Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 34

essay cover chalice

“Pontius Palette”

The time of the day seeks to be repaid by a Sin
-Clearly view, no matter his
Color blind take on that time’s prescribed hue,
Prescribed because that time’s been always due,
Due its hue long before scribed-at by a Sin
-Clearly color blind view,
Thus his take on sake – for God’s sake – is his
Faking on our take of the hue he can’t break
From the gray of this day whose exact time’s now again a tick’s stray
Away from the stay of this exact color of this exact day,
As foreseen to have been

Repaid by a Sin-
Clearly view, which is his faking take
On the day’s time’s exacting hue, a hue due –
For his sake, for goodness sake –
The risk to break an exact gray away from the over-gray,
And in this scribed-at say sake the time of day,
This time of day seeking repay –

Sake this exact tick’s stray away
From this exact stay of the color of the day
Now again in the wake of this exact take
On gray by a Sin-
Clearly view, a color blind view now clearly overdue
Our break – for Christ’s sake –
From our take on his stake in our unsettled juju

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 33

essay cover chalice

The Short and Curlies of the Work

Chalice Sinclearly receives the daily email newsletter from Literary Hub. He really enjoys this. It has on numerous occasions opened his eyes to new works, to authors with whom he had not been familiar, and it has also introduced him to fresh ways of seeing a few authors that he believed he had a solid grasp upon.

Today, December 19, 2016, Literary Hub put out its Best Books of 2016. The first book that Chalice found of interest was within Emily Temple’s (Associate Editor) choices. He highlighted the title and author’s name to copy and paste them into a Word Doc, so he could then have a print-out of interesting titles in his pocket for his upcoming visit to the bricks and mortar bookstore. He needs scraps of paper, Post-it Notes, with things written on them in his pockets all of the time these days – decades of the good medicine have wreaked havoc on his ability to forage crisply and undistractedly through the ol’memory bank.

To paste that first book into the Word Doc, he chose Paste Special > Unformatted Text.
     The Lonely City
     OLIVIA LAING
Bam! When this appeared on the page, so too did the scale of our entire Western, civilized, free and hip culture’s Gizmobation-lured reality. The design of it all appeared right there, in blatant coded perspective—right there before his four-eyed vision, this same vision that was last night toiling over a final revision to the long toiled over “Life Assemblies”* (months of switching between “real” and “true” came to an emphatic end as he finally consented to a notion of slighting sympathy), and he gasped aloud – loud enough that a fellow cubicle-dweller felt the need to ask him from her station on the other side of a small wall if everything was alright. Chalice Sinclearly was in the midst of the realization: It’s whenever when an author’s name is made out to be more, to overshadow, the work—it’s whenever when the singer’s more than the song—it’s whenever when this when it’s all so seemingly really done for. He didn’t miss a beat, however, and answered his coworker with a snappy, “Probably shouldn’t be gift idea-ing while on the clock.”

 

*LIFE ASSEMBLIES
Sundays root their libraries in an amount of enough
               time to survey the dislocations
                                             of a music needled under
The crackled repertoire of the platitude playing back-
               drop to the staved off surround
                                             of a role-play archived
By the affable fear of a hushing harmony: Sunday
               Nights – reading nights, jotting
                                             down marginal insights
(Coursed by a choosers-are-the-beggars simulation)
               inside paperbacks damaged in
                                              the comfy hands of an awe
Piled into without any true vision for the experiential
               reality of possession made anti-
                                             Yet by the crave of material;
Before there was even enough volumes of words
               to be lagged under by a brain-
                                             trusted polarization pansied
In the pre- of preferences pined for by a polite
               radicalism and the propaganda
                                             of a pay to play Monday.

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 32

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An Appeal for the Mafia

“Who in his or her sound and reality-based mind, striving toward the promise of a civilized culture, would not ardently applaud that such a judicious syndication exists?”

