The Best of Mad Swirl : 09.16.23

by on September 17, 2023 :: 0 comments

I’d rather be a lightning rod than a seismograph.

Ken Kesey

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Grounding ~ Andrea Damic

To see all Andrea’s whimsically dark works, 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 wrested runes from twisted wounds; we stripped the chalk from cheap talk; we lit some confusion to draw a conclusion; we killed time to burn rhyme; we short sheets laid for bear and maid; we corpses fit for a money pit; we picked through the mess to find happiness. It is as it does, it does what it will. ~ MH Clay

Happy by Chuck Taylor

Must I embrace the world like a drippy juicy peach?
Like a cholesterol slice of cheese cake?
Like a drooling baby cooing from a stroller?

I could have been born a snail in the spring
Making my way up the side of a suburban house,
Or a day moth batting its fuzzy head against
A window pane and getting a pain

Being human is a privilege
Being in the States is a privilege
Being a divorced male with child support
payments is a privilege
Being a single mom in a tiny apartment on
food stamps and welfare Is a privilege
Being a blue whale or a white male is a privilege

How can I dare to not be happy?
Why do I keep a noose in the closet?
Don’t I have the right stuff to stare down
Nuclear bombs and climate change?
Didn’t I go to jail for chaining myself to a tree?
Didn’t I give money to the right charities,
To PBS and NPR,
And send money to a Nigerian single mother?

I’m so priviledged I’ve got to be happy
even if I can’t spell priviledged
I can claim no excuses
I have a loving wife and loving children
I don’t deserve any of this because I am nothing but the blank
of white, at all times in this climate open to skin cancer.

Mother Teresa, were you ever bubbly?
Drink once made me bubbly.

Let us stop now.
Happiness is like Casper the Friendly Ghost.
It jumps at you and goes BOO!

And there you are happy,

September 16, 2023

editors note: If you’re happy and you know it… – mh clay

MY YARD by L.E. Douglas

My beautiful yard
Yet tragic

Spotted with old cars
Sentimental Rust
by John

Once moving
Once cared for
Once needed
Appear forgotten

not to Dad

Ma says
he dreams of

I see
a money pit
Wasted dreams

September 15, 2023

editors note: Kinda like our whole approach to this sweet earth. (We welcome L.E. to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

AT MY AGE by Marie Higgins

An extra sheet is the long silky nighty
Pulled up from unfitted length,
A cover for naked arms,
Moments like these, a light touch,
Hides cold without unleashing heat, that is,
One thunderous warning of a coming flash

Wind courts the window’s pain –
Surfing poetry within,
Same inside outside;
Pane wanting breeze, hating breeze,
the mind unmade as the bed,
Open up and/or close it down

There’s a bear a half-bed over –
Dens with a sheet, blanket, quilt
Barely alive, at most unaware
Of Smashing-Waves Of
Sea-Wet Mermaid at sea,
Until grizzly heat is wanted

If I should die before I wake,
thank you

September 14, 2023

editors note: A bedtime prayer for maid or bear. – mh clay

2 Haiku: Meaning & Fire by Carl Kavadlo

Two different meanings
kill the time or fill the time
with different outcomes


And like survivors
minds burn and burn and burn, too
Without burning out

September 13, 2023

editors note: What you don’t mean can’t burn you. – mh clay

CLOSING CURTAIN by John L. Yelavich

Darkness silences sunlight,
quieting queuing questions.
Surreal subtle sentiments
permeate a curious context
exposing ecstatic impulses,
of stellar sizzling splendor.

Nightfall laments loneliness,
dramatizing dispirited dreams.
Mystical minacious matters
invade a subdued solitude,
spurring sympathetic reflections
of anxious amorous affections.

Angels debated demonesses,
delineating divergent doctrines.
Prophetic pointed perspectives
float on zigzagging zephyrs,
granting gracious solemnity
to conclusion’s closing curtain.

September 12, 2023

editors note: Draw one for light, the other for right. – mh clay

Who Said! by Susie Gharib

Who said I cannot abort your wayward words
before they attain your vocal cords!
and who said I cannot abort the smile
with which you aspire to paint your mouth!

Who said I cannot de-fraud the air
that each belligerent lip exhales
and who said I cannot de-shroud the intent
of every evil you contend.

Who said I would not be able to contort
the beautiful mirage your verbs extoll
and who said I could not expose
the vermin that lurks within discourse.

Who said!

September 11, 2023

editors note: Your answer is not required. – mh clay

Life after Death by Guest Poet Louis Efron

razor winged butterflies
beating in our gut
like tormented muses
laboring to twist wounds
into radiant verse
helping us escape
like cherry blossom trees in spring
and again
long after we are gone

September 10, 2023

editors note: Don’t we hope so? – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

A tempest is a-brewin’ & The Geostorm by Contributing Poet & Writer Susie Gharib is a big ol’ dose of reality meeting fiction.

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

Fiction is reality, always has been. But these days, it has some flair.

Here’s a few blasts from these alarms that are soundin’:

Rolling In by Tyler Malone

It groans in the West-North corner of our apartment. I do not know why its wailing brings Wuthering Heights and the Irish banshees to my mind. Only this household is without a child. The lightning flashes as in some Hollywood horror episode. We wonder whether to stay or depart. We opt to spend another night in our not-very-spacious car.

I used to boast about being fearless at critical points in my life, which amounted, according to those who were familiar with my lifestyle, to being of the reckless type. Now the least aberration in the familiar rhythm of our apartment, the faintest unusual sound, causes a considerable amount of apprehensive alarm, bringing my eyes not in the direction of the no-longer-cerulean sky, but to the balls of crystal that dangle from my little bedroom-chandelier, whose refracted lights have become my Richter scale. The walls that were already fissured with the passage of time, and financial mishaps, are now the focus of a derailed and dire life…

Get hit by the whole front right here!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Three years ago, on this day, Mad Swirl lost a good friend and the Mad World lost a unique poetic voice. Rob Dyer left this plane to explore what lies beyond and left us some of his attempts to understand this one in his poetry.

Bloodstones is a collection of Rob’s poems as they were presented over his ten years with us as a Contributing Poet and provided post-humously by “Novelist/Difficult Woman/Rob’s Almost Wife,” Amy Conner.

Rob Dyer’s poetry was “…volcanic. Erupting flames and molten rock, filling the air with combustible gases, [it] decimated forests, leveled villages with a savage innocence whose contradiction he’d leave the reader to resolve, sifting through ashes to salvage meaning.”

In memory of Rob Dyer, Bloodstones is available here, this collection is his legacy of sacred stories, told in whispers, revealed in roars. Read them all. He wrote them for you…


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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