The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.22.21

by May 23, 2021 0 comments

“I just go out and try to make sense of the world around me.”

Martin Parr

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Pour One OutTyler Malone

To witness more of Tyler’s poignant photos, 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 felt no more for keeping score; we canceled all evasion to balance the equation; we embraced an aversion to societal insertion; we found satisfaction in allergic reaction; we used a moon trope to steal a blue hope; we studied our course in centrifugal force; we looked for the best in a Rorschach test. To write ‘em like we see ‘em, we would befriend or be ‘em. ~ MH Clay

Redacted vision by Timothy Pilgrim

I spot a life going bad, mine, sort of,
obscured by dark pits on the front
of my eyes. They swim across,

slowly erase good choices I’ve made,
blind a bit with every blink.
A whole spatter ruins my view

as I gaze skyward, them back and forth
in the foreground, Rorschaching
fluffed white clouds sable —

inkblots with Sharpies
clearly intent on turning
even my peripheral memories black.

May 22, 2021

editors note: Of frets and fears be free? Eyes front! – mh clay

Paradoxical by Bhupender Bhardwaj

A measured gaze or grace that falls on roads, trees, and mountains.
Those things and you are not separate; neither your eyes
nor the surfaces of the objects scratched by them are distinct.
You and the objects have been welded together seamlessly
by the sun’s flames of affection and allusion.
This is not a materialist philosophy in which a gold-toothed tiger
devours the deer in a jungle composed of atrocious branches
which grow randomly like the moss with no particular objective
like your mind’s growth or the growth of the tangle on your head,
the unkempt bush that others name incivility, Asia, Africa, backwaters,
the colony but which is immensity and peace for the panther and the jackal.

The clunking of the cement-grinder in which particles are rolled
and crushed resembles the stone eroded by the action of the river
or better still clothes which are us that are kept going in a centrifugal
motion in the washing machine of the universe. The search, in the meantime,
continues not as much for dark matter but for the mythical god or the pied piper
who accidentally switched on the button of the proverbial machine
as you once did while rummaging like an ape for bananas in your apartment.
The ultimate goal in the search of laws of the universe is not a lofty aim
or is as much a debased game as the anticipation of the moment to lay claim
to the fact that you or I or they have discovered the ungraspable
or revolved dark matter in their hands.
All this narcissism is irrelevant in the scheme of space and slightly relevant
in the scheme of time, and the way in which the long stretch
of it could be spent. So, thanks to the mirror of the water that prompted
Narcissus to fall in love with himself. Thanks to the sliding doors, the glasses,
and the lab beakers in which we may minutely observe ourselves and marvel
at out-bounded rationalities.

May 21, 2021

editors note: Mixed up in the matter? Seek to survive the spin cycle. – mh clay

Blue Moon by Stephen Jarrell Williams

World so still
between chaos eruptions

temporary quiet
giving hope a glimmer

memories moving in
heart settling

tranquil breeze
erasing tracks of tears

faraway rooftops
unseen decay

bent trees
appearing like bushes

rush of dread
highway near empty

path of smooth travel
places to visit

when yesterday had a future
promises and dreams

steep sky lifting
a blue moon.

May 20, 2021

editors note: The doomsters deal in reds. The blues are better. – mh clay

The Everyday Things by Prashanti Chunduri

There’s a certain kind of peace
in the three-quarters spoonful of sugar
that you put in your tea every Thursday,
the daily 7 o’clock train that rumbles onto Platform 3,
the 17 minutes it takes to reach the university’s gates,
the girl with the yellow headphones who sits in front of me.

There’s a certain kind of reassurance
about the cracked tile in the middle of your kitchen,
the watch you’ve been wearing for the past nine years,
the hair on the back of my head that refuses to stay flat,
and the old man next door who refuses to die.

There’s a certain kind of stillness
about immovable tombstones,
oceans that refuse to dry,
deserts that burn forever
and your left dimple peeking out
when you want to be sarcastic.

And yet, I also find serenity
in a chaotic Picasso,
a rabid storm during a hot May,
Good Ol’ Sailor Vodka that makes me choke,
your left dimple on your acne’d cheek,
the dandelions, beautifully pressed (and dead) in our love letters.
(We were both allergic).

May 19, 2021

editors note: Cherish the things in your every (also, antihistamines). – mh clay

Pandemic Living by Drew Nacht

Like you, I dare not open my eyes
I dare not rise from all fours –
the rhythm of my heart would surely outrun this peaceful speed.
No, that noise can wait –
all that living and dying and pain.
My smile is due to the stillness inside.
I am immortal in this position and
It is altogether better to be alone and immortal
than to rise and walk dangerously amongst my fellow man.
Be it a hermit, be it strange
the label is noted but of no concern.
in fact, I am in love with this moment –
to change positions would be like ruining the serenity of a good stare-
I wouldn’t dare.

May 18, 2021

editors note: Seeking strength and solace in solitude. – mh clay

word problems by Alan Gann

negative b
plus or minus the square root of nobody
ever used eighth-grade algebra to find
love or beauty in a storm
but this spinning world is full
of unknowns and inequalities
poverty curves and inflection points
cotangent of a rainbow
radius of a door slamming shut

if the x-axis is melanin and y equals fear
plot the curve that separates
hooded teen from bullet

if n is the number of students
crossing the graduation river
at illiterate words per hour
and z is the cost of a prison bed
how many words does a politician need
so fifty-one percent of voters
sleep well at night

May 17, 2021

editors note: Evict vicious variables and maybe the equation will balance. – mh clay

from The Old Monk Poems: Don’t count… by Tom Montag

Don’t count,
the old monk said.

You start

it becomes
a contest.

May 16, 2021

editors note: No score, no games. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you stumbled across this story it just might mean you need-a-read! Could be worse, you could be needing an appendage.

Here’s what our Shot Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week:

“Sometimes we need more than a leg to stand on. We need a feast, all our phalanges, and some friends.”

Here’s the gist of what’s afoot with this week’s featured story, “A Blue Foot” by Contributing Writer & Poet Jeff Grimshaw

(photo “See Saw, See Saw Cut” by Tyler Malone)

Matt went outside to smoke and play with his phone. Quentin started on the dishes. Everybody had ordered the lasagna, so the dishes had to soak in the hot soapy water forever. This loosened up the dried sauce and cheese but the water got so filthy so fast that he had to drain and refill the sink three times in five minutes. Quentin had to scrub and rinse the mesh sink strainer each time. He was temped to just remove it but he’d cleaned the grease trap a couple weeks back and did not want a return bout any time soon.

When he’d gotten through a pile of dishes and they were either drying on the rack or sitting in the sanitizer basin, Quentin took a break. It was jet black outside except for the stupid glow of Matt’s phone. He must have been at the far end of the parking lot, practically in the woods.

Quentin put on his rubber gloves and began a new pile of dishes. “Hey,” said Matt. He was standing in the door, taking a picture of something he was holding in his other hand. “This is what? Do you know?”

“Is it a foot?”…

Hoof on over & get the rest of this tootsy tale!

••• 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…

Tryin’ to Make Some Sense,

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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