The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.10.22

by on September 11, 2022 :: 0 comments

“I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us.

Mary Oliver

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Dangerous from the outside” ~ 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 self advanced in an ugly dance; we eyes clapped on a bootstrap; we grooved on yellow and moved on a fellow; we man dropped at a rest stop; we dumped some buggers with a tree hugger; we got lost in the Big Spin; we with heaven in our breath wordless came to life and death. But we’ll seek them anyway… ~ MH Clay

My Heaven is Inside My Body by Hongri Yuan

My heaven is inside my body,
my heaven is a great many,
like stars in the night sky,
with silver towers,
huge edifices that look like sapphires,
golden palaces, gardens of crystal.
My body is bigger than the universe,
countless gods and angels are my partners,
as if they are countless myself.
Neither time nor life and death in my words,
dawn and dusk are the same names,
and sadness and joy are the same words.

(Translated by Yuanbing Zhang)

September 10, 2022

editors note: A case against body dysmorphia. – mh clay

The Universe by Harley White

The universe of time and space
is leading us on merry chase
as schemes are parleyed to and fro
in astro-physic quid pro quo
of scientific relay race.

We dwell in lilliputian place
within the heavens’ vast embrace
unfathomable be it so
the universe.

While here we spin in cosmic grace
with sight that cannot see our face
beneath a vault of indigo
in multiverse? ‘big bounce’ yo-yo?
from ‘Plato’s Cave’ we seek to trace
the universe.

September 9, 2022

editors note: From our cave in flickering shadow, we’re told we can see stars. – mh clay

ALEXA, Play “Sky Pilot” by Ruth Z. Deming

ALEXA is out of control and plays “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.”
Here come our groceries we ordered this morning.
Frozen salmonburgers swam upstream and will be great with organic ketchup.
I go outside equipped with scissors. Always something in the suburbs.
That scream was from me.
Tiny black and white insects, gorgeous as the Gabors
in their high heels,
Coat an innocent twig. They are nymphs that will kill the mighty oak.
We sic them into the Yellow Plastic Bin
and call “Die you harridans, die!”
Opening the lid I see them scurrying up the slippery sides
like The Rockettes
and call “Die, children of Satan, die.”

September 8, 2022

editors note: Suburban serenity satisfied by insecticide. – mh clay

man rage by Robert Fleming

getting there is what matters most to
not just in a truck but
getting off the highway
to a sext stop
to text how gray are the tire
blowout remains in the emergency kill lane.
if the road’s rest
stops would be better rest for men
then men resting off road
would eat Hostess ho hos and ding dongs
as sugar would ride down men’s throats to
esophagus to stomach
men would drink Dixie-cup
beer shots and for a dollar
men would hear you’re the smartest
and for two dollars
men would hear you’re always right

September 7, 2022

editors note: If gedunk were made just for guys… – mh clay

Sunflowers by Nikita Parik

(After a visit to cafe Lazy Suzy, Bangalore)

The walls of this cafe are painted
yellow, and there is hot chocolate
in china snuggled in our palms.
Colors must have something to do
with memory, because the yellow
of these walls reminds me of
the yellow Chumbak top I’d bought
earlier today, which had cost me
more than its worth, really. Just
last week we had yellow flowers
in our hair, me and my sister,
and we had clicked a lot of pictures.
The flowers lay forgotten thereafter.
I had told you of my sunflower
obsession one autumn, shared
a picture of the painting I’d made
with so much love. We’d both agreed
on just how bad it was. The walls, yes,
the walls of this cafe are painted
yellow, and there is hot chocolate
in china snuggled in our palms.
You see the yellow of longing
in my eyes, and you say those
three words, measured and exact,

‘Please Move On’

September 6, 2022

editors note: Color us caught by so many seeds to savor. (This poem is one of the many you can read in Nikita’s new collection, My City is a Murder of Crows. Congratulations to her! You can get your copy here.) – mh clay

Leather by Joseph Farley

You refused to wear leather,
but, in dreams, there you are,
all boots and straps of dead cow,
and not much else.

A pity really.
You look so good that way.
But a dream is what it is.
And waking is what it is as well.

The hands that once held you
are less solid than clouds,
and can not hold on
to what they want, and once had,

in other ways, in other times,
and other configurations,
but never enough to satisfy
eyes that could see so much
after they were closed.

September 5, 2022

editors note: Lamenting what was seen but not had. – mh clay

To Dance on the Ugly by Susie Gharib

“Jinny always dances in the hall on the ugly”. Virginia Woolf, The Waves

I abhor everything that Jinny stands for,
her casual sex and promiscuous lore,
but I must admit she animates the book
with her billowing frocks and opening doors
and from her I learnt despite my scorn
to dance on the ugly, and dance for long.

