And the Rust Belt Is Crying Tears of Fire

Justin Karcher


A primordial codeine kind of night

11:56 PM

The confusion tastes like Peroni

The hypocrisy sounds like Bobby Darin

All the dream lovers are dragged out of their beds

Heavy lies the crown

Love looks like the empty ballrooms of Bidwell

The crust punks have crawled into cans of PBR to hibernate

I’ll rub down cheap beer until dreadlocked genies refuse my wishes


At this point, walking into Essex feels like I’m walking into King Tut’s tomb

I know I’m gonna unearth something

But there’s a big chance it will confuse the hell out of me


Double whisky on the rocks because who cares

I suppose I will continue walking up and down the streets of Buffalo

Tonight someone told me, “I’m glad you’re not dead”

Me too

The flowers that smell the best are the ones you don’t see

The ones buried in the veins like capillaries

As long as they don’t smell like formaldehyde, you’re alright

You can still make it

Onward and upward


The men’s bathroom at the Pink with the lights off = existential crisis

I felt like Indiana Jones with a smartphone flashlight

Walking home now

The city has no idea what it wants to be

Like all of us I suppose


“I have wasted my life.”

That’s a James Wright quote for all you poetry scholars out there


We want to live like ecstatic volcanoes

With hands that carry out unspeakable passion

And a love that preserves all in stone

Justin Karcher is a playwright and poet living in Buffalo, NY. He is the Co-Artistic Director of Theater Jugend as well as its Playwright-in-Residence. He is the author of Tailgating at the Gates of Hell from Ghost City Press, Recent works have been published in 3:AM Magazine, The Buffalo News, Plenitude Magazine, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. He is the winner of the 2015 Just Buffalo Literary Center members' writing competition. He tweets @Justin_Karcher