Monday, November 23, 2020

Karaoke

As a kid

I would go to the bars with my Dad, and get bored.

Sure, in Wisconsin you could drink with your parents when you were sixteen,

but the beer just made me realize all the more how boring life in the country can be.

Everyone’s eyes glossed over while yelling at the Packers Game.

Drinking was more fun when it wasn’t allowed, when

I was off under bridges with the boys.

My Dad and I

would play darts or pool.

He would play well and I wouldn’t really try.

But we liked to play the jukebox and talk music.

What I really liked was when they had Karaoke.

I never picked the party songs.

You know what I mean: Journey, Bon Jovi, or “Sweet Home Alabama.”

I liked to pick the odd songs, the freaky songs, the ones that rang true when I was off smoking and drinking in the graveyard with the boys.

Imagine a group of nice middle-aged Baby Boomers drinking suds, when

a shaggy teenager starts singing “When The Music’s Over” by The Doors.

My voice was never in tune, just wailing, the adolescent voice cracking.

I was shrieking the drug-soaked songs from their own generation.

Rubbing their faces in their old music was more shocking than singing Marilyn Manson.

They would get anxious and feel all the horror their parents felt.

One time after singing “White Rabbit,” which ends with the line “Feed your head!” an old fisherman told me, “ That means read more books.”

“I read plenty, sir.”

Afterwards, even though I was being a smartass punk,

I would feel very old and very young at once,

and that was a good feeling


Westley Heine
 is a writer and multimedia artist. He is known for his documentaries Poetry in Action and Trail of Quetzalcoatl, the latter of which has a companion book of poetry. Publications of his work have been in The Chicago Reader, Gravitas, Beatdom, Verse of Silence, Bleached Butterfly, and Wellington Street Review. His writing examines love, death, street life, class oppression, madness, and everything from the disturbing to metaphysical revelation. He grew up in Wisconsin, was educated in Chicago, and bummed from New York to Mexico to California. He now resides with his wife in Los Angeles.
Instagram: @westleyheine
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