Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 21

essay cover chalice

Literally Not All That Interested

There come pauses in the vast unfussing that is Chalice Sinclearly’s life as a constant wannabe.

There come pauses in his life when I interrupt him in my Why not me? sighy way of sometimes being posterity-driven, wherein I try to get him wondering if we shouldn’t go ahead and be the homey poet of a placid, pocket-sized plot, say a shoreline place – an East Coast sort of town where between the malleable hours of poeming we go for moderate walks along the blah-blahing East Coast ocean, constantly maybeing our maybe nots for all the here and nows of all our good and gones. Or even, say, a rural Michigan town in which behind a modest home set on a couple of acres we rehab a woodshed into a writer’s shed, leaving the property to venture into local craft breweries only very rarely; and never giving readings we nonetheless pull off a Pulitzer, and so when we’re long gone there will be tours of the homestead, and in the “Nasty Shack” our last pens will be on show, set upon an otherwise vacant oak writing desk – vacant, except for them pens and the pocketknife we’ve had since early grade school and still keep close in case the Daniel Boone in the Lone Wolf Poet comes across some unforeseen danger – gets himself ambushed.

There come pauses in the vast unfussing that is Chalice Sinclearly’s life as an agreeable evader of syntax.

There come pauses when I go at him with all my What ifs, urging at how he might even want to eventually amount into that Five Colleges of Ohio state of mind we strung ourself out into for a couple of B-average semesters when encompassed by the American architecture of a time that came to accentuation for keeps and for reals sometime at that point in time when Sherwood Anderson forever made of all such-like Ohio states structures of the “inability to translate inner feelings into outward form”*; and in this we are overly published in The New Yorker, picking to read and discuss on The Author’s Voice podcast a some decades-back “cohort” we’ve never taken the time to get past admiring and get to in effect reading – well, never to the point as we have with those ones who’d show up in Esquire in those same mid-80’s years wherein the publishing world seemed so Playboy to us; and we make the point to project in our discussion of the read story that the Lone Wolf Poet is the type of being who when in discussions in front of readers and tonguing over the written word as an idea, an object, a possibility, is susceptible enough to use the feminine or plural pronoun even though it’s all about himself. …

But then – thank you, un-campused world; thank you – there never fails to come into these pauses interjections of clarity when Sinclearly himself shoots down our romance over the neither here nor there by recurring in me the how of why the “should be” has always never been for the gift of poetry: those awakenings when he interjects with “Tool.”


*Madden, Fred (1997) “Expressionist contours in Sherwood Anderson’s fiction”. The Midwest Quarterly 38 (4): 363–371.


(A Song for Episode 21.)

This is wannabe John Hospodka’s weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 20

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“There Is No Title for a Poem that Wants to Middle
Finger Its Balance Between Its Poet and Its Poetry”

Of note’s the guise’s slope
in the compulsory slip Sin-

Clearly clears way for once
clarity’s back’s to the inside

Corner “my way” and “or take
the highway” form when met

At a cease creased into the angle
obliged by structure to be bent-

Free and free of free form:
Dunced by craze to face the in-

Side angle, clarity’s backed back
Out to the one-sided slope noted

To be the guise’s who bemusedly
inside-outs the panoptic slip Sin-

Clearly clears way for once clarity’s 
poise gets hell-bent on getting even.


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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 19

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A Sort of Socio-Moral Study
Part 2

“You are not growing a rattail.”

Yes I am.

“You are clearly Class 7 on the bald scale, and you’re pushing 5-O. Listen to me here, Hoz, this is serious. You are not growing a rattail. That would be a dreadful step backwards. All the respect you have been trying for would be lost in one fwell soop.”

I’ve been trying to gain? I’m the self-publishing author of an instructional blog, mofo, one with like a dozen-plus hits every couple of weeks. Bam! I got me my character intact. … And what the fuck is a fwell soop, Chalice? It’s one fell swoop, idiot. Learn your pronunciationals.

