The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.11.22

by on June 12, 2022 :: 0 comments

“Language most shows a man, speak that I may see thee.”

Ben Jonson

••• The Mad Gallery •••

untitled ~ Eric Suhem

To see all of Eric’s trippy illustrations, 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 lapped in a lake, a kiss to take; we pushed our powers from death flowers; we crunched in the hum of aluminum; we reached consent to split the rent; we took cover in a do-over; we talked about dreams of talking to Dean; we remembered our duty to be around beauty. Imagine… ~ MH Clay

Youth & Beauty by Paul Hostovsky

When I was young and good-looking
I mean really young like thirteen or fourteen
I mean really good-looking like Leanne Simon definitely noticed me
in the halls and in the cafeteria
even though she never said a word to me
when I was young and good-looking
and she was young and good-looking
in fact Leanne Simon was probably the best-looking girl in my grade
she was so pretty you just wanted to stare at her
and look for the flaw in her perfection
because there had to be a flaw but there was no flaw
and if she had wanted to be with me like go out with me
which of course she didn’t but just for the sake of argument
I wouldn’t even have known what to do with Leanne Simon
I mean I probably would have shown her my stamp collection
and my coin collection and my runner-up tennis trophy
or maybe the nutcracker my parents brought home from Denmark
with the intricately carved wooden handles
but I don’t think I would have touched her because
when I was young and good-looking
I was less interested in touching beauty than just staring at it
and looking for the flaws and not finding any
so I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to get in her pants
because I didn’t know what was in her pants and didn’t want to know
I just wanted to be around her and in front of her
and on every side of her especially her good side
so I probably would have shown her my record collection
and maybe we would have sat on my bed together
and listened to records and not even given a thought
to what two young and good-looking people might do
on a bed or in a bed but I’d like to think
that maybe I would have asked her to dance
which is one of the best ways to be around beauty
and examine its perfection from all sides for the flaws that aren’t there
but chances are I wouldn’t have had the balls to ask her to dance
as I sat there next to her on the bed listening to the music
and fidgeting with the nutcracker in my hands
after she’d held it in her hands and admired it and handed it back to me

June 11, 2022

editors note: Ahhh, sweet sigh! – mh clay

Talk About Dreams by Isaiah Vianese

Dean–did I tell you grandma
visited my sleep two weeks ago?
She stayed only a short while
before saying, “Darlin’, I have to go.”
I woke up crying in a hotel bed
and stepped outside to hear the ocean
before I could rest again.

Dean–let’s talk about last night’s premonition.
We went shopping in a big market.
There were so many bags
we could barely carry them.
Then we found our way to a park,
where we napped on the grass,
surrounded by our new things.

Dean–in the first dream I had about you,
we sat at a cafe in Brooklyn.
We wore black t-shirts and sipped lattes.
You reached across the table,
held my forearm, and said,
“It’s okay. We’re learning.”

Then a wave of water rushed through the shop
and washed us onto the sidewalk.
We laid on our backs, chatting
while the sun warmed us.
I remember feeling grateful
as we told stories in the light.

June 10, 2022

editors note: Do we know what they mean if we’ll grateful be? – mh clay

Nowhere Place by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

In nowhere place
I meet up with no one.
I am disguised as
a mirror and no one
is my reflection.

The hours move slow
yet still they are wasted.
I forget the sound
of no one’s voice
and yet it sounds so familiar.

In nowhere place
I discover no one.
I change her name
to artificial light
as she flashes her smile.

The hours continue
to lag as if daylight
savings time keeps
rolling back and I try
a do-over on my life.

June 9, 2022

editors note: You can make a new no one when no one is you. – mh clay

chapter twenty-something by Tanner

I’d been in the new room about an hour
and I looked around asking the walls:
how long will we be friends?
when the spider scuttled across the room
and under the bed.

I went over and lifted the bed.
there was the spider.
now what?
I wasn’t going to kill her. she was the size of a kitten.
she was too hairy and had her own face.
I don’t know what I was going to do –
maybe shoo her out or ask her to split the rent

anyway right next to the spider was this CD –
compact discs, remember them? –
one of those blank orange ones you used to buy in packs
to burn stuff onto – burning media, remember that? –
and scrawled in smudged red marker across it was
“Susan and Denise, school bus, 11/06/2007”

I sat looking at it. analysing the title for clues.
maybe it was some kind of documentary.
a kid’s tv show.
a parent’s recording of a school trip.
I sat looking at it

until the spider stomped it to pieces with eight fuzzy boots,
her gnarly face not necessarily accusing
but relieved nonetheless
as I binned the pieces
and we proceeded to discuss living arrangements.

