The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.04.22 – 12.17.22

by on December 18, 2022 :: 0 comments

“Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.

Paul Klee

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Altered” ~ 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 (12.11 – 12.17) on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we graced our search with the perfect perch; we’d strangely be near naked tree; we snapped pics of mom bliss; we’d joyride blown, oh, had we known; we hoped weird with a beard; we got maddest at a jihadist; we crisis wrought in canine thought. I know… ~ MH Clay

Metaphysics for Beginners by Peycho Kanev

Hell exists,
said to me a shadowy figure on the street
at dusk
during my evening stroll

And what about Heaven then
There’s got to be one
if Hell exists,
I asked

Nobody answered
He was gone
The sky darkened and the stars seeded the sky

I wanted to find him and ask him something else
but my owner tugged gently at the leash and we went
in another direction.

December 17, 2022

editors note: The cosmic cogitations of canines. – mh clay

The Cure by Ann B-D

It just made me feel so much better.
All it took was a few shots through the bus window.
The crack of glass as the bullets hit,
crazing the window, pop, fzzzz, and then
the crazed bellow of the bus motor
as the driver slammed his foot on the gas
but couldn’t go,
for the wheelchair ramp was stuck in place. So
I stood and watched as
people poured out bus doors and windows
like frantic ants from a squashed anthill, heard
women scream, men shout
and shrill waves
of children’s shrieks
knifing through the air,
rising and falling
like sirens, ambulance, firetrucks,
car horns blaring,
it was all so
invigorating –
And I felt sweeps of blood
rushing through my body, felt
cleansing waves pouring through me
while a million phones flashed
light light light –
Distant wailing, cops approaching,
and oh my headache was

December 16, 2022

editors note: Worse than any disease. – mh clay

Packet of lies by Mubarek Saed

it is in heaven’s stomach;
you see a glittering that makes your
hope grow beards.

on your head you carried
packets of lies
crossing the hills in the cemetery.

in your pocket, you home a
stranger, offer him a bed to lay in
and steal from the bank of his soul at night.

& you named yourself a synonym for death
but remember, as you chase life it rebels back,
rejecting the offer you offered.

note, loneliness is not an excuse
to stay alive. and remember greed
is a sweat of the devil.

December 15, 2022

editors note: We live as thieves; no excuses. – mh clay

The Seville by Donna Dallas

Not the cured meat
that hangs over the butcher’s counter
nor the pastel mosaic
of fake nails
glued to the storefront window
of the salon
all those candies
I walked by countless times
and ignored

Not the one hundred year old
rosary your mother should
have given us
to save us from this – had we known
when we pulled the car out of
the driveway
we’d drive ourselves
into this gorge – had we known

As I kneel down and smell
these gorgeous lilies
with the atlas heavy
on my back
so heavy
I limp
and hunch over

Had we known
I always wonder this
if we’d have left
those shiny keys
in the steering wheel
and walked the other way

December 14, 2022

editors note: One joy ride gone downright joyless. – m,h clay

3 Haiku: Maternal Bliss by Padmini Krishnan

ninth month bliss
a human companion
to her furry child

her angry kicks
on my chest
fall of poppy petals

paper art
I linger by her
pink mountain

December 13, 2022

editors note: Little pics of little bliss along the way. – mh clay

OUTSIDE DRESS by Marie Higgins

Closeted on a hill near the pond,
you stand in a uniform line with
relatives, extending your breezy arms to
pull on my scent while I shade.

I lay beneath you,
peering up at bare strips previously
made under a rutting moon.

You woo me with your glamorous
garment changes.
You have a pullover me.

Under autumn skies your getup,
magically costumed in morphing silk until
you are not wearing a stitch,
varied decay of threads around you,
dyes wearing thin.

I stomp on them to reach your body,
clinging as the larvae and lichen do.
It looks strange to passersby.
I don’t care.

I bid farewell, for soon,
a thick white blanket will swaddle you,
your perches an icy array.
When this happens, I cannot stay.
By design, I am limited.

December 12, 2022

editors note: Riddle me, love or tree. – mh clay

PASSERINE by Jim Trainer

in this place that was sun-warmed
this place with windows for walls that was
mostly light
an old betty came in, with a pursed sense
of class
and her protégé, talking about work in the arts
they order drinks, sit down and
talk too loud at the table next to me
the barista is handsome, he brings me
a fresh decaf Americano and biscotti,
on the house, when I’m not looking and adding
simple syrup to my mug and cream
there are these
fleeting moments of togetherness I have
sometimes, at a warm place, in the right
when my weariness is so heavy it can
pull away the veil and a gesture will turn me
like a key
they aren’t often, but they’re enough—
wistful, breath-like moments when
the world doesn’t mind, either way,
and I feel a grace bounding like a starling
along a length of battleship chain.

December 11, 2022

editors note: The perfect perch. – mh clay


This past week (11.06 – 11.12) on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we haply had both good and bad; we heeded an hinter of summer in winter; we talked of travail, of pen over nail; we strained to see with houseless key; we childhood paid for lemonade; we hardly spoke, just shared a smoke; we burgeoned bright through what’s in sight. We’re keyhole sprites, we bleed, we writes. ~ MH Clay

In Your Eyes by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

In your eyes,
buried treasures,
seeking an

In your eyes,
an innocent
being, seeks
some goodwill.

In your eyes,
space exists and
sheep are counted,
same as clouds.

In your eyes,
the sweetest heart,
its best days
are numbered.

