The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.01.22

by on January 2, 2022 :: 0 comments

“How do you know you’re going to do something, until you do it?”

J. D. Salinger

••• The Mad Gallery •••

All the Whispers That Linger in a Smile ~ 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 week to hype more Holiday Hijinx in Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we took stock in a turtle rock; we monkeyed gifts in a goodbye kiss; we found no appeal in the hamster wheel; we party pranked while gently thanked; we took a fall through a crystal ball; we ticked to tame the tocking game; we made daylight in rothko white. We reveled all in merry Mad cheer while wishing all a Swirlin’ New Year! ~ MH Clay

the log cabin neighbors by Jason Baldinger

the log cabin neighbors next door
built a snowman that waved to me
it waved to my drunk friends
drinking in a mid-nineties new year
we were young drunk
punched silly in inexperience
it was inevitable we’d spill outside
after the ball dropped
boisterous party friends leapt
wood rail fence to dance
with the waving snowman
one industrious friend decided
this snowman needed definition
maybe a change
he fashions two snow orbs
creates a large snow vagina
now she is beautiful

the log cabin neighbors
are awake and angry
they want us off their lawn
or there would be police

we all punched silly back inside
the party faded
the new year stayed

in the morning
the log cabin neighbors
yard is a crime scene
the snow woman no longer waved
the log cabin neighbors
fans of man ray
surreal black dahlia ghouls
destroyed drunken art
destroyed becoming
leaving instead mounds of snow
bleak as rothko white

January 1, 2022

editors note: The eve before, a raucous night; the new year after, clean and white. – mh clay

Tick-Tock by Johnny Olson


Playing these time games with the rocking ’round the clock mocking us,
a reminder of our collective fate as we hurtle towards the final gate
not knowing what awaits when this time game finally catches up with


Praying these time games with the falling of the seasons will find
reasons to these rhymes and riddles in this cosmic song, singing in
the fallen leaves believing this dream scene in this time game will
never end.


Delaying these time games down the long winding road, driving towards
the horizon finding the highway lines blurring by us till we realize
the end of the line will get here soon and the brakes, well they just
ain’t working.


Obeying these time games with the year change believing the flipping
of the digits will bring much-needed evolution, revolutionary
solutions to make this year better than the last, hiding the shadows
that it casts.


This game don’t stop.


Around the clock.


Time is up.


December 31, 2021

editors note: We can pray to play, but no delay, we will obey. So, let’s be happy, anyway. – mh clay

crystal cynicism by L.A. Davidson

i have never understood the symbolism behind
the crystal ball in times square and
why it is so revered
what those thousands of onlookers wait for
every december 31st is beyond me
(did you know it’s not a seasonal decoration?
it remains there year-round)

i never understood what it could mean
beyond materialism & a message
look at how we choose to appropriate
our city budget when there are
homeless people on every corner and
a growing waste-management problem

and so i set aside my cynicism and look
(figuratively and metaphorically)
into the crystal ball there and see
or at least try to see what it means

and it’s there that i find it
perhaps we are all that crystal ball
rising and falling every year
lifted, raised and then dropped
fragile all over but still unbroken

no matter how many times they cheer
for our demise, countdown to our sinking
over the horizon like a great sun
we will rise and be seen again

and that merits a toast

December 30, 2021

editors note: Each year, better bounced than broken. – mh clay

A [New Year’s Eve Party] Syncope [Dialogue] Collage by Paul Tristram

“… no-no, don’t Corner me, please…
you’re the one with the ‘Words’
… I’ve not been avoiding… you,
I’ve been periphery hovering
… nah, thank you, this ‘Distance’
is good… and necessary…
your ‘Fluidity’ is quite unnerving.
OMG… you’re actually
using ‘Patience’ and ‘Politeness’
as Chess-Moving Weapons
… don’t ‘Smile’… oh dear.
Yes, she explained to you, right?
… aye, ‘Vasovagal’… it’s a bitch.
As long as you stay… Over There
… I’ll be just fine… jittery though,
did we just actually ‘Tune-In’?
Like a straining dog on a leash
… what a bizarre feeling…
it kicked-off in adolescence
… I always hated it until right now.
Oooh, she’s right about you…
you talk with your fingers too
… mhm, me also, very much…
thanks for being such a Gentleman…”

December 29, 2021

editors note: It’s not what to bring or how to dress; but what to say that makes the mess. – mh clay

A pissed-off pessimist ponders the peculiarities of New Year’s… by Frank Phelan

New Year’s. It’s all resolutions and to-do lists.
Lists of all the things I know will be missed.
If I make one, I’m sure I’ll never find it.
It’ll hide down the back of the sofa – or behind it
Lists are bad.
Moses saw to that.
Thou shalt not covet.
Thou shalt not this or that.
Come on Mo, speak proper English.
Thou shalt not! You and your tablet!

