The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.22.23

by on July 23, 2023 :: 0 comments

Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.

Edward Hopper

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“keeping the box we are in from crushing us” ~ Edward Michael Supranowicz

To see all of Edward’s colorfully 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 thoughts attuned to muse on moon; we ballroom danced while dating in France; we ate things dry and scary to exorcise a fairy; we stirred up a scare on how future will fare; we sang to his tune to buy a balloon; we wished for that of bird, slug, rat; we thanked our mode from tobacco road. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, write ‘em if you thought ‘em. ~ MH Clay

southern beatitudes by Alan Gann

Blessed be the tobacco fields
dealing pale green leaves for sweat
and blessed be the bossman
who knows exactly how many rows
before I break

Blessed be these aching muscles
snapping suckers
priming ripest fields
hanging leaves
hauling fifty-pound bundles
from over there to over here
and blessed be the farmer’s daughter
handing out salt pills, moon pies, and grape soda

Blessed be this John Deere gimme cap
worn all summer
working Mr. Jackson’s fields
living on the shelf
above my desk
amazed I get to sit
air-conditioned in a cube
sending out reports
nobody will ever read

July 22, 2023

editors note: Blessed be the A/C luxury of memory. – mh clay

Pilgrimage by Michael Brownstein

I do not know who I am, but I do know
I am not the red winged blackbird scaling the tall grass near the road
or the snail slug attached to the undergrowth of a brick.
Nor am I the rat dependent on a prisoner for care.
Hard and fast I find myself, a garden gate swinging open unexpectedly,
no wind through the leaves, no breeze across the dandelions, not even breath.
Can I be the lover’s kiss? The soft caress? One finger focused on another’s palm?
The brand new lens allowing the brilliance of brand new sight?
Perhaps I am only the apology, the insecure sorry bent and breaking,
the I-have-already-apologized-for-that — can’t you let it go? —
the red winged blackbird hoping to lift its body above the reeds,
the snail slug married to its one brick terrain,
the rat entering the concrete floor hungry, hopeful, anticipating home.

July 21, 2023

editors note: Perhaps, each of these in turn. It’s a long journey, after all. – mh clay

MARKET by Guest Poet Ken Poyner

The balloonman is standing just at the
Corner of your property. He holds
Perhaps fifteen balloons of all
Colors, sated with helium. The green
Tank proves it. Most of your neighbors
Will not yet be out. Maybe the one
Three doors over, who walks his dog
While others watch from kitchen windows
And think it is too early to walk a dog.
The balloonman moves in slow, easily
Anticipated tics. There is no reason for him
To be here: no traffic, few children
In this settled neighborhood. He peers
Along the street which bends out of sight
Six houses right, empties into a connecting road
Nine houses left. The balloons chatter
In our light wind. In your housecoat
And torn pink slippers, you go out
With your change purse. Yes,
The yellow one.

July 20, 2023

editors note: Whenever the ballonman comes, better buy. – mh clay

From which oil is recoverable by Mark Young

How will future &
futuristic advances in
technology influence
the lunchtime lycra of
cyclists or add points
to your frequent flyer
card? This message,
written on every avail-

able rock, & ubiquitous
on taxicab & fast food
outlet menu screens, has
turned entire neighbor-
hoods into havens of
hate or hotbeds of lust.

July 19, 2023

editors note: It’s a fight for first and fullest till rendered into our final form. – mh clay

MAH’ PRETTY FAIRY by Mandakini Bhattacherya

Time past is a hyena –
I am keeping just one step ahead.
I place a toe carefully on the marble
as though on a forest floor,
wriggle my toes, stare blankly.
I do not know what I have done,
or must do –

to either hide behind the door,
or bounce back like a fairy;
to eat stardust, or raid a dairy;
stuff myself with raisins, or millipedes –
And vomit out the rainbow that was you.