He does not ask this in jest; he is not posing the question as a hyper-ironic Sopranos fan. He does not wish to be patted on his pig-skinned back for having the gall to side with an outlaw element. Believe it or not, even amongst us who’ve been zoned-to-dismay by the post-truth-bolstered sense of civility prevalent here upon this devaluating subject matter that is God’s “trusted” America—believe it not, Chalice Sinclearly does not wish to be profiled by the FBI.

“Any true poet of the dying working-class character should thank his or her lucky fucking blessings that the mafia poses an actual menace to the rats and the FBI within the confines of our baseball-caps-left-on-at-the-dinner-table culture; that the mafia acts as a tangible guiding spirit towards how to purposefully possess the old school mentality of a pitcher who knows how to protect his hitters.”

For Sinclearly, the nucleus of the mafia’s secretive craft roils within a blind faith in nostalgia. He has long held great expectant stock in nostalgia. Long before he applied it to the mafia, that nucleus – a blind faith in nostalgia – came into focus for him the year he acquired a mortgage with his wife, when his eyes self-servingly sucked up the words Don DeLillo has his character Murray speak within the novel White Noise. He read,

I don’t trust anybody’s nostalgia but my own. Nostalgia is a product of dissatisfaction and rage. It’s a settling of grievances between the present and the past. The more powerful the nostalgia, the closer you come to violence. War is the form nostalgia takes when men are hard-pressed to say something good about their country.

as being:

I don’t trust anybody’s nostalgia but my own. Nostalgia is a product of dissatisfaction and rage. It’s a settling of grievances between the intellect and the imagination. The more violent the nostalgia, the closer you come to poetry. A Lone Wolf Poet is the form nostalgia takes when poetry is too comfortable placating its poets.

… Bearing this mindful mis-reading in mind, I will here nonetheless provide Sinclearly with a podium from which he can express his beliefs as to how in this day and age the mafia (if this underground organization actually exists; I am not as convinced as Mr. Sinclearly is on this matter) might more awakenly enrich its endurance – survive. … So without further adieu, won’t you please welcome to the podium Mr. Lone Wolf Poet himself. … Chalice; all you:

“Thank you, Hoz, you little piece of chickenshit. … That’s it, that’s it little man, get over here; get up here all tucked up behind my back. … Fucking wuss. …

“Anyhoo, let me begin by saying my intent here is to articulate a sincerity-weighted counsel. Your very best interest is in mind here. You must trust me. There is absolutely no sarcasm here. …

“A) Speak amongst one another within your organization only in the motherland’s language. Not that that would camouflage the criminality embedded in discussions – no, of course one’s blood is easily translatable by the authorities. I promote this with a great appreciation for the feel revealed by the Orwellian suggestion that ‘If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.’ So then, it’s my hypothesis that by keeping hold of the mother-tongue within your organization, each member’s cultural identity, his needed sense of being centered, of feeling he is an indispensible tick within an ancestral pattern, will remain unbound by a righteous conscience. It will infuse each member with the very much needed attribute of trusting nobody’s nostalgia but the mafia’s. In this, you’d have to have your offspring visit the motherland often, spend time upon that land to soak in Italy’s culture, away from Chicago’s, absent of America’s.

“This naturally transgresses into B) Do not let anyone begin being a soldier until the age of forty. That’s right; do not let anyone begin his life of criminal activity in association with your organization until the age of forty. Sure, he can practice a life of crime up until then, but his apprenticeship must have no ties to you, must bear upon the mafia no jeopardy. By the age of forty hopefully enough life lessons have accumulated to have sufficiently maneuvered one’s sense of humility into a more constant than not state of being the settlement of grievances between the intellect and the imagination: it’s called being honorable; honor, the grande dame by-product of humility. A vow has a greater value, presents a more tangible sense of consequence, to one at this stage of life. Besides, with life expectancy rising, you’ll get say at least ten to twenty good years out of someone – plenty of time for that person to rise from Associate, to become “Made” and more. And here’s the “Aha!” moment: imagine how fucked up the FBI will become if you start allowing only those forty or older to become a member of the mafia. The FBI will need to completely rethink their thinking to try and nail you, get to you.

