The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.09.22

by July 10, 2022 0 comments

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

Camille Pissarro

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The Thrill of Nakedness ~ Bill Wolak

Mad Swirl is thrilled to bring back one of our favorites, Bill Wolak, to the Mad Gallery with a new batch of madness we think you’ll love just as much as we do! Wolak always manages to swirl the psychedelic with the erotic in such a unique way. Each piece has the strange ability to transport us to a sort of dreamlike reality, one we’re certainly not mad to be transported to, but curious, still, about what it means and how the hell we got there.

To see all of Bill’s twisted 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 century walked till the parrot talked; we prep-ered flat to buy a hat; we brightly frolicked with an alcoholic; we love birth benched while reading French; we made hate relenters of all who enter; we caved wall fun in a tied feet run; we spun a yarn in a country barn. We regale with a tale. ~ MH Clay

In a country barn by Hem Raj Bastola

Sun is casting
His powerful gong
I can hear it
Glittering so strong
Pastoral he is
Playing with soil
It’s hard to live
Without such a toil.
To continue
To exist.

Scorching heat
peeling off the bark.
The rind is hard
Still it broke.
Earth is so dry to plant.
He has not given up
The hope.
Wiping his forehead
By the sleeve of:
His shirt.

Stranger, I reach
Fascinated by the country
Where the lane of life
Is slow, though smiles
Of welcome
Pulls me with attraction
Invitation leads me
To the barn.

His sweat
Is fermented
Rancid brine filtered
Through his body.
To quench his thirst
and to shed his skin,
To protect from
The midday heat.
We now in a barn rest,
Beside the farm.

And a loitering
Found his friend
To talk with.
Where he is still
Spinning his living yarn
To continue life.
Blooming calluses
On his palm

Along with
Ongoing gossip
Boiling available herb
The tea is served.
The taste was
Beyond the price.
The way he lives
His rustic life.

Where the smell
Of the livestock
Was more refreshing
Than perfume.
Invigorating strong,
Inspiring moment
Of experience

Putting somewhere
Not to forget
And I am unable
To restrain my words.
While resting
In a country barn.

July 9, 2022

editors note: This bard’s getting a bucolic setting. – mh clay


With tied feet we run
while the woods
peel back
on their own
past the boarded homes
we played in
past crusty folds
we slept in
past the herb riddled gardens
we fed from
and the laundry machines
we checked for quarters
as we reach to clutch
and hold
and breathe with mixed intent
reaching for our hands
undaunted by the tide
rolling over these woods
now salted and swept
clean of silhouettes
traveling beneath these
caved walls
and rooted memories
we look down
at the smiling
caught in the thickets
of our dreams,
content to mingle
and haunt
and moan.

July 8, 2022

editors note: Rapt in our run to remember. – mh clay


Poem based on Patricia Cronin’s sculpture Memorial of a Marriage.

She struck with her chisel and hammer
To grave on humanity’s doors
Be free of your phobia
And “Judge not”
What do you mean when you say love?
What do you mean when you say equality?
What do you mean when you say marriage?
What do you mean when you speak of sex?
And there was silence in humanity for the space of an hour
And the unloving ones had to put down their stones
That they had taken up in their hands to throw at her
Judged by her work
Seeing the lack of love in themselves
Seeing the lack of good sex in their married lives
Seeing the inequality they practiced in their own partnerships
And the stone rejoiced at what it was made into
And the few stones that were made flesh, then, if any, cried out saying
We need more heart.
Teach us to love with no impediments
Teach us equality
Teach us the meaning of marriage true
Teach us to enjoy the gift of sex
Make us soft and tender inside and show us mercy
Lead us to our feminine sides and vulnerable selves
All due to the power of a giant work of art
That spoke silently made of white Carrara marble
Unforgettable, and of the hands that made it
Art can sometimes strike from seeming hell on seeming heaven’s door
And make us wake up, think and change our preconceived hates
Give up HATE, all you who enter here!

July 7, 2022

editors note: Give it up! (We welcome Dr Koshy to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Creative Writing by Peycho Kanev

I read a French novel now, I read and I read, in French.
The letters wander like black ants on the page, confusing.
I want to read this book by some muddy brook. Some deep book.
I will brook no interference.
My wife says she will leave me. She’s not mad enough at me.
My wife knows I will always love her. But I never married.
“A melancholy air can never be the right thing; what you want is a bored air,”
the author writes in the book. In French. The author is Stendhal.
And I’m reading it. And not reading it. Not anymore, because I prefer poetry.
I told my wife to write me some good poetry, but she won’t listen.
Balzac was very prolific, but Stendhal is better. But does it matter?
Pushkin was killed by Georges d’Anthès in January, the saddest month.
I promised my three daughters that I will never die. They’ve never been born.
So do I.

