The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.01.23

by on April 2, 2023 :: 0 comments

I am an artist… I am here to live out loud.

Emile Zola

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“The Rabbist Is Out of the Hate” ~ Howie Good

Collage artist Howie Good has graciously gifted us with more of his strange and wonderful collages, and you bet our swirl-y lil eyes couldn’t be happier about it! There’s just something so ‘found item’ about Goods’ work that I can’t get enough of — like you’re looking at a relic, a piece of history long forgotten, except the longer you look, the more you start to realize that none of it is real. And then you’re like, but wait. Then what IS real? And feel sort of weird about that all day. Yeah. That’s what Howie Good’s collages do to me and I don’t think I’d have it any other way. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Howie’s madly mystical 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 deigned to dance and not by chance; we could confound by the source of a sound; we self did vex with cyber sex; we got the glum of shifting slum; we shivered more toward mouldy core; we stripped the stage for girl in cage; we came alive by lover’s drive. We write and reel by the turn of the wheel. ~ MH Clay

Love in the time of Snow Angels by Joey Da’rrell Cloudy

Outside just beyond the glass walls
of my second-story bedroom
the clouds of February 2015
bury the city of faces in titanium white shrouds
the cars slosh by in icy treads and the voices
of my brothers as they pass each other on the thin iced sidewalk
with easy greetings suspended
comically in foggy breaths
at the edge of South Oak Cliff barely audible
in the distance three gunshots ring out
then silence in the white.
In a few minutes I will call my lover
snowed in at her mothers
on the other side of town.
She is beautiful and brilliant
sitting in her car for the last hour cussing
the gods of cock blocking and 36-car pile-ups
on narrow suburban bridges.
Eventually her anger subsides enough for her to drive
down the block to get smokes as she
rages against the snow machine.
I sit here in my large black leather chair reading
her tweets on the ultra-thin monitor
taping the black keyboard
atop the reproduction antique desk
still raw from the last two nights of good side dick sex.
Goofy, in make a playlist love happy,
while Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’
plays on my old stereo.
I find songs online by Nine Inch Nails,
Cannibal Corpse, and the Dresden Dolls
and it is at this moment that I realize
that for the first time in many years
I can see myself in the future
And everything is

April 1, 2023

editors note: At last, a long-awaited thaw. – mh clay

I’d Rather Have A Life With Occasional Misadventure, Than No Adventure At All by Paul Tristram

I keep BUMPING into her ‘Gloom’…
along the Hall Of Negative Thinking
… as I’m going about me business,
emptying (Constantly Full) ashtrays
as part of my Community Service
for being a naughty little bastard
… she’s well and truly STUCK!!!
I did a (Perfect) parkour wall flip
… and she just frowned…
so I sprinted and then knee-slid,
past her, along the parquet flooring
… and she just squidged her mouth
up all bored… until I rose to my feet
and she saw the blood on my (Now)
ripped classic Levi 501 Red Tag jeans
… then, she half-smiled, wickedly.
I’m not trying to get into her knickers,
after all, she’s only partially my type
… and, I’m already whittling down
my list of friends and acquaintances.
I just felt sorry for her, and wanted
… to (Help) DISLODGE her…
from that (Mental) Corner that she’s
worried-herself-into… No ‘Birds
In Cages’ upon my watch, yeah…
but, sometimes, you’ve just gotta let
people find the ‘Way Out’ themselves.

March 31, 2023

editors note: Can’t help, sometimes, but try to turn a frown. – mh clay

TOWNSCAPE 46 by Christopher Barnes

Shadowy utility core.
Piled up kinetic in candytuft.
Radiating floor heating.
Down-and-out flings grotty blanket…
Where Ka-ata-killa mouldered.

March 30, 2023

editors note: Camouflage for the undesirable among us. – mh clay

No More Crackies by Donna Dallas

They’ve abandoned
the 7th Avenue exit of Penn Station
their essence still lingers
the sour smell
stains on the concrete from bodies
and body fluids
the ghosts of the pipe
linger in that long
dank corridor
with hypodermic needles swept
into a pile waiting to be cleaned up

They’ve gone to another spot
this one jammed with police
they are unable to shoot up
within the peace of the thousands
of people exiting up that staircase
unaffected by a needle piercing
a groin or a leg

All quiet on 7th Avenue
a vein will come back in time
and so will they

March 29, 2023

editors note: Another attempt at urban renewal. – mh clay


I love – after an out-of-Budweiser
experience – boxing with my shadow;
beside myself with cyber lust,
floating above the smoke,
drowning, none-the-wiser,
in some excess of mirrors,
summoning ecstatic static,
trapped in syllogism extremism,
receiving over the logic gates a
bill for what proves to be –
converted to bits –
the same old jism.
I, above this hymn, hum –
a bee thick with pollen,
hovering the rose,
praying knee-deep in nectar
punch drunk to be.

