A TOAST

lift up your spirits!
to this cataclysmic evening!
this parade!
of howling wolves! and monkeys!
to the altered perspectives!
of angels!
and their subjective
paradise!

let our warped worlds come together!
like pangea in reverse!

let all religions reside within us all!
and all around us!

this is my wish for you.
and all of you.

let us toast!
to the fact our irises
are all different colors!
and our pupils are
all
the
same!

let’s get lost!
in the rambunctious sound
of
actual
reality!

and remind our souls
that love
is not just romance:
it is
every breath
the flowers give us
and each one
we return to them!

parks
that are dead
in winter
and alive
with lush green grass
and wide-
eyed people
in summers!

let’s toast!

to the smell of rain!
to the taste of laughter!
forever! tonight!
and ever after!

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “SHOCK TOP”

About these ads

FLASHLIGHT CITY BLUES: FAVORITE POSTS OF 2012

Rant Unicycle

#1: TIPS FOR WRITING BETTER GOD DAMN POETRY PART 1: I’m not a big fan of how to guides, especially how to guides on writing, but I really enjoyed writing this. I decided to shoot from the hip. Say what I truly feel. Focus less on the structure of poetry and more on the what keeps me going.

#2: THE OBNOXIOUS SOUND OF MUSIC UPSTAIRS: Most of my pieces I write and five minutes later, I post them to my blog. The fact that this is something I wrote a couple years ago and still held up on my blog made me extremely happy. I don’t write short stories or prose very often, but I was happy to find myself writing this piece, that not only helped me rationalize alot of things from my past, but also better understand love.

#3: MTV: When I sat down to write this, I thought it was gonna be shit. I thought it was gonna be pure angst and cheesy and trying too hard to be trendy, but in the end, I don’t feel that it’s any of those things. I didn’t realize until the comments started coming in that this piece wasn’t just about MTV. It was about the things we lose along the way, sometimes include our whole selves.

#4: AN AMERICAN PORTRAIT: A personal favorite. My trip to California really inspired this one in me. I wanted to speak of this iconic idea of America that we’ve created in our memories and our history, and maybe point us to the fact that it’s time to redefine what it means to be an American.

#5: I AM AN APARTMENT BUILDING: One of those ones where you know the title, and the rest just kind of comes from there. I feel like this piece really helped me to rationalize a lot of aspects of who I am in so many ways. My roommate and I talk about how I don’t really edit, but what I seem to do is rewrite the same poems in different ways until I get what I’m after. This one seems to be a later, but I don’t think necessarily better version of SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE THERE’S A COWBOY ARGUING WITH A BUDDHIST MONK.

 

More than anything, what I’d like to say is thank you. Thank you to anyone and everyone who stops by and reads my blog. Poetry is not something that is easily made a career. No one gets into poetry for the money. What I’m in it from is to share something I felt with the growing circle of people around me. I want to inspire people to be better. I want to challenge people to rethink who they are. I want to make a personal connection with someone on the other side of the world as me, and I have been lucky enough to get to connect to so many fantastic people, all with incredible stories and nothing but kindness to give back to me. You’re not a poet until someone reads your poem. I believe that too. Often times, I’ll read poems to my family and friends, and whenever I hit that publish button on wordpress, the same rush of satisfaction and honesty hits me.

Let’s make 2013 the best year there ever was. The world didn’t end, so we still have a responsibility to make our resolutions as courageous as we can, and our words equally as brave.

Love, Brice

p.s. let me know what your favorite pieces were. :)

