The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.06.22 – 11.19.22

by on November 20, 2022 :: 0 comments

“When art has changed, it’s because the world was changing.

Corita Kent

••• 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 (11.13 – 11.19) on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we dripped on skies with smoke in eyes; we snaked on what’s gone; we tramped the norm just before the storm; we weighed the rounds, the meanings of sounds; we magic stabbed you as she tried to grab you; we whisper watched a tea klatch; we highed the hype for turning ripe. Our words turn rotten and misbegotten. ~ MH Clay

There is a rock holding the ground down by Brendan McBreen

A chameleon of days
Melting the ice in my tea
My every lavender move
Roses sparking forth a twilight of petals
And butterflies
Offerings for Venus flytrap hearts
Longing for maple syrup and astronauts
Ancient archeology mysteries unraveled by teachers
Plumbers fishing out jade bullion from clogged toilets
My burnt umber and cedar brown soul applauds wildly
A yappy dog that can never shut up
But despite it all
This blue August has passed me by
A trillion times
Me a bird of some sort
Hiding in the foliage of the fig tree
Waiting patiently for ripeness

November 19, 2022

editors note: More tea to turn from turpitude. – mh clay

PROPAGANDA 45 by Christopher Barnes

Payoff filch – tea.
Rash to overlook cup-and-lip.
It was meanly shivery.
Ghoulish jesting,
Whispers beyond nappers.








Patrollers gulped tea.
Rash, we overran.
Damocles had ’em shivery.
Jesting, unsettled.
Nappers feebly budged.

November 18, 2022

editors note: Much ado over tea for… – mh clay

Madness as a genre. by Fatihah Quadri Eniola

I watch your body break into another gourd of palm wine, saying the mouth of a great man is the mouth of god taking his first step into unconsciousness.

Your mother sobs silently in a distance where her body is a load in the mouth of a graveyard, a broken wine bottle & a pothole honored with the leftover of the rain thickened into mud, a bird born into darkness, born to see things the world hides of the dead, tweeters on a cherry tree.

But on days like this, you are fire, you are a man seeking a way out of himself like cities where boys trespass borders for gin sachets.

You have heard her cry before, the day your village became Gomorrah & spat fire & the sacrifice it wanted was little boys whose guards were lost to sand song, fire dancing behind you in a mud-sucked T-shirt, she sobbed, before your body found the sea & ran into luck.

But today, she wishes to grab you again from the fire swimming close to your head, the way light comes for the sons of darkness but you are miles away from clothes, your naked body dancing Kathakali in the eyes of market women, & your mother, is just a sack of rotten bones in the mouth of a graveyard, she is calling through the breeze, she is crying in your head, but it’s nothing, you have heard her cry like that.

November 17, 2022

editors note: Misery memory, mad indeed. – mh clay

The Weight of Words by Joseph Farley

The weight of words
and the mockery of men.

All this and the weather too.
Storms outside and in.

The crashing of consonants.
The anguish of vowels.

The glares of the ignorant
content in their simplicity.

The otherness of the stranger
isolated by his addiction

to all those sounds
containing meanings

that you strive so hard
to understand.

November 16, 2022

editors note: They ain’t heavy… – mh clay

no compassion by Jack Henry

we tramp around
parking lots,
our mawing mouths
chewing in the thick
hot air.

clouds take congress
overhead but nothing comes.

our clenched fists
wave up in anger
at an insulant sky,
but a deluge
never comes.

other clouds gather
and we eye them with suspicion.
the noise of thunder
begins to call out.
four riders appear
just before the storm.

sharpen your sabers,
brothers and sisters,
sharpen them now.

November’s coming.

November 15, 2022

editors note: Gods help us; November is here! – mh clay

A Mighty Umpire by Mike James

a mighty umpire – calls me – asks me out – is basically a stalker
I want to be – on the upholstery team – noodling along – definitely safe

I want to be – in my dreams of powder – my dreams of powder
of the black and white silent era – amid plush maps – paper snakes

a snake knows how – to coil – how to strike – fast
a snake – can shrink or sting – on time – without memory

I want to be – rid – of the laws of the past – booked away – amid
snakes – candy – buttocks – a volume of voices – fresh from Oz

what’s gone – doesn’t always – go free – sometimes
what’s gone – goes elsewhere – an old horizon – wrapped in song

November 14, 2022

editors note: What we want to be – is called safe – at home. – mh clay

2 Haiku: smoke rings & saline by Jerome Berglund

the fallacy of
only hurting myself
secondhand smoke rings

the saline droops out
of her eyes in two
straight lines like paint drips

November 13, 2022

editors note: More so, when one causes the other. – mh clay


This past week (11.06 – 11.12) on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we found no fab life in a crab life; we no truth availed from the test we failed; we got mean up in the clean up; we ran to dodge her camouflage; we traced our track on daddy’s back; we wiggled our way to giggle a day; we dull detractors faced so not to be erased. Written in ink, we say what we think. ~ MH Clay

She Did Not Come to Be Erased by Beate Sigriddaughter

She did not come to be erased
by an invisible thief
a man who writes of love in pencil
as roses standing behind
a blue fence posturing exuberance

She stands
on the far side of longing
where dreams simply don’t translate
and are impossible
to heal on short notice

She wants to be remembered
with music
that has already escaped

She didn’t ask to be born
and now she doesn’t want to die

Leaves drift like snow
slower than the rain that drives
and disconnects them

She stands with her soul in transit
cradled in her arms like a refugee
and the terrible temptation to destroy
so nobody and nothing
gets to do it first

A crimson rose speaks to her
Why would you want to own me?
and she is grateful
for a day without poison

November 12, 2022

editors note: More grateful days, longer living. – mh clay

Giggle Day by Kleio B

She had no funny bones,
An image of seriousness;
People regarded her,
With a sense of wonderment.
Years went by,
Our protagonist remained glum;
A setting beauty,
In a world of warmth.
Her parents traveled places,
But they couldn’t get her to smile;
Our Ice Queen struggled,
To find a happy vibe.
Then an anonymous post arrived,
In an envelope that had a wiggle;
From inside it sprung a spring toy,
And out came her ripples of giggles.
That day has gone down in history,
As the official “Giggle” day;
People share toys to spread joy,
In a land far far away.