“Oooooh shit. Take a look at this, paisanos. Show your face, Hoz. Poke out from behind me. … Look at this look on our man Hoz. …

“Hoz, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking of that one passage we came across in our unending study into our hero Sherwood Anderson, aren’t you? The one where that smarty-pants said: ‘To me the most important fact about his career is that his first book appeared when he was forty. It was difficult to learn after forty. He needed badly the apprenticeship which most writers go through in their twenties and thirties. After forty, men do not usually write because they are writers. They write because they are bothered, upset; because writing offers an escape from a disturbing reality or because it seems to provide a method of clarifying their personal problems. Thus the softness and sentimentality of Anderson’s work is not that of youthful confusion—which may be succeeded by clarity and order—but of middle-aged bewilderment, the bewilderment of a mature man who has suddenly been forced to think.’”*

“I know that one scares the shit out of you, Hoz. Eh? The whole thing about not being a writer after forty, not learning, just becoming an old fart who’s perpetually bothered by something. … Kind of sounds like the whole Lone Wolf Poet thing, eh? Bandwagoning on about ‘real’ poetry, what it means to be a ‘real’ poet. … Well fuck Mr. Smarty-pants, Hoz. We got Chandler, Bukowski, Miller; we got Clinch, Pollack, Fountain. We’ve got those who truly shined after the age of 40, 50 even; we got Wallace Stevens, Twain, Iñárritu, Frost, Cezanne, Williams Carlos Williams.

“GAY! William goddamn Gay, period. …

“Late bloomers, baby. Late bloomers, their art is in the search, not in the find.** Late bloomers probe; they do not satellite. Didn’t you have me write something to that degree before? Smarty-pants got it all wrong, brother. No way, man. No way. I absolutely stand behind my proposal to the mafia; stand behind all my sincerity-weighted applause for the mafia.

“And by the by, idiot, that’s you mis-reading DeLillo. … All you. Get off my back about it already. It’s all about you serving you – you servicing you. You. All about you. DIY, self-publishing-blogger, you. You, you, you, you, you, you, you, you—”

[Well, I have nothing to say here after Sinclearly’s piercing outing of my ever-mounting paranoia – after being side-swiped here, mugged really, believing for days now while working under this episode’s title that I was going one way with the Lone Wolf Poet, but then without warning being bulldozed over from an entirely unexpected direction by the Lone Wolf Poet himself. … Damn. … I can’t speak over his “You”-ing me; I won’t. … Eventually, I imagine, the Energy Saver will dim this world before me. The Energy Saver’s Plugged In settings are too conservative, I sense, but I’m not techno enough to feel I should ever really give a flying fuck about them. Besides, why?]

 

* “Sherwood Anderson: The Search for Salvation” by Clifton Fadiman, Nation, November 9, 1932.
** This sentence’s origin is based in the Malcolm Gladwell article “Late Bloomers: Why do we equate genius with precocity?New Yorker, October 20, 2008.

 

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

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 31

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The Scene Behind Your Proverb
Para mi Nemesis

Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain –

― Emily Dickinson

Cracks my shit up, man. … Look at him down there. Look at the doofus: shimmying his little tush off. Dude ought to have on Go-Go Boots. …

But that really ain’t Chalice Sinclearly down there; that there’s just the pinnacle of all of my wishes for what he could be. Look at him shaking it up like some mid-1960’s post-teenage pot-smoking ex-Mouseketeer-worshipping future MILF; shimmying his frilly little heart away and taking yet another wild elbow in the cheek bone. Look at him down there. Bloody lip and all. If he wasn’t wearing that elastic eyeglass band – giving ol’boy a disturbing kind of dark-alliance-to-model-glue look – he’d surly be without his right sight down in there. … But shit, again, Chalice, like me, ain’t even really here at all.

