Best of Mad Swirl : Holidaze Edition

by December 26, 2017 0 comments

“The holidays are only holy if we make them so.”
Marianne Williamson

This fine festive photo brought to you by Tyler Malone

This last span on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum we spun into the solstice spell, the longest night our longest plight – we traded floppy ears for righteous reindeer tears; we considered a scene ‘tween stupid and mean; we presented the end of the fat man’s agenda; we wound up white with wonder; we woke to realize presence always out gives presents; we renewed hope in a holiday strophe, a story in the stars. ‘Tis the season! ~ MH Clay

Celestial Angel by Harley White

An angel we have seen on high
sweetly watching o’er the skies,
guardian spirit, floating nigh
where the swan-like Cygnus lies.

Bright above it, starlight’s shining.
Dark the cloud beneath its glow.
What the tidings it’s divining,
be they gladsome, full of woe?

About two thousand light-years far
that nebula emission,
where budding astral newborns are
which bloom into fruition,

labeled S One O Six in brief,
has assumed an hourglass guise
shown in this cosmic leitmotif
as heavenly being wise.

Some sense an epic narrative
of verse macaronic toned
with golden rule imperative
that’s for centuries been honed.

Bluish wings like those in snowscape
fashioned on the winter ground
mimic figure in Van Gogh-scape,
after Rembrandt model, crowned,

blown from winds at center stellar
into that iconic shape
for a yuletide storyteller
to leave listeners agape.

Hot gas in ripples and ridges
with cooler milieu combines
as bipolar jetted bridges
sculpt the ethereal lines.

A frenzy of fervid motion
belies its facade serene
like turbulence on an ocean
in seemingly placid scene.

Man has blundered from war to war
blind to future, deaf to past
seeking deities to implore
somewhere midst the cosmos vast.

In these distempered times we know—
as did Sappho long ago
invoke a goddess, from below—
when fortune’s winds falsely blow

let’s urge that angel visitant—
Venus in her ageless rhyme—
to come in pity vigilant,
a needful presence sublime,

thus to animate stargazers
regardless of the season
to be inner space trailblazers
through cause, effect, and reason,

plus to tap the enlightened state
from where true wisdom’s springing,
creating beatific fate,
limned in that angel winging.

Then shall grand sidereal choirs
serenade in countless throngs
caroling forth our hearts’ desires
with a jubilee of songs

and help awaken hope’s rebirth
for everlasting peace on earth!

December 26, 2017

editors note: On this holy day after, in echoes of merry laughter; for us, who jaded are, a hopeful verse from distant stars. (Another ekphrastic piece from Harley – see the image here.) – mh clay

Morning by Beate Sigriddaughter

times of wild
anticipation, each
waking an event,

eyes open to surprises,
sunrise, sudden
of toes or hair
or even green skies
bold in paintings,
the quivering
wait after lunch
of bread soup,
for finally night
so old-fashioned
candles on the tree
could be lit. Christmas
Eve magic, days
she was not jealous
yet of things
she didn’t even want
she was still
good enough for life.

Long before she knew
how to dance
she knew it was coming.

She longs to wake again
to wander in snow,
reunited with her breathless
elfin adoration.

December 25, 2017

editors note: (re)Awaken! It’s a new morning – Noel. – mh clay

Christmas is an empty thing by MH Clay

(with thanks to Irving Berlin)

The season ‘tis!
The reason is
Anybody’s guess
This yuletide mess
Is a neon Noel
Market place hell
It’s an empty shell
With no content or core
Lights strung
Jingles sung
Libations poured
Meaning muddled
Paganized for some
Who think it should be pure
The rest of us aren’t sure
This annual affliction
Our sad predilection
For routine capitulations
Of spontaneity
This spell
Of greed and gaiety
This contrived community
Of givers on the take
This holiday break
To stimulate and validate
The market prerogative
“No interest for 90 days”
An interesting immersion
In commercial collusion
To propagate the illusion
That all is calm, all is bright
A negligible credit risk
To make giving good
Good for business
Good for nothing
If not good cheer
With good will to all
Good gracious, god in heaven!
Good night!

Christmas should be white!
White, like nothing!
White, like emptiness
Waiting to be filled.

Rip away wrap and ribbon
Take off top and tilt to side
Shake it out
To spill on floor
Leave no more
The stuff which stifles your
Your presence
Your possibilities

Christmas should be white!

Empty with anticipation
Hollow, but hopeful
A happy readiness
A welcoming wait-fulness
Waiting for you to fill it
With your
And company
And consequence
And dreams…

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know…
May your days be merry and bright,
And may all your Christmases
Be white.

December 24, 2017

editors note: Thanks to MH for shinin’ a fine yuletide light on the righteousness of divine whitenesses! (“Hey Siri, play Bing’s ‘White Christmas’”…) ~ Johnny Olson

The Fat Man Cometh by Johnny Olson

The anticipation of the fat man’s arrival sits thickly, come somewheres ‘round mid-November.

