The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.03.23

by on June 4, 2023 :: 0 comments

Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.

Allen Ginsberg

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Medusa’s Story” ~ Luanne Castle

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 handled love far through doors ajar; we savored the feel of a sensual meal; we filled a bag with childhood swag; we stirred up starts for unused hearts; we averaged our bleh, just made it to meh; we saved our breath to dance with death; we pondered the thing of listening to spring. In sync with the season, hold on to your reason, or give it up to gay abandon (and take notes). ~ MH Clay

DAY SHIFT by J H Martin

I roll
I smoke
I put on a new coat

This world can get weary
If the screen stays the same

This cool pine tree shade
This touch of the breeze

It will not end wars
And it will not pick sides

Forever changing
And forever here

It needs no division
And asks for no name

In silence
I smoke
I walk I listen

Not to this noise
But to the sound of spring

June 3, 2023

editors note: What springs to mind when the white noise overwhelms. – mh clay

Cancer Song #8 by John Dorsey

your morning starts at 5 am
just so they can tell you
that you could die on the table
scott wannberg’s ghost
stays close at your heels
watching over you
pushing an oxygen tank
through the first floor
of the cancer center
like a hungry angel
eating all of the fear
he can squeeze inside his belly
like it’s just an old movie
where you’re doing a dance
with death.

June 2, 2023

editors note: A hard song to sing and dance to at the same time. – mh clay

About Average by J. K. Durick

On an average sort of day
In this average season
In an average town like
So many others
An average sort of guy
Is walking down this
Average sort of street
Average height, weight
Hair and coloring.
He nods if someone nods
He’ll even smile if that
Seems appropriate
In an average sort of way.
He’s the mean without
Being mean or anything
That would call attention.
He blends into the crowd
The crowd of average folks
Doing all the things that
Average folks do
He knows the answer to
All sorts of average things
Questions about his world
About his universe
And he dare not disturb

June 1, 2023

editors note: Just making it to meh is no mean feat. – mh clay

Beggars and Barking Dogs by Linda Imbler

An astonishing amount of pavement,
far too large to be discreet.
A collapse of order, a rupture.
The circumstances out of which sometimes
come almost no solution
for the tightly packed forever population.

Despoiled property displaying existence as dead air.
A confusing atmosphere wherein junior despots rave,
using exaggerated motions.

The adaptation of laws,
damning the achievements of the past,
no nostalgia prevails,
and greater time periods are wiped away.

About all that can be said about unused hearts
is that they press against the necessity for kinship,
for decency,
and are not vitally concerned with civil crises.

We need to learn not to deny
the existence of the curve that persists.
Must demand a return
to the reverence of prophets,
the conferring of salvation,
our searches for lost ships.

Reeling us back time and again,
to remain next to what
some think now lies dead.

May 31, 2023

editors note: Through our rises and our falls, we seek that thing to define us all. – mh clay

Pinecones by Swapna Sanchita

Picking pinecones in the woods
Which weren’t really woods-
Just a bunch of old trees, behind the cottage
That stood on an old, gnarly hill
We called a mountain,
The trees mumbling to each other
Under their breath, of the cold
The cold that froze the sap in their veins
The xylems, the phloems all frozen up
And the wind rustled through, ominous
But you kept picking pinecones in the woods
Maybe hearing what the forests spoke
But not really paying attention
Because at that age, who does
You pick pinecones, treasures, keepsakes
To amass, to pile up under beds
Wrapped up in an old jacket
Stuffed into a hessian sack to keep them
Doubly safe, protected from prying adults
Precious pinecones picked in the woods.

May 30, 2023

editors note: The secret swag of childhood – don’t tell the grownups. – mh clay

Amor Taco by R. Gerry Fabian

Start with a heated stone ground foundation.
Add mutual attraction ground beef.
Sprinkle shredded lettuce smiles.
Cover with tomato temptation
and onion pepper passion.
Apply spicy sensual sauce.
Fold gently into a united unison.
Savor the first bite
aware the juices may run
down your heart.

May 29, 2023

editors note: Taco titillations, not just for latin lovers. – mh clay


for Cheryl De Caintus

For your hands, love borrows
everything unexpected from dreams,
when moonlight tunes the spiderwebs
and sleep leaves all the doors ajar.

Still your hands approach
paper or canvas curious as mirrors
hovering over aroused flesh.