We won’t even hear about this gig until after the weekend – until now, actually, when we’ve gotten together for Monday evening brewskies with some of our pushing-50 Motorhead-loving peeps and they’ve started talking about how they was leading the pit’s flow and tension, and they’re showing off their bruises and bragging on about their aches. And right now as one of our friends starts derisively alluding to Chalice’s ever-solidifying fondness for the hush-hush insurrection that is the mail-bomb acoustics of a basement-dwelling syntax—alluding to how Chalice has become more and more of a reclusive Unabomber-type these past years. And the sucker don’t stop there, as he’s now begun to tease Sinclearly for his absence from the fist fights department for over the past almost-decade. And with that all the guys’ve now started jibing in, ganging up on Chalice, basically giving it to him as far as why no one invited him—giving it to him for allowing himself to be given a bedtime (9-10ish) all because a couple of handfuls of years back he yielded to the thinking that he ought to keep a solid count of brain cells intact and undiluted for the ongoing challenges of married life, the cubicle, and for the forthcoming confrontations of all those reasonings that will always be provokingly – tauntingly – right there out beyond the basement’s reach.

And Chalice’s wife is right here even! And as they continue to give it to him for becoming in their eyes a huge-ass wussy, using crude language, showing no decorum – not that they ever really had some – and not that Chalice’s wife can’t handle it, because she can; it’s just there’s a measure of decency I thought even these jagoffs knew how to practice—and I can see the whole mythologizing bullshit that’s the idea behind the artist living hard and dying young start to fill in the white-heats of my man’s eyes: Sinclearly’s going all I’m not what I believe I want to measure up to be; I’ve got to rise from the basement and live – boo hoo hoo on my ass.

Well, shit, I yank his ass right up out of here, and mind-drop us right on over back to Saturday night’s gig. And here we is all up in the mind: me banging out in the balcony while watching Chalice take to the dead center of that pit and start up with his badass, should-be-wearing-Go-Go-boots shimmying. … Look at him down there.  Look at the doofus, taking each blow that comes his way like the godsend each wicked blow is. … Cracks my shit up, man.

 

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 30

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Flicker and Expire: A Belief in Angels

Chalice Sinclearly and the Reverend Any Major Dude have just stepped back into the bar. I didn’t need to look back over my shoulder to know this. I hear the immature bastard laughing. The Reverend steps up and I swivel on the stool and hold out my palms to him. He slaps me ten; I slap him ten right back. … Right on. … He takes his seat and takes his first sip of Black Label. Sinclearly plops on the stool on the Reverend’s left side. The Reverend turns his back to Sinclearly’s laughter, and begins:

“So, your Mr. Douchebag Duality here [he throws a pointing thumb over his shoulder at Chalice] just gets done telling me how more than occasionally, while he’s on one of his strolls through the alleyways of this homicide-riddled city we each who are present here in this establishment call our loving and enlightening home, a public lamp will flicker and expire right as he is passing underneath it. He tells me this phenomenon happens at least every other walk he takes, and it will usually happen while passing under two to three lamps during those particular walks. He claims this phenomenon’s been happening forever, and from the very beginning he’s had only one explanation in my mind for these occurrences: they stand as evidence that your guys’s guardian angel is on the job.

[Sinclearly’s face is facing the ceiling, laughing.]

“Now I don’t think Chalice is suggesting your guys’s guardian angel is some sort of klutz, always ringing his bell against lamp posts because he’s constantly keeping a sharp eye down on this idiot [again he throws a pointing thumb over his shoulder at Chalice] and neglecting to be aware of the space that’s expanding directly out right there in front of him. Rather, I believe the cause of these rather dramatic outages is your guys’s guardian angel’s ethereal energy. He’s there; he’s emanating from your guys’s active solitude – from that poignant internal soliloquy that marries tragedy and comedy—he’s emanating from the promise that the city is the possessor of old-fashioned American reader ears, ears that are hearing – truly listeningto your guy’s in-self soliloquy of excruciating honesty.

“Hoz, America leads the world in the number of adults within its population who believe angels are real. Moreover, more adults within our borders believe in the existence of angels than the role of humans in Global Warming. Shit, I’m just repeating some of the finest TV drama writing ever – we’ve all YouTubed that scene from The Newsroom, right?* And these facts prove the idiocy of our society tilts towards being dangerous, and I fully, fully accept this. Our society, our American culture, is dangerous. And it is especially dangerous to your art. … So then, our dilemm: can one believe in angels while at the same time knowing full well angels aren’t real?

