The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.08.23

by on July 9, 2023 :: 0 comments

I’m always excited by the unlikely, never by ordinary things.

David Hockney

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“fear” ~ Edward Michael Supranowicz

To see all of Edward’s colorfully trippy illustrations, 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 bet on the end of professor and friend; we thoughts contorted on face distorted; we licked in mist of moonlight tryst; we grabbed with screamers and moment dreamers; we saw a brother see from a sister’s “let it be;” we saved some breath to dress for death; we couldn’t hide from pilgrims’ pride. We write, we try, let all decide. ~ MH Clay

A Foul Flotsam by James Robert Rudolph

So on they came
a floating vagrancy of rejects,
already sent packing by others who’d
seen their kind before,
not fooled for a minute by their
shiny shoe buckles and boxy dunce caps,
they were spit back into that spumy sea
like poison sucked from a snakebite.

Bound for Plymouth they hit that
stony brim like an outbreak,
offering up their cold comfort
of eternal salvation like a Trojan Horse.

As with the passing down of a fatal gene
they afflict us still, these congenital hearts
of black ice and spite.

July 8, 2023

editors note: What if they had said, “No thanks!” at that first Thanksgiving? – mh clay

GOING OUT IN STYLE by Guest Poet Duane Vorhees

It may be when all carousing is done
I’ll find myself back where I began,
one component in a cosmic union
or driftwood in an eternal ocean.

I have ordered up the diet of worms
from that fashionable Hall of Nothing
noted for its decor of wreaths and urns.

I’ve selected appropriate clothing,
so I’m confident I will look my best
before appearance is invisible.

After raucously trading shots with Death
I’ll be ready for the quiet and still.

My body is a hospice, not an inn,
nowhere to enjoy but one to die in.

July 7, 2023

editors note: Puttin’ on the dog for that dirt nap. – mh clay

brother by Jean Bohuslav

you got it wrong judging him, splintering friendships.
it’s not healthy, this emotional avalanche. it’s over-
thinking, constricting, burdensome, ununified energy.
unbridled negativity has gone too far. see it for what
it is. his business, her imagination, a spun web. you’ll
make it. a few more hills, valleys just as deep. with
sweat or tears, i’ve got you my friend. i’m right
behind. it can be tough but i’m keen, I’m slowly
making way, so you can too. all’s good, even adversity
isn’t bad. it’s just a happening. shoes rub but they
soften with wear, a bit of love, a gently massage, a
band-aide, a stich, sometimes glue. i’ve been under
your cloud, experienced those critical lessons, found
no progress without change, not out there, inside
here. surrender man, can’t fix everything. let it be.
one way or the other, get rid of the controller. he’s a
bugger. put it in natures hands. don’t forget karma.

July 6, 2023

editors note: Where would we brothers be without a sister like this? – mh clay

This Moment by Cord Moreski

And if not this then when?
When will we ever feel it?
You and I in the car
to get away from it all
after the long day beat
the piss out of us again

singing along to
“Just What I Needed”
at the top of our lungs
like we were in some sort
of ’80s time machine

for once let’s not fuss
about the goddamn destination
it’ll find us sooner or later
just like it always does
for now turn up the volume
and let’s scream if only
for just this moment

louder than the politics
and the cancers and the bombs
louder than the time clocks
and the landlords and the severed hearts
louder than the addictions
and the ghosts and the fuckups
louder than the couldhavebeens
and the maybes and the nevers

and don’t worry if you
can’t remember all the words
we’ll just make it up as we go
and gun right into this night
gun right into this moment
still singing still screaming
as if it were all meant
to last forever.

July 5, 2023

editors note: Got a moment? (We welcome Cord to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Salt lick by Timothy Pilgrim

I lie still, half-breathing,
listen for steps, faint,
hesitant, deft. She glides
from the shadows, pauses,
holds breath, intent.
Slips toward me like a doe
summoned by salt lying white,
to be licked. She lifts
nightgown off, tosses it aside,
creeps to bed. In moonlight,
her skin glistens, backlit.

July 4, 2023

editors note: Can’t get enough. – mh clay

PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE FACE by Guest Poet Gary Minkler

I have never
My face
I have seen my hand
I have seen my hand
Held up before my face
I have seen my hand
But I have never seen
I have seen my face reflected
My face in mirrors
Vintage car chrome bumpers
Glass store fronts
Mugging on vaulted
Silver spoon backsides
Ouroboros like
With the experience of my own
I Have NOT
And never WILL
See my own face
I see only others
Looking at it

July 3, 2023

editors note: A hard truth to face. – mh clay

Day At The Races by Guest Poet Salvatore Difalco

The professor always wore his bifocals,
lived with a man who favoured cardigans
that looked recovered from a garbage bin.
Telling him he looked like a bum solved zero problems;
they only worsened as he loathed brutal honesty.
They watched the horse races at Fort Erie
and lost more money than they could afford.
Sometimes you wind up fucked up
no matter how wise you and your pal think you are.
They played dominos in the evening
and the professor as usual won.

