The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.18.24

by May 19, 2024 0 comments

For me, it is OK as long as I can breathe, as long as my heart is pumping, as long as I can express myself.

Ai Weiwei

••• The Mad Gallery •••

4I3A6116 ~ Richard Hanus

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 kissed on the fence while trying to make sense; we went through doubt, to conscience and guilt, to lose despair o’er milk long spilt; we recalled old dread o’er words not said; we shouted out urgin’ to be a self-surgeon; we bled out truth at life’s toll booth; we poemed to never win, rushed by adrenaline; we wrote messages, baiting, impatiently waiting. We write and then let consequence be. ~ MH Clay

Homonyms of Silence by Archie Abaire

On wings of hope my missive did fly
that I might soon be kindly graced
to find your message in reply
and our apartness be erased.

Why haven’t I heard you say
the words that would ease my mind?
Has my message gone astray,
not arriving for you to find?

But my message is surely there,
delayed in coming to your heed
because of your pressing affairs,
and you have yet to see my need.

Maybe my request is one you abhor;
to spend your time you aren’t inclined.
You started to write to me before.
Alas! Your words were unrefined.

But no! That is not your way.
Your silence means nothing beyond
agreement with what I had to say;
nothing requires that you respond.

On wings of hope did my missive fly.
Should I still wait and not implore
you to grant me speedy reply,
but give you time to ponder more?

May 18, 2024

editors note: Well… Should I? – mh clay

My pretty poetry by Guest Poet Pulkita Anand

In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent. ~ Cezslaw Milosz

I guess it’s adrenaline.
Yes, it was an adrenaline rush.
Otherwise, how could I be so foolish?
It’s the fault of my age and my stars.
Yes, certainly, they should be rebuked.
Please listen to me.
Oh! Please, let me show you the books.
I requested them from my friends.
See, they all have only your name.
Though my friends teased me and made fun of me,
But they are my tokens and gifts for loving you.
Oh! My bad, I slipped to watch a rom-com, Baywatch.
Dated Booby
Hooked with Horny,
I discussed your naked secrets.
And how you deserted many
But my love for you is pure.
My posey,
Look at my lappy, my room, and my heart.
It is filled with you; I have written so many
Sucking poems filled with pestering thoughts.
See my potato poems, my banana poems,
My nuts poems, Oh!
They are my love for you.
My pretty poetry,
Please don’t desert me.
My daisy,
Please don’t leave me in silence.
My serene beauty,
Oh! Please don’t kill me with this look.

May 17, 2024

editors note: We are all besotted with her; though we write her and write her, she never writes back! – mh clay

Yours are Nice by Guest Poet Jessica Morris

Every deal you make in life is a deal with the devil
An air-filled lung, a beating heart, flesh and blood are always required
You may think a road has no toll
That is pure imagination
So ready your knife, the booth approaches-

I pull forward
Blade in hand
Ready to face that
Lord of Under

Eye to eye, his unexpectedly
Blue pair
Mirror mine
Two ancient glacier pools
Not hot or angry or conniving

His arm encased in a jean jacket sleeve
Rises to draw my attention
To the fee as indicated on the digital screen
His shoulders slightly shrug
As if it were out of his control

Lucky, he says, earlier an ocular device
Was what we needed
But yours are nice, I want you
To keep them, for now
A Shirley Temple will suffice—

That vital fluid, a vampire’s vice
The scarlet quencher, that makes your cheeks
Flush, your body warm or hot
When you’re angry, that
Carmine delight, just a pint

Extraction complete I
Drive away not too
Faint, just enough to shyly
Smile because he liked
My eyes.

May 16, 2024

editors note: Vamp and vampire, vamping over eyes at the toll booth. – mh clay

Delicate Operation by James D. Casey IV

all hindrances stripped away
anything unnecessary cut
flayed from the bone
with precision

like a goddamn surgeon

steady hand
he’s going in


. . . shh . . .
eye need quiet


much better

let the ritual begin

to get

May 15, 2024

editors note: Slice or be sliced? Speak up! – mh clay

To a Younger Poet by John Najjar

How little perhaps words can convey except in the hands of a genius. Though I am a creative person, I am a puritan rather than an aesthete. I know human life is terrible. I know that it is utterly unlike art. I have no religion except my own task of being. Conventional religions are dream stuff. Always a world of fear and horror lies a millimetre away. Any man, even the greatest, can be broken in a moment and has no refuge. Any theory which denies this is a lie. For myself, I have no theories. ~ Iris Murdoch, From The Black Prince, p., XVIII.

This day is threaded with sunlight.
Returning to old places
And to familiar things
I sit here weighing
Each single word,
One against another.

