Poetry-Life

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 40

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That’s Using the Ol’ Noggin
(Backstory of Philosophy)

It’s been well over five years since Chalice Sinclearly last thought about plugging this bathtub Jacuzzi; this, even though he finds himself standing in here at some point each day, attempting to shower away his exhausting (exhaustive?) sleep. He’s not some vulgar snoring sweat-machine between the sheets, that’s not really it at all; rather, imagine how you’ll find a soft-edged shard of an old porcelain mug out in your city garden when you’re out there weeding clover – imagine how the earth is always churning itself over itself and pushing things back up to its surface, mostly inconsequential things, but artifacts nonetheless—well, Sinclearly’s slumber, implanted as it is in the paranoiac nutrients of his daylight-fumblings for the proper impudence to practice when finagling diction out of the unspeakable, roils and toils his sense of dwindling amends up to its nightly surface where it comes to rest amidst his flesh like an armed severed arm of an old plastic army figure. … Chalice moans, searches for breath, drools in his sleep. … Anyhoo, the reason he’s come to use this Jacuzzi’s soothing jets of bubbles this early Saturday afternoon is because the ripening weight of the ever-boiling delinquency he lugs around with him upon his shoulders has caused his back to begin to incessantly ache, and he’s recently been pushing house and yard chores off in an attempt to give the muscles that encircle and fortify his touchy spine some time to regain their collective audacity. He’s in this Jacuzzi because he needs to stop being a wussie about his back if he’s to put an end to this tending towards hillbilly that’s becoming of everything in his and his wife’s immediate surroundings. …

So, here Chalice sits; and there’s Ol’ Boy Johnson bobbing amidst the roiling, unsoaped water, its weightless, squashy shaft just below the water even with being extended a full rockin’ inch or two from the twiggy seaweed that is his still colorful man-muff. The Ol’ Johnson bobs right there, joyously, it seems, and as he keeps his eyes on him Chalice can’t help but to start a light mantra in his head: “Go cowboy, go cowboy, go cowboy.” As this cheery echoing carries on, Chalice locates, right at the cut of the water, one of his more telling distinuishers: a line of taught skin from his foreskin is still attached to the ‘shroom-cap-undercurve of the Ol’ Johnson’s noggin. Since the time his consciousness became self-encounterable Chalice has always felt that this line of skin characterizes his essence: he is marked by the circumstance of someone else’s job not being wholly executed, which means, quite paradoxically, that he is a hair’s breadth away from being wholly mutilated—he’s been scarcely, and I do mean scarcely, spared. Though he’s certainly been of the age for quite some time now in which he’s been fully capable of taking matters into his own hands and making the decision to go somewhere to have the mutilation finished, Chalice has obviously never considered it to any committed, proactive degree. This, even though whenever he has a hard-on his distinguisher becomes an added source of internal stress and unusual mistrust, appearing as it does like a too-stretched rubber band that’s about to snap at any second. … Should you ever see Chalice’s wife with a fat lip … I’m just saying.

For the past few years Chalice has been going to see this guy for his yearly checkups. He’s a younger gentleman, younger looking than Chalice, anyways, but yet with millenniums – “millenniums” as in actual ages existed through—literally millenniums of enlightenment under his origin-belt; a petite but not frail gentleman of obvious Greek decent, with a voice that’s lower and more assured than that Allstate dude’s. He’s one of them who via an ambitious and pragmatic drive have positioned themselves amongst the everyman as disappointingly beneficial intimidators – you know, one of them entities whose wages can never be fully begrudged by any Lone Wolf Poet with a functioning soul and a fully formed empathy for the continuance of memories because those entities’ overbearing inquisitions of the everyman on behalf of the overburdening models of vigor and shape and chance drive, evolutionarily speaking, the Lone Wolf Poet’s differentiation between need and want towards a more upfront perspective. … Anyhoo, each year, right after Sinclearly looks both ways with a cough, when the Greek’s lifted Ol’ Johnson to give the ol’ boy and the nutsack he road in on a good look-see, the Greek’s never failed to notice Chalice’s distinguisher; and each year, with his lips in a frown over the shaved butt-crack of his chin, his forehead in a smile above the inflexibility of his Magic Marker-ed eyebrows and just below his plunged but straight-edged and sated hairline, and his spectacles perched at the highest point of his nose’s wrinkled bridge, right there before the stretched-smooth flesh emanating from his eye sockets (with each of his facial features being appropriated by yours and my stock reaction to a reactionary state of mind), the Greek’s had the same thing to say to Chalice: “Inneresting. … Yes, inneresting, and a mere nick from perfection.” At last year’s checkup Chalice finally blurted out: “Well, blow me, Doc. That’s the real me you’re holding right there, buddy boy.” And though a tense moment of pause ensued – Sinclearly looking down, the Greek looking up – the commonality of life’s lighter purposes was mutually and quite hurriedly realized between the two men, and so humor prevailed and they shared in a genuine laugh – Chalice’s distinguisher still right there in the Greek’s grasp, wouldn’t you know. …

“Go cowboy, go cowboy, go cowboy.”

