The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.08.24

by June 9, 2024 0 comments

I love the passion you go through while you’re creating.

LeRoy Neiman

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Kaleidoscope of the Mind ~ Andrea Damic

To see all Andrea’s hypnotical & mesmerizingly mad symmetric 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 summer fired while winter tired; we star-mind helmed phantasmal realms; we found defense in pretense; we shunned rightfulness as pettiness; we let peace rule at boarding school; we versed in no rest from our clumsy request; we in groping for letters became a forgetter. If we can write it, it will be. ~ MH Clay

FORGETTING by Royal Rhodes

“Si non meminero tui…”

It happened again today.
I forgot a word I needed,
and it did not reappear
as I waited for it to come
like expecting a phantom train.
My mind blotted out
parts of speech, as if
it breathed on an empty mirror
and when I swiped the fog
away with my flat hand
everything disappeared, even
why I wanted that word.
Maybe the cortex or other
place storing these flashcards
was gradually clearing itself
to become unpolluted, clean
as a tabula rasa to record
some magnificent idea or
vocabulary newly invented.
But I could not blame
the handful of grey matter.
It was my fault somehow,
a failure to be mindful.
When I say “perfection,”
it sounds like “shadow.”
And at the use of “music”
I’ll think only of “silence.”
So the yoked letters
in the few words left
cascade like water
falling over a rock lip
to land on stone.
And the forgetting,
a blocked speech,
is that vacant space between,
a blank corridor of shutting doors
where I once spoke your name.

June 8, 2024

editors note: Where we recall no name, there will be nobody. (We welcome Royal to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


I want the words on candy wrappers
to taste like chocolate and cashews.
I want the words on beer cans to help
me wobble through the kitchen at sunrise.

There’s a dark cane bootleg in my voice.
It’s cheap and cold, and it whispers to smoke.
I want some words left in my mind when
I sober up, so I can wedge them into the silence.

I want to dream about Pilate and Jesus,
one claiming truth, the other one ready
to question and question, and both of them
drift through my sleep and turn me into a train.

The train is hauling coal over the steepest mountain.
It catches fire, and I feel it and can’t describe it.
I should be running from the fire, but it’s inside me.
I don’t need words for that, just brandy and a chaser.

June 7, 2024

editors note: It’s not what you request, but how you request it. We keep asking… – mh clay

BOARDING SCHOOL by Guest Poet Ray Greenblatt

It’s been a long day
like pounding food spikes
into the roots
of chancy saplings
with a dull hammer,
tossing down subjects and predicates
of time and space,
of cause and effect,
rescuing a student
from the swamp
of a plotless book.

I trace corridors
of shut doors,
open rooms oozing
dirty laundry.
My respite is
a housemother’s
photo album of England.

As day ends
I sit in an empty courtyard
in humid air
under a cold moon,
smelling a sweetness
from an unknown flower,
a source hidden in the dark.

June 6, 2024

editors note: Perfect peace for a pedagogue. – mh clay

in the kitchen by Carl Kavadlo

she said
i don’t think everybody
who hits rock bottom
winds up in therapy. i know
they say you have to hit
rock bottom but—

and i was about to say,
it’s not about the percent
who climb
from rock bottom to

therapy but that
many in therapy
come from
rock bottom
that is, hit
a low-low-sad-sad-blues
point of their own
and that moves them

but it wasn’t about
winning or losing
this damned argument
which wasn’t really an
so, i
didn’t say what thought.

too many wars start
from petty conflicts i thought
which is the last
thing now that this world needs.

June 5, 2024

editors note: If not peace in our time, at least peace in our kitchens. – mh clay

Let’s Pretend by Paul Smith

Let’s pretend
nothing is wrong
our bills are paid
the market’s strong
the barn is full
the wheat is up
the kids are healthy
and wonderful
the corn is tall
there is no lead
in the paint on our walls
there’s a pair
of beach chairs
sitting on that faraway shore
waiting for us
on this day
let’s pretend
it’s not today
we’re not here
they’re not there
let’s pretend
we’re not going

June 4, 2024

editors note: Turn your pretense into peace. – mh clay

Phantasmal Realms by Harley White

Phantasmal realms are seen on high
as seeming ghosts that death defy,
galactical in cosmic ways
while visioned in a spectral haze,
unwilling still to bid goodbye.

