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Poetry in Review: Just Because You’ve Been Hospitalized for Depression Doesn’t Mean You’re Kanye West

Author: Katie Coleman

Another wonderfully wild symphony of end-of-life notions and vivid imagery are found in Justin Karcher’s Just Because You’ve Been Hospitalized for Depression Doesn’t Mean You’re Kanye West. This is a micro-chapbook that he’s releasing on July 14 as part of the Ghost City Press 2017 Summer Micro-Chapbook Series. The author of Tailgating at the Gates of Hell and editor-in-chief of the literary journal Ghost City Review, Karcher’s mind is an endless web of mysteries that you can only catch glimpses of through his poems.

Karcher wrote the 17-page poem as if looking down upon his own funeral after drinking himself to death, his broken-hearted mother by his side as the paramedics cart him off. At his funeral he’s mourned by ex girlfriends and ghosts of past. He eventually rises from the dead to face the bleak yet enthralling reality of life and society.

I hear there was a trail of blood

From the Buffalo Theatre District

To my childhood home

On the outskirts of gentrification

I was both sad and curious to dig into Karcher’s brain a little deeper as I read on. I found traces of guilt towards his mother, betrayal from friends and lovers, and an ultimate revival from the flames of his own disappointment and death.

I’m still a confused little boy even after my resurrection

And I can’t help but laugh:

I thought you were supposed to roar back from the dead

And yet… I’m quiet as a mouse,

As bombastically orchestral as an

Origami of snow,

Getting lost in fantasy worlds and forgetting how to scream.

The last line reminds me of what it feels like to be abused and then try to heal: you finally conquer the beast and feel like a warrior- you are a warrior- but society is silent, so you become quiet, too. What is Karcher trying to say? That you can disappear, you can run, you can even die, but life keeps on going in the same way no matter what kind of personal revolution occurs inside of you?

But nostalgia is for the weak and Justin, you need to move on.

So I move on when suddenly

There are body bags flying overhead,

Opioid overdoses converted into rocket ships

And launched into Galileo numbness,

Our personal demons

Sent on a mission to colonize

The other reaches of outer space,

Because all those planets aren’t

Self destructive enough.

Karcher has captured the essence of what our rat-race world feels like. We do have to face a ton of shit, and it does leaves us scarred. But we can still take life by storm and hang on to our inner-children, so that we can find love and life in the far corners of even the most broken places.

I guess the best we can hope for

Is that we grow up to be angry comets

Steamrolling through a galaxy of shit storms

A little piece of us still clean.

Just Because You’ve Been Hospitalized for Depression Doesn’t Mean You’re Kanye West will be available for download through Ghost City Press at In November there will be a theatrical presentation of the poem at Road Less Traveled.

Karcher’s chapbook Tailgating at the Gates of Hell from Ghost City Press can be read at, and When Severed Ears Sing You Songs from CWP Collective Press can be read at He has been published in 3:AM Magazine, Devise Literary, The Honest Ulsterman, The Literateur, Thought Catalog and more. His one act play When Blizzard Babies Turn to Stone premiered in February at Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, NY. He tweets @Justin_Karcher.

Written by BRo Guest Authors

BRo Guest Authors

It’s not unusual for authors to come and go. Guest authors range from collegiate interns to writers who will be contributing for a short stint of time. Guest authors might also have a series in mind. Authors are encouraged to submit their ideas to BRO (Buffalo Rising Online), upon which time we will work with the writer towards a productive end.

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