[Sinclearly’s laughing away. Tears.]

“Let’s take a closer look at belief. Belief, in essence, is an ideal. An ideal, as defined in the dictionary, is a conception, quote ‘existing in the mind: imaginary. Lacking practicality or the possibility of realization,’ end quote. So, when we are discussing belief we are discussing a conception that exists in the privacy of one’s imagination, a conception meant to nourish one’s imagin—”

Sinclearly, fucking please!

Chalice stops, looks to me over the Reverend Any Major Dude’s shoulder. His wide eyes are nearly swirling, and his crazy, shit-ass—Jesus, look how hard he’s trying to touch a lip to a lip there … ain’t happening—that O-shaped grin is a thing of obvious impermanence. Chalice can’t contain himself, the Reverend’s ‘shrooms is simply that good: “BAH-Hahahahahahaha …”

 “It’s alright, Hoz; your duality here gets to sliding off me in short time. Forget him; don’t pay attention. … So, though belief germinates and endures within the individual’s imagination, it should be further understood that for belief to come into full existence it must somehow be put into action – externalized; presented before the community, practiced when in the midst of mankind. The Big Question becomes how should one externalize such an evocative tenant of privacy, something that is already understood as ‘lacking practicality or the possibility of realization’? Does one show, or does one tell? Well, one must show his or her belief, not tell. To show is an action that asks of the viewer to engage his or her freewill. To show is an action that engages a trust in the silent observations of the eyes’ humble pupils. To show is an act of art. Whereas, to tell is an action that calls upon coercion in order to achieve a result. To tell is an action that calls upon the preachy qualities of the conceited tongue. To tell is an act of TV Evangelism, right?

[Sinclearly, laughing and laughing and laughing.]

“Allowing one’s belief to be externalized through the action of telling positions belief as an impersonal duty to which the individual must conform in order to appear as an acceptable presence in the public’s eye. And this is where the danger lies; for to assume belief is impersonal means to perceive belief as being something that’s unchangeable, something that’s unwilling to acknowledge the idea of individuality. This perception pressures one’s belief into becoming a censor, removing it from its duty as a simple beholder. This perception removes the imagination from its ability to be restored.

“Okay then; well, how does one show rather than tell? In a nutshell, one must shut the fuck up about it. That’s to say, one must distill through his or her belief, through his or her imagination, a public respect for the private paradigms of his or her fellow public man. It is in this way that one will come to perceive how belief facilitates one’s respect for reality, how without reality there would be no purpose to, nor reason for, the imagination’s existence. After all, it is from internalizing and historicizing reality – not exploiting it, not mocking it, not defying it, not TVing it—it is in this practise of one’s meditative being that one’s imagination makes its graduations and adjustments, restores – anticipates his or her guardian angel ringing his or her bell.

“… Calculate that.”

The Reverend Any Major Dude grabs his Black Label and throws it back, stands and slaps me ten, and I slap him ten right back. … Right on. … Turning away from me, he holds ten out for Chalice to slap, but ends up just shaking his head in a gesture of humored pity and giving Chalice a pat on his convulsing back. He opens the bar’s door to exit and the silhouette of his too usual-sized frame (too usual, that is, in relation to his size 17 feet) absorbs the gray of the graying evening, and for a flash-moment wavers as if a plume of smoke. The door closes. I’m left here with Sinclearly who is beginning to wind down from his public, immature, uncontrollable laughter. … Thank you, God, for your TV-less bars.

 

*“We Just Decided To” written by creator Aaron Sorkin and directed by Greg Mottola.

 

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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.