June 8, 2022

editors note: Make your hallucinations at home. – mh clay

Poem for Marc Chagall by Chuck Taylor

When I did my job
I had this goat
to talk to.
His fur glowed
an intense blue
bluer than any
out in Texas,
I just didn’t wish
to embarrass him
so didn’t speak
about color.
Did he fall into
a bucket of paint?
The goat could
whistle melodies
from Beethoven
while doing the
two-step, I felt
lackluster around
the goat with
my shopping cart
full of aluminum cans
in black plastic bags
that I recycled for
cash. I ALWAYS
gave him a few
to munch on since
he wasn’t into
eating the moon
and the crunching
sound made us
laugh as we
settled to sleep
in our homeless
camp above
Quiet Creek.

June 7, 2022

editors note: There’s no gettin’ your goat if you already got one. – mh clay

ANCIENT BEADS by Patty Dickson Pieczka

Crystal, glass, olivella shells,
powers of tusk and bone.
These polished bits of moon
rumble thunder in my hand.

Octaves of wind hum silken voices
of time and sorcerers, of people
who sprouted from earth,
those who translated tides and stones

and conversed with fish.
Here is darkness that dreams
of light, of the hollow corridor
where death flowers into life.

Colors pour through my veins.
The past regards me with its beaded eye,
reflects me back to the beginning.
I warm my hands on fires of creation.

June 6, 2022

editors note: Nascent necklace worn again, worn anew. – mh clay


hear the water lap
the shores of the melted lake
…with only kisses

June 5, 2022

editors note: You’ll need a towel after that kiss and cuddle. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This weekend’s featured read at Mad Swirl, Toreador at the Door by Dave Barrett is sure to please… no bull!

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

Here’s to growing up and maybe growing into the role of being a grownup.

Here’s a snapshot of Dave’s tail-tale:

(photo “Work Stains” by Tyler Malone)

Ben, Jr. was standing beneath the arched doorway of the Cactus Room in full bullfighter regalia—a little surprised to see his older brother Will (older by a year) dressed in matching costume pouring drinks for regulars at the bar. (Ben, Jr. had gotten wind of Will’s protest to the “Tres Amigos” stunt–and Will’s absurd political and moral reasons for his protest–and had expected to encounter his brother in regular work clothes.)

Ben, Jr. was the most strikingly handsome of the three handsome Ailing boys. While Will and Jerry most resembled their fair-haired mother, Myra, Ben, Jr. had inherited the black Irish good looks of his father, Ben. This “blackness” in Ben, Jr. was so strong he was the only member of the Ailing clan that even looked a bit Mexican. Along a far wall of the Cactus Room (now teeming with customers) was a picture of Simon Bolivar (the Venezuelan military and political leader famous for liberating his own and other South American countries from the yoke of Spain and the colonizing efforts of the United States and others). Ben, Jr. had the same prominent forehead as Bolivar, the same regal brow and dark intelligent eyes. He even sported the same mutton chop sideburns…

Get the rest of this matadorian-inspired tale right here!


If you’re lookin’ for a read a cut above the rest, then check out our midweek featured read, The Source of Your Pain by Edward N. McConnell!

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

This cut will go deep. Deep and forever.

Here’s a lil snip to get you goin’:

(photo “A Little off the Top” by Tyler Malone)

Gary Samson slammed the door behind him. He was upset and in pain as a result of what just happened. Stepping off the sidewalk in front of the building, he hustled to his car. Flinging the door open, he turned on the radio and looked in the rear view mirror. The reflection caused tears to run down his cheeks. Never wanting to look up again, he buried his head into his arms which were crossed on the steering wheel. Then he heard a voice coming from the radio.

“At Corn Flower Clinic we can identify what troubles you. We find the source of your pain. When you come to us, we give you a thorough examination before performing treatment. Your welfare is our only concern. Come see us, we’ll make it better. We’re really good.”

Raising his head, Gary typed the clinic’s name into his GPS, got the directions and headed out of the parking lot. While he drove, he dried his tears and blew his nose…

Find out what’s on Gary’s mind right here!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

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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