A LOVE SONG FOR ELIZABETH BENDS

A shot from the mini-bar costs roughly $7.
Tonight I have spent over $140 on the mini-bar.
I feel like I’m inside of a washing machine. Everything’s oozy and spinning so god damn much.
I’ve been leaving messages on Tanya’s phone.
Beep.
Hi Tanya. It’s Mark. Um. Call me.
Beep.
Hey. It’s… well, it’s me. Call me when you get this. It’s been probably three weeks since we’ve talked.
Beep.
Hi, if this isn’t Tanya, would you please give me a call back? The voice message thing doesn’t say whose phone it is. This is Mark. Mark Swift.       Also, I’m sorry. I realize it’s 2:33 in the morning.
If you are satisfied with your message press one.
Does it cost money to make phone calls using a hotel phone? Can they track your calls?
I’m watching Late Night with Eric Creed, and the musical guest is some Irish band I’ve never heard of. Some band called “The Last Calls”.
Right now, Eric is interviewing this girl, Elizabeth Bends. I shouldn’t say some girl, this girl is gorgeous. Elizabeth Bends. She is flirting with the entire room, and she’s not even breaking a sweat. Her skin looks like it’s never seen sunlight or a bruise or a scar. She’s wearing this soft looking dress with her toned legs sneaking out underneath. She crosses her leg away from the camera. If you think that’s an accident, you are bat shit crazy.
I am standing less than six inches away from the television. The static is jumping to the little hairs on my forehead. I don’t feel that drunk. I’m close, really close to Elizabeth Bends.
“I understand you have a film coming out this weekend?” says Eric, dumbly.
“Yes, it’s called Scandals and the People Who Pay for Them. I believe we have a clip.”
They say something, and cut to the trailer. I fall back on the bed and count the tiles on the ceiling. It’s a nice hotel. The mini-bar, I mean, it is stocked. I’m alone in the hotel room. There are 25 tiles going one way on the ceiling, 26 going the other way. They each look about a foot long.
Beep.
Tanya? Is this Tanya? Call me, okay? I’m in room 917.”
I can’t believe someone put those tiles in one at a time. There are 14 floors in this hotel, probably 30 rooms on each floor. That’s, I don’t fucking know, a shit-ton of tiles to install.
I wonder if one person put each and every single tile in, or if there was a team. I wonder if Elizabeth Bends works hard. Do you think her parents instilled good work ethic and good moral values into her? My stomach hurts. I unzip my pants, and I start to think about Elizabeth Bends naked. I’m touching myself, but I’m not hard.
Do you think she cares if a guy is bald? She’s got to be loaded. I wonder if she thinks about money when she dates a guy. I wonder if she gets nervous on dates.
Elizabeth Bends is whispering naughty things in my ear. I sit up, my chin pressed against my chest. My stomach feels like it’s on fire, like it’s filled with rubbing alcohol. Elizabeth is no longer on. That band, The Last Calls, is playing. They sound more Irish than I even expected them to.
“Thank you for calling 719-555-3221, please leave a message after the beep.”
Beep.
“Hey, Elizabeth. Shit. Hey, Tanya, or whoever. I don’t know if this is Tanya. Just calling again. I mean, it’s 2:40 something but I haven’t talked to you since I left. How are you? I’m doing fine. Denver’s treating me well enough. What are you up to? I’m just about to do some painting and…” I blink, and the room resumes its soap spin cycle.
I’m having a conversation with myself.
I’m having a conversation with a telephone number.
Beep.
“Hi, Elizabeth?” Aw, fuck it. “Yeah, hi. Elizabeth Bends, it’s me, Mark. I just wanted to say you did great tonight. You looked gorgeous. Give me a call back when you get a chance, sweetheart. I’m in room 917. I’ve got a queen-sized bed here, and I wish you were in it with me. I hope your movie does well. It looks wonderful. I can’t wait until your home, and I’m home and we can just lie together and discuss your long days on set, and I can tell you how beautiful you look without makeup on. How beautiful you look when I wake up beside you. I can’t wait to kiss your neck and tell you about my newest painting. I miss hearing your voice. I miss talking to you. Telling you how I’d love to paint you, but you’re never here. I feel like it’s been years since our wedding. I talk to your mom, now and again. She’s lovely. I know when you’re older you’ll be like a great painting, just like her. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss you. It’s hard being in hotel rooms in weird cities and only seeing you through the television screen. It’s hard looking at empty pads of paper in hotel rooms and realizing those are there for lonely people like me. Like a coloring book for kids on a long car ride.”
If you’re satisfied with your message, press one.
To listen to your message, press two.
To erase and re-record, press three.
To continue with your message, press four.
I don’t press anything. I just stare at the hotel phone for a second.      There’s a button for room service. There’s a button for the front desk.    There’s a button for the restaurant.
Are you still there?
The phone knows I’m drunk, I think. It’s checking in on me. If I press five, I wonder if it will bring me a glass of water.
I press four.
“Elizabeth, I want you to know that there’s a lot of guys out there. I know how Hollywood is for a young, beautiful starlet like you, but they don’t love you like I do. They don’t know how I would kill for you. They don’t see the twinkle in your eye that I do. They don’t hear your beautiful voice or the effortless way you speak. They just see a nice pair of legs. A good screw. I want you to know that what we have is all that is keeping me living right now.”
