The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.06.21

by March 7, 2021 0 comments

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”


••• The Mad Gallery •••

TerpsichoreChris Zimmerly

To see all of Zim’s Mad photographic visions, as well as our other former featured artists (over 50 in total), take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we took rest from a hornets nest; we flew through the gleam of random dreams; we wished for a day when poetry paid; we friendly roamed in the perfect pome; we took a poke at whipping the yolk; we cleared our confusion over triumph‘s illusion; we extended a hand for the width of the band. Pull tight, let loose, write the right, cut the noose. Phoosh! ~ MH Clay

“i’m with the bandwidth” by Tess Hunt

you said you didn’t
have the bandwidth.

don’t say that about my friend!

there is someone in your doorway
casting a shadow
and i cannot see you anymore.

stay away.
come back to me.

it is difficult to hear you
over my pained echo.

i see why we left it at

March 6, 2021

editors note: No matter how you leave it, you need bandwidth to deal with it. – mh clay

Triumph by Utpal Chakraborty

So long you thought you know the profundity of all that you have in your clutches.
The more you have pulled them the more you have distanced yourself. You are ransacking the roads and avenues to find everything empty. Yet you have never measured its depth. You haven’t pulled the hums and throbs out of the screen. You haven’t called her by the nickname. Flying the chariot you have never asked for transparent water in a transparent glass and the food for the grass. Like before you haven’t sought anything floating on pluta swara. You have considered precious all that you have seen and got. You have put all the horizon long hangover of success in your showcase, keeping the distance bound to you. You haven’t bound up any hour. Do you ever win seeking the ways for scented coins? Triumph is but an illusion. It buries its head just after kissing the moment.

March 5, 2021

editors note: Tripping on the transitory; listen for the long voice instead. – mh clay

Yolk by Susie Gharib

How many yolks are whipped into your discourse?
For half an hour you have dwelt on the repose
of a primrose
in flamboyant prose.

You whisk the yolk of your words
with a trickle of lushly pollinated thoughts
that drips from the amber of yonder rose
wrapped up in a clause.

With how many yolks have you exposed
the layers of gold that streak your odes,
the saffron of fire suffusing your tropes,
the dandelion permeating your metaphors?

March 4, 2021

editors note: Our ever engrossing attempts to make the perfect omelette. – mh clay


The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
– Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house
could be anywhere across this busted,
split to bits country, where nearly all the
frightened people are masked to hide their fears,
as cities burn and bullets scar the air.

For twelve years, Paula has been a cashier.
In the village it’s very still these days;
quarantine times and perpetual masks,
still, the Ocean State Job Lot is busy,
Paula on a register, eyes smiling.

Paula and I have become friends over
the years, her constant smile, her eyes not right.
The darkest evening of the year won’t stop
her ringing at the light of Number Two,
her wild, wide black hair pouring down her back.

We’ve made small talk over these many years,
though our connection has not been easy.
She is quite timid and prefers quiet.
The sound between us, oftentimes silence,
and the sweep of wind in the parking lot.

Until the day she said, “You a teacher?”
I said, “Yes I am. I teach poetry.”
“Oh, I love that!” Her eyes beamed and she spoke —
Whose woods these are I think I know, she said,
and she spoke the whole poem perfectly.

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house
in the village is very still these days.
The darkest evening of the year won’t stop
the sound between us, oftentimes silence,
though now she says the poem perfectly.

March 3, 2021

editors note: Friendships found in verse abound. – mh clay

A Poem a Day by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

If only my poetry could
bring down my mortgage debt,

I would write a poem a day
for the bankers who own my home.

I write a poem a day and sometimes
two, but mostly for myself.

I never expect a dime out of poetry.
It does not lower my blood pressure.

It did not stop the cancer that
the doctors skillfully treated.

I am just thinking out loud.
No banker would take my poetry as

payment. They would not wipe their
noses with any page I have written.

I am just going to work until I am dead,
and write poetry as well,

until my mind is gone and
the banker forecloses on my home.

March 2, 2021

editors note: Nope, no money; but richer, still. – mh clay

Night Wings by Devorah Titunik

I was contracted to marry a powerful Emperor
In Ancient China. A total stranger who terrified me.

My friends envied the fabulous gifts I was sent.
But what do fine silks and jewels matter when expected
To leave everything you know and live with
A stranger in a strange land?

I didn’t love him, but in time I grew to like him.
Together we created a magic palace whose tricks and
Secrets people would still be trying to uncover
A thousand years later. I know this because I was
There as an explorer in the 21st century too.

I watched the sun rise over a valley filled with flowers.
Rainbows burst to life as the rays hit the waterfalls.

I established an orphanage on the moon. Led my
Warriors to victory. Had conversations with Caesar
And danced on the rings of Saturn.

My reality may be full of stress and my days empty,
But when I drift off at night, I rise.

I become a queen, a warrior, explorer and so much more.

I forget the fear, anxiety and loneliness of my reality
And soar through time and space in my dreams.
All that weighs me down melts away and I grow wings.

March 1, 2021

editors note: Yes to the place where everyone can fly. – mh clay

Departures by Peggy Turnbull

The Orioles darted to our willow tree,
flitting from limb to limb until
they deemed it safe to visit our feeder,
a glass of purple jelly nestled

beneath the foliage. Last week a gang
of bald-faced hornets invaded
the jam pot—bad guys who staked
an illicit claim. The grape scent

befuddled their brains and they
dove in. A few drowned, doomed
by their greed. The Orioles sped away
for Mexico, where I lived in college.

