The Best of Mad Swirl : 11.18.23

by on November 19, 2023 :: 0 comments

Reality simply consists of different points of view.

Margaret Atwood

••• The Mad Gallery •••

PAINTING 3050 ~ Claudio Parentela

Mad Swirl is excited to welcome new artist Claudio Parentela to the Mad Swirl Gallery, with some truly mad AND swirly works. In my humble opinion, not many artists are able to truly & masterfully combine both the childlike & playful with the mature & profound, so it always gives me a little thrill to bare witness to the blend. Parentela has it down undeniably, with art that manages to feel both oddly nostalgic, almost vintage, while also refreshing and so very brand new. So whether you’re in the mood to contemplate deeply, parse out hidden meanings or just stare in unguarded awe, boy do we have a treat for you… ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Claudio’s playfully profound works, as well as our other resident artists (60 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 found all in sweet recall; we snuggled in to summer wind; we sun would see as righteous be; we felt dread with skinheads; we broke to brood on Nature’s moods; we arrested roam to make house home; we marbles named in marble games. Our words are marbles in a ring, verses saying everything. ~ MH Clay

Marbles by Jim Bates

The names said it all those marbles
Flames and corkscrews
Limey’s and root beers
Aggies and slags
Beautiful glass orbs held in the palm of your hand
The friends played for hours
Bare kneed on the driveway white string for a circle
Playing for keeps
The thrill of winning the pain of losing
The whole world riding on the flicker of a thumb
The measured eye of the shooter.

He collects them now
Old marbles from his youth
He displays them so he can look at them
Colors still brilliant
Memories still vivid
Almost as good as being there he thinks to himself
Playing a hot game with his friends
Kneeling close together
Lining up that shot
Taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out
The crowd going silent
Young once again
Playing for keeps.

November 18, 2023

editors note: It’s all for keeps. No take-backs. (We already know him as a short story writer. Now, we welcome Jim to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read all of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Homebody by Guest Poet Benjamin Pierce

I would press a million miles into my shoes
each inch and each mile pounded there a footstep at a time
I would shun ten thousand places of rest
I would dump them all in my one good chair
every stop promised me and refused waiting there for me to sink in
and sleep through them one by one–
my feet still in my shoes those hardened and patched by the miles
compressed in them
and I will go forth as soon as I conceive all this–
I will take my hat to hold this scheme tight to my head
I will only take my coat to give weight
to my endless shrug to all I must neglect, forget, forswear—
–at all of that I must yet return to–
I will have the means and vigor to correct all of that,
every cost of absence that I will find:
for that is the point of going forth at all
everything that is not my chosen sanctuary
can offer me nothing but distances piled up,
turnings that are but distance disguised as stop
cul-de-sacs masquerading as return
the amnesia of arrest to stop me–
all of it made another layer where my socks meet my shoes
all of it met, defied,
called empty
its magnitude inverted as the enclosure of my abode
its emptiness compressed and hollowed,
turned out as a sock is turned out
hollowed as the particular opening that alone
can be called or can be made a residence
all of this the resolve and promise of rest
the resolve to meet the reordering
that my return
will make me pay to enter again:
to meet all there is outside,
all of it,
until it is traversed
to return and say none of that was ever here
that alone can make my house my home.

November 17, 2023

editors note: Home is where the heart is, a head below and to the left. – mh clay

FORSAKEN by Guest Poet Colleen Boueil

Rows of ghost trees loom along my path.
Winds now parch these echoing columns,
battered survivors of earth’s deluge.
These storm-hollowed husks huddle
as Helios hurls dehydrating rays from above.
Back bay surges of unstoppable tides
with choking foul breakwater stench
have covered these arboreal lives.
Once fruitful green, now forsaken wood,
their lofty bowers wince, stripped of life.
They weep dry tears, decomposing drops
falling ashen gray …after the storm.
These pallid stumps will outlast me…
standing defiant, fixed, persistent-
preserving their sylvan history.
Soulless timber echoing, echoing…
the sounds of their sunken wounds…
decaying cores moaning from tidal toxicity
as storm-shattered limbs ooze lost nutrients.
Lamenting their lot, cursing Poseidon
ghostly rustlings disguise imaginary shimmers
welcoming lonely sparrows to nestle
on quiet skeletal branches that remain.
Withering cores postpone future growth
as time chisels away at frayed, tangled roots
barely sustaining their muddied existence.
Nature’s moods can be cruel.