‘Midst earthly days we live and die
immersed in pains and pleasures nigh
as inwardly we tend to praise
phantasmal realms.

Yet deep within some may descry
in lieu of insubstantial sky
or pageantry of mortal phase,
reality that life obeys,
an inner world beyond where lie
phantasmal realms.

June 3, 2024

editors note: Keeping it (un)real, inside and out. – mh clay


gazing from windows
onto the back yard swamp.
The sun tickles in
and winter has grown bright and warm.
The throb is my lost energy.

June 2, 2024

editors note: We stand with stuttering stamina. Come on, Summer! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Wake up & feast your eyes on our featured read, The Social Aid & Pleasure Club Prepares for Earl Bourbon’s Funeral, August 7th 1977 by Contributing Writer & Poet, Jeff Grimshaw!

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

Ah, the excitement of a sold out funeral! The envy of everyone, living and dead.

Here’s a bit to get this viewing goin’:

Awake for a Wake ~ Tyler Malone

Grace is standing on the captain’s chair, working her fingernail under a thumb tack, & there’s New Orleans outside the window, stretching its spine like a cat in a puddle of sunshine. “Don’t break your nail, Sweetie,” says Annie. “I gotcha some flower decals to put on ‘em.” Something hilarious is boiling in the kitchen (as always), but hilarious doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. “Let’s trade plums,” says Grace, and I have no idea what that means or even to whom it is addressed.

While I am focusing on the pie crust (specifically on the steam swirling out of the vents, which Annie cut to look like the f-holes on a violin), Grace fixes the new calendar to the wall & flips through it, circling birthdays and doodling little sunbursts on All Saints and such. “I’ve heard,” I say, “rumors about the painting for July, it’s all just shades of blue but it’s a girl, seen from the proper angle, or if you’ve eaten a proper appetizer. Is plum a euphemism?

Then Miz Clay strolls in, with a bone to pick about Grace’s crab cakes. “I love that you wrap them in the Picayune. Fried foods taste best on newspaper. But when I spread the tartar sauce—”

“Well, Miz Clay, I told you about the tartar sauce.”

“Yez, but…”

“Yez, but,” repeats Grace.

Something is up at the hardware store across the street. “Sounds like somebody dumped a box of machine screws in the paint mixer.”

“No, that’s just Benny tuning up for Earl Bourbon’s funeral. You got to tune your percussion instruments just as careful as any other, though most folks would be surprised to hear that.”

“I have to go,” sez Miz Clay, but no one seems to hear this but me, & I do not mark her departure because I am thinking: why not dump a box of machine screws in the paint mixer? & the empty bird cage, as if perceiving this thought, rotates 3 or 5 degrees on its eye hook. & no one seems to see this but me. The last time the bird cage moved like that poor Gladys Greenbird was shedding her green feathers by the bushel. Grace said that. She must’ve liked saying it, she said it at every opportunity.

Anne meanwhile brushes a new crust with a new emulsion (mostly sugar by the way it browns, although this knowledge is still a long way off). “What time is Earl’s funeral?”…

Get the whole plot right here!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of June (aka 06.05.24) 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 legend, author, director, event coordinator, host, poet, producer and visionary, B. Randall!

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

Johnny O
Opalina Salas

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel)

Open Mic:
Roderick Richardson
Lisa Carmen
Kevin O’Neill
Valerie Crowe
Brian Duran-Fuentes
Suza Kanon
Martin Heche
Tony Robinson
Laura Trainer
Elly Sellers
Orange Mercury
Emanuel Garcia
Sarah Simmons
Billionaire Bride
Linda Jones
Heavy Artillery
Zoe Dune

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 07.03.24) when we will be featuring Dallas Slam Poets, Joaquin Zihuatanejo & GNO… ’til then, may the madness swirl your way!

Johnny O

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

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
June: B Randall


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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