The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.14.22

by on May 15, 2022 :: 0 comments

“I think all art is about control – the encounter between control and the uncontrollable.”

Richard Avedon

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“On the Clock” ~ 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 got rhino heart from an eye chart; we stood in the juncture of a junkie’s puncture; we slipped in the scud of a li’l patch of mud; we blustered putrid bliss from explosive genesis; we trusted our legacy to late archeology; we matter most when juxtaposed; we mattered again while going when. When ever what never makes sense, we find the words, the words find us. ~ MH Clay

when what matters most hardly by Heller Levinson

concerns hardly qualifies
: to – attract aver event station ever
sound welfare wound wind
wick cacophony nether posts early dispatch configure go figure
just for argument’s sake for chrissake for smithereens trespass early con-
duct unbecoming befit borderland before/after terminus albeit above all measurement dispatches in the eye of the seldom before befall go
robust go saintly go eager

May 14, 2022

editors note: The when, the where, the why notwithstanding – go! – mh clay

Assurance by Stephen Kingsnorth

‘What matters most?’ You ask and tell.
‘Most importantly’; ‘foremost’, ‘first’.
Mostly overweight, obese.
Now stop the cheek she says.

Exhausted list, false gods raised up.
Homework. Exam. C.V. Technique.
The elevator. Fancy tree.
Who you know not what can be.
A pose with poseurs, third degree.
And that’s not touching underclass,
hard to reach, the,
label, definite, article.

Quality, often, juxta, more.
The brief is clear. Cream at the top.
Feel the cloth, sir. Scholarship.
QA along with USP.

And writing. Art, Rosetta stone.
A shopping list in cuneiform.
The tablet. Sacred textual health.
Protective weapon in our wealth.
That jealous greenman, aeon stealth.

To be, though abstract, complement.
Plicit, im or ex expect.
Vanilla essence, concentrate.
Lifeblood, core, reduced, distilled.
Transfusion or more whisky malt?
Matter reasserts itself.

May 13, 2022

editors note: We hope to distill a single malt from which to taste of the grand gestalt. (We welcome Stephen to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Reemergence by Kenneth P. Gurney

One day I plan to be
the skeleton
some archeologist uncovers
and places in a trash bag
to reassemble
in a field museum workshop.

My plan does not mention
if humanity lasted so long
for the archeologist
to be from the genus
Homo sapiens.

Maybe it will be
the first space-faring aliens
who discover what once was
our hectic civilization
and try to determine
how our species vanished
in spite of handy inventions
like duct tape
and the Swiss Army Knife.

Maybe my bones
will migrate over time
closer to the surface
and be dug up
by a sated coyote
that cleans its teeth
by gnawing on my femur
while his full belly
makes noises
under the moonlight.

May 12, 2022

editors note: Our hegemony as curiosity or bone burp. – mh clay

To Further Life by Randall Rogers

Purchase an organic
parcel for your body
friend whence
it leaveth your soul
to bluster and rot
among life explosion
riot in putrid
genesis to yore.

May 11, 2022

editors note: Post it pre-paid return, keep the cycle going. – mh clay

Unexpectedly by John Doyle

Melhor o diabo conhecido que o diabo desconhecido.
– Portuguese Proverb

As a supersonic satellite that took him
soaring into bedsits stinking the sun from an Algarve vista,
as a weekend sedated in these Sundays we get, when we leave home to learn how sneaky rain
can be, to follow us like a fox that follows moonlight,
as a man not known for reason or self, or being, as that rain
equally shapeless and trance-like soaring over that Algarve blotch some of them called sunlight,
others called groovy and mystical – but no-one thought calling a medic might help.
All these variables could hardly be expected.
And so it was
– Unexpectedly –
A page 8 adjective that limits damage a dragon chase can do –
to a pride of lions, known in discreet
Sunday chatter – hoarding page 12 –
as this mudslide unexpectedly coursed through him,
our dear little boy, his dear l’il patch of mud, bitter to a touch,
sinking him deep in death, this fox eager to tame its dear old moon.
These variables – all expectedly so.

May 10, 2022

editors note: When it comes to the devil you know, it takes a medic to manage expectations. – mh clay

Heroin User in Montreux by Catherine Zickgraf

We meet at a hook in the path.
You lick your puncture, don’t look up,
send the baggie down the hill in the wind.

Should I interfere?
rip out the venom you just sent in?

I can relate.
I too have sat in the dirt
at the edge of a dream
puncturing bruises,
begging the sea to rise up
and swallow me.

May 9, 2022

editors note: Self-awareness through empathy for (from?) an addict. – mh clay

D E F P O T E C by Brittany M. Ortega

Allow me to first ask for permission –
was anybody going to tell me
that rhinoceros is spelled ‘rhinoceros’,
and that the plural of rhino isn’t ‘rhinos’
or ‘rhinoceros’?
‘Rhinoceroses’ feels like lighting the fuse
on a particularly large
bottle rocket.
Is it alright that it doesn’t take much to please me?
Is it alright that the word ‘rhinoceroses’ looks like
a fort made of cardboard
with a paper clip

And now, let me beg for forgiveness.
This isn’t a poem about rhinos.
It’s sort of about spelling, but mostly, it’s a poem
I told myself to write after dreaming what my brain thought
your face prob’ly looked like
over a cup of black coffee.

The elbow of your jawline.
The coarseness of your hair.
The way your eyes squint before you say something serious
as though the answers were something you used to see clearly,
but now the E’s and F’s are starting
to blur.

May 8, 2022

editors note: Love by zoonosis while minding one’s Ps and Qs. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Eh, reader-reader-reader… step up to the plate & take a swing at this week’s featured read!

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

Unfortunately, not much is more intimate than murder. Baseball, maybe.

Here’s the pitch for Who Killed the Spud” by David Larson to get this game underway:

(photo “Killing Field” by Tyler Malone)

The mascot for the Apopka Spuds baseball team was helping the team prepare for the season opener. The hated Zellwood Zephyr was in town. Irwin “Sport” Cotes, a twelve-year-old fan, was the mascot for the upcoming 1905 season. He functioned as the batboy, errand boy, and did whatever was asked of him.

Team manager Hiram “Ducky” Dooley took roll call in the dugout. There was no answer when he called out for third baseman Twiddle Johan. Dooley eyed his seventeen players and his assistant coach, “Do any of you rusty guts know where Johan is”?

Everyone shrugged their shoulders, no Twiddle.

“Sport, put down that jockstrap and go to Twiddles apartment. He probably got heavy wet last night and is still sleeping it off. Wake him up and get him moving.”

Sport raced to the boarding house where Johan lived. As he knocked on the door, it opened slightly. The mascot looked inside and saw Johan sprawled on the floor. There was blood under his head and a baseball bat next to the body. Sport quickly closed the door and ran back to manager Dooley.

“Ducky, I think Twiddle is dead. His head was bashed in.”…

Slide on into the rest of this baseball murder-mystery right here!

••• Another Mad Review •••

I Garden Weeds by Ethan Goffman (October 25, 2021)
Available at Amazon

Imagine a wry resignation to the inevitability of death, time, and change. A calico moment of enlightenment when cat jumps in lap at the strike of a gong. Imagine a morbid fascination with spirals; the spinning of galaxies, hurricanes, dishwater circling the drain. Imagine finding a balance between determination and despair with poetry as the medium for the expression of all these things. Now imagine a book of poems in hand, I Garden Weeds, by Ethan Goffman. This collection contains all these imaginings and more…

Read the FULL review by Poetry Editor MH Clay 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.”

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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