The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.30.24

by on March 31, 2024 :: 0 comments

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.

Vincent Van Gogh

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Cyber Doll ~ 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 switched off a session of ugly expression; we broke through the surface of a moment’s purchase; we cured no cause of menopause; we tripped enthused to trail the muse; we beached in place with a jogger’s pace; we brought on night with sailor’s delight; we made dawn embark while gathering the dark. We can color where we go with just some words to make it so. ~ MH Clay

THE FARMER by John L. Stanizzi

Daybreak, and the old woman
is pushing the wheelbarrow
full of straw

She is alone
except for cows
arranged on the hill
and birds
darting through
harps of light

I see her every morning
cats following
pawing the falling straw
and I am certain
it is she who takes
away the night —

when we are all asleep
she is awake
gathering the darkness
in her apron

March 30, 2024

editors note: Now we know; never have been awake to see her. (Congratulations to John on the recent releases of two collections: Viper Brain, and SEE. Click the links to get your copies.) – mh clay

A SKY OF COLOR by Michael Brownstein

May 10, 6:15 PM., the sky floodlights of color,
red rose and yellow marsh marigold and daffodil,
and then the cloud works fill themselves with a weight in water
thickening into an ocean storm, turbulent and graying,
large waves with a litter of whitewash and misty smoke.
Everything darkens, but still no rain, no breath of strong wind,
and within a sudden lurch of color and rising pressure,
cloud caves open, dark blues and purples swim into their openings.
Still no rain, no wind, only the soft caress of a breeze cooling the air
and in the western horizon a splash of pink with a tint of red.
Night falls. The moon exposes the shadowed light outlining its face.

March 29, 2024

editors note: Red sky at night… – mh clay

headspace by Jean Bohuslav

still skies meandering paths and tall
vegetation waver (as if painted on
loose canvas) opening to cool offshore
breezes quivering sword grass
threatening bare legs bright plastic
cars filling gutters dog leashes straining
over sunny parklands affronting
trespassers like cardboard cut-outs
ignoring me

who programmed this intrusion
quiet monday is not right i have been
scripted out though rabbits survive
glades manicured within a breath of
green life

my effortless pacing over jogging
tracks surprising after infection’s spike

neglecting the porches missing footwear
and drawn beachward where his bare
feet limp over wet sand normality is
regained however a teenager straddling
his stationary bike near the footbridge
acts overly strange

March 28, 2024

editors note: What space do you like? This one’s nice. – mh clay

Trailing the Muse by Jean Biegun

She’s walking on coals
and bidding me follow
Injects my conversation
with garlic and charms

Strews clover on the roads
I take to the metropolis
Lures me to fields
of mines itching to explode

Hums the music of mangoes
and journeys to Saturn
Hands me ink and papyrus
and then laughs

March 27, 2024

editors note: So, that’s where she’s been; me with an empty page and a dry nib… – mh clay


Menapausura is a prescription medicine
With little success for short-term
Non-continuous chronic hormone
Changes in women

Menapausura is approved for older women
It may cause serious side effects including
Extra tummy, insomnia, dryness,
Lack of care, neediness, distraction,
Frequent clothing changes, donations
And purchases

Tell your doctor if you have sweating
Or discomfort while wearing a coat
In negative temperatures

If you become pregnant
Immediately cease use of

For all possible and impossible
Side effects of Menapausura
See 100-page insert

What is the most important
Information you must know
About Menapausura?

Report any adverse effects
To someone who
Doesn’t live with you

Menapausura is a registered
Trademark of Incyte-ful Poetry
2023, MH Corporation

March 26, 2024

editors note: Read this disclaimer; you assume all risks. (MH Corp has no association with Mad Swirl). – mh clay

Hop On – Hop Off by J. K. Durick

Sometimes we travel –
get away, go to,
begin to understand the mystery
of miles, of distance.
What “there” feels like
when we are finally “there,”
away from the “here”
we live with, live in, the day-to-day.
Those maps we looked at,
And the stories we read
have come to life,
a life in their rightful place,
a place we thought of as “there,”
and here we are.
This is how we become
a vague part of this place
with its streets and statuary
with its parks and plazas
its tourists and tour guides.
We hop on, hop off
walk cobblestones streets
sit in sidewalk cafes and
order from menus we can’t read.
We buy the moment
and we finally begin to feel
the “here” of this place.

