The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.27.21

by on March 27, 2021 :: 0 comments

“If you believe you’re a poet, then you’re saved.”
Gregory Corso

••• The Mad Gallery •••

LockjawCharles J. March III

It’s rare these days to find art that is truly unique in its’ execution – that’s no insult to artists but more an acknowledgement to the limits we’re faced when it comes to creating something brand new. That’s what excited us the most about Charles March and his curious collage collection (aptly titled ‘Rorschach Scratch Out’) – we’ve never seen anything quite like it. Charles combines the popular ‘blackout poetry’ style with found objects that at first seem completely random, until you look a little closer and find the ways in which they tie into the poetry he’s created – on what appear to be some sort of medical documents. In this way, Charles’ work is a puzzle of sorts and we commend his creativity as much as his execution. Only a mad mind like Charles’ could come up with art like this and, well, you know us Mad Swirlers just couldn’t resist it. ~ Madelyn Olson

To witness more of Charles’ Rorschach madness, 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 adverse hazards tended for a smile where rainbow ended; we bettered Descarte to make breathing art; we took self to task, our fear unmasked; we made a third-world rift out of Liberty’s gift; we played odd tracks from the vinyl stacks; we pulled child’s sooth from a wisdom tooth; we quelled street terror in our margin of error. The words we wield are our only shield. ~ MH Clay

My Heart Cries out for Obstruction by Dan Raphael

My Heart Cries out for Obstruction – Nathaniel Mackey

my twitching fingers know the air’s too thin
to climb or weave, my feet reluctant to leave the floor
but town is closing soon and the highway needs its quota

you can only buy so much time without worrying where to put it
exchanging interest for growth, an unstable stillness
the momentum of a sentence untethered by breath
my lungs steadily changing pages, uncertain

something yeasted then forgotten
a fermented state of mind stoppered with cheekbones
hesitation reduced to lard, rendering in charcoal squid blood
and tar sands the inevitability of stars, more error than margin
too much space for a line, too much rumble for a bag

keys keep turning in my pocket but nothing ignites
my deodorant smells like gasoline, my mouthwash
from a forgotten river, no industry without dust,
no progress without rogues, out of the blue and into the grey

always leave a couple spoonfuls for the next meal
if the knife’s not used for cooking something else will be cut
on Thursdays, the cooks pick the music and the plates are glad
to wash themselves, my appetite’s in a minor key

when my earworm is a bass jam i was playing last night
while the garlic i smell from the kitchen won’t be peeled and chopped
for a couple hours, on the brink of an almost lethal brilliance
eyes cropping what the windows allege, a 20-foot shadow
rolls slowly down my street looking for an address

March 27, 2021

editors note: Post “No Soliciting”, pull the shades. – mh clay

My wisdom tooth is coming by Hem Raj Bastola

It is trivial!
It is temporary!
I am gonna write up
Something today.
I am gonna write up
Something to say.

Early morning,
Welled up thinking.
A thought of bygone
Sieving memories.

A friend said:
“You are missed today.”
And I feel the wind,
Of overflowing joy
There on the way.

Lighter and
Free I felt.
As he learned the values
Of the moments of life.
And I think within:
That would be great
If he could keep
Such feelings forever.

At the same time
Other feelings arise
When human dreams
Drive further,
If you get lost with
Plastic luxury.

Succumbs the spirit,
You will be cheaper then,
Gravity of being
Will pull down.

Few peregrine birds
Passing through
On my return welcome.
As I arrive home
And stop.

His fickle
Childish spirit
Curious to tell.
Opening his jaws.
Father! Father!
You know! it is hurting,
My wisdom tooth
Is coming.

March 26, 2021

editors note: Getting us to wise up is like pulling teeth. – mh clay

The Album Called Transmute by Marianne Szlyk

Once again, I stand in my mother’s
mint-green raincoat from
RH White’s, too-thick hair
spilling far past my shoulders,
a stain on this prim coat.

In this musty record store,
dark even at noon,
I flip through crates
of $1 albums,
almost all faded.

Here I find a black album,
all outline, no color,
large dung beetle, holy symbol,
shuddering bass, tenor’s yelp.
Nothing I am looking for.

I hold the album between my hands.
Colors emerge: iridescent purple
and silver. Then green
overwhelms black
to shimmer like leaves.

I wonder what I will hear
when I play this album
on the blue Radio Shack
record player I still own
in dreams like this one.

Some nights I put
the album back,
fearing bad guitar,
worse lyrics. Once
someone had slipped
disco into the sleeve.