July 6, 2022

editors note: I do, too; if I could read French. – mh clay

Brightness by Ahmad Al-khatat

When the moon misses its brightness
I feel lonely as a forgotten painting in the gallery at dusk

Do you remember the moments we sipped the sun wine?
I absorb the biological colours of the rainbow

Then splash them above the grey clouds of autumn.
More birds would rise into the blue of her eyes,

They attacked my birthplace and crushed my heart in their infirmary.
I lost my hand and since then I became an alcoholic

Who prays after drinking whiskey from a homesick teacup?
Why so!!
Don’t be!!!
My neighbour doesn’t seem
informed of the coffin I’m carrying since I accepted your friendship…

July 5, 2022

editors note: A lack exposed, an addict empowered. – mh clay

things to do while waiting for the apocalypse by Brendan McBreen

buy a gun
learn to speak Swedish
take up knitting
and racquetball
get a job
pay bills
take up hula dancing
get a rabbit
name it Stewart
paint your garage
buy zombie insurance
watch the sun set
find a neat-looking rock
order a pizza
pet a stray cat
learn to use chopsticks
plant an onion
sell the gun
buy a hat

July 4, 2022

editors note: Buy now! Soon it will be too late. – mh clay

An African Grey Parrot sat silent for a century by Richard Weaver

despite having lived on a ship where sailors with lively language offered the lexicon of their erudition freely with crackers aplenty. Grateful for salt she remained silent in thanks, kept her claws sharp and her beak at the ready, one eye open for those who might tire of hardtack or the ocean’s daily offering of flying fish. Better that than squid. Her heartbeat mirrored the waves patterning against many ships’ hulls. She chose to forget the many names of the many Captains who’d asked her guidance during countless storms. Her eye-blinks were never understood for the truth they spoke. Having lost her sea legs, unable to clutch and hold on even in modest wakes and waves, she was retired to land. Polly was not polycentric and had never been accused of being polytonal. But not a man had ever guessed her true name, a sadness, since having done so would’ve freed her tongue to sing the sun, to twang the moon. Now, a landlubber, a ground waddler with wings, she tours the bars which would-be pirates haunt, singing their songs and arggin their args. Come one day, she may have her say. She might corner the parish priest, and dump 100 years of damning thoughts atop his blackened shoulders.

July 3, 2022

editors note: Guess the name, win a hundred. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If your path has led you here then you must need a read! Meeting Edward Abbey in the Rain by Contributing Writer/Poet/Artist Alan Gann is sure to please.

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

In the end, or maybe all the time, we want a room of our own to live and to die as we see fit.

Here’s a bit of Alan’s trekking tale:

(photo “Life on the (Easy) Streets” by Tyler Malone)

we need the possibility of escape
as surely as we need

Three days hiking, relentlessly setting up tiny tent in the rain, taking down in the nonstop rain. Nothing ever dries. Crawling into a damp sleeping bag, rain thrumming against the fly. Coffee never hot enough to defeat the chill. Climbing miles, and miles back down. All the scenic overlooks shrouded gray. Slopes more slippery than metaphor.

Perfect. I came to wallow, and after Sarah said she found someone better, nothing is going to cheer me up.

Sold more-broken-down-than-not Bug to buy a bus ticket to the middle of nowhere. Driver said he would drop me off at nearest town, no extra charge because it looked like some weather’s blowing in. But dark clouds call, and an hour later the rain. Buckets of rain. Slogging through the mud until boots weigh as much as pack, until I’m too tired to care. Finish the day with reconstituted gruel, handful of aspirin, enough green-label to sleep.

Good thing I don’t have any destination in mind because half-way through day two, I am right and truly lost. Not that I care. I am on a trail, and it probably leads somewhere. Or not. Maybe it will peter out in the middle of the forest and laugh.

in the depths of solitude
beyond wilderness and freedom
lay the trap of madness…

Step on up and over here to get the rest of this on!


Get your hooks into our weekday featured read Fishing Buddies by Logan Markko!

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

Life starts young and goes somewhere far off, but it never goes too far from those who still remember when they were young.

Here’s a nibble to get you goin’:

(photo by Tyler Malone)

Wes Coleman had been ducking my phone calls ever since his wife and kids left town. Everyone knew he and Carin were having problems, but when a week passed and she didn’t come home, the gossip started to spin out of control.

Rumor had it, one of them was having an affair. Wes had started drinking again and was in danger of losing his job at the paper mill. Carin was a shopaholic who’d racked up thousands of dollars in credit card debt. The bank was foreclosing on their house.

Their kids were juvenile delinquents.

Growing up, Wes and I made a habit of cutting school whenever trouble hit. We’d dump our backpacks and spend the rest of the day with our poles in the water, praying for a bite.

I figured it was time for another fishing trip…

Something smells fishy over here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of July (aka 07.06.22) 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 (virtual)
MH Clay
Tony Robinson (guest)

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel, Gerard Bendiks)

Round One:
*Guilio Magrini
Harry McNabb
*Anthony Ripp
*Gayle Bell
Carlos Salas
*Marianne Szlyk
*Ethan Goffman
CJ Critt
*Mike Zone
Lillie Davidson
*Atenea Afrodita
Joaquin Zihuatanejo

Round Two:
Christopher Calle
James “Bear” Rodehaver
David Crandall
Alan Gann
Desmene Statum
Kevin O’Neil
Priscilla Rice


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 08.03.22)… may the 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…


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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