STUPEFACTION/

stupefaction/ the act of being stupified/ the art of allowing your power to be turned off/ the dance of dissolving into the group/ disconnection from society/ disenchantment/ disengagement/ love lost/ heart gone/ your breaths go shallow/ your eyes roll back in your head/ you wake up in a national chain hotel with nothing but your socks on/ you go over and open the blinds/ you stare out at a brick wall/ stupefaction/ the process of throwing away one of life’s greatest gifts/ the evolution from man to straw man/ from man to tin man/ from lion to coward/ to give your spare change to a thief/ to toss your winning lottery ticket in the garbage/ to truly decide to not exist and to not take the opportunity to exist/ to not speak up in public/ to not sing during sex/ to not make love/ to not make anything/ to take your leftover ideas and wash them down the kitchen sink and turn the garbage disposal on/ to leave your mind out in the sun too long like a dried out sponge/ to dismember your own limbs/ to smash the metaphorical lightbulb over your head with your sledgehammer hands/ stupefaction/ to look into the void of a human life and turn away/ to binge watch commercials for 100 years/ to dust your ceiling/ to confuse mindlessness with mindfulness/ to confuse a handshake with a shit show/ to remain unchanged/ to save up your pennies in your piggy bank/ then to smash said piggy bank/ to buy one’s self another piggy bank/ to cheat on time with an incredibly manipulative prostitute who is actually time in disguise/ stupefaction/ complete inaction/ and improper inaction/ to sit in the shower/ until the water goes cold/ then turns off/ then your lungs stop pumping/ then your heart stops churning/ then your life stops lifing/ the words stop wording/ and regret/ regret is the uneaten peach/ so dare eat the peach/ choose/ anything/ but stupefaction/ period.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “THE MAN FROM THE FUTURE”

A BEAR IN TOKYO

a factory in denver. we arrived at the manic disco like roided out bulls entering an interstellar china shop. we meandered through the crowd of fairies and monsters
and pushed as close to the alter as we could. all around us faces were crashing together like bangkok cars. there were snake charmers floating up the walls; paid entertainment for the day glow princesses and the queens and kings of the beat. we found our seat and met rabbit who offered to take us with him on his journey but we told him we weren’t big fans of wonderland and were happy just staying where we were, amongst the digital ocean waves and the illusions of heaven. amongst the dirty vibrations and the organic computers of seratonin we hid our beers in the corner where no one would mess with them and we headed out to the dance floor where we swam the technological wavepool.

i was dressed as jack kerouac as usual and she was dressed as bohemian ingalls wilder. there was a group of hissing girls on the dance floor dressed like tim burton mean girls. they danced like sandworms in their black and white striped slinky dresses. fuck-me pocahantas was at the bar ordering a long island iced tea, she asked her boy galactus if he had eaten and he said no he was stuffed from eating planets all day.

i breathed. just took a minute to breathe. i wasn’t used to this much energy. it was a bit overwhelming, like being at a city zoo in a different galaxy. saturn was out on the dance floor spinning her rings and her boy was watching in awe from the sidelines of the space gym. dj gnome was twisting the color of the room so it sounded less red and more blue. i kept breathing, and looking over i realized that i was the luckiest guy in the room, having the company of bohemian ingalls wilder. i asked her how she was doing and she said “fine” like none of this could break her zen. i was so in love. the idea of someone who could meditate at a circus like this was something to admire and something i wanted in my own life. i myself always fluctuate between dalai lama and mad scientist. between cool hand luke and yosemite sam. in a sense, i’m a basket case, but she seemed to be the apples i was looking for to fill the bushel of my psyche.

