The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.23.22

by April 24, 2022 0 comments

“Truth, also is the pursuit of it.”

George Oppen

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Unrequited ~ Howie Good

To see all of Howie’s mad collages, 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 staggered from slumbers while painting by numbers; we got drunk from some gedunk; we whiled away a life one day; we took a shot at a lobster pot; we had no luck with a mind f**k; we gave a damn at 4 am; we were child forlorn on a mexican morn. What we have and haven’t will end at the advent. ~ MH Clay

A Morning in Mexico by Margaret Coombs

I walk in the shadow of a colonial
cathedral. Children in plaid and navy

uniforms hurry to school. Their mothers
in cardigans and flip flops snap their gum

and ignore me as they would the annual
two-headed calf display at the fair. The traffic

spews noxious fumes. Norteño ballads
and polkas drift from side street shops, amidst

the sounds of a city grinding to its purpose:
metal shutters clattering open, engines

gunning, the bright taps of horns, bald tires
squealing. I drift past a tiled fountain

in the city center, feeling as ready for the day
as the fluttering edge of the nieve vendor’s

blue umbrella. A crush of tardy, laughing
schoolchildren rushes forward. A pang

tears at me in the way a hawk tears
at a small bird. Will I ever have a child?

April 23, 2022

editors note: Even in foreign lands, a familiar pang is no stranger. – mh clay

4 am by Helen Seymour

With excitement I plan
How I will make my gift
Filled with hope about the difference it will make
But plans can so easily go awry
Set off on an unintended track
A journey changed

At 4 am I wake once more
To words thrown back
A rebuff to my gift of love
In the black dark they stab, gnaw
Rise up like gall and stretch the night
Into an endless hole of slashing demons
Mistakes made, missteps taken
Too much control, too little
The what ifs

I yearn for the first car to
Rumble down the hill
Making its early start
For the first birds to call each other
Into the day, establishing their rights
Competing with the noise of unwanted thoughts

I rise and let the light band-aid the hurt
Get busy and try, try, try to let it go
Dissolve in the sunlight
Soothed by warmth
And routine tasks

April 22, 2022

editors note: Sometimes, we need to put daylight between us and disappointment. – mh clay

M(ind) or F(___[ed]) by Marie D. Moldovan

What does one’s gender matter?
Am I solely identified by the parts displayed outside…?
What about the feelings, emotions, and chemical oceans I carry inside?
Why must I confine myself to a tiny mental box
Marked by a single letter?
M(ind) [ ] Or
F(___[ed]) [ ] Can’t I just be, despite my visual(ity)?
Can’t I just allow my sexuality…
The cunning sleekness of a mischievous red fox
And give it room to roam,
And even neglect…
Reject… The label “unknown”?
Why must I restrict my sexual expansion
(To the prowess of limited dimension)
With the single marking of a letter?

April 21, 2022

editors note: What matters this letter, left unchecked? – mh clay

​They see a lobster by Susie Gharib

​They see a lobster crawling out
every time he opens his mouth
to utter the words he had memorized
for a speech he never attempted to write.

They see a lobster shrieking out
every time he constructs a smile
that is unwilling to endow
his hardened features with the amity required
to lure the crowds.

They see a lobster reeling out
in the corners of his eyes
inebriated with tears that ripple
with self-love
as he gazes upon the sufferings of humankind.

April 20, 2022

editors note: Such characters (recognize one?) are an affront to lobsterdom. – mh clay

Every Day by Sandy Rochelle

Every day I asked how is he?
Then I did not ask and he died.

April 19, 2022

editors note: Avoiding cracks was stressful enough. Now, this, too? – mh clay

Drunk Holding the Drunk by Lisa Creech Bledsoe

Down our nowhere road, past the rusted cars
rolling in their sea of weeds and a barn inclined
toward lolling, there is a shed
with (in front) a vending machine
filled with every color Gatorade
in 20-ounce plastic bottles, buzzing off-on-off-
on-off and listing.

Someone has scrounged a handful of decayed
ten-by-something corner brackets
and bolted the machine to the rickety shed
where the latest litter of feral kittens
huddle in dirt and gravel, still nursing.

