The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.04.24

by on May 5, 2024 :: 0 comments

Art is for everybody.

Keith Haring

••• The Mad Gallery •••

4I3A6146 ~ Richard Hanus

Mad Swirl is thrilled to introduce Richard Hanus as the latest addition to the Mad Gallery lineup, showcasing his vibrant and emotive paintings. Hanus’ unique style carries a captivating moodiness; from introspective depths to vibrant bursts of energy, his pieces are sure to take you on a wild ride. While you may find yourself getting lost in these abstract landscapes, we think you just might stumble upon something you didn’t know you were looking for, too. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Richard’s vibrantly emotive 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 last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we had a lover’s comport at a far mountain resort; we at kitchen looked when we were called to cook; we gave homeless favor with today’s newspaper; we vainly prayed without wild ways; we were soul-sick for a toothpick; we put old trust in sawdust; we questioned god, creation flawed. Our honesty is no travesty, just writing what we see. ~ MH Clay

INNATELY FLAWED by Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia

Winter is cold. The sky is blue. The year ends.
Certain as short square fingers stuffing pipes
the self-assurance to be ripped apart
like linoleum covers of bus seats
with cushions pneumatic with nylon sponge.
The smoky soul chooses a double decker
coconut shies memories of Coney Island
and verdigris upon a copper torch
that tests the colour of each human skin
for ermines after all are merely stoats
or weasels held in contempt for low cunning
like fellas in prunella à la Pope.

Suggestions mild with nuance made in whispers
falling feathers of snow on tenement walls
a lingering leaf upon an ivy vine
a woman sipping soup next to her sketchbook
another typing dandelions in spring
a man gaslighting his own wedded wife
a sheriff shooting gangsters in the west
kids snorkeling mid coral reefs down under
or slaves bloodying their chains in evil ports
and genocides within the heart of darkness
and conspiracy theories doing rounds
with wounded knees and blankets of small pox
efforts to shine a torch quickly deflected
for centuries to come so some can reign.

Leaves swirl in eddies deep within the glen
their colours myriad as the stars in heaven
and fish swim among roots of redwood trees
where snowy mountains rise up from the sea.
Minds look for peace and hearts hanker for comfort.
Killers are everywhere. What flowers? What moon?
Trouble. Sparks fly. Upwards.
Innately flawed. This piece of work.
Not mine. His. What destiny!

May 4, 2024

editors note: What, indeed? We demand to speak to a manager! – mh clay

what I’m good at by Preacher Allgood

no money
no talent
no guardian angel
but an eighty-year-old table saw
and a pile of used lumber

no guru
no savior
no life ever after
but a rip cut and a cross cut
and a scrap of cheap cold cuts in the belly
and a thing for using up time
because that’s what I’m good at

no friends
no family
no safe harbor awaiting
but sawdust flying everywhere
and progress going nowhere

May 3, 2024

editors note: You, too, can excel at going nowhere. – mh clay


Who would write that line?
Someone who had a soul?
Someone who wanted to hurt his soul?
What would cause you to hurt your soul?
Do we know what souls look like?
Does a soul have hands?
Does a soul have nails with cuticles
you can shove toothpicks under?
Can the mind shove toothpicks?
Do souls scream?
What pain’s deeper?
If you have ever considered doing that,
you know.

May 2, 2024

editors note: Ouch! IYKYK. – mh clay

The Ways of All Wild Things by PW Covington

Trust the ways
Of all wild things
And animals
The path that lava water takes to sea
Trust the unseen mystery
Phone calls never answered
Letters, never sent
Chances never taken
Dice never thrown
Rivers never waded slowly turn to legend
Mountain tremor nizzle wonder saxophone
Sunset on the Rio Grande, alone
How many million lives have prayed,

up here

In vain?

May 1, 2024

editors note: But we still pray we can make way. – mh clay

NEWSSTAND by Roger G. Singer

black headlines
the aroma of ink
and paper

the rush of shoes
over stained sidewalks

a heavy coated
man runs by

a couple pause
holding hands

a dog dragging
its leash
weaves through
the crowd

today’s news,
tonight a welcome
blanket for
the homeless

April 30, 2024

editors note: There’s no news like good news; good for cover, that is. – mh clay

Calling me to cook! by Hem Raj Bastola

Evening emotions
Of the horizon
Where obtuse refrain,
Of the light, to visualize:
A thought.

Burning clouds
Slowly douse,
Along with the sinking sun.
Vista of the twilight, recast!
And the greyline slowly:
The vault of the
Gloaming shadows,

Beside me,
On the tree;
A bird is chirping.
A song of the evening to sing
Or waiting for the mate.
I think, I understand:
Must be saying
Welcome home.

And by the ranch
Witnessing an epoch
Preparing to conclude the day.
I find the black tent is fixed
As the stars illuminate
Dazzling diamonds
In the sky.