On our last night, my best friend
lured my lover to her with flattery
and laughter while I grieved.
Today my husband removed the feeder

to end the hornets’ orgy of death.
I’m glad. I would have waited
at the window long into autumn,
watching for that last flash of orange.

February 28, 2021

editors note: The last to leave is the memory. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured read, “The Pearl Stringer’s Mother” comes to us from longtime Contributing Writer & Poet KJ Hannah Greenberg.

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

“Relations begin when they shouldn’t but they don’t end when they should.”

Here’s how this stringer’s story string begins:

(photo “Lips Are for Secrets and Smiles” by Tyler Malone)

Maya lifted her chin off of her chest. She rubbed the crusty gunk out of her eyes and coughed, once, to clear her mouth. To her right, her mother lay prone on her hospital bed, a ventilator breathing for her and a seeming myriad of tubes snaking in and out of various ports up and down her body.

Instinctively, Maya reached into her backpack. Among her juice boxes and bags of peanuts was a small, zip pouch. She lifted that sack onto her lap and took out one of the strings of beads that snuggled within it. Like the other strands in her sack, that small rope of oblong, calcium carbonate deposits had been entrusted to her care since she was an expert pearl stringer.

Maya regarded her mother, again. Her parent had been in a coma for three days. It was probably okay to work on a project. She wasn’t needed and likely wasn’t even noticed…

Pick up the rest of this pearl of a story right here!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2020 is available right HERE!

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2020 is a 109-page anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists from five continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, & North America); 12 countries (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Syria, UK, Ukraine, & USA [18 States]). We editors reviewed the entire year’s output to ensure this collection is truly “the best” of! The works represent diverse voices and vantages which speak to all aspects of this crazy swirl we call “life on earth.”

And for those wondering just what and/or who Mad Swirl is

Mad Swirl is an arts and literature creative outlet. It is a platform, a showcase, and a stage for artistic expression in this mad, mad world of ours; a diverse collection of as many poets, artists, and writers we can gather from around the world; from Nepal to Ireland, from England to China, from California to New York City and all the places in between. Our Poetry Forum features works from over 170 contributing poets, our Short Story Library has over 40 participating writers and our Mad Gallery has over 50 resident artists.

This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl!

Huge grats & shout-outs to our 2020 featured Contributors (in alphabetical order):

Featured Artists:

Sufia Khatoon
Nawwar Morelli
Madelyn Olson
Sharron Ott

Featured Poets:

Paras Abassi
Shitta Faruq Adémólá
Kleio B
Jason Baldinger
Devon Balwit
Sekhar Banerjee
Gayle Bell
Volodymyr Bilyk
Jean Bohuslav
Goirick Brahmachari
Alan Cohen
L.A. Davidson
Rob Dyer
David Francis Effiong
Mike Fiorito
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Ricky Garni
Iulia Gherghei
John Grey
Jeff Grimshaw
Samantha Hawkins
Mike Horan
Tess Hunt
Sufia Khatoon
David P. Kozinski
Heller Levinson
Kimberly Madura
Tyler Malone
Robert L. Martin
Lisa Moak
Dennis Moriarty
Johnny Olson
Nikita Parik
Irena Pasvinter
Frank Phelan
Timothy Pilgrim
David Punter
Polly Richardson (Munnelly)
Ron Riekki
Sam Silva
Paul Smith
Spencer Smith
Dana St. Mary
Marianne Szlyk
Chuck Taylor
William Taylor Jr.
Peggy Turnbull
Mel Waldman
William J Watson
Chris Zimmerly

Featured Writers:

Harmen Burgess
Susie Gharib
Walt Giersbach
KJ Hannah Greenberg
Omar Hussain
Tyler Malone
Jenean McBrearty
Harry McNabb
Vivek Nath Mishra
Bruce Mundhenke
Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri
Zachary Toombs

If we’ve enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2020” then get yours right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday (aka 03.03.21), you witnessed live performances from a few of the poets & writers featured in The Best of Mad Swirl v:2020 anthology! And since we couldn’t get together in person to birth this printed creative love-child, we did the next best thing…

Here’s a shout out to those who shared their creative wares with us, both in the anthology and last night:

Musical Overture: Swirve

Hosts: Johnny O & MH Clay

Featured Contributors:
Rob Dyer (performed by MH Clay)
Marianne Szlyk
Timothy Pilgrim
Harry McNabb
Chris Zimmerly
William J Watson
Mike Fiorito
Johnny Olson
L.A. Davidson
Frank Phelan
Iulia Gherghei
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Polly Richardson
Walt Giersbach
Tyler Malone

After the book launchin’ festivities, we hosted a short open mic. Here’s who graced our virtual stage:

Open Mic:

CJ Critt
Devorah Titunik
Paul Koniecki
Daphne Moon
Mike Zone
Polly Richardson
Harry McNabb
Marianne Szlyk
Chris Zimmerly

Musical Conclusion: Swirve

Thanks to ALL the appreciators who rode the Mad wave from our FB Live feed! We know you had a choice of what to do with your Wednesday night (like getting vaccinated) & you picked to virtually hang out with us!

Now more than ever, we need community, we need creative outlets.

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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