The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.10.21

by April 11, 2021 0 comments

“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. / There is no happiness like mine. / I have been eating poetry.”
Mark Strand

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Dinner PartyCharles J. March III

To witness more of Charles’ curious collage collection, 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 conjured a cup for the next act up; we shopped in sensory, a coin for a story; we shined up the varnish on cabinet carnage; we cloaked in coat, wrote words remote; we sought solidarity in bootleg therapy (cheers!); we agreed to pass along words amassed; we reached to relent a dog’s discontent. We howl, we bark, we miss the mark; we howl and bark again. ~ MH Clay

It’s Not Out There by Brian Rihlmann

some people hear of the
strange transgressions
of their neighbors and ask—
how could he? or—
what was she thinking?
I don’t ask, anymore
nobody gets what they really want
if they even know what that is
and it makes this a restless
and lonely old world

I hear it whining
for its absentee master
like a stray dog in the night
and I hear the people, too—
a chorus of them, wide awake
when they should be sleeping
screaming for it to shut up, already
and sometimes one of the voices
is mine and the dog
is not out there
but cowers in some dark crevice
where I can’t even reach
to scratch him
behind the ears

April 10, 2021

editors note: Where’s my good boy? Where’s my good boy? – mh clay

MAGAZINES by Robert Demaree

My poet professor friend
Brought me a bag this morning
With magazines in which
His work appeared.
I am to keep what I want
And pass the rest on
To others here at Golden Pines
Who value
The stewardship of possibility.
May not be quite
The proper word,
Those small-press journals,
Most from college towns,
By which our culture is preserved.
He frets lest this seem vain,
But it is rather a great
Kindness, a gift of friendship and
Something more, which with my own
I cannot yet bring myself to do,
Which is to spare his sons, his heirs
A task.

April 9, 2021

editors note: Our legacy, left as possibility or just as piles of stuff. Pass it on! – mh clay

Bootleg Therapy by Roderick Richardson

There’s too much
Pressure to take.
I won’t eat, so
I keep losing weight

I sleep way too much
Cuz I won’t get outta bed.
Just wanna spend my life
In this room instead.

Bae says get help. Get
Therapy. Try my luck.
Hit up Google; made a
Call. $75 an hour? Da Fuck?!

That little ole help is
Too high for me to seek.
But this $20 bottle of Evan
Williams should last a week.

That and some lemon
Is all I need.
Bootleg therapy
Yes, indeed.

Bae says “Get up love!
I fixed some eggs.”
I say, “No.”
Bae says “Try the doctor.
They got some meds.”
I say, “So.”

Gotta pay for the visit
Whether or not I’m sick.
And I heard the cheap stuff
I can afford fucks up yo dick.

I got me some juice & gin,
And some Henny Hen Hen
And neither of them has ever
Allowed my nature to bend.

Making Bae and me feel
Good is all I need
Bootleg therapy
Yes, indeed.

Bae packed her bags.
Now she’s gone.
Don’t know why.
I did nothing wrong.

Now I’m left alone to
Deal with my shit
Oh, and by the way, FUCK
KANYE WEST! Yes, I said it.

Money can’t buy happiness
I guess we all got it bad.
But cash will point you to
The direction of why you sad.

Me? Maybe some will
Spot me some weed.
Bootleg Therapy
Yes, indeed.

April 8, 2021

editors note: Delivered in a brown paper bag, behind the 7-11 in the dead of night. Feelin’ better already. Yes, indeed! – mh clay

An Old Coat by John Najjar

Camouflage by words
I walk this corridor
In a mirrored maze
Where fascination threatens to overwhelm me

In exploring this maternal space
I search for definition
Something solid to anchor my being upon
But I find only invented forms

Wearing this tattered coat
My body is a collection of words
Stretched between these edges
I am lashed by alien white spaces
I cry out in anguish
as I plead for resolution

A caged tiger
I pace each line away

I probe these vast spaces
As the dashing second takes me
Outside secure structures
leaving me to struggle with a divided memory
That vibrates to another time

What seemed certain then is now a flow
that carries me towards a certain future
A piece of debris
I am washed up on this rocky shore.

From darkness to darkness
I am a narrow bridge
Strung across an abyss

Dismissing notions of substance
I caress this maternal page
It offers a small reprieve
In this movement towards dusty silence.

Squabbling with broken images
Will always be a futile occupation
An unruffled world can relinquish
Disconnected moments
But all my precious notions
Leave me to slip into darkness.

