The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.16.24

by March 17, 2024 0 comments

The only people for me are the mad ones: the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who… burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles.

Jack Kerouac

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Cyber Kolossoi II ~ Mitchell Pluto

To see all of Mitchell’s vibrantly crafted collage 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 last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we patient was as patience does; we were slow to lose a battered bruise; we felt the frustration of incarceration; we fived hard strifes for one hard life; we years lost to fears tossed; we watched a wandering walker, a stumbling starlight stalker; we flew as bird perceptors go, while angels sang “BestGo! BestGo!” Angel or nothing! ~ MH Clay

Good Luck by Chris Zimmerly

BestGo! BestGo!
Then we are quiet
The moon is down
Clouds marching in
Covering over Orion
Mockingbird sings a little
From the bottlebrush
Oh to read the land and know how
Magnetic perceptors, ley line aware
Star map mind
The migrating passerines
Hurrying laminar flow
Angel, did you wake up you?
On the shelf by the door
Did you find that bottle of red?
Tag! You’re It!
All the birth under the waning crescent
After the midnight rain footsteps
A New York toothpick
I believe you believe that
Longing for one’s lover
Unexpected trajectories suddenly
A fistball of butterflies opens a light beam
The afternoon heat sounds like summer still
Gone away again into Billie Holiday records
Then just
The wind in the leaves
Sounds like deluge
Or chicken thighs on a hot skillet
Our bodies are kites
Flown by angels
We are the root down
Anchoring the bloom
The wind is God laughing
Keeping all the lines tight

March 16, 2024

editors note: With angels holding the string, it’s good luck, indeed! – mh clay

Whitman Alone by Guest Poet Philip Terman

Imagine: there he is—
walking, one hand holding
the other, a solitary
late afternoon stroll,
crossing and re-crossing
the streets, swaying down
to the river, humming
an aria as the ferry lifts
him over the water
to the city of his poem
and back again, conferring
with the conductor, the smell
of fish and salt and sweat
from the workers who rush
home as the six bells warn:
the dark is here, go
warm yourselves, not one
knowing or caring to know
the tall hefty bearded son
with the cocked-back hat
and the hysterical eyes
who stumbles along walkways
and mumbles to himself,
laughing his fool head off.
Watch him a while,
around and round the wharf,
looking at sailors, pissing
against the side of buildings—
it almost justifies this moment
as the dark comes on
and the neighborhood shuts
its windows to the chill
and wind in bare branches,
crows gawking crazily
and he out there
looking up at the stars
and scratching his chin—
it makes sense, imagine—
the whole of us wait
in the balance.

March 15, 2024

editors note: We await his words along with him. – mh clay


I remember those years lost to the bars on
The street of ill-repute but they almost seem
Like another life from where I sit right now;
Happy for the first time in years & almost,
Almost, not drinking but hell this life needs
Some fun & as the smoke leaks on into my
Mind the wine slides down my gullet &
Soon it’ll be almost a year since I last got
So wasted I woke hungover so something
Must be going right, right?

The nights of heroic drinking are no longer
Needed as friends of old come to remind me
I do have people I can turn to in any hour
Of need & work, well like a beautiful dream,
I today worked on our bargain books, & right
Now I certainly don’t need to try and drink
Myself to death after a shift like that so what
I guess I’m saying is, hell, this life is pretty
Damn blessed as the symphonic crescendo
Peaks & ushers me off to another night of
Mild intoxication followed by rest as tomorrow
I’ve got to get in early & start all over again.

March 14, 2024

editors note: It’s all right when all is right! – mh clay

empty pockets by Christina Chin

empty pockets
she wasn’t well-off
scraping pots

a son hungry
for affection in the
abscence of toys

the room
echoes emptiness
a departed father

driven by hunger
he got his finger stuck
in an empty food can

stitching up
the deep cut
too weak to cry

March 13, 2024

editors note: 5 haiku; one hard life – mh clay

OPEN PRISON by Guest Poet David Allard

Beyond this low hedge and that high fence
We may not venture –
Although it is very puzzling,
For out there it seems
The air is the same as in here.

This hermit’s retreat
Has all the comforts to soften
Solitude, to stave off sickness:
Reclining soft chairs,
Any music we desire on tap,
A myriad of tv channels too.

Food and drink are regularly placed
Outside the door. A knock, a ring,
And then a van departs
Driven by some brave stranger
Who breathes that forbidden air.

A release date has been set
But plans cannot be made.
Could it be another false promise,
Like the last one, when we were
Tossed back in, like fearful rats
Led by a mercenary flute player?

