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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Poem Inspired by FEAST

Justin Karcher does Torn Space at Silo City

"suddenly I’m petting a cow"

Buffalo, NY Is a Ritual You Will Never Quite Understand

By Justin Karcher

Tonight I follow the sound

of Buffalo’s growl

find myself in Silo City

where I’ve lost my mind

so many times before

once I dressed up Eric Mowery

like Icarus

told him to follow me around

as I read self-indulgent poetry

to an indifferent crowd

something about the sun

being locked away in a morgue

how can you fly too close

to something that isn’t there?

how can wings burn

if there isn’t any fire?

I was drunk

but I think it went well

perfect for City of Night

then there were times

I felt like a burden

to everyone who loves me

a motion picture

of my failures

for all to see

how I was knocked out

by ghost boxers

over and over again

my bruised body

left for dead

in a beautifully grotesque


where shirtless red-haired boys

brought me back to life

with tattoos and punk songs

purgatory in this city

is simply drifting

down the Buffalo River

unable to change the fact

that all the buildings

all your friends

are changing

hunger has led me

to this place

more times than I can count

and here we are again

but it feels different

I’ve been promised a feast

that can kill my hunger for good

from the parking lot

I’m led down a grassy path

a labyrinth of sweaty hooligans

and bicycle beehives

the buzz you get

when you create something

with your hands

that isn’t self-destructive

life is about discovering

new ways to be born

the silos off in the distance

in the background

not the focus

which is nice

finally it feels

like I’m free of their handcuffs

no longer shackled to the past

or the promise of a repurposed future

there’s the hint of freshness

in the air

suddenly I’m petting a cow

her name’s Tilly

and I’m beginning to understand

the bearded man

is telling us about milk

how Tilly loves people

Carly snaps a photo of me with Tilly

social media is still a thing

even when you’re trying to forget

about everything

we say goodbye to Tilly

and I know I’m gonna miss her

we continue along the path

more sweaty hooligans

some of em crafting potatoes

out of thin air

others fishing for monsters

in bite-sized lakes


we enter a grove

sparkling with pagan manifestos

and neo-futurist dew

it doesn’t look like it belongs here

in a city

that’s always clinging to something

it shouldn’t

there’s a prehistoric tree

in the center of it all

the wind rustling through its leaves

making it sound like a heart

the thrush of beating

then we’re all seated

in well-crafted benches

eagerly awaiting

the feasting

then it begins

I open my mouth

and a bunch of girls in pink dresses

feed me pumpkin seeds

billions of em

rolling down my throat

into the dirt of my stomach

they bloom into pumpkins

then the girls in pink dresses

take sharpened twigs

and carve faces into my body

then they jam candles

into my new eyes and mouths

until I am everyone and no one

all at the same time

because hunger wears many faces

and it’s important to be

someone else’s jack-o-lantern

at least once in your life

a flickering of light

that chases their shadows away

find a ritual

that makes the most sense for you

I realize I am surrounded

by everyone

I used to party with

I’m not sure if they’re alive

or dead

but it doesn’t really matter

there’s a horny king

sitting on a throne

which is really

a mugwort teapot

he’s overseeing it all

yelling about pain

and sex

sometimes swiveling his hips

in a way

that makes everyone laugh

sometimes he throws food my way

and I feel like a dog

looking for scraps

everyone here

is also looking for scraps

right in front of us

thirsty hooligans milk Tilly

the cow

and I’m jealous

because I wanna be the one

that milks her

we all wanna be at the starting point

of sustenance

creating something


but it can get violent

then there are wrestlers

grappling with the wind

one wins, the other loses

but we’re all blown into smithereens

one way or another

it just might not be that obvious

then there’s a satyr

wearing designer sunglasses

perched on the old tree

staring up at the storm clouds

sometimes lighting bolts

take the form of letters

from a language

that takes a lifetime to translate

but the electroshock

is always worth it

it makes me wonder

how we handle

the things that weigh us down

how long can we drag em around

before we lose a limb?

do we also drag cities around


the ground bloodies em up enough

that they resemble something

more suited to how we feel?

how long have I been dragging around


a bald man

wearing psychotherapy pants

is being sacrificed

we sit quietly

holding up our cans of beer

toasting the inexcusable execution

of reality

some of us eating apples

and the crunch is louder

than thunder

seed, root, sprout, flower, fruit

we’re witnessing a ritual

a community

ripped from our daydreams

a city

on the rise for so long

must eventually

crack its skull open

on the sky

and collapse in a carnival

of strobe lights and haze

here we are

a phosphorescent punk

screams into a mic

a topless maiden

wipes away his anger

until he’s shivering in the grass

she looms over him

then stomps out his eyes

maybe they have sex

maybe it’s his last gasp

it’s hard to tell the difference

these days

hooligans are waving flags

this is probably the end

a pregnant woman

saunters through candlelight

and does prenatal yoga

we are full of songs

that must get bent out of us

south, west, north, east, center

and just like that

the feast is done

I can still hear Buffalo’s growl

just not as loud

a skyline of cracked silos

still breathing in the distance

just not as loud

we calmly walk out of the grove

back into civilization

I go find a porta potty

afterwards I light up a cigarette

and we go to Duende for drinks

the ritual continues, the feast


never ends


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