The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.13.21

by March 14, 2021 0 comments

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

Jack Kerouac

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Dallas Strange #7Chris 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 made tomorrow’s way with claims from yesterday; we finished strong with the thoroughbred throng; we twisted think on how much drink; we wished the way for sweet ones’ day; we recalled a rave on a rising wave; we gave up a mea culpa; we light filled up our empty cup. Our empty comes full, our pens in the pull. ~ MH Clay

from The Woman in an Imaginary Painting: It comes through… by Tom Montag

It comes through me,
she says. Like light.
As if I am

a cup waiting
on the table.
As if emptiness

attracts. As if
stillness rings like
a bell, the sound

singing its way,
and silence asks
wisdom for more.

March 13, 2021

editors note: Sound from silence like color from white. (We welcome Tom to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Forgive Me Sister by PW Covington

Forgive me sister, I’ve done it again
Given in, entirely to my decadence and whims
Airport signs and thin, white, lines, sometimes
I forget what I’m trying to find

Maybe I’ll remember
Come Wintertime

The songbirds native to my city
Do not notice when my feeder is out of seed
The transient, bright and novel migratory breeds
Care even less

The world is still accessible
To those that live on wings
And take no heed of human things
This is not the bird flu

Feathered beasts flew north then south
Then north again, blown about on wind, and Tweets
A virus stalked the streets
Reefer trucks lined up like hotel limousines

Masks and grocery delivery and screening
There is no aviary built for streaming
That downy, wild, unfettered things
Have not soared beyond

When my faded feeder is not met, full, with milo seed
Perhaps my neighbor’s might be
Should breathless death disease winter take me
Songs will still be heard, up in the trees

Forgive me sister, what have I done?
Sniping cigarettes and lusty glances, like a bus stop bum
I set out with nothing like destruction in mind
You wonder what the fuck I’ve done, this time

I’ll probably never know until I find it myself
And I’ve added your love to my souvenir shelf
Perhaps attraction
Perhaps, something else

March 12, 2021

editors note: Without repentance, there is no forgiveness… – mh clay

yes michael the wave is receding by M L Woldman

I’m sober now for weeks.
sometimes days.
the trick is to only hate yourself sometimes.
back when you knew me
my drinking drew reproachful glances
even from russians.
i went to job interviews with whiskey on my breath,
hid pints of ancient age under my hostel bunk.

you ask me about san francisco
and all i can tell you is it’s the best place
i’ve ever been dead.

it’s been 8 years i think since we did those drugs we found
in the civic center,
and jittered with the cherry blossoms in the
japanese tea garden.

we heard rumors there were bison
kept somewhere near the ocean,
where everything is made of money.

now it’s been 4 years with a roof over my head
and i’ve been in love with a woman that whole time.
i have pills that mitigate the damage in my skull
and the shadow forms no longer call.

i swear i’ll visit you in canada someday
when the u.s. hegemonster wears out its welcome
and the ocean rises to meet the bison.

March 11, 2021

editors note: Where boats are rowed, a shore is ashore. – mh clay

sweet boy by Ferris Jones

don’t weep. we won’t surrender you on this dilapidated dance floor. we will reconstruct it into a sky that will not squirm. its guardian will be of your crop. we will be the spirits that will yield blood for your tranquility. our minds will accept this pandemic and sections will disappear. nobody will realize how great they should have remained. a parachute will break your loss. go on, little one, conceive those daydreams. the earth cluttered with our remains will attend over you. no mischief will appear to you.

we will draw up arms and overthrow the pagan vampire that is autocracy. its assault will be but fables, flying before the years develop. the hijacker will expire in shackles, millions will lament, rifles will blow, capitals will ignite. airborne joy will torrent the invasion.

i will stand my history in your palms, be delicate with the mass, golden stars will be on your screens. read the message, behold the ground, envelop the tombstones. the karats are the weight, controlled by the painting of your forthcoming. i will stare on to you and your triumph, sweet boy. we will not let you, nor will we dig the tunnels.

March 10, 2021

editors note: For all our sweet ones; this we wish! – mh clay

above all leave by Heller Levinson

above all leave time to tear otherwise there is no comparison both sides of the fence temporality fades in slow motion honor the frame the occlusion mounts when warrants wane has anyone done a thorough study of let’s not go there how much drink to do away with all this

March 9, 2021

editors note: How much, indeed? (We welcome Heller back to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his page – check it out.) – mh clay

THE STRETCH by Vern Fein

Thoroughbreds blister to the top
of the stretch, heading for home.

So are we.
We hit the bend of the turn,
aged decrepitude looms.

Rounding off a full life,
headed for home.

Not sure what is home.
Not sure how long
the stretch extends.

Finish strong.

March 8, 2021

editors note: …but, also last. – mh clay

X from Everafter by Steven Minchin

Take this as a whimpering petition
or as an alert from a broadside
posted on a bullhorn

Heed it and go
with a charge fueled by murmurs

Take notice
the mark you came in with
will be the eternity you pursue

Let the hunt go
with a polished scream at that notice

Take this darting announcement
of a brittle uprising
lashing back against forever

Take it and go
injure tomorrow with yesterday’s claim

March 7, 2021

editors note: Legacy or lethargy; we’re finished at the start. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

What comes around, goes around! Just like our weekly featured short stories! This week, what comes around is Ben in the Jar by Jim Bates.

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

“We all want to fly. We need to fly. But sometimes, when others let us go, that flight could be our last.”

Here’s how “Ben in the Jar” goes around:

(photo “Ben There Before” by Tyler Malone)

Ignoring the sudden, throbbing pain in her hip, Katie limped to the front of the class.

“Kids!” She set her cane aside and motioned to get the second graders’ attention. “Look at this.”

​She held up a glass canning jar with a dragonfly in it and listened to their enthusiastic “Ohhs” and “Ahhs.”

​Jeremy, one of her more inquisitive students politely raised his hand. “Ms. Jackson,” he asked. “What kind is it?”

​Katie smiled. The bespeckled boy with freckles and red hair reminded her why she liked to teach so much. “See the color,” she said, holding the jar out for him to see better.

​“Yes. It’s blue.”

​“That’s right. It’s called a common blue damselfly or blue damsel for short.

​“Where’d you get it?”

​“I found him in my garden.”

​Next to Jeremy, Sally raised her hand. “How do you know it’s a he?”

​Oops. A bead of sweat appeared on Katie’s forehead that she quickly wiped away. She tried to cover up her misstep by joking, “It just looks like a he, doesn’t it?” she asked, nodded her head in the affirmative. The class dutifully nodded along. Whew, she thought to herself, trouble avoided.

​Katie talked to the kids some more about dragonflies and their importance in nature and then gave the jar to Jeremy to take around the room to give the students a closer look.

While he was making his way up and down the aisles, she wondered what the class would think if she told them the truth, that the dragonfly wasn’t just some ordinary blue damselfly she’d captured in her garden. No. It was really her husband, dead these past three years, who had come back to life as a dragonfly. She smiled to herself. That would really freak them out…

Flap those wings and fly on over here to get the rest of this flighty read on!

••• 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!


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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