November 11, 2022

editors note: Let’s spread more toy joy! – mh clay

The Back of my Father, Maheshwar Padhan by Pitambar Naik

Some uncommon burden diminishes every time
on his return, his back is like
that of a refuge for the entire family.

There’s acute water scarcity, no rainfall
but heavy low pressure during the harvest
how cold-blooded is God’s look, if

the loan is not repaid, there’d be a disdainful
look from many to devour our rice vessel.

His back is actually like a sturdy banyan tree
that can suppress all the hits of the axes
his back is like an indefatigable chest

which can ignore the killing thrash
of the sun, rain and winter.

Life isn’t measured by years, months and days
we measure his life by the bruises he bears
and he measures our happiness at the
depth, length and width of his scars.

Translated from the Odia by Pitambar Naik

November 10, 2022

editors note: We face forward from the strength of his back. – mh clay

Mantis by Tony Huang

There are ghost mantises, orchid mantises, dead leaf mantises,
Violin mantises, spotted eye mantises, mantises with name or no name.
He’s amazed at how adroitly they appear
the same as the things around them
But sad for their sense of ease
To become something they are not

Just for survival

November 9, 2022

editors note: A bit of entomology in human sociology. Lovers beware! – mh clay

Leftovers by Pete Mladinic

Resentment is a festival of flies buzzing
round a half-munched sausage link
and sauerkraut on a paper plate
I want to dump in a barrel
but not to walk fifty feet through flies,
germs, yellow jackets.

I love sauerkraut but not leftover
on a paper plate with flies.
There’s no more or less resentment here
in Lake Village than in Star City
or other delta towns.
Look at this mess!

I chose to travel to Lake Village,
enter its school, tell the kids about poems,
have them write.
My partner David Reveal’s feet propped on
the desk up front, I recite a poem
about leftovers. Who left this mess?

November 8, 2022

editors note: Sometimes it’s the mess we carry with us. – mh clay


When it is over, war
is like a sunken ship.
The waters flow over it
till the next ship
floats till it’s sunk,
and again forgotten.

Many years from now,
future students will get
a history assignment,
read about the Russian
invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
They will yawn and feel disgruntled,
perhaps behind in their work,
put if off, then read it
while headphone music
jumps boring lines off the page,
note that Putin deployed
over 20,000 soldiers
to their deaths, an uncounted
number of civilians massacred,
turn the page quickly
as it will probably
not be on the test.

November 7, 2022

editors note: What we’re taught but never learn; doomed to repeat, repeat, repeat… – mh clay

Sea of Treachery by Robert L. Martin

Mother Nature of two faces,
seas with glassy roofs and easy gaits,
seas with melodic whispers
and rhythmic rolling,

then seas of the swirling labyrinth,
victims of the Gods of the wind,
the Tempest showing its seven ugly heads,
sons of Neptune with contorted faces
dictating the motion of the waters,
taking over ownership of the seas
with wayward currents, establishing new laws,
the cadence of nature in a frenzy,
the easiness of motion disturbed,
harmony of the waters running amuck,
moderation of the elements undone
for the pathway of the fisherman to sail upon,
but the journey must be done.

The quota must be filled.
The crabs must be caught
come hell or high water.

The war with the devil’s breath,
the disruption of the devil’s flow
in defiance against the new command,
and the will to keep on fighting
is ingrained in the spirit of the true crabber.
His livelihood depends upon his perseverance.
The task ahead is his mountain to climb
and the Tempest is his enemy to subdue.

November 6, 2022

editors note: You didn’t know the epic quest required to serve those crab legs at your fav seafood spot. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you need a read THat just might teach you a THing or two (plus a lesson recollection you mighta missed back in chemistry class) THen Thorium by Contributing Writer Jim Bates is just THe story for you!

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

There’s so much good under our feet, waiting to claw its way up to take us down somewhere safe, cool, and lively.

Here’s THe basics of THis elemental tale:

“Barrier” by Tyler Malone

Hi. I’m thorium, the 90th element on the periodic chart. I’m a metallic mineral that tarnishes black when exposed to the air. In full disclosure, I’m also slightly radioactive. I’m the forty-first most abundant element in the earth’s crust but I wasn’t discovered until 1828 when a priest found me in the form of a black mineral on Løvøya, an island in Norway. I was sent to a scientific institute in Oslo to be analyzed. I was eventually determined to be a new element. Excuse me! I’ve been around since Earth was formed. But at least I was named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder. I think that’s kind of cool.

The first applications for my use were developed in the late 19th century. Because when I burn, I give off light, I was used in devices like gas mantles, which were portable sources of light. Many applications were subsequently found for me, including ceramics, carbon arc lamps, and heat-resistant crucibles. So, all well and good. Right?..

Get THe whole lesson right here!


If you’re looking for a FEW reads, then seek no more! Keith Hoerner has delivered us three shorties, “Upon Meeting a Boy on the Street, While Carrying the Cremated Remains of My Alice,” “hiSStory” & “The Lake House” to feed any reading needs.

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

Time remains in what we want to bury, what others try to resurrect, and what’s forgotten but what was what defined love and life. Time passes but its wide, deep pools never drain.

“Passage” by Tyler Malone

Move that mouse on over here and get your few short-short reads on!


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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