The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.31.21

by August 1, 2021 0 comments

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”

Herman Melville

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Ojos Locos VJ. Gregory Cisneros

Mad Swirl is excited to welcome J. Gregory Cisneros to the our visual stage with some amazing works of art that caught our eyes quickly. Cisneros creates work that has a sort of complex simplicity (or simple complexity?), with line work that somehow manages to feel both casual and calculated all at once. He’s mastered the art of blank space via linocut, creating heavily contrasted images that, put simply, just feel really good to look at. His characters feel expressive and they all seem to have their own personalities, captured perfectly in the glimpses he’s carved out for us. We may be partial but the swirly-eyed one is our favorite (looks like a fun dude!) though it is pretty hard to pick one favorite out of this collection. Go on, take a look and see for yourself! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of J Gregory’s’s simply complex canvases, as well as our other former featured artists (over 50 in total), take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’sMad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we clubbed through the world of a ruinous girl; we wondered away at a miracle day; we anxious eased with remedial cheese; we mooned to direct a cause and effect; we jib-jabbed vocab-gab; we froze the fun to evening done; we quarantined fears of wasted years. We adorned our domains with written gains. Story is wealth! ~ MH Clay


I turn on the night as I
Turn out the light as the
Glow of my laptop is all
I need to fill this place with
Light. It shines a light to
Illuminate my ashtray and
The ubiquitous glass from
Which I pour these words
On this, a Friday night
Deep in the heart of the
Most dreaded sequel our
Time has known; Lockdown 2
Is here and the powers that
Be want everyone locked
Away safe in the confines
Of their mortgaged homes.

I sit here, obedient at last,
As I turn the clock back to
Those wasted years of me,
Sat with my wireless on, the
Glass pouring its inspiration
All over this page and the
Smoke that just keeps giving
And giving, pouring itself
Over my wasted mind that
Now can’t wait for half-time.

July 31, 2021

editors note: Round 2 Remembering When a Wasted Mind Was Fine Blues. – mh clay

Makeshift Rituals by Dave Cullem

my fridge
is only cold
on the bottom shelf

motor’s fucked

I don’t have a place
to put the swelling
or the beers
to take it away

or the hidden truths
I left outside the door
in the October cool

ice tray’s good

short bursts
in arctic extremes
should do it

snow-capped joints
and frozen cans
eaten away
in the dark

I sit back
drink them down

and get this evening done

July 30, 2021

editors note: Drinkin’ what needs doin’ to get through. – mh clay

when obstacles make it seem by Heller Levinson

unreasonable when inopportune unseasonable with outwit with dismay outweighed overburdened tromped stomped popped shucked jived disfavored jammed discolored deflator de-flavor hallelujah call Savior snap crack gee-whiz go dizzy clop drop your skivvies jump jolly hop a’ long steer the trolley clap sing go ding ling ling ain’t got a chance? dazzle prance hi-hat glance prince the streets go aberrant go crazy go underground lurk seep spew postulate weep divvy the dander go yonder ponder perilous ponder pomp ostentation & the wobbly woo cinch carillon clairvoyant conveyor catch–all cinder tender no surrender say
your piece
, please

July 29, 2021

editors note: Go ahead! We’re listening… – mh clay

Eclipse by Cole Eubanks

eclipse of moon

July 28, 2021

editors note: Considering cause and effect. – mh clay

Fine Afternoon by Randall Rogers

I gaze in smoky pastures
of provolone
leaf celery bound
to dairy cows’
cheese solving
anxiety (and other world trouble)
from heights of depths
refined in pre-anxiety

July 27, 2021

editors note: It takes some chewin’ to churn out cheese. – mh clay

Another Day by Bruce Mundhenke

When the birds first sing in the morning,
You look about the room
Where you lie.
Your first conscious thoughts,
Thoughts of wonder
And awe at being alive.
You are ecstatic with anticipation,
For the things that might
Come your way,
And with hope
You look to find beauty
In this gift of another day.

July 26, 2021

editors note: A miracle made from our daily mundane. – mh clay

Not Rejecting Her by Rp Verlaine

Britney’s sweet &
sour fog of whiskey
breath wants prisoners.

Her pierced tongue is
equipped with a
lifetime of lies.

Like saying she
loves me in the
bathroom stall of a bar.

But I push her off
knowing to go further
involves ruin.

A “pseudo junkie”
Justine calls her
which is untrue.

Though methedrine / blotter acid
are her trapdoors
to forget
what she can’t speak of.

Her eyes- two missed exits of rejection
as tears and mascara make
a garish mess of
a face…
she slowly redoes.

Later she returns to our table
where she will find sport
teasing college boys
she’d easily destroy.

Who surround us
as if she were the prey
and not the other way around.

I watch

While the boys move in closer
for like everyone else
not rejecting her
they have no idea
how much
they have
to lose.
And lose they will
their naive college boy smiles
gutted and slashed while
her’s forever lost remains.

July 25, 2021

editors note: Turns lusty Lotharios into losers all. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured read at Mad Swirl comes to us from Contributing Writer/Poet/Artist (and associate editor) Mike Fiorito!

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

“Here we are, but just right now. Soon we’ll be somewhere, something, and someone else.”

Here’s a bit of Mike’s tale The Diamond Sky to get your read goin’:

(photo “Every Day Is a New Window into the Old World” by Tyler Malone)

I saw her again today, following me. As I turned right on the corner, from a left-side glance, I saw the shiny blue of her shirt. First, she waited a few beats, hoping I wouldn’t notice, then continued slyly walking.

Why is she following me? What does she want?

She’s been following me for years now.

I didn’t feel threatened or worried. Maybe she had something to tell me.

A year ago, we came face to face at a drugstore on J Street. She trailed behind me, as she usually does, stopping when I stopped, then moving when I started walking again.

I then suddenly realized I’d left my keys on the counter at the drugstore. As soon as I opened the door to leave, I turned back around, nearly bumping into her. And there she was, a look of utter shock on her face.

“Excuse me,” I said.

“Sorry,” she replied, her hands up to her face, perhaps attempting to disguise herself. Trying not to make too much of a deal about the whole thing, I rushed past her. But not before I got a good look at her face. She looked a little like me, like she could be my sister. Her hair was black, like mine. Her eyes blue. Her cheekbones high and sharp.

But I didn’t have a sister. This stranger, this person, merely looked like my sister…

There is no way you cannot find out how this stalking story ends! Get the rest of your read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of August (aka 08.04.21) when we’ll once again be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our new home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!

Starting at 7:30pm, join hosts Johnny O & Chris Zimmerly, along with musical mad grooves from ol’ school Swirve- Chris & Tamitha Curiel and Gerard Bendicks!) as we kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities…

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate.

(RSVP at our Facebook event page or send a message to

Come to appreciate.

(join us LIVE at Barbara’s Pavillion- located at 323 Centre St, Dallas -OR tune in to our Facebook LIVE feed starting at 7:30pm)

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 bein’…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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