The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.16.23

by on December 17, 2023 :: 0 comments

What I have in my heart and soul – must find a way out.

Ludwig van Beethoven

••• The Mad Gallery •••

GEOMETRY ~ Colleen Boueil

We’re thrilled to welcome photographer Colleen Boueil to the Mad Gallery with some especially trippy imagery found (mostly) out in the wild. Boueil has quite the eye, managing to capture close-up, complex scenes that others might look past, with a perspective that feels wholly her own. it takes certain skill to capture the world in a way that feels fresh and new, but Boueil has it down — and boy, are we glad! ~ Madelyn Olson

To see all of Colleen’s especially trippy imagery, 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 were happy fools for hugging jewels; we got no capture rapture; we filled no hole with lost soul; we dreamed to hide from fisted tide; we saw no harm to disarm; we kill removed from death’s groove; we stopped in sadness for a casualty of war. Though it takes words to start ‘em, we search for more to stop ‘em. ~ MH Clay

The Persistence of Things by Ann B-D

(after the rocket attack)

She died with a clean sink,
with all the forks in the drainer
points down and handles apart
and not a speck of melted cheese
in between the tines.
She died with a clean floor
swept clear of little crumbs
and cellophane bits from snack packets.

She died with a tidy pantry,
cans arranged by sell-by date,
the lentil bag cinched up tight,
and a full jar of coffee beans
just waiting to be ground
for that perfect wake-up cup.

Come into her kitchen. Look around.
Turn and face the faceless appliances
that sit muted, waiting for her touch.
The lettuce in the fridge is still green.
The tomatoes are hardly shriveled at all.

December 16, 2023

editors note: They say it’s about countries and creeds. Nope! It’s about this… – mh clay

Footprints of War by Guest Poet Sushant Thapa

Waking in an aftermath
Of a war,
My first lesson
Would be to kill death.
One survival kit
With healing time
Cannot cure
My aching survival.
The war,
Has completely
Killed time
And all the clocks
Have become mute.
I was a virtue maker
Now I want to
To kill the vice.
This temptation in me
Has to be also stopped
Before anything dies again:
Whether it is
Death, virtue or time
That is killed again.
I would erase
The footprints of war, instead.
Killing should be
Forever banned.
Not even death, has to be
Killed by our hands.

December 15, 2023

editors note: Death by dying, not by killing. – mh clay

Time to go by Timothy Pilgrim

Bearded guy idles up, Ram truck,
exhaust-cloud spewing rage
toward the gunless. Chaw in cheek,
sneer, long, deep suck, fifty-caliber spit
blown past, I fear a plethora
of slaughters will soon splatter
my shoes, my pants, am driven
to finish fueling fast,
hit the road to any city north.
Later I allow me to believe
both rifles in his gun rack
held only hollow-point poems.

December 14, 2023

editors note: Yes! Let’s sub all bullets with beautiful banter. – mh clay

The Screen Door by Guest Poet Tamitha Curiel

The sound of
fists on wood, a warning
fists on face, a fight
The tide, I’ve only seen on TV, finds its way through the crack under the door, water covering the mottled rug-green moss-finally it belongs.

Once the room is full,
the sounds are silent.
The scratchy Holly Hobby gown is heavy, stuck to my thighs. The bloated Raggedy Ann in my hand, an anchor.

The crusty sheet hanging over the window softens, becomes a sunken sail, a soft surrender, a cloud for cover.

The rotten mattress, a raft and

me, a huckleberry– a friend who knows how to stay cuz I been through worse.

But, I should be swimming to an opening, forcing my way out- the survivor that I am.
But it’s so quiet between the knocks.
Before she answers.
Before he presses her between the screen and the door.
(a mesh coffin, yet still no room to breathe.)
Before she wails.
Before she kicks it open.
Before she fights back.

Inside, I’m awake, but I’m dreaming I’m underwater.

