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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Poem inspired by Hairspray

Living with Emotionally Broken Legs


On my way to the Theatre District

& get caught up

trying to bring back the dead

meditating in front of Buffalo Proper

which has recently closed for good

because the owner was deep in debt

everything is passing

before our very eyes

people & places

all that we care about

& I’m figuring out

how to turn myself into a necromancer

a career I’ve never considered

but who really has?

necromancy is something

that’s always needed

the idea of it, what it means

taking what’s long gone

& shining a spotlight on it


whatever or whoever it is

starts to sweat again

suddenly I feel a spray of hairspray

against the back of my head

maybe it’s more

maybe it’s a cloud

an atmosphere

floating towards Main St

from Porter Ave

the clamor of young people

finally dancing

after years

of living with emotionally broken legs

maybe parents

are loosening the shackles

or maybe the music

is getting better

kids of all shapes & sizes

every color, orientation & creed

swiveling their hips

& stomping their feet

a televised revolution

playing all the time

in the untelevized parts of ourselves

the parts we’re scared to open up

like sizzling pink flowers

but the garden’s coming

whether you like it or not

so open yourself up

there’s a new universe

just around the corner

it’ll feel good I promise

but maybe not at first

there’s a lot of noise

you need to push through

a lot of pushback

suddenly I hear “Stacy’s Mom”

that overrated song

then before I know it

there’s a 15-person pedal bike

careening off-course towards me

a bunch of drunk moms

screaming “Stacy's mom

has got it goin' on”

at the top of their cul-de-sac lungs

& all I can think is, “This is gonna

be the end of me


this makes sense”

right as I was preparing

my descent into hell

I feel another spray of hairspray

on the back of my head

it knocks me to safety

when I look up

it’s a cloud of hairspray

morphing into a blob

I watch as it starts bumping into buildings

but instead of collapsing

the buildings start dancing

an earthquake

for all the right reasons

thousands, maybe millions of people

start pouring out of the windows

but they don’t break anything

when they land on the concrete

they bounce back up

& start dancing too

it’s a goddamn dance party

& for the first time in my life

I want to dance too

& that’s never been the case

I never felt comfortable

voluntarily letting lose

but there’s a first time for everything

having a song you really like

become a jumbo jet

jam-packed with

all the people you love

all the people you’ve lost

landing in your heart

& there’ll be there forever

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