Thinking about Maggie Estep, who just died. I’m not into the performance poetry scene anymore, but in South Florida like fifteen years ago that’s all there was, so I did it. I bought The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. I hung out with aging hippies who wrote alternating-line rhymes about working class woes. I wrote my baby feminist poems, brimming with overwrought metaphor. And I definitely read Maggie. She described herself as primarily a writer rather than a performer, but her performances were abrasive and memorable.
Many great recordings and videos of her readings exist (like "Emotional Idiot" on Def Jam), but I mostly want to post the song “Hey Baby,” which I definitely saw on Beavis and Butthead, and which calls out street harassment over a jangly super nineties guitar riff.
The chorus I can do without (though I warn you that it’s incredibly earwormy), but the verses are just freewheeling. The video and song are literal until this (brilliant) line: “I got a huge bucket of nondairy creamer and some time to kill so let’s do it.” After that, the narrator and the harasser are no longer in the street, and there’s creamer everywhere, and it’s weird and intense. RIP Maggie Estep.