All That Energy We Waste on Self-Immolation

let us talk big again,
have our words matter,
have them assemble dictionaries
in the air that anybody
can pluck a fact from
and have it be truthful
and genuine, let us
start with the

politicians who are
wishboning the nation
in half, who are
spilling cheap red wine
onto white clouds
so when children and lovers
lie in the grass to point up
and identify a shape in the sky,
the only animals they can
come up with are
carnivores, giant
abominations chewing twin-sized beds
and fucking up sleep for orphans,
clouds that cry out
ammunition rounds until
the ground below looks
like the moon, all cratered
and desolate;

politicians who are
dinosaurs, mud-covered
and raging, tearing down
schools, chewing on power
lines & bashing their scaly
heads against a moon that’s
not so heteronormative
anymore. But time burns
off the flesh to reveal
truthful bones,
enshrined in glass,
ticketed stares study
the basic composition,
trying to imagine the
skin and scales
back onto the skeleton,
to learn from its parts
how the whole
is constructed,
what really makes
a monster.

Justin Karcher is a Pushcart-nominated poet and playwright born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He is the author of Tailgating at the Gates of Hell (Ghost City Press, 2015), the chapbook When Severed Ears Sing You Songs (CWP Collective Press, 2017), the micro-chapbook Just Because You’ve Been Hospitalized for Depression Doesn’t Mean You’re Kanye West (Ghost City Press, 2017), Those Who Favor Fire, Those Who Pray to Fire (EMP, 2018) with Ben Brindise, and Bernie Sanders Broke My Heart and I Turned into an Iceberg (Ghost City Press, 2018). He is also the editor of Ghost City Review and co-editor of the anthology My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVOX [books], 2017). He tweets @Justin_Karcher.

Tamara Burross Grisanti’s poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in New World WritingFormer CactusCorvus ReviewChicago LiteratiEunoia Review, and The Literary Hatchet. She is the editor-in-chief of Coffin Bell Journal, associate editor of ELJ(Elm Leaves Journal), and social media editor at New World Writing.

Photo Credit: Jennie Vatoseow, New Mexico Review Staff