charlie’s killin it right now
he’s up and down those stairs like a tennis
like a slinky
like a new pair of socks
he’s beedleedooding and bombombopbop
he’s fierce ferocious
unpredictable dictable digestible indigestion
wop wop skidaddle and he’s
back to the same
and he’s still going he’s not stopping
still going not stopping
punchin through just punchin through like always
bird bird bird
the drugs tweedlydee
the days
tweedlydee the women
pooteeweet but not quite there yet
he’s spastic sporadic diasporically cantankerous
he’s motion in the ocean
jazz jazz jazz jazz
bang bang bang
he runs and he walks and he skidaddles
and he’s not too sure
you too sure
your nose it grows who too sure certainly not you
you too sure
mister too sure in the suit in the pants all grown up
you don’t know
listen to your old boy charlie
sitting on a tree branch listening for ambulances
as winter springs into summer’s fall and rinse and repeat
pooteeweet but not quite there yet
i tell ya though
charlie’s on fire right now



i woke up this morning to a stranger at my bedroom doorway
it was Ben Folds, charming as i imagined him
he carried a tray of eggs and sausage and packages
and coffee and orange juice
he set it beside me on the bed and he said to me,
“the more you know you know don’t know shit,”
and i said “that’s not how you greet someone in the morning,”
and he said “why you gotta act like you know when you don’t know?”
and i said “you’re right, ben folds. thanks for bringing me breakfast,”
and he said “you’re welcome, brice,”
and then he picked up my guitar in the corner and began playing Jesusland
and i fell back asleep out of this dream of a morning where the music
coming from my portable cellular phone’s speaker is a conversation
that i can have whenever and wherever i need
and it’s not all bad and the morning is my second favorite
after the late night that can hurt so beautifully
but they need each other and this morning i needed breakfast in bed
with Ben Folds, thank you Ben Folds, thanks for the conversation
and for the orange juice, you’re a good guy i think, Ben Folds, i think so



our conversations lately feel like a living room without lamps
like we fell asleep with the oven on and the house burnt down
it is close to impossible to not get lost when traveling to your house
and i know it is the same for you

i am sorry that i gave my shoulder demon a soapbox to stand on
i apologize that the angel on yours seems to be in a coma
never mistake passive aggression for aggressive passion
i speak these words through my baby teeth
i wash my mouth out with soap in the mornings

i am sorry again but i don’t believe in boxing gloves
if you’re gonna hit me i want it bareknuckled
i want it in person and i want it right away
don’t bruise me with oranges

we are a contained nuclear explosion
we are like an apocalypse in a snowglobe
no one would doubt Christmas is your favorite holiday
and mine is Halloween
i guess that’s why our orange words fall on white cold shoulders

i miss your vintage love
and your chicken noodle soup kitchen
but the string between our soup cans is broken
we gotta talk