March 28, 2023

editors note: Googled to a gut full with (instant) gratification – a bargain at any price. – mh clay


I hear a noise at night coming from the old barn.
Too loud for mice. A raccoon maybe.
Or could it be the ghosts of horses.
Phantom cows are another possibility.
Years ago, there was a herd that spent its winters here.
Could be a homeless person also.
Ever since the city founds its way
to what used to be nothing but farming country,
there’s been stuff stolen, a window broken,
some spray paint on the rough brown walls.
So why not the ones who have no place to spend the night.
A roof over the head is not to be sneezed at
despite the heaps of ancient hay.
There’s always the wind as culprit of course.
It loves old tottering buildings.
Nothing like getting under the eaves
and terrifying the roof.
Or whistling through the door
and shaking some rusty bolts down.
I’m lying in bed and listening,
this thing I do before sleep.
I’m taking a measurement of the world
before I leave it,
my ears putting everything in its place
from traffic to the ticking of my clock
to my own shallow breath.
An odd noise holds up progress:
like a fire-cracker, thunder,
neighbors scrapping.
A barn rustles even more so because it’s my barn.
There’s even a chance that I’ll get up to investigate.
A noise in the barn is me throwing on
slippers and dressing gown.
It’s the ping of a mattress,
the creak of a floorboard and stair,
the turning of a key,
the clip-clap of feet on a cement path.
The noise in the barn is the noise I make.

March 27, 2023

editors note: With self is source, imagination investigates. – mh clay

By Happenstance by Harley White

By happenstance a glance may say
we humans saw the light of day
in universe’s vast expanse
to personate our song and dance
within a fleeting earthly stay.

At night black velvet sky array
stelliferous with appliqué
might seem to firmament enhance
by happenstance.

Yet ‘midst the starry overlay
concomitantly underway
cause and effect their course advance
encompassing in nexus trance
connections cosmic, not at play
by happenstance.

March 26, 2023

editors note: So, not chance, but what a dance – and who(what) wrote the music? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

!namffoG nahtE teoP & retirW gnitubirtnoC yb aixedsyL gid ll’uoy neht daer adnik sdrawkcab a rof gnikool er’uoy fI

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

Today is yesterday, and yesterday, well, that’s always going to be tomorrow. We get it, we have to. We lived already.

Here’s why the above copy makes sense:

“Metallic Mirror” by Tyler Malone

Robert awoke into a mirror world. Everything was the opposite of what it had been, and yet exactly the same. The sun was rising in the west, yet hadn’t it previously risen in the east? Or had it always been the way it was today and he was just confused? At least it wasn’t rising in the north or south.

Robert arose from the right side of the bed. But wasn’t that the wrong side? Hadn’t he always slept on the left? His wife lay peacefully asleep on what seemed the dark side of the moon, while their orange marmalade cat, Tammy, bounded from the bed—the white streak on her left flank appeared to have moved to the right. And hadn’t she been a he before? Hadn’t her name—or was that his name—been Matty? Perhaps she, he, it, or they was still a male—Robert didn’t want to stoop and investigate to find out. Nevertheless, he was almost certain that he, himself, had always been a he, although a faint corner of his mind remembered, or imagined, himself (or herself) as Roberta…

!ereh daer desrever elohw eht teG


If you’re looking for a story that will hit the note to feed the need for a read then check out Texas Fried Blues by Contributing Writer Jim Bates.

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

“The war is never over; the war is at home.”

Here’s a few notes to get your toe tappin’:

“Future Project” by Tyler Malone

The knocking woke me from a deep sleep. I glanced at the bedside clock. Three AM. I stumbled to the front door and looked out. An apparition was half turned, smoking a cigarette. I could tell it was a guy. He made furtive eye contact with me. I flipped on the porch light illuminating a man dressed in worn camouflage. My friend Lenny. He looked at me, crushed out the butt, and put it in his jacket pocket. Something was in his hand.

