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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Justin Karcher: Poems of Theater

"Angels in America" at Second Generation" with Steve Copps, Ben Michael Moran, and Kristin Bentley

A Complicated Kind of Optimism

By Justin Karcher

My friends are like, “Justin, you believe in angels birds that aren’t birds this weird glow like a Hulu screensaver?”

I’m like, “Good question I think something rubs the soul’s back when it’s puking so, yeah, I do believe”

But I also believe that Mormon witches hopped up on Valium break into supermarkets at 3 AM they open all the cans of chicken noodle soup pour them into giant crockpot cauldrons

they hold hands & mutter incomprehensible words a polygamy of pills & the broth begins to boil

creatures taking shape in the heat

then they start crawling out of the cauldrons it looks like a nightmare

but there’s nothing to be afraid of

before long, the creatures sprout glowing wings

then they’re flying over powerlines & skyscrapers

angels made of broth

curing the cold in the heart of America

They travel the country performing miracles from Utah to Manhattan

reminding us we’re supposed to burn with passion no matter what happens reminding us to let brightness turn our bodies into revelatory vacuum cleaners cleaning up this mess so we can keep telling our stories

Stories about self-loathing communists

sitting on park benches in the crowdfunded moonlight

losing their overeducated minds thinking about what melts faster

salt or sugar, water or milk, aluminum or steel

they forget that they’re forgetting how to feel

globs of jello with darts sticking out of them, soon they’ll disappear

Stories about nauseous wrestlers struggling with faith

getting drunk on Pepto-Bismol

lying to their wives & leaving them at night

walking nonstop through the stomachs of New York

looking for different aches & sharper pains

like slam dancing with shirtless saints in front of God’s grave

Stories about douchebag lawyers living at the tops of crumbling towers

bragging about making or breaking presidents

screaming into phones at doctors about the disease of democracy

taking what they want from history & getting rid of the rest

sociopathic bacteria working in the shadows

but the sun isn’t a sponge & they just keep chugging along

Living means you’re getting kicked in the head

by a train every day

so, yeah, I do believe in anything

that makes life more tender

like how raindrops are microscopic coffins

inside them are your memories

of everyone you’ve ever loved

when they hit the earth

they crack open

watering the ground on which you walk

flowers that bloom in the dark

because nothing ever dies

That’s good enough for now

the stories we tell ourselves to stay alive


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