The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.15.23

by on April 16, 2023 :: 0 comments

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

Anatole France

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Eyes Wide Shut” ~ 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 held back despair from a hospital chair; we made recollection from a brief reflection; we like woodland elves searched for ourselves; we tried to say me just to play me; we damn near popped, by something stopped; we saw how cruel to vampire fool; we wrote to roam still far from home. We keep moving lest we sink in our ink. ~ MH Clay

things unfixed by Rob Plath

not so long ago
i went that way home
now i go this way
& before those two places
i went home a whole other way
& before that another
& it saddens me that home
is always unfixed
certain as the direction
of wisps of smoke
& maybe none of these are home
roads & smoke be cursed
maybe home is only in this
goddamn line & the next
& to settle down is to get lost
in this ancient place of ink

April 15, 2023

editors note: Home is where the art is. – mh clay

Cold Light by Janice Mathis

~after Mary Szybist

Creatures of the dark are naturally drawn to light.
Wolves to the full moon, moths to flames.
So was she drawn to him, the darkness
within seduced by his brilliance.
She’d hunted long, stalking the shadows
seeking satiation of hunger, and
satisfaction of a deep-seated thirst.
She found beauty there, the scent of home
and the hope of warmth, so she drew closer still.
How she longed to possess that light, to envelop it.
Drink it down and make it her own.
But once captured and wrapped tightly against her,
her teeth at his neck, too late she realizes…
it is cold light, luciferin.
And her mouth is flooded
with the bitter taste of deceit.

April 14, 2023

editors note: It’s tough to be luciferace intolerant. – mh clay

SOMETHING by Ninko Kirilov

I want to tear the sky
with someone’s eyelashes,
to fill the puddles
and drink them dry,
eat mud with virgin blossoms,
ferment the new alchemy
of the skill of being a dog,
to bark at the sheep in myself
and smoke from the chimney of my home.
But something stops me.

I have to sneeze all of my doubts,
to infect the spring sunsets
with the lack of pathetic, to remember
which book to whom I give
and if he doesn’t return it,
to tear mold pages from him,
to burn and swallow them, breathe them in
like scales of the evolved fish
of my misery.
But something stops me.

I can “pay it forward”,
rage against the grey-coned crows
who look for cylinders of a brocade end,
to be and not to be, to levitate
over the clear and the crimson, over the “musts”,
I can do it. I know that.
But something stops me.
I live on Something Str.

April 13, 2023

editors note: When you have nothing going, here’s something. – mh clay

ZAPPED by Clyde Kessler

I play me at school Mars-tongued,
dropping my spoon in a bandage box
and aiming for the ceiling to walk me
prison-free for any future. A little fire
in the arithmetic is subtracting words
from my numbers. I’m adding my name
to lots more invisibility so that I’m in
the only answer section that somebody
tore out. I’m in the wordy preface, too,
like a blue jay with a featherless face.
I play me in the back of the classroom
with a countdown chiseled from the sky.

April 12, 2023

editors note: Nobody plays you better. – mh clay

Black Rain by Royal Rhodes

clouds dissolve
after pretending
to be recognizable shapes

and the twilight
woods untended
fill with life

I heard
the wings singing
of dry shell insects

they emerged
slender, undressed
to leave their casings

the apples fallen
their compacted
lush smell floats

a snapped branch
cracks like a shot

the night has fliers,
glow worms
with pinpoint blinks

on a silken
web, still insects
we see die as a mercy

you sobbing
unbuttoning a
soaked shirt

and never find
where the children
we were are hiding.

April 11, 2023

editors note: Still, we seek them in those old woods. – mh clay

TURNING by Roger G. Singer

it was a

not the actual
person I knew
but the style
and walk
had me

putting pause
onto my eyes,
changing my

on the remember

as it washed onto
the shoreline of

the reflection
I thought
was you

April 10, 2023

editors note: We’ve all seen and been seen to remember. – mh clay

The Ruins by Kimberly Madura

For Wendy

Watching over you
in room 4060
on curve 25.
Let’s get some air.
Primal cries set against
a backdrop of
sea lavender and purple roses.
Standing by your side in
midnight gardens
at the grave.
I got to hold you
in your pain.
Baby keep your head up.
I’m reaching for your hand,
until the end.

April 9, 2023

editors note: How we all should hold and be held. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re lookin’ for a read to take you on a wild ride then dig your heels into our featured read, Dr. McGill’s Seventh Rodeo by Contributing Writer & Poet Jeff Grimshaw!

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

When we say life comes at you fast, we mean the madness is always here, just under the surface.

Here’s a snapshot of this surreal scene:

“Surface Break” by Tyler Malone

Peter-Paul Nilsson, the famous Scandinavian radio journalist, was conducting an interview with Dr. Ralph McGill in the back seat of a limo when the driver stroked out. The car went off the road and into the river. “Hold that thought,” said Dr. McGill, rapidly assessing the situation. As the car slowly sank, he located a tool box under the seat and converted the vehicle into a miniature submarine.

“This is obviously not your first rodeo,” said Peter-Paul.

“It is my seventh rodeo,” Dr. McGill replied. The mini-sub barreled downstream on auto-pilot while Dr. McGill tended to the limo driver. “He’s in bad shape. I need to operate immediately. See if there’s a scalpel in that tool box, Peter-Paul. And some bandages.”

But there were no medical supplies in the tool box. Dr. McGill brought the mini-sub to the surface and espied a convenience store near the river bank. He wrote out a shopping list and sent Peter-Paul to secure the items on it while he prepped the driver (whose name was Jason) for brain surgery. The mini-sub bobbed gently in the placid waters at the edge of the river…

Giddy-up & into the rest of Doc McGill’s seventh rodeo here!


If you’re scrolling lookin’ for a read, stroll down Toussaint Boulevard After Midnight by Peter F. Crowley!

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

It’s madness out there because it’s madness in here. Madness for the world, all from the madness we feed on.

Here’s a snapshot to get you stepping:

“Where We Used to Hang” 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…

Get the whole stroll right here!

••• The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 •••

It’s not too late to celebrate Nat’l Poetry Month! And what a better way than to support Mad Swirl & our anthology “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022!” Get yours… NOW!

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

Leave a Reply