The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.08.23

by on April 9, 2023 :: 0 comments

The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!

Allen Ginsberg

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“The Parade’s Gone By” ~ Howie Good

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 tested blood with Detective Fudd; we stomped the swamp; we took a look at books; we ruminated on things assimilated; we picked a sprig from wasp to fig; we sought the thrill of giant kill; we grabbed some glee from sun and sea. Such we did and do indeed! ~ MH Clay

THEY MAKE A BEAUTIFUL SCENE (wherever it works) by Bradford Middleton

The sun up in the sky is a beauty
Of heat and light and occasionally
I’ll turn the corner at the bottom
Of my road and see it brighten up
Even the cruelest of days when it
Shines hard down on the beach and
I suddenly realise, hell, this is just
So damn right.

The scene always takes my breath
Away when it hits that perfect mix
Of a beautiful near-empty beach
And that sun shining hard making
Everything seem as if i don’t live
In a town of no hope or any beauty
And on those ever so rare days i
Kid myself that I’ll stay here forevermore.

Just kill me now if that’s the case
Or remind me wherever it is i land
Next time around it’s got to be by
The sea as i’m sure such beauty can
Exist off any beach-front and with
A bit of luck one so very very far
Away from here so I can always
Make my life by the sea, hell
In face I’m sure any sea will do.

April 8, 2023

editors note: For hope and beauty; any sea, indeed! – mh clay

GOOD ADVICE by Joe Balaz

I am aware of Finland’s stand
against the Soviet Union in 1939,

the college basketball win
by Chaminade against Virginia,

Morris the Florist’s

battle against tyrannical trucking
companies in The Pushcart War,

Sir Richard Branson’s inability
to read at the age of 11

and being bounced around
between schools for low grades

until he eventually scored big time,

who Hiram
the ordinary housefly became

when he put those cool glasses on,

and what Cinderella
had to go through

to get to where she got.

So if there’s
any good advice to give

it’s to make an effort
to amass your stones

so you can be ready
when the time comes

to take on Goliath.

April 7, 2023

editors note: Looking for giants with a pocketful. – mh clay

Dharma by Cheryl Snell

With the last fig clinging by a stem
to its silt vine, it’s ready to be twisted off.
Anyone could do it, but it has to execute
its own move. This is its fate, you see?
The fig with its wasps must ride the bough
all the way down to the give in the ground,
to break the earth, to bury old with new.

If it’s too soon for so deep a dark─
wasps still laying eggs in the flowers within,
not ready, not ready at all─ how much better
it would be if the branch resisted,
snapping back without flinging the fig
onto dirt full of the ends of other lives.
At least, not with the wasps still inside.

April 6, 2023

editors note: A fig is not a fig, until… – mh clay

Old Stone by John P. Drudge

Forgotten worlds
Under canopies
Of rainforests
Slipped by time
And grown over
As the old tales
Told by firelight
By the sun gods
And every golden trinket
And absorbed
By a new kind of time
And the truth of things
To the shadows
Of old stone

April 5, 2023

editors note: Reason to leave none unturned. – mh clay

Reading by Stephen Page

Pages of the books I once read,
Yellow and crumble as I turn them.
They once smelled of inked forests.
Now they rank of mildewed towels
On a dirty basement floor.

Books spill off my bookshelves
Disintegrating as they hit the wood floor.

I pick up my electronic reader,
Push the “on” button, swipe the page,
Read a book on a non-glare screen.
This light, thin, 6-inch by 4-inch
Rechargeable device holds as many
Tons of paperbacks and hardcovered
Worlds that line my four office walls,
And I wonder,

When will the grid go down,

And how many years,
As opposed to decades,

Will the digits
Become outdated ones and zeros,


Toxic chemicals
Dry riverbeds

And earth
By our sun?

