The Best of Mad Swirl : 10.23.21

by October 24, 2021 0 comments
I want to speak, to sing to total strangers. It's my way of talking to the world. Adrian Mitchell

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Caution (1) ~ Thomas Riesner

To see all of Thomas’ wicked squiggles & scribbles, as well as our other former featured artists (over 50 in total), take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we made from life enough of escapades from starry stuff; we gave map selection to love’s direction; we wound what winds in a flurry of signs; we memories passed through a crystal glass; we sold luck’s bread to itch instead; we mixed in the mode of dissonant code; we watched what Ouija saw to waltz in the tra la la. We’re made to give what winds in glass; our luck encoded in the one-two-three, one-two-three… ~ MH Clay

All the World’s an ATM by Jeff Bagato

More laughter, more jokes,
more fun and games—
Ouija trips lightly on her board,
waltzing tra la la
from consonant to consonant;
a few vowels drop in
from time to time,
silly words and phrases
bouncing off her tip:

Free lollypops in shops!
How to choose the right cruise!
Scientific study links
fast weight loss to party drinks!
Painlessly remove tags
from anywhere on your body!

The dead don’t speak this way;
it could only be a hacker
placing his noise in the line of fire
just to see confusion reign,
just so some malaprop
falls into the headline spree
selling gobstoppers along
to the nine to fives;
all the world’s an ATM;
all the world’s a cash
register chiming silvery notes
and gold alibis—
you got your baldness cream,
you got your wrinkle cream,
you got your hard on cream—
and if Ouija writes
the copy for those posts,
you get some magic
with the likes

October 23, 2021

editors note: No questions, no hacks; but, alas, no cream – just a dry, cracked existence. – mh clay

Immediate Code Seven: Adam Smith by R. Gerry Fabian

He despises the tubes.
Their linear necessity
he has often questioned
during the rest capacity mode
when the pain is the greatest.

He is suspect.

Trust is programmed out
during the early schedules
yet the brain storage spacer
is never filled.
The feeling compares
to a dental tech pic scraping
the enamel mouth cavity spikes.

He rips the tubes from the neck insert.
There is a rush for air
which his lungs can barely accept.
For a few moments
he lurches and grasps;
then steadies.

Already the computer confirms
its earlier suspicions
and has dispatched
a repairman.
It also orders the addition
of a brain splice monitor
complete with 4th rate reclassification.

October 22, 2021

editors note: Dystopic dissonance when you mess with the machine. (Mess away!) – mh clay

Three Haiku: Sale, Lucky, Gnats by Sam Silva


this huge house I love
…this relic of a small past
…away and gone now


I was luckiest
when things fell apart. The world
baked like dough to bread


gnats swarm in the sun
the day is itchy rotten
the apple stinks too much

October 21, 2021

editors note: Just as life comes in short bursts; our luck can turn on the sale of a gnat. – mh clay

She had a zoot suit smile by Gayle Bell

Envying my mom in her mirror
liquor in a crystal glass
cigs in an ornate tray
Liquid makeup
pressed powder rouge
lips copper
Baby, fix me a bourbon and coke
I sip a taste of dizzying joy

October 20, 2021

editors note: Yes! Sweet mems! Locked in ice cubes, splashed with bourbon and coke. – mh clay

Omens by Sharon Waller Knutson

A dozen dead deer
lie alongside the highway
from Rigby to Panguitch,
my husband tells me,
but when I turn my head
all I see is bare ground.

A lone whitetail doe watches
our oldest son pump gas
from the post office lawn
in a tiny town in Oregon.
You’re sure it wasn’t a horse
you saw? the attendant asks.

A Native American friend
is riding a wild paint bareback
from Phoenix to Salt Lake City
for our granddaughter’s wedding present
because horses represent wealth,
our only daughter and firstborn says.

A stallion stands in the shade
in a video shown by our youngest.
As his toddler watches
at the window, his teenage
son whispers in the horse’s ear,
and it follows him out of the yard.

I see it all as a sign that our middle
son, missing from the celebration
in his honor, is somewhere nearby
reading his tarot cards and letting
us know he is still making magic
happen in our lives.

October 19, 2021

editors note: We make what we can of omens while our dead make the same of us. – mh clay


You said, watch for the dirt road off the highway
a mile or so past the gas station
and before you get to the big red barn.
The road has no name, you added, but take it.
And keep going, mile after mile,
long beyond the point where you feel as if
you’re not getting anyplace.

