The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.09.22

by on April 10, 2022 :: 0 comments

“Our hearts were drunk with a beauty Our eyes could never see.”

George William Russell

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Pescador VII ~ 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 fancied far on sailing stars; we stoked our souls from the sugar bowl; we went on fleek with a spreadsheet geek; we stood Sequoia tall, bruised from an old man’s fall; we suffered deprivation while seeking inspiration; we played to win but came up thin; we wracked a tired mind for the thing we can’t find. It’s the words we write that find us where we are. ~ MH Clay


Nothing’s ever where I left it.
Order defies its name,
prefers discrepancy
or misdirection
or time warp.
But never absentmindedness.
An item in its place
can dissolve,
its surrounds melt,
become shapeless,
ooze through apertures,
creep across the floor
like snails.
It is the unspoken mission
of an object to go missing.
My assignment is to look.
Not where it is.
Only where I’m sure I put it.

April 9, 2022

editors note: Wishing we could just call, “Olly olly oxen free!” – mh clay


Like a playing card
turned sideways,
a King or Jack,
as thin as invisible,
I see myself sometimes
as the card they pull
to bring the house down,
to miss the goal,
spoil the broth,
muck the pile,
screw the pooch.

build my stack,
kick me through,
stir my pot,
rake me up,
just pet me.

Try again.
Mercy thickens.

April 8, 2022

editors note: Give to get, thicker life for all. – mh clay

Pricey by Alexandria Biamonte

In desperation

I Google

“Inspire Me!”

I am answered with


And Storefronts

Hocking expensive coasters,

T-shirts, and bracelets.

I don’t have two hundred dollars

To drop on a dress.

I just have the urge to create,

But no fruitful ideas.

I don’t find the vases

Particularly inspiring,

Nor the jewelry.

It’s depressing when one

Calls out to the void

“Inspire me!”

And is answered with

Luxury goods

Outside of their reach.

April 7, 2022

editors note: Can’t purchase inspiration from the Amazon void. – mh clay

A Man Like a Tree by Pete Mladinic

“Sparky almost checked out
Of the hotel of life,”
Is what you say when a man
Past eighty falls from
A small scaffold his
California daughter told him
Recently to get rid of.
If years could be measured
In height, Sparky’d be
A sequoia—though he
Didn’t say that, but did
Speak of the fall,
The bruised arm, aching shoulder
And said this in what
Had been the Commercial
Hotel, founded by his dad,
Whose picture, a color
Daguerreotype, hangs
Above the lobby desk
Looking handsome, sapling young.

April 6, 2022

editors note: Stiff, yet still a sap, if not a sapling. – mh clay

Deadline by Gopal Lahiri

Night sky is like a spreadsheet, a set of conditions,
cloudbanks, dust, dirt, lumen lights,
like a cell, every twinkle star holding a value,
each value records brightness.
You want to store this in secrets.

Memories are products of formulas
of derivation upon derivation,
of stories pieced together across the hole,
single circles are in an ever-circling form.
As if moments are an ascent, an unstoppable rise.

Draw lines between evening and night
the unknown comets study a canon
not there in the curriculum courses,
the metaphor is too dark to touch,
a dream to catch, a target is nearing.

April 5, 2022

editors note: Muddling through the malaise of midnight math. – mh clay

Sugar Bliss by Robert L. Martin

Sugar Bliss, taste of heaven,
heaven embodied,
magnetic pleasure,
taste buds enchanted,
love ballad in the air,
sensual fingers soothing,
reaching through the skin
and feathering the nerves,
bringing heaven into being,

aromatic pleasure,
gardens inundated with roses,
jasmine in bloom,
reaching into the enchanted senses,
calming seas, crimson sunsets
that penetrate through the eyes,
travel down the spine
and encircle the heart
with rose-scented wreaths,

sweetness in the air,
sugar in the wind,
gardens in bloom, taste bud bliss,
heaven on earth,
sweet, sweet pleasure m-m-

April 4, 2022

editors note: Exactly what we got from a bowl of Cheerios and a liberal sprinkling with a spoon. M-m-m-m-m… – mh clay

Within the Flame by Harley White

Within the flame of cosmic scale,
a nebula beyond the vale
of tears and fears and random mirth
upon an azure planet earth,
vast hosts of stars are setting sail.

This great creative force all hail
when tracing course of stellar trail,
for ‘dust thou art’ in cloudy girth
within the flame.

