The Best of Mad Swirl : 12.25.23

by on December 25, 2023 :: 0 comments

For it is in giving that we receive.

Francis of Assisi

••• The Mad Gallery •••

santa baby ~ Madelyn Olson

We are proud to share this fine festive illustration from our very own Visual Editor and Contributing Artist Madelyn Olson.

To see all of Madelyn’s canvases, 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 couldn’t be more pleased to share some Yuletide Glee (with a little gloom)… we made a ploy to feign some joy; we egos tossed for bread and cross; we prayed to Above where God Is Love; we appealed to a christ-coming that wouldn’t be mind-numbing; we Solstice ranged for coming change; we cleared some mess away to welcome Cats-mess Day; we Yuletide sought what can’t be bought; we drew Holiday inferences to light up our differences; we, when the Day arrived, oneness and harmony contrived. If we would make peace on earth, goodwill must wend its way into every day. Jingle that bell!
 ~ MH Clay

Poem on Christmas Harmony by Padmini Krishnan

Come with me
and fill my Christmas tree
with your creativity and love.
One day I lit your lamps
amidst firecrackers.
Another time I fasted
and stood with you
in sighting the crescent.

Now it is your turn
to step with me
to strengthen the roots
of my Christmas tree.
Let us settle our disputes
in the heart
of the bells and baubles.
Let us find joy
in each other’s eyes
and walk towards
a new future,
a future called oneness.

December 25, 2023

editors note: Yes, let’s! ‘Tis the Season! – mh clay

One World Of Peace by Carl Kavadlo
If we think about the lights
and the Chanukah lights
and the Christmas lights
and the Kwanzaa lights

And the glowing night stars
and the hymns, blessings and chantings
of the diaspora

Maybe we see we’re not so different
after all.

December 24, 2023

editors note: This puts a new light on the Season, doesn’t it? – mh clay

It’s Almost Christmas, and I Still Can’t Buy Love by Nolcha Fox

Everything is on sale for Christmas. Everything except love. The stores must keep it in the back, stuck between the two left shoes and the fluffy bunny minus a tail. Wrapped in duct tape so that it can’t run down the aisles and spray-paint the merchandise. Or the customers.

The man with dark glasses sitting next to me in the movie theater tells me love is just an excuse for money, and this film doesn’t have it. He whispers he saw love sitting on the curb, smoking a cigarette. The cigarette is stubbed out and the concrete is still warm by the time I arrive, but love is gone.

I follow some kids to the ice-skating rink. They tell me love is a sheet of ice. The rink manager refuses to sell it to me, but he rents me some skates. I kiss the ice. The ice only freezes my lips together. I want to introduce it to my mother, but it is too big to fit in the car, and it melts when I try to hold it.

I drive home without love. I drive home with blue lips and wet clothes, and a sticky business card from the man with dark glasses.

I’ll have to ask Santa for something else.

December 23, 2023

editors note: If it’s not on Amazon, Santa can’t bring it. – mh clay

Christmas Carnage by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

That giant approaching cat eye in the glinting glass ornament,
a slight pawing bobble at first, a gentle probing before the massacre;
that hissing from the couch will only work for so long,
the cat will wait you out, you get extra busy this time of year.

It is not until you are in the kitchen many hours later
that you hear it, prepping dinner when the entire tree
comes crashing down. As you turn toward the ruckus,
a tiny ninja blur shoots past, racing up the stairs.

Inevitability is a strange mistress.
Her arrival long foretold by those first mischievous
well-whiskered glares.

December 22, 2023

editors note: An elf on the shelf is no match for a cat on attack. – mh clay

Change is a coming by Johnny Olson

Change is a coming…

In the vast blackness that envelops the day, vicariously balancing the yin & the yang, feeling a rebirth as midnight’s darkness slips away welcoming the dawn of a new day

Change is a coming…

In waves that alter shorelines, waters lapping at your banks, remapping a lifetime of routines and ruts, shifting directions of tides, realizing you are the moon swaying the waves that bring this change

Change is a coming…

In this ever shifting orb we live upon that’s always transposing faces from beautiful to horrific, from bountiful to anemic but always different, always evolving every moment

Change is a coming…

In the fluttering of hummingbird’s wings frantically peeking around trees & clouds to find a peaceful place to finally land and get a much deserved respite

Change is a coming…

In broken brush strokes that break the vastness of the canvas’ colliding colors swirling together in a harmonious cacophony of complementary hues swirling views that speak of mad dream scenes

Change is a coming…

In flashing thoughts that form into words that team up to find a rhyming timing mate to create a verse that transforms into a poem that you no longer own, absorbed into the collective om