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 39

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“Your Name is Above a Cash Register”

Taped; a dollar
Amount affixed to “Sin-

Clearly.” You owe. You need to
Amend for your shitty ways before we is

Eighty-

Sixed from every last game in town that’s ever been
Open for our everyday submissions of our everyday submission
To the verity of our very in the ever-

Present short-lived
Day. Sin

-Clearly, we can’t afford you
To be forsaking, collegiate. No matter how
Bashed we be, we is

Counting on you to have long accepted being
Charged with being the curator of the bar

-Keep’s due and due reward.

 

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 29

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“Truly Political (Against True Art)”

A prayer:
God bless me into Sin-
Clearly, fully, finally. Grant me
Another couple two three
Root canal rottings, front teeth
This time. Grant me a Meth Mouth
Type of look so I can be stereotyped-
Flush in my challenge to the socio-stereo-
Typical, so when they come flag-pumping
To find my basement door after I here
Criticize their being all anti-dramatic
Imagination while samely they’re going all chicken-
Hawk with the morality in the no draft era; after
I here exude unto their washboard-metalled chests
Their own dis-constitutional swinging-truck
-Nuts ways and means of noosely committeeing

Prayer—
When they come whisk-brooming
At my basement’s doorstep, I will answer,
By your grace, my only grasp on God,
In cut-off sleeves and saggy sweats and unclipped
Toe nails and level them with the presentational
Smile of the fact I am in fact of them and not
A bandwagoner transplanted from a distant O-
                                                     Hio or Kalama-
Zoo to the live theatre side of Madison St., where
I’m safe enoughly staged up from that which always,
Always—since before even the seed of Ingenuity her-
Self redacted her very experience in the name of trumping
Up an American hold on schooling—always bears the brunt
Of the newscasterly presumption of intern fact checkers:
Chicago’s South Side is thrust to a culture played
Out of amendments.

Let us pray:
One can only hope, by God, upon my appearance
At the basement door, between the whistly tensenesses
I voice over the bum dittying I minstrel them over as,
The view will in clear view be viewed:
Just because my thumb and pointer make believe
Doesn’t mean I Bang! Bang! you
Into miraculously-like dropping dead.

(Alas, I vote—
The only aspect that would in fact be the most real
Packer down here at the threshold is our lessening
Acts of bookish terrorism to quell the line
Between guts and brains, corroborate the one
Between fact and truth: Bang! Bang! 
“Who’s the dead one now, Dream?”
Criticism. …) Recompense me
My right to fully be Sin-
Clearly, and matched to all
Inbred scare here with one
Rotted out one; one
Upper, front upper.
One, my Man. One.

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 27

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Bottle Me Stupid

The genesis of what would prove to become the most of Chalice Sinclearly commenced upon its single-spaced itinerary one evening in a hideaway nestled nicely amidst the lush vegetation encroaching upon, but not quite getting at, the backside of a detached garage. You see, it would be in the safety of this hideaway located on a suburban plot where Chalice Sinclearly and I would split a six pack – our first tilts of the bottle. We stole the beers from a neighbor’s garage-kept fridge. We had for our entire lives till then witnessed this thing of intoxication throughout the neighborhood – we were eager to give it a roll ourselves. Besides, there was a party to be attended that night. Chalice and I had a month earlier entered a public high school from our parochial isolation. We would prove smarter than most in our grade, having the previous decade been taught the hard way how to give unto the cloaked a willing ear. Well, maybe “smarter” isn’t the proper word to use here – perhaps I should say that we proved more “deferential” than most of our publicly educated counterparts when it came to being faced with the disciplining that is knowledge. That being said, however, we did bring with us into the public domain our Catholic penchant for detention: we befriended burnouts with great aplomb.

Sure we were eager to give beer a try, but why were we so eager? Was it because we had watched people in the neighborhood or in our own families drink too much and act goofy and we thought it looked like a fun time? Was it because it was impressed upon us that it was cool to do? I imagine some shrink or a discussion over steaming Styrofoam in some church basement would endeavor to urge us to call to courage the philosopher residing deeper inside somewhere who could more gravely address the whys and the what-ifs surrounding that night (and of course any of the over 12,000 nights since), and perhaps thusly encourage the move to commit our conviction to the supposed upstanding course of sobriety. … Perhaps our decision to drink that long-ago night (and of course any of the over 12,000 nights since) is the product of an uncomplicated reasoning, one that may have something to do with destiny while also having something to do with being finite at the same time. A thing of the blood not the brain. Who the hell knows?