In curfew darkness, I scribbled odes
by the haggard light of a famished globe,
a candle’s orb.

The rattle that Wilfred Owen deplored
in an anthem meant to disparage wars
now live assaults my metaphors,
who, unscathed, tap-dance a rhythm of their own.

And deaths that queued before my abode,
that abducted whoever I adored,
bequeathed an inheritance of fortitude,
of resurrection from every plight and woe,
a new-born soul.

September 4, 2022

editors note: A perfect birth with every pirouette. (This is the title poem of Susie’s latest collection, To Dance on the Ugly. Available today on Amazon. Congratulations, Susie! Get yours here.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you need a confessional read, this weekend’s featured story, Betrayal comes to us from Contributing Writer & Poet Ann B-D!

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

Who finds their way into your heart and who finds their way into your notebooks? And how does that happen?

Here’s a telling teaser:

“Words In Same, Water, Only for One Heart” by Tyler Malone

I knew Sam from Jerusalem, way, way back in the day when we were both new immigrants to Israel. In those days, everyone in the neighborhood had keys to each other’s houses. Some of us had phones, some had washing machines, and it was easiest to share these things with our friends by just letting them come and use them when needed.

Sam knew I wrote. He knew I’d kept journals of my life since the age of 12, and that I kept all the journals in a certain drawer in my bedroom closet. He knew because I’d told him that I wrote down absolutely everything that had ever happened to me in these journals and that I tried to be as specific and detailed as possible.

Sometimes I’d get home from work and find Sam waiting for me in my apartment. It was nice, I thought, to live such a safe, yet open life.

Fast forward 25 years: I am married and a mother, living in a tiny shack in a village outside Safed. Who do I run into in Safed but Sam, up north for a stint of army reserve duty. Come visit me, I say to him, and he does.

It’s a warm morning and Sam is sitting in my kitchen/living room, perched uncomfortably on one of the bar stools we use for kitchen chairs. He is in his army uniform, which looks a bit tight, and he is sweating. I can see beads of sweat on his forehead. I watch as he runs a hand over his face and flicks them off. I notice that his hand is shaking.

I’ve got something to tell you, he says…

Get the full-disclosure right here!


If you’re angling for a read then Fishing by Contributing Writer N.T. Franklin is sure to bite!

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

A short fiction trilogy: “It Went Down at the Ace,” “Squirrels,” and now “Fishing.” Day-to-day madness is all swims, so take a dip.

This here is another chapter in the adventures of cousins Ray Dan & Joe Willy. Here’s how this one starts:

“Set Scene” by Tyler Malone

It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning when Ray Dan looked out his bedroom window. He grabbed his cell and tapped Joe Willy’s name.

“Ray Dan, what’s up?”

“Well, it’s a beautiful morning in Middle Georgia, full of promise and adventure.”

“You sound pretty sober for this time of Saturday, Ray Dan. Everything all good?”

“What? I can’t give my favorite cousin a call?”

“Again, your only cousin. So, what doin’ on this beautiful Saturday?”

“I got a mess of rainbows for you, Cuz.”

Joe Willy switched his cell phone to his other ear and took a deep breath. “Do tell, a mess? The limit’s still eight, right?”

“Now don’t you nevermind ‘bout that,” Joe Willy said. “I’ll be over in ten minutes.”…

Something fishy is goin’ on. Find out what right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of September (aka 09.07.22) at our OC home, Barbara’s Pavillion, then you know that once again whirl’d up the Swirl and got the Mad mic opened for all you Mad ones out there!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced our stage (both live & virtual) with your words, your songs, your divine madness…

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel, Gerard Bendiks)

Round One:
*Gayle Bell
Paul Koniecki
*Anthony Ripp
*Marianne Szlyk
James “Bear” Rodehaver
*Atenea Afrodita
Suza Kanon
*Giulio Magrini

Round Two:
Greg Cisneros
*Chris Zimmerly
Dick Zinnendorf
*Edward Wells
Martin Hache
Elliot Hill
Aaron Glover
George Duncan
Zoe Dune


HUGE grats to ALL the participators & appreciators who rode the Mad wave live at Barbara’s as well as our FB Live feed! We know you have a few choices of what to do with your Wednesday night & you picked to hang out with lil ol’ us!

’til next 1st Wednesday (aka 10.05.22)… may the madness swirl your way!

Johnny O

P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, your eye can spy on the whole virtual Swirl’n scenes right here…

Round One…


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’ Saved,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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