The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.24.15

“Imagination... its limits are only those of the mind itself.” Rod Serling

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“No Strings Attached” (above) by featured artist William Zuback. To see more Mad works from William, and our other contributing artists, please visit our Mad Gallery.

Our newest featured artist, William Zuback, brings us works of seemingly magic with his black and white photography that is really anything but black and white. With beautiful contrasts of light and dark, nudity, tattoos, and an unshakable, undeniable sort of fairytale vibe, William’s work provokes an undying childlike curiosity - ironically with photographs that are really anything but child’s play. The subject’s of these images seem to be revealing a part of themselves to us - vulnerable, yet at the same time guarded, mysterious, straight-faced. There’s a lot to say for these photographs, and they’ve got a lot to tell you, too. You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Zuback Zone! - Madelyn Olson

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week in Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum... we woke to whisper a name at the end of Winter's game; we felt her beauty in a watered walk and a talk-back rock; we saw a solitary mind sliced by separateness; we kept a colorless cowl in a ghoulish bed; we fled a purple cloud, manifested as a man in a shroud; we settled in to a drip off skin; we bowed in obeisance to our inner goddess. We are what we write! ~ MH Clay

Just in case you missed it, here's a taste...

Vagina Monologue Blues In E Flat Live From The G Spot

My inner goddess is posting duck face selfies on Facebook.

My inner goddess is Crip walking to Oingo Bongo 'Grey Matters' on YouTube.

My inner goddess is improvising confessional poems of urbane Ennui mid coitus.

My inner goddess talks before, during and after intercourse.

My inner goddess never read any of the books or watched the movies.

My inner goddess only read the fan fiction that inspired 50 shades.

My inner goddess is just messing with your head

because that’s what goddesses do.

My inner goddess loves to play rock, paper, scissors.

My inner goddess always scissors.

My inner goddess is part Indian.

My inner goddess be making it rain up in here.

My inner goddess can’t dance.

My inner goddess drives a stick.

My inner goddesses’ neighbor is an asshole.

My inner goddess is getting a new piercing.

My inner goddess has a stigmata.

My inner goddess has a Mohawk.

My inner goddess is thinking about dreads.

My inner goddess puffs on a cigar.

My inner goddess blows smoke rings in your face.

My inner goddess is a bad mutha’ fu…

Shut yo’ mouth!

But, I’m just talking about my inner goddess?!

My inner goddess rules!

...with an iron fist.

- Joey Da'rrell Cloudy

(1 poem added 01.24.15)

editor's note: Best bow down to this bitch, keep her in; if she ever comes out, we're f**ked. - mh


Sudden and cold
I felt it
understood to be etched
by your senses
sarcasm dripped
with simple shades
of madness
a trace of you
not forever
on my skin

- Elissa Landrigan

(1 poem added 01.23.15)

editor's note: Boy, sweet duck ain't drenched in you! Thought you'd make a splash, but only left her dry. Boy!? - mh

White hot

The stars are white hot flames
lingering in the ebony sky

as I bleed my life away.
A man as mad as a shroud

of crows crosses my path,
mumbling jibberish to himself.

I turn away as the violet purple fog
hangs in the air like
a chandelier that needs dusting.

- Dawnell Harrison

(1 poem added 01.22.15)

editor's note: Shrug off the shroud and break out your duster. - mh

the pyre

i took the time to look
to see the fresh youthful
skin frothing at the rim
my cup so empty, nearing the bottom
for some time i have hoped for something
a pen, a paper, look, lights,
the thing that is real or happening I’m not sure of

i never knew it could be this way
awake without ears, so quiet
eyes blurred with simplicity
one down, mine
head is tilted, sagging to the edge yet
hopeful for something
any colors, any birds or water for my mouth
so sour and dry spitting sadly at this scream

it could be you, all your fresh
downy powder of rose on my tongue
the tip of you, so slender and quick
relish a ghoul inside my bed
he is all i have left.

- Kayla Siobhan

(1 poem added 01.21.15)

editor's note: A flame to fire another solitude, left with a ghoulish union. - mh


“No friendship only /
the prehensile of the darkness…”

“…utensils of the mind are /
bent from the dehiscence of…”

“…old memories timeworn deeply /
in my mind a scheduled prelude that…”

“…protrudes in violence, silence /
and confinement…”

“… rational relevance of mindfulness /
suffocated by an emotional ride …”

“…downward crash /
with no mental lines …”

“…for thee to cross /
for the lines are distressed …”

“…break marks of hue /
I have lost all …”

“…clues of functional views /
as I transverse…”

“…mayday, mayday in this darkness of solitude."