The smoke I smell
Which tells the fire is on.
The hearth is living still
Since the break of the dawn
As I have activated igniting
The matchstick.

And the day retires,
In the lap of darkness
For the healings of the night
while weariness seek the rest
Likewise hunger in contrast:
Calling me to cook!
Calling me to cook!

April 29, 2024

editors note: And, goshamighty, we’re hungry! – mh clay

Love Is a Respectable Mountain Resort by Guest Poet Kelly Moyer

My heart is quite a distance
from the interstate, but it’s
worth a visit for, if nothing
else, it’s walkable downtown.
So, set a full day aside,
a weekend, if you’re able,
and stroll its streets,
laden with the aroma
of an earthy autumn spice.
We have a haberdashery
through which you’re
welcome to browse
as well as a yarn shop,
stocked with all manner
of knitting, weaving
and light bondage
supplies. Care for a cup
of tea? A coffee, perhaps?
Our signature maple-sage
latte is sure to warm
you up right. When you’re
ready for a late lunch
or early dinner, we’ll
give you trout served
an impressive eighteen
ways ‘til the Sabbath.
But, be sure to make
your way to the, ahem,
tittie bar before it
gets too late, for we
roll up the sidewalks
at half past eight.

April 28, 2024

editors note: Relationship as retreat with dignified disclosure. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’ve got a thirst for a read then Speckled Toad Beer by Contributing Writer & Poet Jim Bates is sure to quench it!

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

Everything is derivative: just look in the mirror.

Here’s a few sips:

Beer Dreams ~ Tyler Malone

I hate to admit it, but I never knew that the inspiration for the character of Uncle Sam in the WWI recruitment poster was the artist himself. He’d dilly-dallied on doing the painting until it was almost too late. At the last minute, he did the initial drawing based on his reflection in the mirror. He liked what he saw and from that first draft, he completed the work, adding the bushy eyebrows, craggy features, and the pointed somewhat threatening finger that to this day is an American Icon. The rest, as they say, was history.

My wife and I had been watching a special on PBS when the story behind the poster was explained. It gave me an idea. Why not do the same thing using myself as a model for the Speckle Toad Beer ad campaign I was working on? And, if I did, what kind of image would I come up with?

I floated the idea past Michelle. It didn’t take her long to express herself. “You’re nuts, Troy,” she said and popped a kernel of popcorn into her mouth from the bowl we’d been sharing to emphasize her observation. “Completely out of your mind,” she added, grabbing a handful to further her point.

“Why? What’s wrong? I think it’s a great idea.”

She let out a soft belch and looked me right in the eye…

Chug the rest of this read right here!


If you’re in the mood for a melodious read, Man with a Guitar, 2000 by Contributing Writer & Poet Marianne Szlyk is sure to please!

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

What music can we carry? How can we live and still sing of what we once were?

Here’s a few bars to get you hummin’:

Sticking My Neck Out, Here ~ Tyler Malone

Perhaps Braque’s man with the guitar was Frankie, the boy she used to play with in the subway not so many years ago. It was never about her, as her father and her husband and his family had reminded her so many times. Still Mary thought that she was looking at what she might have been, the Future of Man. If only they could have kept on playing in the subway, in the park, on campus. If only she hadn’t followed him home.

But now she did laundry and then assembled lunch from containers of lunch meat, string cheese, and apple slices or grapes; then drove her daughters through their over-watered Colorado. The Frankie she had known would have wondered where the water came from to make a desert bloom. But if she had still known him, she would not be here. She would not be blonde. She would not wear a tight neon pink t-shirt and faded mom jeans. She might still be barefoot…

Get the whole tune right here!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of May (aka 05.01.24) 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!

This month we featured local loco legend, OG miscreant, Josh Weir!

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

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks)

Open Mic:
Alan Gann
Desmene Statum
Harry McNabb
Gabriela C.
Brian Duran-Fuentes
David Crandall
Matt Drake
Rachel Johnson
Bobby Hood
John Gallante
Dick Zinnendorf

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

Stay tuned ’til next 1st Wednesday (aka 06.05.24) when we will be featuring B. Randall!… ’til then, may the madness swirl your way!

Johnny O

P.S. Here is the full line-up of remaining features for 2024:

June: B Randall
July: Joaquin Zihuatanejo / GNO
August: Roderick Richardson
September: Desmene Statum
October: PW Covington
November: Mad Swirl Open Mic 20th Anniversary
December: Holiday Special

Huge THANKS to our past 2024 features:

January: Inciting the rise of YES & the fall of NO
February: Suza Kanon
March: The Best ofMad Swirl 2023 Anthology Launch
April: Opalina & Carlos Salas / Your Loving Son
May: Josh Weir

P.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 •••

Check out these selections from Mad Swirl Press: 2018-2024
(click on cover to go to Amazon to purchase

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!


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…

Makin’ Art,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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