The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.17.24

by February 18, 2024 0 comments

Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.

A. R. Ammons

••• The Mad Gallery •••

A Tenderness You Can’t Resist ~ Bill Wolak

To see all of Bill’s mind-bending trippy & erotic scenes, as well as our other resident artists (60 and counting!) take a virtual stroll thru Mad Swirl’s Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forum… we colored clarity, dry as sun in sea; we stepped to for a redo; we bent will for a first kill; we darkened a station in blank hesitation; we fears swerved through exits curved; we were found in arrears of grief-born tears; we silenced briefly waves of grief. We wax and wane through things profane to wield some words of wonder. ~ MH Clay

August – Loss by Polly Richardson (Munnelly)

You sing beautifully strong. Where did warmth
take calm seas? I sit with rough, wade into depths
hidden behind blue waters. And calm comes gentle,
silent roars cast themselves to feed shoals in waiting.
I’ve faced death all around. It sits on breeze beneath cloud,
in every motion of breath while
sands stick to bare skin refusing to part back
to origins, it claims its deposit.
I can’t feel it’s rough upon my cheek but see its
quiet arrival shrouding all but eyes yet
I am salted, before the aquatic roll, nonetheless. Seaweed-less.
Waves come at me
one, two, three and I take submerge. Silence, briefly between
crests mutes mountains even the grass stands without weave
You did it your way bro. Ended. That gape vaster
than black holes infinity
And the world hung it’s head, rocked and swayed.
Others decayed till deaths breath inhaled their living
Stole it for another charge. I have faced death all around.
One, two, three, four
I watched a wall of DNA hold tight yet wobble
within its shell, tears spilled into womb-less
for tomorrows rejoice at all those seeds germinations
that he too walks between veils.
I took you in my head, walked each step to
Dirt’s edges and rituals rocked. Mockingbirds sang high.
Into the ground he lowered, I am face to face,
And sunflowers, great big waving sunflowers,
cracked my wall
and so I flood,
on breeze beneath cloud,
in every motion of breath while
sands stick to bare skin refusing to part back
to origins.

February 17, 2024

editors note: Sunflowers sad when face to face comes, and it will come. – mh clay

I Was Not Made to Weep by Susie Gharib

My chest heaves.
My eyes yearn to release
a deluge of tears,
when there is so much repressed grief.

I sob the disappointments of forty years,
yet I do not know why what is supposed to bring relief
exhausts me.
I was not made to weep.

It is not an incident that sneaks out of a mound
of buried memories,
not a single face whose features nauseate,
not a single word that is sharper
than an executioner’s blade,
not the loss of love, friends, and peace.
It is the festering wounds in my consciousness
that refuse to bleed.

February 16, 2024

editors note: For some, grief gives no relief until that final rest is reached. – mh clay

No More Reversions Into Fear by Linda Imbler

Multi-toned families of Earth,
those who face significant challenges
by compressing anxiety,
heroes of a century
sharing the burden and the load of determination,
Having sufficient means
to possess real power.

Time goes on.
The picture is reversed.
The darkening of skies clears.
The worship of beauty returns.
There is abundant kinship
of the mystically faithful.
Lassitude diminishes.
The pursuit of destruction
dissolves at every turn.

The baffling problem
of curved exits is solved,
and the distinctive ranks of higher ideas
are replenished with experiences
worthy of attention.

February 15, 2024

editors note: Longing for this. Is it here? Is it now? – mh clay

Which Darkest Hour by Dan Raphael

the day the sun rose twice.
did it change directions. was it a different sun.
what time did my phone think it was
or we all just passed out for several hours and missed night
maybe only part of the world had two sun rises
and did all those places also have two sun sets

if the last to leave didn’t turn off the sun
if here, windowless, maybe buried, had its own sun
and day length, clocks tuned to 48 minute hours
or 48 second minutes. how would our hearts respond.
would music just slide into the new tempo, moments of
perfect stillness where even the clocks hold their breath
no one is born or dies, all souls joined in blank, anxiety-free hesitation.

