The Best of Mad Swirl : 08.19.23

by on August 20, 2023 :: 0 comments

Words are but pictures of our thoughts.

John Dryden

••• The Mad Gallery •••

“Torture Prison” ~ Thomas Riesner

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 got victual from ritual; we parsed skin deep from sin deep; we lost dreams to count beans; we made stick our being a dick; we train wrecked contusion to pocket faced illusion; we blue room muggled to white sheet struggle; we heart implored to rose ignore. Our feeble rows we hoe to inked assertions grow. It’s word by word, we’ve heard. ~ MH Clay

The Red Rose by Stephen Jarrell Williams

I came back to the scent
of the red rose

in the back alley near the corner
just before sunset

and stood there inspecting its

bending into it
inhaling the giving of its blood

dripping with a tap on my shoe
somehow explaining itself

like a lover eternal.

I was tempted
to snap it from its slender body

but I just couldn’t bear the sound
it might scream as a car drove by

I being known to cause riots
in the past

with just words.

I drifted back to my motel room
in El Paso believing I felt the pain

of the homeless gathering
and wondering where

the end would come.

I’m too old now
to count my change

after buying dinner
in a fast-food bubble

thinking the world is not
a dump

growing trash on trash
a red rose on top

a flag of accomplishment?

August 19, 2023

editors note: With such blooms on every corner, what have we accomplished? – mh clay

Neighbourhood Upside Down by Bhargab Chatterjee

An error escapes
through commotion
just at noon-point.
Blue room
forbidden fingerprints
and claustrophobic
alarm clock—
the margins
of an assumed white-sheet.

A dog kicks back.
Each element of a moment
struggles in my neighbourhood.

August 18, 2023

editors note: What struggles in yours? – mh clay

Don’t Adjust Your Television Set by Joseph Farley

The trouble with illusions
Is that they can look so real.
All that gold that is not gold.
All that beauty that is pure ugliness.

I sit here in an oasis in the desert
Holding a daiquiri filled glass
While sipping sand from a straw.

I wait for the cavalry to arrive,
Just in the nick of time,
So the captain can hand me
A billion dollar winning
Lottery ticket.

I will cash it in tomorrow
And change my life for the good.
No more ogres on my chaise lounge.
No more pebbles in my pockets.

I will no longer need to close my eyes
To find all I have been looking for.
I will be able to look straight ahead
Into the face

Of a smiling blue locomotive
Tooting along towards me.
It might bring me to another paradise
If I can only manage to stay on track.

August 17, 2023

editors note: All aboard! (Congrats to Joseph on the release of his new collection, Yellow Brick Pilgrim. Get your copy here. – mh clay

Gaslighting Myself by Jeff Grimshaw

I dog ear a page in a book I haven’t read
& scrawl “!!!” in the margin
Beside a random sentence I’ve underlined

I write “Get Gazpacho recipe from Julie
ASAP! Incredible!” across the
Dry erase board on the refrigerator door

Without the slightest intention of ever
Erasing it. One morning
I will wander past it, aware that I’ve

Seen it many times, unaware
That there is no Judy
And that I hate gazpacho. Maybe

I will pick up a dozen old vinyl records
At the thrift shop, smash them up
And photograph the shards on the living room

Rug. One day scrolling through my
Phone I will wonder what
The hell THAT was all about. Why

Was I so angry at Vicki Carr or
Enoch Light? I’ll clip stories
From French & Brazilian newspapers,

Fold them up & stick them
In my wallet. Geez, I will mutter,
I guess I spoke French & Portuguese

But I don’t remember a syllable. And
Why do I have all these unopened
Bags of orange socks? Who is the girl in this

Snapshot? Why did I cut out
Her face? What sort of person
Was I anyway? And never

Suspecting as my brain turns
Slowly to macaroni salad that I
Was (am) just fucking with you (me)

Because I’m (you’re) kind of a
Dick but if it’s any
Consolation remember that

When I was laughing my ass
Off at your befuddlement
& distress so were you.

August 16, 2023

editors note: A serious take on not taking yourself seriously. – mh clay

CALCULATION by Tony Robinson

Sometimes the pain
Of artistry
Is almost too much
To bear

The disappointments
The doubts
The debts piling up

But how do you calculate
The return on investment
For the Parthenon,
The Pietá,
Or Moby Dick?

When did we stop
Learning the joy
Of growing the beans
Just so we could count them?

August 15, 2023

editors note: Selah! – mh clay

Fen by Sanjeev Sethi

We mate like mannequins on
the shop-window of dreams.
There is a cutoff point
to skin extending itself.
If it is mine,
it will wrap around me.

Molters exist in another order.
Dermoplasty is for some.
Do those incarcerated
for immorality, retain the right
to take a position
on conscientiousness?

August 14, 2023

editors note: Mucked in the mire of debate over what’s skin deep or sin deep. – mh clay

Rituals by Guest Poet Raja Chakraborty

why do i feel the earth inside me, its fire in my soul

my veins like rivers flow in a mad rush to swallow

lips smacking of autumn, faint blue sky seeping in – i store memories

calloused feet growing roots take me inside your belly

i taste a life in seeds of tomorrow, crying like a much awaited monsoon

leaves spring from my scalp and i am your tree now

arms and branches – separated twins of the same old nest, sparrows ritually make

spiders trap ants in the secret maze of my palm – a forest floor of delicate lines

neon-eyes of discarded billboards whisper warnings about forgotten cobwebs in the temple of wombs

time, ever-ageing time strikes the bell

it starts pouring, ablution begins in the deep

August 13, 2023

editors note: Feel that ring inside us all. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Sink your teeth into Raspberry Patch by Contributing Writer Jim Bates.

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

Life is a garden, so pick happiness.

“Words of Death” by Tyler Malone


Pinch you off some Save Your Pennies. Better Yet, Save Your Breath by Jeff Bender.

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

A penny saved is a penny earned. But they need to add up to something.


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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