Such sight stargazers can regale
with more delight than ‘cakes and ale’
and guide us to a sense of worth
in spark of human death and birth
as yet we write our living tale
within the flame…

April 3, 2022

editors note: The fires above inspire the fire within. (Check out the fire that inspired Harley to write this one here.)- mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you got a hankerin’ for a read today, we got just the tale for you to sink your teeth into! This weekend’s featured read, Froyo Nation comes to us from Michael Kozart.

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

Life is sweet, right up until it takes all your teeth.

Here’s a taste to get you goin’:

(photo “Delicious Spoils” by Tyler Malone)

It used to be an abandoned storefront, squeezed between a blanched pancake house and a barrel-shaped drive-thru espresso bar. Workers cleaned up the place, painting it white with a new marquee before long-haulers arrived with boxes and palettes. We expected stuff that no one wanted. The malls of America were dying. We awoke to a snow machine, brilliant crystals of recycled water levitating in the air before falling to the hot asphalt only to rise again as steam, plus a Santa in red, white, and blue lederhosen, a children’s choir singing “America the Beautiful,” balloons everywhere, the pricey metallic kind with helium, and one of those inflatable puppets twisting its torso, arms shooting up to God, knees bending and prostrating. We drew together to see what they were selling. The LED blinked Froyo.

We formed a line and inched closer, sidestepping the tarry mix of bubble gum and seagull poop soiling the sidewalk, wafts of cool air escaping with each opening of the mechanical glass door, breaking our collective fever for a moment like a cold compress.

There was just one taste for sale—a mashup of vanilla, chocolate, and perhaps other familiar flavors, and it was beige like Desert Storm camo, pumped from a machine that looked like a front-loader in a coin-op laundromat, served in cones of communion wafer. It was an ample serving, one size fits all, proffered with a specialty bib to protect clothes from the drip, only it did not drip but rather desiccated eventually, at room temperature, to the consistency of Styrofoam, bits and pieces breaking off with a gentle snap, suitable for a midnight snack or something billionaire astronauts might eat in low-earth orbit, though fresh from the machine, chilled and sweet, the slurry was intoxicating. All you needed was to wait and pay. This was our democracy…

Don’t stop your taste test here, get the rest of this sweet read right here!


Need-a-Read? Then stop your scroll roll right here and dig on into THE ALPHA-MALE AGENDA by Prosper Ifeanyi!

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

Life is sweet, right up until it takes all your teeth.

Here’s a tease to get your read need goin’:

(photo “Parked Domestic Lovelife” by Tyler Malone)

—Have you seen this before? she said pointing to the white porcelain mug on her desk—no! She wasn’t pointing at the mug, she was referring to the chirographic design enameled around the body, which read: “Woke Mom.”

—I have been a mom for fifteen years now, and guess what? It’s not any different from what you are having with Belinda at the moment. Having said that, she opens her desk drawer and hands me some paperwork and signatory sheafs of paper.

—What’s this? I ask with hasteful repugnance.

—Your wife complains about your seemingly impulsive ego.

—Self-esteem, I correct her. And besides, just who in the actual fuck does she think she is?

—My payment comes before the session. So, what would you like? She started with a sudden doleful aura about her.

The society isn’t well equipped for these lots. Therapists. They strive to be perfectionist even at pecuniary dispensations; and I oblige, only because my marriage and career depend on it…

Get the rest of this confessional right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.06.22) at our OC home, Barbara’s Pavillion, then you know that once again whirl’d up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced our stage (both live & virtual) with your words, your songs, your divine madness…

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel) with special guest Derek Rogers

Round One:
* Anthony Ripp
Tony Robinson
*Gayle Bell
Alan Gann
* Atenea Afrodita
Mark Miers
* Mike Zone
Brett Ardoin
CJ Critt

Round Two:
Roderick Richardson
Suza Kanon
Eli Sellers
* Marianne Szlyk
* Ethan Goffman
* Giullio Magrini
Kevin O’Neil
* Robert Fleming
Dick Zinnendorf
VP Crowe


HUGE grats to ALL the participators & appreciators who rode the Mad wave live at Barbara’s as well as our FB Live feed! We know you have a few choices of what to do with your Wednesday night & you picked to hang out with lil ol’ us!

’til next 1st Wednesday (aka 05.04.22)… may the (fourth) madness swirl your way!

Johnny O

P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, your eye can spy on the whole virtual Swirl’n scenes right here…

••• 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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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