The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.30.22

by on May 1, 2022 :: 0 comments

“I have a vivid, apocalyptic imagination.”

Sally Mann

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Sunset of Empire” ~ 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 dropped our ballast in a sea of contrast; we rigged a place for a second of grace; we swept the dust of love and rust; we woke to birdsong and love gone wrong; we perked up with a second cup; we slipped in the splatter of what should matter; we, eyes shut tight, sought peace in light. Just a splash of ink to write what we think. ~ MH Clay

It’s time to close my eyes by Hem Raj Bastola

I see enough!
The light!
The progress!
The growth.

One day
When I was
Sitting by the hermitage
Alone and isolated.
While delusions of the world
Were chasing a mirage.
Where does it lead?
A question within!
Question ask.

Did we understand!
What is peace after all?
Humans are running for it!
Even in luxury, in comfort!
Of material ease.
I know everything
has to die, decay
And decompose.

I see them
Holding heads of
Anxiety, anger, and stress.
Ah! Still, when?
Humans will realize,
the knowledge of:

It’s getting dark now!
Far out from the civilization
I smell the aura: the twilight.
And to get immersed within,
Magical rays
Of consciousness.

Breathing deep,
Along with
My folded feet,
There I sit.
Profound soul to purify.
It’s time to close my eyes.
holding self
In silence.

April 30, 2022

editors note: Eyes open or closed; seeking peace, ever seeking… – mh clay

Everything Matters When Nothing Matters by Joseph Farley

Everything matters when nothing matters.
The way the dust falls in the light.
How a cat stalks a spider.
The scrape of steel wool
against an iron frying pan.

It all matters.
It all matters so much
because nothing matters.

It all stopped mattering.
Now the sight and sound
of all that continues
to go on and be
to the fact that nothing matters,
eats at your gizzard,
tears at your lungs.

You can’t breathe.
You can’t think.
You can’t watch.
You can’t listen.

All you can do
is sulk in your chair,
pull at a beer
and pretend the TV
talking to you
is the one you miss.

April 29, 2022

editors note: Until all that matters is the background chatter. – mh clay

Coffee by J. K. Durick

It’s the second cup midafternoon
that seems essential,
something that completes my day.
Not like the morning one
that wakes me up,
stirs my brain, stirs my nerves
gets me ready for the day,
if “ready” is the right word.
The day begins and there I am
cup in hand. The day begins
unwinding its business, first this
then that, you know the kind of
stuff that stuffs our days
fills the time, the grind of hours
the weight of years. It’s almost
predictable, the stirring that first
cup brings lags after a while
slows down, lessens, fades,
becomes just a memory.
My morning self, the guy who was
going to get things done,
accomplished, stops being himself.
That’s when the second cup
shows up, becomes essential to
being me – a little dark roast, some
sweetener and I’m back in charge
of my day
at least until supper time.

April 28, 2022

editors note: A cuppa drip to keep from being one. – mh clay

The Slow Morning Arrives by Rp Verlaine

With its empty punishment
of bright light and bird songs
mingling with a hangover
I earned the night before.

Nothing in the cupboard
except coffee without
the sweetness of sugar
his lover called poison.

The fridge almost empty,
but a few stale doughnuts
the microwave failed to
give any semblance of life.

Yet the house was clean.
His lover had left it
sparkling like a diamond
on a young stripper’s navel.

He checked the want ads
he’d circled with the vague interest
he could barely sustain before
circling the next one.

The apartment seemed empty
without his lover or her clothes
scattered on the furniture or floors
as he stared at the mirror

Where she loved to write
You’re an asshole! in lipstick
after an argument knowing
it would be the first thing he’d see

After she had left for work
before the bright morning light
or the little birds roused him
and he opened the first bottle.

April 27, 2022

editors note: When she said to me (um, I mean him), “It’s not me, it’s YOU.” – mh clay

Memories by Dr Koshy AV

The white puppy playing around me
dancing, its tail wagging

The spiderlings
from a thousand eggs

The flames licking at the edges
of poems
to ashes

The water not hot enough
The lime too much
Both made sweet by love

Haunted by profane loves
lips and breasts unslaked, tasted, ditched

of ghosts and geishas
in the pell-mell of order that is rust

Blow off the dust, they live,
some even gleam.

