Basement Poet

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:
“To Russia With Love”

~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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Lone Wolf Poet : Episode 42

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Addendum to “Your Average Douchebags”

But a life without stumbling is also unimaginable: perhaps to be in between two places, to be at home in neither, is the inevitable fallen state, almost as natural as being at home in one place.
― James Wood, “On Not Going Home”

Paradoxically (perhaps not all too), it is the fear of death that must be branded as being the magnifier of the entire splendor encompassing this little middle-aged speck of shit I have entitled “Chalice Sinclearly.” It is no great secret to even the most Average Joe upon this planet which some educators still call blue, believe to be round, that permission for overly-extended existence is granted only to artifacts, to the crumbs of one’s proof. Mr. Sinclearly’s fear (kin to his aspiration, this must be pointed out) plays the Hansel and Gretel of his life after death promise, dropping his attempts at resonance – his kernels of expression – behind him on this forthright trek through the dark and far off literary pines.

There are many famous quotes regarding posterity, a majority respectful, but certainly those that revel in discourtesy. Go ahead, Google it. There are quotes from peeps you and your better-read friends have never heard of, and of course there’s a roundhouse thrown inside the estimation ring by that overly wannabe-masculine theory of suicide we all know as Hemingway, Europe and Cuba under belt and all. There’s even one from Groucho Marx, which to my ears sounds stolen. … Then, there’s this one quote from an Irish politician about a bird being in two places at the same time. The quote was actually derived from the dialogue of a Jevon’s play; it’s the quote used by Ambrose Bierce, our Great Vanishment, to define ubiquity – i.e. omnipresence – within his work The Devil’s Dictionary. And that, truth be told, actually looms as a clearer mirror to Chalice’s conception of how posterity works over the emotion of his work.

Chalice Sinclearly is motivated by envisioning that posterity is on his ass, shadowing him, bending to a cracked-scab knee to devour each dropping of his before ambling forward to locate the next. Thus, the markers meant to guide Chalice back home again – back to the temper-invoking reality that he’s never a player in the literary scene – are vanishing, and that’s just fine and dandy because there is no about-face when you’re natural in the delirium that not only is posterity creeping up on your ass (in one place), but that it is also the exact treasure you have ventured into these literary pines to go and pay homage to (in a second place, simultaneously), to go and bow before and offer up your better crumbs to – offer up those tangy, delicately teasing nibbles, those bona fide consequences baked by your especially thoughtful and patient [Mystical?] executions of keeping an eye to the future while having eyes in the back of your head.

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 38

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Your Average Douchebags

Armed as it is with a barbed remonstration against complacency, the inquiry assaults imagination daily: will Chalice Sinclearly’s soul ever spinster away from this inclination of his to under-skin his own defenselessness to the notion of death? The confliction dawns within random moments of Chalice’s, positively sickening in its repetitive surprise, much like the emergences of open sores during a VHS porn’s over-muffed surge to climax: When will be my moment to cancel out – in a split second collapse with the life crushed out of me like a spider intentionally stepped on? What if it’s just a thing of utter absence, this thing of death? Absence. Holy hell, I am going to die! My God, there is no fucking choice! Chalice’s fear of death is unrelenting, often demanding that he forks from his spooning in the wee hours to pace the wife’s century-plus-old home with an anxiety that borders on what today’s MFA candidates can only suppose the brown acid hallucinations translated to for the sonnet-building underground of the SLA years.

Chalice understands there is a certain element amongst us who remain unthreatened by death: them who daytrip into diverse culture from their egocentric earmarks sprawled throughout the domain of high school massacres, and struggle to parallel park while keeping their cells to their ears, chatting-up fellow adulterers over how to remain emotionally vague – them who never once in their days, not even in the winter evenings after their suppers when they sneak to their backyard porches with pours of middling, shitty Scotch and with flakey stogies, possess the self-deprecating wherewithal to strive for the humility of purpose (rather than the conceit of success) in the endeavor to build an intellectual essence up over their families’ heads.

