The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.10.24

by on February 11, 2024 :: 0 comments

I get drunk writing words. I don’t drink or do drugs, but I get so carried away with writing that I get inebriated from it.

John Shirley

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Smooth As Neon Feathers ~ Bill Wolak

Gear up and get ready for another damn good time as we welcome back fan favorite (and yes, when I say ‘fan,’ I’m definitely referring to myself, but I bet you’re one too), the one and only Bill Wolak! Wolak creates collages and photographs that seem to regularly defy the norm. His creations are a perfect mind bending blend of trippy and alluring, with just a dash of the erotic, like a dream you’re already forgetting just as you open your eyes. Suffice it to say, it’s a wild ride that you’ll never want to miss, so buckle up and take a look – you’ll see exactly what I mean! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Bill’s mind-bending trippy & erotic scenes, as well as our other resident artists (60 and counting!) take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we forsook an environment for urban development; we inked fire for empire; we quirkly quibbled for space to scribble; we dropped bomb wise to organize; we thought light as ever over what you never; we ripped a riff on old “what if;” we dolled too old for a centerfold. Too old? Not really if touchy feely. ~ MH Clay

CENTERFOLDS by Colleen Boueil

Do paper dolls dance?
Mine do!
They’re trained experts in rumba
and in dodging stray bulls…
Paso doble is easy without a cape.
I was always too old for Barbie pink
preferring more delicate cut outs of
haute-couture neutrals that shred and rip-
more suitable to feminine reality.
I can mix and match, be printable…
and most of all pretend… that I am a paper doll.
My paper doll world screams in black and white
the best color for life’s vanities as I strike the pose!
I stare out silent paper windows
searching for paper fedoras with bends in their brims.
Dreams of bootleg futures fill my paper soul
as I taste the wind, listen to the sky
and touch the shadows of centerfolds.

February 10, 2024

editors note: Be your own Barbie – definitely not pink. (Though we already know Colleen as a featured artist, we now welcome her to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

What if by Guest Poet Talia Collier

What if what if
Wasn’t that thought that lingers
The unfinished business
The infinite possibilities

What if what if
Didn’t make you hang on to the past
Recycle unfinished emotions
Regurgitate unwanted memories

What if what if
Was silent
Let you see the future
Let you step forward and not back

What if what if
Didn’t make you ask why
Make you daydream
Make you feel guilty, ashamed, or upset

What if what if
Was just what was
What is
What is to come

What if what if
Was just…


February 9, 2024

editors note: What, indeed? – mh clay

WHAT YOU NEVER SAID by Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia

What you never said sounded profane from other lips
The Holy Writ was wasted

What you never shared remained untouched throughout the years
A dark Poison was tasted

What you never did remained undone and lost forever
Fate was untempted

What you never wrote lay unimagined, not dreamt
Never attempted

What you never were none else could be none else could see
The world is blind

What you never sang was never sung and never played
One of a kind

What you never left was gentleness and subtle grace
And great politeness

Therefore in thoughts of you and in your memories
There is a lightness

February 8, 2024

editors note: About some, that lightness is a long time coming. (We welcome Amita to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

2 Haiku: On Perfect Order by Carl Kavadlo

killed more projects perfectly
than the atom bomb


in the flying zone
hands with flying fingertips
organize themselves

February 7, 2024

editors note: Work your way to a perfect bust. – mh clay

SUTRAS by Guest Poet John Tustin

Sutras written in black charcoal
All along the walls of this madhouse.

Some Sutras are dulled with years and some are streaked
Almost to incomprehensibility by attempts to scrub them

But when the lightning strikes on occasion
In this darkness that lasts from night to day

I manage to read a scrap or two
Until the madhouse descends again into its darkness

And I spend the rest of my time trying to follow the rules
I have found written by other madmen along the walls

As well as waiting and waiting for that lightning to strike again
And bring momentary light to these rooms that house the damned –

Where, if you look in a certain window of this madhouse
At just the right time as the lightning strikes

You can see me, on my knees and charcoal in hand,
Scribbling in the only clean corner of the farthest wall.

February 6, 2024

editors note: We’re all just looking for a little bit of empty wall. – mh clay

In the maelstorm by Hem Raj Bastola

And re-reading
Again and again.

A pencil dancing
In a state, never a state.
In search of an empire,
Traversing trails.
Grinding ice
Beneath the boots.

Coming from nowhere
Going to nowhere.
Playing with clouds, cold!
A void! Gaseous reflection:
like ignis fatuus.
Running in the cavity,
Breathing a vision.

Extent of words!
Like the mountains I walk.
Where, drawing within:
Contours of thoughts.
A rabble infront of nature!
Measuring altitude
Of feelings.

The boundries,
Searching a country, still!
To embark: a new and
A mysterious geography.
An empire! A world!

Digging a picture
Of his own cartography.
To locate and relocate.
Distance in the chart,
Drawing madly:
A map of poetry.

In the maelstorm
Of emotions
To rule.

February 5, 2024

editors note: Imperialist acquiring an empire of ink. – mh clay


Dim down
in night club town
dreamy dreams of yesteryears

Looking out
Miami frowns
upon my everglade of tears

February 4, 2024

editors note: Don’t look out there. The party is here! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Dealing with our dearly departed is a daunting task but Recipe for Upholding Calm and Peace at the Reading of a Will by Marzia Rahman is as easy as 1-2-3 (the exact word count of this poetic elegy).

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

Can you please pass the grief? I haven’t quite had my fill.

Here’s a few sentiments to get you started:

Another Lifetime ~ Tyler Malone

Switch on power full of family values and traditions.

Put the papers tied with red ribbons upfront.

Let it stew for a while.

Stir often but take care of the temperature.

Keep the sunny side up…

Read the whole epitaph right here.

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.07.24) Mad Swirl Open Mic whirl’d up the Swirl at our OC home, Barbara’s Pavillion, getting the Mad mic opened for ALL you Mad ones out there!

Special thanks to our February feature, Suza Kanon, for sharing her multitudes of creative wares and for spreading the L♥VE to all in the Pavillion!

Thanks to  ALL the participators & appreciators who rode the Mad wave live at Barbara’s:

Johnny O
MH Clay

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

Suza Kanon

Round One:
Desmene Statum
Roderick Richardson
Opalina Salas
Josh Weir
Carlos Salas

Chris Curiel
Gerard Bendiks
Suza Kanon
David Crandall

Round Two:
Valerie Crowe
Alan Gann
Tony Robinson
Gabe Mamola
Kevin O’Neill
Sonny Wyatt
Dick Zinnendorf
Liz Ringo

We know you have a choices of what to do with your Wednesday night & thrilled you picked lil ol’ us to hang out with!

Stay tuned ’til next 1st Wednesday (aka 03.06.24) when we will be officially launching our seventh anthology, “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2023”… ’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…

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Starting in 2017 we began publishing “The Best of Mad Swirl” anthologies, as well as a few other poetic gems for some mighty talented folks we know. If you haven’t snagged you a copy yet, here’s your one-stop-shop. Purchase one (or all) of these anthologies from Mad Swirl Press: 2017-2022…


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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