certain corners I always stop on, certain lights are always green for me
open one door and two windows close, look up the time
and miss a message fluttering by the window, I’d set an alarm
but it sang somewhere else. on time but undressed

to notice the gaps and stutters in time
out of rhythm with everyone else oh so slightly
in denial, maybe paranoid, why me, what difference
can it make, never quite on time as others define
and if time is off what about location, never exactly here
always something askew when we meet, as if setting a new time
would make any difference, bring someone else,

will doors open before I can’t stay still, before the mirror-walls
re-costume, mistranslate, add the mystery ingredient
an echo with edges and intent, shadows unsure which way to point

February 14, 2024

editors note: We need a minute to figure time out, a shadow to point the way. – mh clay

First Kill by Jim Bates

“Come on, boy,” they cheered for him
It was his first hunt
“You can do it.”
They were a family of hunters
Earlier some of them had tromped through the cornfield
Scaring the pheasant out of hiding
It had run right to where the rest of the men and the boy were standing
The bewildered bird looked around
Frightened not moving
“Shoot him, boy” some yelled
“Kill the damn thing,” others shouted
Obediently he fingered the trigger
He liked birds
This one was so pretty colorful feathers shining in the sun
But he didn’t want to disappoint
He raised the shotgun and fired blinking back tears as feathers exploded
“Way to go!” the men cheered and patted him on the back
“You’re first kill!”

Later that night around the dinner table
They ate the bird
He accepted more congratulations
Wondering all the while
Why he felt so bad
Why his heart was breaking.

February 13, 2024

editors note: Vegan, anyone? – mh clay

Metal Men Peppermint by Jeff Grimshaw

Crumpled a page of ‘Metal Men’
Stuffed it under my cap
Went to meet Kathy at Tomato Smash

This is a do-over, she said
She brought lip gloss & peppermints
It will only be 1966 for a couple of minutes

Don’t fuck it up this time. The wind
Picked up I pushed my cap down &
The Metal Men crackled like fire

Quick! she said & 55 years of mistakes
Shot off to the hills like a rubber band,
Sweetened by the taste of peppermint

February 12, 2024

editors note: Got a do-over on your wish list? Quick! Go do it! – mh clay

color one by Guest Poet Ken Goodman

If GodFace has a color
it’s where atoms are empty . . .
self-recognized where I AM is
one color : clarity,
unstained linguistically,
atom-empty field
Garden E stability,
secret mantra access
inner-hearing silently,
color one embracing
centrally : each one


deLight absolutely dry
as sunshine undersea.

February 11, 2024

editors note: There’s more to see than color when you can see with clarity. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

This week’s featured read, Once Upon a Time, the Outer Wall of the Castle was Called the Bailey, and It Enclosed Everything by Contributing Writer & Poet Marie Higgins is sure to show you a thing or two!

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

Home is where we haunt.

Here’s a sneak-peek:

Public Privacy ~ Tyler Malone

Bailey’s body cast a big shadow across the property, protecting the castle and the inhabitants in times of attack. That is what I told myself, anyway, when I purchased the property on East Ghouland Avenue in Philadelphia. This magnificent estate, built in 1857, not only included the bailey with a beautiful courtyard, but also a three-story rounded tower with battlement-style parapets on top, making it look like a real castle.

I had always wanted to live in a castle. Like many a starry-eyed maiden, I had been enamored with fairy tales, pining for a kiss from a handsome prince who capably rode a white horse; that is, one which could take me away from the mundane. Not getting either, it is no wonder to me, then, that I wanted to make it happen my way.

At just under a million dollars, it was a stretch for me. Without an evil, hairy troll with amassed wealth by my side, I would need to spin more yarns into gold to meet the mortgage. But I only had one best seller under my belt, and therefore, as my pushy publisher reminded me, the best way to sell a first book is to write a second book.

But you can’t tell Muse when to work. She must be in the mood. She must like what you show her. You must show her your soul…

Muse says to go right here to get the rest this read on!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Starting in 2017 we 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. Purchase one (or all) of these anthologies from Mad Swirl Press: 2017-2022…


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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