Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 50

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Unrenewed Subscription to The New Criterion, Again

There were less public justifiers paralleled to
Ponderances that scribed a re-charactered Sin-
Clearly allegiance to a granularly-texted smarts

In where skeletal phrasings could not retaliate
Against the conscripted confines of inquiry
Until his outsider glance of modernity ran in-

To the post-privileged tenor of being held
Captive inside an unwalled voice bow-tied:
The tacky gratuity of imagined crossed lines.

This is wannabe John Hospodka’s bi-weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 49

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An E-Mail to William Logan
Cc: David Yezzi
Bcc: August Kleinzahler; Garrison Keillor
Subject: A Cube with a View

Hello Yet Again My Friend:

I am truly sorry for sending that rude Messenger note on the night of the Charlottesville nastiness. (My true hope is that you never received it.) I was furious over the fact that one of your publishers has a hard-on for Steve Bannon. … Not that I’m a Liberal, but I’ll touch on that in a sec. …What split across my mind that evening – other than the vodka – was A) my deep admiration for your criticism (as I flippantly stated in the Messenger note, I feel your poetry is flaccid, which is true – I do … simply put, and as I’ve stated to you in an earlier e-mail intrusion, “side by side, the emotions of our work would show we hang amidst pointedly different crowds – mine is the slightly burned out but still smoking; your crowd simply sparkles”); B) my disgust over the emotion Bannon emotes (at base, to my mind, doing all he can to inform a political atmosphere meant to capitalize upon the failing American ability to practice critical thinking); and finally C) the things I’ve read from a publisher of yours, Roger Kimball, that express a high regard for Bannon and his notions. I came to the angry conclusion that by allowing your work to be published within The New Criterion (TNC) you are complicit.

I still kind of feel that way. It is a feeling I must overcome. I do recognize that this feeling is unfair to you, and entirely assumptive.

As I have informed you in the past, I was once a subscriber to TNC. What you don’t know is that I was a subscriber in two different eras of my life. The first was a three to five year stretch back in the middle Nineties, when I was on the Gentleman’s Jack full-time, wearing a tie daily to my employment at the Art Institute of Chicago (rest assured, I did not hold a glamorous academic-leaning position – I was one of the ones that accepted the public’s donations … I worked the register back when donations were accepted by the non-profit), listening compulsively to G n’ R, and I began, at the age of 26, to smoke a pipe (what a douche, eh?). It was a period of time in my life when I was ripe for being in a conscious revolt against my generation – against the apathetic ways of Grunge.

No doubt, I was a sad-sack of contradictions back then. On one side of the coin I was an enthusiastic burnout, while on the other side I was burgeoning formalist. In the midst of that period I read a profile of TNC in, if I recall correctly, The New York Times Magazine, wherein it was mentioned how TNC’s staff and crowd are whiskey-drinking intellectuals. I longed to be just that. I was a few years beyond an academic career in which I excelled at nothing in the classroom, and I was yearning to prove that I could indeed think and reason. I learned much from the erudite criticism published within TNC. I learned that serious, meaningful criticism is necessarily impolite. I had been becoming more and more appalled by Poetry Slams, by the academic temper of contemporary poetry, by the emergence of Performance Art, by how artists spoke amongst themselves against the common Conservative foe – by what I perceived as being an art scene more concerned with therapy-sessioning, with utopia-ing life, and less concerned with being of the Lone Wolf mentality. With each issue of TNC that arrived in my mailbox, I grew more and more repulsed with the polite back-scratching I saw going down in the contemporary art scene. TNC’s editorial stance was at that time stoking my anti-PC position.

Then I went away for a while, for really no other reason than I just did. Nothing prompted my stepping away. I simply did not renew my subscription one year, and that stretched into several years. I came back, yearning for TNC’s hard-bitten criticism, but upon reading my first issue in years, I was disappointed. I had remembered it as being different, livelier. What I came back to was a pile of intellectual stoicism – a pile of righteous Academic stuffiness. For some reason, I had remembered it as being more ebullient—more expansive. I recognize the importance of editorial stances/missions, and I now realize TNC had been doing what it had always been doing: sticking to its smarts. So, simply put, it was I who had changed during my break with the journal. By the time I came to TNC for a second go, I had acquired different expectations, I had become a different sieve.