Best turn off the radio, was your instruction
because with the thick forest trees and granite cliffs
you’ll pass, the best you’ll hear is static.
So be your own radio, sing every song you know,
commercial-free. But watch out for deer.

Then it was, take a left, a right, a kind of left,
then a right at the fork: (if it still is a fork:
what with the last storm taking all those trees down)
until you reach the rickety wooden bridge
over the creek.
Say a prayer for your tires, if you haven’t already,
and then bump your way over it.

You should start to see occasional houses then,
okay, cottages, but these are the hardy folk
who really do want to live as far away
from civilization as possible.
Ignore the satellite dishes.
And the four-wheel-drive tanks of course.
Mine is the brown A-frame
without the giant satellite dish on top
and no four-wheel-drive monster
in the makeshift driveway.
Come on in. I’ll be waiting for you.

These are the kinds of directions
love often lays out for me.
I’ve a lot of miles on me.
I haven’t got there yet.

October 18, 2021

editors note: Not even Google Maps can direct us here, but go we must. – mh clay

Star Stuff by Harley White

Of starry stuff our lives were made
when supernova cloud cascade
in stellar burst of gases shed
with elements from which we’re bred
evolved to human escapade;

yet nature’s laws must be obeyed
so all that flourishes shall fade
for never-ending cosmic thread
of starry stuff;

mid vast celestial serenade
as music of the spheres portrayed
with majesty the stars o’erspread
create the living from the dead
in metamorphic masquerade
of starry stuff.

October 17, 2021

editors note: Our shenanigans from shattered star? Imagine! That’s what stuff we are. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re Need-a-Read, this weekend’s featured read, Re-entry by John Dorroh will put that pedal to the metal.

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

“We don’t have to go it alone. There’s always love, always.”

Here’s a bit of John’s tale to get you goin’:

(photo “Seamin’ Red” by Tyler Malone)

Susan Metcalf had retired 15 years ago from a job in the insurance business. She had never married and had invited her 92-year-old mother to come into her house to live. They were going to one of many doctor appointments on a dreary Monday morning in mid-January,

Susan knew the routine too well. Finding a parking place close to the front door of the clinic, taking her mother by the left arm, gingerly stepping across the parking lot to the door, seating her mother, trying to find two seats together. She signed in and sat beside her mother whose breathing this morning was shallow and more rapid than normal.

“How are you feeling, Mother?”

With a weak voice that Susan could barely hear, she said that she was okay but felt that she might have to use the bathroom.

“Let me know when,” said Susan, patting her mother’s blotched gray-and-red skin, which no longer looked like skin. No amount of Ederma lotion appeared to help.

Jean Metcalf had been a gorgeous woman. She still was if you could see through the 92 years. She took pride in making sure that her hair was properly bunned. She dressed like she was headed to church. High heels had given way to more sensible, safe flat shoes that lessened her chances of falling, which she had done on occasion while living alone…

If that tantalized your reading tastebuds, slip your sipper on over here!


If you Need-a-Read, escape on into our featured midweek read, How Tea Tastes in Kovalampatti by Prarthana JA.

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

“Fine dining might not be at home, at a supper table, or in a dish. It could be on a page, what’s boiling inside spilling onto the table, a feast for all.”

Here’s a few sips to give you a taste of this tale:

(photo “Proper Pours” by Tyler Malone)

I have a full blown tryst with my typewriter on a day the sky hangs upside down over Kovalampatti, shabby as the underside of a dress, seams and all exposed.

I’d moved into the narrow neighborhood a fortnight ago with a mission, and have been typing by the window, twitching in despair at the mounting pile of half-finished articles. Mr. Pierre, my editor from La Saveur magazine, only the greatest culinary magazine on earth, has such high hopes for me, all of which are likely to dash from the pinnacle of my writer’s block.

“You’ve got two weeks, Gervase!” he had squealed over the telephone from Paris. What does he know of the innumerable mazes of Kovalampatti, the dust, the grime, the heat and its hooligan people, making a fool out of a foreigner, and words that mysteriously disappear from the head of an award winning writer?

Nothing at all…

If that tantalized your reading tastebuds, slip your sipper on over here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.03.21) when we’ll once again be doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION! (and celebrating 17 year of open mic madness!)

Starting at 7:30pm, hosts Johnny O & MH Clay will kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities with some musical grooves brought to you by Swirve followed by our open mic.

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate.

(RSVP 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 7:30pm)

Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call…

(Mad Swirl!)



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 bein’…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

Mike Fiorito
Associate Editor

Leave a Reply