And through all the trembling particulars
of the world, your hands inexplicably
disappear into the work like feet
sinking gradually under a sandbar’s
dark warm silk.

Still with the persistence of dust,
your hands slowly trace whatever
desire dares to demand.

And out of all the trembling particulars
of the world, only the work remains dazzling
where your eager hands seek incessantly
shapes that cherish most the body’s
fleeting pathway of kisses.

For your hands, love returns
everything unexpected from dreams,
when shadows tune the spiderwebs
and wishing leaves all the doors ajar.

May 28, 2023

editors note: Happily handled, our wishes and dreams. Keep your doors ajar. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re not busy living, get busy reading… Big Wheels Keep on Turning by Jeff Bender, that is!

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

The day is here in all its well-lit, presently evolved glory! You know what to do, people.

Here’s a push to get you rollin’:

“Sidelivin'” by Tyler Malone

As signs of winter deepen, our yard could be mistaken for a small mammal petting zoo. We have already had one serious bout of ice and snow, but in our yard, it’s raining squirrels. At any one time, dozens of them rush around as if it’s Black Friday, pushing and shoving, barking at each other for the last discounted acorn on the shelf. These rodents have a heyday tearing up the landscape, so I trap them and cart them off to the Candy Cane Forest where they can look furry and cute and strip the bark off woodland trees to their hearts delight.

After releasing one varmint, I was headed back home when a horizontal streak of lightning flashed by me. The wind chill was only twenty-four but sliding into the lane ahead of me was a man. Yes…a man on a motorized wheelchair. Shirtless and helmetless. Who was this wheelchaired superhero? Had I missed the checkered flag? From what I could tell, he was in a race with himself and winning, taking the pole position, head lowered, leaning forward.

While I often stare as drivers across the city violate traffic laws willy-nilly, here was a half-naked wheelchaired man with no fear and no apparent knowledge of the speed limit. Watching his devil-be-damned attitude, I had to wonder how he ended up in the wheelchair in the first place. Was he running from the law? Was he late to a wedding? Was he one of those daredevils that drives into a tornado while the rest of us are driving away from them? Most importantly, had I missed an email designating me as the pace car? I had to know…

We’re bettin’ you have to know too so check out the rest of this tale right here!


If you’re lookin’ to sit right back & hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, Final Words by Contributing Writer N.T. Franklin just might do the trick!

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

The love of a father is measured past his family: it’s when he sees the world could be a family worth saving.

Here’s a bit of this reading voyage to get you floatin’:

“Ocean Fade” by Tyler Malone

“I’m taking the boat on a maiden voyage this afternoon,” Thomas announced.

“Honey, you only picked it up yesterday, shouldn’t a used boat be checked over before it’s taken out on the ocean?”

“Checked out, shmecked out. You’re just like your dad. It was fine before it was taken out of the water, it’s fine now.”

He looked over the top of Sarah’s blonde head at the three towheads sitting at the breakfast table, all dressed in pink. “I’ve never been able to do a thing right, according to your dad. I’m going to prove him wrong. The guy I bought the boat from gave me the coordinates of his hottest fishing spot and what time they hit the hottest. It’s a fair way out, but it’ll be worth it.”

She looked away. “What are the coordinates?”

“Nope, then it won’t be secret. You’ll tell your dad and he’ll look into it and pooh pooh it. I have my phone GPS to get us there. I have a Garmin in my backpack for backup. Now, how can your dad say I’m unprepared. Ha!

His wife looked at the floor. “Please stop saying those things. Papa loves us all. More than you know. He’s just very fussy about things.”

“Don’t hold supper; I’ll be back late.”

She watched from the window as Thomas took three tries to back out of the driveway. A tear streaked her cheek.

Papa was waiting by the road when Thomas pulled up.

“I got the boat, you got bait, Papa?”

“My girls call me Papa, how about you call me Clint?”

“Fine,” muttered Thomas.

“Speak up, I don’t have my hearing aids in on account of the water.”

“Yes, sir.”…

Float on over here to get the rest of N.T.’s read on!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.07.23) 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…

(VIRTUAL POETS/PERFORMERS: 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!

••• Mad Merch •••

New Mad Swirl Merch : Tees, Mugs & More!

••• The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 •••

The Best of Mad Swirl : v2022 AVAILABLE NOW!


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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