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why…

Word on the street is it’s best yo watch out cos He’s comin’ back ‘round to town. The weakest amongst them weep and cry out in fear. They start to panic, knowin’ He’s near. A quick come-to-Jesus moment and their pitiful pouts turn to saccharine shouts of fabricated goodness and wholesomeness. But the Fat Man; oh, He knows by the tingle on of His chubby crimsoned nose that this is just a plotted ploy to get on His good side.

He’s making a list
He’s checking it twice;
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…

Oh, no, no! Ol’ Kris “Fat Man” Kringle is too cool to be fooled or foiled. He steps up His stalking game, lurking behind every shadow to see if this crew of misfit naives have been angels or devils. Of course most are a blended mix of both. That don’t matter much cos when it comes down to it, the Fat Man’s list has no wiggle room. You’re either Naughty or Nice. Period. No grays on His listed inventory of souls. Only black and white.

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows when you’ve been bad or good…

Oh, He sees how the sheep sleep fitfully with trembling visions of the unthinkable repercussions prancing in their heads. When they awake from their long winter’s slumber, He’s there, too, watching and waiting, baiting them. The Fat Man is tireless in his trailings, noting the things they do and don’t do. The Fat Man demands goodness! He will stop at no end to ensure His holiday bidding be done!

So be good for goodness sake!…

Ready or not, the Fat Man IS comin’ to town real soon for His annual Judgment Day. And all you naughty souls best change your ways and pray to baby Jesus that you still have time to make His Nice list.

December 23, 2017

editors note: Want candy or coal? Let’s be nice this season; lessen your carbon footprint. Ho, ho, ho! (Thanks to Johnny O, our Chief Ed and Master of the Swirl, for this Holiday warning.) – mh clay

Mad Wet Elves by Chris Zimmerly

The unhappiness of sleep paralysis thoughts,
Straitjacket of seaweed and jellyfish tentacles,
A sea hag, heavy as an anchor, rusting on insomniac breath.
Stronger than sleeping pills, trying all the sweat wet pillows again,
What lie will we tell the children
When Santa’s Workshop falls through the thin ice at the North Pole?

Will History label us Stupid or Mean?

What lie will we tell the children
When Santa’s Workshop comes to rest on the Arctic seafloor?

Santa Claus entombed. Mrs. Claus in Tuscon sobbing.
His mad wet elves coming ashore
On the backs of the last polar bears.

The Mont Blanc glacier in reverse has no brakes.
The hotel bar is now on the rocks.
The fighting Poets shout at each other with broken noses,
Blacked eyes, bloodied knuckles, spitting loose teeth at each other

December 22, 2017

editors note: Another holiday donnybrook; this time between poets for the right to lie and to write the lie rightly. No “L”. – mh clay

Caroling Chaos by Scott Thomas Outlar

Midnight erupts
in the Vatican foyer
as white lights on the tree
start flickering
with crazy
kaleidoscopic colors
that pulse through the swirling portal
ruptured open
from an ancient dimension.

The moment is nigh.
The solstice arrives,
and it’s sure to be the last
as the orbit of the sun
is permanently frozen in time
by a most divine
and devastating power.
As the savior hangs
on the horizon
for three days,
the ornaments come awake;
alive and fully alerted
to the mission at hand.

To wit:
The Easter Bunny must die!
There is no longer space
in this holy place
for more than one
miracle of imagination.
Santa has been awarded
with the golden crown,
and the only thing
silver and bronze thorns
are good for now
is to be forged
into sharp swords
with which to cut
that silly rabbit
right out of existence.

Hooting from the branch
where it’s attached to a hook,
the head owl pops open
its peepers;
and in those wild eyes
there shines
a masterplan
of malevolent persuasion.

Round up the troops for war!
Elven soldiers unite;
it is time
to take a bite
out of chocolate eggs
and lay the seeds
of destructive devastation
upon the figment of
spring equinox fantasies.

The wings of winter
are cold, indeed,
and spreading fast
their lunacy
across the land
with icy intentions
of feverish meltdown.

There can be only one!
Now it’s off
with the head
of all hopping
pretenders to the throne.

There is no hole
deep enough to escape
the terrible fate
of the tragedy
that awaits
our furry friend.

Floppy ears
are burning hot
because the curse
has been cast
with a speech of fire.

Woe be
unto the fallen one
whose destiny lies
beneath the hooves
of Rudolph.

The curtain drops
upon a scene of black
as blood drips red
into the white snow
on the ground.

December 21, 2017

editors note: An epic tale of equinox aspiring for supremacy over solstice; our attentions arrested as the bunny goes down. Let’s get it right, folks! Jingle Bells! – mh clay


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

Leave a Reply