Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 53

essay cover chalice

The Ballad of Bobby Fischer
An Attempted Cover

It’s like how lyrics are easily found nowadays via this great wide world web machine, right? Chalice Sinclearly always finds him his lyrics on it. A song that conveys his moment comes over him, he looks up its lyrics, copies and pastes the song or a chorus or verse into the body of an e-mail, writes something such as “Gitourboy’ta’da-train!” in the subject line, and sends it off to a friend.

“Bobby Fischer Against the World” aired the other day, and Chalice found him interesting. Tormented by an obvious brain problem, Fischer obviously became socially uglier as the years piled onward. You know the whole story by now: Genius goes to schizophrenia. Rah-rah-rah. … What’s new, right? … Sinclearly won’t be running off to go grab a chess board any time soon. Sick and dangerous sport, chess is.

The documentary ends with “The Ballad of Bobby Fischer” by Joe Glazer and the Fianchettoed Bishops playing over the credits. That was Chalice’s first experience with this song. It’s a twanger; narrative and catchy. But he hasn’t been able to locate those lyrics today. He’s been in need of them to creatively interrupt his workday. He’s used Google, he’s used Bing. He’s only found the opening verse posted on some website about that mind-mess of a sport. His search has brought up that some group named Tik Tok has done a cover of the song, and on Amazon he heard a few seconds of it – “Bobby, Bobby, why’d you go away” are the only lyrics he’s taken with him from that sample.

Chalice would’ve liked to have taken the song’s full lyrics and performed a cover of them here, in this cubicle, skillfully arranging them into a tone, a rhythm, meter scheme – an outlook, an emotion – through which his own voice and the mood of its moment would be actualized. … But alas, like me, this cubicle’s only got flummoxed ol’ Sinclearly. And he is at work, at a real job, our job – inside that expanse of a day when he’s obliged to something greater, to something watchfully responsible for him but wholly unanswerable to him; so he’s had to say Fuck it and let the whole thing go.


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

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