In this hunt for meaning
The prey eludes me,
For remembered yesterdays
Must remain silent;
Forever lost
In the medium of memory:
They happened long ago.

Spaces and movement guide me
Away from white rocky shores
That threaten to silence me.
My treasured prey hides in silence.

I look up from the page;
The world quickly calls me away
From these dusty places.
I need a higher court,
Beyond words;
Here I can only use words
To appeal to words.

Words cage me.
I pace each line away
As I weigh one connotation
Against another.
I can only balance each word
Against something inarticulate;
Something beyond words.

I hunt phantoms,
For I can only articulate,
I can only express,
Through this network of meaning
What I know is true.

Looking outside into the world
I think back to other days;
Days now lost to silence.

Rain begins to fall;
Such soft sounds
As each drop hits the ground.

Yesterdays bring forth;
How a few words
Would bring such joy to her eyes.
This memory drags with it
Many listless regrets:
Words that should never have been said
So many left unsaid.

May 14, 2024

editors note: When scab turns to scar, picking heals nothing. – mh clay

Scattered Traces by David Ratcliffe

I take myself to inner thought
like I’m in the dentist’s chair
and listen to the rumours
spiralling around my head,
each occupant manipulating,
fragmenting traces of truth
from deception to deflection
causing a disconnect from reality.

I interrogate them one by one
starting with doubt;
I ask what troubles you?
but as this line of enquiry
leads deep into uncertainty
I unravel myself
from this cloak of indifference
and move on…

I turn to conscience
though I’m faced with a condensed windscreen,
with evidence of various attempts
to wipe it clear
that left smears of mistrust
along traces of betrayal.

So then on to guilt;
I ask, what is it that ails you?
why do you spend life in shadow?
and is it true you fled
leaving innocent victims
of circumstance
as you remorselessly forged ahead?

But my voice fails to reach
the depths of my despair,
and so, I turn to compassion
conjuring an alibi
offering mitigation
crafted from decades
of lapsed memory.

Maybe one day
my heart will slow
to the rhythm of my thoughts
as once again I escape
this close shave and smile
like I’m the happiest man alive.

May 13, 2024

editors note: Let that maybe be what it may. Laughter is better. – mh clay

Kiss Me (4) by Isaiah Vianese

while we kiss
a bomb falls in another country

I cannot make sense
of this world

May 12, 2024

editors note: Verses like these are as close as we come. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re looking for a tall drink of a read then belly up to Acquaintanceship by Contributing Writer & Poet Susie Gharib.

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

You don’t ask for family, and you sure as hell don’t ask for neighbors. But you have to live with both from time to time, and any amount of time might be too much.

Here’s a few sips to get you buzzin’:

Barland ~ Tyler Malone

He winked. My lips curled in utter disgust at the foam that gathered in the corners of his mouth. He thought his inebriation was well-disguised. Not to my eyes. His nostrils dilated with words he was at a loss to find. His tongue had grown quite numb with huge amounts of rum and every pore in his body exuded a repellent, habitual scent…

Get the whole barfly scene right here!


If you’re seeking a read, look no further than this week’s featured story. Had I Lost Nothing by Contributing Writer James Lawless!

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

Even when you start, you have more than others have. Step off with that thought and see where you go.

Here’s a few clues to get you goin’:

Lit Lit ~ Tyler Malone

The lakes are robust, and the water systems in Italy that were dry for many seasons are now in good shape. Today was the first brief sun we’ve seen in weeks, and now the sun weakens through clouds, with a rain forecast for afternoon, evening, and night. I had an eventful morning that merits examination.

The air was cool on my face when I rode my steel steed to a nearby town with my backpack precariously clipped on the back of my bike. I usually get away with the risky placing of cargo, but this time it fell off. I didn’t notice my pack was missing until I arrived at the library to return the books inside it.

A wave of panic hit me as I remembered they were expensive art books. I instantly mounted my bike, setting off from whence I came. As I backtracked the way home, my eyes swept from side to side, and my mind conversed with its lodger along the two-kilometer journey…

Find this whole story right here!

••• Community •••

As part of the The Dallas Is Lit! festival festivities, Mad Swirl hosted a happy hour to showcase our longtime 1st Wednesday open mic regulars at Dallas’ longest running performance poetry collectives at Barbara’s Pavillion, one of Oak Cliff’s best kept secrets.

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Interludes:
Swirve’s Chris & Tamitha Curiel

Opalina Salas
Roderick Richardson
Desmene Statum
Carlos Salas

Thanks to ALL who witnessed this Happy Hour madness!


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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