In the years between subscriptions my wife and I bought a home with a basement in Bridgeport, Chicago, on the city’s South Side (bang bang). I matured into this middle-aged punk before you who still shops for bongs, and never, never tucks in his shirt. … Never! … I grew back into who I was when growing up: my friends are all proud Union members or work in the Service Industry or the like, they get their life philosophies from The Simpsons, they don’t tuck in their shirts, either, and they could care less about poetry or coffeehouses, but yet they crush coffees day-long, just one of the many elemental habits they unconsciously embrace during their debauched drafts—read: days—in the pursuit of cultivating out of life itself a heroically unapologetic poem; I stopped trying to pronounce words correctly, allowing my natural Chicago accent to bastardize any tact I might possess. I stopped posing – I am not an intellectual. Far from it. I realigned with who I really am: a Chicagoland boy who happened to come upon an artistic inkling; but who pays less heed to that fruity inkling than he does to his craving for a stool at the corner tavern where he can participate with his peeps in bitching about all of their laborious attempts to unfuss their days, and share in crude laughs over how splendidly well they all fail. And in such a re-cultivation, I had projected a hope that TNC might have evolved into a more … uhm? … pluralistic anti-PC. But when I came back to it I immediately understood just how really privileged TNC’s take on being anti-PC is. With each arrived issue of my renewed subscription, I was becoming more and more bored with TNC.

I had grown into a Free Thinker. I have come to believe that both the Left and the Right give Populism a horrible name – a horrible reputation. (Understood: I’m writing with broad strokes here, but this ain’t no essay – it’s an e-mail. And though I might begin to sound apathetic here, I do vote.) Each tries to appropriate Populism to its own agenda. Both parties, both agendas, have played the populace into tribes. They got us exactly where they want us: they got us battling against the other’s respective perception, rather than aspiring to a collective respect for critical thought. Both Modern Liberalism and Contemporary Conservatism, each being utterly compartmentalized by its own PC and by its own increasingly Gizmobation-based definement of who and what is “elite,” stand as embarrassments to the fearlessness of the other, to the art of listening—to the American imagination.

Apologies, William. I know your writings were in TNC during my second spell with it. I always look forward to your work, but unfortunately, to me, your writing was getting bogged down in its surroundings. It began to seem to me that all of the writing in the issues was neglecting the “Culture” in favor of the “War.” (Again, writing in broad strokes here.) To my mind, your criticism does not deserve to be lodged in the spine of the Culture War. When I read your criticism outside of TNC it is nothing short of irreverently brilliant, it entertains and enlightens; inside TNC your writing becomes snobbish, steeped in agenda. Seriously.

More recently, I read on the great and ever-widening internet machine the series of essays TNC – Roger Kimball’s TNC – published on the theme of Populism. I was confused. As I read each essay, I couldn’t help but to imagine each author as being like a Napoleon, a Napoleon atop his stallion on a gentle hillside far, far, back, peering through a telescope at his forces as they engage and die in battle. Populism is utterly simple. It means one thing only, and that meaning is not up for dissection by intellectuals, nor is its meaning there for the commoner to assume as a justification, a comforter, for single-mindedness, prejudice. Populism is the awareness that honesty and dignity – humility’s forces – are propelled not by the cosmetic questions of our vitality, but rather by the gutsy questions of our temporality. It is an awareness that is void of ego—of class, ethnicity, sex, color, religion. It is in the embracement of the gutsy questions of our temporality where We the People can become unshackled from the earless entrapments of being of the Left’s reality or being of the Right’s, where We the People can fearlessly come to accept the fact that separation of Church and State is the most imperative notion of democracy. And with that, We the People will center the American imagination, and finally find the common reality that our perceptions of who and what is “elite” have always been one in the same. … Yet, obviously, We the People will never fully be one tribe – unfortunately there will always remain a douchey sector of American society – inclusive of both Left and Right leaners – wherein the amplification of the differences in our sets of belief, and how to react to, enact on, those takes on belief, shall always be self-righteously (Godlessly, actually) heralded. … In practicing humility and refraining from being pigeonholed, we could better gain the courage needed to pursue an unsafe – irreverent – as opposed to tiptoey – PC-laden – dialogue that would go a long way in creating a civil approach to understanding the underlying grievances between, say—to bring matters closer to home here—between the Lone Wolf character and the MFA mentality .

I urge you to step away from TNC. Get out of that context. … But again, when I take a step back, I fully understand I’m being unfair and assumptive here. This might be exactly where you want to be published. It is not for me to judge, though I do.

… Anyhoo, I have written something with the Culture War in mind. In fact, I’ve titled it that (its working title for some time was, “Colin Jost and Michael Che vs. Roger Kimball and Steve Bannon”). The germination of this piece was my feeling bad, terribly irresponsible (and hungover), really, the morning after I sent you that Messenger note. But it’s come a long, long way from the sense of culpability that was its launch. Below is the culmination of my trying to work through my political angst, which has much to do with my cultural ignorance. Enjoy.

