The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.08.21

by May 9, 2021 0 comments

“I started writing to save my life.”

Joy Harjo

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Well HungTyler Malone

We’re thrilled to welcome Mad Swirl’s Short Story Editor Tyler Malone back to the Mad Gallery and heck, you should be thrilled about that, too! Tyler’s photography amazes us time and time again – the way he captures the ordinary in such an unordinary way makes us feel like we’re really taking a peek of the world through his eyes – and we like the view. His work manages to carry both a weight and a lightness to it, a humor and a heavy truth, all at once. His latest collection is so painfully American it makes us want to simultaneously laugh and cry. There’s something so poignant and real about the way he captures the world around him – but you might have to see for yourself. – Madelyn Olson

To witness more of Tyler’s poignant, 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 ripped roots from black boots; we triggers tossed in childhood lost; we gratefully grappled with crushed sweet apples; we wrested rapture from words we captured; we lightly lambasted editors, those passively passing predators; we farm subsidized for blue sapphire eyes; we solitude expounded as a transient surrounded. We seek to find what our words unwind. ~ MH Clay


It’s 2.00 a.m.,
and I’m stuck in
a bus station.

It’s curfew time
for cheap interstate transport.

No buses are departing.
None are arriving.
The dispatcher has
long since gone home.
The café is shuttered.

It’s hard to sleep
in this cramped seat,
even with my backpack
for a pillow.

And there’s a cop
does the rounds,
pokes stomachs
with his blackjack,
snarls, “Have you got a ticket?”

It’s another five hours
until the next bus leaves.
The red-eyed coked-up guy
sitting opposite me
looks like he’s been waiting
years for his.

A baby screams.
A homeless guy recites
the alphabet loudly.
Another smells like
a distillery at one end,
a sewer at the other.

It’s the kind of company
for which solitude was invented.

May 8, 2021

editors note: Cramped crowdsourcer seeks solo stint. – mh clay

Midwest Farmer by Randall Rogers

Her eyes so sapphire
I wanted them for a ring
not that I would gouge
them out, dry them,
and dim their luster
but that they may live
on my finger
staring corn-flower blue
(in a little house)
on the prairie.

May 7, 2021

editors note: An unsung subsidy. – mh clay

this poem’s for you my dear editor (exclusively yours) by Emalisa Rose

thematic of lovers
at breakup; this one
is hinting, then he comes
in for the kill

this one is fancy
with tight terminology
’bout how it’s determined
who’s in and who’s out

this one is terse, mad,
unforgiving; smashing my
inner child, with barely
a nod of ‘try us another time’

this one is madness on
moonshine; i swear she is wasted
going on with apology, then
offers a rose, fawning over my
poetry, but yet pulls the plug on it

this bitch is mea my culpa on me,
berating how i know not the rules
to dare not submit the trite simultaneous
after she tied up my poem for 3 months

and this one — exclusively yours, my dear editor
thrash it to pieces; please don’t send it back to me.

May 6, 2021

editors note: From behind the green curtain, an editor’s process (and a poet’s pique) exposed. – mh clay

Postpoemed by Carl Kaucher

Take a few scattered words
assemble them into a thought
which can be woven
into the finest of threads.
Weave the thread into a rhythm and flow
that creates a vision,
an intricate web of idea
to paint a portrait of conditions
and circumstance.

Introduce the characters
that participate in the play on words.
Place them into the scene that unfolds
before you, awakening in metaphors
and dreams
capturing the movement of life
as it begins to seep into the muse.

Get lost within the flow
and feel the fuzzy vibration of energy
as it emanates from your soul.
There is no form nor outline, no structure
just a field of delight, a poetic energy
like the movement of oxygen
to the source of the breath.

Whisper the words down the alley
so they twist and distort
like an effluent prophecy.
Street talk it to slang
and bang it into your vein like a hit
to feel the rush of the rhythm,
the burn of the beat, feeding the fire.

The efflorescence of flame
speaks the essence of your verse
carefully tendered into golden embers
that provide warmth
to all who have gathered
throughout the long night.

May 5, 2021

editors note: Finding the fuel for fire and comfort in the night. – mh clay

Crushed apples, sweet by Sally Jo

Today my fifteen-minute break arrived
Upon the minute that work bade it should
And so I, weary, made my way outside
Where soon beneath an apple tree I stood.
The heat released a fragrance from the fruit
So sweet from apples crushed upon the ground
That put me in my grandpa’s yard, a youth,
Delighted so, I laughed and twirled ’round.
The heat had made the apples start to rot –
A buzzing pair of wasps around me flew.
They almost kissed my skin but I cared not,
For freedom’s rush and calm I’d found anew.
I jumped and caught an apple from the tree
And, landing, found my work in front of me.

May 4, 2021

editors note: Break time maximized. Sweet! – mh clay

Backwards, Briefly, Into A Fragmented Nostalgic Interlude, Of Sorts by Paul Tristram

The word ‘Bellowing’
is a lion’s yawn,
in imagery.
Her hands are timeless,
when kneading dough
… I can see
her shifting ‘Costumes’
back through the ages,
as her fingers work.
Dogs always look like
‘That’ when scratching
… and 3 flying ducks
hung above a fireplace,
always make me feel
nostalgic, & homesick
for the ‘Childhood’
that I should have had.

May 3, 2021

editors note: Tested triggers, bitter recall; what was over wasn’t. – mh clay

The More Things Change… by Scott Thomas Outlar

Remember when
the beast
was still approaching?

All the hours,
all the days,
all the years
spent in preparation?

It’s called black boots,
baby, darling,
sugar pie, sweetheart,
& there’s not a damn thing
about them treading
on our necks.

I told you so
a thousand times
and more

about the New World Order
and all its
sold out

May 2, 2021

editors note: Shined in sweat and blood; beware the beastie boot. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured story, Life Advice by Ethan Goffman, clocks in at 289 words but packs quite the pithy punch!

Here’s what our Shot Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about Ethan’s short-short:

“Sometimes we need a mirror to see ourselves in others. The only problem is that they’ll see themselves in us, too.”

(photo “Words to Listen To” by Tyler Malone)

Reflect on some “Life Advice” right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of May (aka 05.05.21), you know that Mad Swirl 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…
Johnny O
MH Clay
Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel)
Round One:
Opalina Salas
Mike Zone
Jenean McBrearty
Edward Wells
Lillie Davidson
Marianne Szlyk
Carlos Salas
Musical Intermission:
Chloe Curiel
Round Two:
Harry Mcnabb
Devorah Titunik
Atenea Afrodita
Anthony Ripp
Cristee Cook
Chris Zimmerly

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!

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…


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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