The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.05.22

by November 6, 2022 0 comments

“Art is the provocation for talking about enigma and the search for sense in human life.

John Berger

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Conflict” ~ Jada Yee

To see all of Jada’s beautifully chaotic collages, 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 cried out low, newborn and crow; we seas did part to reach the heart; we made no amount from a lonely count; we caught in the spell of cells in swell; we got the smarts for body parts; we spun the skew to skip the queue; we had no help for a harsh Yelp. May our ratings be high. ~ MH Clay

The Backwards Man in His Hotel Room, 1961 by Jeff Grimshaw

Preliminary Inventory:

Bullet hole decal in the window pane.
Bad dreams to pay for room service. Something
At the bottom of the ice bucket I don’t want to see.

Observations and/or Complaints:

Raze every hotel between here & the harbor &
You still wouldn’t see the ocean. Footsteps on the
Ceiling from guests gone home thirty-five years ago.

Conversation in the Next Room:

The penne is frigging ice cold. I sent it
Back and twenny minutes later here
It comes again with parsley sprinkled on top.

Conversation in the Room on the Other Side:

What am I, a moron? Hey, gimme
Those opera glasses, maybe there’s a
Vogue model across the street getting dressed

A Possible Solution:

The answer is static electricity, sir. The
Missing sock is stuck to the back of your
Shirt. I all but guarantee it.

It will turn up when you put your shirt
On the hanger. Failing that, you’ll encounter
It when getting dressed for dinner one evening

A Questionable Proposition:

The belt is reversible, also the vest. When you
Invert the lenses of your 20/200 prescription
Glasses, you can see through solid walls

A Game of Bingo, Perhaps:

Twist to the east, & lock eyes with the beast
Twist to south, & stare into his mouth
Twist to the west, all your sins now confessed

Twist to the north, & a cold blast of wind
Awakens you. How did I get on this glacier?
Better call the desk & ask for a Bromo-Seltzer

A Comforting Verse from the Gideon Bible beside the Bed:

‘If U R lonely Jerry the Bell Hop
Knows What’s What & can fix U up’
¬—Written in Margin of Psalm 23

Wake-Up Call Request Rehearsal:

Room 413, wake-up call for 6:30, and
Right after send up somebody to untwist
Me something is stuck & stuck good thanks

Some Final Thoughts:

The unanswered question: why are candies
In the vending machines in the hall so cheap
& shabby I have never even heard of these

Brands ‘Best Fine Sweets’ good God I
Have never hated anyone as much as I
Hate the man who picked the drapes

For this room but blessings on whoever
Purchased the waste basket in the bathroom
With the eyeball pattern, you sir are a god

November 5, 2022

editors note: The same hotel hijinx, even after sixty-plus. – mh clay

like I say by Tanner

he shuffled up to the counter
and said he had a needle
filled with his own blood
and he was going to stab me with it
if I didn’t open the till
and give him everything we had.

he didn’t look well.
he was sweating so bad
the scabs were sliding around on his face.

but I was hungover:

nothing happens when you die
because you’re not special, I said.
this is your one brief shot at existence
and you’ve ruined it.

like I say, I was hungover.

he went out crying
and the next customer came forward.
huge woman who wanted to know the refund policy
before she bought anything.
when I explained it to her
she nodded solemnly, made a tutting sound
and finally said:
okay. I’ll see if you’ve got anything I want to buy.
but if I find something, will I have to queue up again

November 4, 2022

editors note: Life, with no refunds, has us all in queue. – mh clay

methods by Rob Plath

i once had a teacher
who made us type out
word for word
our best loved works
by our favorite poets
he said it’d bring us
closer to the soul
of the writers
& i eventually did
the same thing
w/ certain organs
typing out verbatim
the mad melancholia
of the spleen
& terribly lonely cries
of the bloody fist
w/ in the ribcage

November 3, 2022

editors note: Anatomical exasperations. – mh clay

Cells in Swell by Stephen Kingsnorth

Weightless fluid astronaut,
wait in float by anchored cord.
Breaking waters from the deep,
waves, contractions, tidal sweep,
brought to light in pulsing beat,
cacophony from silent sac,
tube to passage, swimming ways,
breaststroke, puckered sucking lips
to teat, as treated mother’s silk.

Internal architecture seeded berth,
birthmark through to end-stop, stark,
formed to live amongst the throng,
breast and nest of family,
village neighbours, urban swirl,
traffic through to concentrate,
nucleus of cells in swell,
selling, shelling, who can tell,
hell, wellbeing, fingertips.

Tomorrow’s cities still must spell,
weave the magic where we dwell
nurtured, blooded, sweat and toil,
internal architecture signed
one with all through all fulfilled –
speculative futures vested well,
sole borne spirit with one world.

November 2, 2022

editors note: Celling haven; one world fits all. – mh clay

On the rain, seven by Emalisa Rose

Nine on the nightingale
four on the firmament, six
on the cirrus clouds, clanking.

On the rain, I wrote seven.

I wrote through the stink hours
the stars in remiss; the moon
weeping over the wildflowers.

While the pen bled the blues
I just wrote

as the night grew more lonely

the night you went back
to her.