the red room was spinning. the day glow princess and her royal party hovered over the room looking down at us like electric greek gods. saturn was still spinning her rings. i was getting tired which means i needed to push myself a lot further down the beer spectrum if i had any chance of surviving the evening. i excused myself from boho ingalls wilder and went to the corner where i chugged down three of my cervezas like it was the end of the world party, and for all i knew it was. i felt like i was on the inside of a television. even the walls with all their wiring and weird technology looked like the clockwork guts of a tv. my stomach felt overloaded as i finished the last beer. it was then miss mayor of fuzzytown found me, wearing her official fuzzy sport coat. “hi” she said. “hi” i said. “touch my arm” she said. “why?” i said. “just trust me.” never being one to distrust i placed my palm flat against her forearm and looked into her cosmic empty eyes. i was not attracted to this woman, but it was clear she was attracted to me. why was i so trusting to do what this stranger asked of me? i guess it’s just this writer’s curse: carpe fabula, seize the story. I could never say no to people. “come sit with me” she said. “okay” of course i said. she took me to the next room, less astrological, but far more menacing than the former. the paintings seemed to be changing, mingling with each other. she sat me down with a jester and a man wearing a burglar’s costume. “there must be some kind of way out of here” i said to them, pointing at the joker then the thief, but they didn’t catch on. these were supposed to be the brilliant minds, the enlightened souls, the kind eyes of modern times but it seemed to no one could muster up a damn conversation. i guess at the end of the day we’re all still millenials. we sat there watching act after act of the circus, miss mayor of fuzzytown just kept staring at me and i myself started to feel a bit odd. i knew i had to escape the clutches of this oversized couch. i saw a man, a normal looking young man staring at one of the paintings on the wall; i knew they wouldn’t be offended if i excused myself to go speak with him, so i did just that. he was the aura of normalcy i had been looking for.

i approached him from the side as he stared at a painting of a cow in space and another one of a bear in tokyo. tonight i related to these characters in these paintings. torn from my normal habitat i found myself thousands of miles away from home. i asked him which one he liked more.
“i can’t decide” he said, staring at me. “i want to buy one.” day glow princess had invited me here tonight, and i knew this was her home that these paintings helped pay for – this amazing factory of nonsense, so i went subtle salesman on this unsuspecting cat. “you should buy one” i said vigorously, as to be heard over the roaring music. “these are great.” “i can’t decide” he said again. “i like the bear better” i said. “i think i do too” i said. “maybe i’ll get both.” these paintings were a couple hundred bucks each. i was intrigued that in this room full of lavish bums there seemed to be a wealthy simpleton. “i want to buy one” he said again. “yeah, you said that” i said. “i want to buy one” he said again. i looked in his eyes and thus began my suspicions that this stranger was in fact a robot: with only so many preprogrammed phrases. “where you from?” i asked him. it was time to uncover the truth of it all. “chicago” he said. a robot factory in chicago, i thought to myself, but i couldn’t let him catch on to my feelings. i thought about bohemian ingalls wilder in the next room, realizing i had abandoned a beautiful red riding hood in a room full of wolves. i looked back over my shoulder. the robot man could see i was lost in something. “i’m sorry” i said “what brings you to denver?” “i like to travel” he said, not blinking his robot eyes. “i think i’ll buy one” he said again. “why denver?” i asked, preparing myself for his rant about how weed is legal here and there’s a cultural revolution afoot and how he just wanted to see it for himself “weed, honestly.” he said. i laughed. “yeah… we do have that here i said “chicago is so stuck up sometimes” he told me. maybe he wasn’t a robot after all. “everyone is moving so fast there and it’s almost as if everyone is in a silent battle with each other. denver is just so chill.”

i couldn’t argue with him. i loved this city. always had. it’s like this secret show for one of your favorite bands. all of the intimacy and joy you want and no one else has to know about it, but don’t tell anyone i told you that about denver. “i’m gonna get both” he said. “i think i’m gonna buy them” he said. “you should!” i said “i can grab mallory to check you out?” “i’m not sure if i’m gonna buy them” he said. “alright” i said. i had tried, but it seemed he wasn’t a human nor a robot. maybe an android. i couldn’t be bothered with his android problems anymore. i went back to bohemian ingalls wilder.

