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The Patron Saint of People Who Can't Stop Partying 
by Justin Karcher 

After the funeral

we break into the one bookstore left in town

steal all the dictionaries

then we meet in the parking lot

of the abandoned Bon-Ton

take turns ripping out the pages

that grief appears on

make paper airplanes

spend all night

throwing them at each other’s faces

then we sit in silence

until our brains ooze out of every orifice

eventually, someone starts blurting out questions


Wouldn’t it be nice

to carry the most expensive treadmills on our backs

scale up the saxophone chests of drug-induced mountains

cough through preschool vape clouds

and Instagram formaldehyde filters

risk life and limb

just so we can finally poke our own holes

just so can we can cover the moon’s surface with treadmills

just so we can say

“One small step”

and laugh at the irony?


It takes all the running you can do

to keep in the same place

enough candy left

to carry you through the week

the city is boiling over though

DJs disappearing into sound clouds

so when there’s sunlight again

we daytrip up the interstate

a tiny town full of flamboyant psychics with theatre degrees

we’re here for advice

they have us sit outside in a giant circle

they tell us that nostalgia happens

when clocks sniff too much glue and get stuck

we brush it off

we have learned nothing


We care too much

that’s the problem

life is taking a phonebook

and making a game of it

reading off all the names

and wondering who’s happy

who’s sad

there’s no way to meet everyone on earth

and that sucks

but we keep trying anyway

meeting new people in the middle of the night

people with smiles

shaped like boxing gloves

we like the bruises


What does it mean to truly know someone?

like a patient flatlining

and you have to shock them back

like being in a dive bar

when somebody suddenly flips a switch

the real bloom

a tap dancer in a black tutu

dying of kidney disease

a lonesome security guard

raising an antique sword

balled-up tissues on the dancefloor

pretending to be jellyfish

try sorting through them with a wizard wand

but the magic appears to be gone

maybe we should just change the song


Remember in the beginning

a clap of the divine hands

a gaggle of angels

frying donuts and mixing drinks

they never thought the party would end either


About Justin


Justin Karcher (Twitter: @Justin_Karcher. Instagram: is a Best of the Net- and Pushcart-nominated poet and playwright born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He is the author of several books, including Tailgating at the Gates of Hell (Ghost City Press, 2015). He is also the editor of Ghost City Review and co-editor of the anthologies My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVOX [books], 2017) and MANSION (dancing girl press, 2019).

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