I breathe into the phone. My lips pressed against the mouth piece, I can feel the condensation of my breath on it. The phone smells like a Long Island Iced Tea.
I press 3. I erase my message and I re-record.
“Hi Tanya,” I say, and that’s about it. I’m looking at my reflection in the window. I’m looking out at the city. I’m counting the buildings in the Denver skyline.
One, two, three. I literally say one, two, three into the phone. I am so embarrassed.
“Sorry, Elizabeth. I’m not going to lie. I’m drunk.”
I set the phone down on the table, next to the note pad. I pick up the hotel pen and I write on the note pad “I am in love with Elizabeth Bends,” I set the pad down on the desk and I retire to the corner of the hotel room, a dark corner near the front door, but it’s uncomfortable. I move into the closet, I scoot the ironing board to the side, so I can sit cross-legged on the ground. I start to cry. No tears come out, which makes me feel even more pathetic. I just sob, like I’m forcing it, but I can’t stop. I look up and the ceiling light hits my eyes, and I’m squeezing them shut. Trying to kill this headache before it can start.
I grab my suit-jacket off the hanger and I hold it like it is Elizabeth Bends. I try to remember what Tanya looks like naked, but I can’t. I just met Elizabeth tonight on the television screen, and I can picture her naked more clearly. I close my eyes and there she is, straddling me, biting her lip. In my college dorm. Maybe, on our honeymoon.
My stomach starts doing back-flips and I run into the bathroom. I puke right before I get to the toilet. There, splotched all over the nice tile floor.   Imagine what your vomit would look like if there was nothing in your system but booze. That’s what my vomit looks like. I close my eyes and its Tanya straddling me. I can still smell the vomit, and it’s no longer me Tanya is straddling. It’s some guy. Some stranger with a better body than me.
I look out in the hotel bedroom, and my easel is set up and there’s a canvas on it, but there’s nothing on it. The television is something about some product for making life easier.
I can hear the telephone in the background. The dial tone, like the sound of robots dying.
Beep.
Are you there, God? It’s me, Mark. Was it written in my life story that I would deplete my 401k one expensive hotel room at a time? Was it written that I would be here, marinating in my own body fluids, pondering my marriage to the girl on the television? That I would confess my love to Elizabeth Bends on a hotel room note pad? That I would hit the mini-bar before I even touched my paint brush? I’ve been dragging that same easel into hotel rooms for two weeks now. It’s like my cross. My burden to bare. It’s like an ugly child from a one night stand that I have to drag around with me.
Beep.
God, why is it that if I make money selling paintings, if my art makes it into fine museums that I’m a success, but if it doesn’t, I’m just some child doing finger paintings, avoiding reality? If I kill myself, will I get to talk to you in person? Or do I have to call you on some God-awful payphone from the bowels of hell?
Beep.
Tanya, where are you tonight?
Beep.
I’m here in the bathroom of a nice hotel, debating whether I want to order room service: a snack off the late night menu. I can’t even find the menu, let alone read it.
This washing machine is tossing me hard now. I’m on the floor now, cursing it for the rug burns.
Beep.
There are 25 tiles going one way on the ceiling. There are 26 going the other way. There is a man in a warm bed with his wife tonight who runs all 14 floors of this hotel; all 30 rooms on each and every floor. His wife wakes him up every morning so he can do this. There are companies that run half the hotel rooms in this city. One person runs that company.
There is a company responsible for every light I see in the Denver skyline. Someone made the machine that made those bottles of shots I took tonight. Someone invented the wheel so there’s a legitimate reason why Tanya chose not to be here tonight. Some guy invented the telephone so I could leave messages to fictional characters. Someone looked at Elizabeth Bends and said the world will love you. Let’s put you on a piece of art that is in constant motion called a television. Let’s enlarge your face on screens.
Beep.
God, it’s me. Do you even get to rest on Sundays? Do you ever find yourself lonely, drunk and sick on bathroom floors? Do you think it’s funny that I have no hair left on the top of my head? God, I’m drunk. Do you ever take a drink from the mini-bar? If your blood is wine and your flesh is bread, how can you tell me you aren’t self-absorbed? Maybe we really are made in your image.
I crawl to the living room, my knees bleeding with carpet burn, and I bite down on the telephone cord. I need something to chew on, so I don’t swallow my tongue. This is me clicking the trigger on the phone to make a new call.
The tiles are laughing at me. I can’t prove it, but if I could reach the note pad I would leave a note to hungover-tomorrow-morning me telling him the ceiling tiles aren’t your friend.
Beep.
“Tanya, Elizabeth meant nothing to me. Please take me back. Please. Call me. I know I’m an asshole, but I’m an asshole who loves you. I would do anything for you.”
I erase and re-record. Beep.
“I would do anything for us.”
I press four. Beep.
“I just want you to be happy.”
I press four. Beep.
“I just want us both to be happy. I need to know that still exists.”
I press four. Beep.
“Hi Tanya. It’s Mark. Listen, I loved you, but I think if I keep holding onto what we have left, I will go crazy. I’m sorry.”
If you are satisfied with your message, press one.
Are you still there?

