John Hospodka

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 54

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“Answer the Lead”
For the Critical Eye

I have nothing to say,
So to speak.
I will say,

However, way back
When, when Sin
-Clearly answered

To a name – way
Before some wise
-Ass made Sin-

Clearly answer for
His word – way
Back when, when

We had some fangs,
Barking up a tree
Over so and so, over

This or on about that,
With more virtue than
Toll: Criticism was two

Of the freer lost dogs
Ever to be listened to,
Playfully circling in

A space of no place,
No time, showing off
Duality’s snap nature

—“Love ya,”
“Need ya,”
“Want ya,”
“Bite ya”—

Over and over, with-
Out end, ad nauseam,
Forever and evermore.

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 53

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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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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 52

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Chronic Instructs

Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the
prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done
far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
– William F. Buckley Jr.

Sinclearly is seated

next to a Chicago Public School teacher – a casual acquaintance, nothing less: the lesson of the time after a Morgenbesser’s double-positive-infused spiel regarding the parental licenses taken in a film you’ve had no intention to see, much less ever hear about, when in the silence of the monologue’s aftermath you study the teacher pluck an unstaked Castelvetrano olive from a once-sipped-from martini and place the Sicilian into her mouth and suck-chew: her jaw fashions between the arts of sinuosity and tortuosity:

that’s sort of like how it’d be like to backtrackingly describe how by curtailing the imposition of sudden fear upon the minds of parents of teenagers, intuition positions forbiddance as the single most relevant display of how to savor free, savor free of public and free of school.


It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with
narcotics . . . It’s a thousand times better than whiskey –
it’s an assistant – a friend.
~Louis Armstrong

Sinclearly as an occupant

of the space in a bus gazebo (the two poster ads now adorning its rotating ends: one regards GED training; one warns of DUI – each utilizes a color photograph of a staging), and being accompanied by a soul who is in need of sharing with you the Word of the Lord via a catchy broadsheet of 43lb paper with lustrous aqueous coating, but which to your color sensitive sight has rolled off a press that probably should’ve had its magenta switched out at least two jobs ago.


When you return to this mundane sphere from your visionary world,
you would seem to leave a Neapolitan spring for a Lapland winter –
to quit paradise for earth – heaven for hell! Taste the hashish, guest
of mine – taste the hashish!
~Alexander Dumas

Sinclearly in the scene:

an unmanned U-Haul parallel parks, its backing into its space the cause of splinter in several mature limbs of a tree islanded in sidewalk. Behind, a compact gas-guzzler’s plastic back bumper holds the sticker: Separate Church & Hate! The rental truck knocks the front end of the gas-guzzler silly – no alarm sounds, but its owner sees all from the far end of the block where she has just emerged from a value-conscious grocer. In the spasticity of her incensed march towards the inciter of this vision, as she short-strides through the shade that has crept onto this stage of a quaint neighborhood, it appears that out of the top of the swollen sustainable bag jostling at her rib cage three Muppets are flaying towards escape until one finally falls, rolls a tad away from her to the space of the curb reserved for the handicapped,

and there on the curb of a road with no traffic Kermit begins to belt out his big song. You join in with him at “And rainbows have nothing to hide”; but the owner of the gas-guzzler, now torn between confronting an unmanned vehicle or recapturing what she had in the grocer believed to be a butternut squash, stops mid-stride, looks to you and scorns, “I don’t know what your ass is singing for. The mafia wants you dead!” You would half expect a bill of currency to fly out of the leather purse fixed between her rib cage and her personal revolution against waste, but there’s no real handler here.


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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 51

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Washing Your Hands of It at Approximately the Same 8:40-Something As Any Other Weekday, Looking Into the Mirror of the Bathroom (a Tad Unkempt Now From the Flurry of Use That Transpires Between 8 and 10 A.M.: Splashes Left As Small Puddles Across the Counter Top; Used and Unused Paper Towels on the Tile BelowEither Fallen During Hurried Pullings, or the Waist-High Trashcan Somehow Miraculously Missed; … Nasal Carbon Filters – Remember, Buy Them, Buy Them) on the Floor of the Building Your Cubicle Is Contained Within, and Noting How the Bags Under Your Bespectacled Blue Eyes Are Neither Ripe nor Wrinkled

I imagine you with your hair.

“Your hair.”

I want it back.

“No chance. Long, long gone.”

[Sigh.] Is there no God?

“There’s coconut oil and onion juice, I hear.”

[Sigh.] I don’t care enough, really. Not even enough for possibly doable miracles.

“Yeah, yeah, Debbie Downer. … Anyhoo, this whole sitting while you wipe your ass is for the birds.”

I know, right?

“I mean, fuck the properness of how to ‘properly’ [Chalice does air quote marks] wipe. You can’t really, fully, get at it like that. I mean, I don’t understand how you could.”

Well, maybe if our diet was better – less beer, more protein. You know, a sometimes kale not always sauerkraut sort of changing up of things. Exercising; stopping the whole sneaking smokes behind the wife’s back. I don’t know. But I’m right there with you: fuck wiping while sitting. Feels like trying instead of just doing.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve given it an honest go every now and again, but trying to be refined like that always ends up making me feel like I haven’t gotten at it all, and so I always end up standing to get the real job done with anyways.”

Face the music, kemosabe: we was not properly potty trained.

“Yeah, but we’ve long ago come into that space in time where we are more than capable of training ourselves.”

C’est la vie. … Hey, remember when you discovered your ass has a hole?

“That was terrifying.”

Bending over and looking between your legs at your ass in the mirror. Good God, what prompted that? You were so fucking scared. You ran and ran around the house screaming and screaming. See where curiosity got you, big guy.

“What the hell, Hoz, I was like 5, 6, maybe even 4. I mean, Jesus Christ, when you’re that age it’s like who the fuck puts a hole there? Fucking terrifying.”

Ha. … Hey, remember that American Masters we caught once? If I ain’t mistaking, Philip Roth stands while wiping, too.

“You know, I think you’re right. Yeah. And you know what else? I think I remember reading somewhere how Nabokov did it, too.”

Hmm. I wonder what other—

[Hearing the code being punched into the key pad for the bathroom door cuts me short. The door opens and a hipster from the douchey marketing firm on the floor enters. … I want it back. … He goes straight into the stall I occupied seconds ago. … Buy them, buy them. … With great patience, having, after all, really nowhere in the world to get to, I grab a handful of paper towels, dry my hands as best as I can, then purposefully drop the balled, wet towels into the waist-high trashcan.]


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

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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 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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