A Room Full of English Majors Get a Double Entendre

There were some awesome poems and exquisitely sensual mangoes at Helicon West on April 9. Chadd, one of the open mic readers, has allowed me to put some quotes on the internets from his standup-comedy poem, “Decidedly So.”

“Another fireman hooks it to the fire hydrant, but he accidentally sets it…to cake frosting. See, all fire hydrants have three settings: water, cake frosting, and Dr. Pepper. Gallons of cake frosting spurt out of the nozzle, but it only shoots a few feet. People are dying, burning, clothes burned off, skin falling from bones like burned hotdog meat….”

Did I say standup-comedy poem? Is that a genre? However, this poem is more than just funny. It is structured so that it almost feels like a dream. Hilariously bizarre phrases link and link again in long, conversational sentences. The insistent repetition of “burning,” which you can see at the end of the quote, drives this dream-tone home. The premise is fantastic, and the delivery is awesome. Some more best lines:

“Some part of you is still in the dream, so instead of hello, you mutter ‘Cake frosting can’t put out a fire.’…It’s your boss, from work.”

“But what I found odd was not the robot, and not the dog calmly allowing this machine to violate her; what tipped me off was it was the wrong yard.”

“Right now, there’s an alternate me saying, ‘I had the weirdest dream. I went into this big building and sat in a chair staring at this little screen, and there was this thing with a button for each letter of the alphabet so I sat there with the thing pressing the buttons to make words. SO freaky. I tried to leave but they wouldn’t let me. They said I had to stay. Until it was all dark outside, and then they let me go.’”

“The only thing keeping me from smashing the 8-ball on his head is that I do it all the time…in another reality.”

At this point in “Decidedly So,” I was reminded of all my suspicions that I get from movies like “Inception” and “The Matrix.” You know that thrilling terror that perhaps the person in the mirror is alive? Or that perhaps some part of you ceases to exist when you go under for surgery? Worse yet, that your brain is in a tank being cared for by scientists who send you a constant stream of hallucinations? Thanks, Chadd, for that paranoia fuel.

I hope that somewhere out there, the dream where I was a Pegasus is real.

Other than laugh-out-loud humor, this Helicon West’s readers featured the dark, surreal, tender, heart-wrenching, vengeful and vividly realistic. In case you missed it, the whole open mic section is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QShQe3VS5Aw

-Jessica

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