The Best of Mad Swirl : 03.09.19

by on March 10, 2019 :: 0 comments

“The main thing is to know something and to say it.”

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

••• The Mad Gallery •••

The Lying King ~ Chuck Hatton

To see ALL of Hatton’s mad satirically illustrated renditions, as well as our other featured artists (45 total!), visit our Mad Gallery!

••• The Poetry Forum •••

This last week on Mad Swirl’s Poetry Forumwe energies spent on an argument; we found some good, being misunderstood; we worked a loom of spoonful gloom; we in straight and narrow tried to save and got an arrow; we sliced sea shroud in thin blood cloud; we did art in bottle see from a wino’s POV; we quilled new letters from Icarus’s feathers. Fly or fall we write them all, our words, our birds. ~ MH Clay

Two Paintings by Pieter Brueghel on One Wall by Jeff Grimshaw

Half the world we hauled into the sky,
Rocks rising in fishing nets,
Dirt & stone ramps spiraling up,
Carts jammed with ash and
Black maple to frame the windows

We broke for lunch
Pointing with our sandwiches
At a cracked window frame
Well, that won’t do at—

For a second the windows framed a flying boy

A trick of the light! We laughed
And barked, warm beer shot
Out of someone’s nostrils,
All right, enough, we need to plane the door again
So let’s get back to—

Then burning feathers,
Burning wax, the far-off scream,
We filled the windows
And watched him pump and flail
All the way down
To the diamond hard water

The world stopped making sense
And so did we. All words failed.

We cobbled our own alphabets together,
New letters no one could read.

March 9, 2019

editors note: Some will watch, while others will Icarus be. – mh clay

Still Life with Bottle by Paul Hostovsky

The empty bottle the wino left
has a beautiful shape to it,
you have to give him
that. Tall, curved, downright
voluptuous. He left it here
next to an empty pack of Kools
on this park bench as a gift for you–
the evidence of his work.
It must have taken him much
of the morning to polish off.
A kind of workmanship itself the way
it grew inside him as the bottle grew
empty, and he grew more and more
himself, glowing warmly
the way the light filling the bottle
suffuses it with a fugitive warmth
now that the sun is high and he
has departed, leaving his art
or his garbage here for you
to marvel at or deplore,
depending on your point of view.

March 8, 2019

editors note: Every wino is an artist; every artist, a wino (not all wine flows from bottles). – mh clay

Barracuda by John Riley

The silence a barracuda makes
swimming down your spine.
Pain sloshes in the skull
breath catches in the throat.
Sliding against the bones
barracudas leave no tracks
make sudden darts upward
pulled by the shadow
of a thought darkening the surface
dive into deeper darkness
leave a cloud of blood thinning
on the surface churn.

March 7, 2019

editors note: Damn the metaphors, let’s go swimming! – mh clay

John Allen Chau (1991-2018) by Brian Wood

Dear Mrs Chau, my files say, according
To reports, your son was killed carrying
Out the Great Commission, that is, and I’m
Just reading from my notes, ‘Go ye, and teach
All nations.’ We know he brought fish,
A football for the kids, and a Bible,
Waterproof. About his life there, his time
With the Sentinelese, we only wish
We knew more… except they shot him full
Of arrows and buried him on the beach.

All we know of the islanders is that
They stick to one holy creed and one fact:
No outsiders, ever. My new boss called
Me today. He told me he heard once, years
Ago, that a Christian scholar, who hired
As a go-between a local fisherman,
Did (quietly) spend a few hours with the old
Men of Sentinel. I’m told he was inspired
And on the morning he spoke the sun
Stood tall, the sky blue, bluer than the seas.

The scholar gave them great good news: Man was
Sinful from birth, and therefore ‘the wages
Of sin,’ let me re-check that quote my wife
Found, Ma’am, ‘is death.’ This was no fable.
Should they beg pardon of Y-H-W-H, unseen,
Unheard, they might be spared raging, endless
Fires. That’s when the arrows flew and the man
Of God fled. Maybe he treasured our life
Here more than the life to come; between
Our hopes and fears often a great abyss.
Mrs. Chau, be well. His great commission
Was done. I’ll call if we find his Bible.

