Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 26

essay cover chalice

I wrote a piece many moons ago while captured within those contemplative months we all shared in directly after 9/11/01. The piece was sentimental, which at the time was the accepted, appropriate, emotion. However, I was never truly satisfied with its expression – its choices in patriotism and promise always rung a tad yucky to me. Nonetheless, I committed it to print. And so for quite some time I have known that I failed a poem; I ignored a gut feeling and intentionally went all nicey-nicey, all in hopes of getting some gushy awws. Sentimentality always seems to have guts when you’re first grasped by it, but in time it never fails to show itself to be pure fucking flab, especially to the torn and frayed reality of one who aspires to be of a Chalice Sinclearly nature.  … Lesson learned. … The occasion to turn a misstep into a stand presented itself recently: it’s 2016, America’s a mess (heroin, cop killings, Rahm, homicidal Chicago, our Public School teachers getting shit on, the pathetic Presidential candidates and how our media are failing us, and how America’s everyman increasingly fears and ridicules intelligence while our “bohemians” are still being conned into the horizonless conformity of MFA programs, etc., etc., etc.), and I had been on my way to turning 50 and in the paranoiac enormity of that the prospect of perhaps one day needing to stop being a juvenile delinquent had begun to encrust my party time. … And besides, today, 9/23/16, just happens to be the first full day of yet another fall. … ~J.H.

“Note to Self at 50”
September 13, 2016

Look at them trees, look how them leaves seem afire today; and don’t you ever be afraid. Brain’s gonna be here tomorrow.

Forever believe there’s dignity, your dignity – your family’s dignity. Forever disbelieve systems that dis-interpret dignity. Systems without dignity won’t ever understand ancestry seeds the imagination with timelessness. This is why undignified imaginations won’t be ripened within the tempered humanization of an unearthly promise. Never be pretentious enough to be selfish enough to believe your imagination dies with you.

Never be that graceless, that artless.


Look! Look how them unpredictable winds blow them fiery leaves from the trees today; and don’t you ever be afraid. Brain’s gonna be here tomorrow.

Forever disrespect those that dis-interpret accountability. Those without accountability will forever be confused within their self-glorifying lies about the utilitarian histories of common sense and dissent. Never try to be cool, just be unusual – only barely show a want for the doubt Free Speech assumes to be a requirement. The truest of radicals find the dead center!

Find the dead center, and call home.


Watch them trees go bare today; and don’t you ever be afraid. Old brains is here.

Always know the most pioneering of all the seasons looms just beyond Santa’s list: trees are gonna be enlivened again, be the prelude to the season of no school again. Go gather all them dropped leaves into one great innocuous pile. Leap into the pile valiantly, again and again. Always know humanity’s authentically moved into the chastity of a future by the simple joy you incite. As you take pause within the crackling pile, peek fondly at the sky (now crisp with the blue captured sun).

The sky alone rewards eyes in selfless flight.


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

Follow Bohemian Pupil on Facebook

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 25

essay cover chalice

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. 


(A Song for Episode 25.)

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

Follow Bohemian Pupil on Facebook

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 24

essay cover chalice

“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.

Follow Bohemian Pupil on Facebook

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 23

essay cover chalice

Bush Doctor



What? Don’t sh-sh me.


Really? Then why the fuck are you calling me? You know my cell is for emergencies only. … What the hell is it, Chalice?

[Chalice says nothing.]

Where are you?

“In a bush.” [All whispery.]

Hello? Speak up. Did you just say you’re in a bush?”

[Chalice says nothing.]

In a bush? … I’m hanging up. Bye.

[I do not hang up. He calls my bluff; he stays on the line, says nothing.]

Listen, dweeb, I’m walking down Halsted. Hear the traffic; sirens. It’s loud out here. I have no time to play little hide-n-seek games with you. Especially when I can’t make out what you’re saying. … Hello? … I’m hanging up.”

“I’m making something of you.” [Whispery; creepy.]

You’re what? Hello? … Can’t hear you. … La-la-la-la-la. … Hanging up now. Bye, asshole.

[I hang up.]

What I don’t see is that at this very moment in my after dark stroll, as I step off busy South Halsted to head into the quiet backstreets and silent alleyways of homicidal Chicago, while now in my paranoid head I begin to envision that he’s concealed inside any given bush or behind any given Dumpster along my trek, waiting to pounce on me, scare the living shit out of me—what I don’t see at this moment is that I am in the crosshairs of his insight, and that he’s already, many moons ago, and curiously unbeknownst to me, made this of me:

Instant of pure fright; instant wherein
Utter awareness is made of utter absence
And simultaneously vice-fucking-versa:
A prey backed into a corner; backed in,
Clawing insanely, screeching methodically
For preserved meaning come morning.
… And behind every line: Fright finished:
On its knees, its forehead, elbows, forearms,
Palms all pressed to imagination by memory’s
Collapse, its back arching, flattening in great
Amplifications as it sobs into imagination
That sob that can only be sobbed by a man-
Child in the throes of having lived beyond
An attempted kill,  lived through the freak out
Fending off the insanity of this cubicled reality
With a hard-bitten, unapologetic word choice:
Self-defense against being mooted is perfected 
In the line of this instant when tears cease to be,
Of this instant when memory needs tears most.