March 25, 2024

editors note: Conde Nast couldn’t describe it better. – mh clay

Distortion by Sanjeev Sethi

The curb where we let off
was curdled:
there was integrity
even in artifice.
Meeting anew
is to audit fresh clefts
in the marl of our morrow.

The herniation of ugly expression
from your heat and heart
sets a switch for me.
Assertion of political
and pietistic affinities
are the least offensive
parts of the profile.

March 24, 2024

editors note: Don’t want to imagine the most. Switch off, please. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’ve ever wondered what made Budd wiser then Drunken Boxcars by Earl Sanders just might be the story you’re thirsting after!

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

It’s easy to not see the world as it is. All the people, their actions, their histories, it can all be lost to liquid.

Here’s a few sips to whet your reading whistle:

After Dinner Drink Treat ~ Tyler Malone

Dear Sir Lancelot:

When that Brett Kavanaugh dude told me he likes beer, he became my Catholic beer bro. And whiskey. You know: Wherever two or three are swigging a round, there’s always a fifth. But seriously, it’s always been beer for me. Remember? The afternoon I got drunk and found Jesus. And the true meaning of pontification. And the spins. But no problem, goblin.

When you’re drunk off your ass, the TV starts talking to you. That’s what I think, but I don’t know how that shit works, maybe osmosis, like, when you’re hitting on the idiot box and become a Supreme Court Justice in the privacy of your own den. You learn all kinds of crap just soaking that excrement up. You hear “Supreme Court Justice likes beer,” and suddenly, when you also hear he’s a Catholic, you realize that not only do all Catholics like all the beers but that all Catholics are entitled to become Supreme Court Justices because all Catholics like all the beers. Indeed. All the beers. And justice. The justice of all the beers.

Imagine this TV osmosis as a transmission from the beyond: Straight to your room from The Temple of Doom.

Believe. Beer makes one wise…

Get the whole case right here!


It was inevitable that Mad Swirl would feature a story today but who would have thunk it would be Ineluctabilis by Peter Dellolio!

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

Here’s where you are: still at a moment in the past, seeing it all again. That’s when you know, forgetfulness is an occasional blessing.

You haven’t read the story at this moment. You are going to get a tease:

Once, Two ~ Tyler Malone

I will leave the building with her. We will walk together for several blocks. It will be night. Before we leave, she will say something to me, she will make some remark about the tone of my voice. When I speak to her, the tone of my voice will have a certain effect on her, and so she will make this comment. As we leave the lobby of the building, I will notice that its beige marble walls have a faint glow. This will be the effect of a street lamp shining through the glass doors of the entryway.

I am not speaking to her at this moment. I am going to speak to her…

It’s is certain you will get the rest of this read right here!

••• Mad Swirl Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.02.24) 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 featuring the Mad dynamic duo, Opalina & Carlos Salas!

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 Merch •••

If you have asked yourself, “Self, what does Mad Swirl do with the proceeds from their book & merch sales?” we have just the answers to your query…

The Mad Staffers periodically gets together to discuss projects we want to do to extend the Mad radius of the Swirl. We feel its current pulling & compelling us to do more. But it takes resources, like dough, to do so.

Here are just a few of the projects we will be accomplishing in 2024:

  • Publish more books: Our online presence is wide, deep and dynamic. This year we will be publishing more books from our Contributing Poets & Writers.
  • Updates to We want to make our site even more interactive & easier for all Swirlers to navigate the poetry, short stories, art & events that color our Swirl world.
  • Launch our Podcast: Mad Swirl is producing a quarterly podcast, “Inside the Eye!” where we will be interviewing one of our a Contributing Mad ones. We will also chat with our editors & get their highlights from the quarter & chat a bit about our 1st Wednesday open mics & the launching of upcoming print projects.

Now that you know what we do with all our proceeds, wanna help us out?

To date, Mad Swirl has funded our projects from our book & merch sales, as well as out of our own pockets. To accomplish the projects listed above, we need help from other Mad lovers of all things Swirly.

One way to help the Mad causes is to buy one (or MORE!) of our Mad Swirl Press books.

Another way is to get you some Mad Merch.

Now go get you some books & merch, knowing you’re helping the Mad Swirl cause!


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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