We open the back door to let the old year out. How polite!
And then the front door to let the new one in. Big mistake!
That’s just asking for trouble. Are we missing a trick here?
What if we didn’t open the front door?
Didn’t let in the new year!
Just crouch in the corner, pretend that time has stood still.
And that no matter how bad, things can’t get any worse once we stay here.

And making resolutions is really just pre-emptive inventory of future failures and mistakes.
A rod for our backs, a Catholic kick-back for when things finally fall into place,
so we don’t lose the run, now that we’ve left the club,
and that’s the rub, you never really shake it, the guilt, and parties are great.
But the pretense of ‘bring it on’ – bring on the new year?

Come on! You know we’ll all be facing the same crap,
but with less capacity to deal with it in our delicate state.
Politicians don’t get any smarter ‘cause the world turns another revolution – Oh,
don’t mention revolution, the weak will still suffer,
policies will just get harder no matter.
So, yeah, let’s all inebriate, celebrate!
Bring on the shit storm once again, here’s to the hamster wheel, let it spin!

Let it spin, let it spin, let it spin!

December 28, 2021

editors note: Keep it out or let it in; that wheel’s gonna spin and spin. – mh clay

Monkey Business 2022 by Sheighle Birdthistle

Walk in the rain feel it cleanse
The tired mind of the past
As sunshine revives the
Truth that is another day
Another year to fulfill the
Joy of living in a happy
Jungle skipping like children
Climbing as cheeky monkeys
Rain down gifts from trees
In this New Year of 2022
Read a book learn a poem
Say hello to a friend and
Kiss goodbye to the past.

December 27, 2021

editors note: Kiss one goodbye to hug the other hello. Cheeky! – mh clay

Expecting a Miracle for the New Year by Marianne Szlyk

I stand watch over the still stream
where a turtle used to amble.
All I see are fish, the size of
bare eyelashes, flickering past
rock and crushed cans.

In summer I called this place dead
even though the turtle lived here
beside rocks green with plush algae.
Fish swam past. Leaves dangled over
rushing water.

In fall, one hour before dusk,
I peer into dull, dark water
for a sign, for a rock to move.
Murky yellow leaves hold their breath
as fish swim past.

I used to call this the dead creek
when the light revealed everything
and the turtle hid from its glare.
Now I see only reflections:
clouds and trees.

Tomorrow a smooth rock becomes
a turtle basking in weak sun.
Stay safe, stay safe, I will whisper
to this creature far smaller than
a young child’s fist.

December 26, 2021

editors note: Hopes and expectations fill our movements from one rock to another, each year to the next. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Mad Swirl’s kickin’ off ’22 with a 270 worded short-short, The Mayonnaise Jar by Contributing Writer/Poet KJ Hannah Greenberg!

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

“This next new year is the mayo jar we’re all about to stick our fists into, so let’s lick it clean.”

Here’s a bit of KJ’s goopy tale to get your read-buds goin’:

(photo “Hold onto IHOP” by Tyler Malone)

Carmel reached into the mayonnaise jar, hoping to extract a tempting notion. Libi had promised her two friends that by reaching into that vessel, they’d become the immediate owners of germs for fantastic fiction. She had told them that she had stuffed that crock full of slips of paper imprinted with story kernels. All that they had to do for their rewards was to stick their hands in white goop…

Get the rest of this spread-inspired read right here!


Our weekday featured read, Taking Revenge by Contributing Writer Phyllis Souza, is a heavy story that is sure to leave an impression.

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

“We’ll all get our own comeuppance; others always make certain of that.”

Here’s a blast to get you goin:

(photo “New Year, New Look” by Tyler Malone)

Dressed in a black suit and tie, Peter sat at the head of the table. “I’m glad you could make it to dinner.” He picked up a wine glass and gazed to his right. Except for a place setting, no one was there. “A salute to my beautiful wife, Paula.”

In a high-pitched voice, ‘Why are we here?’

He cocked his head and lowered his tone. “But, darling, you know why.”

His eyes shifted to his left. “John, tell Paula why.” A brief silence. “What? Cat got your tongue?”…

Come & get the rest of this comeuppance tale right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Calling 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… ye transformers & reformers & resolved heart warmers come & shake the old & new together to make a “now” like no other at Mad Swirl’s New Year 2022 Open Mic!

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.05.22) when we’ll ring in the double two’s doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!

Starting at 7:30pm, host Johnny O will kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities with some musical grooves brought to you by ol s’cool Swirve (with special guest Matthew Frerck on orchestral bass) 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!

P.S. Please note: we will NOT be hosting a virtual open mic this month due to technical equipment issues


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’…

Doin’ It,

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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