I can only imagine what he’s titled it. “Not In Line With”?  “The Fall Into a Line”? “A Fall Into the Line”? “Coloring Outside the Line”? “Coloring Inside the Line”? “Finish Line”? “Lay It On the Line”? “In the Line of Fire”? Or, something like “BOO!” Or, something real personal and pointed like “Quit Being Such a Pussy” … I don’t  know. …


(A Song for Episode 23.)

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

Follow Bohemian Pupil on Facebook

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 22

essay cover chalice

Barrier Blues (Writer’s Block’s Telling)

While quite surprisingly finding himself in a drinking establishment the other night, Chalice Sinclearly eavesdropped:

     “Grace, listen. I have come to you tonight to appease my own paranoia, to sedate my very own guilty memory. …Hell, since when have I been able to tell the difference between guilt and memory, anyway? …Pretend you didn’t hear that. That’s really not the type of question I’m intending to bring out in the open here.
      “You see, I feel that if you and I are to ever remain friendly and sharing throughout our lifetimes we must relieve a barrier – that entity which, ironically, happens to be what brought you and me together. It is this that must be addressed here. Yes, we must bring her into question, whether you – we – like it or not.
      “Now what I am about to say will be said with utter respect for, and with very warm feelings towards, Flo. But you have got to understand my vocal apprehension. You have got to understand that with her as your best friend and with me as her former beau – I mean, the three of us lived together, Grace. We were like family. We were family. Flo and I shared a bed, sure, but we all three shared the same bathroom mirror.
      “I was what went wrong. You know that, you were there. I think you’ll understand my embarrassment, and how I have a sense of dread in knowing what you know of me from that happening, from that ill staging. Grace, like Flo, you witnessed me silence away. I did not. I still have no idea what you saw. I’d like for you to share that with me someday. Till then, I’ll remain embarrassed, in dread.
      “Now I don’t ever expect Flo’s forgiveness nor do I ever expect I’ll ever deserve it. However, I do hope you’ll respect me when I say to you that forever is a long time, and fortune telling is a TV scam. And so, Grace, I have resolved to pace myself through each of my days, each day making another humble attempt to get back to the outside of myself.
      “Please, can we relieve the barrier? I don’t want to always have a slight fear of trying to speak with you just because I know you communicate with Flo on a daily basis, and because what I might say could be subject to report. I don’t want you to come to you and you harbor a fear that I might overwhelm you with inquiries about her. I want her to become, between you and me, a private word, barely, if at all, mentioned.
      “Grace, I’d like to believe that you and I had a special friendship growing, apart from mine and Flo’s situation. I’d love for our friendship to continue. I guess what I want to say – well, what I want from you tonight is your assurance that the past is the past.
      “Time out of mind, Grace? Time out of mind?
     “Grace, I wish I could let Flo in on the loneliness I’ve caged myself in. I’ve got to tell someone: the only thing at-large inside loneliness is confession. Loneliness heals a scream with a moan. Understand it’s a flesh-positive, though colon-taxing, incarceration.
      “Forgive me, but like I said, I’m saying this for myself. I know I’m being selfish here, but I hate the fact that we came together under that circumstance. Can we start anew? I mean, I’m torn by the fact that it has always been proven that you and I have more in common than Flo and I ever could. A harsh fact, but a fact. I just hate thinking that you and I might never allow our in-commonness to flourish because of this barrier.
      “Grace, I’m not suggesting that we relieve the barrier so that I can act upon the opportunity and make some kind of effort to seduce you. But I am asking that we relieve the barrier so if I ever have the urge to hold your hand while we’re in conversation, I don’t need to feel any apprehension in reaching for it. Let me put it this way: when the three of us were surviving together you were going through an extremely rough time in your relationship to what’s his face, and you cried more than once when I was the only human present. I know this is my own paranoid problem, my own string-less violin, but because of the barrier I always withheld from offering you my shoulder. Grace, I never want to withhold my shoulder from you again.
      “I don’t know. I hope I’ve made some kind of sense here. Grace, I’m simply hoping for the continued privilege of us sharing, unequivocally and tenderly, the wisdom we gain throughout our lives. And it is my paranoia that says we will never be able to do that if the barrier remains, if we don’t address the question of Flo once and for all, and discuss the very real need for her to be absent from the present tense that resides between us.
      “Now, with all that gibberish said, I must fall silent.”

Sinclearly was seated at the bar. The older gentleman who had just delivered the above monologue was seated at the bar, as well, and like Sinclearly, he too was alone. There was no Grace present; the older gentleman seemed to be reciting to the can of beer before him. Sinclearly asked, “Hey, who’s this Grace?”

The older gentleman looked at Sinclearly, studied his eyes for a moment: “I suspect you haven’t seen her around yet.”

“Then, where’s this Flo?”

He waved an arm through the air, and giggled sarcastically: “Kiddo, you got to open your eyes a little.”

“What’s your name then, old man?” Sinclearly asked.

The guy answered without hesitation, in a tone of voice that had obviously been haunted by a graceless age: “Why don’t you just make one up for me, you nosy son of a bitch!”

Needless to say, Sinclearly had worn out his welcome. He exited the tavern in quite a rush; and it was not until he was on the bus, nearly at our stop, when I realized that he had forgotten to leave some sort of tip on the bar.


(A Song for Episode 22.)

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

Follow Bohemian Pupil on Facebook

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 bi-weekly instructional blog.

Follow Bohemian Pupil on Facebook

Lone Wolf Poet: Episode 20

essay cover chalice

“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.


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

Follow Bohemian Pupil on Facebook