I approached the woman popping her gum and placed the plastic bag on the counter between us. She stared blankly at me.
“Can I help you?” she asked me.
“Yes, hi. I’d like to return this please.”
“What is ‘this’, sir?” she said.
“It’s my heart.”
There was silence, distant registers clicking and beeping in the background.
“You would like to return your heart, sir?”
“Yes, that’s correct,”
“Is something wrong with it?”
I laughed, and then I laughed some more.
“Oh yes,” I said, “There certainly is. The damn thing is too fragile. Every bad day, every tremor from a shaky friendship cracks the thing right open. I feel like it’s once a week that I’m trying to super glue the damn thing back together. It’s too sensitive. Too effective, I guess. I hate the thing,”
She popped her gum.
“Would you like to exchange it for a different heart?”
“No, I really don’t think so,”
“We have a large variety of hearts, sir. I don’t mean to impose but maybe you’d be happier with a different model,”
“Look. I appreciate your concern, but I’m sick of the thing. It gets me into too much trouble. I’ve got an extremely effective mind and that has been leading me well so far, so I really don’t think I need a heart at all,”
“Well, sir. Do you have your receipt?”
“My receipt?”
“Yes, sir. Your receipt. All returns require a receipt and must be within 90 days of purchase,”
“Well, I’ve had this heart all my life, and I definitely don’t have a receipt,”
“No receipt, no return, sir. I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do for you, but have a nice day,”
“Please. Just take my heart. I don’t trust myself with it,”
“Sir, I’d recommend maybe you try a pawn shop,”
“A pawn shop? A pawn shop? You’ve got to be kidding me. You think I would just send this heart off to a pawn shop? To be thrown on a shelf to collect dust. To be placed in a glass case next to a Nintendo 64 or an alcoholic’s kidney? They won’t give me shit for it either! I guarantee you they won’t give me a third of it’s value,”
“But sir, you said yourself, it’s too fragile,”
“It’s not too fragile! That’s not what I meant. It’s a good heart. I can’t have someone walking around with this heart in their chest not knowing its value. Some idiot kid who is gonna just play wall ball with it. Some sadistic collector who is just gonna put it on display. This heart is a return, not a pawn,”
“I can’t help you, sir,”
“Hey, do me a favor…” I looked down at the woman’s name tag, “Rhonda. Rhonda, do me a favor. Take this heart home. Give it to someone who deserves it,”
“No, Rhonda! Don’t you ‘sir’ me! I need this heart gone. It’s toxic. I can’t get anything done with the damn thing. I need you to take it,”
“Sir!” she said, her nostrils flaring, her eyes on fire now “You can’t return your god damn heart! It’s not a fucking toaster! It is YOUR heart. It is not MY heart. It is not anyone’s heart but your own. Who the hell do you think you are, anyways? Demanding something because you’ve given up. Because you have not a single clue what you actually have there. You are slapping life in its fucking face, SIR. This is not how things work. You are stuck with that heart. It is part of you. So you better stop trying to pretend it’s something to sell, something to abandon. It is a gift, and not everyone is so lucky to have such a gorgeous heart. I swear, the entitlement you feel to not feel. It blows my fucking mind. You know what? Lock it up. Go purchase a safe and throw it in there for a week. Tell me how that works out for you. Have a conversation about your heartless life with a friend. Grab a couple drinks. See how that goes. See how terrible your life will become when you are just going through the motions but never experiencing anything. Give me your eyes while you’re at it! Return your fucking throat to me. I’ll give you in-store credit on that one! You cannot just give up like this. You are so ungrateful for the thing that makes you so much what you are. And beyond all of this, you don’t even have a god damn receipt! Get out!”
I said nothing. I wondered what I’d be feeling if my heart wasn’t packed up in front of me. I just stared at Rhonda, a deer in retail headlights.
“Get out of my store!” she yelled again.
I began to walk away, heart in hand.

On the drive home, I buckled my heart up in the passenger’s seat. I drove 10 miles below the speed limit the whole way home. When I got home, I opened the door to my chest and I placed my heart inside. I put on my favorite record and I lied down on my bed, smoking a cigarette. My poor lungs taking the beating like body guards for my heart. I felt the blood pumping through my veins. I fell asleep and I dreamed of all my past lovers and waking up recharged I started my life up again.



this shouldn’t feel foreign
but it does
fingers against the surface
rhythms that i’ve trumpeted
one million times
but there’s something else

an electricity bouncing back
that i’ve not felt before

i shave my beard

i shave my head

i disrobe my skin
in front of my self
in the mirror

the familiar skeleton
appears before me
top hat before chest
ready to perform

what am i doing?
this white rectangular cell
that my black footprints dance around
why bother?

no matter how loud you yell
the echoes fade out

no matter how quiet you whisper
they’ll never lean in close enough

dance monkey dance

smile for the camera

yes be reckless
love reckless
kiss reckless
punch the piano keys
kick the organ in the kidney
all on camera
it’s all on camera
we’re on camera
we’re always all on camera
each photograph an ash of skin
each thought a spitwad on the blackboard of time
we document our deaths so voraciously

and why do we do this again?