surprise surprise a man in ultraviolet briefs and a hugh hefner red robe had found a seat beside boho ingalls wilder. she had those big scared listening eyes as he explained to her the nature of the universe, how we are all one, how there is but one consciousness and she oh so politely took in the lesson, as if she hadn’t heard it all before. “hi” i said to him, politely, i did leave her alone in the room after all “hey i’m rocket” he said to me. of course he was rocket. “nice to meet you, rocket” i said “how do you know everyone?” “i don’t” he said “i was just over at eskimo bar across the street and heard music so i wandered on over here. the factory, day glow princess’s kingdom, had open admission to their events. anyone willing to pitch the few bucks could get in. it was a bit jarring to see these people at a birthday party, who were unaware it was someone’s birthday. rocket went right back to his pontification to boho. boho gave me the help me look. “wanna go grab another beer?” i asked her. “yes” she said.

we went to the bar this time. through the course of the evening i had killed the six pack i had snuck in. “two pbr’s” i said to the octopus bartender. boho gave me a look as the bartender fetched the beers with her tentacles. “what?” i said. “pbr’s?” she said “you hipster you.” “look” i said. “it’s not that i want to be a hipster. it’s just that i’m not rich enough not to be, if that makes sense.” she said nothing. she was one of those quiet ones where every thing she didn’t say could drive you crazy with curiosity.

“what do you say we sneak out back with these?” i asked her. “sounds good” she said. i threw the bartender the total and the best tip i could manage and boho ingalls wilder and i snuck behind a couple curtains, climbed a very unsafe ladder, and made our way up to the rough. i was feeling fairly romantic, and then i felt the midnight wind outside. i snuck up first, so i called down to boho and asked her if she minded. she didn’t mind. of course not. this girl wasn’t one to say no. the romantic man who lives in my heart was break dancing. we sat on the roof top on some wooden crates and we didn’t say much at all. i’d say we stared up at the stars but in the light pollution of denver there weren’t really too many stars to be seen. we watched the cars drive by below and then i looked over at her.

“i’ve got a question for you,” i said, gathering myself, “is this a date?”
she smiled. “a date?” she said.
“yeah” i said “i always do this to myself. i ask girls to go to things with me and i mean it to be a date but i never tell them it’s a date and i never know”
“you always ask girls on non-date?”
“that’s not what i mean. but is this a date?”
“no” she said “i didn’t think of this as a date.” the romantic man who lives in my heart proceeded to die of a heart attack.
“oh” i said, the saddest living man in denver.
“i’m sorry but my heart belongs to someone else” i wanted to think what she said there was stupid, a cheesy way of saying ‘i’m seeing someone’ but there was a sincerity there i knew not to fuck with. her heart really did belong to someone else. had i been trying to trick her into a date with me? why couldn’t i have just said ‘this is a date.’ that’s all i had to say.
“i appreciate you being honest,” i said.
“i try to be honest” she said, “i don’t like the games, you know?”
“yeah, me neither.” i looked up at the sky. “it’s still nice to get away from it all with you up here.” she smiled at me with that brutal sincerity.
“cheers” she said, gesturing her beer neck towards me.
“cheers” i said.

it was strange to think of the monsters lurking and the peacocks peacocking below us. the bass slipped through the ceiling to the roof but barely. everything in me felt like i should be in the mindset of disappointment, but escaped from the circus below, just sharing the company with such a beautiful person left me with very little to not be grateful for.

we winded our way back down the ladder. she took off, giving me the longest, most fearless hug i’ve ever received and i was left with the leftovers of madness. she had vanished. i made a pillow of my jacket and i fell asleep, wondering if i was entering or leaving a dream.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “ALARM CLOCK”

