robert m. zoschke | breakfast of champions | happy holidaze

7 07 2010

Please click the image above to see a larger version of the book cover…

Poetry Dispatch No. 325 | July 7, 2010

Robert M. Zoschke

For full transparency here, I should note from the outset that Rob Zoschke is a writer-friend of mine, a personal friend, a Slavic rooted Chicago bro, a neighbor from the next town, Sister Bay, who still believes and practices the old fashioned school of writing: getting the work done furiously, religiously, putting it in an envelope with a self-addressed, stamped, return envelope, sending it off to a myriad of little mags in America that still believe in print publication…then waiting weeks, months, (maybe never) for more rejection than acceptance—“acceptance” usually acknowledged by some free copies of the little mag when it finally appears with your story or poem in it. Ah, a published writer.

Two of his recent acceptances can be found below. I don’t know and won’t dwell on rejections.

It’s the way-of-the-American-writer some of us followed. And many still do, the harder and harder it is now, though on-line publication adds a new dimension to getting one’s work and name out there, and anybody/almost everybody can/has self-published a book these days at a minimum of cost, risk and notoriety.

It’s a less rewarding, not so brave and increasingly strange new publishing world for writers as print gives way to screen and everybody’s doing it. Perhaps even time may not tell if it all mattered.

In 2007, Zoschke and the Southern poet Ron Whitehead, co-edited and published REFLECTIONS ON THE 50th Anniversary of JACK KEROUAC’S ON THE ROAD, Heavenly Books, Lexington, Kentucky, $25. I contributed a piece and about a dozen illustrations, mostly watercolors, for that book.

And in 2008, Rob Zoschke published a collection of prose and poetry titled, DOOR COUNTY BLUES, Heavenly Books, $15, for which I wrote the introduction, “New Kid on the Block.”

Kenny Gau and Rob Zoschke, both holding a copy of Door County Blues. Please click the image above to see a larger version of the book cover…

At one point in my intro, trying to get a handle on Zoschke for the new, unsuspecting reader, I state:

“You’re in for a treat and then some. Another Chicago writer guy’s WALK ON THE WILD SIDE of his own head, tapping the keys to his own beat—soft and hard, loud and still, fast and slow…tap-tap-tapping with a nod to tried and true voices of twilight American scriveners in motion…sounds and sensibilities of “The Beat” and beyond—some kickin’ Kerouac-like prose, bellowing Bukowski, lines peppered with fore and afterthought shot from the hip, hell-bent to tear a hole into things, destruct/construct—in true Hunteresque Thompson target fashion… Reload, Fire Again, just in case, did I miss anything?

I still stand by those words. –-Norbert Blei

breakfast of champions

by Robert M. Zoschke

chug fresh pot of coffee while hot
depending on tightness of morning lungs
smoke four to six Lucky Strikes between chugs
if gas is under $3.00 per gallon make long drive
to the produce stand for half a dozen oranges
if gas is over $3.00 per gallon make short drive
to the convenience store for half a dozen donuts
and take two vitamin C pills upon return

brew second pot of coffee if necessary
to release bowels kick start heart
and wash down oranges or donuts
then plug your lip with Skoal
imagine Jennifer Lopez’s succulent hips
with nothing but a hula hoop on them
as she puts every belly dancer to shame
while holding grapes over your parched mouth

imagine every lover who would have made
your life better their life better if only they
didn’t wisely catapult or foolishly fall to another
imagine all die wasted years along the way
imagine every asshole you worked for
when you slaved for their American Dream
imagine every creative kid full of budding magic
being pigeonholed into someone else’s dream

imagine whatever necessary to focus on
the only true value of whatever time left
belch orange pulp or hydrogenated oil
wipe your mouth on your sleeve then
sit down to chase the carpal tunnel dragon
like a tough ass son of a bitch club fighter
in the heat of his Rocky Balboa life moment
going the distance with your typewriter

[from TULE REVIEW, A Publication of the Sacramento Poetry Center, 2010]

