The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.26.22

by on November 27, 2022 :: 0 comments

“You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.

Jimi Hendrix

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“In Repair” ~ 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 bled on back to a sad attack; we homed to come where we are from; we godly wandered plots to ponder; we had no hope for a Texas dope; we blinded eye as owned by sky; we prayed to rest in place the best; we would together place again, our teacher stars embrace again. We trust in the dust. ~ MH Clay

Galactic Embrace by Harley White

Five hundred twenty million light-years far
from Earth a meld of galaxies has spread
its multi-arms wide open ‘midst the star
Orion cluster in its wedded thread.
With limbs outstretched, in stellar reach enmeshed,
the astral realms seem grouped in fondness spree,
by constant star formation e’er refreshed,
as if united through affinity.
Mankind’s subsistence may revolve around
embrace of nature’s procreations rife
in cosmic regions or on earthly ground
a wakened sense of reverence for life.

That human beings be humane is key.
Could spheres celestial teach us harmony?

November 26, 2022

editors note: Couldn’t we learn to dance in turn to stop our constant crash and burn? (It could look like this.) – mh clay

The Best Place by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Back road
taking it past the valley
up into the hills
smooth slopes of grass
spreading my long coat out
and laying back
on a pillow hill
gazing up
into the high and far sky
this world that I am in
has changed so
beyond my sight
scaring me to death
this is the best place
to pray for an end
and accept the possibilities.

November 25, 2022

editors note: Resigned to what we can’t see, accepting what we’ll soon be. – mh clay


sun shining
dances in leaves across
the white paper of
birch bark

distance is a mirage
only the mind sees

birds are shadows
darting through consciousness
like streaks of wind

each leaf turns an eye blinded
by sun

trail open to the marching of ants
black specks like moving
cells of a brain

the sky is wide open like
a mouth yawning

all movement owes
a debt to stillness

the sky as always
owns us.

November 24, 2022

editors note: Stuck in a stroll, always sky in control. – mh clay

Poem by Anthony Ripp

You’ll want to think the poem comes from somewhere else, but it doesn’t.
You will write about a Poplar tree and cherry blossoms,
and the sun sinking like hearts sank on the day that Betty White died.
It’ll all be beautiful and moving
There’s no poetry in that,
you can always walk away from something pretty.
It doesn’t hold you captive.

For instance, you are standing at Niagara Falls
You’re in love, but you won’t say;
not with them standing there.
Not with palms that get sweaty in stressful situations.
You’ll just blush and scribble something.
The sun continues to sink in your poem,
It’s all very romantic
it’s all supper clubs and Liberace.
There is nothing daunting there.
You can walk away from that,
and you’ll want to think about it later.

Somewhere, in another town, someone regrets nothing, but it isn’t here.
That is not a place where poetry comes from
or any other type of art, but maybe you’re just being supercilious.
Well, who isn’t?
You’re only human and you are aging
Maybe that’s the problem
Maybe you’re just bitter
Good, that’s how poetry breathes

It is dark outside, and you are crying
There’s no hope in Texas,
there’s too much hope in California
And anyway, you’re used to Texas, so you stay.
You manage
You cry
You write
You can’t walk away
That’s where poetry lives, I think.
In hopelessness
and questions like,
what are you supposed to do about yourself?

November 23, 2022

editors note: Ask and you shall… – mh clay

Poor Americans by Randall Rogers

antagonists, living
at home
in the robust
imagination of God
plot lines.

November 22, 2022

editors note: In this land of plenty, a plethora of plot lines. Praise god! – mh clay

THE HOME WHERE I COME FROM by Agboola Abidemi Kaothar

In the home where I come from
Children dance to the grumbling of an empty stomach
we steal smile’s skin
our parents become oceans at the sight of the lakes that journey down our faces.

In the home where I come from
We bath our fufu(s) with the flying aromas from our neighbor’s Kitchen
And let them journey to the land of longing intestines.

In the home where I come from
our clothes are different — they are baskets with myriad holes.
the color of the sky is the length of a standing rain, so
We reflect droplets of mud.

In the home where I come from
our bowl is the size of the earth’s heart
together, our hands are falling graces.

