The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.29.21

by on May 30, 2021 :: 0 comments

“The great thing about this thing we call art is that it has no rules.”

Kim Weston

••• The Mad Gallery •••

No Glass, Still a WindowTyler 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 gave some thought to the tying of knots; we went laissez faire for vague lazy bears; we wanted no room for prophesied doom; we were remotely enticed by self-sacrifice; we turned road reverie into wild past memory; we pushed primal man to a two-legged stand; we enlightened our way through a dragonfly day. Always becoming, we’re writing to be. ~ MH Clay

The Zen of Stone and Water by James Robert Rudolph

To be a boulder
a stream’s mountain
the sound deposit of
a glacier its old-earth
burnt yellow polished by
the cold flow of water
it splits.

But you are a stone
tumbling in a cataract’s
brown-white churn small
if settled in the palm pitted
by the grit of angry water.

Looking skyward you see
the deft yielding of
willow wands so too
you will skim the whiplash froth
as if a dragonfly weightless
on summer’s heat no
resistance you will not be
a thing of shards.

May 29, 2021

editors note: Shrug shatter into shard and skim instead. Om! – mh clay

Primordial by J. Gregory Cisneros

A primordial cell
Birthed from a toxic morass
Menaces from the slime

Sulfurous green gases rise
From the fecund waters
Exoskeletal beasts
Rule the aquatic domain

Their grotesque beauty
Slithering towards the evolving shore

Pachydermal rodents
Graze along with mutant marsupials
Anomalies of primates drag their knuckles in the dust

They will one day stand on two legs
And smile with hominid yearning
At the wonder of the sun

May 28, 2021

editors note: Impress fellow hominids with this genealogy; a family tree that goes back to before the tree. – mh clay

back when we were wild by Jason Baldinger

I wish we could share a kiss
but the prairie sneaks up
so goddamn fast
then never leaves

three wasted days
boiling in hundreds heat
across endless flats
with mute ghost copilots

I haven’t seen a hill
somehow I missed
a famous frontier town

I’m reading ray carver
while I drive
seems more useful
than a map

in a junk shop
or a motel
with no hot water
I catch a smell
that reminds me
of atonement
of another time
back when we were wild

May 27, 2021

editors note: Wandering civility when wanting wild to be. – mh clay

A Man from China by George Guida

A man from China is remoting my screen
and waiting, How few
inventions meet their promise.
I stay home now, avoid the plague
man’s created from lust for alchemy,
a plague only alchemy can end.

I’m home alone enough
to contemplate the failure of toilets
and shortcomings of electric stoves,
pet food dispensers,
face shields, and masks
that trade identity for health.

I’ve been worrying a lot
for the man from China,
for the way he drives himself,
a doctor who works like a peasant,
always on to the next task
the bosses have asked him to perform

on pain of penalties
they leave to an imagination
he’s long shunted away.
I say and type his name
as mechanical penance
for our latest innovation.

I worry he is not eating well,
not kissing his wife good night,
if he’s had the time to love.
He is not redeemed
in keeping us safe,
in sacrificing himself.

My screen dances to the robotic
tune of his fingers entering code
more psalm than threnody.

May 26, 2021

editors note: Work rendered remotely; no remote reason for redemption at either site – mh clay

The Writing on the Wall by Irena Pasvinter

It was on the wall,
but the wall is ancient,
older than the skill of writing,
wrinkled with the cobweb
of past and future disasters.

It was scribbled
in the color of death
all over the grainy surface of
everyday existence:

But the writings on the wall
even if read
are never acted upon
in time.

May 25, 2021

editors note: Good fortunes and happy mediums only, thanks. – mh clay


Ah for those lazybones all slothful bears
Happily in dreaminess’s hands’ hibernation,
Whereas we lacklustre sans energy enthusiasm
Are confronted by this winter of stagnation.

No strict agendas to adhere to, no disciplinary control,
What’s far from wanted is precision!
Why such a drifter’s vague, lax life many of us would like,
Where we neither make nor endorse or ratify any decision.

May 24, 2021

editors note: The perks of being vapid in a vacuum. – mh clay

Knots by Susie Gharib

When camping as a scout on our Heights
the knots we studied entranced my eyes.
We sat on pine needles and learned the art
of creating with pieces of rope that chafed our hands
sophisticated shapes that sailors and mountaineers knew well.

But knots of entangled hair are of a different type,
a nuisance that makes some mothers do without
their daughters’ luxuriant locks of hair,
which end up littering a hairdresser’s floor,
with a rope of tears of scathing salt.

“Tie the marital knot,” everyone enjoins
in this benighted part of a benighted globe,
though divorce has become the trend and cult
of a culture ridden with social contracts,
“or meet the lot of lepers and other outcasts.”

May 23, 2021

editors note: Such are the binds that tie, like them or knot. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured story comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet KJ Hannah Greenberg!

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

“We’re all magic until experience proves we’re all living routine.”

Here’s a pinch of KJ’s wicked tale, “Green Witch to put you under its spell:

(photo “Lips for Magic Words” by Tyler Malone)

Once, not terribly long ago, there lived a green witch. It might be assumed that she dwelled in a ramshackle hut, yet she lived in a tiny house designed by the famous draughtman, Donald Alaska. Donald’s creation had two lofts, a woodburning stove, a deck, and a large kitchen sink. Additionally, his architecture featured a cat door, staircase storage, and huge, double-hung sash windows.

That domicile was not located deep in a forest, but at the juncture of a mature copse and a “neglected” field. Its kitchen window opened to a view of some pioneer trees, but its patio yielded to the meadow. The green witch had chosen to park her home there because she was thus able to access an array of herbs (only some green allies grow in woodlands’ depths.)

As per the woman, she was neither warty nor lonely. Decades earlier, she had been a model. While life had softened her angles and had diminished her eumelanin production, her husband still considered her attractive.

Yes, she was mated! Not only did she avoid toads (they carry viruses and parasites), and not only was her lone, large cooking pot used for tincturing thyme, not for stewing spells, but she was married…

If you’re under the spell of the “Green Witch” then get the rest of this witchy read right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.02.21) 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 Krude) 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.


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…

Makin’ It Up As We Go,

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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