ENNUI

ennui

i didn’t sleep last night so of course i’m suffering from some god damn ennui. i didn’t know i was suffering from ennui until i stumbled across the word in a haruki murakami book and i had to google and i said oh yeah ennui, that’s me. good old ennui. stuck in the stale air of this room burning the same old incense along with this putrid midnight oil. listening to the same old jazz playlist that reminds me of max in australia and kathryn and logan in the bedrooms next store. i’m such an ungrateful bastard tonight. i’ve got food in the fridge and i’ve got music and yeah i’m professionally single but that’s not what’s bothering me but maybe it’s what’s bothering me. where ya at now, bukowski? with your it’s okay to be lonelies and your stare at the flower staring back at you. all i’ve got is the incense and the jazz and the cheap merlot and the ennui. the blues. whoever invented the ennui didn’t know about the blues and whoever invented the blues didn’t know the ennui. they kept to france and america, respectively.

i didn’t sleep last night. i just plugged away all day and i drove my drive and i read my lines and i stopped at the gas station for orange juice on the way home i think just to do something. just to escape my routine. maybe i should commit a crime. rob a bank in a nixon mask. run through the neighorhood in a monster mask. start a revolution in a guy fawkes mask. i need a mask. i need a sip of this cheap wine hold on.

i need to get rid of this god damn ennui. go to sleep they say. tomorrow’s a new day they say. yeah yeah. you’re not pacing around the room with this ennui riding your back. this incredible demon that spins the hour hands around your internal clocks. it laughs and laughs and chet baker you make no sense right now. how dare you interrupt my ennui with your singing and your playing and your romantic notions. you don’t get my ennui. but i know what a bastard you are behind that angelic costume you’re sporting. you’re not fooling me ya bastard with your trumpet solos. you’re probably chilling with bird right now you bastard. you’re probably knocking boots with marilyn or cleopatra or maybe you’re just sleeping. maybe you’re the one who stole my sleep. chet baker this one goes out to you. this is my sappy little ditty for you. filled to the brim with ennui and carlo rossi wine. ya bastard. you heartless cruel man. i just want to sleep i refuse i refuse. this damn ennui it’s killing me. it’s eating me from the inside out. this ebola. this demon spinning the clocks. this bull in my china shop. this ennui. what a dumb word. ennui. i don’t think it’s a word any more. it sounds fake to me. it sounds phony.

where’s my wanderlust. where the hell did i put my keys and where the hell did i put my wanderlust? did i leave it at the bar with my credit card and my dignity? did i waste a saturday night. oh good lord forgive me for wasting a saturday night. i’m just lying here in bed with my cheap ass wine and my girl ennui. my girl saturday. my neverending restless song. i’m gonna leave you fine folks to it now.

i’m still here. don’t get me wrong. but goodbye. i’m fine really. good bye.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “DIGITALLY MASTERED PHOTOGRAPHS”

LAUGHTER AT A FUNERAL

there is this old man, right. and his wife passes away and he can’t get over the grief of her
death so takes her cremated ashes and puts them inside of a mason jar and he takes that
thing with him everywhere he goes, except the fact that he never really goes much of
anywhere. he just sits around the house with the mason jar beside him on the couch
and he watches repeat episodes of the price is right and let’s make a deal and wheel
of fortune and just game shows all day long and his eyes twinkle at the success of the
people on the television screen and he turns to his wife’s ashes and he says “oh my lord, helen – did you see that? that man just won 50,000 big ones.” and helen, of course, says
nothing, because she is just a mason jar but not the way our old man sees it. he sees this as his only opportunity to hold onto the love of his life. the best way he can keep her alive without actually keeping her alive and god damnit, there’s not always something out there that you have to go seek out and find. yes, it’s important to meet people and see new places and gain new experiences but every single minute of this life is a new experience and sometimes you just find one you like, and sometimes that one that you like is the one where you and your loved one sit on the couch and watch game shows together. and after 50 years of that, that is the only life you need. that simplistic idea of home and safety, those paintings on the wall collecting dust and that water stain on the ceiling that’s been there forever are what you’ve made and that person you are with is the one that you give to. that’s fine. be like the old man. build a boat from scratch and then sail it until it gives out. no one ever talks about laughter at a funeral but it does exist. it should exist. this is all just a glimpse at what could happen and it passes so fucking fast so you have to take a minute to look around and see where you’re at and when you are and maybe who you are if you can swing the time but it moves fast and it’s all about saying goodbye to things and sometimes doing what you can so that you don’t have to say goodbye.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “OXYGEN LIMITLESS”

