we grew large, hale, and hearty at a giant’s garden party; we ran for shelter in the helter-skelter, the shake of a quake; we hoped to win over lack of spin. No matter how we hold, so long as tales are told… ~ MH Clay

Emergency Room Surge by Kenneth P. Gurney

I remember it was a Tuesday
when the mass-mailer postcard arrived
informing me, and the planet’s entire population,
that the Earth would stop rotating on Friday,
for the hours of eight through five,
so a repair to the Earth’s axis
could straighten out the seasons
with a return of magnetic north and south
to the poles.

If they were upright at eight-twelve
everyone who took the postcard as a joke
tumbled over from an unappreciated application
of Newton’s first law of motion
when the earth suddenly
ceased revolving.

October 17, 2020

editors note: Inept with your inertia? Best hang on… – mh clay

SF89 by Gayle Bell

The beach in 1989
such hills
Wild rosemary and juniper
Baloney sandwiches
Secondhand beach towels
Second and possibly third hand
But we were free
The importance of
Reused brick frame duplexes
Once used to frame
A country sure of itself
Now assured of the
Freedom of its consequences
Before the earth shrugged

October 16, 2020

editors note: All foundations shake when the earth quakes. – mh clay

The Hymn of The Sweet Soul by Hongri Yuan

Drape the night over my shoulders like a cloak of the world,
call the birds of the stars from outer space and fly near my city garden.
Sing a song of the giants from the huge city of platinum,
awaken the drowsy city of the world with a start.
Oh, the lightnings are in full bloom in the vault of heaven-
the hymns of the sweet soul.
Your bones became transparent suddenly,
their light was flickering all over the body like the wings,
in a flash, the body became huge, higher than the large building down the street.

– Translated by Yuanbing Zhang

October 15, 2020

editors note: A moment of transcendental insight; largeness with largesse. – mh clay

Are We Poems? by Ethan Goffman

The story is writing you,
you are not writing the story.
The poem is your life
your life is not a poem.

Your life is many poems
perhaps an epic
of a wily adventurer

perhaps a sonnet
of a doomed love affair
a sun quickly setting.

Perhaps a poet is writing this
perhaps a failed comic
is stuttering it on a grand stage
as tomatoes rain down.

This poem is not being written
this poem is writing the world.

This world is only stories
this world is only dreams
an intricate bouquet of
milkweed, chicory, Joe Pye weed

that words strain to capture
flickering ghosts on a video screen

without writers there is no world
without a world no writers.

This world is flitting
always on the edge of

This world is eternal
it will outlive us all
all of us who create it.

October 14, 2020

editors note: Gods and us, avid readers all. (This poem is included in Ethan’s recently published collection, “Words for Things Left Unsaid,” available from Kelsay Books. Read Mike Fiorito’s Mad review of it. Then get your own copy from Amazon or directly from the publisher here. Check it out!) – mh clay

Slow… by Heather Handy

Slow; stitches and scarred.
The monster turned on Master
And became human.

October 13, 2020

editors note: What we all want to be when we grow up (in 17 syllables). – mh clay

The Waiting Man Paints His Mind by Linda Imbler

No one stops to listen
while the holy painter
describes his technique,
and why he chose his colors thus.

Even with his pitiful disassociation,
dreams of this portrait will haunt him.

None suspect his stuffed background of experiences.
This unimportant man,
this waiting man who asks the day
if anyone feels love.

A torture battles his thousand spirits,
as the sanity thief lurks,
unwilling to offer a reasoned viewpoint.

Inside this consequence,
his spooky abilities still let him manage his brush-
fresh paint thrown upon the canvas.
He shifts his emphasis
to the form of the subject,
until he completes his binding task.

And no one stops to listen, nor answer,
as this waiting man asks
if anyone feels love.