Chalice Sinclearly

Culture War
“Ecoutez la colère du peuple”
~Sign held high amidst tear gas during the 2010 strikes in France
I. Freedom Fries
When in the dying sun’s rise its still
Allegiant rays burn off the frayed
Gauze fog that dressed the battle-
Field as a shelled vestige to the prude
Shock surround of a post-common
Sense gushed into a night that was to be
Paced by the leathering into bone
Of a licked persecution’s lyrics toothed
Cerebrally as an anthem accompanied
By the acoustic resolve that’s fuzzed
With “Chillin’” amid gateways of a 4th
Wall while beside the blazes of too natural
Pyrotechnics our gazes would forage
Beyond this enlisted presence towards
The pulse of our guiltily negotiable
Neighbors who required conflict once
The vagaries of the possible ear
Surrendered to spike the illusorily
Lived lesson of a suburban-raised Punk
Ethos with wannabe MILF diatribes
Loaded in the pill-born strains of a life-
Style whose nosey choices dimension
The parenting of an agenda whose back-
Attack slants at perfection of White self
The foolery masked by the crusade of an ambition
barefacedly polarized by the fear of being cultured
It is in this preparatory phobia at the muffin
-Top-bookended crack of Facebook’s dawn,
When we will need the Rastafarians armed
On our legalized flank with smooth hoorays;
As our drums “Immigrant Song” below our
Curling flags of Joker, the complacent eye-
Witness world suffers two-faced Bukkake.
II. Brief Trajectory of a Voice’s Paradigm
The arrow parted from Poetry on a straight choice, a quickened aim stretched across the bow purchased in lieu of Poetry’s remove from the consequential cowboyhood of firearms, and yet being fanatical over the right to the safety of oneself and one’s – response to a world gone now to the whims of media consultants financed by the financial struggles of street gangs to strain the gripes of kingpins’ turfs into a greater, more single staging against the infusion of White self-pity’s holed up position on the potential banning of a fictitious Soul on Ice; to perfect podium gestures that better perpetrate the possession of a conviction harbored only in an intellectual capacity cultivated behind bars raised to expectations of emotions irked by blames juice-lipped in nature, and numb-assed with time – and being ultimately not gifted with no sense of right and wrong, Poetry aimed to only wound the trunk of this night stalker whose presence was suggested at when through a breeze avowing window came the familiar unfamiliar early AM jiggle of a poem’s door handle in an alleyway (the sound of revision is like a smile: its purpose should be as decipherable to you as it is to the next principle-minded Beef Head or Knuckle Fuck). The arrow’s bulleted passing from backyard to alley biffed the home plate of a diamond in Poetry’s chain link fence, redirected to enter the underside of a cleft chin, pierce a criminal tongue, and poke the roof of a Poet’s skin-rot mouth: The calamity might be best exemplified by an actual readership.
III. POV: Revolt the Revolution
Re-inquest the sense of pigged depravity, in-
Where the cinemascopy recovery of order
Might go legit beyond the bludgeoning gage
Of ever since, whereout the Gentle Mental,
His jiggly nips in the throes of a heave as His
Decree overspends in the fervor of this bottle-
Flu world’s talked over narration, utilizes defiant
Syntaxes of a billy club – wherein, for keeps,
Gentle Mental Himself resurrects not lightly to
The fish-net-driven hard-ons of White self-pity’s
Unambiguously hermetic fantasies of intellectual
Freedom: “As a rule I fright the ‘You’ out of me:
‘Boo-scary-scary! BOO!’”
But billy clubs do vignette; and the polarizer
Hostility, whose star-shy nativity is evidenced
In fingerprints discoverable upon unexecuted
Molotovs, cuts an atoning swath across steadily
Beasted sanctuaries of an encrusted resistance
As Gentle Mental outs brutality in the midst
Of without – as if “True dat” will polite into
“Precisely accurate” within the Haymarket
Of a civilization whose protest song twangs
A Woman governance over the over-mannered
Ideal Gentle Mental quashes under His fear
To hear Truth is not a brain shart of His alone.


This is wannabe John Hospodka’s bi-weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 48

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Futility from a Height

My neurotic back is to the door. Uncharacteristically, the bar is empty. Even Bob is not present. He’s gone off to the back room to grab some coasters, some glasses or some-shit.

Sun sweeps into the silent bar, and then a sort of spatial shading creeps into that sun. Only one body is cut out to emanate such a sagacious, see-through shadow as this.  The shading touches me as an understated incitement to goose pimples: I chill.

The Reverend Any Major Dude is in da house, y’all.