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “SHOCK TOP”

SHOCK TOP

drunk with the roommate
i am capping my tip to a wonderful
inebriation of an evening
boneyards of beer bottles
we are drowning
in beerspit and the
percussive
reactionary ripples of
thick blood
and heavy hands

we fight in slow motion

we renew our vows of friendship
underneath the two a.m. lights of
the microwave and we click
together glass as we clash into
an actual fucking
friendship.

a friendship that sails
on clouds
of memories and loyalty
as we fight
consciousness
for the majority of our lives
but especially
tonight.

underneath the green glow
of David Fincher’s
Fight Club
we are men and
we are sealed by the blood that
we draw from
each other’s mouths
through friendly fists and
this
this is brotherhood
between the aftermath of
strangers
as we tip the glass bottoms of
our beers
to our father
the ceiling fan
in the
hot
fucking
summer.

we celebrate each other
and the words that form
safe voyage as we pass through
the marina gauntlet
of brotherly love into treacherous waters
where we battle the krakens of
whatever;

drink.

drain to the chains of
synched-up heartbeats
like
honest drum circles.

drink to high times
and higher
blood alcohol content.

drink to sobering up
to find
that we
drank not
to find
our fraternity but
to celebrate the fraternity
we continue to have when
the well dries up
and the rent check is barely
paid but still
we find money
in the cracks of the couches
to drink
and to clack bottles together
to brothers
born in different states.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “EDWARD HOPPER”

FEATURED POET: ANNA SERAFINI

god drowned himself in a bathtub fully clothed while my heart sunk further into my chest

last night i got a cup for my tears and drank them all down.
they tasted like salt. it was gross.

here is me looking at you and slipping under the water table
so i can drown and be buried alive at the same time.
my air goes blub blub blub and i am choking.
no one can hear me and that’s okay.
i tie a bag over my head because i don’t want anyone
to hear me choking,
and i whisper to myself
“it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay”
as the bag fills with water and dirt.

i jab the back of my mouth with the head of my toothbrush.
i need a new one because the bristles
are sticking together and hardening, i think.
i am trying to brush the taste of salt off of my tongue
but it lingers like the frustrating stain on my sweater.

now my stomach has seized up and i am ignoring my responsibilities.
i bury myself in my blankets and try not to think of anything.
the fantasies of warm boys with soft hands have soured, i think.

i need to get off tumblr.
i need to do something productive.
i need to get better grades.
i need to keep my job.
i need to take harder classes.
i need to rehearse for my poetry slam.
i need to rehearse for my poetry slam.
i need to rehearse for my poetry slam.

oh my god oh my god oh my god
i’m so sorry.

please give me a shovel for christmas i am digging
a hole down to the water table and it will be okay,
i promise, everything will be okay.

ANNA SERAFINI IS THE WORLD’S SHYEST INTERNET “PERSONALITY” AND THE BABY COUSIN OF ALT-LIT. FOLLOW HER ON TUMBLR AND TWITTER.

INTERESTING IN SUBMITTING A POEM TO FLASHLIGHT CITY BLUES? FIND MORE INFO HERE.

EDWARD HOPPER*

*formatted, using the notes of American artist Edward Hopper and his wife Jo

Night
+ brilliant interior of
cheap restaurant.

Bright items:

cherry wood counter
+ tops of surrounding
stools; light on metal tanks
at rear right;

brilliant streak
of jade green tiles
3/4 across canvas-
at base of glass
window
curving around the
corner.

Light walls,

dull
yellow
ocre
door
into kitchen right.

Very good looking
blond boy
in white (coat, cap)
inside counter.

Girl in red blouse,

brown hair

eating sandwich.

Man night hawk
(beak)
in dark suit,
steel grey hat,
black band,
blue shirt (clean)
holding cigarette.

Other figure
dark
sinister
back-
at left.

Light side walk
outside
pale greenish.

Darkish red brick
house opposite.

Sign across
top of restaurant,
dark-
Phillies 5c cigar.

Picture of cigar.

Outside of shop dark,
green.

Note:
bit of bright
ceiling
inside shop

against dark of
outside street

-at edge
of stretch
of top
of window.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

LINK TO EDWARD HOPPER’S “NIGHTHAWKS”

READ “WHERE HAVE YOU GONE TO, AMERICA?”

