The Girl at the Party
All parties are essentially the same, the really good ones are special in tiny ways I’ve been to millions of parties, in secrecy on pilgrim ships or in the shadows of New Amsterdam still-life, seemingly timeless cities surfing through the centuries as horse bones give way to flat tires and the flickers of candles flock together to form computerized fluorescence, cities where the fingers of its lonely peoples still elongate to touch smartphones stitched into space, loneliness hasn’t changed at all whether amoebas or Americas, millions of parties where the drinks are good or not, cheap or made from diamond spit, caviar from kingly halls or roadkill from towns where boys still can’t kiss boys, parties where seasick clowns bang on drums until the joke isn’t funny anymore and they puke in kitchen sinks in apartments where nobody knows nobody and if we’re real lucky somebody will have a laptop that’s loud that never dies and Spotify is truly a gift from the gods of generational rifts and we’ll all dance until the cars parked outside are crushed beneath the weight of apocalyptic snow or parking tickets, flimsy bureaucratic bibles that the wind simply blows aside and we’ll all laugh these parties happen more often not, but good parties have a few common denominators a bunch of artists are losing their mind, it’s the end of one world and the weather outside cups your tongue and sits your eyes down in electric chairs, if you practice magic it’s easy to conquer any party, a little bit of charm and a few tricks and there’s your crown most of the time I’d appear to be levitating from man to woman, batting my eyelashes zeroing in on their deepest wishes, extracting their insecurities and turning them into ice cubes chilling my drink with the Arctic of our humanity and one time I was at this art party and the warehouse looked like London but tasted like the tropics, but was probably inland in America somewhere, everybody trying to impress everybody and looking uncomfortable the same way maggots do when they realize the body they’re living in is not a corpse but someone still breathing and not wanting angel wings, the awkwardness of biology not getting along with circumstance and I was probably sprawled out on the makeshift couch flicking spells at the walls and watching them bounce off, curious as to where they would go what lips they’d crawl onto, laughing on the inside at how big everybody was pretending to be getting depressed at how humans ignore the tiny jewels inside them that really make them shine how everybody acts more like bloodless dolls rather than mammals still hungover from too much evolutionary soup, how nice it would be if everybody were dolls in my dollhouse, at least then they could focus on what makes them different, special, rather than scraping by in the big world then this dancer caught my eye, I knew she was a dancer because she was doing little pirouettes over the ironic mirror glued to the blue-collar floor, she didn’t think anybody was looking she was merely practicing, preparing for her inevitable big dance when the right song came on so she could squash her jealous feelings and hypnotize everybody in the room, so they could melt into wax, into ash, into fog pouring out of shipwrecks, I finished my drink and grabbed somebody else’s that was nearby and swung my eyes back to the girl at the party, the dancer who looked like a shipwreck that didn’t know it yet, her hair long in certain lamplight but short in the moonlight, it seemed her hair changed depending on her mood, it’d be a long journey getting to know all her hairstyles all her moods, I wondered if she ever looked at airplanes as they fly over oceans and wonder if they ever get jealous of shipwrecks, how they’re cherished haunting in a way that plane crashes could never be, people don’t talk about planewrecks before long, the right song came on and the girl with shifting hair started to dance, all stopped
Justin Karcher is a 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.