The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.07.23

by on January 8, 2023 :: 0 comments
tomorrow belongs to thosewho can hear it coming

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“The Tripwire of Uncertainty” ~ Bill Wolak

Mad Swirl is excited to start off the new year with one of our favorite returning artists, Bill Wolak! Bill has brought more of his wonderful, trippy artwork to the mad gallery. What better way to start a new year than with more of his dreamy and unusual pieces? Looking at his work and hoping for more symmetry, sensuality & strangeness in ’23. You with me? I bet Wolak is! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Bill’s wonderfully trippy illustrations, 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 firstly met, new year to get; we learned enough where they show off stuff; we looked back on mirror cracked; we were on the take through a chain break; we learned to parse the shapely arse; we were made the clown in our own town; we felt for a father’s concerns about color. Though our world is made in shades, it needn’t color our actions. ~ MH Clay

Birthday Boy by Roderick Richardson

He’s 10 today.

He says, “I’m
Almost a

“Take your
I said.

He’s 10 today.

In 2 years, this
Lover of Hot Wheels
And Roblox will be
Seen to the world
As a menace.

His life will be in
The hands of society’s

When the arm of
Racism suffers
From withdrawals,

It could use him
For a taste. And
His death would
Be celebrated.

This is what I
Think about
As he blows out
His candles.

January 7, 2023

editors note: May the only candles lit for these boys be on their cakes. – mh clay

He Gave Me This Address Downtown by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

He gave me this address downtown
so that I knew he had money or was squatting or married
well enough to drink champagne from flutes
that once graced a city orchestra
and I felt like some long-lost bearded Odysseus
the entire ride down on the train,
as though I was on the wander, even in my own city
which I believe is what he was going for all along
that first time he called asking about planters
he knew I would never have.

January 6, 2023

editors note: Ugh! We all know someone like this. (Eek! Maybe we are someone like this?) – mh clay


In times of political and planetary turmoil, it is always easy
To write poems about the likes of mad old Donald or his
Surrogate mini-me, all blonde hair and a bombshell just
Waiting to detonate a lot of Latin nonsense, but sometimes
It’s just enough to let go. Letting my mind drift to all the
Other kinds of arses; there are a couple of nubile, young sexy
Arses that I see walking away from my counter at work and
I’m mesmerised by their swagger and on occasion when I want to
Switch off I tend to think of those gorgeous shapely arses
Rather than the kind of arseholes that are apparently in charge.

January 5, 2023

editors note: Let’s give thanks for our freedom to choose. – mh clay

Silent Encouragement by Paul Tristram

Victoria… Segregates
and Prioritises
… needle-matches…
[Forever] ‘Flashing’
when Fatal-Blowing
‘Boundary Walls’
… I’m Fascinated.
A ‘Huntress’
who does not braggg
… I’m looking
for [Negative] ‘Ego’
… but, so far, I see…
and Confidence only.
We’re not ‘Friends’,
just yet… but, she’s
weaving in-and-out
of my Acquaintances
… looking for an ‘In’.
Her [Slick] Behaviour
has started to Attract
Spectators… and I’m
beginning to ‘Focus’
and give away
‘Smiles’ far too freely.
When Chain Breakers
collide… the Dance…
becomes… Irresistible.

January 4, 2023

editors note: Joining your chain gang, while dancing you onto hers. – mh clay


She holds the flowers in her lowered left hand
deep in the shadows below her heart
while holding the handmirror with her right,
practicing her smiles while looking into it
for everything that is surely behind her.
Suddenly startled by what she sees
and frightened of being caught
holding onto such fragile beauty,
she drops the flowers she is hiding in her left hand
and, when turning to meet her past,
she crushes the flowers with a foot so small
that she cannot run but only finish turning,
the small sound of the fallen mirror cracking under the other
foot so fragile, so small.

January 3, 2023

editors note: Past poser cracks mirror for seven. – mh clay

Gravedigger at the Fair by Christopher Calle

Gravedigger at the Fair
Socialist miracle
Multicultural spectacle
Hey, we can’t use these tickets
You want’em?
Piglets and lambs turn into sheep and bacon
Hopeful youth turn into bookkeepers and headlines
Concrete is the 3rd heaviest carbon footprint, I read
Will we be done by Friday? she asks.
Do you want to ride the Crazy Mouse?
Of course, I do, or whatever you want
The ride you’re asked to be on is always a good one
We celebrate commerce
Mastery over nature
Youthful indifference to responsibility
Cotton Candy harvest
We are concerned about x
y and z
I’ve got 500-mile legs and a bridge to build
And so far
A pen

January 2, 2023

editors note: Fair enough! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you need some Space then check out by Mehreen Ahmed’s short-short story!

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

Real estate should be sold by the inch.

Get some “Space” here!

“Another Earth” by Tyler Malone


If you need a read with some spirit then check out this week’s featured story Ghost by Contributing Writer & Poet Marie Higgins!

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

It’s not the misery that loves company; it’s love that can accompany misery.

Here’s a few traces of Marie’s feel-good tale:

“Old Haunt” by Tyler Malone

My morning routine became non-existent after my husband died. I’d only sit there drinking coffee, staring off into space, as Dexter looked on, expecting breakfast and a walk. I did eventually provide both, but not as usual. Time had no meaning.

At some point, I met Ghost. Now, about five years in, Ghost texts me twice every morning, just before daylight, and I move towards meeting her, without even looking at the first one. This one is always the same: I am leaving my house soon.

It’s the second one that’s important, and it includes a weather report, something like this: I left. It’s colder than I thought it would be. You should wear a jacket. It is my cue that I had better be going.

I’ve lived alone with Dexter for six years. Even though I wanted to keep my husband forever, hateful cancer took his voice box, along with a contagious laugh, and left some ominous cells behind. We hadn’t had children yet, so it got awfully quiet before he died.

I remember the day I met Ghost…

Get your whole “Ghost”-ly read on right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.04.23) 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…

Johnny O
MH Clay

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

Open Mic’ers:
Desmene Statum
*Anthony Ripp
*Atenea Afrodita
Harry McNabb
*Gayle Bell
Brian Duran-Fuentes
*Chris Zimmerly
*Mike Zone
VP Crowe
*Marianne Szlyk
*Ethan Goffman
Chloe Curiel


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 02.01.23)… 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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