The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.16.22

by on July 17, 2022 :: 0 comments

“I try for a poetic language that says, This is who we are, where we have been, where we are. This is where we must go. And this is what we must do.

Mari Evans

••• The Mad Gallery •••

But You Remember Only the First Roses Thrown on Stage ~ Bill Wolak

To see all of Bill’s twisted illustrations, 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 gave love start with a boxed heart; we screamed oblique by angels’ speak; we were trip enders and mind benders; we matched a gaff for a better half; we heard faith song sung in sparrow’s tongue; we stared aghast at what can’t last; we divied affairs ‘mongst sixteen squares. Free range brain retainers strain the mundane from plain containers. ~ MH Clay

SIXTEEN SQUARES by Marie Higgins

Three jays in the lower sash,
One in ten, two in nine,
Cry like hawks, readily push fear,
But not through the glass;

Tail of squirrel in eight, torso in four,
Missing its head as squirrels go,
Until the head comes around
When the oak permits two-way traffic –

Downward four-to-eight-to-twelve-to-sixteen,
Like a losing team, before its teammates release
The tree blossoms for stealing, seconds splitting
Into minutes, until the Mourning Dove rests on seven,

At Dogwood Square, where a house finch slides
From second to third and beak-first brothers
Parachute down, below grilles thirteen through sixteen,
Sparrow in five, four, three, two, one, gone.

July 16, 2022

editors note: What do you see through your windowpanes (how many)? – mh clay

HUBRIS DEBRIS by Rich Heller

Cobwebs, dust, flaking
paint, goldenrod blooming
through skeletal above-ground
pools, saplings pushing

through the rusted frames
of antique cars. Without
descendants who care,
all traces of us disappear

in less time than a fallen
tree decays—in fact,
even before we die sometimes.

Who are these people
in these black and white
photographs? Did they
lie awake and worry?

Did they get their hearts
broken? Did they think
any of this would last—forever?

July 15, 2022

editors note: Didn’t we, though? – mh clay


This morning
The rain behind the hospital window
Made me speculate on what would the feeling be
If I were a wet bird.
Later, a friend called to say hello
And I forgot about my philosophy.
Sometimes a pinch of irony imbibed with witticism
Helps me abscond from normality
Pretending that pain is a non-affordable brooch
Fastened to flamboyant party clothes.
As my grandmother would say,
Through the verdant wr(e)ath
One could see the true rays of faith.
Her meek smile used to reciprocate
To my scepticism.
Friends are hope, she said,
Woven into everyday pieces of miracle
Because heart doesn’t need any burden of proof
Nor an argument from ignorance.
Her simple principle,
Love is innocent, many-sided,
A long sentence with various tails.
Today’s— a crystal tear under the tongue
Of a timid sparrow.

July 14, 2022

editors note: A tail as a tear, today only. (We welcome Vyarka to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Memorial Day by D. R. James

Finding your suitable match must be
something like finding happiness—

an out-of-the-corner-of-the-eye
kind of thing, killed

if you try too hard
at all. It must be, because

I’ve killed a few myself,
trying so hard I’ve often died.

Then those little deaths gather
for a little convention

over the three-day weekend, saluting
the limpid white flag you carry

in the Parade of Failures and teasing
graveside toasts to your attempts.

All you wanted was reunion,
your Aristophanic better half,

and to release the pressure
on your own weary one,

weary, it turns out, from trying.
If it had only known not to try

till it always died
it may have found its wholeness

in a repose supposedly
unsupposed to be noticed.

July 13, 2022

editors note: Some can manage such a psychic somersault, the rest of us require traction after. – mh clay

party by Tom Pescatore

Standing in that kitchen
The cold tile glowing radiantly under the dying oven light
Late into the morning late into the evening
Leaning against the loose knobs of the cold stove top
Coming down from mushroom acid drunk trip holding a can of beer in my hand
feeling the open flesh under fingernails
Listening to you laugh and the sounds of your voices
echoing into the darkened walls of the old house I was waiting for the universe
To halt itself in momentary standstill to split into a billion known possibilities
to reach the end of its endless trek into the ever-sharpening void
Standing in that kitchen wanting to hold each of you forever screaming
into the abyss of timeless nothing-ness and shadow
Sitting here tonight alone under the foggy light of a winter moon
wishing it all had come true

July 12, 2022

editors note: Wishing and wondering if we’ve got enough go to do it all again. – mh clay

The Turtle Lies On His Back by Linda Imbler

Fire put together what grew,
whispers pierced eardrums with their screech,
and angels spoke from under muddy fields.

Dark days inspired.
Grace’s power soured in the cup.

Everyone wept, but Jesus.

The toasted bread of the prophets became burnt offerings.
Commandments were cast over cliffs.

And Ao screamed.

July 11, 2022

editors note: Given recent events, we’re screaming, too. – mh clay

When Jeff Siegrist Gets to the Other Side by John Dorsey

jack johnson will be waiting
with an extra pair of gloves
sent there to show him
how to tap dance
around the ring
giving the sun
a bloody lip
as jeff yells out a poem
& takes his heart
out of an invisible wooden box
passing it around
to all the secondhand ghost girls in worcester & shrewsbury
who never got to know
what it truly felt like to love themselves
pressing their ears up against it
that poem beating in his chest now
like a battered drum
like a fist waiting
to walk them home.

July 10, 2022

editors note: Jeffrey P. “Jefre” Siegrist, 32, of Worcester [MA], passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Beloved son of David B. Siegrist and the late Gretchen (Van de Houten) Siegrist. RIP – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re feelin’ off & a read is what you need, Loose Leaves by Contributing Writer & Poet KJ Hannah Greenberg just might fix what’s ailin’ you!

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

We are the drugs we need! And if not, there are plenty of other options.

Here’s a dose of “Loose Leaves” to start you off:

“From Earth, to Us” by Tyler Malone

“I don’t think it was the weed.”

“Something environmental?’

“Doubt it. We breathe the same air.”

“But her test scores are impossibly high.”

“She’s not.”

“Sleep hygiene?”

“You kidding? She gets up every three to four hours–something to do with an irritable bladder, I think.”

“Glad she’s your roommate, not mine.”

“But she helps me with papers.”

“You’re a design major.”

“She’s super at conceptualizing prototypes, too.”

“What does she know about fonts?”

“Serifs? Slabs? Corner rounding? Other? She’s brilliant at setting text.”

“I though she was a biology major.”

“Yes, her mind jumps around topics.”

“Yet, you want to switch rooms?”

“Please! She coughs in her sleep and sneezes constantly when awake. Headphones don’t suit me and she’s intolerant of my white noise machine.”

“A tenacious virus? A weak immune system?”




“I’ll ask my mom. That maternal progenitor mucks with plant essences. Meanwhile, figure out how to make do with your roommate.”


“Get your head out of your water pipe. Not everyone associates herbs with herb.”


“Mom probably knows a good response to your roomie’s snuffling and hacking. Let’s see what she says. Hopefully, soon, you’ll get sleep and ace your assignments. Ya know, partying more with me might help, too.”

“Whatever. Keep me posted.”..

Get the full dosage right here!


If you need a read that’s quick to feed then this little nugget from Contributing Writer CE Hoffman is sure to please!

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

Harbor in a hurricane, that’s all we’re looking for: a hurricane and a harbor.

Any Port’s a Port by Tyler Malone

Clocking in at just over 80 words Any Storm in a Port is too short to tease so you’ll just need to trust that this exhilarating alliterating flash fiction is well worth the click!


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…

Who’n, What’n & Where’n,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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