The bar’s door shuts out the sun. … Ugh, there it is. Shit. There’s that annoying, tripping laughter of one Chalice asslick Sinclearly. … Ugh. Can’t he just stay outside for once and go get lost?

A Black Label is on the bar, before the stool next to mine. The Reverend appears in the mirror behind the bar. The Reverend’s long, oblique face, engulfed as it is now solely by the velvety fake light of the bar’s interior, is a vast, plushly vegetated plateau dripping with revelation. I stand, turn around and slap him ten and he slaps me ten right back. … Right on. …

He looks to the Black Label, reaches for it, hoists it, slams it.  I take my seat. I look up to him.

“I’ve got no real time for you today,” the Reverend shares, and gets his illogical presence all up in my grill, the thickening hair of his forehead, parted down the middle this day, tickles the tip of my nose as he bends down to speak to my face. I sneeze, and before I look back up to him I see his size 17 feet are flowing underneath my stool, the hand painted scenes on his sneakers are of streams robust with salmon run.

“God bless you. And thank you. I’m sorry, but I really have no time to spare for you at the moment. Commitments. You are not my only customer. You are not my only favorite branch of knowledge. But please feel what I am beginning to feel before I step back out into that fisticuffs-stirred air of Chicago wherein the vaporous trail of its Teachers Union bends over backwards to dodge the ricocheting bullets of Rauner’s very real stereotypical nob way of being pretensefully empathetic: your fight for your duality, for this numb-nuts here [he points a thumb over to Chalice whose face is buried into his arms that are crossed atop the bar – he is simply dying of laughter, laughing so hard that he is not making a sound], your fight for the no-namer in poetry and for poetry to get off its high horse, your fight in the name of poetry’s potential readership—the totality of your bickering at the American Literati is directly related to your fight to re-grasp your Catholic faith, to your hope that the Catholic Church will more absolutely become for and of the laity, and finally be an aesthetic extension of … hmm, what? … A moral rigor that finally embraces the loving psychotropic digressions of a Freethinker real-mindedness? … Ha! … Are you fighting a winning battle? It is said that a real Catholic goes to church; a real poet doesn’t hole up in a basement. … Know this, Hoz: you either need to reevaluate the ways of your being, or you need to concede that you are neither a poet nor a Catholic, that you are in truth what you are: a full-fledged wannabe. … And know this, Mr. Trip-Master One: futility ventures to unimaginable heights for its self-revelation. … Fly high, brother-man. Fly high.”

He raises his palms to waist-height. I slap him ten, and he slaps me ten right back. … Right on. … He turns around, and holds ten out for Chalice to slap. Chalice’s face is still buried into his arms that are crossed atop the bar. He has begun to emit hiccups of laughter, his spine heaves with each emission. The Reverend drops his hands, looks back to me and shrugs. I shrug back, then I spin around on my stool and begin to stare at myself in the mirror behind the bar.

A sort of spatial shading permeates the bar. Bob steps between me and my image, “Same way?” And as I give a nod, the bar’s door shuts out the sun.


This is wannabe John Hospodka’s bi-weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 47

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“Affair Fear”
Memoir/This Poem/Another Poet

the reality of it is it’s the unreality of it.
an unusual sex triangle without the sex,
and with it actually being diamond-like.

there’s her and me, then there’s this she.
myself excluded, this she and her exist
equally befriended to the other’s where.

but here is just me, amplified in my Sin
-clearly way between a need and a want:
one hand firm in this poem’s; on the other

hand i’m beside myself, relentless jives
fetched at in all these mid-thoughts over
how equally obtuse and acute the heart

-beats will surely become once the reality
of this crush i’m stomaching in this like-
wise unreality sexes me back to the ring.

This is wannabe John Hospodka’s bi-weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 46

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Acid Casualty
(or, Ordering at Skylark)