Change is a coming…

In these closing words, tidying and tying up these collected letters floating around, my ink sinking deeply into the parchment that is my book; this chapter ends, another now begins…

Change is a coming…

December 21, 2023

editors note: This Holiday Harbinger says it’s coming… ready or not! – mh clay

christ consciousness by Jean Bohuslav

I find whatever is given attention grows
to me heaven is a state of consciousness
finding this harmonious spaciousness in
oneself by expelling constant thought
allows helpful knowledge to rise
meeting universal needs benefitting all

christmas is a reminder to birth christ
consciousness to constantly observe
the mind hence maturing as a human
being becoming saner surrendering
negativity affecting body cells always
on high alert responding to emotional
thoughts affecting many facets of life

December 20, 2023

editors note: Have a Merry Conscious-mas! – mh clay

Saturn’s Sugar Music by Tyler Malone

A Confederate flag above their - No! His liberated bed,
new love taken in to share fried leftover vows living on
his side of the barn door stenciled with GOD IS LOVE.

As far from the east is to the west, hate pays no rent.
It’s not serious, the resulting actions of moving atoms,
just never ask where we go come next tornado.

Time to kill off dying dreams on two fronts,
faces of rage and fists of insecurity, screaming
give up your home like a champion arm wrestler:

winner take all appendages.

With immaculate coitus believers, I have no gifts
other than confusion even if invited over for Christmas
to stay for a lost cause of white hot grape juice shots,

sugar-blood served in convenient ignorance
alongside buttered biscuits spread in curvature
of a twister spitting teeth pulled from apples.

It’s the season of miracles to appear as any father
Building a barn to weather the land
to raise children on the end of the world feeding

on the firstborn, head to toes, rolling tongue
as rust eats trucks and tornadoes steal dandelion offspring,
forgive your own trespasses,

never your own creations.

December 19, 2023

editors note: Arm yourselves, believers! Leave out the milk and cookies for forgiveness. – mh clay

ADVENT FAST by Vyarka Kozareva

Seeds kept in cupped hands.
And nuts.
Surely something will sprout,
Grow, yield a harvest
Provoke questions
And allot answers.
And fruits, fruits, fruits.
Sugary sweetness,
Nectar and honey.
Do we mistake the temptation
As forgetfulness
When we omit to make the sign of the cross
Over the bread
Just because we are flawless egoists?

December 18, 2023

editors note: In this season, let’s not find ourselves at cross-purposes. – mh clay


Another year has passed & so we
Get here again; a day some count
Down to for months on end, as if even
One good day is going to save a tired,
Frustrated life from its own death-grip
Of boredom, to those of us like me
Who just treat it like any other. My
Christmas day will mean nothing
Different; I’ll wake, I’ll get high, eat
Breakfast & walk…
I’ll return to my room once my feet
Grow sore & my eyes grow sick of all the
Big families swarming my usually
Deserted seafront with their pretend
Christmas joy & I’ll do what I do
Every other day of this god-damn
Life as a life like this is made for
The living rather than the waiting
Around for nothing to happen.

December 17, 2023

editors note: This and every day, exactly what we make it. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

Our featured yuletide read, Voices Without Sounds by Contributing Writer, Poet & Short Story Editor Tyler Malone, is sitting under the tree awaitin’ your unwrappin’!

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 a few notes from this tune:

Home Above ~ Tyler Malone

Beautified with holiday lights, the last of the year’s leaves fall. Some are yellow but entire trees are also solid green with one lone orange leaf that seems to know the season. Not even trees know what’s going on while mosquitoes disappear and carolers from Heavensgate Christian Academy arrive with rehearsed songs to Timeless Oaks Retirement Home. Under the awning, Jenny Yu, ready to start her own life even in fourth grade, looks up to see a shape with yellowed plastic eyes in the rafters. A dummy: just a scarecrow owl waiting for prey.

Hudson jumps next to Jenny and says, “Who’s there?” Jenny ignores the joke as Ms. Holland orders, “Single file,” as the children’s crusade is on the march.

“Remember who is the reason for the season,” the teacher says, glancing at Hudson but doesn’t smile in obligation as she continues: “Sacrifice, children,” under her breath with layers of obligation in every letter that, put together, only the most faithful find compelling. Sacrifice children. The new night isn’t cold but winter clothing is part of the performance. Mittens, toboggans; plump, plush jackets. No real threats arrive in winter except time, so it’s time to sacrifice…

Get the rest of this seasonal sacrifice right here.


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…

Givin’ & Receivin’…

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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