Half asleep but still glad to see him, I opened the door. “Hey there, buddy,” I greeted him. “It’s been a while.”

“Hi, Nick, he smiled shyly. “Yeah, I’ve been busy.” He paused and looked over his shoulder into the darkness. God only knew what he was looking at. After a moment he turned to me as if wanting to forget it and just move on. “Here,” he said, “I made this for you.” He handed me a case with a compact disc in it.

Texas Fried Blues the label read. I was touched. “Hey, man, I appreciate it. Thanks a lot.”

“It’s got some kick-ass stuff. I think you’ll like it.”

Lenny was a veteran. He had trouble sleeping most nights so he made mixed music CDs and gave them away to his friends.

I couldn’t help myself and inadvertently glanced at the clock. I had to get up by six and go to work. “I’ll play it this weekend.”

He grimaced, unable to hide his disappointment. “Really? I was thinking maybe we could listen to it tonight. Together.”

I looked at him, tall and thin and burned out. Long oily hair, scraggly beard, and haunted eyes sunk deep in their sockets. Stale sweat emanated from his ragged clothes. My heart went out to him.

“Good idea. Let’s do that.”…

Get the whole tune right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.05.23) as we do the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION as well as from our Mad Zoom Room (broadcasted via FB Live)!

Starting at 7:30pm, join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay as we 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) 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!

••• The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 •••


The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 AVAILABLE NOW!

2022 has been yet another extraordinarily challenging year. Thru it all, Mad Swirl was there, every one of the 365 days of this twisted year. We didn’t miss a beat. Those beats are what you’ll get when you dig into this year’s collection. Get your firsthand view of one helluva of a f*cking year.

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.”

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 is a 115-page anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists hailing from 4 Continents, 11 Countries (Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Serbia, Syria, UK, USA [18 states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, KS, MA, MI, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, TX, VA, WA, WI], Viet Nam)

Huge grats & shout-outs to our 2022 featured Contributors (in alphabetical order):

Featured Artists:

J Gregory Cisneros
Howie Good
Eric Suhem
Jada Yee

Featured Poets:

Archie Abaire
Ahmad Al-khatat
Preacher Allgood
Gayle Bell
Mandakini Bhattacherya
Henry Bladon
Lucinda Borchard
Christopher Calle
Ekta Singh Chandel
Margaret Coombs
PW Covington
Ruth Z. Deming
Colin Dodds
John P. Drudge
Fatihah Quadri Eniola
Michael Estabrook
Skaja Evens
Joseph Farley
Vern Fein
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Alan Gann
John Grey
Jeff Grimshaw
Marie Higgins
Peycho Kanev
Stephen Kingsnorth
Casey Renee Kiser
Phyllis Klein
Fay L. Loomis
Brendan McBreen
Bradford Middleton
Lisa Moak
J. D. Nelson
Nweke Benard Okechukwu
Brittany Ortega
Nikita Parik
Jeffrey Park
Timothy Pilgrim
David Punter
Polly Richardson (Munnelly)
Emalisa Rose
Ken Edward Rutkowski
Sanjeev Sethi
Beate Sigriddaughter
Paul Tristram
Ndue Ukaj
Mel Waldman
Catherine Zickgraf
Chris Zimmerly
Mike Zone

Featured Writers:

Kirk Alex
Ruth Z. Deming
Colin Dodds
Thomas Elson
Susie Gharib
Melissa Hickey
Keith Hoerner
Flora Jardine
Michael Kozart
James Lawless
Randall Rogers
Sunil Sharma

And for those wondering just what and/or who Mad Swirl is…

Mad Swirl is an arts and literature creative outlet. It is a platform, a showcase, and a stage for artistic expression in this mad, mad world of ours; a diverse collection of as many poets, artists, and writers we can gather from around the world; from Nepal to Ireland, from England to China, from California to New York City and all the places in between. Our Poetry Forum features works from over 140 contributing poets, our Short Story Library has over 40 participating writers and our Mad Gallery has over 60 resident artists.

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 : v2022” then get yours right here!


The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin’ on… NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in our Mad Swirl’s World? Then come by whenever the mood strikes! We’ll be here…

Livin’ Loudly,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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