The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.06.23

by on May 7, 2023 :: 0 comments

It is the glory and good of Art, That Art remains the one way possible Of speaking truth, to mouths like mine at least.

Robert Browning

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Beautiful Space” ~ 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 memory forged from the mind of George; we were caught despisin’ an event horizon; we cold felt the snow melt; we daydreamed next to terrifying text; we drank jealous tea, then filed to be free; we feared to unshelve our secret selves; we feelings steeled, brought dog to heel. Didn’t we? ~ MH Clay

Black Dog Cyclone by Julia Vaughan

Wind in my head
Throwing branches
Battering my eyes
Erratically roaring

Storm in my head
Turning everything
Black Dog’s calling

Cyclone in my head
Vision’s blurring
Noises, vivid,
Bouncing black arrows
Everything’s swirling…

Tree’s still standing, tall
Leaves rustled
Trunk robust.
Intact. Solid. Distinct.

Black Dog will. Not. Win.

May 6, 2023

editors note: Storm warning! You’d best hunker down if you want to stand fast. (We welcome Julia to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

My Secret by Heather M. Browne

There’s a secret I let hide
somewhere in the back
right before my left ear
a truth I don’t quite know
or trust

I have a loss I can’t quite name
a missing that I never find
a me I have never yet met
a coming together that never fits
like a warped book seam
where chapters can’t ever really close

I turn the pages searching
to find me inside
and alone

May 5, 2023

editors note: What will we be when that secret is revealed? – mh clay

He walks with light by Nolcha Fox

in step and smile.
He pets the dog
and leaves the house
with no goodbye.
She watches as
he drives away
to someone else.
She knows she
is invisible.
She pours herself
green jealous tea,

then files for divorce.

May 4, 2023

editors note: Not how we would take our tea (no lumps, please). – mh clay

Sunflowers in the Median by Brian Duran-Fuentes

Nameless messenger, you come texting,
I stay to see what comes next in your script.
Forgive my name does not coincide
with Laura of your light’s query
youthful mirth, expendable income,
Free to hike tomorrow come morning.
Pulse inside my pocket, default ringtone,
Are you my sunflowers rushing past?
Fire in the corner of my eye?
You frigid dragon, peak hour traffic dream.
I sure would ditch my Kia Black Soul,
To the merriment of nameless banks
And I’d love you with my whole body,
My eyes stuck in the sky wetting the grass,
Your hapless vermin eating my flesh.
Can you be the stands selling peaches
By the roadside back to the city?
For my heart, doomed to never be mine?
Don’t sink back, please tell me the ending.
Every Laura is a memory.
Every messenger is terrifying.

May 3, 2023

editors note: Wreck-less texting and driving. – mh clay

Harsh by Lynn White

Snowflakes blowing gently,
fragile as shadows
smiling in the soft light.
So soft.
Catch them quickly in your hair
to melt them

for soon they’ll grow harder
even though the sun
is shining
and smiling
blindingly bright,
bright and harsh.

crunchy crystals.
shining like diamonds
hard as rock

giving way to ice
as the light starts fading
when the sun loses its smile
and we’re skidding,
slipping away,
by crystalline
tears of ice.

May 2, 2023

editors note: Harsh reality under winter wonder. – mh clay

Unrepaired Black Hole on the Podium by Tony Huang

For the university where I teach

I have to repeatedly confirm that you
Did not travel from a parallel time
And space to my classroom podium.

I walked close to you, haunted, perplexed,
Spying time and again into your depth,
Sighing over the darkness inside

You and the wriggling of cables,
intestines crowding and vanishing
In the unfathomable darkness of abdomen.

I have walked past you countless times, and
In the end, I can even safely step over you,
Without having to look at you or knowing

You are there. It is just that my curiosity,
My curiosity has always been attracted
By you and the obscurity beneath. Surprised

By your stubbornness and your dexterity, I
Marvel at how you mock the ambition
Of the whole world, how, after many semesters,

You remain, as fixedly as ever, holding
Your proud and mischievous eye to witness
The centennial celebration of a university.

May 1, 2023

editors note: Step over or step through? (We welcome Tony to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