“You obviously misheard me. [I did not.] … Regardless, you vanity-ridden, delusional nobody, just what kind of embarrassment are you wanting to become?”

Fuck you, I’m growing a rattail. And, I’m dying the sucka yella.

“Well then, you can trust that you will never, never, be seen in my presence ever again.”

You, embarrassed? You? Really? This coming from the guy who I watch go full-on creep whenever we get in an elevator with a half-way attractive lady, always starting in with that Viagra Triangle jive talk. Total sleaze; up-and-downing her with your sick eyes and talking to her ‘bout your latest checking account balance in that faux, sex offender Southern drawl of yours. You need a toupee to top that creepy shit off, baldy-locks. … Look at that hunk of gold on your finger there. You’re a married man, you pig. … That smiling you do to those poor ladies you’re assaulting: tongue stroking your crooked teeth and never once blinking. Creep. You disgust me. You’re the thing I’d call an ‘embarrassment.’

“That’s YOU you’re describing, numbnuts. YOU. … No, no. You’re right. Sure, grow the fucking thing, Hoz. Cool. That won’t freak anybody out. Nope. Especially won’t freak out the wife, that’s for goddamn sure.”

No it won’t. … Listen, Chalice – Mr. Stereotyper Himself – I am who I am. And one of the things I am is married. I have long surrendered to this reality. Surrendered with great certainty and compassion in heart. I don’t go around hoping in my head that I can still pick up the chicks.

“Ha! Of course you do. You know you do. It’s built in our nasty man chemistry. … Sheeet, you just said ‘chicks,’ bitch. That ain’t objectifying at all. You sure sound like a male showmanist pig to me.”

Whaaaat?! … You know what, blow it straight out of your ass, Chalice. I have a sense of dignity. I am committed. … And hey, it’s chauvinist. Chauvinist, you complete idiot.”

[He flips me the bird.]

“You ought to be committed to an asylum, Hoz, that’s what you ought to fucking be. Talking to your—”

Whoa! Now let’s simma down nah. Ok? We don’t need that threat hanging over the ol’ head here. … Ok. … Now hear me out on this one, Chalice; try to take me seriously for a couple seconds here. Ok, let’s face up to the obvious: one of the biggest blunders of us people is when we defend and fight for choice but then condemn others for making a choice that is different from ours. Right? I’m not bringing up anything earth shattering here. This is complete grade school shit. And what makes this blunder even bigger is that such condemnation is usually imbued with the assumption that the other’s choice was made without consideration – was made as a lemming. That there’s one very arrogant stance to take. Now, there are bad choices everyone can agree upon: choosing to excessively indulge in intoxicants – which you do daily, Chalice, much to the detriment of your literary output; choosing to drop out of high school – which you wish you would’ve had the balls to’ve done, giving you a more motley back-story; a mayor choosing election over disclosure – sweet homicidal home, Chicago. There are choices that family and community can consensually condemn and work together to help change and correct. My choice to grow a rattail would not even be a blip in the socio-moral scope of things. Not a blip.

“You are not growing a rattail. I have a job to keep.”

Ha. Who’s the vanity-ridden one now?

“That’s not being vane, Hoz, that’s being real. … Remember reality? You ought to get back to it. It’s nice and safe there for a nut-job like you.”

Real schmeal. Listen up: We’re going home, Chalice. I’m re-embracing yours and my actual condition. … Fuck tucking in your shirt, we’re going to look like the meth dealing trucker we’ve always known our self to deep down be. … I am who I am, and one of the other things I know I am is suburban White Trash. … Never questioned any of that shit, man; we existed right in there with it all, and we were all comfy in being Trash till those European bigheads seeped into our perspective and in your early twenties you began trying to pick up the Art Institute girls by telling them over the cheap Manhattans that they bought you, ‘Yes, I have slept with a man, and it was lovely.’ [The lie never once worked. God, Chalice really has always been a pig, hasn’t he?] … What I am trying to do with this choice of mine is ingratiate us again into what we have been running away from ever since we got to be in our early twenties and started to read that Czech-exile’s books that got us going on a philosopher-like second guessing of the idea of poetry – all those damn books that got us believing there’s actually virtue in being a cultured—

“Whoa! What are you—what the—what?”

