Karaoke + Poetry = FUN!!!! Or Where All Your Dreams Come True

“I don’t know,” my associate replied apologetically when I broached the topic over lunch. “I’ve got a bunch of stuff to do tonight.” He chewed his asparagus thoughtfully. “And karaoke and poetry; those are two things that really scare me.”

Wise words—but the wisest men often commit the greatest follies. Let’s think outside the box, people!

Although karaoke and poetry on their own can be very frightening indeed, put them together and you have an evening of drunken fun with irony that even the most devout postmodernist would love. Maybe even a French one. I’ve been privy to this for some time now, but then, I like doing karaoke. I’ll do anything for attention. Some have defined my insatiable appetite for attention as addiction, like sex addiction, heroin addiction, or gambling addiction. There should be a place for people with disorders like mine, people with this kind of disease. Oh wait, there is. It’s called drama school.

Poetry is something I’ve had trouble with however, due to the ministrations of my eleventh grade English teacher, who would bellow passages of Andrew Marvell at us in a glutinous German accent, like Himmler trying to make out with you at a picnic. Thanks to the talents of such wonderful poets as Jennifer L. Knox, Shafer Hall, Daniel Nester, Shanna Compton, and Regie Cabico, among others, I have learned that this is not the case. At open readings one always runs the risk of the indomitable college girl who stares at herself in the mirror when she cries or is always looking for you in every lake, every song, but even these are a lot more palatable when that girl has to turn around and sing “Private Eyes,” by Hall and Oates.

And that’s KPF, a sometimes competitive, always raucous evening hosted by Daniel Nester and Regie Cabico at the Bowery Poetry Club on an admittedly intermittent schedule. Anyone can get up, read a poem they wrote, then do a karaoke song. The best performers think out their sets—pairing an ode to suburban childhood with “The Weight” or a paean to the whaling ships of old with Natalie Imbruglia’s classic “Torn.” And you better know your song, unless you’re Todd Colby and specialize in singing along to songs you’ve never heard before. This week it was “Ice Cream” by Sarah Maclachlan—your love is better than ice cream/than chocolate—how fucking GIRLY can we get? We don’t ALL equate sugar with orgasms. To paraphrase Dr. Freud, sometimes an orgasm is just an orgasm. But I digress. The poetry also varies wildly in quality, but that’s the whole point. And, when you’ve drunk so much Pabst ($3) that all your social skills have gone out the window, is there anything more entertaining than a really bad poem?

Speaking of which, here was my poem for the evening.

Talk to the hand, Dylan Thomas.
Eat shit, Auden.
Bite me, Eliot.
Yo, Wallace Stevens, why is your ass talking—oh wait that’s your face.
William Carlos Williams, your mom’s so fat she sits on a rainbow and makes skittles.
Eat a dick, Ginsburg—fine, I will. Moloch, faggo!
Hey, Whitman, stop playing with yourself and bring it!
I hated school.

Then I sang “Lady in Red,” made everybody slow dance, and drew a heart across my cleavage in lipstick. Ta-DA! Everyone’s an artist! Thanks, KPF!!!!

Information and dates for upcoming KPF events can be found at Dan Nester’s website, www.unpleasanteventschedule.com. See you there!

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