April 7, 2021

editors note: Still, we seek for rescue in our words. – mh clay

My Polished Cabinets by Padmini Krishnan

Before turning into my cabinet
they were teak trees,
their tangled bark
smoothened through many cuts.
I heard they protested with every bruise,
snapped their branches at
every beating they took
and the wind howled when they
were forced out of mother earth.
But, the axe had its way
so that I do not have to work on the floor.
My cabinet now looks ‘pretty’ and
polished, wiping out all traces
of the rough bark, wild and intertwined.

April 6, 2021

editors note: Our kitchens come from carnage. Deaf to their cries, we bake our pies. – mh clay

A Bazaar’s Cacophony by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Oranges, oranges, apples, and pears, tangerines for the ones you presume dear.
Melons, plus cherries, strawberries, too. Come here; I’ve sweet plums for you.

Come and hear a story, a story, a story,
Come and hear a story, put a coin in my hat.

I have silk, from the east, you must buy a piece.
There’s red, blue, plus lavender, Stop, look, at least.

Gooold bracelets!
Gooold bracelets!

You should own this beast. Bring your family home a feast.
Shop for lamb, chicks, a duck. Fresh eggs will bring you luck.

Come and hear a story, a story, a story,
Come and hear a story, put a coin in my hat.

Here’s a handsome cuckoo clock. Come on over, do not stare.
Your love will like this piece a lot. Buy it while it’s still here.

Sausages, sausages, wieners in pairs, sweet yellow onions, none do compare.
Soft yellow cheese, salted, hard, too. These victuals should be a picnic for you.

Come and hear a story, a story, a story,
Come and hear a story, put a coin in my hat.

April 5, 2021

editors note: Every day, a story, story. Keep some coins on hand. – mh clay

The next act up after Jesus by Joseph Farley

You look once
and see magic.

You look again
and see nothing at all.

That’s the way it goes kids.
Miracles are all in the timing.

Get it wrong
and it’s just another game of cards.

April 4, 2021

editors note: With nothing but imagination up your sleeve. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured read– Madrigals by Contributing Writer Mark Benedict— shines a light on the shadowy side of life.
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this week’s featured tale:
Living in the shadow of your own shadow self is the darkest place to be. But do you become your own light?
Here’s a spotlight to get you on your Need-a-Read way:


(photo “A New Day: A New Emptiness” by Tyler Malone)

David Newton, young project manager, was in a harshly lit meeting when he realized that he’d rather die than spend another stupid month at his job. The conversation among his coworkers, now as always, was dry and droning—the sound of life passing you by. But where else could he go? The arts were his passion but not his talent. He wanted to holler curses and topple everyone’s water bottles. Instead, he decided to take a year off and buy a motorcycle and teach a music appreciation class at the library.

“You’re either the craziest person I know or the bravest,” his supervisor Jill said when he put in his two weeks’ notice later that day. “Let me know how things turn out.”

The biking turned out instantly bad. He went to a dealership, picked out a styling blue cycle to test ride, and lost control and spun out fumingly. The salesman said the laugh was worth the damage. David’s first class, however, went amazingly well. The library classroom was small and paisley-walled. David asked the nine students, seated in desk-chairs arranged in a semi-circle around his own, to introduce themselves. Then he lectured at length about the joys of great music. The students were vigorously engaged, asking questions and sharing stories. David felt like sparkling feathers. The only bad moment came when Carla, an alluring copyright lawyer, mentioned that as a teen she had played clarinet. David winced. The clarinet was his sweetest love and his keenest failure. For homework, David asked them to listen to the Beatles’ Revolver, his favorite album, and be ready to discuss it at next week’s class. A floppy-haired dude named Mogie, who looked weirdly familiar but had volunteered only his name in his introduction and hadn’t spoken since, appeared vastly skeptical. Everyone else, though, murmured excitedly. At the end of class, Carla gathered up her purse and notebook and gave David a foxy smile…

Go deeper into this twisted tale right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday (aka 04.07.21), 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 Zoom’d on in & graced us with your words, your songs, your divine madness…

Mad Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel)

Johnny O
MH Clay

Round One:
Polly Richardson
Anthony Ripp
Desmene Statum
William Watson
Atenea Afrodita
Chris Zimmerly
Jenean McBrearty
Christopher Calle
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Marianne Szlyk

Mad Musical Intermission:
Neil Coburn

Round Two:
Opalina Salas
Ethan Goffman
Devorah Titunik
Jack Varnell
Heather Handy
EC Wells
Mike Zone
Harry Mcnabb
Paul Koniecki

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…

••• 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…

Eatin’ Madness,

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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