The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.15.22

by January 16, 2022 0 comments
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Even More Dazzling Than the Unknown ~ 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 recalled all through talk of a mall; we remembered the good of life as the woods; we mooned a flipper and a skinny dipper; we made fast and loose with the dish on juice; we put some trust in what is just; we rubbernecked where life is wrecked; we lit the show for a UFO. We search and write for intelligent life. ~ MH Clay

PENDULUM by Stefanie Bennett

… Like a Mapuche National
I dream of sunken ships,
Shadows that walk
The Milky Way,
And the empty nests
Of telegraph poles.

The grass grows
‘Second sight’
The date tree
Its form

Of exorcism.
Waiting …
Waiting on
The bright
Onyx and gold
To arrive.

January 15, 2022

editors note: Dream your best and light your landing pad well. – mh clay

The Curiosity Factor by Paul Hostovsky

Don’t you love that it’s a thing,
the wretchedness
on the other side
spilling over, puddling
like transmission fluid or
blood, forcing us to slow down
because it’s all so irresistible,
so infectious that we can’t
look and we can’t stop looking
at the beautiful catastrophes–
beautiful for the way they
bring us together over them–
in a world where every last one of us
is stuck here with no idea why,
hoping and praying it’ll all become clear
somewhere up ahead,
the unseen hands of angels
bearing brooms, bearing stretchers
and wreckers with winches,
not exactly clearing it up
but clearing it away somehow
before we ever get there,
so we never know in this lifetime
what it was we were waiting for
or the reason for our long-suffering.

January 14, 2022

editors note: We’re rubbernecking for righteousness. – mh clay

Just by Jada Yee

Just one more pour
and she will finally taste
the dream-come-true renewal
the commercial promised.

Just a little more sleep
and the hope will return
to answer his questions
of where to go, who to trust,
and how to be.

Just a little less chatter
and this reunion might end early,
inviting the quicksand
to pull us back under our tattered rugs.

Just a little less temper
and this commute might reward us with
longer yellow lights and
gentler disappointments.

January 13, 2022

editors note: No justice? Then just-ness will have to do. – mh clay

Juicy Gossip by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Apple juice leaned in close to prune
juice and said prune juice would not
believe what apple juice had heard
orange juice say about grape juice
who claimed orange juice was just sour
about how pineapple juice and
grape juice had become an item
according to tomato juice who apple said
was playing both sides.

January 12, 2022

editors note: All to the exclusion of coffee and tea. – mh clay

MOON SPLASH by Marie Higgins

She swam across my window
Against the cloud current of
fast-moving, wispy white dolphins.

The full brightness awakened me,
I couldn’t fall back to sleep.

It’s as if she treaded there with purpose.

A climb to the highest diving board
To be seen before sinking below earth,
A cavernous snorkel unknown to me.

A friend is obsessed with her.

Even when she dips skinny in the sky,
Her various shapes hold meaning.

My eyelids flutter kicked eventually
Until I plunged into deep sleep,
A drowning soak away from her.

January 11, 2022

editors note: We sleep or swim in phases, light shining on our faces. – mh clay

KAYAKING JULY 2016 by Robert Demaree

Red and yellow kayaks
Bright in the morning sun
Our younger daughter
And youngest grandchild
Paddle up ahead into a blue day
They will be leaving in an hour
We will walk up the hill
To see them off
Faintly tearful
I will slip a check in her pocket,
A twenty for tolls
You don’t have to do this, she says
But we do
My parents did
I have come to see
These woods, this pond
Not as places
But as our lives
Across the water, a loon calls
We have studied these
On the Loon Center app
This is the one that says
Where are you,
Where are you?

January 10, 2022

editors note: Such sweet sadness we bear when those we love aren’t near. – mh clay

Tippecanoe Mall by Marianne Szlyk

To my new friends, it was still the ‘80s.
They spent each long Saturday afternoon
wandering the mall, always looking,
never buying. Only I would return
with a bagful of cardigans and pencil skirts,
with flats and a girdle I never wore.

I wonder what my friends would make
of the dead malls of America now, stripped
of the brand names they wore on t-shirts
and baseball caps. Now Trees of Heaven
crack fountains, replace plastic palms.
Mold spills over fountains and white brick.

But Tippecanoe Mall remains,
or so late-night Google tells me.
I imagine entering the time capsule
where I recognize no one, only the stores.
I pass by men’s shoes; search for
Lazarus or Lane Bryant, both vanished;
stop at the store of smocked blouses and
long, pastel skirts, clothes we snickered at.

I imagine leaving empty-handed despite the lure
of those linen blouses and skirts. Outside,
in worse heat and humidity than lingers in memory,
I wait for the bus back to the city I knew:
brick sidewalks, the Wabash River, sites of the stores
women my mother’s age would remember,

the house I lived in, shaded streets I walked on.

January 9, 2022

editors note: Then comes the day when what we remember is remembered no more. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This weekend’s featured read, On Aeaea Again by Contributing Writer & Poet Stephen Page, is a true short-short clockin’ in at a swift 136 words!

Since Stephen fabled tale is so short, we’ll let Editor Tyler Malone’s comment be your tease:

“The years go by, we grow but don’t grow apart. We stay alive close–but not too close–to those who could kill us.”

(photo “Bridge to the Past, Presently” by Tyler Malone)

To get this fantastical read on, float right here!


If you’re looking for a trashy read, we have The Table Captain by Contributing Writer Steve Slavin to dump on ya!

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

“We’re not always looking for friendship or love, sometimes we’re looking for someone to carry our trash.”

Here’s a few scraps to get you goin:

(photo “Where It All Begins” by Tyler Malone)

Back in the 1950s, when Brooklyn Tech was an all-boys high school, I volunteered for the post of lunchroom table captain. Little did I know that this post would ultimately change my life.

We sat in rows of five or six tables in a huge room. About thirty of us sat in each row. We would pass along our garbage to the two table captains, who would drop it into a large garbage can.

Why would anyone volunteer for the job of table captain? None of us had dreams of one day becoming a garbage man. The plan was for all six thousand of us to one day be engineers.

I soon realized that it was more likely that one day I would indeed become a garbage man than an engineer. We had to take five periods a week of woodworking shop as well as six periods of mechanical drawing. I was arguably the worst student in both classes.

Lunch would have been a great break from the rest of the day, except for one inconvenient fact. Three or four times during the period, there would be loud bursts of laughter throughout the vast lunchroom. And one day, everyone was laughing at me.

These incidents always involved the disposal of our garbage. Some guy would discover that his books were missing. They had probably been intentionally passed down the tables and dropped into the garbage pail…

Don’t wait ’til garbage day, 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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