April 4, 2023

editors note: When will today’s convenience become tomorrow’s quandary? – mh clay


the swamp has been drained
and stripped down to a basic
plane of the season

April 3, 2023

editors note: Good for business, not the swamp. – mh clay

CSI Looney Tunes by Robert Fleming

I begin with a brown and white pointed seashell
murder weapon
Elmer Fudd detective enters the crime scene
bad-mama-jama is playing on the radio

Harry the CSI evidence collector won’t collect
Fudd frowns and grabs Harry’s hand
don’t be a don’t be be a do be
smear that blood onto a slide

Harry is spooning peanut-buster-parfait &
won’t put his spoon down
Elmer pulls Harry’s push-up-bra
Harry you’ll be a Harriet soon
the bra hooks thunder through
the twelve-foot by twenty-foot crime scene

Fudd pulls his four-inch gray beard
it’s rabbit hunting season
first a hare corpse
now Harry you’re a liar-liar
shut your mouth
divorced three times

there is someone
worth loving

April 2, 2023

editors note: We’ll get you yet, Mistah Wabbit! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Climb on up into our latest featured read, Boozy in the Rocking Tree Named Brunhilde by Barefoot Cajun!

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

We all need love. Love for ourselves, love for the world around us, and love for those we don’t understand.

Here’s a tree tease to get you on your way:

“Keep On Keepin’ Out” by Tyler Malone

Boozy lived on the edge of the village by the local watering hole in a tree house, that’s right a house woven into the strong, fabric limbs of an old oak tree. The tree had been named Brunhilde—the Princess found in ancient Germanic heroic literature. The tree had withstood category five hurricanes.

Boozy, an orphan, had lived under that tree since anyone could remember. Not a member of that village could pinpoint where he came from, he just showed up one day in the village of Odeur (French word pronounced od-uh-r), meaning odor. Not a totally unpleasant smell but a smell none the less, difficult to identify.

As a young adult in his twenties, Boozy decided he wanted a roof over his head, a house to call his own. Therefore, he built himself a solid tree house about midway through the strongest branches of the old oak tree. People watched him construct what many in the village referred to as the number one wonder in all of Odeur, hell in all of the state!…

Don’t leaf off there! Get the rest of this Boozy read on over here!


If you want to escape for a spell then Discernible Differences by Richard Bishop will get you on your way!

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

It’s the trajectory: come together to fall apart.

Here’s a bit of this domestic disaster to get you out the door:

“Get Away” by Tyler Malone

Eloise screamed, “Come back here, dickwad. I need you!”

I left the front door ajar, although a good slam would better suit the dark thoughts rattling in my head.

My leather soles slapped the concrete as I stomped down the front steps.

There was nothing she could say that I hadn’t heard a million times before and I’d long since stopped believing the crap that poured from her twisted mouth.

When we married in Vegas, I must have been drunker than I thought. If you looked up a gold digger in the dictionary, her picture would grin back at you like a well-fed fox.

A missile whirred through the air and a batter-coated mixing spoon bounced off my shoulder with a splat and clattered onto the steps. She was aiming for my head. Eloise could nag like a cat in heat, but couldn’t throw worth a damn. Our shattered dishes were proof of her pitching abilities…

Track the rest of this story’s trajectory right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.05.23) 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!

No photo description available.

This month, prior to the open mic, we hosted a small feature set showcasing the “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022!” Thanks to all who supported the print cause & got yourself a copy. To get the full scoop on getting YOU your OWN copy, swirl on right here!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced our stage with your words, your songs, your divine madness…

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel)

Anthology Feature:
*Polly Richardson
Christopher Calle
*Gayle Bell
*Chris Zimmerly
MH Clay
Johnny O


Open Mic:
Carlos Salas
*Marianne Szlyk
*Anthony Ripp
Brian Duran-Fuentes
*Atenea Afrodita
Josh Weir
Harry McNabb
Jean Galant
John Poppe


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 05.03.23)… 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 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

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…

Holy Hearin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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