July 18, 2023

editors note: Blessed to disconnect from such dis-enchantment. – mh clay

Versailles, Mon Amour by Guest Poet Mihaela Melnic

Padded hips,
white powdered cheeks,
fake moles on their waxy skin,
lively lice under thick wigs –
this is Versailles and all its tricks
where ladies straddle the bidet
far from the lords’ languid glances.

They lie in wait for some princess
while Lady Love and Lady Death
are getting ready for the dance
and for some macabre embrace.
Whales lured and killed for tight corsets,
plump perky breasts
peep from their dresses,
as toothless mouths
at times food-filled
make a tableau vivant grotesque.

Deftly concealed behind their fans
they wink at earls, husbands of others:
lovers and friends for benefit;
it’s called bon ton in high society.

And the ball may now begin
as Le Roi faces his queen.
But there is a duke distressed
for not finding a marquise
since she flew away in dance
with an earl and a duchess,
yet, the Hall of Mirrors swarms
with grand dames waiting their turn.

He must choose one from who remains
before his wife returns by chance;
or, a faux pas it would be, and then
all Versailles would laugh at them.

July 17, 2023

editors note: Consider this dating scene, we who swipe right. – mh clay

How Shines the Moon by Harley White

How comes the moon to shine on high?—
a simple query, so it seems…
Yet though its glow can light the sky,
from where arise those silver beams?

Do we imagine gleaming rays
from self-illumined orb of night
still visible through sunlit days
as drifting earthly satellite?

Albeit a deceptive view
as Parmenides suspected,
mirrors may catch with brilliance true
even radiance reflected.

When Armstrong from Apollo probe
stepped out on ground with grayish tint,
we spied the craters of that globe
along with astronaut footprint.

The moon cannot give off the sheen
of all the sunlight it receives,
for most that falls upon that scene
its regolithic surface thieves.

And what about the face we see
during a lunar crescent phase,
while slivery as it can be
amidst its ever-changing ways?

The rest in ashen glow is lit
by earthshine to that orb we give.
So we spot more than glossy bit
through rebound rays from where we live

that then bounce back to us again.
Its far side, long a mystery,
was photographed on spacecraft, when
the Luna 3 made history.

This abiding lamp nocturnal
glimmers in the darkness dreary,
through our joy or grief infernal,
guiding souls forlorn and weary.

Moonstruck dreamers through the ages
gazed with wonderment up above,
filling endless lyric pages
with euphonious songs of love.

That pearly visage dear to us,
does science take away its thrill
by making matters clear to us?
So much is known already… still

with poesy of clair de lune
we mortals rhapsodize the moon.

July 16, 2023

editors note: We are romantic fools for all phases. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re lookin’ for hit, Almost Perfect by Michael Martin just might be the pitch you’re swingin’ for!

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

Batter up! There’s no pinch hitter for any of us; we take our lessons and wins the same way we take the losses.

Here’s the wind-up:

“Game On!” by Tyler Malone

July 9, 1969. We were sitting in the top row of the nosebleed seats at Shea Stadium, watching Tom Seaver and the New York Mets lay a serious ass kicking on the Chicago Cubs. With each low flying plane that passed overhead, coming out of LaGuardia Airport, the entire upper deck shook. Some flew so low we could see passengers’ heads and faces in the windows.

We all wore light jackets that evening because even though it was July, it was cool and breezy in the grandstand. Elliot was the only one old enough to buy beer, so we slipped him money every time the beer guy came by. Nobody was really watching the game. We were drinking Rheingolds like water…

Get the whole score over right here!


A photo can say a 1,000 words & in our featured read, In Stillness by Contributing Writer Mehreen Ahmed, a photo says a whole lot more.

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

Alive, this static moment will be remembered by only those until they join us in the static. Not now, but soon.

Here’s a snapshot to get you goin’:

“Time, Catching Up” by Tyler Malone

Well then? What did it matter whether she was living or dead? My mother’s pictures were strewn across the iPhone screen like innumerable stars in a night sky. When I viewed them, they looked exactly the same as the ones who were still living that I had not visited in ages. In stillness, it didn’t matter…

What matters is getting the rest of this short-short (232 words total) 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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