Time to get back to where we started from, Chalice. Sure, our crowd today recycles, wants to see gay marriage rights, shops at farmers’ markets, utilizes Zipcar, rides bicycles like we own the roads, doesn’t tolerate racism, and shuns the NRA; but American poets have begun to stop there, they have begun to choose to stop at the point of merely placating our cultured, liberal ideals. Now, that’s not an entirely bad thing, of course, it’s just that with stopping at such unproblematic, totally effortless, stances and practices of social responsibility, American poets are actually choosing to stop before the road gets bumpy. American poets are wussying out, neglecting to risk – neglecting to really fucking risk to expand into the private estimations of White Trash with illuminations of the nonjudgemental questionings of rigors. American poetry, in character, perspective, has increasingly, disgustingly opted to be a goddamn Man Bun.

“Hoz, Hoz, Hoz, you’ve totally, totally lost me here.”

Chalice, I’m growing a rattail.

“So what’s the deal? Of course you are. And why the hell wouldn’t you?”




(A Song for Episode 19.)

This is wannabe John Hospodka’s weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 18

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A Sort of Socio-Moral Study
Part 1

Well, that was a total fucking embarrassment, jackass.

“‘What’chu talkin’bout, Willis?’ You’re the A-hole who done wanted get’im some churchin’ in.”

What? You knew I had planned on going for the ol’ bi-yearly fix, it’s not like I sprung the visit on you or dragged you by the ear or anything.

“I’m not ashamed of a goddamn thing. I said unto the people the truth.”

You never are ashamed of a goddamn thing, are you, Chalice?

“You never are ashamed of a goddamn thing, are you, Chalice?”

 Don’t be a little prick.

“Don’t be a little prick.”

 UGH. … Where’s the Reverend when you need him?

“Ha! Hey, buddy boy, you know damn well the Reverend knows I can be as big of a little prick as I want, whenever I want.”

Well that’s the point, douche: I need his magic shoved down your throat right about now and get you away from this use of speech for a spell. Hell, we all know you’ve proven to be a prick time and time and time and time and time—

“OK, so really, what’s the fuss, Gus? I done rose. I gone mades the peoples’ ears perk on end. I learned them is what I done. I shined a light, shined a livin’ light on their errant ways; displayed upon the canvassed minions the crisis of their casual overthoughts. I mades the Reverend Any Major Dude prouds is what I done.”

Alright, alright, stop it with this faux Southern preacher speak. It’s fucking insulting, cock. It’s fucking racist is what it is. … Chalice, that was neither the place nor the time to choose to do that. Fucking-A, you could’ve taken out an anonymous classified in the Bridgeport News if you feel that strongly about it. …

[OK, let me interrupt our confrontation here to bring you up to speed. At the start of last week I got the inkling to go to church. On occasion, maybe twice a year, a beautiful sadness overcomes my perpetual sense of inanity, and my courage aches to be revitalized with a visit to a place where the promise of unreality emboldens one’s belief in the presence of a reflective community. I needed a little “we” time with the believers. I chose 8 a.m. Sunday Mass to attend; get it over with early, and have the remainder of the day to come up with excuses to avoid reading. I informed Sinclearly of my decision, and with a shrug and a ‘Don’t bother me none; shit, I can take this hangover anywhere,’ he agreed to attend with me. So, the Sabbath rolls around, and Chalice puts up no fight when I reach out to him at 7:15 to see if he’s still into checking out Mass with me: he rolled out of bed, went to the kitchen to grab an ice tray out of the freezer, stepped into the john, put the plug in the sink, dumped the ice cubes into the sink, filled the sink with cold water, reached into the medicine cabinet and grabbed three packets of Alka-Seltzer, ripped open the packets and plopped the tablets into the full sink, then plunged his face into the water, occasionally bringing his lips back up to the surface to take a gulp or two of the effervescence before plunging his face back into the freezingness. Once all the liquid was sucked up from the sink, he looked up to himself in the mirror, and said to me, “Now, that’s how you get bidness done.”