The point is that we became a drinker that night and we have never once felt sorry for it; even during our thirties when the hangovers were especially relentless in their renderings of guilt, we have never once looked back with regret. (We are the lucky one, we understand this. We made it as a drinker into this current age. Quite a few of our imbiber cohorts had to give up the bottle before the revolution of Craft Beer came along, and what that means is that those poor sons of bitches went out into the world of recovery after the insult of a rice infused American macro beer hangover.) You see, Chalice and I made the party, and one seemingly casual moment in that night of our first ever drunk proved to be epic, and tunes Chalice’s vision even to this very day: there in the middle of that party’s backyard milieu I lied flat on my back, isolated, buzzed, staring up to the stars of a suburban October clear sky, holding a bottle of Old Style on my belly, and with a cigarette extended and lightly swaying to and fro from my underage lips – the loud chatter and adolescent live music of the party faded to a elegiac white noise as Chalice’s stare zeroed in on me. … That’s the image right there; that’s Chalice’s first-ever poem right there: the first moment in time when he ever really – and I do mean really – ever looked at “it,” whatever that “it” might be.

Chalice went home that freshman-year night, stripped down to his whitey-tighties and sung a Kenny Rogers song with Kenny Rogers over and over until his mother put a merciful end to the redundant buffoonery of “Through the Years,” unplugging his cassette player and turning off the bedroom light, making sure that for the split second before it went black in his room he fully captured the reprimand emanating from her eyes. Chalice did; he was in trouble, and not just for that next day or next week, but for the rest of our life: Chalice rose from the bed and walked from his bedroom nearly forty-five minutes ago, leaving his wife to her early AM dreams as he headed for this basement desk. And down here, now officially 3 hours and some minutes beyond our 49th year on this planet of unbendable ears, he reaches forward into “it” to finally begin to draft what will eventually, in weeks, months, years, through the patient practice of allowing forgetfulness to play out into self-editorial benedictions, become this, his so long ago first-ever poem:

A puff on the smoke turns the air about
a delinquent countenance into the spectral
nest of an out-of-season firefly – right
here – the first moment to have ever poised
itself in memory’s imagination and awakened
the illuminating bounty of sadness; the first
Moment to have ever dared itself to contain
what is fleeting into a sort of permanence,
to reconcile sadness. This first moment in
life wherein life awakens to the splendorous
dread of what it will mean to leave proof
Of transience behind. Yet, it would be many
imaginations beyond that night before I’d
separate from memory to seat my being be-
fore a real live poem, and absorb worth via
an unwitting commencement upon threat,
the invigorator of the toil of seeking sake.

… Chalice should have grown to be a man with an office, not a cubicle – he should have become a man who hands out business cards, who concentrates on things like Business Development, his golf swing … a man who keeps a kept calendar, who collects cuff links not roach clips … a man who talks shop, not shit. But no, he became this: he became this man before you who treats each session with the bottle not as his last, not as just another, but as his first, his very first: as if sprung by a petty act of breaking and entering, and shaped in the de-selfed-conscious state of a bottle-muscled mind, only to be sacked deep into conscience by a wordless – pure and eloquent – wordless – reprimand. Chalice Sinclearly became this man before you whose ever-slouching shoulders betray the ever-swelling problem child that’s defiantly slung across them.

… He’ll come to title the poem “Proof”. …

 

This is wannabe John Hospodka‘s weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 25

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A Conventiently Self-Satisfying Manifesto
(The First of Many?)

It seems as though some unseen, omnipresent agent of “This second! Right now! Now! Now!” rides upon today’s vernacular breezes, surging the human condition into needing to be defined in the terms of immediacy. Within this age of Gizmobation the human condition has increasingly become saturated with the promise that immediate entitlement to expertise and that being immediately heard are tangible, acceptable, notions. (Notice how more and more folks are more and more talking over everyone within “conversations” because more and more folks are believing they know more than most and so have no time to listen?) And certainly, the DIY culture of self-publishing (blogging) is derivative of this province of immediacy.

