The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.30.23

by October 1, 2023 0 comments

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.


••• The Mad Gallery •••

Mobile Tranquility ~ Andrea Damic

To see all Andrea’s whimsically dark works, 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 heard some fuss o’er mountain guts; we coffee’d far from hi-def war; we put no stock in baby talk; we took a look at life as cook; we saw no shine on life in time; we pulled some hope from bedsheet rope; we lectured long on weak and strong. We write these words from week to week, for just an audience we seek. ~ MH Clay

Restraint Is Strength, Temper Is Weakness by Paul Tristram

I am ‘Gifting’ you with (Two) Words
… ‘Volatile’ and ‘Tenderness’…
to Balance the Scales within your
‘So fucking far from Equilibrium
that Screaming exhausts itself’ Mind.
Shatter-Pattern… no-one Cares
except the Losers… and the Gainers
… watching you GROw smaller…
Blaming ‘Epilepsy’ only works once.
Careful what you’re coughing-up
… until you’ve turned-that-corner…
If you hold my (Playing With Fire)
hand, squint and then refocus…
I’ll point out ‘Emotional-Burn-Marks’
upon tonight’s Audience…
just as clearly as a Forensic UV Light
picks up cum-stains at a Crime Scene.
Each ‘Small Step’ that you take
… ‘Following Me’… is, in fact,
a Gigantic Leap away from yourself…
Remember that, when I Abandon you.

September 30, 2023

editors note: Though surrounded with “same as we,” we’re ever on our own. – mh clay

Bedsheets by Henry Bladon

I bought some new bedsheets.
I smoothed the bedsheets.
I photographed the bedsheets and edited the image in sepia.
I dreamt I had eaten the bedsheets.
I wrote a new poem on the bedsheets using a marker pen.
I ripped the bedsheets and stitched them back together.
I wafted the bedsheets to rid an unpleasant smell.
I pulled the bedsheets over my head to avoid the day.
I inspected the bedsheets for dog hairs.
I wore the bedsheets like an overcoat.
I did yoga poses under the bedsheets.
I mopped up spilt tea with the bedsheets.
I formed the bedsheets into a makeshift rope to facilitate my escape.

September 29, 2023

editors note: Over the sill or a ceiling beam, good for either. – mh clay

NOW, IN THE HINGE OF TIME by Guest Poet Duane Vorhees

Future bleeds like dawn
over the horizon of my pasts.
Morning invests, evening infests.
Equinoxes and solstices shine
behind my back, but that dark
solstice of the soul waits ahead.
I who sought mountain ranges
dwell now in prairie sameness.
The young impudent nature
of my Senator of old surrenders
to the scholar’s prudent virtues,
called contrition and consolation.
Praise changes to distaste
and extortion to admission,
as ambition transitions to extinction
and initiation evolves to tradition.
How hexed the previous,
but oh! how tedious the next.

September 28, 2023

editors note: That trad’s the fad, till you’re mired in stale method. – mh clay


Unless you aren’t
you’re one of those
who lives a stove burner life
your stove as big
and wide as you make it
the number of burners your choice
more or less
yes, life ignites some
unusual ones you don’t want
but have to tend
frantic running
from knob to knob
adjusting, adjusting
don’t let that one boil over
make sure that one is on simmer
shut that one off!
when turn it back on?
low, medium, high flame
oh, the phone rang
your grandson crying
running and running
back and forth
turning knobs
that one boiled over
that one burned
that one perfect
until your stove tamps
goes cold and they
turn all the burners off
you’re done cookin’

September 27, 2023

editors note: Gas or electric, when you’re done you’re done. – mh clay

The Baby by Guest Poet Rita Moe

talked his way
out of the womb
with a false I.D.

lectured nightly
on the value
of sleep, held press

when things didn’t
go his way


very soon.

