The Best of Mad Swirl : 04.06.19

by on April 7, 2019 :: 0 comments

“To begin, begin.”

William Wordsworth

••• The Mad Gallery •••

BFFs ~ Chuck Hatton

With this one we close out Chuck’s reign as featured artist. However, we have a feeling there will be more mad works coming from this multi-talented artistè!

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 doused a flame in cider game; we braved the morass from rose colored glass; we questioned the mess to inoculate stress; we wept in the wake of a new mistake; we stoned to fall it over what to call it; we capped the cool of a fool on a stool; we mourned the creeping manifestation of favorite neighborhood gentrification. The changes come, for all, not some. Write your way through, it’s all we can do. ~ MH Clay

Deep Thoughts by Johnny Olson

I love my neck of the hood but it’s rabidly rapidly changing and I’m not quite hip to the kinda hip that it’s shifting to. This once nitty-gritty part of the city is getting to be a bit too bourgeois for a regular joe like moi.

The ragged edge that attracted this Chi-town boy to her all those years ago is getting dulled down by the day. I walk her Deep streets seeking to breathe in her underbelly culture that once seduced my senses. Sadly I see her getting yuppified. Her storefront lined streets dating back to the freedman ages, filled with blues tunes booming down Elm, bustling with tattooed bohos, blues tunes dudes, pounding punks rocking, mad multi-colored mohawks moshing, head banging metal heads, rollers free falling head first into dive bars, flying out feeling ecstatically free.

Fast forward a handful of years and fat cat West Coast investors are pimping to corporate cookie cutter businesses, overpriced designer bars, boutiques and flashy fine-dining establishments, stealing away the local loco flavor outta this neck of the hood, replacing it with cheapened uptown-vibed hipster hell.

High-rises are starting to block the downtown skyline and more are in store. Monstrosities reaching a dozen stories or more, filled with $50,000 millionaires who came to the deepest of Ellum to feel like they’re part of this once edged scene. They came in waves and dulled down that edge and slowly but surely are choking out the roughened culture that once thrived on this side of town.

I sit on my stoop, thinking my Deep thoughts, wondering when they’ll come knocking on (or down) my door…

April 6, 2019

editors note: When they (who? why?) are trying to erase your sense of place… – mh clay

MOMENT OF CLARITY by Bradford Middleton

I’d been drinking again
Days lost leaving me feeling like death again
And out of the midst of my mind
Comes a memory that tells me I’d been
Overdoing it again.

I was sat on my stool at that bar
Yes it’s got that bad that
I got my own stool
Me and a couple of other old-time regulars
When one of them turns to me.

She begins to explain who someone is
I’m sure I don’t know them but
Feign interest anyway. At the end she
Realises I ain’t a clue and simply states,
“Christ, you really do drink too much!”

Now this person is a legend of the scene
Treated like royalty in this pub for years
Even having their own glass which gets
Wet almost everyday apart from those when
She is drinking on holiday.

April 5, 2019

editors note: Just cuz Pot said it, doesn’t mean Kettle can say it isn’t true; mirror me, mirror you. – mh clay

DON’T CALL IT A BOAT by Clyde Kessler

A boat waits inside a cliff stone.
It’s a brood-neck of Mars motored
half-through basalt. It’s got steel
sensing the eyes of an old archeologist,
and it pretends it’s a fossil like a man.

A murrelet lays its egg in a nest there.
The embryo can hear the boat in its heart,
and the boat has already swallowed it
so the baby won’t ever hatch, won’t
stretch weird little wings against storm clouds.

The boat’s so old it watched thousands
and thousands of murrelets scrape lightning
from their minds to keep themselves flying.
And now the boat teases. It works the beard
and then the neck of the archeologist,
so that he’s head-deep in an alien’s soul
wishing for another Mars beyond Mars.
His words tighten like eroded fingers
around his lamp. There is no other world.

April 4, 2019

editors note: Auk-ward archeologist as artifact. – mh clay

4/9 by Opalina Salas

I hope you’re thirsty
it’s gonna to be a mess
my new mistake
red Pall Malls and
tosses her hair like
Elizabeth Taylor,
when it’s dirty
and crosses her stems
like flower crowns
clinging to porcelain.
I’m sure
is all going to end
very badly
but I’ve
made a drink
and buckled in.

Pretty girls
born in the 80s
carry the residue of
Molly Ringwald
and Siouxsie Sioux
without knowing who

It’s the flick of the wrist
resting on hips
dangling discount smokes
thrift store fake fur
strong second hand boots
clearance chocolate bunnies in the

Pretty girls
betray yourself your own crusty age
make you feel like a young man
even when you’re dickless
it’s reckless
it’s a shame

moon goggles
and kneepads
war paint stockpiled
clean slate from the last
terrible game
of the last dame

and It’s all a shame,
a fucking shame

April 3, 2019

editors note: Train(wreck)spotting; always good TV. (This poem is included in Opalina’s new collection, Black Sparrow Dress, from Mad Swirl Press. You be glad to check this one out – get a copy here.) – mh clay