All Things Must Pass by Mike Fiorito

I’m not complaining that they got all the credit. Even the Maharishi nudged next to Paul – and, get this, even HE had stars in his eyes.
They kept me out of their “brainstorming” sessions, though Paul was by far the most antagonistic.
John apologized with his eyes, pleading. We have something special together, George. How can you hold it against me?
Who could argue with success after success? But he never offered to write a song with me – and then the lawyers wrote it into stone – they’d all be Lennon-McCartney songs.
One song per side allowed for me. Taxman, Here Comes the Sun, Something – not bad.
I was always there; my voice can be heard like a bell behind them,
Ringing out from in between the brothers’ Mozart.
And my guitar playing – let’s face it, the only real guitar playing on the great songs.
But I’m not complaining.
At least I got to play with Clapton, Orbison, Dylan, and Petty.
Paul and John played with each other and mostly with themselves. Read that again.
And yeah, maybe a woman came between me and Clapton, but we managed.
We were direct – you know, the whole gestalt thing, the sixties, feelings, speaking your mind, dope, blah blah blah.
And I kept playing, making new music, good music.
I was forever putting the Bhagavad Gita to song; people thought they were romantic love songs.
By the end, I had an entire album piled inside my skull. The songs practically emerged fully formed,
Squeezed out like popped blood vessels.
They were trapped in me, slowly shaping while I endured endless takes of Hey Jude and The Long and Winding Road. You have no idea.
And the White Album? One gigantic ego fest. 30 songs? Honey Pie? Rocky Raccoon?
I had four songs. Some say While My Guitar Gently Weeps is the best one on the album.
I did the concert on the roof,
Wore my fur coat.
I too was almost arrested.
But I went along.
It wasn’t for me.
It was for them and for everyone else.
All things must pass, but the Beatles will last as long as there are ears to hear.
And, you know, I’d do it all over again – Everything, except Hey Jude.

April 30, 2023

editors note: Fan channeling. Tell us how you really feel, George. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If your ego is needin’ a read then check our latest at Mad Swirl, Narcissus, Unbound by Contributing Writer Sunil Sharma!

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

Narcissus was an amateur, we do this better than anyone who’s ever existed. But sometimes in ourselves, we start to see others and their pain, their love, their lives.

Here’s a tappin’ into the main “vain” to get your on your way:

“The Tragic Life of Beautiful Things” by Tyler Malone

It had vanished! Only the blank canvas stared back. A hard surface, white: 40-inch X 30-inch, now empty.

An ugly space!

The image had vanished!

Rohit was devastated.

How could it be? No sign of vandalism. Nothing! No knife cuts. No defacing.

He felt distressed.

Modeled after Albrecht Dürer’s Self Portrait at Twenty-Eight, it showed Rohit directly facing the viewer. With brown hair, small beard and eyes looking directly, the self portrait of the Mumbai-born and Paris-based painter looked confrontational, unsmiling and grim, against a black background. The colours were muted. Overall execution was superb.

He had called it Self-Portrait of a Pensive Painter.

The painting hung on the wall facing the door of his rented small apartment on the Seine River. Angled in a way that any guest—there were many—first faced the work towering above the small, slender and sallow creator, bowing slightly, thus allowing the startled visitor to get arrested first by the painting, and then, the beaming artist who, in drunken revelries, often anointed himself as the direct descendant of the German expressionist and a future Picasso with an ethnic background going back to the Roma!

Uncharitable friends dubbed him as a charlatan and a pretender, and some arrogant critics dismissed him as a cheap salesman hawking self.

He said he was a Shakespearean jester…

Get the rest of this egocentric read over here!


Our latest featured read, Good Vibrations by Contributing Writer Steve Slavin, just might be a telltale sign of the times to come.

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

Life, as we’ve all seen recently, is just about the vibes.

Here’s a few trembles to get you goin’:

“Sparky and Co.” by Tyler Malone

The concert was sold out seconds after the tickets went on sale. Some fans paid over two thousand dollars for front row seats. On the day of the concert, ticket scalpers were getting a lot more. The ironically named Sound of Silence was the hottest band in the entire world.

The MC strode across the stage, bowed to the audience, and reminded everyone to please turn on their cell phones. He nodded at a stern-looking older woman wearing earphones, who nodded back at him. Everyone cheered. She bowed her head slightly, signed to the crowd and blew kisses.

There were dozens of huge video screens providing every audience member with close-up views of the signer, who had taken her place at the left side of the stage. As the houselights dimmed, hundreds upon hundreds of cell phone and tablet screens lit up. As the curtains parted, a rumbling of cheers began to rise from the massive audience. It was a guttural, almost pre-human sound that kept building. Although few audience members could hear, they grunted in unison. Their eyes were glued to their phones or the video screens, as the interpreter signed the cadence. They were expressing their deep love for Sound of Silence…

Pick up the rest of this “Good Vibrations” right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of May (aka 05.03.23) 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!

Johnny O
MH Clay

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

Open Mic:
Alan Gann
*Chris Zimmerly
Brian Duran-Fuentes
*Marianne Szlyk
*Ethan Goffman
Tony Robinson
Desmene Statum/Alex Kamara
*Mike Zone
Suza/Swirve/Alex Kamara
CJ Critt
Mark Chartrand
Kevin O’ Brian


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!

Stay tuned ’til next 1st Wednesday… ’til then, 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)

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…

Tellin’ the whole truth & nothin’ but,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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