oh yeah
that’s why
because it feels fucking good
because it’s a stethoscope
we can place to our cold chests
to feel our percolating hearts percolating

(i am reminded
of the condensation of my lips
on the petroglyphs
of you skin
fleeting life
eternal static
i am reminded of you
in the middle of this poem
not about you (til now)
and that’s how it goes sometimes
and the uncalculated calculation
of that squint that you squint at me with
eyes shining like new sunstars
just born into a lightless sky
that i remember is the why
you are why
you are the why when i why)

my back against my front door
i spelunk my own caverns
in search for silence
i still think of you (still now)
but the world isn’t silent tonight
it is hiding in the tall grass
and i can feel it coming
and i am ready for the whatever
and the whatever comes along with it
give me your best fucking shot
i am ready for the whatever
and the whatever sure as fuck
better be ready for me
my arms great blunderbuss guns
the trigger your pre-arthritic fingers
interlocked in mine in waiting
beautiful and ready to click

life you son of a bitch
hit. me. hard.
and i will swing back like
i’m being pushed



what i mean to say is
that there’s this something
that lurks in on ya
and just sticks around
and you know
does stuff

it mixes things up
kind of
it’s just
it’s hard to explain

you know when
you’re at the grocery store
in the middle of the night
and everyone looks like zombies
zombies in pajamas and burkas
and yoga pants buying cigarettes
or a carton of ice cream
or trying to stealthily purchase condoms
from the self-checkout

underneath the fish tank lights
you know
security guard at the door
someone is pondering the mystery
of the gatorade end cap
you feel it then
that loneliness that makes you feel not alone
it tugs at your heart strings
and if you’re me you hurry up and purchase your
something stupid
maybe incense and toilet paper
or a lean cuisine
but you buy it all
and you go to the liquor store
and you pick out some beer
and you go to the register guy
and you take turns pulling your
conversation pull-strings
and my night is fine, yours?
and no you don’t need a receipt
and your home
television off just sitting on the couch
thinking about stuff
and if you’re me you wish you would have
hugged everyone but at the time
you were convinced no one would talk to you
because of your resting bitchy face
which may actually not exist
but what i’m saying is
there is something there
something that can’t be written down
something kind of odd and beautiful
creepy slash off-putting
it’s like a b-movie
and no you’re not the star
you’re an extra
but that’s exciting
that’s really fucking cool
because you’ve never been an extra in a b-movie
and you look around
and all these people are extras in b-movies
but they’re secretly ninjas
and so the fuck are you
and that’s why your gut writhes in the daylight
in the moonlight the sunlight the black light
the grocery store fish bowl lights
your guts writhe
because you wish to be a ninja
but you can’t find your god damn nunchaku
and neither can all these other ninjas
pretending to be extras in a b-movie



i was crippled by what i saw around me
a world that i so badly wanted to call foreign
but i knew in truth it was i that was foreign
i looked at my hands like they were someone else’s
as i trudged on through the immaculate city
lights all around me
i felt as though something was looking down on me
i felt the strangest of sunbeams
and the giant camera of god
zoomed down onto my separate story
i was living in the garden of the future
time moved forward i was engulfed in dream
i’d seen it before when i’d closed my eyes
the realization that you are in a singular moment
and everywhere at the same time
there was a swarm of birds living in my stomach
i was living in the garden of the future
my heart beats distant and echoed
my eyes like gamma rays
i spun out of control
it was everything they said it would be
it was what i’d imagined
vast and quiet
a single frequency of white noise
volcanoes in the distance like stone lions
at a doorway

i woke up in a dream of the future
and as i looked around at the dunes of my fears
as i wandered in singularity through the forest of my hope
i realized this was no garden of the future
this was the shadow of the past behind me
and in that moment i mourned the death of the moment
in that moment i mourned the death of me



