The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.04.23

by on March 5, 2023 :: 0 comments

Truth is a thing immortal and perpetual, and it gives to us a beauty that fades not away in time.

Frank Norris

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Caught in the Crack” ~ Thomas Riesner

To see all of Thomas’ wicked squiggles, 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 sought shelter rights ‘neath northern lights; we found a kiss from pixel bliss; we foundered in fog, goaded by grog; we faked our means with coins in jeans; we were our range of strange, less strange; we had no historical dispute over ladies of ill repute; we wondered far with the perfect car. It’s how we get there! Who cares where? ~ MH Clay

hammer down to the holy ground by Preacher Allgood

in 1974 horsepower was my God
a powder blue Nova SS was my heaven.
oil additives ran slick like the blood of a savior
and a young, chubby cowgirl
who giggled and snickered as she nestled against me
was my sexy holy grail

together we blasted forward into the unknown
behind three-hundred-twenty-seven cubic inches
of four-barreled and Isky-cammed Detroit theology

that cowgirl hoisted the tail of her shirt
exposed her boobs to the empty American prairie
and the miles whispered away
like the Sisters of Internal Combustion
at worship in their cloister of the starless humid night

March 4, 2023

editors note: As it was, so shall it ever be. World without end, amen! – mh clay


There is no city like New Orleans.
Prisoners, bondservants, slaves
sent into swamps and hurricanes.
They threatened revolt
till France sent ninety
ladies of ill repute,
tended by Ursuline nuns
as marriage brokers,
calmed the city down,
thrust it into the pulsing
spicy stew it is now–
with Mardi Gras, cathedrals,
gators, ghost tours,
beignets, gumbo,
streetcar named Desire,
magnolias, Spanish Moss,
Willie Mae’s chicken,
Bananas Foster, turtle soup,
one-of-a-kind Dixie jazz,
Zydeco and Voodoo dreams.
Thanks To the ladies of ill repute—
I take my hat off.

March 3, 2023

editors note: Behind every good civilization… – mh clay

Layhers by Tess Hunt

Some strange hunger
atop a less strange hunger.

some strange grief
atop a less strange anger.

some strange hand
atop a less strange hand.

something shallow and cloying
atop something ever so steep.

roots of something asleep
waking up from the deep.

i’m letting her out.
i’m setting her free.

it isn’t quite her and it isn’t quite me.

how long she’s waited

March 2, 2023

editors note: Strange, but no stranger to be – more or less. – mh clay

Inventing fake me by Timothy Pilgrim

Mocking, irreverent, tongue-cheeked,
I’ll text strong, only my pronouns
shadowing me. Double entendre
what I say, refuse to shave,
wear bamboo shirt, modal briefs.
I’ll tuck I Ching coins into my jeans,
only wry smile, tweet what I eat —
asparagus poutine, three times a day.
I’ll fake follow this fake me.
Post diatribes on a website page,
the background, black, my burning words,
white, of course, set italic, all in caps.

March 1, 2023

editors note: If not fake, at least an alternative fact. – mh clay

Tavern Tale by Sanjeev Sethi

Goaded by grog,
music and machismo merge
to spring pantomimes
of latent desires.

Several schooners later
someone or the other
croons or curses.
The ambient sound
is a brew of idiolects
bolstering me to ideate.

More gulps
this babel is incoherent –
the mind gets clogged.
I am at peace.

February 28, 2023

editors note: “A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.” – mh clay

Oh, Me? Just Thinking About Kissing You by Isaiah Vianese

When the singer whispers,
“Look at the things we do
in my dreams, baby.”
On a jog, passing
the spot we first touched,
a breeze in the trees
as we stepped closer,
mouths open,
heat coming off our bodies.
Later, looking at a photograph—
you, naked and lovely.
Your message says,
“A little tired.
Didn’t sleep much,”
but all I see
is every part of you glowing.
My mind lingers there,
blood rising as it wanders
over that image,
blessing every pixel
again and again.

February 27, 2023

editors note: In praise of perfect pixels. – mh clay

Boreal by KJ Hannah Greenberg

In the north, auroras light the sky with flashes of brilliant washes.
Their curtains of hues drape from zenith to horizon, illuminating
Heavens otherwise dark for months.

In those taiga regions, where birch, poplars, also conifers, reach
Heights unequaled, wolverines, wolves, reindeer, ermine, hares
Caribou and lynxes hunt or hide.

The circumpolar tundra, mostly ice and snow with short seasons
Of sunlight, differs from the forests’ realm, where unevaporated
Moisture slicks the summers.

It’s the latter, cold, lonely biome, not the “top of the world” that
Faces away from our star, germinates sprouts scintillating florae,
Offers no steadfast shelter.

February 26, 2023

editors note: Yet, we have no middle without this top. (This poem is one of many in KJ’s latest collection, “Communicated Childbirth Options,” available now on Amazon. Check it out!) – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re looking for a weekend read to get you buzzin’, Bruschetta, Red Wine, and No Shame by Contributing Writer N.T. Franklin will do just that.

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

What lingers longest is what matters most, so hold it close because it’ll keep you closer.

Here’s a taste of this hearty tale to get you goin’:

“Still More to Do” by Tyler Malone

My grandmother was the best. Everyone in our small town called her Gramma. Well, everyone except her grandkids. She was Buzzy to all of us. I was her first grandchild, and like all firsts, I was special. For reasons that are now cloudy, I called her “Buzzy.” She loved it, and as the other grandkids came along, they too, called her Buzzy. Nobody else could though. Nobody.

“There are Grammas, Memaws, Nannas, you name it, all over town. I’m the only Buzzy. That makes me and my grands remarkable.”

We heard her say it hundreds of times. And Buzzy made us all feel like we were the most important people on earth when we were with her…

Get busy & pop the cork to get the rest of your buzz on here!


Beware, our featured read Atena Hygiea Asclepia o Pachamama by Contributing Writer & Poet Stephen Page my be contagious!

Here’s what Chief Editor Johnny O has to say about this pick’o the week:

“Life hits harder now, it seems. Death still throws punches, though. It never stops.”

Here’s a taste of this modern-day tale:

“Set/Rise” by Tyler Malone

Today, Atena will massage me for the first time in three years. COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions caused me to be stranded in the country of Cáscara for over two years. Atena, when the shutdowns were lessened, moved to another province in Orotina to escape the concentration of contagion.

She has such good energy. She is divine. As she massages me, she plays a CD with sounds of sea waves hissing over sand, birds softly chirping, air swishing through pines, and a woman chanting in Sanskrit. That all together removes my spiritual and muscle aches. As she massages me, I feel bad energy flowing out of my body and good energy seeping in.

Atena is poor, so we offered for her to live in our house while she visited Malos Aires.
Atena has COVID. She self-administered a home test after she had been in bed since she massaged me almost 36 hours ago. She wore a mask while she massaged me, and I thought that the mask was courteous but rare. Hardly anyone is wearing masks anymore…

No need to mask up to get the rest of this story, just head right here!

••• Open Mic •••

If you joined Mad Swirl Open Mic this past 1st Wednesday of March (aka 03.01.23) 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:
*Gayle Bell
Roderick Richardson
*Atenea Afrodita
Alan Gann
*Marianne Szlyk
Harry McNabb
*Anthony Ripp
*Chris Zimmerly


Josh Weir
David Crandall
Brian Duran-Fuentes
Laura Traynor
Suza Kanon
MH Clay
Johnny O


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 04.05.23)… 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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