That night a siren sounded.
Men dressed like cops whooped.
Across the hall my brother
snickered, then chanted

Tonight I try again, hoping
for Richard Thompson, hoping
for Los Lobos, for A Tribe
Called Quest, not daring
to imagine women’s voices
on the album called Transmute.

March 25, 2021

editors note: Vinyl verity in dream sleep reveals your music in mind. – mh clay

Downfall by Gary Beck

I walk the streets of Dream City,
see the homeless on every corner,
cardboard signs proclaiming need,
yet few stop to give alms.
I listen to the people I pass
speaking foreign languages.
I carefully look around
and the city is familiar,
A shock. It’s not Calcutta!
It may not look it anymore
but I’m in America,
becoming a third-world country.
So many have fallen
so far, so fast,
I barely recognize my land.
The capitalists may as well give away
the Statue of Liberty,
the inspiring French gift,
not much different now
from the Eiffel Tower,
a tourist attraction.

March 24, 2021

editors note: Here’s a POV to elicit yours; while you fumble for your fast-pass to move you to the front of the line. – mh clay

I Am This Year’s Asshole by David Susswein

this year… I had forgotten you.
not exceptional, I had forgotten almost everyone

I had forgotten my mother, sister, brother
and all friends

I was thinking only of me,
my mask-wearing, wash-handed
diluted me

I was wearing a mask,
but it was not a mask
it was a metaphor

to be in pain and see: clouds
covering the whole sky
that never lift

but if they did:
see me

not really caring about my fellow man,
just scared and scared and scared.

Waking up, breathless and covered
in my own sweat.

March 23, 2021

editors note: The time is coming (soon, we hope) when we assholes may atone. Meanwhile, take comfort; we’re not alone. – mh clay

Of Itself by Alexandria Biamonte

There are verses about poetry
And stories about prose.
There are songs about music
And movies about film.
I think there is such a thing
As to live a life about living.
For one’s existence to be so
Exemplary of the human condition
That the act of breathing is

March 22, 2021

editors note: What’s YOUR life about? – mh clay

Under the Rainbow by David Ratcliffe

You saw me as a prisoner might observe a bird;
prompting my leave of relative poise
to step aboard your sadness
accepting an invitation
to the misshapen areas of your mind.

Beneath each crystal blue reservoir
hung a dam about to burst,
with the weight of my concern
initiating the flood.

Seeking sound footing
I slipped on the silt of your sincerity
sinking to skeletal remains
on the ocean floor
along the anchor chain
dug deep into your ruin.

Decades of decay flooded my senses,
as my stomach repelled
at the hole I’d made
sending me surfacing
like a geyser.

Your understanding smile greeted my return
where I remained,
floating beneath your rainbow
content for now,
while promising
to improve my stroke.

March 21, 2021

editors note: Playing through to a good walk spoiled. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read that’ll get you going, dig on into It Could Be Worse, It Could Be Raining by Judge Santiago Burdon!
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this week’s featured tale:
What do we do? How should we think about living and dying and surviving when everything in-between is simply routine?
Here’s a bit of Judge’s rowdy read to get you rolling:

(photo “Under Different Atmospheres in the Same Planet” by Tyler Malone)

Up, out of bed at 3 PM. Saturday, San Jose Costa Fucking Rica, rain with a mixture of car exhaust. Gray skies over a gray world, just the Gods reminding me what a hangover looks like. The storm has already saturated the city, flooding streets and low lying areas. The smell triggers my olfactory memory machine to recall fond thoughts of Mexico City resulting in a smile that occupies what feels like my entire face. The smile is replaced quickly with a grimace from the pain of this cancer eating away at me like alligators gnawing from the inside out.
Gods, hilarious bastards yuckin’ it up at the joke they have perpetrated, I could have contracted lung cancer, I’ve smoked everything that can catch fire, or liver cancer because fish almost drink like me. A Quote from Christina, a past love. I drink like a fish, I once said. “No, Santi, the fish drink like you.” It’s not cancer of the blood even I’ve shot and tried to shoot everything that would dissolve in water, even cough syrup with codeine as well. Stomach cancer, no. The thing I enjoy most is sex so I have prostate cancer.
Those of you thinking karma can kiss my ass, you people piss me off more than Christians who believe there is some cosmic cloud waiting to rain down retribution for simply living. Now I am really agitating myself. Past lives, what a myth. Karma was created to pacify egos of those who are not willing to fight back…
It could be worse, it could be the end of this story! But it’s not so get the rest of this raucous read on at our lil ol’ dot com!

••• 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!

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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