The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.09.21

by January 10, 2021 0 comments

“Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it.”

Emily Dickinson

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Bethemoth 45Alan Murphy

Mad Swirl welcomes back Alan Murphy to the Mad Gallery with some collage work that truly is a treat to take in. Each piece almost feels like a scavenger hunt when you look at it – taking in both the entirety of the image portrayed and all the other parts and pieces that create it, too. Not to mention, the composition of each collage just feels right (even when it’s a little weird) and we don’t know exactly how he does it but we’re grateful he does… and that he shares them with us! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see more of Alan’s eclectic collages, as well as our other former featured artists (51 in total), take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… our verses came before, during, and after a horrid hump day, yet still… we did what we shouldn’t, did not what we couldn’t; we felt an ad man’s hard duress, to make more of what matters less; we heard one (two) speak on the strength in the weak; we romped in the rift of continental drift; we got for the taking a delightful waking; we three times won from rain to sun; we happily heard that the bird is the word. We love them for how they sing, we need them to write anything. ~ MH Clay

Birder by Paul Hostovsky

Every poem should have a bird in it — Mary Oliver

Cynosure, gravid, pabulum,
were just three of the many
unusual specimens
I’d been lucky enough
to glimpse in the last few days.
And then I was at the dentist
when I heard risible singing
from behind my hygienist’s
face mask: “These muscles
around your mouth,” she said,
“are your risible muscles,”
and I reached for my metaphorical
binoculars and feasted
on risible perched at the edge
of that noun phrase,
where I’d never seen it before.
It was a rare sighting and I could sense
the dinosaur DNA of that dactyl
going all the way back to the Old French rire
and the Latin ridere, and maybe
I felt a little ridiculous
as I offered her my invisible
binoculars and she declined because
she was wearing a face shield
over her face mask, and her hands were full
of my teeth. Nevertheless, I know she appreciated
risible the way I appreciated it
when I heard its song–which sounds like
laughter–emanating from her own mouth
as I sat there with my mouth open
wider than song, wider than laughter,
as wide as a baby-bird mouth.

January 9, 2021

editors note: The birds for us. – mh clay

3 Haiku: white, walls, & wings by Padmini Krishnan

spring rain
scent of rain
on the wood white butterfly


rainy evening
shadow of patterned wings
on dripping walls


rain aftermath
songbird drying her wings
in the sun

January 8, 2021

editors note: In this new year, let’s have sun after rain. – mh clay

Waking by Bruce Mundhenke

Dawn is at my window,
Treetops dance in light,
A robin’s song seduces me
With haunting sweet delight.
A dove calls
Someone loves you,
A sad and mournful sound,
A world comes into focus,
And enters into light,
And once again
Forgets the darkness of the night.

January 7, 2021

editors note: A sweet awakening; from dark to light. – mh clay

Continental Drift. by Jack Ritter

A baby shuts his eyes and sees
bull continents drift,
collide, startle, spin around.

Prehistoric bucks suddenly accusing-
(Did YOU just back into ME?)
They jam head-to-head,
gouge, reconcile, then confer.
(The baby likes what he sees.)

The beasts get down to business.
They iron out earth’s future
with special bellows, & lots of musk.

Above this caucus
of nodding, naying heads,
clacking antlers mesh
into a burgeoning thicket.
(He calls for more!)

The thicket shudders,
sprouts into a dagger forest.

It shoots up recklessly like a baby’s legs,
and jabs the sky with young ideas:

New species, struggles, lies.
Whole societies in the air,
too busy to teach their children
about the bellowing below.

The weight of so much life is too much.

There is a final SNAP
of prehistoric backs.

Not a grain remains on which to carve
the memory of all the things
that passed before this baby’s eyes.

January 6, 2021

editors note: So young. So much to learn. – mh clay

drive by Tess Hunt

The man in me is crying
while the woman
drives the car.

She’s always been
the stronger one,
and how we got this far.

But then he rises up to say-
kindness is not weakness, hey.

And again we all trade places.

