The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.13.23

by on May 14, 2023 :: 0 comments

There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.

Georges Braque

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Fever Broken” ~ Luanne Castle

Mad Swirl is excited to bring a new artist, Luanne Castle to the Mad Gallery, with work somehow as whimsical as it is haunting. Luanne brings us these magical collage pieces from Arizona, USA, and we must say, her passion for poetry and art is evident in the way she uniquely blends odds and ends of both together in her eccentric and intriguing work. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something very Alice In Wonderland about her collages – a little mystical, dreamy & strange, like maybe we’ve plunged into a rabbit hole ourselves. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Luanne’s hauntingly whimsical 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 wait room tossed with words to cross; we learned stuff from our dandruff; we made room with an heirloom; we gave life a shout before checking out; we said what’s up with a coffee cup; we squeezed the throttle to drop the bottle; we triggered our tension from first intentions. First words, long since heard, morphed in time to be absurd. ~ MH Clay

Just As the Founding Fathers Intended by Chris Butler

Just as the founding fathers intended,
we should all own a weapon
for home defense.

One moonless evening,
four ruffians break into my house.
As I snatch my powdered wig,
and load my Kentucky long rifle
with an iron ball stuffed with
granules of gun powder,

I blow a hole through the first man.
He lays dead where he once stood.
Drawing my dragoon pistol
on the second man,
the bullet misses him entirely because

of it’s smootbore barrel
and the wayward
round strikes the neighbor’s
guard dog barking in his yard
into dead silence.

I must then rest my laurels
upon my cannon,
mounted at the top of the stairs,
fully loaded with grape shot.
The short fuse is sparked.
As the bunches of iron balls

shred two of the men in the blast,
along with the front door and foyer,
the booming sound and soaring shrapnel
alarms each horse into bucking
every carriage on the block.

With fixed bayonet from my
unloaded musket, I charge the last
terrified rapscallion.
I penetrate the soft underbelly
of the trespasser

with the triangular blade,
leaving him bleeding out
on the floor, waiting for the help
of sworn militia officers of the law
and the town’s one and only
doctor to arrive,

all helpless to save his life
since his trilateral wound
can never be stitched together.

Just as the founding fathers intended.

May 13, 2023

editors note: Exercise your rights, precisely. (We welcome Chris to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

and hope to die by Brittany Ortega

And so I resolve to go sober.

I laid on the top bunk and stared at the ceiling,
less than a nightmare away from my face.
Racket and Ruckus fucked outside my window,
and as they erupted, a small thought occurred

‘you should quit drinking,’
the tiny thought whispered,
‘you should quit UHAUL and you should quit sulking’
‘you should also refer to yourself in
first person’

I’m pretty sure Hump wrote that last one, but still.
It forced me to reckon with what I get out of,
or FEEL I get out of, a drink in my

For starters, I feel it is writer’s aesthetic.
Like smoking in pool halls. I don’t make these rules.
The poet sits lonely but fearful of people,
and bounces their line breaks off corks, quarts,
and coasters.

Deeper, I feel it is grown and rewarding.
A bitter burn trophy for not getting hurt on
the drive home from 16 damn hours at work.
Kids have their toys and TVs to come home to.
Grown folks have Pabst Better-Luck-Next-Time

DEEPER, I feel it grants (sl)easy excuse to
articulate things I

And that is a sad thing that cannot be fixed by
unsloshing my crossed heart

May 12, 2023

editors note: How do you spell PBR? – mh clay

The House Blew Up by Jeff Grimshaw

At 5 AM the house blew up
It did not trouble Libby’s sleep
A tremor shook the coffee cup,

The gas line in the basement rup-
Tured, and the gas began to seep.
At 5 AM the house blew up

Did everybody get out? Yup.
No need to wail, no need to weep
A tremor shook the coffee cup:

The cat took off, likewise the pup
The smoke detector made a ‘beep’
At 5 AM the house blew up

The KA-BLAM! did not interrupt
Libby’s slumber. It was deep!
A tremor shook the coffee cup,

Unwashed after a late-night sup.
The dawn did break, the birds did cheep
A tremor shook the coffee cup
At 5 AM. The house blew up.

May 11, 2023

editors note: In that scene, all electric could disrupt. – mh clay

Last Threads by Gary Beck

I lie in illness bed
and do not know
if I will live
to see the next dawn.

Too tired to think,
images past
creep through my head…

A waterfall
I stood under
with lively friends,
a bird concerto
the first night in the woods,
singing until the darkness faded.

So much beauty
I was fortunate to see
that I cannot regret
imminent departure.

