The Best of Mad Swirl : 02.24.24

by February 25, 2024 0 comments

I write what I see; I paint what I am.

Etel Adnan

••• The Mad Gallery •••

Waiting with Arms Akimbo ~ 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 context tripped on needle skip; we slammed fat as cube rats; we farmed in factors of derelict tractors; we windowed full of ritual; we moved on from things gone; we lives disturbed from side of kerb; we shouted fears to deafened ears. Still, words we wrote made barriers broke. Our ink says we believe it. Though you might feel you’ve lost all hope, our words help you retrieve it ~ MH Clay

Graduation Party by Ahmad Al-khatat

Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad
were three of my most powerful pals.
They each had a flower in the vase &
our enemy destroyed all the vases and
stole all their flowers.

I recall their parents having inscribed
their names on their two arms and legs.
Just to be able to track them down after
_graduation party. We often forget about
our assignments because of armed troops.

“Evacuate, damn it!” they yelled at our door.
Ignoring the agony of an empty stomach,
Ignoring the stillness, Ignoring the absence
of our grandfathers, who taught us to live
& die for the soil and air of free Palestine.

We buried our hopes behind the fig & olive
trees because we wanted to live, to love,
and to be free of the vocabulary of callous
conflicts that neglected mankind.
Nonetheless, we are still magnificent bare trees.

Together in the moonless night,
we prayed then slept in peace until the graduation
party began to draw closer and closer with
daggers in our hearts, bullets screeching towards
our chests, missiles bursting at the conclusion of
the graduation party.

We were picked up by one of our parents
many hours later. Whether you believe it or not!
We’re all in the same bloody coffin. We wonder
whether, when the people of the globe cease turning
our reality the other way, they want to deafen both ears
and blind both eyes.

February 24, 2024

editors note: A sad education for them and a continuing ignorance for us; what we willfully will not learn. – mh clay

True Story (Everywhere) by Paul Tristram

Death by ‘Hazing’
and the Gang…
he never actually
got ‘round to
Joining… Denied
all knowledge…
and refused the
grieving parents
legitimate request
for Security at the
Funeral… where,
a distant cousin
of the deceased
got Stabbed
(So Ferociously)
by a Rival Firm
that he’s now
in a wheelchair…
that’s unfortunate
and just about as
… ‘Real Life’…
as it gets Kerbside.

February 23, 2024

editors note: Everywhere? Unfortunate, innit? – mh clay

on to the next by Guest Poet Josh Weir

too many things are gone
old spots of joy have now been reborn
as cheap insurance joints
instead of noisy
palaces of booze and madness

too many things are gone
cheap rufuges of cheap flea bag hotels
fenced off like bad memories

too many things are gone
faces that hang like monuments in the
etched in stone glory

the terror of time is that
as life gives it takes away

and there is no trading of moments
that can give it back

it all moves forward
regardless of your love

February 22, 2024

editors note: Move, it will; love, we must. – mh clay

The Ritual by Guest Poet Soumya Doralli

Crazy nightmares
switching sides
shifting blinds
chink of light
through the
broken window pane
squinting eyes
springing squirrels
sound check
the cherry tomatoes
divine red
better than
painting lips
with matte
russet leaves
the serpentine path
a sheet of corrugated iron
a raven-crow’s
makeshift abode
early to the
occasion of
pleasing the dead
the first to
arrive and
last to leave
the whispers
are all heard
when the fire in the pit
passionately dances to the
mantras of the priest
smoke percolates
eyes redden
once the ritual ends
follows the serving
of meal but mostly
respect that’s due.

February 21, 2024

editors note: This is one well worthy – respect. – mh clay

Wherever They Stopped by Guest Poet Jason Ryberg

By then all there was left
was a big brick house (still in fairly good shape),
the barn (barely standing), a few scattered sheds,
and, like a family curse or bad gene,
the decades-old debt.

The yard had long-since been overtaken
by Switchgrass and Sage, the chain link fence
slouching and sagging along through the seasons,
foolishly ineffective at holding
the slowly creeping countryside at bay.

The last John Deere, which, for nearly a generation,
had cut and re-cut their ever-dwindling acreage,
crawled away years ago to finally die
in a dark corner of that crazy storm
and gravity-defying barn.

And the old farm trucks, Macks and Fergusons,
in their time had probably hauled the weight
of half a million bales (or more).
Now, they just sit like the haunted,
weathered hulls of burned-out derelict war ships,

one of them run-aground and beached
on the edge of the south field,
another almost completely submerged
in that blue-green sea of Bluestem and wheat,
the cab barely breaking the turbulent surface.

The other ones stayed wherever they stopped.

February 20, 2024

editors note: The advance of age; the same for man and machine. – mh clay

Paycheck by Richard Evans

stationed at kissing desks
I feel the implode of anxiety
within this sweathouse of labor and woe
telephones chime
with the sweet rhythm of security
being enslaved can be a joy all its own
ungrateful maybe
but a yet to be defined pay scale
can mean so much in a bunker filled
with high school grads
through the fog and thunder
of these cackling underachievers
who slam file drawers in disgust
a voice sweet and low says onto me
hey you, wanna’ fuck

February 19, 2024

editors note: Said no one from HR (we wish) ever. (We welcome Richard to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

gliding by Guest Poet Eliana Vanessa

there is
no context
deal with it;
cheers, mate!
the rain is a season
of epitaphs,
needle skipping,
turntable, broken.
everyone wants
a piece of the daily.
where to start;
right here, right now?
it’s Venus Day–
do those starry eyes
dare not to repeat?
yes…yes i know
that number;
a galaxy of prepaid hangups
and call waitings.

February 18, 2024

editors note: Context? You gotta make your own. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you need some free entertainment, Dollar Storing by Scott C. Holstad just might be the read that fits your budget!

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

On occasions, life is full of riches, and even cheap pants don’t have holes in pockets so we can keep treasures a little longer than memory allows us.

Here’s a tease of the creative wares we’re selling:

Means to a Dead End ~ Tyler Malone

It was my first trip to a dollar store anywhere, this one on Broadway, and she was aghast that I’d never been to one before. Dollar Tree was her idea of a darn good time. I was back in Knoxville after burning through money in Beverly Hills like Satan was after it. Had some good times, paying the price after. So now here I was, poor and at the dollar store.

I once looked down on such stores yet had never been in one. Typical. Aware of that hypocrisy, I vowed to have an open mind, and frankly at this stage I had few options, so I was determined to make do with a decent attitude…

Get the whole package right here!

••• 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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