WATERING THE WALLFLOWER

is it a crime to be a wallflower? am i not allowed to sit and listen to the wallpaper listening to me? must my name be known? other people isn’t always the answer to a bad case of lonely. i can breathe with my mouth shut. my ears open like a great gramophone to the everything we are. we are we are. great big clouds melting and billowing and motioning omniscently across the sky. try and grab us and we disappear. i do not need my name 13 stories high over a grand old theater because every time i look up at the stars, i see my name in lights. i sway like a pendulum on a great grandfather clock. i sway like a dvd menu loop. like the electronic waves in a cheesy youtube meditation video. let me be. i let you be. do not grab me by the neck and throw me into the mosh pit. do not push me. i push myself. i pull myself. i water my kneecaps, i turn my palms up to the sun and wait patiently. an ancient dying man sitting at a closed down bus stop. desert dust and broken bottles of old granddad. let me be. please just let me be.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “A POEM BY HAN SHAN”

DINOSAURS

you know how they say that a picture is worth a thousand words? what happens when you rip a picture in half? is each half worth 500 words or do they each become worth a thousand? does it lose all value? a picture may be worth a thousand words but there is an aboriginal belief that a picture takes away a piece of your soul, so is a piece of your soul worth a thousand words? they say the soul is twenty one grams because when the average person dies they find that the body weighs that much less. so assuming that each gram constitute a piece of your soul, that means your soul is worth twenty one thousand words. the average novel is about sixty some odd thousand words. so if you get three people together, you have a novel. sounds about right. because when two people talk to each other, you have a conflict, but when three people talk, you’ve got something bigger to consider. that’s three short stories clashing together. that’s sixty-three thousand words. that’s sixty three pictures. when you times that by two billion, you get the world, and what you end up with is a big big big big mess, but certain souls weigh more than twenty-one grams. i believe that. some people feed their souls. as hemingway said, some people burn the fat off their souls. but they might replace that with muscle. there’s not much here. if anything i’m saying i want my soul to be a heavy one. i want my footprints to be deep. i want to scratch my name into the styrofoam to-go box and proclaim BRICE. B. R. I. C. E. Until time washes that away and all that is left is a fossil of my footprints in the earth, and they will blame it on the dinosaurs.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “ESCAPE FROM THE FILM NOIR CITY”

MISSION STREET BLUES

there’s a swarm of bees meandering the streets of san francisco. there’s women in homicidal heels and men in nothing too special. everyone’s got their hoods up and their eyes high and it’s making me sad that no one seems to have the time to look around. this city is on fire, desperate for attention. it’s beautiful. these buildings have scars all over them and they’re the good kind of scars, but everyone is just pushing the stroller. everyone is just carrying the bag. everyone looks too damn preoccupied with the inside of their heads to realize that there is a living thing surrounding them. clockwork. there’s hipster girls and gay boys in pairs. there’s peacoats and taxis and bars filled to the brim with chewing faces, beautiful asian women, beards and yeah, a few too many pairs of judgmental eyes. lights everywhere.

and i miss denver. this city makes denver look like a bad comedian but god, i miss denver. i miss my friends. i miss my family. i miss denver’s crooked smile and her warm heart and the barcade and sixteen street and the mountains.

i’ve got the golden gate bridge and the bay and the city and the hills and the smell of sea salt in the air and all i want is to lay down in my mediocre bed with denver. i want to sit in my basement apartment and talk until three in the morning with my friends and i want to listen to the beatles on my record player.

