The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.19.22

by February 20, 2022 0 comments

“All In All Is All We Are”

Kurt Cobain

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Soul Worlds – 1 ~ Thomas Riesner

To see all Thomas’ wicked squiggles, as well as our other resident artists (50 and counting!) take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This past week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we made confab with a hermit crab; we straddled the border when called to order; we freed the flow to greening go; we caught a rave from a close shave; we halves relieved where half believed; we happied whole for a worthy goal; we spurred on flanks for cum splashed thanks. We do well when we shun our shell. ~ MH Clay


after Roy Rogers & Dale Evans on TMS

she said she was too old to go out to the video arcade,
but he took her anyway, for himself, but also for her
in his way that he knew she got pleasure when he did.


stardust midnight frolic got along lil’ doggie gun slip
one more in the slot. 1up. flamin’ finger tappin’ hard
on hot cherry red button. bullet skee balls hit bull’s eye.


she has a good grip on the joystick now, and she is
trigger happy. all stirrup, he go takin’ the pony on a
ride turn. spittin’ twang got him racin’ towards finish.

now she’s wailin’ on head, and it goes right on down
into the hole. then 2 player shooter and alarm apple
valley of tongue tickets come fly out and lasso a smile.


they trade it all in for a cute lil’ cow with supper bell
ring to remind them of the good times and go lightly
out with bibs on for lobster. they weren’t dried up yet.

yodelin’ what a machine! some mighty fine ridin’ back there.
real slick shootin’ too. it was a joint effort. and the king says
to his lady, happy 70th, doll! and she says, g’ thanks, baby

takes a seat and saddles up in 4 wheeler to hoof long
hazy wide canyon range, lucky U, home holdin’ onto
happy trail horizon of comic book star’s singin’ glow

February 19, 2022

editors note: Yippee Kai Yay! Gimme quarters! – mh clay

Learning Living Now by Randall Rogers

My whole goal in
life seems to be
not to puke in me
mouth and swallow
go figure
only one thing to pursue
and that’s the mystery
free mind to contemplate
and dream not wallow
in memory but rejoice
in it both good and bad
as time learning to be
better or done with the
past – intrusive memory
be darned! – is a worthy
and theology allows us
to love the cruelty of nature.

February 18, 2022

editors note: Happy oinkers, we; rejoicing in our wallows. (Praise God!) – mh clay

half measures by Alan Gann

half a fool
juggling half as many
telling jokes
only half as funny
but really
isn’t life only half a waltz
music stopping
half way through
half scrambling
to find half as many chairs
half a lukewarm beer
waking up
half an hour late
half remembering the night
with half a grin
half regret

half of us
half nostalgic
for the way things used to be
when in our half-assed way
we half way tolerated
so much
that was way more
than half way wrong
half innocent
holding half ourselves
half responsible
we offer up
half a prayer
to gods and half-gods
half believed in
and trusted less

February 17, 2022

editors note: And that’s not the half of it! – mh clay

In the blood by Joseph Farley

I try to bleed a little bit each day.
Not a lot, just a little.
A nip here, a cut there.
No big puddles on the floor.

Shaving is usually enough
to make the sacrifice,
feed the dark gods,
keep them hungry
but satisfied enough
to let me get through the day.

The small loss
may bring the sunrise
that lights up my room
and the garden outside,
keep things in balance,

and send the demons
to the next house over
until skin heals
and whiskers grow again.

February 16, 2022

editors note: No styptic to stall the dawn. – mh clay

Sustain yourself by Julia Vaughan

(Acknowledging Beyond Blue.)

If you’re blue, go green.
Flee the black dog
Into the garden – go.
Plant for tomorrow.

Flee the black dog.
Seeds. Cuttings. Multiplying bulbs.
Plant for tomorrow.
Dream of trees you’ll never sit under.

Seeds. Cuttings. Multiplying bulbs.
Flowers. Colour. Bees. Butterflies!
Dream of trees you’ll never sit under.
Tranquil, cool shade.

Flowers. Colour. Bees. Butterflies!
Veggies to talk about and share.
Tranquil, cool shade.
Dirty hands. Happy worms. Finding joy.

Veggies to talk about and share.
Bright sunlight. Dappled shade.
Dirty hands. Happy worms. Finding joy.
Watching, nurturing, things grow.

Bright sunlight. Dappled shade.
Into the garden – go.
Watching, nurturing, things grow.
If you’re blue, go green.

February 15, 2022

editors note: An invitation to make green your game. Let’s play! – mh clay

The order of the universe by Hem Raj Bastola

You did!
You did ignore
My love!