Things were going nicely. I had been getting in my usual amount of daydreaming, daydreaming that today consisted of sword fights with pirate-types, me bounding about the altar and tabernacle, saving the laity from sure rape and pillage. I caught Chalice every now and again sticking his tongue out at one of the dozens of squirmy children who would occasionally get on their knees on the pews to face backwards in order to more fully examine the interior design of sanctity. But then that part of Mass came along where people are able to speak up from the pews: a girl will ask for thoughts for a sick aunt and the whole congregation will respond in unison, saying, “Lord, hear our prayer.” Today, a husband brought up an ailing wife – “Lord, hear our prayer”; a wife brought up a husband serving our country overseas – “Lord, hear our prayer”; a child brought up an injured puppy – “Lord, hear our prayer.” But then out of the freaking blue Chalice chimes in: “For all the political-leaning, bookie-indebted jagoffs in this parish who practice the Bridgeport Roll, rolling through stop signs without any consideration ‘cause the very act of consideration suggests possessing a sense of culture, a sense which this neighborhood unfortunately can’t seem to shake its fear of. Being cultured. I know all you macro-chugging, soccer’s-for-homos-and-illegal-aliens type of racist Democrats want to kick the ever-livin’ piss out of the very idea of ever being cultured”; and without missing a beat, Chalice leapt straight into a rhapsodized “Lord, hear our prayer.” The parishioners, caught off guard, some stunned, others steamed, merely mumbled the petition, their words half-assedly shoring up his. The priest gave Chalice a piercing stare. By default, because it was obvious Chalice and I were attending the service as one, I was on the receiving end of Father’s scolding stare, too. We bolted. Surprisingly, no Bridgporter chased us out the doors.]

“I ain’t no racist, bastard. … And you’re just afraid to admit it right here and right now: I staged a coup, motherfucker. I shook Bridgeport down. I’m your wet dream, pussy-boy.”

A coup? What in God’s name are you talking about? A coup? We live here, buddy boy; sorry to say, but we aren’t going anywhere. This is home, and you damn well know we could not have asked for a better plot in life. We want to keep our taxes in check, keep the streets plowed, the garbage picked up on schedule. You don’t fuck with the 11th Ward like that—especially not inside Nativity.* Do you realize what we—what I’m going to have to deal with now? I can’t wait for the precinct captain’s next visit to our door. That should be a pleasantly intimidating experience. … Hey, you know what a real coup would be, don’t you now? …

[We stand here for a full minute in silence, eye to eye. Me, I’m anticipating; Sinclearly, he’s a prober. The first quarter-minute we abhor each other. The second quarter-minute we are two alone. The third quarter-minute we are torn together. And in the final quarter-minute we are one person.]

“You would never.”

Yes I would.

“You don’t have the balls.”

Oh, but I do, Chalice, I do.

“Why would you do that to yourself?”

To me?

“Ok, to us.”

To us?

“Ok, ok, to me.”

Because my man, we come from the land down under Madison, from the land where it’s justice to say: “We are proud to have with us the poet lariat of Chicago.”**

“No, no, no.”

Yes, yes, yes.

“Hoz, no, you are not growing a rattail.”

[To be continued.]


*Bridgeport is in Chicago’s infamous 11th Ward – home to five of this city’s mayors.
**Mayor Richard J. Daley introducing Carl Sandburg in 1960.


