The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.07.20

by on November 8, 2020 :: 0 comments

“Live to the point of tears.”

Albert Camus

Thru the years I’ve worn a few hats at Mad Swirl (goin’ on our 21st!). My fave hat, by far, is designing the flyers for our open mic! For our November open mic we celebrated our 16th year of swirlin’ up our live madness. To commemorate that sweet birthday, I gathered together my faves fliers thru the years. Always a pleasure walking on down Mad memory lane & to ALWAYS have the best seat in the house… Johnny O

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe wound up a whirl, whipped the core, not the girl; we claimed kanpai, though we die bumbye; we paid the toll to not stumble but roll; we sunk more in a junk drawer; we left in a mask, left the phone on the desk; we dealt love back for a queen and her jack; we saw this thing we’re in is one house, shared skin. It’s one world for this Swirl. ~ MH Clay

THE LOVE BOND by Sam Silva

See we are ancient already! We are marble
carved and sealed to fortressed stone
inseparable the way we aged together
and glistening in our polish
like one of your starry paintings.

Or an old rustic house
grown out as one toward the woodland.
We live in the same skin
shelter under each other’s locks.

I look out the window of your brilliant eyes
and see and give utterance for the world
eternally brand new!

November 7, 2020

editors note: Yes! Give utterance! – mh clay

Over A Game of Cards by Debasis Tripathy

a queen of hearts, a jack of spades,
a shuffling of the deck, a shedding
of the cards, a game of love underway

a stronger masculine hand, matching
of wits, a test of patience, a sip
of sights, the queen plays her trick

a little allusion meant to attract
the slightest attention, carefully
calculated slips of the glossy lips

sharp whips of the dense eyelashes
the glances grazing against each other
a flirting flutter in the frail heart

a talk so sweet, loud the hearts beat,
a momentary loss of male concentration
and she bluffs him into a tame submission.

November 6, 2020

editors note: All in for strip, though destined to lose, when you were naked all along. (Maybe this loss is a win.) – mh clay

He took by Dana St. Mary

Inspired by Jeff Weddle

He took his medications well and orderly
He woke up just every day
To go to work unerringly
He took care to think quietly
And not to speak haphazardly

He took pride in his appearance and
His presence, nay, impression was that
Of a man that shaves regularly
At least that was the thing
He told himself

He tried to smile always but
These days the masks hide all that
And your eyes can only emote
So effectively anyway
But, smile he did and widely

He took notes on his phone
And the phone was the desk
That held the drawer
With all his notes in them
And the phone was what was left
On his desk

When he left.

November 5, 2020

editors note: When the road turns left of left… – mh clay

Ant Trap by Jeff Grimshaw

Looking for ant traps in the junk drawer,
It is a wonderland of broken scissor blades,
Flashlight parts, dried electrical tape,
Corroded batteries, washers, stray
Crayons, dead pens. But no ant traps
& the ants are running amok. I get

Lost in here. Forgotten Polaroids, decrepit
Relatives bleaching into the ghosts they will
Soon become. Candles tucked away in case of
Emergency and snapped into pieces, never
To be retrieved. Did I mention that the ants
Are running amok? & yet here I am,

Rummaging through loose gears and rubber
Bands, searching for cheap hollow metal
Discs stuffed with chunks of poison the ants
Find irresistible. There is not one in the
Junk drawer, not one.
The ants are running amok &
The only one who ever gets trapped is me.

November 4, 2020

editors note: What is your current quarantine quandary? – mh clay

Capitalist therapy by Mike Zone

Masks in the parking lot
car exhaust from mad shopping excursions choking the atmosphere
a bag of half-eaten fast food bakes in the heat
yes sir, Amerika’s back in full swing
no contagion here
step right up and get your realest realism
but something just isn’t right
maybe a touch of evil
under patriotic circumstances
what is the purpose of life?
“Do an inventory, rolling good times versus tumbling bad times, audit what you don’t like”
“remember it won’t work until you pay your bill.”

November 3, 2020

editors note: Nothing does (and in the distance; more distancing). – mh clay

BUMBYE WE DIE by Joe Balaz

Bumbye we die

so moa bettah kanpai
and raise our glasses to da sky.

Life is rough enough

wen deah’s
too many elephants in da room

and da buggahs
stay eating all da peanuts.

No can party snack
wit da pachyderm attack

until we light some firecrackers
and scare da troublemakers away.

Watch da herd go charging out da door—

It’s just like New Year’s!

Bumbye we die

so moa bettah kanpai
and simply simplify.

It’s wun celebration
witout hesitation

wen everybody mellow out
to share da same space.

Might as well be friends
and tie up all da loose ends.