Happy Holidaze, America

by Robert M. Zoschke

Happy Memorial Independence Thanksgiving Christmas
to the sullied trampled discarded relics
Everything kicked under and buried alive
Like old beat pages or American Folklore
Entombed in the forgotten bottom
Of a neglected used bookstore
Behind on ever increasing rent
Owed to purveyors of the New Millennium

Happy New Year from the lessening few
So increasingly successfully pleased
To vanquish our Old American Dream
Into vapid old beaten lost oblivion
As they keep on keep on keeping on
Their rapture of gluttony keeps on giving
Only to their putrid plundering selves
As they whittle away Middle America

Happy Holidaze from the House Shills
Who used to be our esteemed Free Press
From the callous Corporate Raiders
The sordid Stock Option Aficionados
The avaricious Oil Oligarchy Demigods
The malicious Manhattan Ad Execs
Working manicured hands of thievery
To the bone still covered by healthcare

Happy Holidaze from Uncle Fucking Sam
As he sticks another New America poke
Into the lost souls of adjustable rate mortgages
Without the old courtesy of a reach around
Without the condom of self preservation
Bend over and take it and take your soreness
To Dr. Corporate M.D. and pay with your last smidgeon
Of plastic credit as your HMO membership expires

Happy Holidaze from the needy Gas Companies
Putting a skiver or Holiday Cheer into New Winter
Find the old blanket your parents sat on at Woodstock
If not plucked apart to help build the Aids Quilt
For the heat spirits who died in painful vain
Before the Drug Companies figured out how to build
Weekend getaway condos and summer beach homes
On the profit of keeping such unlucky souls alive

Happy Holidaze from the Ignorant Geniuses
Who forget the very pages of their own history
Our history the history of the greatest nation
Built on the sweaty labor or manufacturing
Built by the honest hands of the working man
Who only asked for food clothes shelter and
Just enough left over to afford the gasoline
To drive the family into one of our national parks

Happy Holidaze from the Lampreys of Greed
Hording their burgeoning stacks of paper presidents
The NYSE Gladiators and NASDAQ Conquerors
Pimping the old Middle Class out on the street
With no other option but whoring ourselves for
Seven downtrodden bucks an hour if and only if
We can smile as we ask do you want to make that a
Combo for forty cents more instead of just the sandwich

Happy Holidaze from the malcontent Power Brokers
Blowing endless loads of spiteful seed into our lost souls
As they insatiably seek shuddering multiple orgasms
Only to be obtained by destroying old Middle America’s
Last glowing embers of strong brave free earnest hope
Yelping howling thundering orgasms they take from
Watching Middle America s boys die in far away sand l
To prop up their cut of inside deal earnings per share

Happy Holidaze from the slovenly Arm Chair Generals
Bowing to the Powers That Be with pitiful relish
As they keep their pistols bolstered in awkward silence
And ignore the Pompous Partisan Pontificators
Flapping sniveling lips across the House and Senate floors
While our hoodwinked soldiers offer up last breaths
To desert zealots who beat their girls for going to school
And only let their boys get laid in Their Holy Afterlife

Happy Holidaze from the Service Economy Champions
Who knew all along the honeymoon lovemaking or NAFTA
Was a craftily veiled hack alley twenty dollar blow job
Who knew all along they would turn out the spent whore
Mexicans turning out birth defect children taster than
They turned out car parts in hazard laden border factories
Shuttered in favor of fresh cheaper African whore flesh
The next poor unknowing suffering helpless in line

Happy Holidaze from The Powers That Be
Who stoke their meter with cunning glee
As they blink not an eye shed not a tear
As they romp plunder pillage every village
Used to be the very core the very backbone
The heartland of the greatest nation ever seen
An old forgotten piece of American Folklore
A Middle Class a Middle America a Memory

[from THE MOON, The Publication for Writing & Art, Vol 8 Issue 2 February 2010]

Editor’s Note: This just in: Rob Zoschke recently published his first collection of poetry: MADE IN AMERICA, Street Corner Press, 2010, $14 –from the author: P.O. Box 499, Sister Bay, WI 54234). Another winner.

Door County Blues and Made in America, are now available as E-books on Kindle via by clicking here…