 

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Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 28

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Episode 28: An E-Mail to William Logan
Cc: James Comey
Bcc: August Kleinzahler; Garrison Keillor
Subject: Unwanted: Dead or Alive

“I wasn’t very long at Stony Brook when it occurred to me that the English department
had all the charm of a street fight where no one actually landed a punch.”
―Jim Harrison, Off to the Side

Great Day Mr. Logan:

Me again. You may recall my email to you some time ago, regarding my take on a certain somebody’s debut release. I have copied the FBI on this correspondence – my way of assuring you that these transmissions are not from a deranged stalker. I do not pose a danger, merely a threat (wink wink). 

Thank you for recently posting on the great and wide internet machine a link to your brief essay published in last Spring’s The Battersea Review. Funny story: a few hours after reading “The State of Criticism,” I viewed The Battered Bastards of Baseball for the first time. What a sublime combination. But what’s more, throughout the days since then I’ve been frequently harkening back to a spat my main man Hoz and I had some time back (by the by, this is one dude who you should actually try to get to know; he is, after all, trying his damnedest here to scribe my irreverent core into upstanding theory – God bless his sagged heart; Hoz is without doubt the exact kind you’re referring to within “The State of Criticism” when in your requisite aloof / collegiate-funded way, you concede, “These days, with the internet open at all hours, there is more criticism than ever and more poetry than ever. … A few of these critics are rabid, most are rhapsodic; but the usual sins do not attract the rare virtues. On occasion, you will find a reader dogged with purpose, one who scours the poetry carefully, has an idea or two, and who can write a few sentences that don’t make your eyes bleed. … I am glad for them. They are obviously men and women of leisure.”), it was a spat that ended with him duping me into encouraging him to grow a rattail, which the douche can’t even really do because he’s bald as shit. On his way to duping me he touched on something about how by avoiding crawling into the skin of Trash, American poets are occupying a limited, limiting, scope. … His dupe, your concession, the thoroughly American spirit of anti-establishment on display in The Battered Bastards of Baseball—well, I’ve been put in such a state these past days that my inner-delinquent – the exact delinquent to whom I pay homage when shopping at the Targè, searching out t-shirts whose very near futures on Chicago’s South Side (bang bang) promise to be sleeveless—the delinquent in me feels justified. In the past days I have found myself at complete peace with the paranoia that I will most probably always be looked upon as an unwanted voice – an unwanted voice within the one artistic ring into which I have always projected tossing my lifer hat.

I just knew you would want to hear from me. …

American poetry needs to aspire to be as irreverent as a noon-time fight taking place on a gravel parking lot over the fact that one dude deliberately touched one of the chunky breasts of the other dude’s significant other, a significant other who, incidentally, having just entered the second trimester of her unannounced and as of yet unnoticeable pregnancy, at first didn’t mind the passing fondle, however unasked for, and actually thought for a split-second of grabbing the offender and yanking him out the back door and pinning his ass against a Dumpster and forcing his way to the resolve of her thirst (his unit, the weathered burnish of a curved leather stock in want of conditioning – this, her imagination’s accompanying snapshot) while her old man continued to do shots and play pool and stuff singles into the jukebox—continued to ignore her in favor of playing the outlaw and taking trips to the john for a few snorts here and there. But that’s all that lady allowed herself for fantasy – a split-second; a snapshot – because the offender no sooner gave her a wink of an eye than she screamed out bloody hell to dig up the attention of her old man’s vengeance. And right now out on that gravel parking lot (one dude is wearing a Slayer T-shirt, the other dude stepped out back humming the opening verse of an Ozark Mountain Daredevils tune while unbuttoning his flannel), with knuckles and bile and grunts and denim and oily hair all Tasmanian Deviling amidst the whoops and curses of the intoxicated spectators and the occasional approving horn-blow of a passing semi, we readers capture the faint writhe of a psychiatric cultivation bring on a nuanced cleanse to the trap-like lines in that lady’s expression, and we sense her trialed conviction’s just abandoned her for a backbone-swallowed stomaching of where exactly she’s at in all of this; and we readers mouth a “Sweet Jesus” to the nonjudgmental gauge of the words hand-picked to whip her back into the tavern to go cram into the broom closet and force down as much cleanser as she can lay her hands on.

