The Best of Mad Swirl : 07.29.23

by on July 30, 2023 :: 0 comments

The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.

Henry Moore

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Drag in ~ Thomas Riesner

Mad Swirl is thrilled as ever to bring back a mad favorite, Thomas Riesner, with his trippy, inky, creepy works of art. Each piece feels like it’s staring straight into our souls, and as utterly haunting as they are, we can’t help but find ourselves staring right back… ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all 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 versed a thing on pieces of string; we romanced doom to smell of bloom; we broke a day with a court bouquet; we tripped to factor intractable tractor; we self re-owned in windstorm blown; we stumble walked through Talmud talk; we staggered, amazed to be gun-crazed. There’s no end as we wend our way to write each day. ~ MH Clay

Our Friend’s Daughter by Pete Mladinic

Adolescents are children. I’m not like one of
these commentators who say the young
man barged into the Springfield
Target with an AK-47 and started shooting,
when talking about a 17-year-old child,
and where did he get the assault rifle?

But I am a war veteran. I know a mother
in Uvalde, Texas. The Springfield Target
could just as well be the El Paso Walmart.
Could just as well be a church, a school,
a post office. Gun Crazy is a good movie.
To see it, you’d have to rent or buy it.

But this wasn’t a movie, just a memory.
A dinner outdoors with friends in Taos. Bob,
an airline pilot from Florida, AK-47 owner
because, besides flying, he’s also in law
enforcement, says he asked a lawyer friend,
also an AK-47 owner, Would you give up

your AK-47 if it meant bringing our friend’s
daughter back? She died in the Stoneman
Douglas High School shooting. If giving up
your weapon meant bringing her back
to life, would you do it? No, it wouldn’t end
there, with the assault rifle, soon, they’d be

taking all our guns. The lawyer may just as
well have said the shootings wouldn’t end.
Yes, the criminals find a way. I understand.
But what about fewer guns, fewer killings?
When I came back from Vietnam people
asked, Did you kill anyone? Gun crazy USA.

July 29, 2023

editors note: Crazy, yes; and NOT in a good way. – mh clay

Matthew’s Akita by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Matthew’s Akita snarled wide-eyed
After tracking border crossing sights.
Strong, long canine teeth locked as a
Necessary deterrent. Paws compelled
Unwanted bits even as a soldier sat
Atop rubble and watched.

Soldier’s new baby crawls on cement.
That child’s ma funds scholars, bakes
Challah, kindles candles, warms dill-
Laced chicken broth, amidst potato
Kugel trays packed to feed hungry
Yeshiva bucharim.

Rabbi Rosenberg guards hilltops. He
Counts grenades, stones, rocket shells.
At night, he sings Tehillim, bristles at
Heaven for answers. Yet, his outpost
Loses men, women, children, homes,

On the sidewalk of a busy street, the
Rav’s uniformed children scamper. No
Fence staves off the delight the youth
Realize when freed from studies. Still,
It’s their dad’s explanation of Talmud
That fuels them.

July 28, 2023

editors note: The view from one side of a war-worn wall. – mh clay

Detached by John P. Drudge

With an inability
To inhabit my life
I’m a cut-out
In a windstorm
A tempered restraint
On a whim
Where re-owning
One’s self
Is the only way
But I sway
To beats unbecoming
And a rhythm
By the night

July 27, 2023

editors note: And, yet, to tie this down could be a stifling stability. – mh clay

Small Circles by Scott Wordsman

Say the brain is a tractor
ridden on stage by a politician
whose only skill is be-
moaning the deaths
of those he kills with
glee, his policies. They
sell coffee minus its
essential chemical property.
They sell diet cigarettes.
You can buy a house
for little less than every-
thing you’ve ever worked
toward. It’s nice–to stay
inside at night, to smoke
so many cigarettes and
miss you so much and
all the time and always.

July 26, 2023

editors note: Damned intractable tractor! – mh clay

Saga: Thunder Court by Mike Zone

Down yonder
in barbed wire
some so starved
eating fence post
Luke stumbles
out the shed
can of gas
a stunning bouquet for Daisy
who flinches
this stark but shining bright
trailer park romance

July 25, 2023

editors note: Sometimes the only out is a flincher. – mh clay

Another Perennial Fixation by Nikita Teixeira

I would compare you to an Adonis rose, except
my therapist says I shouldn’t make comparisons,
and I want her to put a rose on your nose, God
knows, but you’re a dim wilted I, dry withered I,
weathered down into clinched fist of a rosy view.
Need I be retold that that rose was just another?
Some one has to be paid, and anyways, since this
desire of a romanticized size for a banal design of
Nature tears me up, naturally, I counter restraint,
holding its own double-edged point. I warn Self
not to make an annual event out of your flaws. I
best not associate you with any thing, never mind
me, in a reflection on flattering a fold within many
to please, again, who? Why? It all smells of bloom.

July 24, 2023

editors note: By any other name, give rise. (We welcome Nikita to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

A legal writer considers: how long is a piece of poetry by Frank Phelan

Addressing how long a piece of poetry is,
is tantamount to considering that age-old conundrum
of how long is a piece of string, notwithstanding, if,
in addressing the question pertaining to the length
of any given poem,
you used the aforementioned piece of string
for your determination,
you may not necessarily succeed
in the particular task of establishing the length of a poem,
for string is no measure of poetry,
but in doing so, you may
happily stumble upon the solution
to the heretofore unresolved issue pursuant
to the length of a piece of string, for,
in utilising a piece of string
to measure the length of a poem it must follow that you will have
established its length
in relation to the poem subject to your determination
and can therefore state categorically
that the length of the piece of string in question
is equivalent to the length of the poem
subject to your original enquiry.

July 23, 2023

editors note: Strung out on legalese. Hard to kick at any length. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you’re looking for a clean read, look no further than Bottled Residence by Contributing Writer & poet KJ Hannah Greenberg.

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

The home goods department doesn’t offer good times, that’s up to so much more.

Here’s a some suds to get you on your way:

“Life in Glass” by Tyler Malone

The second time that I opened the door to the Procyons’ house, I still saw no family portraits. However, I noticed a bottle of liquid soap had been left on their kitchen table.

The Procyons had hired me via email. Their instructions were to accept offers no less than five per cent off their asking price and to encourage tenders ten per cent or more north of that number. As well, I had been told to hire a housekeeper—the Procyons planned to be elsewhere for the duration.

The third time that I visited, I noticed a second soap bottle…

Get all the goods right here!

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl this 1st Wednesday of August (aka 08.02.23) as we do the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!

Starting at 7:30pm, join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay as we will kick off these open mic’n Mad Swirl’n festivities with some musical grooves brought to you by Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel, Clark Walker) followed by our usual unusual open mic!

Come one.

Come all.

Come to participate…

(RSVP at our Facebook event page or send a message to

Come to appreciate…

(join us LIVE at Barbara’s Pavillion- located at 323 Centre St, Dallas -OR- tune in to our Facebook LIVE feed starting at 7:30pm)

Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call… Mad Swirl!


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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