The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.29.24

by June 30, 2024 0 comments

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

John Gay

Join the Mad (r)Evolution : MadSwirl 3.0

To ALL Mad Swirlers:

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 need to raise $3000. With your help, we can do it!
Swirlingly Yours,
The Mad Staffers

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Interference ~ Thomas Riesner

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 mixed drinks with ink; we helped a mosh man to fly by hand; we ran sublime as an equine; we sang along with star song; we lives arranged when love is strange; we made team picks with teeth fixed; we chose love so to not let go. And we don’t… until we do. ~ MH Clay

Let You Go by Opalina Salas

Sometimes I let you go
Mid air
To push the breath straight through us.

Sometimes I let you
bone deep
Into my waiting

Sometimes I let
Your poems
Take oars
crash the waves
Against my pillows
Stacked high against the
Screaming sun

Sometimes I
Divided by 2
Equals you

The dream of night
Switches the light
Of when
we soaked weak resolve
To take home within our skin
And a mirror alone
Shines your reflection again
Your still gaze
Eyes devouring
The feast
We could both suddenly taste
With that face
And the question now
If I should have fallen
Into your well.

Sometimes I let
the guide arise
From inside
Warm rushes
Wash over my
Barefoot shoreline

Sometimes I let you
A hung clothesline
Fluttering languidly
In my thoughts
Capturing that moment’s
On stubborn wings
The Secret
The Thrill
Of what May have been

Sometimes I let you go
Releasing this remembrance
Of us
But today is not that day.

June 29, 2024

editors note: With love, not any day ever. (We’re happy to welcome Opalina back into our congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Check out more of her madness on her page.) – mh clay

Love? by Stephen Page

Jonathan sleeps late while Teresa
Lounges in a chair facing the sea.
Cati files and paints Tere’s toenails,
Buffs her soles, washes her feet,
Repeats the process on her hands,
Then massages Lawsonia oil into her hair.

Jonathan and Teresa sail the coast to Punta
Where Dentist Axe waits in his white uniform
To prognose Jon with periodontitis
And replace three caps on Tere’s teeth.

Jon and Tere sit at a wooden, rebar-legged table
Inside a space-heated French restaurant.
Louis serves them onion soup, mixed salad, creamed
Avocado topped with red onions, gluten-free
Linguine with marinara sauce, cups of red wine.
They select croissants and baguettes
From behind the cash register as they pay their bill.

As they walk holding
Hands through the woods to their waiting ship,
Tere gazes into Jon’s eyes and says,
“I have fallen in love with you again.”

They stoke the hearth inside their home
That faces the sea from atop the back of Dolphin Point.
They bicker over whether to watch Colonial baseball

or Golden soccer.

June 28, 2024

editors note: Love and team loyalty, it’s a decision every time. – mh clay


It takes you by surprise,
the instantaneity;
a stomach-churning
into the clouds.
Stuck landing gear
keeps you high,
with bobbing, bursting
Love is a strange thing!

It takes you by surprise,
two lines in the
Heads butting the
rib cages, feet
stretching the wall;
a hurt-so-good kind
of kicking.
Love is a strange thing!

It takes you by surprise,
how long ago,
longer ago, longest ago –
cartoons played,
scales practiced our
Mud and grime
ran amok;
you hated us.
Love is a strange thing!

It takes you by surprise,
when we’ve grown
old, older and oldest;
all of us wiser;
aged joints swell into
bulges; vintage wrinkles,
they wrinkle; eyes fail.
And yet we see,
from hearts’ ways,
Love is a strange thing!

June 27, 2024

editors note: When it’s your little bundle, there’s no end to it. – mh clay

Lullaby by Milenko Županović

The song of a star
at the bottom of the ocean,
a lullaby for a child
in a church
at the end of the world,
a meteorite
in eternal sleep.

June 26, 2024

editors note: Asleep at our core, the background hum of the universe. – mh clay

Horse by Guest Poet Jacqueline Erasin

As a child, I would dream I was a horse. Especially on long car journeys.
Black, glossy skin, powerful muscles, hooves pounding the turf
like the sound of rolling thunder. I would gallop across meadows
studded with wild flowers, beneath an azure sky.
No fence could contain me: I would clear them all with ease, to be free.
I belonged to no-one.
Sitting in this chair, constrained, contained. Movements restricted, impeded
by age and disease. I remember that horse; its strength, its beauty, its grace.
And I become it again.
I kick my back legs to loosen the shackles and express my utter joy,
I whinny and toss my head, proud of who I am. Then away I race,
long mane streaming, wind against my face.
No one can stop me. I’m free.

June 25, 2024

editors note: When first we free our mind… – mh clay

The Flying Man by Guest Poet Dr. Matthew Ussia

on a trapeze of hands
over an ocean of faces
waves surge & flail
push mosh churn of bodies
possessed by riffs & beats
st. vitus dance hivemind
intoxicated by the freedom of fear
don’t bother asking
if the concussion was worth it.

June 24, 2024

editors note: Noggin knockers know it is. – mh clay

Bar-Tender by Guest Poet Jim Daniels

I lean on the space bar
and set up the whole place
with white space.

June 23, 2024

editors note: We all want space to leave our trace. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re missin’ a read, Store Policy by Contributing Writer Edward N. McConnell just might be the story you’re seekin’!

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

Unbending corporate rules, that’s what we live under. Oh, and the sun. Forever.

Here’s how this lost & found tale starts:

Kidzone ~ Tyler Malone

Yesterday, James Westgate dropped his wallet in the parking lot after shopping at the Tall Corn Organic Grocery. An elderly lady, a Mrs. Masterson, picked it up and turned it into the store’s lost and found at the service counter.

Having looked everywhere with no luck, James decided he must have lost his wallet while shopping at the grocery. When he arrived there, James approached a man standing behind the service counter.

“Good morning, I’m James Westgate. I may have lost my wallet while shopping here yesterday. Could you check to see if you have it?”

The man behind the counter, wearing a name tag which read Kyle smiled and said, “Hmm, let me see. Oh yes, this must be it. Before I show it to you though, may I see some identification? It’s store policy.”

“I can’t do that,” James said. “All my identification papers are in the wallet. Here, let me see it, I can point out the driver’s license with my picture.”

“Sorry, with no identification, I can’t let you look at this wallet. You might not even be the owner. Allowing you to look through it would violate store policy. We’re very strict about that.”

James tried another approach, “How about I describe the wallet and its contents? It’s brown and has a little pocket next to…”

Kyle interrupted him. “Hold it right there. Lots of wallets are brown and have pockets. I can’t confirm the description of the wallet without the owner’s permission, but there may be another way…

…find the way to the rest of this read right here!

••• 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!

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


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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