The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.02.24

by on March 3, 2024 :: 0 comments

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Attentive As Longing ~ Bill Wolak

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 felt the strain of meatball pain; we tendered the toll of dogs in control; we got to gloat in our perfect coat; we danced till spoiled for next day soiled; we turned a page on draining rage; we dragoned ways before dark days; we found no lack of a way back. We start and stop to come full circle. That’s the way of things… ~ MH Clay

Abarrotes Ave Fenix or The Theme of the Untranslatable by Brian Duran-Fuentes

When I remember the corner of Saturno
Down the roadway from the market where I grew up,
Past the façade of another grocery store
Which no longer exists,
I remember the shadows of the old school punks
Who no longer gather there to spike the morning,
Hairspray revenants, tar paving their wings and lungs,
Scarecrow constellations of steel studs and leather,
Outlined in asphalt like
The blotches on the screen that cannot be removed,
Television inside the metro showcasing:
Music videos and a clip featuring the Pope
Where he reflects on the nature of solitude,
And travel,
And your fellow being,
And time,
And returning home,

I think of Borges praising the English language,
His accent and gestures during an interview
Manifested in the living room where I stayed,
A time when color had not reached such transmissions
And had already left the eyes of the writer.

I relate to when he highlights the register
As blooming from its Latin and Germanic roots,
Ghost vs. Spirit or
Forgetting vs. Oblivion
It may be a way back without ever leaving.

March 2, 2024

editors note: We all have a way back that we haven’t left. (We welcome Brian to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read a Spanish version of this poem and more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

MYTHOGRAPH by Guest Poet Royal Rhodes

There were dragons here
the oldest ones sang out
to us and the youngest
repeated in their dreams.

Above the windblown oaks
that raised banner arms
on the nearby slopes
crows harried a lone hawk.

Further out from dwellings
along the river that churned
into falls, the sweeping hills
bedded a sleeping giant.

This was land that gave us
a name and the old tales
from the very first day
before there was darkness.

And now we each await
for the coming nightfall
that shows where we will
return amidst the dusty stars.

March 1, 2024

editors note: They live in our landscape, as will we… – mh clay

OUT OF TIME by John L. Yelavich

A life once politely sublime has simply run out of time.
Today’s ethics are over the edge, arrogance here to stay,
spiteful spasms and selfish behavior have gotten in the way,
short-sighted, egotistical reflections stilled spirited affections.

Too many minds are set, there’s no desire to chance a debate,
civility’s principles are fading, each tempest drains our resolve.
Self-serving spirits the norm, indifference we can’t absolve,
a greedy, me-first vibe sidetracked us from those in need.

Yesterday’s freewheeling ways… wasteful, nothing to redeem,
our perspectives were tenuous, sadly void of promising themes.
Bound by pretentious dreams, contention was a jaded chain,
fleeting promises were broken links, all to be deemed in vain.

Too hard to turn the page to quell a mindless draining rage,
caustic personalities unravel, they distort life’s realities.
Complacency became a scourge, moral victories on the wane.
Fatigued! We’ve slowly become a growing apathetic populace.

Illicit affairs and sins of the flesh betray once lauded virgin lines,
leaving one’s confidence at bay feeling like vulnerable prey.
Social media’s acute suffocation is contamination for us all,
it leaves us satiated, giddy, bewildered and factually blind.

Faux fantasies with deceptive schemes needed to be jettisoned,
as wanderers with tattered tomes sought solitude as their home.
Feeling lost in a dejected zone while escaping a changing society,
we’re stumbling in pursuit of rainbow’s arc trying to make our mark.

February 29, 2024

editors note: Deafened by this constant noise, it’s hard to manage equipoise. – mh clay

LATE NIGHT by Guest Poet Ray Greenblatt

late night never quite fits right
like a lop-sided lampshade
we wish to adjust
but just can’t do it—
some nights are strange radio shows—
late night smells like vinegar
sounds like muffles
dancing till all hours soils the next day—
walking streets until
the virtual rooster
makes us disappear
moon into sun
gray into gold

February 28, 2024

editors note: Actions of the night before determine our demeanor on the day after; pinched or perfect, it depends, doesn’t it? – mh clay

Cherry Bounce by Kimberly Madura

The smoke on my breath
tasted so good,
mixed with the fluffy air,
sensual and bitter;

the orange glow of the
cigarette light
in the darkness

re-reading Anne Sexton
under the glow of
the yellowed porch-light

smoking a Marlboro,
drinking that cherry bounce
in my perfect fur coat

gazing up to see
chipped paint and spider webs,
then (farther up),

one spring night.

February 27, 2024

editors note: What can you see from your perfect fur coat with a bounce? – mh clay

Odd How It Happens by Randall Rogers

You can really tell
that many dogs
have been reincarnated
as Burgess Meredith
though Wilford Brimley
(in future Martin Mull)
also populates a good
many dog breeds in the
canine world
your stuffed dog
or dog pelt rug is
most always an
owner reaction to
the Hitler wing
of the reincarnation
schemata/phyla populating
individual pooches
with staunch
ideas concerning
the biological
organization of the state.
To exterminate
the dachshund.

February 26, 2024

editors note: Who came back as YOUR dog? (Mine is Johnny Carson, which makes me Ed McMahon, I think.) – mh clay

Scott Wannberg by John Dorsey

spaghetti western

so much pain
under a plate of meatballs.

February 25, 2024

editors note: And who could stand the niggle of noire for dessert? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re in need of an abstract read then check out this week’s featured read, MOMA, 1992 by Contributing Writer & Poet Marianne Szlyk!

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

Art is a reminder that life is here, but also was here.

Here’s a few paint strokes to get you going:

Man with a Guitar, by Georges Braque (France), 1911-12 ~ Tyler Malone

The old man, Frankie’s father, used to like to sketch Mary, but she thought of herself as one of Braque’s collages, a still life made of wallpaper, newspaper, scraps of drawings, all at odd angles. But she wasn’t a still life. She was in motion – like this painting in front of her. George Braque’s Man with a Guitar. This painting that she might write about for Art History class. This painting that she was studying at MOMA.

She didn’t think that Frankie’s father was much of an artist. He drew her as a stringy-haired blob on white paper. She was in motion, whether she was playing guitar with her ex-friend Frankie in the subway or kickboxing to the Clash in her dorm room or back home riding her pony, Mamacita. You couldn’t figure out who she was. Just like in Braque’s painting, only the nail in the far corner was discernible. The rest was a blur on paper the color of a smoker’s lungs. But Braque was a real artist. You could stand in front of his painting for hours but never see everything…

Get the whole picture right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of March (aka 03.06.24) when we’ll be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!

Hosts Johnny O & MH Clay will open the mad mic, starting with some musical grooves brought to you by Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel, Gerard Bendiks).

This month we will be officially launching our seventh anthology. “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2023” featuring a handful of our featured poets & writers! After our feature set we will commence with our usual unusual open mic!

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate…

(preRSVP 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 8pm)

Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call… Mad Swirl!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

2023 was quite a year! Thru it all, Mad Swirl was there, every one of the 365 days of it. We never missed a beat. Those beats are what you’ll get when you dig into this year’s collection. Get your firsthand view of one helluva year.
The Best of Mad Swirl : v2023 is a 110-page anthology featuring 52 poets, 12 short fiction writers, and four artists whose works were presented on throughout 2023. We editors reviewed the entire year’s output to ensure this collection is truly “the best” of Mad Swirl! The works represent diverse voices and vantages which speak to all aspects of this crazy swirl we call “life on earth.”


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…

Goin’ places…

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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