In the home where I come from
our eyelashes are separated by the hymning of the birds, the crowing of the cocks, and the confectionary taste of dongoyaro
our teeth tell our history.

In the home where I come from
girls kiss the soil and wake up firewood with their voices
their waist beads dance to the view of blazing fire
their curves twirl – at the sound of a steaming Gbegiri soup.

In the home where I come from
men are hunted by hungry animals
and their lips flute songs of victory
or is it sorrow?

November 21, 2022

editors note: Consider a home where wide-open spaces are within. – mh clay

Ode to lives lost in Peshawar attack by Ekta Singh Chandel

Ketchup on my plate, clotted blood
On my thighs, notepad

In my bag, bullet
In my friend’s eye, a knot

Building in my stomach, whispers
Frazzling across the classroom amid sighs, loud steps

Approaching through the corridor, my mother’s face
Flashing in my mind, my father’s voice

Echoing in my ears, death
Coercing through tears.

November 20, 2022

editors note: Tragedy as trigger to suffer again and again. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re looking for a timely read, A Turkey Named Harold by Contributing Writer Phyllis Souza will get you cluckin’!

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

‘Tis hunting season! Go get blood on your hands so there’s more than just spit in your mouth.

Here’s a bit of this feathered tale to get you strutin’:

“The Gathering” by Tyler Malone

Harold flew out of a giant oak and landed with his feet on the ground. Three toes forward and one back. Like a Spartan with a red plume, he raised his head and showed off his vermilion dome. He flapped his wings and propelled himself onward.

The turkey gobbled as he pranced across open ground, searching for grasshoppers.

Children chattered with noisy excitement and stuck their heads out the windows of their school buses. Their eyes combed the fields in search of the bird. Where was Harold?

The local football team’s mascot, dressed up like a turkey, strutted in front of the stands during half-time.

“Go, Harold. Go!” excited fans shouted.

Everyone loved Harold, except Olaf. He would kill for that bird…

Get the rest of this fowlish story right here!

••• Another Mad Review •••

Farts and Daydreams
(Joseph Farley, Dumpster Fire Press, 2022)

At any time it shouldn’t be a problem to be accountable for ourselves and the waves we feel inside our own minds. But since we’ve been our own basic problems for all our fortunate lives, those problems weigh as much as our bones and we grow to carry them naturally. “There would always be rats in my life… My sister is also a rat, born in the proper year. So is my youngest son. But he lives with his mother now and is too old to compel visitation. Some rats I need. Some rats I long to stop by and spend some time with me.” (Pg. 79) We know what burrows in us, and as time and distance separate us from what we know, we find ourselves without the atmosphere that was so familiar. And with that, we discover a new fear we can’t dictate, or terror to give to others. Day-to-day, life-by-life, this could be true, and that is why Farts and Daydreams (Joseph Farley, Dumpster Fire Press, 2022) is a journey to take in any life.

We all have spent the last few years hoping the worlds we can choose from were all larger and more liberating, each a total disconnect from where we began to hope for freedom. We’ve wanted more—more love, more of a home (or have easily found a way for home to be a wholly new experience); all possible options for endless happiness are materially impossible and what most are left with in life is what’s routinely possible. The stories in Farts and Daydreams are no different than we are. What populates the pages: Gods and their counterparts, broken puzzle piece lovers; fantasy royalty and once-favorite nostalgia and where those fit within one another in our memories and the crippling PTSD action figures must carry. There’s pestilence in what we believe our plagues to be as well as their real occupation as it’s obvious what they’re truthfully made of as sickness takes toll.

Through all that, we have what’s close to us in “Break In,” “Night of the Living Jesus,” and “The Ice Cream Man Cometh,” and possibly what we celebrate enough to take anywhere and at any time of our own accountable existence. Joseph Farley’s Farts and Daydreams is a serious collection of short fiction that does a fine thing over and over: it doesn’t take itself too seriously; so seriously that it’s difficult to take it out into the world. We struggle with our own stories that we’ve taken years to take too seriously, this book lightens that burden beautifully.


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…

Bein’ Crazy,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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