The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.01.21

by May 2, 2021 0 comments

“The artist belongs to his work, not the work to the artist.”


••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we dithered away a sweetmeat day; we heartbreak tamed with water and flame; we charged a vamp with muscle cramp; we praised love landing in understanding; we exposed as superficial what isn’t sacrificial; we desire laid where monster made; we dead remarked from a water park. Every poet is a Frankenstein, waiting for a lightning bolt. ~ MH Clay

Dead Water Parks Make Me Wet by Tyler Malone

Water park parking lots aren’t for church buses,
they’re dried urban gardens for starved grackles.
Clouds split sun same as children who flushed themselves
clean with water slide enemas.

No laughter’s missed, it’s the loss of the loss of humiliation.

Red eyed burdens, we hope to carry sunburns again,
slide tubes to inhale waves and rise to see spotted blue sky.

Who knew without water white clouds could be apocalyptic.

What a way to start and end wet in the sun’s teeth shaking bodies:
Suits not stuck to skin of no girls not swimming just not to be seen,
no overweight boys in white tees hoping to never not be invisible.

Children aren’t allowed to be anything but alone.

It’s not how many kids have drowned, it’s those who lost opportunity
of diving in and floating up dead to be dragged across asphalt
brightened by smudgy church bus windshield sun reflection prayers.

Think of all this and ask forgiveness.

Summer! Please come back!

We won’t be better but we’ll be different. We’ll be desperate
to see constellations with chlorine eyes, what came and went.
Every inch of skin drips, lungs deflate, eyes sting
to see life at the bottom of this,
speaking in bubbles that if we live happy for much longer,
we’ll die down here.

May 1, 2021

editors note: Remember, “church bus windshield sun reflection prayers” get to god first; but don’t forget your sunscreen. – mh clay


Places where the dead are plugged
…electric to all passion’s core
wandering the peasant groves
…confused by an uncertain brain
and terrorizing man and beast
and women also
like a boar
searching warmth
in fear of fire.
Destruction in desire’s feast
the way the dead can feel desire!!

April 30, 2021

editors note: Like this, we grope our grove, in search of life’s bright bolt. – mh clay

You know not of sacrifice by James Brown

Loving someone who shows no love in return, that’s no fun; that’s sacrifice.

Taking flight from a fight when you’re in the right and you know someone is in the wrong; that’s sacrifice.

Willing to die for someone you love or a greater cause; that’s sacrifice.

Watching the flickering flames of candles

In the darkness, not able to get a job due to judicial convictions, judgmental thoughts, and now you have to hit the darkness of the cold street to brighten light bulbs to greet your children with hugs; that’s sacrifice.

Tears fill your eyes while you don’t speak as you listen to a liar’s speech, heartbreaks and you somehow stay meek; that’s sacrifice.

You know not of sacrifice if you are not willing to sacrifice at any given point in your life.

Have you sacrificed????????

April 29, 2021

editors note: If we don’t show, we’ll never know. – mh clay

Understanding by Paul Smith

She mowed the grass
she raked the leaves
she shoveled the snow
she cleaned up the place
she cooked the food and put it on the table
that wasn’t enough
I wanted her to understand me
she said I do understand you
you don’t like to mow the grass
rake the leaves
shovel the snow
I do understand

April 28, 2021

editors note: To have is to hold. Understand? – mh clay

ELEMENTAL by Jeffrey Park

Your love
is hard-edged,
electrically charged,
a roiling mass
of chemical interactions,
carrying with it
the promise
of a swollen tongue
and hard-cramping muscles.
I watch helplessly
as my limbs
thrash around,
foam on my lips,
spine crackling
like pork rinds
in a fire.

April 27, 2021

editors note: I will be your pork rind if you will be my fire. Sweet crackle and spit. – mh clay

QUARANTINE by Patty Dickson Pieczka

Today there is only silence,
birdsong, the feathered sounds
of souls slipping from life.

She gathers things to heal:
the morning’s meadowsweet upheaval
of peach blossoms bursting into fireworks,
a branch of oak-gnarled grief,
shards of ruby from a shattered heart.

As the edge of sanity
descends into flame,
she pours holy water
from a hollow log.

Holding sprays of blue vervain
and blessed thistle,
she burns a wish

but its smoke
carves her name
in the sky.

April 26, 2021

editors note: Staying in, until they make a heartbreak vaccine. – mh clay

SWEETMEAT by Mandakini Bhattacherya

Yesterday is a gingerbread
soaked and slurped in syrup,
made livelier in a spread
of marshmallow dollops;
that pockmarked raisins
pester with sour questions,
and stomp off to gossip
in mock-parlour sessions.

Meanwhile each new day
dithers, waits and wallows.
Mornings that crumble
breadcrumbs over shallows,
become misty-eyed and clueless
evenings of tuneless swallows,
that peck and grovel at the hem
of yellow saints one hallows.

April 25, 2021

editors note: No matter your days, messy or neat; make ’em special, keep ’em sweet. (We welcome Mandakini to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read, Plunge (by Vivek Nath Mishra) on into this week’s featured story!…
Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this week’s featured tale:
“The mad garden is beautiful.” Yes, we are.
Here’s a ticks & tocks:

(photo “Not What We Build, What We Grow” by Tyler Malone)

I roam a lot. All day long I keep walking from one place to another. Sometimes, I have gone as far as the university where I had studied several years ago, when I was young and ambitious. I wander everywhere in the university. I don’t just visit my department but go to other departments also which I didn’t do when I was studying. I see all my professors who look much different now, more human. During the time when I was studying, I never felt that they were simple human beings with ordinary worries and responsibilities. I never felt that they had problems too. I never realized that it must have been difficult for them also. This is strange that now when I see them I see just normal human beings. Now I can’t feel that way I used to feel during those days. I am not afraid of them now. I can’t even relate to that fear I possessed during those days. I still do not know what time exactly is, but the way it changes my feelings is so incomprehensible.

I used to ride bicycles in the beginning just after I quit my job. However, later I realized that even on a bicycle it was a bit fast. I needed more slowness to watch, to see things as they were, not to be beguiled by the time. I didn’t want to be trapped in the cage of time…

Surely you got the time to finish this tale of time! Go NOW and get the rest of this read on!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of May (aka 05.05.21) when we’ll once again be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do virtually via Facebook LIVE!!

Starting at 7:30pm (CST), join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay, along with musical mad grooves from Swirve (with special musical guest Chloe Curiel!) as we kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities…

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate. (get a spot on our list at our Facebook event page OR send us a note at

Come to appreciate. (tune in to our Facebook LIVE feed starting at 7:30pm (cst))

Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl.

••• 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

Leave a Reply