The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.22.24

by June 23, 2024 0 comments

I love giving the energy and getting the energy back. There is nothing like it.

Glenn Danzig

Join the Mad (r)Evolution : MadSwirl 3.0

To you Mad lovers of all things Swirl:

We Mad Staffers periodically get together to discuss projects we want to do to extend the radius of Mad Swirl. We feel its current pulling & compelling us to do more. But it takes funds to do so.

To date, Mad Swirl has funded a few of our projects from our book & merch sales, but mostly the cost comes out of our own pockets. To accomplish the projects below, we humbly request your help.

Here are just a few of the projects we will accomplish in 2024/25:

    • Updates to Our website is currently being updated to best showcase the work of our contributing poets, writers & artists. It has been 10 years since we have done so & 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.
    • Publish more books: Our online presence is wide, deep, and dynamic. This year & next we will be publishing more books from our Contributing Poets & Writers, along with our annual Best of Mad Swirl.
    • Launch our Podcast: Mad Swirl is producing a quarterly podcast, “Inside the Eye!” Each episode will have a roundtable chat with our Mad Staff on recent developments in the Swirl and will feature an interview with one of our Contributing Mad ones.
Now that you know what we do with all our proceeds, will you help us out? We want to raise $3000. With your help, we can do it!
Swirlingly Yours,
The Mad Staffers

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Decline ~ Thomas Riesner

Mad Swirl is excited to bring back another fan favorite, Thomas Riesner, with more of his inky, dark madness. Even though Riesner’s pieces pierce straight into our souls, we just can’t seem to stop letting them right back in… take a look for yourself and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean. ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all Thomas’ wicked squiggles, 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 poemed fates like spinning plates; we heart vexed in love text; we wormed to folly, melancholy; we despaired no while to free our smile; we would cheerful be as P-O-C; we hummed ’neath moon a cheerful tune; we righted wrong with Zapata’s song. No idle shoppers, we. ~ MH Clay

Not Through Birds, Not Through Fire, but Only In Participating Stores by Brian Duran-Fuentes

Sometimes the therapy dogs bark at the carpet
thinking it wants to pick a fight,
drunk with tears of cheap Lenovos,
hinges moaning ever so sweetly and sultry,
barrage to push back the marching obelisk
that hungers for our progeny.
tales ended,
forms lended,
for matters,
full mattress
for sale in the balconies of the tower,
the tower that sucks on your libido.

When was your last slice of the free time cake?
free from future tense labor
free from muscle memory
free from music on your favorite platform
free from technicolor fabrics
free from static caressing your spleen.

Because of restrictions, we can only show you
a small image of this artwork etched in oxide
as the bridges that lead you outside the city
bend slightly to the sun.

Blessed are the low income poets;
theirs is the kingdom of the skies,
and suburb parks
and barbershops
and pornodomes
and Irish pubs
in dreams before work.

My favorites are replicas of establishments
where you have to keep quiet before the phantoms
of the collective unconscious tap their spoons
and remind us to leave.

Then you take the wheel;
we scour drive-throughs for midnight collectibles.
Sol de madrugada que besa tus alas,
La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata
suena en cassette mientras se desintegra
en fumarolas que traicionan al viento.

There´s Sonia, and Fredo, and Margaret.
There is no manager in the heavens,
There are no customers in line.
We park the truck next to the drive-thru window
And we leave the passenger door open
For our child-like doppelgangers
Seeking shelter from the Titans.

They bring out the black bag from the back
Of the store that made it past the inspectors,
And they lay him out on the lobby table,
And the alien in the body bag still dances
To the flow of the song still stuck in my head.

My baby forgot that the rocks can also
sing a song of love*

Fredo takes the boxcutter and slices the chest,
The creaking is not unlike the crickets
Dashing to die underneath our footsteps
While we waited for your dad after the Slayer show.
The oozing slime smells like chlorine and sunscreen,
The glitter stains the tips of your hair and skirt.
Sonia pulls apart the ribcage
And takes out the bladder with both hands.
Margaret takes the scissors
And opens an incision in the shape of a triangle.

Fredo gets a titanium spinning top
That no one else ever gets to touch,
Margaret gets an origami unicorn
That glistens in her hallway every night,
Sonia gets an MP3 player full of cumbias
That will keep playing as the cities burn.

You and I get a strip of booth photographs
Portraying us, fading to closing credit songs in French.
I wake up empty handed and impossibly late to work.

* lyrics from “Nasty Sex” by the Mexican rock band La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata.

June 22, 2024

editors note: No money back guarantee when a shopping experience like this is priceless. – mh clay

An Eerie Tune by Guest Poet Soumya Doralli

An eccentric old chap,
arms akimbo, long legs swinging,
staring at the flaming sun
obscured by the grey-tinted mist,
the delicious coolness of the winter breeze
enough of a reason to step out.
Painting the thin crisp air with tendrils
of the rings of cigar smoke,
he jounces on the saddle of his bicycle,
the tintinnabulation at every sharp turn,
the mechanical tornado of the spinning wheels,
a testimony to his bizarre life,
overwhelmed with the avalanche
of uncanny appearances
of the jumpy and nimble-footed spotted-deer
and the clever little mongoose,
at his glimmering-square-dank backyard,
with its weathered-timber and tree stumps,
adorned with a tangle of orchids and bluebells,
and the shying away touch-me-nots.
The light-yellow pools of
shiny, glistening, evening sun beams
descend the rungs of the stile,
and drench him and his wild-friends.
A chirpy-stream cutting across the cane-field,
welcomes him to take a sip,
where he guilelessly plays with
his salt-and-pepper stubble and
slips out of his grey woollen rug and,
petting a doe, takes refuge
in the caresses of the gentle breeze carrying
the susurration of the verdant grass.
He sprawls his heavy weary limbs that
went about riding, circling the serpentine ways,
steering the helm in the rustic countryside,
to witness the faint amber traces of the fading sun
sinking into eternity and
the twilight moon perched right above his head,
watching him watch it in earnest.
And there he harrumphs and attempts
to hum an eerie tune that
in the darkness of the lonely night
is his alone.

