The Best of Mad Swirl : 05.25.24

by May 26, 2024 0 comments

Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.

Miles Davis

••• The Mad Gallery •••

0RH5180 ~ 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 felt the thrum where we are numb; we craned our necks to a Monday wreck; we wished conflict to cease for everlasting peace; we whiffed the stank of a piggy bank; we slowed our roll for self control; we love imbued with super glue; we held in hand our buds in the band. Alone we write, together bright. ~ MH Clay

OUR BAND by Guest Poet Harry McNabb

we have a band

my friend, Larry – he’s the clapper

he claps however he wants at
whatever frequency he is comfortable with

mostly he does not clap
and just watches television

my friend, Chrissy – she’s the hummer

she hums bits of songs that she knows
and sometimes does not hum
and watches television

she is tone deaf, so there
is no copyright issue

my friend, Tony – he’s our high c guy

he brings in his keyboard, turns it on,
puts it on the “synth saw” setting,
and keeps his finger on one key,
playing a protracted high c-note

but he also watches television
most of the time

And me…
i play a whistle with a little
monkey hanging from it

when i bring the whistle in and out
the monkeys arms and legs
go up and down

and i watch television too

i think we are a band.

most people don’t think so.

i don’t know what Larry,
Chrissy, and Tony think, but I
think we are
and we
like what we do

which is mostly watching television
and annoying each other

May 25, 2024

editors note: This makes all bingeing buds a band. – mh clay

Attachment Items by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

She was always going
to antique shows
and talking about attachment

How the dead
came home with you
and then you had to live
with them.

I don’t know how it
actually worked,
but she was adamant
about attachment items.

So that one day,
I superglued everything
I could to my naked body
and waited for her
to come home.

May 24, 2024

editors note: How to lean in to your attachment anxiety. – mh clay

Looking For A Fight Where There Isn’t Any by Paul Tristram

We Temper our Anger
before it hits Rage
with Strength
and Self-Control…
bringing ‘Balance’
and ‘Composure’
to Adverse Situations.
Walking ‘High Roads’
we avoid (Pointless)
Arguments with
small minded idiots
… and, it is also
far above the reach
of Toxic little people.
We Learn and Grow
because we Accept
our Faults, rather than
‘Deflect’… Changing
and Blossoming…
as we ‘Advance’ past
those stuck in Denial
and (Perpetual) Drama.

May 23, 2024

editors note: This we seek, and then we watch the news. – mh clay

Piggy Bank by David Punter

I see it now: bulgy, white,

with spots of pink,

a slotted back

wistful eyes


I see it again: huge,

wobbling, as it comes

towards me

perched on the farm gate


And again, the edge of a holloway

near my house

on the market drove

still called Piggy Lane


And again, jowly,

in a dinner jacket

running the world

of stock and share


Same old piggy. Same old bank.

May 22, 2024

editors note: Clutching forks and knives… – mh clay

Verge by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Approach closely. Rather than distance for picayune causes, try
Embracing vicinal ideas. Critical thinking, after all, remains more
Than an embarcadero awaiting new shipments of political quandaries.
We benefit when inculcating new notions; freedom frequently relies upon our
Willingness to include suchlike concepts. Otherwise, we are destined to repeat
Umbrous events experienced over many centuries. Humanity’s welfare calls for
Apposite, even anomalous, designs to be integrated into our common civilization.

If not, no matter how charming our leadership, no matter how monied our “smart”
Media, we’ll repeatedly trip over mauvaise honte, become injured by our puerile
Requirements for adjudicating actions vis-a-vis outdated laws of worn kingdoms.
Consequently, we’re beholden to step away from sundry alienation, to affix
Shared expectations to manners of truth that include courage and spirit, to
Tame those lions roaring within ourselves over meaningless “treasures.”
Only when embracing verity will we know an everlasting peace.

May 21, 2024

editors note: Trip we do, cause trip we did and always have. Mauvaise honte, indeed. – mh clay

Wreck by Nolcha Fox

inspired by “What Would Gwendolyn Brooks Do” by Parneshia Jones

My counter sags under a 16-ounce bitter brew
that drowns the lies I tell myself to crawl
through another morning.
I tape on a flypaper smile to trap
the insults before they speed
through the streets, melting asphalt
and my reputation.
I’m a five-car collision before I tie my robe.
My face is a tic-tac-toe crime scene.
My hair is an undiscovered Amazon jungle.
I’m a wreck with no tow truck.
I’m a disaster zone with no warning.
It’s just another ordinary Monday.

May 20, 2024

editors note: Can only hope for a better Tuesday. – mh clay

We Are Numb by Ahmad Al-khatat

We are numb when the world began,
numb from forcefully drinking ourselves.

Numb from exited voices growing louder,
numb from marijuana smoke and sweat aroma.

Numb to climb bare on our day-to-day fears,
numb to hang a thick cord on the rooftops.

Numb to the world’s craziness’s dry tears,
numb to gossip and destroying human lives.

You are numb all around me, in my short hair,
in my hands, amidst the dust of my little toes.

May 19, 2024

editors note: Can you feel it? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re feelin’ pinned, our featured read The Labyrinth by Earl Sanders just might unstick you!

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

What’s a new city other than experiences to discover old experiences over and over and over again?

Here’s a few pokes to get you goin’:

Keep in (Touch) ~ Tyler Malone

One night, I got stuck in Pueblo, Colorado. It’s not a bad place, a steel mill town, semi-arid land sprawl, and as in a lot of towns, the bus station where I landed happened to be an underground hypermart: prostitutes, both sexes, dealers, and of course, all the big shots a road hog like me would ever wanna meet. The station’s a fashion show of Bukowski clones after nightfall.

I mention big shots because that’s where I headed. A saloon across the street called The Big Shot Lounge had a salad bar, warmed-over egg rolls, and lowlife hors d’ouerves.

Great. I indeed was hungry. I’d been bouncing and sweating in the seat of my pants for hours on the Hound, and heck, for zilch, I could eat as well as drink bad beer. Besides, it was the first place I saw when I untangled myself from the knot of nitwits all holding court outside the depot.

Also not so great. The Big Shot is a pit stop for junkies. You find a good stiff drink, you get yourself a plate of egg rolls, maybe a few stalks of celery with Cheez Whiz on them, and think to yourself, Wow, this is a bargain…

Get the whole tangled scene dream right here!


Pull up your beach towel & cop a squat to read, Lost in Paradise coming to us from David Allard.

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

What’s in us–the parts that mean the most of what others know about us–are always in a shadow to ourselves.

Here’s a few waves to get you swimmin’:

Among Many ~ Tyler Malone

He is sitting alone on one of those hard-wearing combination double bench/tables found outside pubs and fast-food restaurants, coloured dark brown to make you think they are wooden, when they are in fact toughened plastic.

Built to last, never to be eaten by worm, to be rotted by wind and cold. I doubt he has given the bench a moment’s thought, because people are puzzling enough for him, without considering the origins of machine-made inanimate objects that are simply just there and do not move round.

What’s the expression used to label someone like him? That’s it: on the spectrum, floating somewhere on that darkened rainbow.

How old is he? About 14, I’d say, looking lonely and somehow lost on this sandy tropical beach, silhouetted against the quiet warm waters of the Caribbean…

Get “Lost…” right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.05.24) 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 B. Randall! (Learn more about B. Randall: Facebook / Instagram)

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!

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

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


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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