The Best of Mad Swirl : 01.01.24

by January 1, 2024 0 comments

We live at the edge of the miraculous.

Henry Miller

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum, Christmas blessed, looking forward to a New Year’s best… we flat defied being organised; we would not be alone, scattered treats on stones; we quelled our laughter to clean up after; we were happy to be with pieces of me; we got what we could when devils were good; we romped sublime at beastie time; we looked to win with all the things we’ll just begin. Now, if we are open-hearted, this Year is ours, so, let’s get started! ~ MH Clay

Begin by Beate Sigriddaughter

If you ever wanted to
edit your life
see waterfalls
play the flute
swivel your hips
give a rose to an artist
sew a red dress
study canyons
walk narrow trails
swim in wild water
have a cat and grow roses
be passionate
trust your fellow travelers
wake up singing


January 1, 2024

editors note: What better day than today? Happy New Year! – mh clay

New Year’s Moon by Joseph Farley

Let the beast out tonight
Just for the evening.
Tomorrow’s another year.
Plenty of time to apologize
And build a better cage.

December 31, 2023

editors note: Bust out now, be a better beast tomorrow… or the best beast you can be. – mh clay

Holiday Spirit by Mike Zone

It was the first of the month
Vodka-man and me had just finished putting together a batch
making another killing
waiting outside the social security office
vodka cooked crack
t’was the season
most wonderful time
of the year
we were in corktown
hit a liquor store
“Hey brother, can you spare a dollar?”
“We’re hungry boss.”
We did better
spared a couple twenties
“God bless you boys, God is good!”
They proclaimed
Fuck god is what I said
You’re sitting out here,
and sober…
so, fuck god
“You can’t say that, you’ll go to Hell.”
Oh yeah?
I can see how much god loves with all that faith
being exactly where you are
Vodka-man laughed at these antics as we entered the establishment
We came out with:
Hoagies, chips, a dozen forties, two cartons of cigarettes
And threw in some pot
And quite a bit of rock
We handed them the boxes of stuff
Looks like two drug dealing atheists just gave you more than god

December 30, 2023

editors note: Angels are anyone; they’re sent by god if we think so. – mh clay

Happy New Year: Find Yourself by Isaiah Vianese

after Jan Heller Levi’s “Anatomy Lesson”

There are pieces of me everywhere—
part of me is on the couch with my husband,
my head on his shoulder while he drinks coffee
and listens to the morning news.
He runs his fingers through my hair.
This part is peaceful and dreaming.

Another part is kissing friends before embracing,
my face nuzzled into one neck,
while my legs are thrown across the lap of another.
Their sighs raise the tide
and every boat in my body
wants to break out to sea.

Part of me is thinking about my grandmother,
gone three Christmases already,
and the things I’d love to tell her
about our lives this past year—
promotions, the new place
with books on shelves to the ceiling.

A part is dancing around the apartment
in just underwear,
part giving the perfect blow job,
part learning to say “balance” in ASL,
part singing, “Just because it’s over
doesn’t mean it’s really over,”

part taking these pieces and building
this messy collage of love called life,
thankful for all of it.

December 29, 2023

editors note: May the pieces you puzzle make a year near perfect or happily passable. – mh clay

new years by David Susswein

newyears is picking up bottles
trash can garbage bag collection
the clinklies hurt you head
worse when they break together
smither even worse sounds and cut fingers

newyears in picking up trash left in the lawn house bedrooms
ghastly condoms someone has left

newyears is remembering every promise you forgot
and worse every promise you forgot to even make

newyears is sitting over a pukebowl
trying to remember every sorry you will have to say
for next year.

December 28, 2023

editors note: Party responsibly, Folks! Leave those sorrys for someone else. – mh clay

The New Year Listens for Hope by Margaret Coombs

The snow reflects the blue
the twilight sky is losing.

No breathing creatures reply
to my invitation to dine

on safflower seeds,
or feast on the lard

and cornmeal concoction strewn
over paving stones swept clean.