Bumbye we die

so moa bettah kanpai
foa see each adah eye to eye.

bumbye Later on.
kanpai Japanese word for “Cheers!” in a drinking toast.

November 2, 2020

editors note: Yes! Let’s “mellow out to share the same space.” – mh clay

belly up by Jean Bohuslav

days have been so hot fish are floating belly up
my abdomen is swollen
bigger than mother’s was
when i was five years old we shared a bath together
“i never want a tummy like hers,” i thought
it was the size of the baby elephant’s
in my golden book

be careful of what you don’t want

the first thing he said after offering me medication was
‘it makes you fat’
i started to think he was a bit of a cowboy
he could have said put on weight like most doctors would
the many other side-effects made me say
‘why would i take it?’

i agreed with the prescriptions
and the small operations
but the words – ‘you will? you will?’ rang strange
i felt in a bit of a whirl
not the kind when a girl’s on her first date
but the type that eats the core out of your brain
to spit it back in your face

i had given him bullets for his gun
causing rise to one fat belly
no need for floaties

float I will
but not like those fish
not for a while

November 1, 2020

editors note: Suspended in a constant state of recovery “for our own good.” – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Mad Swirl’s weekend featured Need-a-Read comes to us from longtime Contributing Poet & now Writer, Anthony Ward!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say our weekend featured read:

“Fire cleanses down to roots. What’s left, after time, blooms taller than ever before from the once charred heart we thought was the whole world.”

Here’s a teaser of The Surprise to get your weekend read need satiated:

(photo “Dirty to Clean” by Tyler Malone)

Walter Nye would overcome his shyness towards his lover Kristin. After his eventual first date they became a great couple. Collecting comments from street gossip about their togetherness.

Walter would talk of nothing else. Kristen this. Kristen that. Until all his friends deserted him. But Walter didn’t care. Nor hardly realize. All he wanted and needed was Kristin.

As time went by Walter would gain an obsession towards her to reinforce the desperation that she was gaining distance from him. She would stay away for weekends without ringing. While he seemed to be a burden when she was at home. Although they never argued, since he was afraid of the reality, and she couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge him in any attentive manner. This went on for some while until Walter’s delusions began eroding his sensibilities…

Get the rest of “The Surprise …not so surprisingly… at Mad Swirl’s dot com!


If you need a distraction from the political happenings, we got just the trick!

Mad Swirl’s featured midweek story, Bruised Heart by Phyllis Souza will surely get your mind off all that other stuff.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about our midweek featured read:

“We can’t change, so it’s not up to someone else to hope we can. It’s up to us to up and go.”

Here’s a few lines to hook ya:

(photo “Spot for One, Space for Two” by Tyler Malone)

Maria, a forty-year-old divorcée, hoped Frank hadn’t changed his mind. She peered out her living room window. Pedestrians passed, cars eased to the curb, but no sign of Frank. She scooped a handful of jellybeans from the candy dish and popped them into her mouth. She picked at her teeth with a glossy red fingernail.

Finally, Frank pulled up front and beeped the horn.

He’s here. Maria raced into the bathroom. She squinted into the mirror for a last-minute check. I can’t believe I’m getting married.

Another honk, one long continuous blast.

“Okay, okay, I’m coming,” Maria dashed back into the living room. She snatched her purse, slung the strap over a shoulder, and grabbed her overnight bag as she ran out of the house.

As soon as Frank saw her jetting across the yard, he casually climbed out of the car.

“Hi, beautiful day, don’t you think?” Maria chirped.

“It’s a little warm if you ask me,” Frank replied with a hint of annoyance in his voice. “Give me your bag. I’ll put it in the trunk.”

Maria knitted her brows. What’s his problem? Maybe he’s just worried about his mother. She opened the passenger door and tossed her purse onto the back seat and watched Frank struggle to suck in his gut and lock in fifty pounds of fat under the strap.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked.

“What kind of question is that?”…

If you wanna know what kinda question that is, ease on over to our dot com and get the rest of this read on!

••• Open Mic •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic​ this past 1st Wednesday (aka 11.04.20), Mad Swirl Open Mic once again virtually whirled up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!

This month we Swirlabrated 16 YEARS of open mic madness, beaming our mad confab straight out into the wide world of webs & straight to your screens. HUGE grats to these Mad ones who swirled their madness on our virtual mic:

Musical Interlude: Swirve


Johnny O
MH Clay

Round 1:

Chris Zimmerly
Mike Zone
Atenea Afrodita
Brett Ardoin
Vic Victory
Roderick Richardson
Devorah Titunik
Paul Koniecki

Round 2:

Anthony Ripp
Marianne Szlyk
Ethan Goffman
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier
Martin Hache
Manuel Alvear
SA Gerber

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 (like watch the slow election count row!) & 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

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

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