I had a question… by Christopher Calle

I had a question I didn’t know the answer to,
So I asked google
What is happiness
Interviewing a design icon |,
She tells me that people look at Facebook to watch videos of puppies falling off logs
She told me she didn’t feel connected
When I asked what was bothering her
When she was crying about her mom who died 5 years ago
She should interview a design icon
I should ride a bike
I should stop writing and start working
I should focus
I should set a desk
By a window
With a lamp
And a cathedral ceiling
White on white
And with clean sheets
I ask google
How do I inoculate to the stress and the noise
Stress Inoculation Therapy is a psychotherapy method intended to help patients prepare
themselves in advance to handle stressful events successfully
I want to care more
I want to be carefree in the good way
I should describe time as particles of rain and a moving car
I should test drive a bmw

April 2, 2019

editors note: Ah, yes! Our icons will give us the answers AND ask the questions. Logon. Be free. – mh clay


I want to feel alive
like people I see sometimes,
on the street,
holding hands
because they don’t
truly know each other yet
but possibly
because they ARE the lucky ones

I want to feel rested
like people I see sometimes,
in the café,
eating their bagels with wonder
like they’ve never lost a wink of sleep
and they never drink coffee
because it gives ‘em the jitters
and they never have nightmares
because they beLIEve in the American dream

I want to be sober
like people I see sometimes
but I am cursed with crystal vision
I pass them the glasses
but they see what they want to see
and laugh all night long
They ONLY worry
when the cable goes out

April 1, 2019

editors note: With 300 channels (add 3-4 premium) we should all feel fine. – mh clay

In Cider Me by Paul Tristram

“Did you just ask me to take you back
with a declaration of undying love,
promising to never drink again,
and to change your insane ways?
Culminating with the absolute classic
(I cannot wait to tell my friends & family),
and I quote, ‘Even If You Say No,
I will Always Carry Around A Flame
For You Somewhere Deep In Cider Me’
Seriously? You’re… ludicrous,
get away from my front door step right now,
before I throw down something hard
& heavy upon that idiotic head of yours…
you’re winding me up, completely!
You’re lucky my brothers ain’t home…
or, after rolling ‘round in absolute hysterics,
you’d get the hiding of your life… Twat!”

March 31, 2019

editors note: A truly undying love (or, unending supply of cider?). – mh clay

••• Short Stories •••

If you Need-a-Read today, don’t need no more! Mad Swirl has got you covered with A Quiet Thanksgiving by Contributing Writer & Poet, Ruth Z. Deming.

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

“Family is the life drama that never stops: it grows from the roots and flourishes into generations.”

(photo “Home, on Occasion” by Tyler Malone)

Come & get you some of this familial feast right here!

••• Mad Swirl Press •••

Black Sparrow Dress is available at for a fab deal of $20! (2 fer $40!)

Shell freshly fractured. Soaking wet, chick wobble, cheep cheep cheep, every sparrow starts naked and bewildered. So does this collection. Then page by year by life experience; pinions form, feathers fluff to cover and warm. Wobble turns to wonder, storms weathered. Nest explored as erstwhile shelter, soon to prison turned. Then flight – sweet flight, skyward flutter, windward soar, new lands; new life, evolved from old. Sparrow flies free.

This is Black Sparrow Dress by Opalina Salas. Get it. Read it. Fly…

Mad Swirl Press is very honored to be the publishing home for Opalina’s poetic collection. This 80-page beauty is filled with 20+ years of her powerful poetry and complimented quite nicely with a handful of full-color mind-bending illustrations by artist Madelyn Olson.

AGAIN… Black Sparrow Dress is available at for a fab deal of $20! (2 fer $40!)

••• Open Mic •••

(photo courtesy of Rosie Lindsey Photography)

This past 1st Wednesday of April (aka 04.03.19) Mad Swirl continued to whirl up our mic madness at our mad mic home deep in the heart of Deep Ellum… the Regal Room!

This month, Mad Swirl Press officially launched, “Black Sparrow Dress” by Dallas poet and spoken word performer Opalina Salas with illustrations by Mad artist Madelyn Olson. And what a launch it was! Opalina performed a handful+ of her poems from her collection to a standing-room only house. Almost every soul in the Regal Room bought themselves a copy and seemed pleased that they did.

If you didn’t get you a copy last night, here’s the official tease for Opalina’s full-color, 82-page poetry collection:

“Black Sparrow Dress is about recalling the past and letting go. It’s about the town I call home and the poets I call friends. It’s about love and remorse, outrage and abandonment, but also hope. It’s about a woman’s journey through changes; aging, addictions, laments, misgivings, to eventual empowerment.”

If that got your want going, visit Amazon NOW and get yourself your very own copy for the real-deal of $20! (for a limited time, 2 for $40;)

HUGE GRATS to all you mad poets, performers, artists and musicians who helped swirl us up a mighty fine & celebratory 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)
Clark Walker (drums)

Mad Mic Cast:

Johnny O
MH Clay
Tamitha Curiel
Carlos Salas
Cortlynn Blankenbaker
Suza Kanon
Chris Zimmerly
Lisa Carmen
Monika Bell
Brett “BA” Ardoin
Taylor Teachout
Ursa Minor
Lynette Sharp
Nico Loraine
Elliot Hill

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

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

And lastly, but never leastly, thanks to ALL WHO CAME to support our launch of Opalina’s creative love-child down in 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 scenes that was right here…

Feature Set:

Open Mic:


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…


Johnny O
Chief Editor

MH Clay
Poetry Editor

Ty Malone
Short Story Editor

Madelyn Olson
Visual Editor

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