April 26, 2022

editors note: Some so bright, gotta wear shades. – mh clay

BETTER by Jim Trainer

the trouble with binary thinking
and wisdom communicated is
they say nothing about how
holding on is an inch from fallen in,
that the difference between
ok and destitute
is slim and fickle
and luck is little more
than a rigged chance
the days
stacked up just so
aren’t a floating stair
but one stake after the next
into indifferent slabs
of matter,
with the gauge equidistant
between tragedy and dread
you have to break the hours down
until your grace is only a second of thanks
and then gone.

April 25, 2022

editors note: Still, we do our binary best; “Thanks” or “No thanks.” – mh clay

Contrasts by Archie Abaire

Recall how our canoe crept
along that breezy lakeshore,
its wake in the darkening water
sparkling as the sun sank
beneath orange and rose clouds.

Gales of hermetic dreams abrade
fulsome shores of our shaitans;
lightning-glittered clouds glare
scarlet and black recollections.

Wavelets, wherever they washed
the gently sloping shore,
said, “Thip, thip — thip, thip,”
as they marked memories
on the shifting sand.

Tempests scrub debris-littered scarp;
their pounding roar shocks;
castaways cast off jetsam,
yet more to be scoured away.

April 24, 2022

editors note: “Welcome” or “Man over,” two sides to the same board. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re lookin’ for a trip, down memory lane (or otherwise) then check out The Line by Contributing Writer & Poet Bruce Mundhenke!

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

Work, life, the days are carried by in waves, are all worthy tales to tell. Doubly so if they have tails.

Here’s a few hits to get ya goin’:

(photo “Perma Puppy” by Tyler Malone)

It was the summer of 1977. I was on strike. I worked at a soybean processing plant and though I didn’t know it then, it was on the verge of being sold because the owners had made a deal with the buyers that would benefit them both greatly.

I had just been divorced and had no savings. I was staying temporarily with my parents but I was seldom there. The night before I had partied with some friends all night and was just coming down off mediocre LSD when they dropped me off at my parents’ house.

The backyard of my parents’ house was totally fenced. Their dog Duke was mostly St Bernard. Near the gate, Duke stood, tail wagging, hoping for some attention. I opened the gate and he came out to greet me. He was big and stood nearly up to my waist. But he was gentle, good natured, and permanently pup clumsy.

The sun was just coming up in the east. It looked like an egg yolk as it peeked over top of the trees next door. I fondled Duke’s ear. We set out around the house, heading east down the road in front. Duke would bound ahead for about 30 yards, then return to walk alongside me. I felt a strong connection to him. He was excited to be free. Excited to explore new surroundings.

I figured we would walk out to the picket line at work. It was a mile from my parents’ house. They lived on the edge of town…

Stroll on over here to get the rest of “The Line”


At the tone the time will be… this weekday’s featured read, “The Problem with Marvin by Contributing Writer & Poet Michael Brownstein!

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

Life doesn’t come at you, it waits for you.

Here’s a tease to help you slip into this daydreamy tale:

(photo “Words in Air” by Tyler Malone)

Marvin called time and temperature many times during the week. He felt he needed to hear another human voice and too often he felt the recording was a real person talking only to him. Then one beautiful Thursday morning, he dialed the number and the voice said, “Marvin, get outside. It’s a beautiful day. Just beautiful. Go to the park, sit on a bench, go to the zoo, wander around. Go.” Marvin stared at his phone for a long minute, never heard the time or temperature and then he went to the park and sat on a bench. He called time and temperature after that even more often, but he never heard the recording message call him by name…

Dial up the rest of this story right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of May (aka 05.04.22) 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, Gerard Bendiks)with special guest, Dallas Poet Laureate Joaquín Zihuatanejo… followed by our usual unusual 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.”

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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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