“Of course. Yeah, yeah. Sorry, I know you’re busy. Yeah, I’m ready to order, Bob; yeah I am. I will have a vodka martini. [Bob immediately spins away to go make the thing.] I would like my martini as if it were overturned by our government in a fit of book-banning rage. That’s to say, show absolute callousness: Shake it till you bruise it. Batter it. Make a goddamn victim of it, Bob. Make it dirty. Filthy. I want it nearly firm, to the point so you can’t see through the thing’s indignation. … Indignation for what? Indignation, Bob—indignation for its imminent role within my condition inside your establishment here where I’ve seen my common manners fail with poignant regularity. … Not even while squinting your eyes do I want to see through the goddamn thing. Make it impassable to the fucking eye. But no Vermouth, nooo sir, Boborino, I shall not take a fucking drop of that – my taste is too coy-sided to be infused by an opening up of anything. [Bob is interrupted in his making of the drink by another customer ordering a beer.] … However, I will ask this: I will ask that you take the Vermouth’s cap off and simply wave it thricely over the drink once it has been poured and calmed – I feel this pomposity legitimates the sneery constitution I will soon be gaining while empleasuring myself with those gulpy sips I will soon be pulling from that triangular glass you’re cubing right there in plain sight of this whole scene’s eyes. [Bob is back at his making of the martini. At the same time, he is describing to the other customer the after taste of the beer he just poured him.] And as for olives: indeed. I will need one. One olive, and one only, Bob. And don’t you dare pierce that salty oval. No, no, no. Spare it, sir; apply no wound. Whip the little devil into the cocktail with such vengefulness that it does not produce so much as a ripple, but does on the other hand produce a sound that resounds as the detonation that commences an Olympic 50 yard dash. … If you shall perfect this concoction for me on this day, Roberto, you will find that my cheap ass will not tip under-accordingly, but rather nearly decently.”

Chalice, dude, take it easy there cowboy. What the hell, man? You don’t drink martinis. Out to get blotto this evening? It’s Tuesday. It’s 5:35. The wife is on her way. … What, out to become the Muppet who ate Manhattan tonight?

“Fuck you, Hoz. Ate Manhattan? Didn’t you just hear me order a Martini? Ate Manhattan? [I know what he just ordered. I was simply using an expression. You know, I meant the island. He’s being an idiot.] … You have no idea where I’m coming from, Hoz. I had a horrific day. Horrific. … I began a poem. … Ugh! … I was knee deep in the fucking shit, sinking like a lead zeppelin inside that cubicle today. Like fucking ‘Nam in that cube. And all those freaks asking me questions and putting things in front of me to work on or file away. Fuck that!”

Um, those freaks are our coworkers; those things are our job. Maybe you should try actually doing our job someday. … Oh, but I get it, Chalice, I get it. Poor, poor, pitiful old tortured soul you. … Oh, by the way, what would you know about serving our country, much less experiencing the jungles of ‘Nam?

“Tortured? Damn straight. That’s what it’s about. I’m not afraid to say it. That’s what it’s always been about: torture. … You got ol’ prized Collins reading at some botanical garden with some mick poet; you got all those ones smiling away on some website for some forthcoming Brooklyn workshop. Poetry’s just so tweet-tweet sweet little birdies in bloomy trees, ain’t it? All these poetry readings and poetry slams and little non-profit prizes goo goo gaa gaaing on and on with all their life affirming bull—”

That’s the spirit. That’s how you win hearts – an audience, readers. Get in with the ‘in’ crowd. That’s it. Great American there, Chalice.

“Fuck you, Hoz. I serve my country. I serve my country by not being a school boy. That’s how I serve, and I’ve been serving for decades, dickhead. You can go straight to hell. … What, you think poetry is about touching hearts? … Ah-ha! You sort of do, don’t you, douchebag? Thinkin’ poetry’s just so empowering – Poetry! Poetry! Swish-boom-bah! … [Bob puts the drink before Chalice. The drink is as clear as Chicago tap water; inside the glass are three olives squeezed together on a pick.] Like the Good Doctor’s take on eating acid, that’s what poetry is—[Chalice takes a gulp of his drink.] Goddamn perfect, Bob! Perfect!—just like the Good Doctor’s take on eating acid: ‘Jesus, man! You don’t look for acid! Acid finds you when it thinks you’re ready.’”

[I do a heavy sigh, thinking, It’s sis-boom-bah, jagoff.]

Whatever, dude. You drain me. It’d be nice to be liked, appreciated, read. It’d be nice to bring the voice up out of the basement or outside of the cubicle every now and again. That’s all I think.

“Ha! Still petrified of the ol’ ‘cid, I see. … What was it? 1989? Edie Brickell & New Bohemians?”

You shut up now.

[Chalice slugs the martini, and Bob walks by and scoops up his empty glass.]

“HAHAHAHA. I guarantee, Hoz, you are the one person on this whole flat and minefielded planet who can say he was busted for being up in a tree while fried on acid at an Edie Brickell & New Bohemians show. HAHAHAHA—”

Shove it, Chalice.

