The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.11.21

by on September 12, 2021 :: 0 comments

“Art is nature speeded up and God slowed down.”

Malcolm de Chazal

••• The Mad Gallery •••

NocheJ. Gregory Cisneros

With this one we close out J. Gregory’s feature run in our Mad Gallery. But don’t you fret, we got a new featured artist all set! Stay tuned!…

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’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we looked at sky, adventures nigh; we ghostly made with sinking blade; we heard of harm at the ant farm; we found words few for a word stew; we wet the bones of speaking stones; we fumbled for ways to permit the days; we harkened back to an insect snack. We looked to make what heard to find, to wet a fumbled harkening. There are jokers in this stew. ~ MH Clay

1st Ave., Silver Spring 2004 by Marianne Szlyk

That year cicadas found us in Silver Spring,
the concrete island where we stood marooned,
the closest we ever came to the swimming city.

I don’t remember the thrumming
amid horns honking and bulky men
hawking strawberries from their red truck.

I remember bugs flying past the few trees,
all with sharp leaves, through June’s
thick air, past the abortion clinic’s

barred windows and the sidewalk
where every Saturday girls from Holy Cross
shuffled past and mumbled entire rosaries.

Lying on the white wall-to-wall carpet,
listening to a young Annie Ross shriek
as if wings had grazed her bare shoulders,

we joked about eating cicadas.
We ate anything then: steak burritos,
lamb rogan josh, squid nigiri,

but cicadas on brown rice would save us.
We’d buy them at the corner store
from the man who gave me advice.

Curled up in one cell of the concrete island,
we imagined ourselves becoming them
having waited seventeen years to emerge

in this place and no other.

September 11, 2021

editors note: A hot case of “you are what you eat.” – mh clay

Fidelity by Josie Rozell

I’m a Fiat roof rack I’m the
bicycle lacquered in red lights I’m the
afterthought after the period drops.
I’m dizzy with it all and too sleepy to wait
til Christmas. Let days be days—
they’ve been overlooking my permission for ages.

September 10, 2021

editors note: And they don’t care if we do or not. – mh clay

Lyreen River : Summer 1980 by John Doyle

The water is eternity.
A reddened evening soothes to its calm,
from stones
spread like speech
in the mouth of innocence –
in the glittered noise of future voice.
The water is eternity –
we, by default – its adjutants

September 9, 2021

editors note: This water, that stone; an innocent encounter every time. – mh clay

I am still cooking by Hem Raj Bastola

Don’t know!
What is missing?
In this gastronomy.
I am not satisfied yet
Unable to pin down.
What is lacking?

Dead silence!
The owl is hooting.
Silver rain of vigil moon is:
Illuminating the dark.
Peeping from
The sky.

Oh! I forgot!
It’s the time of poetry.
It’s the time of beauty
To the taste of solitude and
Ornamented spice of words
Am I not wakeful?
Moments of peace,
To adore.

My hunger is immense.
My longing! My craving!
Your immeasurable depth,
Had I the tool to fathom?
I would decipher:
That vague redolence
Of you.

Imagination even
Can not comprehend
Your mystery of:
Miscellaneous beauty.
Will I be able to
Embellish you? Oh! Poetry
Decorated on a platter
To serve.

Spatula pen stirring
On the cauldron paper
Waiting for the taste
To come.
I am still cooking!

September 8, 2021

editors note: Awaiting words to stir into the stew. I’m hungry, too. – mh clay

Burning Ants by Catherine Zickgraf

I was immoral. You used to rod my soft legs.
I’m older now.

My eyes at your door this morning: you locked
me out with the other strays, the don’t-belongs
without homes. Your face shaded and turned
up the stairs.

You once splayed my hand over your stove
so I would choose Heaven, dragged me outside,
bone against bone—

uncurled, broke back two fingers. My palm
blistered as the sun fizzed. You threw bandages
and cursed prayers at me.

Thus, God’s great eye blinks through a glass
that magnifies charred life, as clouds unroll
over quilted sky, masking its bearded keeper.

September 7, 2021

editors note: We’re cinders in our Sunday best, mayhem magnified for their/no god to see. – mh clay

Ghost Girl by James D. Casey IV

confessions of love
in funky kerning
lilt down her chin

between her breasts
onto his face
into his eyes
his ears

his mind
enamored now
in her pyrite words

too lost
in heated frenzy
of bodies entwined
to notice the sting
of a sinking

until he becomes
nothing more
than another ghost
in her collection

September 6, 2021

editors note: From tryst to trophy in one stroke. Beware! – mh clay

The View by Alexandria Biamonte

I’m looking at a blue sky
Dotted with white clouds.
I’m looking at birds
Gathering on the roof ledge.
I’m looking at the occasional helicopter.
I’m looking at four blue walls.
I’m going to be looking
Out this window
And at these four walls
For a long time.
I’m looking at
Nine more weeks
In this hospital bed.
I’m looking away
From the comfort of the past
And I’m looking
To an uncertain future.

September 5, 2021

editors note: Rather uncertainty than an uncomfortable past. Here’s looking at you! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured read, Where Harry’s Buried,” comes to us from Edward N. McConnell

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

“There’s gold in all of us, just gotta dig deep to find it.”

Here’s a bit of this graveyard tale to get you on your way:

(photo “Where We Bury, Where We Dig” by Tyler Malone)

As the two women approached the cemetery, June said, “Hey, this sign here says No Trespassing, No Digging, No Rubbers. It looks like, around here, rubbers are banned from cemeteries.”

“I know lots of guys who’ve left rubbers in cemeteries. Don’t worry about it.” Janette said.

Looking at her, June said, “I’m pretty sure that’s not what the sign means.”

Unfazed, Janette responded, “Well, it might. I’ve spent a lot of time with guys in cemeteries.” Changing subjects, she continued, “Look, we’d better hurry, be careful and don’t fall. You brought the folding shovel, right?” June nodded, holding up her canvas Trader Joe’s bag.

These ladies, both in their seventies, were known to everyone as rubbers, their hobby for over the past forty years. Rubbers copy gravestone inscriptions by attaching a sheet of butcher’s paper to the stone, then, using a piece of charcoal, get an imprint of the information. It can be frustrating work because the oldest stones often yielded little due to erosion or vandalism. Rubbers sometimes cause damage to old stones thus many cemeteries ban the activity. Getting a rubbing of Harry’s gravestone would be an accomplishment but finding “the box” was the true goal. That’s why they came just as the sun was setting…

Get the rest of this read 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 bein’…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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