The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.04.23

by February 5, 2023 0 comments

I am getting so far out one day I won’t come back at all.

William S. Burroughs

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“At the Threshold of Abandon” ~ 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 exposed the beast in a beastly priest; we recalled the wrecks made by our ex; we meddled with petals; we made no fuss to miss the bus; we dared a home while cursed to roam; we burned away too poor to pay; we star sufficed from a toss of dice. No matter the odds, we roll ‘em. ~ MH Clay

For Salvation For Redemption by Uchechukwu Onyedikam

There’s a burning candle at the end
of the tunnel dancing to the flute
of the Piper — swaying its flame
left to right and plumb at attention
collecting taxes from users of the
route — boiling bloods of innocence.

Making the spirit possess itself in
its own way by talking strange language
in a tongue that stirs up lightning
and thunder and fire and water —
and crumbling into the dust covering
the shoes of a lone traveler, juggling
round the cities of men on foot.

Madonna — mother of mercy, minder
of Christ prepare a manger for another
birth, of a star cometh close, crawling up
on us: the one the Jews look beyond!

Look, bend your gaze inward and watch
the watcher chewing rocks and rubble
at the table of lust adorned with greed
from his past tribulation of his share of
hunger for redemption, for salvation,
for his gifting he lost at the toss of
a pair of dice thrown at his face.

This is his sanctuary the place that
broke the bone of his refuge — where
he was chased around naked, beating the
drums of ignorance as he watches his
father’s wife lose herself to him…
in an atmosphere drenched in incense.

February 4, 2023

editors note: For this, should we pray? Or, run, run away? – mh clay

Bankruptcy by Bhargab Chatterjee

The feeling as an infiltrator
remains inside me.
All-time I travel
on the edge
of my limit.
Weeds grow everywhere;
though I am not
afraid of bankruptcy.
“No! Sir!!
Poverty is the real wealth.”
Blazing sun-light
cannot burn my home
in the Mercury.

February 3, 2023

editors note: What’s hot is not when you’re too poor to pay. – mh clay

I dare everything and still live by Blessing Omeiza Ojo

Home is disintegrating into flakes of Earth.
No matter what you say of the stomach,
it doesn’t still grind like the boys on the street.
Every time the breeze blows, what is left of this home–
all our pride behind feathers is skied to the whole world.
I know of a boy who couldn’t watch his mother smoke fish
on a wedge. He now makes fire, twice the tower of babel,
for a clan to swim & become a steep of sand.
I have a friend known for preying peace in this home.
I think he enjoys soiling solace more than egg sauce on spaghetti.
We were once safe here. Everything was fine before some boys
grew strength to lift destructive tools against our father’s house.
In this home, I was healed, many times.
I remember clothing every cut I reaped from peers’ play
with sand– what my surrogate mother called daring tetanus.
In this home, I was mindless of language.
I dared anyone, anything & still stay alive.
Imagine calling God to rain fire down in place of rain.
God, an ear to the heavens: how do I rebuild this place?
In what language do I programme this home whirling with the wind?

February 2, 2023

editors note: After disaster, still alive to ask for answers. – mh clay

A Faint Ticking Sound by Jason Ryberg

A young girl is sweeping dead bees and
cigar butts in the town square while the
last bus tonight is limping out of town
like a broke-dick dog,

and the head-light of a freight train
is giving us the stink-eye,

and there should be a new bottle
of Old Crow in that tackle-box
behind your seat.

So don’t feel too bad, kid,
life ain’t nothing but a circus of numbers

and time is just some grand old
abstract machinery they say makes
a faint ticking sound.

But I always thought that was the sound
of the grass growing.

February 1, 2023

editors note: It’s just a tick-tock tipple to pass some time away. – mh clay

Morning Dew by Tony Huang

Sad morning dew falls
On parching crimson petals
Unnamed desires quenched

January 31, 2023

editors note: This morning, anticipation was better unquenched. – mh clay

This is One of Those Relationship Poems. by Chuck Taylor

Her kisses taste smooth; her mouth is full of knives.
She tosses and slices him up fresh every day like a salad.
The blade of her tongue flashes faster than the speed of light.
You know how these things tend to go.
He turns the other cheek a lot.
He takes walks around the block.
He forgets the beauty of her body.
He forgets the soft rock of their love.
Everything she says about him is true.
His mouth grows wired shut.
He has great admiration for her mind.
She has the quick intelligence of a bird.
He has a brain constructed of concrete.
His cheeks puff out with dumbbells.
If only she wasn’t so always right on right.
Every comment hammers straight the nail of pain.
He calls her Annie Oakley.
He calls her sure shot.
He calls her those things in his mind at work.
He calls her those things in the shower.
He calls her those things walking the dog.
She rides bareback standing on a horse.
With her tongue she shoots him between the eyes.
He has no body armor for her words.
Earplugs only muffle slightly her sharp consonants.
And to think he once loved her scent and her accent.
And to think he once could kiss her scarlet thoughts.