[Fuck, it’s true. I was up in a tree, on acid, it was the 80s. … I ate some acid when Edie Brickell & New Bohemians came to play at our college. I actually ate a bunch. I had always been very skeptical of LSD because I had witnessed friends and acquaintances trip out on the shit. Acid always seemed to hunker down and be in there for too long of a time. Whether you wanted to keep on trucking or not, acid seemed to keep on zooming and zooming, rolling on and on for hours and hours. I had long found a sound friend in mushrooms: ‘shrooms could be controlled, manipulated on my end, I could maintain a rather speculative decorum on ‘shrooms, flirt with the gals like a Turtlenecked, Courvoisier sipping scholar, carry on a dialogue with the Reverend Any Major Dude, or at very least be cognitive enough to listen and learn from him about my inherent duality. I’ve always been able to come down from ‘shrooms whenever I’ve wanted to. But for whatever reason, on that particular day I decided to give acid a go, and with a handful dose at that. Crazy, I don’t really know why I decided to party-up then, at that point in time – I never cared for the band. Who know? But during the concert I was standing next to a tree. When I looked up into the tree it became immediately apparent to me that I should be up there in it. I’d be able to see the band over the something like 200 students who were in attendance out of the private school’s student body of just over a thousand. Once up in there I began to hear loud barking. I looked down and there were two campus police officers standing down there yelling up at me. Their teeth were all I made out: like dogs’ teeth when dogs are growl-snapping at you. I climbed down and the cops chastised me. They walked away, got a few yards away from me, and without any thought I climbed right back up into the tree. Again, barking; again, teeth. But this time when I climbed down I was cuffed, and put in a cell. (I would figure it out about a decade later: it was probably a liability thing I was violating.) In a jail cell for hours while on a handful of acid at the age of 19, 20 – I  tell you what folks, that scene got implanted and has me getting flashbacks till this very day—friends, acid does go zooming on forever. A bit of my character crumbled into 20th Century pre-Gizmobation-splintered selfies in that Five Colleges of Ohio town’s jail cell. I lost my shit. I heard them discuss at one point about getting me to the hospital. I sharted. I don’t have the constitution for that type of deep tissue mind-massage. I’m a wimp. And since the moment of my release from that cell back in ‘88, ‘89 – whenever – I have speculated, and I believe rightly so, that one more hit of acid would make me go all Oar-like on this world. So, that was it for me and lysergic acid diethylamide. One and fucking done.]


Jesus. You’re so tiring, Chalice. Just drop it, please. I’m spent; didn’t get shit done at work today with that fucking shit shooting through the brain all day. We’re going to be in for a shit storm tomorrow. And I don’t need any of your shit here. Not now. I just want a little peace; I need a drink. Fuck poetry; fuck you. I just want a cocktail.

[We fall silent. I catch Sinclearly’s eyes in the back bar’s mirror, and he holds my stare. His stare is condemning, challenging, but I don’t withdraw. I take up the challenge, in fact, and stare right back into his eyes, refusing to be the first to blink. … After a spell, the wife arrives and grabs the stool next to mine, kisses me on the cheek, calls me “My little drunk dialer,” then says, “Hi there, Bob. Wine, please. The pinot.” And I blink.]

… Yeah, Bob. Sorry, man. Just spacing out here. … Anyways, my bank’s arrived. So, hmm? Yeah, I’ll start me out with a Martini, please.

“Uh-oh, the Muppet who ate Manhattan,” Bob says with a wink before turning away from the two of us.


This is wannabe John Hospodka’s bi-weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 45

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Good ‘n’ Lit

… I was seated at the bar, in the midst of a steady conversation with Chalice Sinclearly, not paying attention to what was playing over the speakers (Skylark, without TVs and with the decorum to play music at a level that invites conversation, is a true old school meeting place—a godsend); I was just looking forward upon my vanity stool. During the conversation, as I listened and responded to Chalice’s inquiries regarding a recent spat I’d had with my wife, I felt my upper lip beginning to snarl, and I became aware that my head was beginning to knock about – not in the motion of a “No,” not the motion of a “Yes,” but rather quite opposite of either of those. My head was being thrust by my neck in the emotion of a feisty cock. As I then felt my eyes beginning to squint, mellowing my stare and countenance into the natural – come by honestly – fulfillment of this ostentatious attitude overcoming me, I watched the exact same thing overtaking mi amigo. Suddenly, this collective sensation engulfing us stopped our conversation dead in its tracks, and taking over for our tongues and ears, it communicated between Chalice and myself, Goddamn, that’s gettin’ some bidness done right there, boy. That’s some fuckin’ rock ‘n’ roll right there.

It’s a song from the Rolling Stones at their best in the early ‘70s. I had heard this song in the past before the other night. Once? Twice? I can’t remember now. Without knowing the song’s name, and without it being on any studio album, it took me sometime the next day to hunt it down on the internet using many, many different search methods: “Jiving Sister Fanny.”