Frankly, we don’t care what happens to these men.
It’s sad not all of them get off their feet,
not all of them get to tell their story.
But before we walk away, let’s listen to them
one last time as they prepare for bed.

“You’re wearing my pajamas, man.”

“These are mine. They always were mine. You have no right
to change history. Why do you want to win all the time?”

“I told you Grand Stacy was a lemon.”

“Had a tip from the groomer. He said she was on fire.”

“Yeah, they had to put her out with an extinguisher
at the finish line, like most burning mares.”

We hear, “Bring it on,” as we pull back from the scene,
happy that we’ve conquered our shame.
We don’t care what happens to these signifiers.
We don’t care what happens to the furniture
we haven’t described, the bedsheets, or the dominos.
The figures will slowly retreat from the mind,
except perhaps for the burning horse
and a whiff of lingering disappointment.
The ink will fade, paper will crumble,
maybe even words will come to pass.
One final question: Where is Fort Erie?
It’s right there, my friend, on the map.

July 2, 2023

editors note: A geography lesson and an odd couple. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Recon our latest featured read, That Heavy Burden by Contributing Writer Edward N. McConnell!

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

Prepare for war, sure, but not everything is war. Far from it. Happiness, though, can be a battlefield.

Here’s a bit of the battle plan to get you marchin’:

“Dying Field of Dead Dreams” by Tyler Malone

An increasing amount of sweat dripped into the scout’s eyes as he spied the enemy’s position on the ridge. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the temperature climbed. Hot or not, the weather be damned, this mission was life or death. He was their best scout, the one who could find a hole in the other side’s positions. They depended on him.

Focusing on the task at hand, he thought, As high ground goes, this rocky prominence is not that tall. Still, the face is too steep, impossible to climb. Our guys would get blistered. I gotta find another approach.

Moving a little further to the north and staying low behind some dog hobble, he found the high ground started to slope down. That incline would be a more manageable attack point. Then he saw activity. They’re digging in. From those positions they could hit anything we’d throw at them. I’ll have to find a gap somewhere.

Careful to avoid detection, he circled around behind the ridge. He found a path by which a small group could sneak up behind the entrenched positions. That would throw them a curve…

Get the whole SITREP right here!


If you are looking for a reflective tale, A Box of Broken Dishes by Contributing Writer & Poet Jeff Grimshaw will show you a thing or two!

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

Mirrors are all around us, but we only care when they show us flattering ourselves.

Here’s a shard to get you reflectin’:

“Yourself In You” by Tyler Malone

There was a barrel of fish in the basement, by the pool table. The barrel was full of brine, and when somebody ordered fish, the cook would come downstairs and grab one from the barrel. That’s how it was done then. Augie was also down there, an awful lot, practicing trick shots on the pool table. The felt had small rips in it and so many beverages had been spilled on it, so many greasy burgers unwrapped on it, so much friction applied to cleaning it up, you couldn’t be sure at first glance that it was green or even felt.

Once somebody put a box of new plates on it, and left it there a couple of days. Augie smashed all the plates one by one and put them back in the box. He came upstairs and said, ‘Somebody should get that box of busted dishes off the pool table. I’m working on my butterfly shot.’ Then he went out to have (he said) a cup of coffee. Everyone had heard the dishes breaking. No one spoke for a while. There was just Nat King Cole on the radio, that’s how long ago this was. Finally the cook said, ‘Billy, take care of that, would you?’

Billy carried the box of broken dishes into the alley out back. He decided he would bring it back to his apartment after work. Maybe glue one dish back together and stick it on the wall, like a hunting trophy. He set the box down on top of one of the garbage cans…

Pick up the rest of the pieces right here.

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of July (aka 07.05.23) 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!

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks)

Round One:
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Desmene Statum
*Marianne Szlyk
*Ethan Goffman
Harry McNabb
Suza Kanon
*Mike Zone
Josh Weir

Round Two:
*Atenea Afrodita
Opalina Salas
*Alan Gann
Anthony Ripp
Brian Duran-Fuentes
CJ Critt
Jean Gallant
Kevin O’Neill


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 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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