November 16, 2023

editors note: Can’t mollify that mood; our only reply – reconstruction. – mh clay

The Flag by Guest Poet Richard Evans

it hung there like a noose
around the neck of a people
a road map in red and black
with a series of right turns
this destination unknown to me
a child half of twenty-one

father was seeking
shocked at what he found
his stare a chisel to stone

a large oak desk
the trio who sat behind it
bald, boots, tattoos
with menace and calm
grabbed hold of our eyes
aborting peripheral vision

a three second eternity
chilled the air
then the middle one chirped
may we help you

November 15, 2023

editors note: No shudder to think. No skin off my head. – mh clay

The Sun of Righteous by Bruce Mundhenke

Dark clouds gather at sunset,
This day nearly done,
In a world gone mad,
we still have hope,
As we wait for the righteous Sun.

November 14, 2023

editors note: With clouds like these, what sun you see will righteous be. – mh clay

The Summer Wind by Sheighle Birdthistle

The Summer Wind is strong
It winds through the valley
And high on this ridge
Majestic with a strength that
Seems to blow all sense of now
Into oblivion and a little fear
Of joining the wind’s wings
And taking flight to the unknown.
But when it calms a little the warm
Sensation is lovely it blows my hair
Like a wild creature caressing its cub.
All cares vanish at the realisation
Of harnessing this wild strength
In this curving possibility as this
Savage Summer Wind tells us its story
Of endurance and acceptance.

November 13, 2023

editors note: As temperatures drop, we’ll be wishing for this touch again. – mh clay

To Amber by Gayle Bell

One day when you look at the dust
of the dust that you are
Miss her wish her voice
see the aggravating twinkle
when you feel born to a new world
Hear a song she sang off key
her laugh carrying you around the room
her hands with the weight of your tears
wish her food fed you
in another your life
wondering where your dreams went
To fast like her dust
your dust inside you
in the mirror of you
is her

November 12, 2023

editors note: Such sweet remembrance words come jumbled like random rain to fill the hole remains. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured read, Insomnia by Dominic Rivron, is sure to wake up your senses to the world swirlin’ around you.

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

We were born with wings, it’s just that no one can see them. Those who can’t see those wings and where they can take them, well, they just don’t know how to fly.

Here’s a few winks to get you on your way:

Sun’s Last Flight ~ Tyler Malone

Something had woken him up. Terry wasn’t sure what it was. It might have been Eve turning over, pushing her knees into his side. They were lodged there now, warm and soft, but perhaps they’d been there for a while. It might have been a noise but if it was it’d stopped by the time he was awake enough to hear anything. Perhaps it was Ben but that was unlikely. Whenever Ben made a noise it meant he’d woken up and if he’d woken up he’d still be screaming. As it was, the house was silent except for Eve’s regular breathing and the cooing of the pigeons outside. It was no longer dark. Weak light, almost like daylight, was falling through the thin curtains.

Terry turned his head to look at the clock. 4.30am. His limbs felt heavy but his mind felt alert: too alert, as if he’d never go back to sleep. A moment ago he’d been dreaming he was driving a car. Someone had been giving him directions. Turn left, turn right, move into the middle lane, take the third exit. Now, awake, he couldn’t remember where they’d been going. Perhaps he’d never known.

The alarm was set to go off at eight. Until recently, they’d usually been awake when it did, sat up in bed, bleary-eyed, feeding or changing Ben. Things had begun to settle down, though, and more often than not Ben slept through. Now, when the alarm went off, whoever woke first pounced on it to switch it off as quickly as possible so as to avoid disturbing him.

Much as he loved Ben and Eve, Terry got very little time to himself. It occurred to him that since they were both asleep, he was free to do what he liked for a while. He had no idea exactly what he was going to do but he decided there and then to get up and do it…

…and by “do it” we say go on & get up & read the rest of this sleepy tale right here!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Mad Swirl started with ink on paper. We never lost the connection to our inky roots. Starting in 2017 we got the print itch again and began publishing “The Best of Mad Swirl” anthologies, as well as a few other poetic gems for some mighty talented folks we know. If you haven’t snagged you a copy yet, here’s your one-stop-shop…

Check out these selections from Mad Swirl Press!


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…

For reals…

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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