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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Poem Inspired by Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

Swans in Space Or, How to Build a Better World

By Justin Karcher

I’m driving down Jefferson

looking for a dream

the Sandman of sonnets

because it’s the middle of summer

& I haven’t experienced any magic

too much drama & zero forests

ego bombs exploding & not enough rest


the Buffalo Museum of Science

is aiming its nonprofit flare gun

at the darkening sky

maybe a cry for help

maybe it wants us to pay more attention

to the cosmos

stories about injured swans

who take singing lessons

before becoming astronauts

so that when they’re floating in space

their perfect songs

shatter the emptiness

I want a reimagined world

where wheelchairs

can also be rocket ships


when I turn onto Northampton

I imagine a foundry of fairies

crashing through my windshield

straight into my face

glitter dust that bruises me

in all the right places

I’ve arrived


in the parking lot

a place

where diversity is the norm

before the show starts

I’m leaning against my Chevy Cruze

& drinking a Red Bull

I’m sick of their wings

but you gotta take what you can get

everyone deserves the chance to fly

even injured swans

who wanna float in space

maybe this is what it’s all about


people around me are excited

it’s nice


in a new kind of light

the Bard is for everyone

& I imagine Shakespeare

not the man

but more like the sky

hanging over us all


not quite the sky

but more like a timeless

enormous iambic pie

because everyone deserves a piece

so we gotta change up the taste any way we can

give those rhymes to the voiceless

that’s where they belong

now listen

to the birth of a brand new dawn

inclusivity is a beautiful thing

it opens our eyes

angelic fishhooks

plunging into our collective mind

pulling out improved eyes

from the bottom of a toxic lake

treasure from the depths

changing the way we see


we don’t even realize

our old eyes are gone

like new headlights

clearing a path to a better world

where there’s a spellbinding fairytale

in the heart of a city

we thought we knew

but every city

has an endless amount of hearts

we can’t get to the center

with just one

we need them all


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