November 1, 2022

editors note: Some things you can always count on. – mh clay

Artichoke Moses by Phyllis Klein

This evening I surrender my teeth
to the promise of a petaled globe,
under-appreciated vegetable meat
with its treasured vegetarian heart
like a bearded frisbee, this green baby in a basket,
this herbaceous creamy mystery. That is to say,
glory of roundness in a chariot, resonance
of ingenuity, nights on a riverbank, nights of escape
near the seaside, foggy olive oil washes
with salt and butter. Spiked produce wearing
a headdress of hail. Split in two, roasted.
Bowler hat with horseradish sauce.
Green skulled pyramid.

Getting down to the heart of it,
freeing the choke from its vulnerability,
tied up in its barbs. Thou shalt be gentle,
but I’m in the desert of hunger,
a thirsty hound on a chase. Don’t we all
lust for our prophets? Like this one, verdant heart
without beats, this innocent essence, folate-filled
provision of goodness, this deliverer of sustenance,
visionary, this selfless thistle, this parter of lips.

October 31, 2022

editors note: Dietary diviner gets to the heart of it. – mh clay

2 Tanka: Crow & Moon by Christina Chin & Uchechukwu Onyedikam


the huntsmen’s
hasty retreat

cry of the crow
with funeral eyes
unto dust we shall return


midnight moon
shivers of her labor
water breaking

the cry of a newborn
in the bush

October 30, 2022

editors note: From dust we come, to dust we go. (This is a collaborative work between 2 poets; one from Malaysia, the other from Nigeria. It’s a mad world, indeed.) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’ve been following the tales from N.T. Franklin about Ray Dan & Joe Willy, then you’ll be happy to know they’ve had another escapade!

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

We’re all guilty of justifiable homicide when we kill a song that brings life back into our lives.

Here’s a small samplin’ of A South Alabama Adventure to get you on your way:

“A Place for Everyone’s Noone” by Tyler Malone

The jukebox in the corner of the diner was blaring.

“For God’s sake, Ray Dan, you picked the only diner in South Alabama with a jukebox? You know I hate them things in diners.”

“I didn’t know, I swear. Promise. Maybe the pie is good. Joe Willy, here, take a look at the menu.”

The music quieted and the two ordered chicken-fried steak, grits, and greens. Joe Willy was hacking away at his meat when the music started up again. He dropped his knife and fork on the table.

“No, don’t.” Ray Dan tried but couldn’t stop him from heading out of the diner. Ray Dan watched him sit in the truck before he let out the breath he was holding. But Joe Willy didn’t stay in the truck, he popped back out with a chrome-plated Desert Eagle .44 Magnum stuck into the front of his pants and stormed back into the diner. He entered just as a song was finishing…

Get the rest of this redneck tale right here!


If you need a read then X-IT a comeuppance tale by Contributing Writer Ann B-D is sure please!

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

You’ll get what’s coming to you, even if there’s not much left of you when justice is served.

Here’s the set-up:

“Broken and Entering” by Tyler Malone

It’s seven pm, a summer early evening, the hour when the swallows that live in the carport suddenly blow across the yard in long swoops. Celia leans against the threshold of her house, her arthritic hands cupped around a mug of chamomile tea. She watches the swallows dive and rise in the air. She scans the horizon beyond the yard, takes in the low mountains in the distance glowing purple in the setting sun. The sky is quiet. Here and there a frail cloud slowly upends and dissolves. The swallows don’t call to each other; it is so still that she can hear a faint ruff of air slapping through their wings as they pass overhead.

Celia upends her mug, drains the last drops in it and goes inside. It will be an early bedtime for her tonight. She’s nearly eighty, needs more sleep than she used to. Still, seven is too early for bed, so she delays by moving around the house, doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Eventually, she feels the pull of fatigue. Her bedroom is on the second floor of the house. She climbs the stairs slowly.

Washed, clothed in soft pajamas and settled in bed, she lets her mind run over the events of the day until she drifts into sleep.

An hour goes by. Another. Outside, profound dark except for the glow on the horizon of lights from a far-off village. Silence… and then, a scraping noise.

Celia, a light sleeper, awakens instantly. She listens.

Another scrape. Footsteps. A muffled cough. It’s a night visitor. Or, to be more specific, a criminal breaking into an old lady’s house.

Celia sits up in bed. A faint smile curls the corners of her mouth. She draws the blanket over her knees, over her shoulders. She leans back against the wall and waits.

She hears the big window downstairs slide open. Hoarse breathing, a scrabbling sound as the night visitor hoists his body up over the sill.

And then, a scream. Gabbled words. Another scream. Feet kicking against a wall, again, again, and then. Silence…

If you wanna see how justice gets served then read the rest of “X-IT” right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of November (aka 11.02.22) 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!

This month we celebrated 18 years of swirlin’ up this mic madness that we do!

Here’s a shout out to all who celebrated with us by gracing our stage with their words, songs, beatific madness…

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks)

Open Mic’ers:
Carlos Salas
Gayle Bell
Tony Robinson
Marianne Szlyk
Desmene Status
David Crandall
Harry McNabb
Josh Weir
Alan Gann
CJ Critt
Dick Zinnendorf
Suza Kanon
Kevin O’Neill
Aaron Glover

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 12.07.22)… 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…


The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin’ on… NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in our Mad Swirl’s World? Then come by whenever the mood strikes! We’ll be here…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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