Professor Shakespeare Explains How to Handle Mistaken Identity to The Now Generation…

Sometimes it’s best to show ID in seconds flat.
If you’re behind an arras, shout: “I’m not a rat!
I’m not King Claudius!—I have no ducat!
And I don’t look anything like Polonius!”

But if you’re in a courtroom in Venice
Where you’re mistaken for a legal maven
With an LLD from Padua (or New Haven)
Okay to kill time talking ’bout the weather
(Compare the fall of raindrops to… whatever).

Or if you have a most uncommon name,
Like Dromio, yet perfect strangers claim
You for their servant, everywhere you go
While your real master makes your backside glow;
Don’t let such trivial errors get you too upset:
Your next role may be Romeo (or Juliet)!

And if you’re in the dark awaiting the arrival
Of one who thinks he’s gonna bed your rival;
If what he cannot see doesn’t feel amiss—
It just goes to prove that ignorance is bliss:
All’s Well that Ends Well! But what an unchivalrous schmo—
Taking your virginity, while gasping the name of a no-show!

Oh: And call VISA without ado to request abatement
Should Falstaff’s bar tabs appear on your statement.

David Alpaugh’s work has appeared in The Formalist, Hypertexts, and Raintown Review. His essay "The New Math of Poetry," published in February by The Chronicle of Higher Education, has spurred wide discussion on the internet (as have his earlier essays "The Professionalization of Poetry" and "What's Really Wrong with Poetry Book Contests?"). His first collection of poetry, Counterpoint, won the Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press. His second, Heavy Lifting, appeared in 2007 from Alehouse Press with a preface by Richard Moore.