He walked out without goodbye years ago.
He heard she cried continuously for a week.
It never occurred to him she might still love him.
Over twenty years now since he’s been gone.
He’s seen born and raised his very own daughter
And is happily hitched again.
The left one hates him and they never speak.
Fifteen years her gong rang in his skull.
Fifteen years in his head she tried to administer his life.
Fifteen years she told him what to believe and what not.
Now he doesn’t even remember her accent.
In time he even grew to appreciate her sharp slices.
He carefully filed the sharp edges
He actually used some of her criticisms.
Then he learned that she’d had a stroke.
She can’t speak too well right now.
He wonders if God decided the world needed a break.
He apologizes for thinking that.
He doesn’t wish to be vindictive or mean.
This is one of those relationship poems.
You know how they tend to go.
You can wander around in dark rooms for rages and ages of pages.
The person written about is going to look bad.
The person writing is going to come out better.

January 30, 2023

editors note: Your chance to write yourself right. – mh clay

Padre’s Prayer by David Ratcliffe

The past has been kind
given my secret remains intact,
hidden under layers of cloth
and holy interdiction.

Like the guilty child in the choir
singing harder than the rest,
my bullshit resonates
around these peeling walls.

I procrastinate when challenged,
pontificate when questioned,
shed tears unbidden for others
while aching to unburden myself.

To breathe clean air;
to speak consistently,
in even tones
without fear of reprisal.

Though I cannot divulge sins
without internal strength,
nor allow a moment’s weakness
to open my vein.

This face is crumpled from smiling;
this customer service facade
of falsehood weakens, though
I keep my council.

Knowing the day will arrive
when I lose everything,
I pray to whomever, please
let it not be today.

Have mercy on this imposter;
leave him not exposed, as the
hypocrite in robes
who speaks over their graves.

January 29, 2023

editors note: Robe ripped to reveal the rot within. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

At the tone, please read a tease of this weekend’s featured read, Dial 1 for Help Contributing Writer by Carl Perrin!

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

It’s at your fingertips, everything you could have ever wanted. It’s right THERE! Can’t you feel it?!


“Happiness Was…” by Tyler Malone

Saturday I got my first package from I was eager to open it and see what they had sent me. You’ve probably seen the ads for

“Be GOOD to yourself. Let us send you surprise packages. They will arrive when you need cheering up.”

The way it works is that they know all about you. They know when you’re feeling down in the dumps and they know what you like. You don’t have to order anything. They will pick out something that will just hit the spot for you and send it to you.

When I signed up for, I had to fill out a lengthy questionnaire so they would know what kind of things I would like in my surprise packages. Some people let them have access to their email and social media accounts. That would let them know when they were feeling depressed and needed a nice surprise. I didn’t want to do that, but my friend Harley said, “You don’t have to do that. If you’re on the internet at all, they can find out everything about you.”…

If you’d like to get the rest of this read on, PRESS here!


If you need a read that slaps your stick then check out The Hockey Puck by Contributing Writer Jim Bates!

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

Don’t pucking give up on yourself!

Here’s how’s this pucking shapeshifting tale starts:

“Peek of Life” by Tyler Malone

You’d think after being something cool like a Roman gladiator, or majestic like a golden eagle, shape-shifting into a hockey puck would have been a letdown. But we shapeshifters don’t get to call the shots. We have to take what we get and this time I was a hockey puck, an inanimate object with no heart or soul. It was one of the weirdest experiences I ever had. And one of the best.

It all began when I awoke in a dark space where my first thought was, Man does it ever stink in here! Turned out I was in an equipment bag for the Indianapolis Cougars hockey team. I was among a bunch of round rubber discs and asked the one next to me, “What the hell is this?” I was immediately surprised at my vitriol. I’m considered a pretty mellow dude in the shapeshifting community and not one ordinarily given to swearing, let alone displays of emotional outbursts. Maybe it was the company I was with…

Slip on over here to get the rest of this sticking story!

••• Open Mic •••

If you tuned in to Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of February (aka 02.01.23), then you know the frozen tundra that was DFW led us to do our mic madness virtually. The show must go on!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced our VIRTUAL stage with their words, their songs, their divine madness…

Johnny O
MH Clay

Musical Overture:
Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel)

Open Mic’ers:
Mike Zone
Marianne Szlyk
Ethan Goffman
Gayle Bell
Harry McNabb
Atenea Afrodita
Christopher Calle
Suza Kanon
Brian Duran-Fuentes
CJ Critt

HUGE grats to ALL the participators & appreciators who rode the Mad wave in our Zoom Room 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 03.01.23)… 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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