The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.25.21

by December 26, 2021 0 comments

“Imagination is the voice of daring.”

Henry Miller

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The Light Slowly Returning to Your Body ~ Bill Wolak

To see all of Bill’s mad collages, 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 wrote a Christmas token from constellations broken; we stripped the hype from our stereotypes; we found fascination with bear hibernation; we made merry with bell and berry; we searched our land for the Santa Man; we puddinged our way through the Eve of the Day; we made some embarrassing fat tree comparisons. Wishing for all a Merry Mad Swirlmas! ~ MH Clay

Little Fat Christmas Tree by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

I picked a little fat
Christmas tree
this year. If I had
to compare its
looks to any human,
I would say it looks
a lot like me. It
could use a trim.
I could use getting
a little trim too
around the waist
line. The red, green,
white, blue, and
yellow Christmas
lights look like a
lot of things on
the dinner table
that I like to eat
and drink. Red salsa,
tomatoes, and red wine;
bananas, squash,
and mustard; sour
cream, potatoes,
and white wine;
blueberries, concord
grapes, and blue
beer. The Christmas
lights make the tree
look so good along
with the silver tinsel;
just like I look when
I get dressed up
in my Sunday best.

December 25, 2021

editors note: Trim your tree, your waistline can wait. Merry Feastmas! – mh clay

Momma Loved My Banana Pudding by Gayle Bell

evaporated milk

condensed milk

heavy cream


instant vanilla pudding

momma laughing at us human beings
my loud sister putting bows on the tree
momma’s favorite grandbaby’s present
in place of pride
instant banana flavored pudding

Cinnamon to taste

1 8×10 baking dish

vanilla wafers (you can also use store bought pound cake, just cut into thirds to layer in pan)

Two large pans of chicken and dressing in the oven
sauteing spinach and peppers with butter and olive oil
arguing and laughing with my sister

Prepare pudding with milks and cream, let the pudding sit

Watching my brother trying to beat momma at dominoes
My sister smoking weed on the porch

While you’re preparing the bananas and other ingredients

Place layer of cookies or cake on bottom of pan,

add pudding add bananas in layers.

Finish with cookies or cake on top with whipped cream.

Chill for 30 minutes

What is Neecee bringing
Fixing my momma a drink
Sending my brother for a bag of ice and moms cigs
The Temptation’s, Silent Night
Mom’s eyes misting
Mahaila Jackson’s, Sparrow is soaring

December 24, 2021

editors note: On the night before Christmas, what’s all through your house? – mh clay

Santa by Lisa Moak

Santa lives down the street from me.
He drives a white Kia.
I know it’s Santa
because his name is painted on his car
in sweeping red cursive.
I see Santa around town,
like in the waiting room at the dentist’s office.
I wanted to tell him my wishes,
but he never looked up from his magazine,
and I was too afraid to sit on his lap.

Santa has a garden behind his home.
it’s a lovely place,
with a greenhouse
and brightly colored raised beds.
I wonder what he’s growing?
Food for the elves and reindeer?
Maybe he’s cultivating peace and joy?
I wonder if that’s how he stays so jolly.

Santa lives down the street,
but this isn’t the north pole.
There’s no magic and it hardly
ever snows.
Winter is coming though.
It started with a sprinkling of symptoms,
sleet mixed with sorrow,
and now— a flurry of fear.
Please, please, Santa
can you spare us some cheer?

It’s a lot to ask, I know.
My wishes are bigger
than your sled can carry,
but do you have some holiday magic to spare?
Can you wrap me up in that big, red coat and tell
me it’s going to be okay?
You see it’s awfully dark out
and there’s a shortage of fairy tales.

December 23, 2021

editors note: Asking a real tale for some “Ho, Ho, Help!” – mh clay

Bells and Berries by Linda Imbler

Within the Nativity

Bloomed cactus and rose, don fancy Yule clothes
Joseph, Mary, Jesus

Piled yule log blocks, a bright Christmas box
Adoration, Celebration, Decoration

Greeting cards and cakes, sweet fruit pies to bake
wooden barrels, water troughs, crooks

Clear carols and cheer, for loved ones so dear
Gaspar, Melchior, Balthazar

Crisp cookies and crackers, for midnight snackers
donkeys, oxen, lambs

Warm pudding and presents, holiday music events
gold, frankincense, myrrh

Ornaments on trees, shelled chestnuts, and wreaths
Michael, Olivia, Angel Unknown

Sliced turkey and ham, add nice figgy jam
fisherman, shepherds, bakers

Stockings and stars, all these things are:

Offered to you in the hopes you will find peace, joy, and comfort
that we all seek during this special time of year.