March 12, 2024

editors note: Any time in lock down is hard time. – mh clay

Passed Presence by Guest Poet Steven Minchin

and spices were ruined
and scarves too

Most everything that had ever been around you

that refused to detach
when you unraveled
once simply bruised

you left marks

And battered dimensions all over the place

but still left

most everything looking black or blue

March 11, 2024

editors note: Can’t pass that past until bruises abate. – mh clay

Patient by Guest Poet Dana Al Rashid

I am patient but I am not a camel
I am patient but I am not a mule
I am patient but I am not a working horse
I am patient but I am, sadly, human
I can only be subjugated for so long
Even stones shatter by rain
Even earth quakes
Even livestock dies
Even doormats accumulate dust
Accommodating your footsteps
I am patient but I am not your whore
I am patient but I am not your slave
I am patient but I have agency
I am patient but I no longer have time

March 10, 2024

editors note: When waiting is worn… – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re looking for a read, cast your net & catch Sea-Language by Contributing Writer & Poet Susie Gharib!

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

Creatures of the deep don’t have a damn thing on the creatures above; they’re terrifyingly mysterious.

Sea what we mean with this teaser:

Sea-Language ~ Tyler Malone

He lived on the coast while I was on the top of a prominent hill from which the sea looked like a huge bluebell. He once espied me collecting shells on a very rare visit to the beach and decided to woo me with his tan, a few nets and a couple of strange-looking reeds–his only assets. My father, who had grown attached to my sullen company since the sudden death of my mother, resented his very presence. He made it clear that he would be welcome to stay with us but he insisted that he could not survive without his baits and his to-be-caught fishes, on which depended his very existence. Farming did not run in his blood; he would fail in such a trade and living on his prospective wife’s allowance was absolutely out of the question.

The strange thing to me was that he never asked whether I fancied his person as a husband. He took it for granted that a solitary un-wooed twenty-one-year-old would be blessed with his offer of marriage. His visits continued despite my father’s apparent reservations about parting with my company and my own lack of interest in his matrimonial project.

On one visit, he found me absorbed in listening to a huge seashell that I had placed next to my ear with unusual interest. He was used to my taciturnity and saying very little as a way of greeting.

“Can you really hear the sea through this,” he asked, eyeing the shell suspiciously.

“I receive messages,” I answered quietly…

Dive on into the rest of this read right here!


Today’s featured read, The Foreigner by Contributing Writer Salvatore Difalco, just might offer a lesson or two to be learned.

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

Living at the hands and teeth of violence brings out the best in all of us at any age.

Here’s how this class begins:

Empty Skies Hold the Most Prayers ~ Tyler Malone

Mrs. Lipton held my wrists with her hands flat to the desktop and leaned her equine face down to mine. I could smell her hot breath and feel her anger. She was strong. Her plunging neckline revealed three inches of cleavage that my eyes refused to disregard.

“I warned you,” she said hotly. “But Miss—” was all I could muster. She lifted me by the wrists so that I stood on my tiptoes, and escorted me to the classroom door. “Go see Mr. Rice,” she said. “I will be down shortly.”

Principal Rice had a very small head and freckles. He was a nice man most of the time but too often fell under the sway of Mrs. Lipton. As a twelve-year-old I was just beginning to understand about sexuality. Mrs. Lipton had a horse-face, but I could see how her large bosoms attracted men. All the dirty magazines my cousin Charlie collected featured women with big boobs. They had prettier faces, yes, than Mrs. Lipton, but similar physical proportions.

Mr Rice sat at his big desk reading reports with bifocals perched on his tiny nose. His head looked as though it had been shrunken by tribesmen, though those heads were often darker complected. He asked me why I was there.

“Mrs. Lipton told me to come here,” I said. “She said she’ll be here shortly.”

He nodded as though he knew precisely what she intended. I had no idea what she intended. Was she going to send me home? Call my folks? If the case was the latter, the joke was on her; my mother was at work. I’d be happy to go home. Of course I’d eventually have to explain to my mother what I had done to be sent home, and though I wasn’t yet clear on this, I’d tell her as much as I knew. What had I done? What offense had I committed? When Mrs. Lipton asked me what my folks had planned for the Christmas holidays I told her they had cazzo planned, that is to say my mother had cazzo planned as my father had died the year before and she was still in mourning. Mrs. Lipton, new to our school, probably didn’t know that. And I’d hazard to guess she didn’t know what the word cazzo meant but suspected it meant something bad.

Get the whole tutorial right here!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Have you gotten your hands on Mad Swirl’s latest anthology?

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.”

If we’ve enticed you enough to wanna get you your very own copy of “The Best of Mad Swirl : v2023” then get yours 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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