The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.02.22

by on April 3, 2022 :: 0 comments

“Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all – that has been my religion.”

John Burroughs

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Challah VI ~ J. Gregory Cisneros

To see all J. Gregory’s darkly intense yet weirdly whimsical canvases, as well as our other resident artists (50 and counting!) take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we were all in to share Lynn; we biked from the bothers of blows from fathers; we love assented, drainpipe descended; we estranged from stuff not good enough; we wrapped our things in puppet strings; we achieved parity in reverse charity; we rippled rest from whispers blessed. We’re in to bike on drainpipe, strange and stringed with given things. Shhh, shhh, shhh. ~ MH Clay

I HAVE YOUR SHADOW by Roger G. Singer

a curious passing
breeze is blessed
by her whispers

there’s a reflection,
an uncovering,
a moment of being

she pauses,
releasing a modest

they speak of dreams
and how ripples
in a still pond
eventually reach
their shorelines

he recognizes
the mercy of an
open hand

April 2, 2022

editors note: More than having one’s back… – mh clay

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? by Cord Moreski

They resented us
when we rented on their block
scoffed at my parents’ occupations
made fun of our outdated cars
felt charitable after they purged
old clothes from their closets
that eventually became ours

now I see their kids
all grown up like me
at bars or on social media
working the same tired jobs
driving the same model cars
feeling the same familiar pain

but I know that
if they ever asked for help
I’d still give them
their shirt off my back.

April 1, 2022

editors note: What wears around comes around. – mh clay

The new type of puppets by Iulia Gherghei

Let’s live in someone else’s skin
Let’s deal with other problems
Different level of stress, maybe
Maybe a more relaxed person
Who freed herself from the anxiety claws

Let’s pretend we are kind and compassionate
And the other person’s dreams make sense to us too
For two thousand years, you didn’t grasp the meaning to
Love thy neighbour as you love thyself
The recipe to happiness
You are resilient in your stubbornness
Keep ignoring the other person
Keep spiraling in your hatred
Keep destroying your surroundings

Of course, you trim your front lawn
You wash your car
Your nails are nicely buffed
Behind the posh appearances
A rotten apple lays though
Your bathroom cabinet is witness
All that glimmer, all those plastic smiles are medically induced

So you don’t really respect the temple, your temple
So no chance to respect anyone else
My words here are spilled into the wind
We don’t need robots then
Just well adjust chemical puppets
Following a dream they were told they need to follow

March 31, 2022

editors note: Love thy doctor as prescribed. – mh clay

Let’s be strangers again by Mitra Samal

Let’s be strangers again
on this doomed day when
your eyes have no trace
of passion.
Let’s be strangers again
and walk together but not
match our steps.
Let’s be strangers in an
ocean of people and go
our own ways. Let not our
verses rhyme, let not our
eyes meet, and let not our
fingers touch again, let’s
be strangers again.
Let all the familiar things
become bizarre again,
let new memories enfeeble
the old ones, let the
thousand pictures go to
trash and a new diary
begin again. Let’s just be
strangers again.
But the air is filled with
mysteries of past and an
ageless question lurks in my
mind, “Am I good enough?”
So, before I begin the new
chapter of my life, let me
be myself again. Let me
learn to like the broken
pieces of my life again.
Let me love again before
we become strangers again.

March 30, 2022

editors note: To be a stranger to self is the worst estrangement. – mh clay

You’ll Need To Bathe If You Want Me To Do That Again by Paul Tristram

Whoops, I nearly broke my neck
upon that discarded Love Egg
… where were we?
oh yes, I was right here, wasn’t I.
Ouch, that’s pinching… careful
with those ‘Personal Questions’.
Nah, I’m staying for a bit
… I like watching you dressing,
whilst my ‘Emotions’ are settling.
Oh, long stripy socks, for sure
… ask a Punk Rocker, innit.
Aw, all my hats suit you…
except that one, I’m only jesting
… you look Cute-As-A-Button.
It’s not my fault that
‘One More Time For The World’
and ‘I’m Gonna Be Late’…
get me all Excited-As-Fuck again.
20 more minutes, my darling…
then I’m leaving half-dressed
down the back [Dodgy] drainpipe
… just to show your neighbours
how ‘Hot’ you really fucking are!

March 29, 2022

editors note: The ultimate in showing love (or, at least, lust). – mh clay

masochistic little princes by Rob Plath

when i was 10 years old
me & chris found
a discarded door in the woods
& some cinderblocks
among a heap of garbage
& we made a makeshift ramp
in a nearby overgrown lot
& we spent sunday afternoon
jumping it w/ our second-hand bikes
we often fell when we descended
skinning our knees & elbows
on cracked pavement
bruises all over our bodies
a bloody lip and nose
slivers of busted beer bottles
stuck in our skin
beneath ripped, greasy t-shirts
but we straightened our handlebars
adjusted our crooked seats
set the chains back in their metal teeth
& began again
mounting that magic battered door
over & over
crashing thru the weeds
laughing as we each tumbled
our young shapes
flowering w/ purple welts
that at least did not come from
the heels or fists
or belts of our fathers

March 28, 2022

editors note: Taking the fall for the flight. (We welcome Rob to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


pain and anxiety
over the telephone line
step by step resolved

March 27, 2022

editors note: Everyone is looking for a Lynn to lighten the load. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This weekend’s featured read, Candle Unmaker comes to us from Contributing Writer/Poet/Artist & Short Story Editor Tyler Malone!

