The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.29.18

by on December 30, 2018 :: 0 comments
“We live at the edge of the miraculous” ~ Henry Miller

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Dangerous Waters ~ Stephen Vanderhaar

To see all of Stephen’s swirly’n’silly yet perfectly profound scenes, as well as our other featured artists, visit Mad Swirl’s Gallery at!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we launched a holiday idyllic, sat a season psychedelic; we found a flood in specks of blood; we flew away on (from?) Christmas Day; we sat and savored quiet loss, surrounded by the Yule chaos; we sought what Santa didn’t give, a New Year where a people live (in harmony); we marveled at a chart maker, an end-before-you-start maker; we found someone to bear the weight of faith, no matter be it chance or fate. A N(other)ew Year draws near. We’re going to need new words! ~ MH Clay

Angel by Milenko Županović

The stars
of night
in the eyes
of lost
to shoulder
the wind
of unbelief.

December 29, 2018

editors note: We all need someone(thing) to look over us. Believe, or not; they believe in you. – mh clay

VEILED by Clyde Kessler

A neighbor has labeled Mars
frozen across graph paper. She says
landings have been faked, the next
will also. She believes our satellites
have flattened the curve of the earth
into starlight, and four giant waterfalls
dropping into space. She says poets are
mean winter voices veiled by fire. God
gets everyone who leaves the world, and
nobody owns real wings. The last War
is coming soon, she says. All her charts
place everything ending in one line.

December 28, 2018

editors note: As we chart our course for the approaching New Year, let’s keep those lines open. – mh clay

A PEOPLE by Arif Ahmad

In celebration of our differences
Craving for more respect, more relevance
All before self
Deep-rooted yet visible
In him, her and all
Knocking, piercing, screaming
This urge, the roar, the calling
A conviction to carve a Nation
Our will is to become a People

December 27, 2018

editors note: While we’re making resolutions, here are some ingredients to add to our mix. – mh clay


a city plow truck outside
tearing open the late morning
with an angle of snow pushed
to the side
and inside the house
a tin with a few Christmas cookies remaining
on the kitchen counter
the half-empty booze bottles
from the night before
wrapping paper torn and stuffed
into the trash full to the top
the laughter of young nieces
and the political banter of the adults
all done and quiet now
the house is a blanket tossed on
an unmade bed
all quiet but for the plow truck
and the faint snores of the terrier
on the couch
the tree seems more than empty
with lights unplugged
open space under it but for the
tomcat asleep there
we sit the two of us
aging aunt and uncle alone in the house
after the last guests have left on their travels
we sit sipping coffee as it warms our lips
waiting for a new year.

December 26, 2018

editors note: Use this day for repose and recall. In the New Year, we’ll clean up all (maybe… maybe not). – mh clay

May The Pigeon Appear on the Chaos by Bhargab Chatterjee

The Christmas tree is alive with invisible birds.
The room is pleasantly warm
where ‘Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish
the inner organs of beasts and fouls.’*
I am not so ghoulish.
In my room, today, I ate a plate of rice;
I don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
I have learnt how to be indifferent
about the gun-fights elsewhere
and the elections on the card.
Yesterday my efforts were smudged by rains;
though I know, monsoon rains are too feeble.
Now, having quenched my hunger, I hope,
a full moon will appear in tonight’s sky
and a complete, meaningful sentence.

  • from Ulysses by James Joyce

December 25, 2018

editors note: May your Christmas present be a peaceful feast, all sentences complete. – mh clay

FORECAST 25th DECEMBER 2018 by Stefanie Bennett

There are specks of blood
On the freeway.
A dog’s met death.
Met it head-on.
We allow some sort of pity.

There are specks of blood
Of a different kind,
A kind that can’t be seen – when
Someone’s ravaged a forest,
Or a Eucharist’s become a black hole.

There are specks of blood, historic
Specks, left to be gloried at.
Zelda. Lorca. The common lovers:
Anthony and Cleopatra
And all the King’s men.

There are specks of blood
About the satellite cities.
No longer do we believe in the stars.
The planets. Our Milky-way’s
Turned a blood red sea.

There are specks and more specks
Upon your motherly aprons
America! Russia! Your
Off-spring grow weak
With that manic menopause.

There are specks of blood
On the lips of the many ‘saviours’.
Hell is on holiday.
Lucifer’s taken his leave.
Gabriel… he’s armed and dangerous.

December 24, 2018

editors note: All I want for Christmas are (2) white handkerchiefs; (1) to stop the flow, and (2) to call for parley. – mh clay

[Every year the holidays] by Devon Balwit

Every year the holidays—
like a tree whose leaves turn
only brown.

Amidst incandescent wicks,
we crave the storms
that render all equally

naked. Our glass
rests against our midline, full
to bursting.

Is there a word for what
we haven’t got? Psilocybin,
someone tells us, grows

in woodchips. We raid
the mulched garden, each
a gardener.

What will we do
with our expanded

Share it on social media
with the cloud that sits
atop two contrails

like a custard-cone.
All the while pretending
not to, we long to return

to work, to the tasks
that halve our time
with ourselves.

The dog senses our distress
and graces our laps
with his grey muzzle.

December 23, 2018

editors note: Boiling down the days to a psychedelic center and a canine cuddle. Cool! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If the need for a read is strong in you today, then read on!

This week’s featured story, Homage to Julius Fuick comes to us from Salvatore Difalco.

Here’s what Short Story Editor Ty Malone has to say about this homage:

“What a time to be alive, when you wage war with what’s around you. It’s hell, but a living, always renewing eternity of blood loss.

“Open Mind” by Ty Malone

If that summation has awakened your read need than get the whole story right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.02.19) at 8:00 SHARP as we swirl up the mic at our mad mic-ness home, The Regal Room (located inside of Independent Bar & Kitchen)!

A heapin’ helpin’ of musical mad grooves from Swirve (Chris Curiel with special guest Chris Holmes on skins) will start us off. After that, join in & share in these yin’n & yang’n Mad Swirl’n festivities…

Come all ye yin & yang hangers
Ye yang & yin winners
Ye lookers for the new
Ye bookers of the blue skies beyond
the auld lang syne
Transformers and reformers and resolved heart warmers
We’re gonna shake the old and new together
To make a “now” like no other
At Mad Swirl’s New Year 201-9
Open Mic

We promise, it will be like none to come, like none past
It’ll be our New Year “Now is Never”
Open Mic Blast

Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call Mad Swirl Open Mic.

Come to participate.

Come to appreciate.

Come to Swirl-a-brate!

For you ‘bookers out there, check out our Facebook event page and get yourself a spot on our pre-list!


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…

Edge Livin’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

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