December 10, 2022

editors note: If we could see with eyes like these, that would be something to count on. – mh clay

After Dark by Lucinda Borchard

The bright coal of the cigarette passed between them.
She noticed the tightly drawn curve of his shoulders.
He’d just faced a screaming man in the bar, full of rage,
But he knew how to avoid a fight,
Having endured his brother’s anger for years,
His childhood still raw.
He checked his watch as she found the North Star,
Tracing the constellation lines as her father taught her.
She wanted to speak of stars and cicadas,
Of long summer nights and heat lightning,
But they silently passed the diminishing cigarette,
Quickly extinguished as he walked back into the house.

December 9, 2022

editors note: Sometimes a conversation; sometimes just a coal. – mh clay


The kids around here have the same
Deal I had as a kid — quiet
Street, no customers, baking sun.
No one thinks to bring any ice
For their spare selection of room
Temperature sugar water.

At two in the afternoon these
Children have made no money. They
Ask me if I want Lemonade!
Sir! Lemonade! but give up soon,
Catching my advanced age. How old
Do I seem to them? Eighty? Dead?

Just a few years ago, I swear…
I was on this very same street,
Making the same money. Our brave
Acme did not last long: it was
So hot, the sun so high, that we
Often closed up shop by one sharp.

Strange the way you look back fondly
On steamy August afternoons;
Stranger still the way memory
Shapes being young, how a long day
In the sun becomes something else
Now, a thought that glows. As if our
Minds protect the past, a second
Life only we know; and some of
Our memories glow because kids
Truly don’t care how witty they
Seem on Twitter, let alone how
Happy they say they are online.

December 8, 2022

editors note: So good, them goodle days; gooder than they were, but always gooder than now. – mh clay

Keyless by Dan Raphael

doors open out, close in
windows open up, close down
jars open clockwise, close counter

I choose the right key to unlock the kitchen door
90% of the time, the other nearly identical key
is for someone else’s house
I don’t have a key for my front door
the garage door hasn’t come down since we got here

that time I put my key in the passenger door
opened it, and realized it wasn’t my Subaru
now as long as the key’s in your pocket or purse
doesn’t matter who you are

some homes in Chile (& elsewhere) are built on stilts
when a couple splits up, often one person gets the land
the other gets the house and moves it

could you build a house under an existing house
a house inside a house, a house without foundation or flooring

looked so hard in the living room window
I heard it sigh. no doors, no house number
I couldn’t see past the lawn

December 7, 2022

editors note: If no house, no matter what key you carry. – mh clay

Frail by Susie Gharib

Frail is the nail
which can’t make me shriek,
the hail that pelts
my petals and speech,
the gale that rips
my roof and peace
for I shall know much better days.

Frail is the pen
whose ink has congealed,
the veil that shrouds
a veracious tale,
the spam that haunts
my fertile mail,
for bubbles will burst in the air.

December 6, 2022

editors note: Almost no trouble to burst a bubble. Frail, indeed! – mh clay

Gods of New Seasons by Neile Graham

November sun sparks
rain, igniting scraps of leaves
draped over naked, shining branches.

The wind: ice. The sun:
a thin hand on my back, its touch
a reminder of July’s oppressive blanket.

How I’d tried to escape it
in sweaty sleep, not any sheet
to cover me, not any wind, only July smothering

my skin. You in the cooler
basement, me too stubborn to move.
Dreams that night carried me on waves between

barely sleeping and barely
waking. Summers will always be
like that: hot and inescapable — Winters like this:

rain, wind, autumn air
ice-hot, ice-cold. Years spiraling
around and around until we dizzily brown

and fall off branches,
spinning to murky, mucky ground
where rain dissolves us into tissue, fragments

of bone. It’s enough
to make me restless, send me
out into the trees where the wind thickens

the fall, frees rain
in drops onto my face and hair:
cool, wet peace. I remember a night beside you

another place another
time, when, through the open
window above our bed, a wind brushed bright snow

from the roof next door
onto me, startling me into
cold grace. So grateful. So glad to be alive.

December 5, 2022

editors note: Embrace that blast; alive, at last. – mh clay

Mirabile as well as Ill-Omened by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Sundry things sit wondrous to behold, quite miraculous, phenomenal,
Mind-blowingly prominent, extraordinary, unbelievable, exceptional,
Plus, astounding, inexplicable in function, incredible in form, equally
Marvelous, “true exemplars” for miscellany.

Contrarywise, the mediocre, the middling, the run-of-the-mill, those
Average, ordinary, hackneyed kits, situate themselves as pedestrian,
As unexceptional, routine, standard, typical, mainstream, or normal,
Else dull, unimaginative, uninspired pastiches.

All the same, generally speaking, life’s not humdrum nor brilliant.
It’s breathtaking as well as banal, alternatively archetypally exotic
Then dreary. Most certainly, goings-on are wont to sequence both
Superb moments and dreadful ones.

December 4, 2022

editors note: Take them or not, both will come. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Check out And The Apostles Put Their Tails Between Their Legs (and howled) by Contributing Writer & Poet Randall Rogers

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week published on December 15:

All hail. All worship. All hell!

“From Above” by Tyler Malone


Check out The Tusks of the Warthog by Contributing Writer & Poet Jeff Grimshaw

Here’s what Short Story Editor Tyler Malone has to say about this pick’o the week published on December 09:

There’s so much beauty that we ourselves grow, but what happens when we’re not happy with what’s us?

“Facade” by Tyler Malone

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of December (aka 12.07.22) 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 with your words, your songs, your divine madness…

MH Clay
Desmene Status

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris Curiel, Gerard Bendiks)

Open Mic’ers:
Suza Hepcat
*Chris Zimmerly
Kim Nall
*Giulio Magrini
Alan Gann
*Marianne Szlyk
*Ethan Goffman
Lauren Kalstad
Mark Ridlen
David Fargason (musician)
*Anthony Ripp
Josh Weir
Elliott Hill


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 01.04.23)… may the madness swirl your way!

Johnny O


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…

Seein’ It,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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