Here’s what Poetry Editor MH Clay has to say about this pick’o the weekend:

Can’t hold a melted candle; might’s well head home.

Here’s a few flickers of Tyler tale:

(photo “Where What Burns” by Tyler Malone)

Television imagination remains untwisted in summer while our dad says, “Stay with grandmother. It’s going to be hot again, way into the hundreds, and while she’s not quite there yet please just stay home.”

As Dad shut the door, fervid outside air rushes into the house where hundreds of colorful candle statues with slick, wet-looking perfume bodies wait for fire but only know deep heat. The dusty doughy sentinels share their dry fruits as the closing door brings in a fresh, curious smell: road-laden boiled tar from fresh resurfaced streets.

By the door’s grimy yellow frame, the car key rack hung crooked. Bless the road is etched in wood above a single Bible-black key for a once black but now rusted beast resting in the front yard. The key hangs hot, ready to twist. My younger brother looks at me as I grab the key and yell into the stale sweat throat of our home, “We’re going out!”

Carpet fibers burn shoe soles as we walk outside, away from our grandmother’s flattened bed sheets, her thin summer gown, her window’s pear tree offering ripened shade and rotten fruit, a television close to closed eyes and a landline far from offering reaching hands. When it rings, sating thirsty, evangelized prayer-filled air, someone gets their wings to take to the sun.

Unlit candles all around her, only one wick was ever lit with our grandfather, and another was never lit again…

Shine some light on the rest of Tyler’s read right here!


Check out Keep the Candle Burning by Contributing Writer & Poet Anthony Ward!

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

Life, we don’t know what it is, really, but we know how it feels, even if the words aren’t married to the thoughts.

Here’s a morsel or two to get your read juices goin’:

(photo “It’s Lit, Who’s Home?” by Tyler Malone)

Silence. Matt anguished these situations when natural conversation came to an end and eyes met like magnets drawing the gaze with repellent retreat.

His stomach rumbled like thunder, causing his thoughts to inflate. Filling his head with heat he didn’t need.

Can she hear me thinking? Matt thought with himself. The paranoia galloping up to his ears. I think she can hear me. Can you hear me? He screamed inside, beside himself with disquiet.

Matt hated first dates as much as he was hopeless with women.

Why was she twirling her hair around her finger? Did it mean she was bored? He was sure she was bored as she kept looking about the space between them…

Get the whole course of this read feast right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.06.22) when we’ll once again be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION and from our Mad Zoom Room (broadcasted via FB Live)!

Starting at 7:30pm, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay will kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities with some musical grooves brought to you by Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel)… with special guest Derek Rogers!… followed by our open mic.

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!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2021 is available right HERE!

2021 has been yet another extraordinarily challenging year. Thru it all, Mad Swirl was there, every one of the 365 days of it. We didn’t miss a beat. Those beats are what you’ll get when you dig into 2021’s best of collection. Get your firsthand view of one helluva of a f*cking year.

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2021 is a 107-page anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists hailing from 5 continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, & North America); 15 countries (Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, England, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Montenegro, Nigeria, Romania, Singapore, Syria, & USA [20 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!

Huge grats & shout-outs to our 2021 featured Contributors (in alphabetical order):

Featured Artists:

J Gregory Cisneros
Alan Murphy
Thomas Riesner
Bleak Teeth

Featured Poets:

Jeff Bagato
Tohm Bakelas
Jon Bennett
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Jean Biegun
Jean Bohuslav
Casey Bush
Laurie Byro
PW Covington
John Dorroh
J.K. Durick
Michael Estabrook
Joseph Farley
Robert Fleming
Susie Gharib
Iulia Gherghei
KJ Hannah Greenberg
John Grey
Paul Hostovsky
Ojo Victoria Ilemobayo
Mike James
Ivan Jenson
Sally Jo
Ferris Jones
Carl Kavadlo
Vyarka Kozareva
Padmini Krishnan
Tyler Malone
Robert L. Martin
Tom Montag
Ian Mullins
Madelyn Olson
Johnny Olson
Brittany M. Ortega
Irena Pasvinter
Patty Dickson Pieczka
Timothy Pilgrim
Randall Rogers
Madu Chibueze Romanus
Sreemani Sengupta
Beate Sigriddaughter
David Susswein
Rp Verlaine
Isaiah Vianese
Agnes Vojta
Trier Ward
Richard Weaver
Stefan White
Stephen Jarrell Williams
Catherine Zickgraf
Milenko Županović

Featured Writers:

Jim Bates
Glenn Bresciani
Mike Fiorito
Susie Gharib
Jeff Grimshaw
Prapti Gupta
Flora Jardine
James Lawless
Edward N. McConnell
Vivek Nath Mishra
Randall Rogers
Chuck Taylor

If we’ve enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2021” then get yours right here!

P.S. Get the WHOLE “Best of Mad Swirl” anthology collection (2017-2021) 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…

Joyously Curious,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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