Well, such are your average douchebags. …

Them who understand nothing about their heritage, a generation or more already beyond the correct pronunciation of their last names, they can see no further back into history than their last brag about how many hours they work; them for whom the advertising world’s promises of sustained youth and endless health and perpetual wealth are tangible, “revolutionary” notions (remember things like Tiger Woods for American Express: “Boundaries are for golf, not life”); them who while seated across from husbands who keep their ball caps on backwards at the dinner table, announce to their pre-school offspring, “Me and this man here who has long ago been ousted from the cast in my masturbation mind-screens moved down here from Cleveland or Michigan or wherever it was to become Cubs fans, and that’s why we’re here today in this vastly overvalued home in the heart of ever-gentrifying Logan Square. We’re here to make the city Whiter and more anti-Union for a while, all while feeling like we’re brave, adventurous, liberal, since we’re now into our 30’s and still living, after a whole decade now, in this massively Brown and Black and mentally-ill populated city. But don’t worry, there is a ‘burb out there with our unhyphenated name on it, and just before we need to enroll you in the education system, the same education system this thickening man here and me got nothing out of but the complacency to accept the realization that our imaginations are doomed to be collectively mini-vanned, we’ll pull out there to where the American Dream is embodied in a videoed meeting between a school psychiatrist and a bed-wetter in which a discussion of asparagus verges on inappropriateness. And there’ll be so much heroin out there in suburbia for your teen years – we’ll never need this city again! We’ll never need this Illegals-packed city ever, ever, again! We’ll start going to church; we’ll start voting; we’ll still never, never, need newspapers or journalists—we got Facebook! We’ll be Friends: you and all your junkie high school chums and your mid-forties, hip, hopefully divorced, MILFy mom; all of us sharing our moods and distrusts in Posts of all-consuming-love-of-self. Now let’s eat this wonderful frozen Whole Foods thing before your empathy gets cold, which it will – O, thank God it will!”

Being unfearful of death: this is a notion that can easily be confused as being a formidable attribute, a strength. But what this notion actually transmutes into is the characteristic known as complacency. Complacency means being OK with the present – means living unmoved by the past, unmotivated by the future. Complacency is anti-Moment 101. To exist inside complacency means to exist in the constant act of surrendering. Complacency is the characteristic of those of a generation (any generation) who tender no ingredients, bestow no measurements. They are hollow. They harbor no imagination; whip up for our records no challenges from scratch: followers of recipes; they risk nothing. They are based in the cosmetic, not in the gutsy.

In this basemented reality wherein resides one Chalice Sinclearly there is the constant challenge of living under a constant fear of a surprise attack from his fear of death. He exists inside displeasure, meaning he exists in the constant act of persevering. And it is this devouring invasive awareness that drives his judgment, tempers his choices: it is the perception of this trembling existence that the Lone Wolf Poet searches for through his art; it is by the perception of this trembling existence that the Lone Wolf Poet catches whiffs of bad art, calls out the douchebags who pass them.

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 37

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A Movie Review

A higher up with an unintentional pimp’s swag to his gait strides up to the cube. Unknown to Chalice Sinclearly is that this higher up has broken away for a tad from his crafting of a report in whose title he’ll need to, legally, hang the word “Quantifying.” Arriving at the underling, the higher up asks all hush-hush-like and with a darty eye: “Coffee?”  

Sinclearly looks back over each of his shoulders all suspicious-like before whispering a “Thanks, kemosabe, but I gotta pass” up to the higher up—pass because he promised the wife he’d start saving a little moola here and there, and he wants to keep some word of his because, God knows, he ain’t doing so well with his word to stop sneaking cigarettes. “Besides, there’s coffee on in the kitchen. Company bought, bro.” But the higher up won’t have any of that, and responds with a “Fuck that, the coffee sucks here; it’s on me,” proving as he has on different occasions in the past to be a man of little conceit.

Watching a higher up with an unintentional pimp’s swag to his gait as he strides away from the cube, Chalice Sinclearly tries to remember if we ever even saw up on that Arty Farty silver screen a scratched-out, circled, or arrowed-to word within Jarmusch’s Basement Poet’s tidily handwritten poems of long-lined populace and double-sided commonplace. (Since Saturday’s matinee, Chalice has been stewing over how now because of Jarmusch’s composed, motif-filled love poem to poetry he probably won’t be recognized as the original 21st Century Basement Poet – as the genuine unreal Ron Padgett behind the scene.) And while watching a higher up with an unintentional pimp’s swag to his gait stride away from the cube, Sinclearly understands the Lone Wolf Poet in each of us understands how there ain’t cohesive enough words sometimes to throw a simple and quick “Thanks” at someone’s back.

 

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

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