Sermon on the Mount

poem by Justin Karcher and Tamara Burross Grisanti

Delaware Avenue framed
by Sunday morning sun
bluebirds breaking their beaks
pecking at all the ATM receipts
littering the sidewalk
a massacre of money
nobody even has
and there’s this
gaping wound in the throat
of Spot Coffee,
dark roast spewing
into traffic, tires splashing
through puddles of java
coursing toward the storm grates,
just enough joe to exorcise
the ghost of Saturday night.
Taut faces at the wheel,
listening to talk radio,
veering away from the
curb to make room
for a peloton of cyclists
who don’t look old enough
to operate an ATV, let alone
navigate the wilds of the city,
where motorists pass in the bike lane.
how young everyone looks;
baby-faced, but bearded
the boys don’t even look like they’ve
skinned their knees hopping fences
in the American wasteland.
instead, the youths get out of beds
refuse to go to school
turn their puberties into
an armada sailing straight
into beachfront properties.
Teens translate the sermon on the mount
into emojispeak and blast it
across the toxic airwaves,
smoke signals
from a marooned generation
to taste again,
to feel again,
for a permanent wind to blow
the flags from their poles.

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 & stay tuned for more of Justin’s poetry in our Hallow’s Eve issue!

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.