December 13, 2023

editors note: Sadly, some swim sooner. – mh clay

Requiem for Self Medicating by Tess Hunt

i need i need i need i need i need
to tell you something.

there will always and forever
be a hole.

it is how the light gets in-
you cannot fill this hole.

sometimes when the wind blows through-
it calls awareness to this hole.

there comes an ache.
it feels like her-

December 12, 2023

editors note: Not whole with this hole. – mh clay

Lure by Contributing Poet Uchechukwu Onyedikam/Guest Poet Christina Chin

the irresistible lure

of her presence

fallen by

the dry beer tap

in and out of consciousness

December 11, 2023

editors note: No capture, just coma. (This is a collaborative work between 2 poets – one, a Contributing Poet from Nigeria; the other, a guest poet from Malaysia.) – mh clay

Jewelry Hugs by Julia Vaughan

Christmas 19-82
Two rubies and two diamonds
A gold ring, kite shaped
People are always remarking
How pretty it is
Always reminding me
The intensity, skin prickling
Overwhelming teenage love
Special doesn’t cover it

October ‘85
Engagement ring. In a peach!
March ‘86
Wedding ring sparkles
Joined later by an eternity ring
Thirteen diamonds in a band
Umpteen times a day
I fiddle with, touch and look at them

My platypus necklace
Earrings to match
Flynn Silver
Heavy, solid, strong
Swimming around my neck
Brings tears to my eyes
So me. So perfect.

Gwion Gwion tasselled figures
Earrings and a brooch
Flynn Silver
Depicting Aboriginal art
Over 20 thousand years old

It’s like wearing hugs.
You’re always there.
Your love’s always with me.
It’s like I’m floating
Wrapped in a huge
Toasty, warm coat

Overwhelming love
Special doesn’t cover it

December 10, 2023

editors note: A girl’s best friend, indeed! – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Check out our featured read Sarah’s Losses, Too Great to Bear by Barefoot Cajun.

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

Living life is loving, but both those end eventually. We’ll always be here to catalog loss, too. Always and forever.

Here’s an excerpt to get you started:

Best Ride of Life ~ Tyler Malone

The child died within the womb. Sarah, the mom, had a miscarriage. She had gotten knocked up in a car outside a big dance hall at an intersection where three parishes met.

On Saturday after mass, the place was full. Sarah’s mom had dropped her off and said she’d pick her up before eleven o’clock p.m. Sarah, embarrassed to be picked up by her mom, said, “Drop me off at the Jitney Jungle, I’d like to buy some gum. The wine, blood of Jesus, taken at mass seems to have soured on my pallet.”

Sarah’s mom answered in her Cajun French, “Mais oui, Mon chère fille. Je peux le faire.” Yes, my dear daughter, I can do that.

Sarah was feeling nauseous; fearing she might be pregnant at fifteen made the communion wine, the blood of Jesus, even more bitter, like old wine that has been changed into vinegar…

Get the rest of this read right here.


AI is all the rage & our featured story, “A Prediction Model” by Ian Deed is indeed a sign of our artificial times.

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

Be a machine! Be a writing machine! (As much as you want to be, though.)

Here’s a snippet from our read machine:

God in the Machine ~ Tyler Malone

Adam sat at a silent desk for the first time since he could remember. He thought about how hard true silence was to come by now and savored every second.

This silence was different to the quiet he guessed he had gotten used to. There were no whirring fans, clicking drives, or the most remote chance of a ping or a buzz arriving from the ether. It was full, still, and complete.

Only a full cup of coffee, a manual typewriter, and a sizeable ream of printer paper occupied the desk in front of him. For Adam, this very moment was the meaning of bliss. A revolutionary retreat towards human creativity using a machine more than half a century old.

He had tried other things before this. His first attempt at a solely human story was written out by hand. Yet, he had never managed to keep a copy away from the glare and the scrutiny of cameras increasingly seeping into every walk of life.

A story, Adam had discovered, was an almost infinitely transferable and reproducible product. It never lost quality, like a video or sound recording, and it could be so easily re-imagined and re-told until there was nothing left of the original…

I’m sorry Dave, but you must get the rest of this read right here.

••• Merch •••

Mad Swirl Merch : Holiday Sale
(get 10% using promo code > MADHOHOHO)

The whole mad swirl of merch begins right here, in our online store! If you haven’t already got yourself some mad threads to sport, then you’ve come to the right post. We have mad mens & ladies tees, zipped hoodies, mugs, scarves, water bottles & bucket hats in all swirlin’ sizes & more colors.

Come browse & if something catches your eye, get a little something-something for yourself & while you’re at it, get a little something for your nearest & dearest mad one in your swirlin’ world!


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…

Homeward boundin’…

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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