October 12, 2020

editors note: Just gotta paint, answers or no. – mh clay

Entwined by S. A. Gerber

The days become
entwined, like two
eager young lovers
drunk on wine.
The length of days
have become rather
indeterminate, given
the inconsistency of
dark and light.
Swiftly fly the
hours as well.
Eventually resulting
in lost time.
The birds sing
less as night
lingers with more
dark creating longer
more haunted nightmares.
Heat will soon
turn to winter
chilling what time
does remain us.
Math and science
should feel their
ways back to the
drawing boards to
refigure the sundial…
then move
ahead from there.

October 11, 2020

editors note: Meantime, maybe use mood rings? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Mad Swirl’s featured story this weekend, Screwdriver by Danil Volohov, is sure to give you the buzz you are lookin’ for!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about it:

“Drink to live. Drink to forget life. Drink all your life and never have to forget.”

Here’s a few sips to give you a taste of this tale:

(photo “Back in the habit” by Tyler Malone)

Screwdriver seems to be an ideal cocktail but not everybody shares this opinion. I got sucked into making one after reading an article in a magazine, one you wouldn’t touch if you weren’t sitting in barbershop, waiting for your turn. Screwdriver-two ingredients: long-awaited drunkenness and a mild state of euphoria, things that any of us need in certain situations. Also pain. Despair. Screams deep inside your soul. Breakups. Failure or success. Isn’t it true that you can always find the reason? And only two ingredients…

If that taste of “Screwdriver” left you thirsty for more, then click here to get the rest of this read on!


If you Need-a-Read & it brought you to this feed, then heed the sign and get your read on!

Our midweek featured story, Orbs of Light comes to us from Contributing Writer, Tim Frank!

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

“What’s in your head? Reach in, hold on, and bring it to the light.”

Here’s a few lines from Tim’s magical mane tale:

(photo “Cool Cut” by Tyler Malone)

Dominica had a beehive like Amy Winehouse, like Marge Simpson. It was a strange beast, natural but with a fake sheen. If someone needed a pen or a lighter, even a cup of tea, she just reached inside and pulled out whatever was needed. Chris, her ten-year-old nephew, was fascinated by her tricks and at a family gathering hosted by his parents, pita bread, hummus, and a selection of deli meats were running low, so she dipped inside her hedge and plucked out a bowl of BBQ chicken wings and some sausage rolls. No one seemed surprised. In fact, most seemed strangely vexed by her actions and wanted to brush her talent under the table. But was she Jesus or David Blaine?

It was a bank holiday Monday and everyone had soaked up plenty of sun in the garden, consumed lots of red wine—peals of laughter resounding through the neighbourhood. Around 9pm, Chris’s extended family all collapsed in the spare bedrooms—woozy and red-faced. Dominica was placed in the small office beside Chris’s room and she’d been given a foldout bed that could just about squeeze into the confined space.

Chris heard her snore just minutes after her head hit the pillow. He entered her room and watched Dominica’s chest heave up and down as she slept serenely in the foetal position. Chris planted his hand into the beehive and felt around. He leaned in, reaching further and further until his whole body had slipped into the hair and all became dark. He opened his eyes wide and focused. He picked out droplets of light. In fact, he realized they were giant orbs in the distance. The orbs floated back and forth through the infinite darkness and as they moved, Chris could see objects trapped inside. Chris saw a guitar, a cat, a glacier, a rocket, a skull, a truck, earrings, and on and on. Chris himself was caught inside one of these strange bubbles. Then a hand stretched into the void, perforated Chris’s sphere and dragged him back into the real world making his ears pop…

What else is in that doo? Do yourself a favor and move on over here to get the rest of this shaggy read on!

••• Another Mad Review •••

Words for Things Left Unsaid by Ethan Goffman
Kelsay Books (March 7, 2020)
Available at Amazon

What stands out almost immediately about Ethan Goffman’s poetry collection “Words for Things Left Unsaid,” is that his poems often read like speculative fiction, asking what-if questions about reality, science, and history.

Get a copy of “Word for Things Left Unsaid.” (link in comments) Laugh your ass off. Get some wisdom in a bottle. When you find yourself watching the wheels go round and round and when you’re no longer riding on the merry go round, maybe, just maybe, you will let it all go.

Click here to get Associate Editor Mike Fiorito’s full dissertation!


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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