“i bet it’s snowing in denver,” says francis, facetiously and i say,
“i hope so. i love the snow. i love my city that doesn’t have a barney’s and doesn’t have an apple store the size of steve job’s ego and i love that we were almost the ones who travelled to the end of the world, but stopped because we remembered that sometimes being land-locked just means you’ve got four walls around you. sometimes living in a square state means you know your boundaries. you know when to call it a night and just lay down in front of a fire with the door cracked open.

don’t get me wrong, francis, you’re great. really, you are. you’re by far the curviest girl i’ve ever met. you’ve got a way better personality than los angeles and you have beautiful buildings flowing through your veins. and yeah, you’re really god damn progressive. you’ve got your shit together. but you’re the dream, and i want the reality. i want to settle down. you’re kind of an indie marilyn and i’m looking for a jackie-o. that’s all.

AND NOW WE PRAY

just thought i’d shoot from the hip today. last night, i drank some wine with some of my best friends, logan and emma. it was wonderful. we talked. just sat here in this basement apartment and exchanged stories and laughed and were as honest as people should always be.

this is what it’s all about, folks. i know there’s a big battle going on out there for the american throne, but while people are out there trying to choose coke or pepsi, trying to sway the wind in the direction they prefer, i think we’re missing out on something important. sometimes i think we get so hooked on foreign policy, we forget the most miniscule of domestic policy. how to talk to one another. i’m not the first one to say it, and i won’t be the last.

the elections always make me see this great polarization between people. all of a sudden we seem to be in a civil war with democrats versus republicans. the system isn’t perfect. if you can’t acknowledge that, then you’ve got some thinking to do, but what i know of this world is we are all radical agents of change. we were given the ability to think things into existence.

what i’m trying to get at is we should stop putting up signs about diversity, and start talking to people who are different than us, and we are all different. we are all some version of weird and some version of interesting. we are all a hodgepodge of stories waiting to be heard. all we can do is share experience to learn to love better.

treat people behind counters like human beings. call the people you love who are far away. call the ones who are close. meet your neighbors. respect everyone. i heard a poem once at the mercury cafe, here in denver, where the poet said “why is honoring your children not a commandment?” there is a lot of truth in that.

i’ve been having a rough time, lately. the writing hasn’t been coming as strongly. i’ve felt a very heavy boulder on my shoulders and i’ve tried so many things to cure what ails me. in the end, i know i need the people around me. buildings without people are just archaeology. a testament to what once happened there. it’s not a stage until the lights come up and someone says something to someone. kerouac says “because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. climb that goddamn mountain.” but i think it’s clear that mountain isn’t just hiking mount everest. it’s not going on a road trip to the end of the world. these things are important, but each time you talk to someone you’ve never talked to before, heart-to-heart, you are climbing that goddamn mountain.

i know this has all been said, but i don’t think you can hear it too much. this isn’t my normal type of post, but i never want to lie to my audience. i want to have heart-to-hearts with my readers, because i know no one cares how intelligent i can make myself seem. no one cares what the most interesting mask i can put on is. the trick is to rip the mask off. to rip off the cover of the book and start reading.

thanks for reading,
love,
brice

THE GRAFFITI ARTIST

He told me he was addicted to pain killers for over three years. He said it had been several months since he had taken any but he was still getting high off of the residual effects of the drugs in his system. He looked me in the eyes like he was afraid that he would feel everything again all at once. He said for years he wore too small of shoes. He said he would need major surgery to repair the overlapping and cracked bones of his feet. Said that without pain killers he would be in a wheelchair for several months teaching himself how to walk again. He said when he slept with all the girls that he did, he couldn’t feel a thing; said because of this he could go for hours. He told me about how all of the girls hated that. He told me they rarely got a satisfying response from his numb body. He was a high school student. Had been kicked of several schools for fighting. He talked to everyone in the same voice, in the same tone, about the same things, and he would talk as long as someone was listening. He told me he did graffiti. He taught me how to create a tag, and for the only night I ever spent talking to him, I watched him, without a hint of emotion, tell me everything; I felt, in a way, that I understood him better than myself.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “AND I START TO WONDER IF MY NICE LITTLE PILLS IN THE RED DESIGNER CONTAINER ARE STARTING TO CUT OFF MY ABILITY TO RAMBLE”