I have cried
In the dry glacier bed,
You know!
I have cried in the moraine
Of the avalanche,
You know!

I forgot,
To bloom in time.
What is spring?
What is winter? I forgot.
When does it snow and when to rain?
You made me so mad.
That’s why I pass over:
My routine!

Where are your ears?
My love!
Your disrespect to my devotion
Calling havoc, my love!
You betrayed me: to hold dear!
And still, you do not realize:
Stumbling every day
Unaware of my value.

You know!
I am parched, I am thirsty
And fissured too.
Unaddressed hunger
Cried through!
Wishing even to relinquish
I could not.

I am sorry!
You could not avail
My warm embrace.
My throat is dry
This whooping cough! Ah!
Give me some water,
I may quench my thirst.
But do not blame me
Many of my red light
You ignore them.

I am not sure
How long will it last?
Craving for your care.
And to persuade you,
Warning through
My anger!

You are spoiled
Incredibly, oh human!
You have forgotten
To feel the sense
Of my flair.

Listen, please!
I am nature.
The order of
The universe.

February 14, 2022

editors note: Our jilted lover gives us a good talking to. Listening? – mh clay

The God of Hermits by Neile Graham

Stepping out of our shells by talking,
introducing each other to our dips

and hollows, telling the stories of our scars.
It’s how we got here, isn’t it? Opening

unsealing unlocking launching, beginning
it all. See the small absence in my shin

where I fell sharp on the breakwater rocks
with an ex; your fear of wasps from when

stepping wrong steered a tidal wave
of them out to make a meal of you

foot to head. The shock of finding ourselves
our shells behind us, there naked on the sands

together. Our old shells too small to retreat to. Stuck
and talking, laughing, fighting all the good—

and horrible—battles. As the living do.
Brave as the naked crabs finding their new homes.

February 13, 2022

editors note: Full frontal disclosure, once shucked and shiny. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re lookin’ for a sign that you need-a-read, this weekend’s featured story, Read the Signs by Marie Higgins just might be that sign!

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

Here we are, on Earth pretending we’re the only things that ever existed; that the air is ours, that the water is just for us to drink, bathe in, but never die in.

Here’s a few strokes to get you stoked:

(photo “Eyes for You” by Tyler Malone)

Story of my life! I’m in my head instead of wherever my feet are planted and it’s all about me. That’s what happened last week and I’m still afraid to go back to the gym. Should I find another? Pretend nothing happened? Ask that authorities get involved? Why can’t I decide?

Here’s what I did or didn’t do.

It was 4:45am, before first light. I didn’t notice the jumbo sign on the entry door because I never used that door. Instead, I took advantage that staff foolishly leave the exit door unlocked after letting themselves in to ready the gym for the 5am opening.

As usual, I was too focused on being the first swimmer to arrive and not getting caught. I wanted a lane. It wasn’t always so hard, but pandemic parameters cut the number per lane and I didn’t have time to wait.

I love swimming, especially at this pool. The water temp and chlorination are always just right, and they use salt water which buoys my imagination, allowing escape from my lonely, pandemic, studio-apartment life.

I used to thank the polite pool technician for its fairy-tale-just-right quality; that is, until he was replaced by A. Gruff Guy…

Swim on over here to get the rest of Marie’s read on!


If V-Day left you longing for love, then our weekday featured read The Coffeehouse Romantic” by Mark Tulin just might get your heart th-thumpin’n!

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

Write this down: the longest book you’ll ever read is the longest one you’re writing right now—the one you’re living through, a character weaving through other characters, hoping we stop and share chapters together.

Here’s a few beats to get you goin’:

(photo “Luck of Love” by Tyler Malone)

The sound of jazz plays in the coffeehouse as I turn the pages of a Philip Roth novel. I look up from the book, hear a young woman’s voice, and feel my heart beat faster. I can’t stop imagining how it would be to fall in love with her.

“Have a good day,” says the barista to a man holding a Styrofoam cup.

She is tall and slender, with straight dark hair and an alluring smile.

“Here’s your mocha,” she says to another patron. “Hope you enjoy the coffee. Come back soon.”

I read a few pages while taking a sip now and then. The coffee flows down my throat so effortlessly, swimming in its warmth. I hold the ceramic cup tight and dream of walking with the barista on campus with a light snow falling. Her button nose was red from the cold as we tumbled onto a mound of the white stuff and couldn’t stop kissing. The world seemed frozen with joy.

I put down the paperback. Whenever a pretty girl gives me attention, I fall in love instantly.

“That’s a nice sweater,” she said when I first came in, and I was jelly…

Get the rest of this pining read on right here!


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’…

All We Are,

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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