Now, to this fogey’s pruning mind, “Dead Flowers” is the best rock song ever. From the 1971 album Sticky Fingers, “Dead Flowers” is emblematic of a quintessential irreverence – it expresses a nearly elegant “Fuck You”—an emotion that as one who aspires to be of my truest friend’s, Chalice Sinclearly’s, nature, I hold very dear to my heart. … That said, Mick Jagger is not exactly the priss y’all in your “fetishizes the authentic” ways want to believe him to be. OK, he’s washed up (probably for a good spell now), but as a songwriter/lyricist he has proven to be extremely accomplished. I have always believed this, what with the likes of “Moonlight Mile,” “No Expectations,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Sway,” “Rocks Off,” “Tumbling Dice”—I’m all sixes and sevens and nines—“Far Away Eyes,” “Beast of Burden,” among others. I mean – c’mon nah. He ain’t too shabby.

However, the lyrics to “Jiving Sister Fanny” were never quite nailed down. This unfinished song was recorded during the band’s studio sessions at Olympic Sound Studios, London, for the album Let It Bleed (1969). It would not be a part of that album, but would later be released on the outtakes album Metamorphisis (1975). According to the website Songfacts: “Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, who had recently joined the band, wrote most of this track. It features Nicky Hopkins on electric piano. Lyrics to this song were never finished, as Mick Jagger just made them up as he sang.”

Certainly cool enough as is, I feel this fried-out rocker deserves some semblance of linearity. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to rework its lyrics – put them to my own use. Though this is an “instructional” column concerning the fruity art of poetry, I’ll not try to sell to you that I’ve transformed the original gibberish into a poem. It ain’t poetry by any means. The below is a simple exercise in positioning the Lone Wolf Poet – my main man “Sin” – into his proper context.

For Mary Karr – 
Jivin’ Sister Fanny, told her man from
Po’try mag’zine, uh, blah, blah, blah
He tore down the s’mission said she didn’t
Like the way “Sin” played, uh, blah, blah, blah
If you got a basement guy, get you down, a real no why
Tar from you down inside, ‘n’ core-feathered by the while
Ooh, child, you got “Sin” achin’ ‘long the broad Lit-way,
Uh, blah, blah, blah
Now, Jivin’ Sister Fanny got
The brain of a tidal bore, uh, blah, blah, blah
Well, she whopped his cheeky rep’toire
And she whopped his electric “Screw yuz,” uh, blah, blah, blah
Then she’s wadin’ in our style
Tell her to wait; ‘er waitin’ cure gad we’s on – the wadin’ wooed
By George oh watch her gait
Ooh, child, you got “Sin” achin’ ‘long the broad Lit-way


This is wannabe John Hospodka’s bi-weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 44

essay cover chalice

Total Sum of Less than Zero

That was fucked.

“Whatcha gonna do?”

I wouldn’t’ve let the jagoff get away with that shit, that’s for sure.

“Hoz, it was a dream.”

First off, the jagoff was from Boston. … Boston. Then the guy belit—

“See! Boston? Why would I ever dream of someone from Boston? Where does that shit come from? … I had no control. It was a dream.”

[Weird dream. … Sinclearly was with a large group of revelers at a rock show. The scene was good and raunchy. He knew a few of the folks he was with, some of our pushing-50 Motorhead-loving peeps, but others he did not know. As the show was going on he became more and more comfortable toking and joking around these strangers as it became quickly apparent to him that they were friends with the folks we know, maybe they were their coworkers, or maybe they were from their other orbits of friendships. … It was an outside venue; it was a pleasant night out. Even legal exhales materialized in the night air, but the crowd’s gyratory state took the chill out of the collective mind’s atmosphere. Chalice was even sweating a bit. … Damn, the music was good: jangly, rocking; the kind of boogying that brings you back to those nights when whiskey leaked from the flask down the crack of your ass and you couldn’t stop shaking it up out on the floor – the crowd never dancing for a fight, but never sweating over one coming neither. … The show ended, everyone was feeling zoned, right on. The group Chalice was a part of made it out of the venue and everyone began looking for cabs to grab (they were obviously in the city, the skyline visible), until one of his long-time friend’s friend surprised them all by pointing out the large helicopter he had lined up to fly everyone in the group to the after-show party on the other side of town, where the band they just saw was going to do a little private, acoustic thing, and there’d be more booze, more partying. I knew all of this because you just know these things in your dreams, right? … So Chalice climbs into the helicopter with everyone else. There was a bunch of them, so it got real crammed in there. Chalice was buzzing pretty good. Everyone got all sort of intertwined with one another before the helicopter lifted off. In the air, Chalice began feeling self-conscious. Our long-time Motorhead-loving friends were now hanging around people doing really cool things and making really big money at it. There was talk of working on movie sets, of being at Playboy Magazine, of advertising, of greenrooms on Broadway. It seemed like most of the strangers in the helicopter were in some artistic endeavor – sound designers, assistant directors, screenplay writers, editors, etc. And then there was old basemented, cubicle-dwelling, wannabe poet, self-publishing paranoid schizophrenic—old Chalice Sinclearly me. … So there’s this conversation going on and Sinclearly’s really feeling down on himself, and he glances up – he was on the helicopter’s floor – and this sleaze-ball looking dude – handsome, donning a few days stubble over his sculpted cheek bones; just very Mediterranean in appearance; every wife’s wet dream, really – total sleazeball—so this dude looks Sinclearly square in the eyes, and as a natural contributing and facilitating statement to the discussion at hand, says right at him, “I’m looking at the total sum of less than zero right here in front of my eyes.” … Ugh. And that fucking disgusting New England accent. … And cut.]