(A Song for Episode 18.)

This is wannabe John Hospodka’s weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 17

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Off to Happy Hour

In the evening gold of a summer sun, walking after work to a curse-ridden sort of rendezvous, Chalice Sinclearly strolls along the chain link fence that lines a parking lot that’s been owned but unmanaged for years, and little scavenger sparrows sporadically bounce up into tiny tight flights right as he steps within a small range of them, and each lands without rhyme or reason within the chain link, pausing briefly before whizzing off across the discolored and cratered weedy lot – it’s the way it’s lit, the hour, the day, where he’s heading to, who all he’s meeting up with, what he’s walking away from, and remembering who he’s lost of himself and who’s yet to be gained in that; and how delighted in the here and now of it he attempts to follow each birdie’s dash, but with each attempt each dashes straight for the gallery-hung sun, and he has to keep looking away real sharp-like until he finally has to knock off his trying for good, and he walks on awhile a little pissy over it until he catches sight of a sweet ass ahead of him, which leads him on for the majority of the remainder of his trek till the tight pretty thing rounds a bullet-chipped cornerstone tagged with “Keep Havin A Good Day,” leaving Chalice with a mantra going on in his melon as he walks the final few blocks to the space in which he’ll be more free to be the foul-mouth he is: I live in the world, not on my phone. I live in the world, not on my phone. I live in the world, not on my phone. 


(A Song for Episode 17.)

This is wannabe John Hospodka’s weekly instructional blog.

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 16

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“Advice to Young Poets Who Want to Dropout”

Good. And know: Priceless time is the time spent
Away from poetry. Screw entitlement – the hour
Given to write per day, per week, will strain full
Presence straight up from your moment’s depths.
Grow up. Be a plumber. School is death. Death is
Not a poem. Poetry is never worth dying over. Stay
Clear of hanging with the mid-day poets. Under-
Stand absence is the clear compassion. … Grow
Up. Know: School’s not worth even speaking of.
School is too insular for outsiders – reach out
For differences, never for opposites. Be critical
Of parenting if only because parents pass you
To school. Know: Blame invents unreason, where
-As reason tends to invent that which is to blame.
Forgive parents, but never forgive school. Doubt
Passion but deal with it. Befriend plumbers, know:
There is right, there is wrong. Answers tend to be
Right or wrong: Subjectivity exists, only in the pre-
Emptive strikes of the real world. … Stay clear of
Poetry Slams – a crowd such as that is as reactive
As the media are to the manifestos of juvenile mass
Killers. Know: The constriction of time emblazons
The Lone Wolf Poet’s gift. Buy rounds for plumbers.
Be absent in the eyes of poetry writers, be public
In the reading lists of Crime Fiction critics. Barely
Earn your diploma, hang it on a basement wall, dust
It regularly – any prop must be thought to aloud:
“School’s not worth even speaking over.” … We do
Not need mid-day poets rousing student bodies 
To purge from accountability: We need midnight 
Poets to pussy the uncomplicated away from career.
Young poets who hate school: Good. Save our time.


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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 15

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When Farts Speak Louder Than Bidness

With a most liberating spasticity, Chalice Sinclearly’s asslobes applaud the extended bodily exuberance that is the baritone-mucussed escape of flatulence from the stucco cavity of his bowels through the slack threshold that leads out into this unaccountable atmosphere that our increasingly Facebook-informed American Know-How speaks of as being the fresh air. This occurs daily, often numerous times daily. Teetotalers call such an occurrence “Passing gas”; the macro beer consumer inside each and every one of us calls it a “Fart.” We are ill-behaved, giggling and fanning it towards family and friends when it is our own; when it is the production of another, we become intolerant, gagging with disgust. Standing, we crouch a tiny bit for its release, perhaps lifting one of our heels from the floor in the same motion; sitting, we tilt to one side, our face goes cartoon and we pray the chair’s cushion absorbs the reek, even if said chair’s seat is nothing but metal. In the more ridiculous afterhours, little frat boys, mostly Trump fans, have been known to impress one another by igniting them with a Bic lighter – Poof.