December 22, 2021

editors note: Noel? Yes, El! – mh clay

ONE WITH NATURE by Madelyn Olson

the trees are losing their leaves and I
am losing the will to clean my apartment
cause at 5pm the day says it’s done
and i’m ‘one with nature’
when it tells me I can
eat dinner in a bed that hasn’t
been made in a week,
sheets still tangled with
yesterday’s crumbs and all the shit
I wish I did when I had daylight
but it’s okay, I say,
the bears are probably doing
something, like, super similar
right now and I bet they don’t even
hate themselves

and then I cancel plans
for no good reason and I’m not sure if it’s
self-care or sabotage,
seasonal depression or restoration,
my body’s hibernation saying exaltation
is having nowhere to be
but here
after all, the bears are doing it,
the trees are doing it,
the leaves sprawled across the concrete
are, too –
do you really think they have the energy for
that dive bar on the east side

I’m no different than a bear
or only slightly
only sometimes
we’re both mammals
with assholes and a
keen desire to rest
for six to seven months straight
with hairy legs and day-old coffee,
a looming shadow and dirty laundry
but the world still expects
all the same shit from me –
what about the bears, huh?
where was this energy when the bears decided to
call it a day for an entire season?
why don’t they need a reason?

seems you might be picking and choosing
and the bears won this time but
how can sinking be losing
when it feels so good,
and when the earth says to do it,
and when the sky feels lower and the
food tastes warmer and the dishes
keep stacking in the sink?
just you wait, come next spring,
i’ll be swinging from the trees,
sprouting new baby leaves,
drinking iced dirty chais
and daydreaming
you’ll see, I can be
so much

December 21, 2021

editors note: For those who choose to slouch through this Solstice. – mh clay

Holiday Refund Policy by Tyler Malone

Home in a toothpaste splash mirror, a smile starts on
a seasoned face while listing out who to leave
a year behind, one name over and over, over one card

alongside planted gifts under trees grown to shrivel while housing
color-toned cannonballs, dying as a rootless pine homestead hazard
by a window to emaciate as a half-breathed grandparent remembers
they’re withering light in reverse over and over.

Fetishize what strangers open, not much is darker
than memory. But there’s a you to love in the dark.

Cranberry blood boxes explode in a raging gift, setting
fire to ornament sap, blaze to dry nettles. Say it’s an angel.
Say don’t be afraid, it’s good news with one name over and over
on every box filled with bones of dogs seen alive but they never die.

Wet, violent kisses fetch your neck, bone on bone, over and over.

December 20, 2021

editors note: ‘Tis the Season for mistletoe mayhem all tender and mild. – mh clay

A Winter Memorandum by Sekhar Banerjee

This is a month of taking stock
of inclusion and silence
yet again
and trying to set up the sky, part by part,
above us every night
ahead of Christmas

when juxtaposition
is our only source to identify each other
before a long winter starts

The sky never waits to see
how we are
The emerging fog and the lost sky
are now sewn together
with cotton clouds and blankness
all over us
like an abandoned tent with a red
apple and darkness

We are lost in the winter forest
trying to search
the missing constellations one by one-
Taurus, Aquarius, Gemini, Sagittarius

and identify the broken pieces
of the male and the female stars
before we can feel the lost constellations
again on our lineless palms
and rewrite a winter memorandum
on Christmas

December 19, 2021

editors note: Find a star to follow toward your Winter Wonder Day. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read on this eve of Eve, Mad Swirl’s got just the thing to ring your bell.

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

“Livin’ the life is living, it ain’t dyin’ because livin’ while living ain’t dying..”

Here’s a bit of Howlin’ Howie Moves in Next Door by Stuart Watson to leave you wantin’ more:

(photo “Music at Fingertips” by Tyler Malone)

I was just two days into my new place, an upstairs bed with a bathroom down the hall, when I heard what sounded like a pack of wolves. It was ruining my sleep. Wolves? In a two-story walk up dump?

It all made better sense after I met the “Backdoor Man.” We were taking out the trash. I introduced myself. He said his name was Howard but he was known professionally as Howlin’ Howie. Because of the sound he made when he was working.

I asked what he did.

“Little of this, little of that,” he said. “Other folks calls me the Backdoor Man. Some calls me Little John the Conqueror. The men don’t know but the girls understand.”…

Pick the rest of this groove up right here!


If you’re feelin’ a bit froggy today, maybe a read will get you goin’! This weekday’s featured story, Cannibal Frog Massacre by Mark Benedict is sure to get you ribbit’n!

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

“What’s the best measurement for caring? It’s freedom. Liberation. Cracking open the sky and letting others fly.”

Here’s a bit of Mark’s tale to get you hoppin’:

(photo “Leap Year” by Tyler Malone)

Billy knew he had to break it off when they entered the nature center and her face didn’t light up. Although, really, he should’ve known from the damn start. Greta was nothing like the local girls he went with. Her fingernails were painted a rich-girl red. Her clothes were sleek as machetes. Billy stared into a woodsy aquarium. The bigger of the two frogs inside it, much bigger actually, a total monster, hopped toward the smaller one.

“You really like frogs, huh?” Greta said, almost accusingly.

“’Course I do,” he said. “But it ain’t that. I mean, I just wish they wouldn’t put the small one in with the big one. Frogs are cannibals, they eat each other sometimes.”

She narrowed her eyes evilly. “Can you blame them, though? Frog legs are so tasty.” Then, seeing his expression, “Oh, come on, lighten up.”

“Nah, I can’t,” he said. “That critter has as much right to life as the other.”…

Don’t stop the hop there! Leap on over here get the rest of this read on!


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

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