Mary Karr

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 45

essay cover chalice

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,” “Far Away Eyes”—Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord—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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