Watching first for cats (also Max
the black dog), pull slowly up, two wheels
off the road, and take a chance
with your repeatedly smoothed-out dollar.
You might be tempted to prompt any reluctance
from the machine with a smack or a bump:
I caution against this:

We are all depending on a fragile
compilation of uprights, here.

April 18, 2022

editors note: Lean into that lean-to lest you topple your tipple. – mh clay

I think there’s a thirties musical that goes . . . by Mark Young

Evidence of increasing age includes
painting by numbers with your eyes
closed. That way the fact that you
don’t have any art tools is of little
import. The sweep across the backs
of your eyelids is what matters, can
be dramatic when what you’ve done
is satisfying, or act as a form of wind-
shield wiper that clears away debris,
or poor color choices, or any other
thing that gets in the way. Don’t for-
get that the last line is left in limbo.

April 17, 2022

editors note: Not asleep, just checking the insides of my eyelids for art. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you need an inspirational read about inspiration this weekend, check out our featured read, Deadline by Contributing Writer Harry McNabb!

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

Watch me build something out of what I destroyed and call it art. But this is a mess… No, it’s art! Your life is ablaze… No, this is art!

Here’s a glimpse of Harry’s twisted tale to get you goin’:

(photo “Warning Title” by Tyler Malone)

Harry McNabb was in a pickle. He had a poem due the next day for a project he had been roped into a month ago and he had not written anything.

Deciding to take a stab at it around 2 PM, Harry tried typing the poem on his laptop. He would write one line and then delete it, write another line and delete it. He did this five times over the course of thirty minutes.

He thought that maybe he should try writing by hand. He had had luck with that approach in the past. He got out his notebook and tried to compose a poem that way.

After writing nothing but lines of shit, he decided against this approach as well.

Harry looked around his room, looking for inspiration. He looked at a sock. He looked at a treadmill. He looked at a Jack-In-The-Box bag.

What was he going to do?

Then he remembered something his Dad had said one time:

If you are ever unsure about something, go outside, find a bird, and look at it closely. When it flies away, look at another bird, and then repeat. If you do this, every bird will carry away a little piece of the you that does not know what to do.

Harry thought this was a weird thing to say at the time…

Get the whole weird picture over here!


This weekday’s featured read, A Thistle comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet by Susie Gharib!

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

Love doesn’t die, it grows.

Here’s a bit of her thorny love story to get you goin’:

(photo “Shadegrown” by Tyler Malone)

The first men I fell in love were Robert Kennedy and Jesus Christ. I hope I am not blaspheming if I say that I found a prophet extremely handsome with his auburn hair and Celtic beard. I loved both JFK and his brother, but for me Robert was handsomer. I gazed upon my heroes long hours, until the Virginian (James Drury) and the Persuaders (Tony Curtis and Roger Moore) became additional amours. I do not think it was merely Drury’s gorgeous eyes or the pistol that dangled from his side that captivated my mind. He was a symbol, a modern knight, just as the miracle-performing Savior and the Attorney-General/Senator were in my eyes. Curtis and Moore were glamorous all right but they also became endeared by their chivalrous acts…

Don’t fizzle there… get the rest “A Thistle” right here!

••• A Mad Stance •••

Here at Mad Swirl, we present many political points of view, while not specifically espousing one over another. We love the poetry, prose and art of personal expression, leaving the politics for the reader to parse and agree or disagree. Many voices speak in this Swirl.

However, the situation in Ukraine demands a firm stance. Our media present political POVs for this atrocity; the Russians are justly liberating an oppressed people in Ukraine OR the people of Ukraine are being unjustly oppressed by the Russians. We don’t see room for a political stance when innocent civilians are clearly being evicted, incarcerated, or killed. Some things are just plain wrong!

Here is a poetical voice, DMYTRO CHYSTIAK, speaking directly from Ukraine about this situation. We encourage you to read his poems (along with an introduction by our own Contributing Poet and Mad Gallery Artist, Bill Wolak) and share this link with everyone you know…

••• 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.”

This anthology is a great introduction to the world of Mad Swirl!

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…

Truthfully Pursuin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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