June 21, 2024

editors note: To what tune do you watch the moon watch you? – mh clay

CHROMATIC COLORS by John L. Yelavich

What inspires you?
Is it sunshine’s splendor,
or serene mirrored waters’
soothing stillness?

What moves you?
Is it love’s affection,
or burning passions’
scintillating emotion?

Our mood can be hued
with sweet tenderness.
Our halcyon journey
offers solemn reflection.

Color has no boundaries,
it has no set composition;
its bright, vivid tones,
shine like precious jewels.

Splendid spectral shades
permeate our persona,
calmly they cling to us,
seeking only to console.

Stars and dreams cross,
in the deep violet night,
we romance their hopes,
under starlight’s brilliance.

The world we fantasize
can be rather profound,
full of dramatic horizons,
all surprisingly exciting.

Just plot your course,
and find a balance,
may a cheerful heart
be your guiding force.

June 20, 2024

editors note: In this sense, we’re all POC. – mh clay

Despair by Ndue Ukaj

Despair has no home,
but dwells wherever meaning is lost
and the story of the Other begins.

Where false witnesses take the big step forward,
with smiling eyes and a poisoned heart.

They wake up with paintings of Pilate in their eyes.
They soak the dried bite in the deep dish of betrayal.
They always have nails to crucify the Other.
They have memorized, crucifixion.

They have time for hatred and no time for love.
Where I Am is beautiful, views stretch like the infinity of mountains.

I do not like the story of the Other who is caught up in nothingness;
and on a beautiful evening like this
I say to myself:
My compassion is solar, circumstantial -info
I do not want to hold my smile hostage.

(Translated from the Albanian by Edita Kuçi Ukaj)

June 19, 2024

editors note: Too busy smiling, like no Other. – mh clay

Melancholy mindset by Luke Ritta

The worms will have a mighty feast, my bones will be polished clean and my thoughts will end once I’m put to rest.

The clocks are running backwards

The trains are gradually slowing

Amber leaves are descending on to damp pavements

Torrents of tear drops fall with the heavy rains to fertilise the earth

Billions of heartbeats around the globe beat one last time

The worms will have a mighty feast, my bones will be polished clean and my thoughts will end when I’m put to rest.

June 18, 2024

editors note: And so it is for us all. – mh clay

TXT MSG by Guest Poet David Allard

My mbl phn sits snug
In my jkt inna pkt
On the lft sde
Jst abv my hrt

Whn u kal me up
Th phn bzzes nd dings
An old rk n rll tune

B4 I tk out th phn
My hrt flip flops
Alrdy noing its u
Racing lk cray zee

I cn set my phn
N slnt
But not my hrt

June 17, 2024

editors note: IKR – mh clay

Against Newton by Guest Poet Scott H. Urban

I was nine or maybe ten,
inside the circus big top,
and I watched a performer place
white plates on thin poles –
maybe bamboo? –
and set them spinning –
cheap, ceramic satellites –
held in place by a thin rim
of centripetal force

And he had to run, pell-mell,
from one pole to the next,
because the plates began to wobble,
and he couldn’t get to all of them in time:
some fell and broke into snowy shards

And those watching went Oooh!
but he simply picked up a new one
and set it spinning as well:
an artist determined to outwit physics

Years later, here I am,
tossing words into the air,
hoping to elicit a gasp
from anyone who might still be reading

And I’m constantly afraid
they’re beginning to wobble
dragged by the force of gravity
unable to keep any motion or meaning
and they break, break on the page

June 16, 2024

editors note: Jus’ keep ’em spinnin’ (and have dustpan handy). – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you need a story to sync your teeth into, Are We Out of Sync? by Andrea Damic just might be it!

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

It’s a nightmare, the days we have. But aren’t they worth it, you know, as research?

Here’s some pings to get you zingin’:

Hatchet Job ~ Tyler Malone

Let’s imagine a road map glowing in the dark. Every landscape feature, every line, every contour flickering, radiating; leading to a destination. Some, just tiny flashes of light, inconspicuous, almost unnoticeable, and others intense, pulsating, effervescent. All driven by a single objective of transporting information from point A to point B like a postman delivering our breath in tiny envelopes, bonding us together…

…point your mouse right here to get the rest of your read on!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of July (aka 07.03.24) when we’ll be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!

Host Johnny O & guest host Desmene Statum 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 Dallas Slam Poets, Joaquin Zihuatanejo & GNO!

A bit about Joaquín: Joaquín Zihuatanejo was the inaugural poet laureate for the city of Dallas. The Academy of American Poets awarded him a $50,000 Laureate Fellowship Prize in honor of the outstanding work he did as his city’s first poet laureate. A two-time World Poetry Slam Champion, Joaquín’s new book, Occupy Whiteness, is out now from Deep Vellum Publishing.

A bit about GNO: Hailing from Dallas, GNO has been writing, creating, and performing creative works of literature, music, and film for over three decades. He made the 2005 list of “One of the 64 People Making Dallas Hot” by D Magazine. He is published – with his most noted works being “Process of Confession” and “101 Break Up Poems.” He has been featured in several anthologies and literary reviews and is a twice National Poetry Slam finalist and one-time Champion (1998 and 2001).

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:

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 of Mad 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

Leave a Reply