January 5, 2021

editors note: Two minds, one minder. (We welcome Tess to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Suicide Diaries by Sreemani Sengupta

I don’t switch on
the television
others do, everybody
does, so it matters
less and less, or
more and more
I mostly take a cheap
slow bus to an
advertising agency
and sit down to write
anything they ask
for as long as
the night wind
blows a little
into my rough
hair, before I
plunge into the
subway crowds
and stare at
women growing
impatient with
their feminine
selves, so they
push and plunge,
and thrust me
out with their
backsides, dripping
sweat, the water
of life, for a while
I say, dear friends,
let me sit in the
dark and think
about killing myself
and yet I find
they’ve broken the
latch to my door,
‘cos I’ve thought ‘bout
this before, so I
crouch under the
mosquito net to
kill the day at least

January 4, 2021

editors note: A dead day, at least, is followed by another. – mh clay

No by Alexandria Biamonte

Do not text your ex.

Do not text your crush.

Do not check her twitter.

Do not check his facebook.

Do not cut your hair.

Do not paint your bathroom.

Do not eat that entire bag of chips.

And while we’re at it,

Do not get on the scale.

Do not Google “chest pains.”

Do not bite your nails.

Do not disassemble the vacuum.

Do not sleep all day.

Get out of bed.

Get off your phone.

Do not text them.

Do Not.


January 3, 2021

editors note: Make your best “yes!” for the New Year. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Narrator: You, in need of a read, stumble across this call-to-action.

You: What’s this?

Mad Swirl: You need a read!

You: How do you know that?!

Mad Swirl: All we know is Jeff Grimshaw ain’t playin’ in his latest, “Chill Packs”… or is he?

You: Huh?

Mad Swirl: Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone says about it: So much comes and goes in a day of work. And some narrator, somewhere, sees it all. Or they spin everything into motion and we count the days go by. That’s our job.

Mad Swirl: Ah, just take our word for it and dig into our weekend featured read!

Narrator: You click on the link and are quite pleased. Mad Swirl is pleased you’re pleased!

(photo “Time Creeps” by Tyler Malone)

OK, we’ll stop playin’ & let Jeff do that instead! Get started right here!


Mad Swirl’s midweek featured read comes to us from Swati Moheet Agrawal.

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

“Every day is every other day, and it will be that for all our days. We can be different, though. We can change, one day.”

Here’s a dose of her story, Mend to get you started:

(photo “Meant to Grow, Meant to Decay” by Tyler Malone)

It’s the same scene today as it is every morning: my husband amuses himself with the stock market, the children get dressed for school, I toss up breakfast and the sun streams through the open window.

I am in a state of constant dissatisfaction. Frenzy. Turmoil. I walk around with the same unanswered questions.

We want our partner to remain the person we met at the altar, as if we could stop time.

I want my husband to remain that person who smeared vermilion in the parting of my hair, as if I could stop time.

Nothing remains the way it is, in the early days, when a couple is still a mystery to one other. Keeping the spark alive after twenty years of marriage seems like a complete impossibility to me.

Some days I’m frantic with anxiety—what kills a relationship? Is it a lack of challenge? Monotony? Would I be able to manage myself and my children if my husband died? Would I remarry? Who would take charge of my children if I died? Would they be left to fend for themselves? Would my husband remarry? Would my children be in safe hands then?

The more questions I attempt to answer, the more questions appear before me. It’s like I’m hopping mad on a hamster wheel, prancing around in circles, never arriving anywhere.

Whoever says love is enough is lying through their teeth. It isn’t and it never has been.

I get into the shower and burst into tears. I wash off the day. I rinse off every trace of the day, knowing well the next day is going to be exactly like today…

Get the end of “Mend” by clickin’ here!

••• Open Mic •••

To ALL ye yin & yang hangers, ye yang & yin winners, ye lookers for the new, ye bookers of the blue skies beyond the auld lang syne… ye transformers & reformers & resolved heart warmers came & shook the old & new together to make a “now” like no other at Mad Swirl’s New Year 2021 Open Mic!

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday (aka 01.06.21), you know that Mad Swirl Open Mic once again virtually whirled up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!

Here’s a shout out to all who witnessed this mad transformation & graced us with your words, your songs, your divine madness…

Musical Overture: Swirve

Hosts: Johnny O & MH Clay

Open Mic:
Atenea Afrodita
Anthony Ripp
Chris Zimmerly
Amy Conner
Harry Mcnabb
Marianne Szlyk

Intermission: Swirve

Mike Zone
Edward Wells
Heather Soden
Brett Ardoin
Paul Koniecki
Laurie Lynn Lindemeier

Musical Conclusion: Swirve

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 our capital get ransacked) & 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

Leave a Reply