And the other day, at precisely sometime around 7:30AM Central Daylight Time, stepping out of the shower to dry his big-boned self for yet another spoken-at-not-to workday, it happened without foresight, and so without the slightest urging from that invective-driven industry known as effort. As the emission infused the swirling steam of his drawn-out shower and speedily cocooned him with a perfume poignantly polluted by his mid-week tequila-slash-gyro mistake, a reflexive pleasure began to manifest itself. He inhaled deeply and felt endeavored to place entitlement upon this good thing, but his wife, who was at that moment seated on the edge of their bed and working nylons over her strong and rousing calves, found the expulsion (heard clearly through the bathroom’s closed doors) repugnant and responded with a righteous and decidedly unrhetorical “Goddamn you keeping no secrets!” But the wife’s pointed statement fell on deaf ears, for he had already lost himself in that soothing stench. Entranced, a charismatic response to his own glory began to take structure, and its catharsis rejoiced across Chalice’s tongue exactly like one’s reaction to the final swallow of a chug of cold water in the grips of homicidal Chicago’s typical July: “Ah!”

However, Chalice did not call upon me to use this episode to wax romantic over such alone-time transcendences. Quite contrarily, it was his wish for me to translate into our casual understanding those not entirely infrequent instances at the workplace when trapped in the cubicle by a mature discussion – one of those discussions Chalice is truly unable to participate within as anything other than a doe-eyed sieve, psychotically sifting through the stuffy innuendos of corporation to latch onto a strand of locker-room-pep-talk gibberish at which his imagination can blurt out a cliché, and so via this display of seemingly direct and present interest he keeps the dialog closing in on its end; or, he’ll latch onto a flicker of genuine humility over which his barstool-gained wisdom can be employed to impress upon the hearts of those gathered how the human soul is the eminence of cliché, and so he hastens the dialog towards conclusion via this proving to supervisors and cohorts that despite the booze oozing from his pores on a daily basis the synapses in his aged skull are still crackling enough to at any given time produce a commonplace profundity, and it doesn’t even matter how imprecise, perhaps even unrelated, that commonplace profundity might be with regards to the conversation at hand—and so it was Chalice’s wish for me to within this episode speak of the many and ongoing times when cornered in the cubicle, anywhere in the workplace, really, by such a grownup discussion, how he is forced to squeeze hold of a fart until it reverses and he feels its implementation internally as it shoots off in the form of a few hard-rising bubbles, their hushed gurgles vanishing somewhere into the nimbus before his spine, behind his guts. It was Chalice’s wish for me to within this episode discuss how he is forced to poison his insides while trapped inside the unnatural confines of what is known to the lucky ones of the American public as being a workday.

… See, friends, today Chalice once again pinched-in a fart and forced it to escape inside him, poison him a little more, and for yet another time in his half-assing life this occurrence forced him to ponder why he was where he was at that moment in this existence: why wasn’t he in the basement with the boiler’s pilot light’s little audible puppy kisses at the eyeing, readying ghosts, and with his own paranoia’s little frantic puppy scratches, trapped inside the wire crate of a poem?  And he once again promised himself how one day soon he’s going to truly let ‘em all have it; how one day soon while his supervisor and colleagues have him cornered at the water cooler talking about business, business, bidness, he’s going to blow a bomber right there and then. And how as they disperse from the area, each gagging from the invisible toxic cloud generated by his late-night snack of an over-microwaved chorizo burrito drowned in habanero sauce and a large lukewarm, tarry cup of Folgers and Jack, he’s going to breathe in deeply and in his mind waft deliriously off to where he’s always belonged: one real gross mutherfucker inside the hearts and minds of American Know-How.


(A Song for Episode 15.)

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