You should have dropped him.

“Easy, Hoz. I was like a pretzel in there, all tied up like I was on that floor. I couldn’t have thrown a punch if I wanted. … Anyhoo, let’s change the subject before you really say something we all regret about a large and historic region of American Culture.”

I know why you were dreaming of Boston.

“Pray tell, Mr. Know It All.”

You got revolution on the mind. … They might all now be Southie-wannabes cruisin’ The Hub for a wicked rippah, but it was the epicenter of our Revolution – our only all-out kill-the-rulers revolution. … Boy, you got some revolution on that there mind. Getting all heated up and politicized these days. … Seems like just yesterday when you looked upon blatantly political art as disgusting, as not being art at all but rather mere commentary. I know you don’t like the thought of being political in your work, but Chalice, listen man, it’s only natural that we’d start giving a shit about the greater world at this point in time: today; this hour of the Great Test of American Testes, when the world is becoming more and more unreal, unread, de-truthed, and so in turn our basemented cause is becoming a less and less meaningful, pertinent rebellion. Being political isn’t going to turn you into an academic-bound per-usual-Lefty. … I wouldn’t think. … I’d think it’d make you a man – a caring and thoughtful participant in the human race. It’s you climbing out of me; you getting my head unwrapped from around us. … A good thing. An American thing.

[The work by Chalice that is here under discussion:

Da Wall
A Perspective from Chicago
The Wall:
You can stone-out, go into pillow-mode and seep into concept
As each brick’s craftily laid – encircling as, too, amounting – as one’s,
An artist’s, memories schism into imagination and keep on discording
On until acidly mastered in the mortared lines and angles of a nooks
And crannies paranoia: A crazed mood of reclusive-longing patience
Wherein sound mind-wanting wails transmute inward to the cinema
That is the underfold of auditory effects essaying the outside reality
Amidst lyrics lapped with the madcap connects of an insider’s view:
“Mother did it need to be so high?”
Or, like that one wall:
You could have movie-starred with a monkey, then emerged beyond
Your witch hunter days into an era nationalized by amateurs icing machines
In a heated miracle on ice, wherein you’d scare non-Christians into un-blind-
Folding what’s ours; and confounding Putin’s mentors, this era, too, saw other
Non-Christians reclaim guerilla warfare as Freedom’s warfare (as our own
Muzzle-bearing Patriots did for our birth, but none since); despite your hostility
To the revolutionary imagination, you still – in an era still without the emoti-
Con – could preserve enough of some socio-moral core to word into history:
“Tear down this wall!”
But your wall:
You in your all-about-me belief use the anti-tremendous vocabulary
Of a playlot’s jagoff (the punk who we in our struggling Progressive decorum
Must unfortunately permit to breach us: the type of brat every parent, not just
His or her own, needs to smack down), Twatterly believing that in ratings
Lies a God-given entitlement to come between the legion on which we make
Our stand and the high-blue expanse of Hope’s great encompassing vision,
Like as if, jagoff, you can cut our imagination’s sighting of the Wicked Witch
On her floor sweeping ride, a middle finger raised, spelling us under her script:
“Surrender Russia”

~Begun on January 25, 2017. Let go of on April 25, 2017.]

“Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Mr. Rabble Rouser. … Let’s not get too carried away with pride or sentimentality here. And please, don’t you ever go trying to coax me up and out into conciliation from the maddening reservation of this basement. Ever. … Zap ‘em with your sirens, man! Zap ‘em with your sirens!* … All we should really be concentrating on today is stepping the fuck away from our Gizmobation, and figuring out where my next buzz is coming from.”


* American Photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) welcoming the boat in Apocalypse Now.


This is wannabe John Hospodka’s bi-weekly instructional blog.

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