a what the f*** Review of Jack Micheline’s ‘One of a Kind’


This was written while reading a book by a very strange poet who would be considered a beat if he didn’t make such an effort to shun the term. A contemporary of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corsco et al., he can be thought of as similar to them but dirtier, lower profile, and drunker (admittedly up for debate – the bar was set frighteningly high/low).

This is a daft attempt to understand and explain the crude, vain, and talented man he was. It may be pretentious and it may be inaccessible but goddamn it so was he. Shucks. I like the guy.

A What the Fuck Review of One of a Kind by Jack Micheline

Jack swims through BART monsoons
and cratered New York cityscapes,
crying in Chicago,
trapped in endless moments
that never quite reach dawn-
It’s 1959 and Jack doesn’t miss them.

Jack seeks all-American fever dreams
gorillas, convicts, and secretaries
throw incomplete passes;
Charles Mills and Langston Hughes
are not who they seem
and Whitman lies with Gandhi
on the supermarket floor

Jack spits tobacco constellations
celestial cat burglar,
stealing genius from the stars
then dropping it down dirty potholes
to the big bang back home.
Baseball has genius.
Boxing has genius.
Bourbon North Beach brawls have genius.

Incarcerated contemplating colors
bebop red for the baseline blues
of Charlie Mingus and Franz Kline too
a deep hue yellow for Lenny Bruce.

Jack breeds birds wretched, flightless, angry
armed with wire cutters.
Trotskyite chickens topple
the pens of Petaluma
and Jack makes his escape.

The pimples, lovers, and timeless Jews of the Bronx are home.
it’s 1959 and Jack doesn’t miss them.
Williamsburg is terminal and no better
it’s 1959 – we’re all sick.

Record execs smile at the birdie
Politicians smile at the birdie.
Jack doesn’t smile at the birdie.
Jack doesn’t want to.
Jack doesn’t know how.

Aging badly.
ego tramp.
(he thinks so)
worshipping Kerouac
like everyone else.

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