Poetry: Take off Your Clothes and Walk into the Arthropod Wildfire

by Justin Karcher


Fireflies are a summertime staple

And I’m so happy tonight that the junkies

Wandering up and down Grant Street

Are like magicians, something like Prometheus

And when they light their cigarettes

Each cigarette becomes pregnant with a firefly

And when the cigarette’s dead and gone

And the butt is cuddling with the concrete

The firefly bursts into life and flies off


Seeing all that newborn fire flying through the city

I can’t help but think good can come

From something that is broken, that beauty

Can climb out of cancer and I feel better

Because the last few nights I’ve been feeling really down

Sleeping on a Novocain mattress

And wondering what my exes are up to

Wondering why there are so many hostages

In the word, wondering how the hell car bombs

Find the time to fuck so much

Sad that they’re procreating like never before

And the honeybees are dying too fast


We spend too many nights sleeping on Novocain mattresses

Wondering if our feelings are lost

In a nightmare world of anesthesia

Wondering what suits are responsible

For all this colossal shit going down

Wondering what we can to do to right the ship

We end up doing absolutely nothing


But those goddamn cigarette fireflies, it’s nice to see

So I think I’ll skip sleep tonight

And chain smoke until I feel warm on the inside

Until the ashtray spits out an arthropod wildfire

That gobbles up the rainforests in our eyes

Until we’re dry and barren and can start over again

Justin Karcher is the author of Tailgating at the Gates of Hell from Ghost City Press. His recent works have been published in 3:AM Magazine, Plenitude Magazine, and more. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Ghost City Review, and the winner of the 2015 Just Buffalo Literary Center members’ writing competition.