This is Jack Micheline, writer of fine poems and short stories. He wrote a short story called “Skinny Dynamite,” published in a collection that bears the same name. Once, on a trip through New Orleans with my man Paul, I discovered an autographed trade edition (prob. the only edition) of Skinny Dynamite. The owner of the bookstore sold it to me for $15 and said that Micheline used to live in New Orleans. He then asked me where I was from. I said “Georgia, but I live in Boulder, Colorado now” (which was true at the time). And he said, “Why in the world would anybody want to live in Boulder, Colorado?” I thought about it a sec and said, “I dunno.” That was a little over a year before N.O. flooded.
Jack Micheline was cool. He was a technically a Beat writer, but actually/technically not at all. Like poet Bob Kaufman, he was one of the Beats that either lacked the skill of or had no desire towards naming an artistic movement, organizing an artistic movement, being the leader of an artistic movement, et cetera. Maybe that’s all a lie, though. Maybe I made that up. But anyway, he wrote something like ten books. He’s got that troubadour vibe. Look at ‘im smoke that cigarette. This guy’s trouble.
He writes like a guy who doesn’t know how to write. Which isn’t to say he’s a bad writer. It’s more like he writes sort of like the way a regular guy talks. Or the way regular guys used to talk, back when regular guys existed. I ask you: What Has Happened To All The Regular Guys On This Earth? Did an entire generation of them disappear? Did some cause eat them? Did a war explode inside their skulls?
You know what I mean- the regular guys. Not the ones that go to Hooter’s. Not the ones that listen to Mos Def. Not the ones that play the bass guitar. Not the ones that bitch about their cubicle/academic/entrepreneurial job. I’m talking about the regular guys of planet earth who wear broken shoes, wink at women they know/don’t know, cuss for no good reason, fight for only the best reasons, drink cheap coffee like it’s going out of style, write limericks on paper bags, burn candles at the shrine of their ancestors, worship their wives/girlfriends/mothers/grandmothers, carry groceries all the way home, wreck bicycles, throw everything away, start over, have a stout sense of morality and ethics which has been tested internally and outwardly (as opposed to spoon-fed by a system of crude politics, sado-masochistic religion, or evil media conglomeration), mingle with his fellow man, toss televisions off the loading dock, get in their boss’s face, piss off the critics, please their crazy uncle in Poughkeepsie by “telling it like it ain’t, but how it ought to be,” eschew obfuscation, burn chaos to the ground, paint-by-numbers-that-are-too-high-for-modern-mathematics-to-contain, always have money for pistachio ice cream, dance ancient dances that come over from the Old Country, eats figs right off the tree, aren’t embarrassed to exist or have a body or set of eyeballs, call their grandma’s every Friday Night to see how her week was, volunteer at the soup kitchen, crack wise and or screams as a means of de-fanging the evil in life, play the accordion (poorly) and know how to fix a broken radio on a Wednesday afternoon.
Maybe I’m writing about something that can’t exist anymore. Maybe the National Corporation got to ‘em all and converted them into human mini-marts. Janelle thinks they haven't existed since the 1970's: "Something lurking in the Eighties musta got to 'em." Perhaps a meteor struck the earth.