May 10, 2023

editors note: In the grand scheme of things, all departures are imminent. See it all before you go. – mh clay

Downsizement by Guest Poet Ken Tomaro

you have to go pick up your kids from basketball practice
and I have to go sell my dead mother’s wedding ring
let me rephrase—
I don’t have to, I choose to
I know it doesn’t take up much space but
it’s just another thing sitting on a desk collecting dust
I have no emotional attachment, no sentimental attachment
everything I need to know, everything I need to remember
is still a ghost floating aimlessly inside my head
and these things will only be erased by dementia or a stray bullet
my sister gave it to me for the same reason, no attachment
she says, as she always says, “I’m just downsizing.”
and I laugh to myself that her idea of downsizing
is getting rid of an item the size of a nickel
and it turns out that’s about what the ring is worth
let me rephrase—
it’s worth what someone is willing to pay for it
value is proportionate to the emotional story behind it
the sentimentality of never forgetting something
but this isn’t some sloppy Jackson Pollock painting
an item worth millions to the right buyer
and I’ll tell you some things are better cast into the fire

May 9, 2023

editors note: Only keep what you can afford to remember. – mh clay

Seek and You Shall Find by Joseph Farley

I who am not
seem to be
nowhere now
yet everywhere.

Put your eye close
to the telescope.
Put your ear close
to a cloud.

Watch. Listen.
Scratch your head.
You’ll never know
what you’ll find

up there
with the lice
and dandruff.

May 8, 2023

editors note: Lose what you learn with a lather, rinse, and repeat. – mh clay

Crossword by Jaya Abraham

Yesterday I waited
At the doctor’s, crossword in hand
Every now and then
New people came in
Like palms unfurling new leaves
Tender in illness.
Their words luminous on phones
Fireflies on trees,
They take off, noiseless
To their lands of love or dreams
Rain, sorrow or wars.
A nurse draws blood, fluid words
Alcohol laced words
They gush out and stain my wrist,
Words tiptoe in and out of rooms
Trapeze walk of life
Passing footsteps,
Moons of manicured nails
Hold words, clenched
Covered in skin
Feverish in truthfulness
I sit repeating life,
In a crossword.

May 7, 2023

editors note: A figure of speech applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. 8 letters, starts with “M.” (We welcome Jaya to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Suit up & slip into our latest feature read, Helena and the Yellow Bikini by Contributing Writer & Poet Marie Higgins!

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

Betrayal bleeds into betrayal, and it has no shoulders to cry on.

Here’s a string to pull to get you on your reading way:

“It Was All Yellow” by Tyler Malone

Helena packed her things for the roof deck: water, phone, goggles, new swimsuit. The deck had a pool, one of her favorite features of their apartment complex. She swam almost every day, as soon as the sun came up, as soon as you were allowed to swim, except on Sundays. On Sundays, she always made Sam breakfast first, carrying a tray with a hearty omelet, usually a western one, some sort of additional side meat, and one piece of toast. She used to give him two, but he thought he was getting a little pudgy, and then wanted only one.

“This turkey sausage is amazing,” he had said today, “maybe turkey sausage from now on would be better.”

“Sure thing,” she replied, put on her suit, then rounded the bed for a goodbye.

“I like that swimsuit on you,” he responded.

“It’s an athletic swimsuit,” Helena said, scrunching up her face.

“But it’s new, right?” he asked.

“I got it about a month ago,” she snarked, thinking that he should have noticed it before.

What Sam wouldn’t see was the bikini she had packed in her bag. It was for James, a handsome guy whom she met at the pool about a month ago. James had sat down in an adjoining lounge chair and struck up a conversation; after that, they sought each other out. Two weeks ago, he stole a kiss after walking her to the elevator, snatching one when she turned around to face forward, hitting the stop button first. The last time, he gave her a bikini and dared her to wear it. Today was the day…

Now that your toe is dipped, dive into the whole pool right here!


If you’re looking for a literal mind effin’ then check out Thirty years later. by Contributing Writer & Poet Randall Rogers!

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

This light that’s inside us, it can expand but it probably won’t explode. But what would it look like if it did?

Here’s a bit of this mental madness:

“Our End” by Tyler Malone

I look out of my apartment window. It’s a white expanse. Snow, with brown patchy areas on rolling prairie treeless hills. Black dots of small evergreens dot these foothill areas. Antelope, coyote, deer and turkey, wild, may be seen. Yet today is different. Out past the rolling slope is the air force base.

A large white implosion. A phosphorous swelling of the horizon. It blinded us. Then the report. As jets a-mighty overhead was it, though louder. I ducked. The flash, the blast, the inner outer suction exploded the window. I was laced, scourged, with flying glass. If not for the strips of curtains protecting my entire flesh may have been flayed. Skinned alive.

Too, the blast drove in my entire apartment. Fragments of plants, ceramic from pots and dishes, my splattered pets, lay against the wall. I still sat upon a sofa, which was apparently rooted to the floor. I was cut badly, and my clothing ripped. Bright red blood dripped from lacerations caused by the forceful flying driven glass. Glass fragments stuck literally in my bones and in the wall…

If this has tempted your intellect then check out the rest right here!

••• Mad Merch •••

New Mad Swirl Merch : Tees, Mugs & More!

The whole mad swirl of merch begins right here, in our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some mad threads to sport, then you’ve come to the right post. We have mens & ladies tees, zipped hoodies in all sizes & more colors. We also brought back mad mugs to fill with your favorite coffee, tea and/or whiskey!

New to the line-up: Bandanas! Water bottles! Bucket hats!

Come browse & if something catches your eye, get a little something-something for yourself & while you’re at it, get a little something for your nearest & dearest mad one in your swirlin’ world!

••• The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 •••

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 AVAILABLE NOW!

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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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