The wind kicks up a murmuration
of snow, scatters snow-veils over drifts.

My frozen exhalations hang
thin as the New Year.

Where are the companions
I once summoned with my longing?

A pair of cardinals flit in,
beak the fuel they find,

carry a tiny answer.

December 27, 2023

editors note: Looking for the light of longing, answers abound our world around. – mh clay

JUST SAY NO TO ORGANISED FUN by Bradford Middleton

I always hated New Years Eve as I
Was always the one stuck in the corner
Feeling awkward that no girl wanted
To talk to me until the sweet beauty of
Booze came to drown my nights & in those
Early days I realised just how to lose
All my inhibitions but the magic quickly
Disappeared as I grew older, maybe a
Little bit wiser, and I soon realised that
Organised fun is the worst kind of fun
There is & when you’re expecting to
Have the time of your life you’ll almost
Certainly wind up bored & alone &
Especially when you’re in a crowd.

So this year; well, wine will be consumed
& music will be played & the smoke will
Do its work & it’ll be just like most other
Nights around these parts.

December 26, 2023

editors note: When the DJ yells “clap your hands,” fold your arms instead. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This holiday week’s featured read, “Que Sera Ist Sehr Gut” by Contributing Poet & Poetry Editor MH Clay, speaks to HE seekin’ & NYE thinkin’ on what was, what is & whatever will be as we sweep away ’23.

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

We’re here! But where is he? He who made this. He who made us. He who made this for us. Maybe, just maybe, it’s just us. Maybe us and this place is Heaven. Maybe that’ll never be enough.

Here’s a lead-in to the big J sightseein’:

Whatever Will Be Will Be Something Else ~ Tyler Malone

There are loud bangs and whistles, screaming reds and greens bursting overhead. We stand among the masses, shoulder to shoulder, bum to bum. Gluhwein and champagne slosh over onto our frozen fingers. It’s a divine ablution meant to cleanse us in holy preparation on this New Year’s Eve for the coming of the King. Music pulses over head-high speakers, cameras roll from platforms suspended high above the streets, recording the historic event. The crowd pulses, too, a multitudinous amoeba anticipating the arrival of Jesus.

We believe he must be coming in the clouds, among the fireworks, bursting universes of white and blue. To greet him, we sing the popular songs of the day and some from the days when we were children. We await his coming, “He belongs to me like the name that’s written on my door.” He is ours. We await him. We want him to appear.

“Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see.” But we are wishing, straining hard to make him appear, to bring to us a New Year, a new era, a world without end, amen! We are impatient lookers for Jesus.

The after-vision of blasting lights, the reds, the whites; flowers and hearts in the winter sky. The falling snow, celestial works, falling back on us. We are momentarily blinded. Throbbing techno-atonal melodies surround us. We are deafened. The divine light, the heavenly chorus, is missed by every one of us. But Jesus has come (we think). He is here (someone said). He’s somewhere among the crowd, disguised as one of us. We are looking for him, looking for Jesus…

Get the whole HE seekin’ NYE scenes right here.

••• Open Mic •••

Join Mad Swirl as we kick-off our new year this 1st Wednesday of January (aka 01.03.24) doin’ the open mic voodoo that we do do at our OC home, BARBARA’S PAVILLION!

Starting at 8pm, join hosts Johnny O & MH Clay as we will incite the rise of YES & the fall of NO starting with some musical grooves brought to you by Swirve (Chris & Tamitha Curiel, Gerard Bendiks) followed by our usual unusual open mic!

Come one. (YES!)

Come all. (YES!)

Come to participate… (YES!)

(preRSVP at our Facebook event page or send a message to

Come to appreciate… (YES!)

(join us LIVE at Barbara’s Pavillion- located at 323 Centre St, Dallas -OR- tune in to our Facebook LIVE feed starting at 8pm)

Come to be a part of this collective creative love child we affectionately call… Mad Swirl! (YES! YES! YES!)


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…

Livin’ on the edge…

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Tyler Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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