September 26, 2023

editors note: Who’s your baby? Not this one! – mh clay

After Costco, Before Ukraine by Guest Poet Nolo Segundo

You saw the lines weren’t too long
so you went for the gas first—
spend a little time, save a lot of
money you thought. But it took
longer than you expected [too
many ‘tanks’ as you call SUVs
filling up their 50 gallon tanks] so by the time you went into the
giant store, you were feeling like
a crab trapped in a net as you
wrestled through the weekend
horde of bargain hunters…

Finally at home, you plopped
down in the comfy chair as
the nightly news came on and
sipped the fresh brewed French
roast and ate a piece of rich
chocolate cake you bought at
Costco and felt a bit sad for
those poor people in Ukraine
as you watched war in hi-def…

Still, the thought uppermost in
your mind, as your eyes scanned
so many dead bodies lying quiet
in the streets like stones thrown
randomly, was just how damn
good the coffee was and how
much you had saved going to
the big box store…

September 25, 2023

editors note: If we can keep it on screen, it’s not happening here. – mh clay

Tunnel by Tom Pescatore

intestines of the poor mountain
stinking of brutal metal & gasoline
unable to pass
an endless stream
what the earth has eaten
cannot be expelled
the process called extinction
follows constipation
to cut through the corruption
the mouth must fill the sky with rock

September 24, 2023

editors note: Gotta swallow what can’t be undug. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re seeking a read that skips the light fandango, Dancing On the Rim of a Volcano by Carys Crossen is sure to be your tune!

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

It’s time for revolution! Rather, it’s time to carry on the revolutions that began so long ago that we gave up on.

Here’s a few twirls to get ya swirlin’:

Bright Lights Coming Down ~ Tyler Malone

Berlin, 1925:

Berlin wasn’t Chatham.

Nora’s parents stated this twice a day. Remarkably, Nora agreed with them.

The bank that employed Nora’s bowler-hatted, umbrella-carrying, Times-perusing father had sent him to Berlin to oversee a merger between two financial institutions. A less cosmopolitan couple would be difficult to conjure. Father spoke nothing but the King’s English, a strange source of pride with him. (It lengthened their stay abroad by three months.) Nora’s mother arranged flowers, tinkled on the piano, presided over the teapot with a smile. Respectability saturated them like wine would an alcoholic. They went to Berlin only because it was their clear duty.

Father made the high-handed decision that Nora was to accompany them to Berlin, because heavens knew what shenanigans she’d get up to in their absence. Atypically, Nora didn’t argue.

Berlin was bustling, chaotic. Half-naked women flaunted themselves on ad hoardings. Couples danced cheek-to-cheek in the pleasure gardens. Electric lighting made a mockery of midnight. Trams and motorcars thronged the streets, forcing pedestrians to play demented games of tag.

Nora felt as if she were delirious, raving. Nothing in Chatham or even London had prepared her for Berlin. In Chatham, people moved slowly, dressed with rigid correctness, clung to convention as if it would resurrect the nineteenth century so many of them remembered so fondly.

Not Nora…

Keep on dancing to this liberated tune right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of October (aka 10.04.23) as we do the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!

Starting at 8pm (note NEW start time), 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!

This month we will be premiering Rob Dyer’s Bloodstones. A handful of poets who knew & loved Rob will be reading from this final collection of his work.

We will have a handful of copies for sale at the event but if you just can’t wait, you can get your copy now at Amazon!

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate…

(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 Swirl Press •••

Bloodstones is a collection of Rob’s poems as they were presented over his ten years with us as a Contributing Poet and provided post-humously by “Novelist/Difficult Woman/Rob’s Almost Wife,” Amy Conner.

Rob Dyer’s poetry was “…volcanic. Erupting flames and molten rock, filling the air with combustible gases, [it] decimated forests, leveled villages with a savage innocence whose contradiction he’d leave the reader to resolve, sifting through ashes to salvage meaning.”

In memory of Rob Dyer, Bloodstones is available here, this collection is his legacy of sacred stories, told in whispers, revealed in roars. Read them all. He wrote them for you…


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…

Doin’ what we love…

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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