There’s a goddamn scene to get the pulse going. Right there’s some content, some American-born narrative of the plain-ass real-world’s condition. But it’s my guess the majority of the curators of the American poetry world are shuddering right now: OH, but I just hate fights, and drugs, and violence, and psycho-sexual brain thrusts; they’re all just so ugly and nasty. I hold to autumn sunbeams penetrating mountain mist, to frosted moss on fallen limbs just inside the edge of an eve-wanting woods, to the untouchable possibilities surrendered in the quiver of ruby-colored lips behind a sunshower-touched window of a public bus. … Copping Sons of Anarchy for an atmosphere is quite simply not the thing of taste. … But I’m not talking about that crap specifically, Mr. Logan; what I’m trying to get at is the emotion that goes behind the seemingly mindless totality of such a scene. Yes, it’s ugly; sure, it could feasibly be politically incorrect to the Lefty Looseys, morally abhorrent to the Great Right Hope, and way too genuine for the blanked-out snickers of hipster ironics*, but tough titties. 

I’m attempting to purvey an emotion that exudes a poetry that will not reside warmly alongside the careful MFA character of the majority of the poetry that is perpetually touted in our publications of esteem, even when said poetry is being touted as “fresh” or “hip.” I’m trying here to purvey an emotion that exudes a voice that actually stands the chance of removing American poetry from the lingering nonexistence of an American poetry culture whose discernment is rooted in the cause of making poetry less dreadful to the reading public. 

Now, I get it: the American reading public – the intellectually curious and creatively attuned American public – is already a limited population, and those within this population who care an iota about poetry is limited even more. I get it. But I figure the poet doesn’t have to settle with that – well, not if he or she hasn’t made of poetry a “career” that depends upon him or her settling into the “careerism” of a “system.” We can attract more; we don’t have to assimilate to the “system” – the few.

The poet’s got to be a dropout. (Here I must thank you, as I did in my previous email to you, for being a stepping stone in my ever-establishing suspicion that a poem deserves to be more than poetry, and that the poet must risk his or her stake in poetry for the sake of the poem.) The poet must reach out unapologetically towards irreverence, bringing to the poetry world’s set table an offering rendered from the heretofore “sophomoric” endeavor of entertainment. The poet needs to rip the tablecloth from under the table’s setting, and if nothing’s left standing, Oh the fuck well – if he or she manages to pull off the trick, Holy shit. … The poet should not be crafting for the safety of a classroom stuffed full with student debt holders; the poet should be the craft of a nasty-ass fisticuffs between strangers out on a gravel lot, a fisticuffs that just as it’s taken a sudden turn into being a knife and a broken bottle affair is halted by a waitress’s unworldly scream coming from inside the tavern. In this way, the emotion of poetry becomes an expression of spite for the scam that claims poetry is for brainiacs. The conception that a reader needs to be skilled or educated to enjoy poetry is an entrenched false reality; it is as invalidly entrenched in our poetry culture as the word “God” is being stamped on our currency and dangled from our politicians’ tongues. Separation of church and state is a motto to absolutely live by, strive for, in American culture; separation of classroom and poet must become the motto the American poetry culture lives by, strives for. …

You see, Mr. Logan, when brought in and being interrogated by today’s American poetry culture, the unwanted voice makes no excuses: knowing and accepting full well the fact that she or he is the possessor of a Lone Wolf nature, the unwanted voice assumes full accountability for his or her criminality. From behind a one-way mirror the legend-less legacies of American Poetry Awards watch on as under the lamp of a closed-door basement the unwanted voice exhales smoke into the American poetry culture’s face; and staring the interrogator square in the eyes, the unwanted voice, without pause, without stutter or a blink of the eyes, sings like a canary, throwing his or her poem straight under the bus. … After all, that’s where the “system” has been throwing poetry’s potential readership for a long while now.

Cheers,
Chalice Sinclearly

 

*This is the second time I’ve used “hipster ironic” within an episode. My thinking is entirely derived from Christy Wampole. ~J.H.

 

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