Justin Karcher

That Night in December I Sat Down To Write A Love Poem

Holidays bring out the worst in people and that night in December
I made voodoo blowup dolls of everyone I’ve ever slept with
But it’s not what you might expect
Y’see, before any of that happened
I had high hopes for a wonderful evening
Like I sat down to write a poem at 1 a.m.
About finding my passion in life or something dumb like that
Because isn’t that the Christmas thing to do?
Looking for a Star of Bethlehem that is spiritually surgeried just for you
Well anyway the toilet kept making all kinds of strange noises
From gurgling to screaming to mezzo-soprano influenza
Like opera singers being tortured with Guantanamo coldness
I went to jiggle the handle to stop the music but then I thought why
The world was singing to me and me alone
Singing about how it’s full of shit
That I should make time to listen
And maybe someday everything will make perfect sense
I laughed so hard it hurt: This is what an epiphany sounds like
I didn’t care though; I abandoned the toilet and stepped outside for a smoke
The night sky was full of stars all trying to tell their story
But no astronomer ever knows what the hell they’re talking about
Stars are gingivitis typewriters lying through their teeth
Telling us good writers always write in their own blood
But I wasn’t in the mood for a hemoglobin massacre so I went back inside
And sat down to try and write a poem again but nothing came out
Because I wanted to make love to her but she wasn’t around
Instead I jerked off to naked selfies she sent me when she felt more alive
I felt like I was an archaeologist using laser cannons to dig up the past
I got too far too fast and couldn’t concentrate on the rhythm of it all
Look, I’m sorry for everything maybe I’m to blame for my lack of self-sacrifice
Martyrdom has never looked good on me anyway
Or maybe romance is dead thanks to landlord America
The insecurity deposit we all have to pay when we move into an unrealistic dream
Now the negativity is bursting at the seams
Now the walls are coming down all around us
Barbarians wearing cum rags over their heads like Ku Klux Klan hoods
Are stabbing us with icicles and soaking up whatever summer warmth is left
I know that holidays bring out the worst in people but that night in December
I was more desperate than ever to hear her voice unchaining itself
I tried my hardest to recover deleted voicemails birthed from familiar numbers
A lottery my heart’s never been able to win no matter how much it bleeds
All those times she moaned into my phone when I wasn’t around to answer
Y’see, all I want is a moan to call my home and it doesn’t matter if I hear it or not
Just knowing it’s there somewhere is pleasure enough
That night in December I sat down to write her a love poem but dug too deep
And ended up making voodoo blowup dolls of everyone I’ve ever slept with
The brain does funny things when you feel lonely
Well, maybe that’s what poetry is
Voodoo blowup dolls you keep in the basement of your mind
Where they hang from meat hooks like dead pigs fattened by regret
They flinch at your faraway touch, all of them squirming in their seats
When all is said and done, we Americans are addicted to what we’ve given up
I think it’s gonna be okay though
I also think that a 100 million years in the future, when UFOS come to earth
To pick up our pieces, they’ll come across these voodoo blowup dolls of ours
And know that the human heart was not a place of silence or dread
But rather an imperialism of moans that sought to colonize the silence
Y’see, that night in December I sat down to write her a love poem
But accomplished something far greater: The purpose of life
What you gotta do is keep putting yourself in a position of no regret
Because life is a Kama Sutra of voodoo blowup dolls
So many positions of pain and pleasure and through it all
It is your responsibility to listen for the right kind of moan
And there’s no time for regrets they turn the ears into toilets then clog ‘em up
Maybe this is a love poem after all 

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. His recent works have been published in 3:AM Magazine, The Buffalo News, Plentitude Magazine, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. He is the recent winner of the 2015 Just Buffalo Literary Center members’ writing competition. His collection of poems Tailgating at the Gates of Hell was published by Ghost City Press in 2015. Follow him on Twitter @Justin_Karcher.