- James Brown

(1 poem added 01.20.15)

editor's note: A disturbing conversation, held by two sides of one solitude. - mh


A river
Inside the cliff,
I hear the waters
Far down: below.
Desiccated I walk
From your beauty,
And the charm
You have.

Somewhere else
Got you in my dream
Who is going to interpret?
What does it mean?

I am waiting,
To irrigate
A deserted: heart.
Listening -
The echoing cliff,
Semblance of you
To feel.

- Hem Raj Bastola

(1 poem added 01.19.15)

editor's note: What speaks from loss comes back with longing. Oh, thirsty heart! - mh


I will wait for summer!
For grass to grow along the path
To make soft my crawl
Lessen the dust in my mouth,
Pain in my legs, rain drowning my voice.

I will wait for the sun to make it pleasant
So I can whistle and stand high
Pretending flowers heard no cry
Or saw the pain that stung my eyes.

I have borne the cold of being alone
Longed for the perfume you brought to my life
Whisper your name at the lonely end of night.

I will wait for summer to make things right.

© 2014

- Alan Halford

(2 poems added 01.18.15)

editor's note: Waiting to be making, a wrong to put right. (Read another fine poem from Alan on his page; about another waiter - check it out.) - mh

••• Short Stories •••

Need-a-Read? Howsabout two reads? Our short story queue is bursting at the seams! So for the next couple/few weeks we’ll be squeezing in two. Yes, blessed we be that these fine writers are sharing their word wares with us. And on that note…

Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the first pick-of-the-week tale, "The Oval Mirror" by longtime Contributing Poet & Writer, Mel Waldman: "Mirrors or blank pieces of paper, look into them, unsmudged and unmarked, and see what looks back. Hope that it speaks."

Here's a bit to get you goin’:

On sultry August nights I often close my wet-baked eyes and see the old doc and his oval mirror in my mind’s eye. When I taste the sweat pouring down my olive face and inhale the sweltering heat, I remember how this eerie journey began.

I met Dr. Jacob Lightman, the eminent psychiatrist and founder of Mirror Image Therapy more than three decades ago on a dog day afternoon. Hired as the new director of behavioral health at the Grand Concourse Treatment Center in the Bronx, I had the good fortune to work with him and other creative geniuses.

Yet when the CEO of the medical center, my new boss, introduced us, I was somewhat taken aback by his peculiar appearance. A ghostly man, he looked like an ancient scarecrow. Hunched over, the skeletal man possessed a bony face with other-worldly dark blue eyes. A student of the great Professor Dr. Sigmund Freud of Vienna, he grabbed and shook my right hand and handed me an oval pocket mirror with his left.

“Welcome, Dr. Cohen, to the Land of Dreams,” he said exuberantly. “And please, look at my mirror and tell me what you see.”

Of course, when I gazed at his glittering mirror, I found only my youthful face inside.

“What do you see, Dr. Cohen?” he asked with intense curiosity.

“I see myself,” I said dispassionately.

“Yes, doctor, but what do you really see?”

Get the rest of your read on here!


Here is what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone had to say about the second pick-of-the-week tale, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas” by Ronald Friedman: "Sometimes the bad seed can be beautiful. Sometimes, in the wake of destruction, we’ll find that we love the madness."

Here's a bit to get you goin’:

photo by Tyler Malone

Janice picked up her phone to call her mother. I kept my mouth shut.

I’d offered a lot of useless advice in the past, but had learned to keep quiet. It was almost the end of October and the phone call was just something that had to be done. I was grateful that Janice was willing to call.

“I’m ready,” Janice said, holding up a fist.

“Go get ‘em, Tiger,” I said.

“Mom? Hi.”

I wanted to sneak out to the garage or down to the basement, but my self-serving flight would only encourage Janice to take out her feelings of impotent anger on me. Besides this was our row to hoe together so she deserved all the support I could offer, no matter how weak-kneed or cowardly.

“Sean’s a good boy, Mom. We’ve seen a lot of improvement in the past few months. He’s still loud and hyperactive, but it’s been nearly two months since he bit anybody. That ought to make Aunt Belle happy.”

Janice listened for a moment. “Well, yes, of course it will make Becky happy too. Poor thing.”

Janice listened again for a moment and then said, “That’s improving too. We’ve gone well over a month without any reports of him calling anyone on the playground a fucker.”

Our five-year-old son, Sean, had a moderate-to-severe case of attention deficit- hyperactivity disorder. He was five-years-old and we were considering giving him some medicine, but both his teacher and his doctor had said that as long as we thought we could manage him with behavioral restraints, we were better off deferring medicine as long as possible.

Get the rest of your read on here!


The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin' on... now... now... NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl's World? Then stop 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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