The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.14.23

by January 15, 2023 0 comments

Genius unrefined resembles a flash of lightning, but wisdom is like the sun.

Franz Grillparzer

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Unexpected Silence” ~ Bill Wolak

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 couldn’t get enough of the really hot stuff; we mended alone our broken bone; we got pinned to the mat between worlds and that; we burned to find how love is blind; we were deaf to suggestion, in love with our question; we blindly groped to see some hope; we changed our tack to harken back. Our words are our obsession, no matter our direction. ~ MH Clay

Harkening by Michael Estabrook

. . . is he living in the past
he wonders
when life was simpler?

As the present continues sliding into a more and more
uncertain and dangerous –
let’s be honest and say foreboding – future
I find myself harkening back (harkening? seriously?)
to a more comfortable past –

where I’m dating my girl picking her up in my new
1966 Bahama Blue VW Beetle
taking her bowling, to the movies
dancing with her in the high school gym

where my brother and I are working at The Doc’s
caring for all those animals

where I’m a star on the gymnastics team
lifting weights with Tony and Ed

where the future is stretching out before me
like an exciting, mysterious road
of possibility and wonder
and I have all the time in the world.

January 14, 2023

editors note: An old word to recall that feeling when the future was new. – mh clay


I never knew what I was fighting for,
what I was concerned and anxious
about, I knew I had to be at war with
something or somebody, and realized
it was with you and your cruel sense
of humanity and the brutal
carelessness of your abusive choking
treatment of this planet and any
other planets that we reach, we’ll
fuck those up too, with chemicals
and garbage and a global culture
that divides and thrives, continuously
waging hatred and destruction
upon itself and we watch on,
with numb eyes,
never believing,
never accepting
and always feeling that life could,
should be better by now, but we
carry on like a sightless being
in the reflections of a hope
we all can see.

January 13, 2023

editors note: We can see it! Keep swinging! – mh clay

The Skeptic by Archie Abaire

The skeptic asks his question,
wanting a definitive answer
to his unquestionable question.

The reply he wants,
that no answer will do,
hides behind his seemingly
so reasonable pursuit
of a definitive response,
always seeking yet one more detail.
His goal in asking
is not the answer,
but to sustain the question itself,
whose answer he nudges
beyond grasp.

January 12, 2023

editors note: Answer me when I question you! …Don’t answer me like that! – mh clay

Lovers In the World of Fire by Marianne Szlyk

This world is a passionate place,
sky white-hot, clouds in flame,
ground the same color as sky.

Mountains keep lovers, the king
and queen, close. When they do hike,
they do not see desert flowers, small

cacti, sharp rocks, even the view
of the suburbs below.
They’d rather stay inside.

She’d rather trace his tattoos
on his back, the sleeve
on his brown arm.

They do not see the mountains.
They smash vases, shred designer clothing,
yearn to stay together.

Even if it means staying until
they turn to ash
like sky and ground

and the people who scramble
from tower to car to work
to stores below each day

and the people who die
without cool water, cool air
on sidewalks each night.

January 11, 2023

editors note: To end in ash, that’s some fire. – mh clay

Awakening Energies by Eliana Vanessa

We must never apologize
For waking these energies,
Alienating anything
That might spoil
The where
Of true love
When it arrives—
There is no need
To fact-check
Lips touching
Rose petals, hiding,
So much sweet,
Or the fight of your knuckles,
Hell-bent on pinning the fruit
Of one body,
One religion, down,
For a meadow that glows,
In between worlds.

January 10, 2023

editors note: Pinned by your pin; energy spent on finding that meadow. – mh clay


the terrible cold bone ache
after a fracture opens
the side within us

days in the clinic
trying hard to sleep again
after a hard fall

shivering alone
away in the hospital
waiting for sleeping

January 9, 2023

editors note: Writing for recovery in 3 times 17. – mh clay

ALOO VINDALOO by Mandakini Bhattacherya

Sometimes you cannot live
and cannot die.
You snicker and snigger at yourself,
call yourself a baby-cry.
And just as you are drowning
in a vase of peonies —
You rise, choking, to the surface,
called by the tap of a bottle gourd
on the window, to verify.
You reason —
Life is Aloo Vindaloo –
no meat, but soaked in spices —
You are upset at the aloo, bleeding dry –
but you gotta give it a try!

January 8, 2023

editors note: It’s the hot stuff, burns bad, can’t get enough. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re lookin’ for a bittersweet play-full read, check out A Beautiful Brat of Broadway by Diana Rosen!

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

Here today, gone tomorrow. People say that now, and they’ll say it long after we’re all gone.

Here’s how this starry staged read starts:

“Built, Rebuilt, Call It Home” by Tyler Malone

I first met Harold awaiting the recalcitrant elevator. He was on his way to meet one of my tenants, Michael. What they did or how they knew each other, I never knew, but I could guess. The Hollywood Arms has always been home to show folks, (we’ve got us quite a few retired ones here), and the rest are either starting their careers or are friends of entertainers. Harold would just show up Sunday night after the show and leave late Tuesday morning (Mondays are dark in the theatre, y’know). He seemed less anxious on leaving, but only slightly so.

Los Angeles Times, interviewed him that first year I knew him, cruelly pointing out how each of the roles he created on the Great White Way went to someone of star quality when the plays made it to celluloid. That must have hurt…

Get the whole dramatic tale right here!


If you’ve been following the wild antics of Ray Dan & his crazy cuz’ Joe Willy then you’ll be pleased with Contributing Writer N.T. Franklin‘s fifth installment, Joe Willy Finds a BBQ Grill

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

There’s so much out in the world waiting to be brought home. Go forth and discover!

Here’s a gander of what you can expect:

“A Tiny Fire” by Tyler Malone

Ray Dan got up from the breakfast table when he heard a vehicle bouncing up the driveway. Before he got the door fully open, Blake Shelton belting out “God’s Country” filled the kitchen.

“I swear Ray Dan, don’t you go bringin’ Joe Willy into this house when all I got on is this robe.”

“Honey, maybe you could get something on?”

His wife’s glare answered that question.

“Right, he won’t be coming in.”

Ray Dan stepped outside and waited for the truck, the dust, and his cousin to settle down. “Kinda early on a Saturday morning by your standards, isn’t it, Joe Willy?

“I dunno, is it?”

“You been out all night?

“I need your propane tank for the BBQ grill, Cuz.”

“What, no good morning or nothing? Joe Willy, your Mamma be ashamed of you. I know she taught you proper manners.”

“More like she beat them into me, so please don’t say nothing ‘bout this slight mistake. Good morning, Ray Dan, and how are you and the Mrs. this fine Middle-Georgia Saturday morning?”

Mosey on over here to get the full scoop of what Joe Willy has up his sleeve this time!


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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