like two in the morning or something
i couldn’t sleep so i called up God
and was all like “hey God, do you want
to meet up for some coffee?” and God
of course obliged me like always so we’re
sitting around Denny’s drinking shitty coffee
talking when i ask God “is destiny a thing?”
and God says “yes,” and i say “that’s kind of
a bummer,” and God says “well, i don’t think
that doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of the
decisions you make,” and i say “i guess,” and
then there’s an awkward pause, the waitress
comes by refills our coffees and we sip in
silence and then i say “alright, God,
what number am i thinking of?” God says 3.
it was 3. What am I thinking now? God says
i’m thinking about destiny and i was like
well yeah okay that might not have been the
best approach and then i took the salt shaker
unscrewed the lid and poured the entire thing
of salt into my cup of coffee. God says
“why did you do that?” and i say “you seem
surprised. i thought you knew that i was going
to do that? wasn’t it part of my destiny?”
and God was like “no! that just came out of
nowhere,” and seemed perplexed. i think God
would have turned to God for answers in that
moment if that made any sense. and then i held
God’s hand and i said look. i know what they say.
man plans and God laughs and that’s beautiful
but sometimes we just take the car off cruise
control and we start driving off the road in the middle of nebraska
and we’re pushing through the corn fields
and doing donuts and blasting dizzy gillespie
and it makes no damn sense and no one could have
seen it coming, not even you, i’m sorry, but that’s
why i put the salt in the coffee because some things
weren’t written. some things happen that weren’t meant
to happen and those things were meant to happen but
not in the sense that everyone saw it coming because
sometimes no one sees it coming. even you, God. sometimes
it’s brutal and vicious hard work or a spark to the heart
and it’s raw and honest and it’s tangental and that tangent
shoots off into space like a monkey in an astronaut suit
and it forms a new monkey planet with a new monkey God
who too will have a moment of awe when realizing that your
children are not you. they break the rules in the name of
something. love or change or dizzy gillespie but yes. it’s
a thing that happens and it’ll catch us all off guard and
then the waitress stole the cash in the register, took off
her apron and busted out the door into the cold night.



i am enchanted in waiting
i make sandwiches
run rubber erasers across paper
i draw a dot drawing of your face
made up of one million dots
congregating to form my memory of you
as you are gone
lost at a crossroads
i worship your shadow
realizing not even the sun
can capture you

i understand you may never happen
you may get lost in a whirlwind
me lost in another whirlwind
not a single raindrop of intersectionality
but we can hope adjacent whirlwinds
i like your whirlwind adjacent to mine

i send you short love letters
you send me love
my tongue is colloidal silver sure
but my heart is stained blue
and meanwhile yours is an open locket
mine need crowbar mine need leverage
maybe your leverage the best leverage
of your hand on mine on the crowbar

i drive in circles in a rectangle state
i listen to andrea gibsons breaths in my car
i dream of you counting her breaths beside me
driving in circles in a rectangle state
love is sometimes
that’s it sorry
love is sometimes and i am saturday morning
poem leaking faucet
and the faucet keeps leaking
and some nights it keeps me up
with its potential to change
but most nights the fact it is there
is enough to put me to sleep
in your arms
which may or may not be



i went to the aquarium recently
and as i stood there staring at the jellyfish
the eels the sharks all pushing through the water
on the other side of the cinematic glass
i saw a boy
and he stared right back at me

he did not swim
he did not wear any kind of apparatus
to help him breathe he just walked across the floor of this
small segment of the ocean like a polaroid photo where
he ended where the edges were, he moved in blurs
like someone shook the photo too hard
amongst the aquamarine blue depth he just stared back
we did not speak but we heard everything we said to each other
he told me the water was cold, he told me the days were long
he told me that most people didn’t even notice him
they were too consumed by their camera phones
to utilize the reels collecting dust in their photographic memories

as i walked away he walked away too
out of this snapshot of the ocean
and back into the sunlight where my gills disappear
and i am just and only and less than
but the boy in the aquarium and i
we both know better than that