March 6, 2019

editors note: Not cynical to consider; one man’s “good news” is another’s anathema. – mh clay

A spoonful of green by Goirick Brahmachari

Memory is a needle and a long white cotton string
Stitching yesterdays in hope and loom
Only to hammer in this indestructible reality
Every time I try to pen down my gloom

March 5, 2019

editors note: Our addiction to empty, ever returning to make white black full. – mh clay

Imperfect Gentleman by Ivan Jenson

I am beginning
to see you
in a new light
rather than the old
flickering bulb
of my preconceptions
and now
the faults and the perfection
seem positively photogenic
It’s like my mind’s eye
cannot take a bad picture
of you
from your “say cheese” smile
to your movie star profile
to those out of focus
moments when you
are within the motion
of some emotion
or other
or should I say former stranger
it’s a pleasure clarifying
our many misunderstandings
and I know this will
always be new
that is until the evening comes
when I forget to open
a door for you

March 4, 2019

editors note: Just when you think you got it down… think again. – mh clay

On Someone’s Anniversary by Mike James

For the sake of argument, let’s have one. It’s been a while. At least a couple of hours since the last atomic blow up. You think the world would be better with sprinkles. I mostly disagree. Also, if I won the lottery, I’d invest in umbrella stocks and unicorn farms. I’m a planner like that. You’d spend it all on antique kitchen utensils and misshapen power tools, on oil paintings of Karl Marx and faux leather lampshades embroidered with the face of Mayakovsky. You’d start calling our house an estate and re-name it In Memory of My Feelings. That’s just like you. Plus, and I’m sure of this, your pockets would always bulge with quarters and breath mints. And your belt would be decorated with pet rocks in case you decided to take a swim.

March 3, 2019

editors note: Winning won’t exempt you from going; but, at least you’ll be able to afford to go in style. – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you remembered that you Need-a-Read this week, then Mad Swirl’s featured story, Forgetting by Contributing Artist Tony Gentry, will get your recall rollin’!

Here’s what Short Story Editor Ty Malone’s has to say about this con-fabrication:

“It’s only true if we believe it to be true. Those are the moments that take us through life.”

Here’s a few lines to get you goin’:

(photo “Barrel Roll” by Ty Malone)

“They tell me I shot myself in the chin, shot somebody else, too, but I don’t think that’s right. What happened was I fell off a fruit wagon.”

That’s Dr. Wagner. He’s a pharmacist, had his own small town pharmacy out in the Valley for years, seemed fine, until this happened…

What happened?! You won’t know til you get to clickin’. Get the rest of this confabulous story right here!

••• Open Mic •••

This past 1st Wednesday of March (aka 03.06.19) Mad Swirl continued to whirl up our mic madness at our mad mic home deep in the heart of Deep Ellum… the Regal Room!

HUGE GRATS to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirl us up a mighty fine & intimate night!

Here’s a shout out to all who graced us with your words, your songs, your divine madness…


Johnny O
MH Clay


Chris Curiel (trumpet)
Tamitha Curiel (vocals)
Clark Walker (drums)

Mad Mic Cast:

Johnny O
MH Clay
Opalina Salas
Chris Zimmerly
Susan M Duval
Carlos Salas
Harry Harry Mcnabb
Wes Chambers
Christopher Calle
Rage Almighty
Cortlynn Blankenbaker

BIG ol’ thanks to Swirve for stirring the Swirl the best way in the world!

More BIG thanks to Regal Room’s Brent Elrod for making us sound mighty fine on the mic.

And lastly, but never leastly, thanks to all who came down to the Deep neck of the Ellum & shared this loving, laughing, lasting night of poetry and music with us!

May the madness swirl your way! ’til next 1st Wednesday…

Johnny O

P.S. In case you missed the LIVE feed, your eye can spy on the Swirl’n scene that was right here…


The whole Mad Swirl of everything to come keeps on keepin’ on… now… now… NOW! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year, every decade, every every EVERY there is! Wanna join in the mad conversations going on in Mad Swirl’s World? Then stop by whenever the mood strikes! We’ll be here…

Sayin’ It’,

Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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