In his or her willfully basemented, unpeopled, enterprise, the Lone Wolf Poet must not acquiescence to today’s human condition’s need to be defined in the terms of immediacy. The Lone Wolf Poet must refuse, by all means necessary, to be inconsequential to the growth of perspective, and so must elucidate a stringent (albeit a tad pigheaded) conviction to the no-nonsense illumination of how mutinous perfection in the poem, and so in the poet-life, is achieved:

  • First and foremost, never treat poetry as the thing of a career; poetry is anti-career in its nature.
  • Understand life is greater than poetry—poetry is never worth dying over, never worth dying for. Time is for living; so obsess over living, forget poetry—poetry attacks only in sporadic, Bam!-like, moments (see final bullet).
  • Know: the poem is never, ever, created in a single draft; or in two, or in even three, four, five, for that matter.
  • Once the poem is to your mind completed, put it away for a few months, forget about it. The longer the better, actually – put it away for a year, two even. The poem must become detached from the passion of its creation and its creator in order for it to unearth the means to its full realization.
  • In this time of absence—and to be sure, this will not be an absolute absence, you will on occasion come back to the poem for instances of conditioning—allow yourself to give up all hopes of having the poem published anywhere but in the self-published book-home you’re building for it and its kin. This will save the poem from unnecessarily growing up too fast, from missing out on a fully fleshed out childhood and young adulthood – sweet-ass delinquency and all. … (Some might contend that not seeking to have a poem published is counterproductive, that in that the poem becomes a shut-in, the poet performing a societal – moral? – disservice by not allowing for the poem to become “socialized” before it is experienced in its self-published book-home. And, of course, some might contend that not seeking to have a poem published before it appears in its self-published book-home is a direct indicator of the poet’s fear of the mental anguish derived from having a poem rejected over and over again. The Lone Wolf Poet fully acknowledges the accuracy of these accusations: indeed, they are intricate elements within the irreverent heart of the Lone Wolf Poet’s paranoid art.)
  • And so detached for a good length of time, come back to the poem removed from the poet who was once lurking inside the Moment 101—the fervor—of crafting it. It is bump up time: it is time to recognize the poem for the character it wants to be; it is time to recognize the poet’s say is no mas – the poem is no longer in that fool’s hands. Come back to the poem more weathered, less concerned for its vitality than you are skeptical of its temporality. 

For in the end, the Lone Wolf Poet – Chalice—my man—Sinclearly – aspires to position the poem on the side of the reader, not on the side of poetry. 

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 24

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“Fuck Scotch”

Nothing worse than a 50-year-old suburban kid alive in the city now for over half a life, crowing on ‘bout high school Punk bands, segueing into bandmates’ names and you recognize some of the names from chit-chats between your wife and the friends she’s known since those days (some now even among friends of your own) that you’ve sat through, daydreamed through them all while hearing them all throw out all these names of bands, and this one high school, that high school, that boyfriend, this one boyfriend—hehe-haha; wink-wink—you’ve sat through all those hehe-hahas silent, with nothing much legit to offer, and you daydreamed ‘bout how the only real way you’ll make up for your lost time from back then, being as you were too much the Catholic boy, one with a penchant for paranoia and solitude—daydreamed ‘bout how if you had not been such a Sin-

Clearly by birth you’d never have had to of waited so long to lose your emoter virginity to the sphincters of words—daydreaming here ‘bout the only real way to make up for lost time from back then, with never having anything equivalent from your own back then to chime in with, is to accentuate crappy craft, citing Pop here in the wake of a poem, plotting Abacab’s track “Like It or Not” against the ethos them high schoolers of Downers Grove’s early 80s have forever needed to be cited as being Punk-born, this ethos that is in all actuality—to any graphic mind at least—nothing more than the artlessness of Ma-ma/Da-da’s suburban sprawl/anti-family principled taste for Scotch, especially how like now like back then you headphone the song and, with this crave to be something far cooler-hearted than that creepy loner you’ve been in proximity of ever since driving school, you envision the song covered by a cool chick as she waits for you in the empty aisle of a teeming bookstore out there beyond the deadpan world of the basement you keep all your wannabe posterity down in—some cool chick waiting in the Lone Wolf

Poet section to give back to you what the real you has never missed out on in this explosive world out here beyond the safety nets that are the basement and an end stool at Skylark. Now overhearing a conversation, out here all alone now ‘cause you want to again be the you you emerged yourself into for over a decade—the you who got wooed into being with it for a while a bit too late but in just enough time to be snagged by the wife—the you who before becoming dismayed with sociality all over again hung out in clusters at venues and bar hopped and confronted newly confronted strangers with a cultured wit and a bookish charm—the you before the you now who has the wife back home who gave you her unequivocal blessing to come out tonight to search out that you you feel the need to voice from again before emoter’s block bursts you into bursty piles—all alone overhearing this like-aged, Scotch-sippin’ dude’s tête-à-tête, you squeeze Sin-

Clearly into those pupils of yours there in the bar’s mirror: Déjà vu, creep: The wake of a poem lingers you well past the welcome it swore to make of you.

at The Hideout, Chicago
January 10, 2015

 

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

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