“CALIFORNIA, STOP SWALLOWING MY FRIENDS” REBLOGGED ON MIKKIANTONIO

A Few Things:

First of all, MIKKIANTONIO reblogged one of my favorite poems I’ve written, “California, Stop Swallowing My Friends.” Check it out HERE.

Second, Flashlight City Blues is now taking poetry submissions. Find more info HERE.

If neither of these things interest you, look at a picture of my cat Gus HERE.

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE TO, AMERICA?

i tried calling
you didn’t pick up

where have you gone to, America?
i can’t find you under my bed or in my closet with the other monsters
you seem to be everywhere all at once like you’re imitating God, but maybe you’re just photocopying yourself until the ink turns to white like your flag on the moon
where have you gone to America?
when I go down on you, you never return the favor

where have you gone to, America?
your model homes are empty
your desks in your schools are empty
your teachers are just praying for tenure
where have you gone to, America?
are you in Central Park with those cast to the corners?
are you in Brooklyn with the rappers who reside in check out counter headphones?

the Dodgers are in Los Angeles now
the Lakers are in Los Angeles now
how come she always gets whatever she wants?
where have you gone to, America?
your youngest daughter still needs you

where have you gone to, America?
your unwrapped gifts are stacking up under the Xmas tree
your churches have walls to expand for the holiday rush

where have you gone to, America?
you left the groceries out on the table
you left your poor friends out on your San Francisco doorstep
you left your children at school with a gun
and you want to blame the trigger for the finger that pulled it

you want the television to babysit us
while you go out drinking with strange men

i tried leaving you this message, America
but your mailbox was full

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “ANDROID”

ANDROID

when you hum
it is less like a song
and more like a hard drive
clicking desperate for attention
overheating
artificial wind blowing through
your metal vents

when you speak
it sounds like
typing on a keyboard
the plastic tap dance opera
of isolated insight
i have to guess
what letter you are typing
to who
and if there is any purpose
at all

your eyes
are glazed over
like two monitors
and if i stare too long
i start to feel dizzy
sick, unproductive

your circular logic
is silver discs spinning
stationary
unnecessary
ready
to be dragged
to the recycle bin

i cannot hear you
lost in the white noise
of endless scrolling
the glass haze
of animatronic nightmare
the weightless dynasty
of your password-protected
intranet

your poetry
tastes like outdated
operating systems

your music
sounds like one thousand
fax machines
proudly projecting their
mating call
across the digital wasteland

you die like a phone
you are reborn
you die like a phone
you are reborn
we are all
just anxiously waiting
the release
of the
newer
better
faster
sleaker
sexier
more creative
more insightful
more imaginative
more delirious
more expensive
edition
of you

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “CALIFORNIA, STOP SWALLOWING MY FRIENDS”

CALIFORNIA, STOP SWALLOWING MY FRIENDS

you’re a monster! a monster, i tell you!
you lure them in with your nihilistic theme parks
and your caustic beaches
the promise of Hollywood and the west of the American
west
in the night, your ocean reaches its bony hands under the covers
and digging its polluted claws in, it drags them anxiously
through the fires of Utah and the flowerless graveyards of Las Vegas
i watch all this sleepless from the fragile glass window of my Colorado home
in the swaying arms of my humble mother
rocking me to sleep in a Rocky Mountain high
but how my friends tried to grasp on to those mountains as you grasp them in tantrums

you need so much god damn attention

the blonde-haired blue-eyed boys and the sexual shape of video cameras
this one goes out to the friends i’ve lost
desperate and scared amongst the grey smog and the pedophile buildings

i can hear you laughing at all of this, California
stop swallowing my friends, California
your jewel heart fell into the Pacific Ocean
and my friends are lost, manic and drugged in your vicious riptides
you digest them in your swollen valleys
they waste away, going nowhere in rush hour traffic
listening to catchy horror music on the radio

oh, the California radio! it tastes of silicone
it burns like vodka tonics and the Beverly Hills Hotel
they are all just prisoners there; of their own device
into your guts they go; an assembly line of starry-eyed followers
into the factory; to be printed like Marilyn, to be loved like Jackie,
to be shot like Kennedy
i can’t stop them
they are scared and horny and thinking with their adolescence
they are less reckless, and more self-mutilating

California, i can see the scars underneath your breasts
i can taste the cheap boxed wine on your breath
your eyes are busy telephone wires for crow’s feet to rest on
you’re so skinny
i can see right through you
i don’t care
just please
California, stop swallowing my friends

“Denver is lonesome for her heroes,”
and you are just hungry for your villains

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “ANXIETY AT THE HOUSE CAFE”