DOING THE DISHES

on a sunday afternoon
white light peaks into the window
as i scrub cheese off of a plate
peanut butter out of a bowl
rinse tea from a coffee cup
when the water gets backed up
i run the garbage disposal
and watch as it all fades away
into whatever is on the other side
the kitchen is dim and quiet
my feet bare and sticky on the floor
i am at peace
and then bam
a flash overcomes me
and my third eye opens
suns and moons spiraling within it
i see the everything
and the everything sees me
my arms become giant wings
my heart grows into a great garden of trees
my feet lift from the sticky ground
my eyes roll back and my pruned finger tips
touch the clouds touch the ribcage of god
i am one with the nothing
and the nothing is one with me
my bloods rages with true compassion
my breaths grow deep
i breathe in the green grass of Kyoto
i breathe out the smokestacks of America
i am a great beacon of all that ever was
and all that ever will be
and then i realize we are out of dishwasher detergent
and i should run by the store to get some

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

AND SOMETIMES I ASSUME THE CHARACTER

and sometimes i assume the character
i smoke, i drink, i curse the heavens
as i pace back and forth before this old typewriter
like a black cat, ice clinking in my whiskey glass
i listen to jazz, i light a candle
i stare out the window at the sonic moon
i clear my throat, i crumple papers
i throw crumpled papers into a wastebasket
i spit into the wastebasket
i bite the tip of my glasses
i talk to myself and i say to myself
what are you doing with your time, man?
tossing papers into wastebaskets?
pretending to be this outdated caricature?
come on.
it’s time to grow up, man.
i worry about you, man.
i’m losing sight of you.
and then i say
i’m still here.
i am still here,
and i pull the papers from the wastebasket
and i cut up the words
i put my glasses back on
i clear my throat
i close the blinds from the moon
i blow out the candle
i turn off the jazz and listen to my fingertips
i put down the whiskey
and i thank the heavens
that i have returned
the prodigal son of poetry
and those cut up words shine like grace
they shine like dust in sunlight
brighter than a hangover
holier than television
i realize
i have returned
to take this fraudulent hipster me by the neck
and strangle it with my giant hands
until its last false breath vanishes
and the words are there
and everything is illuminated
and then it’s over

and when it’s over
i sleep a deep sleep
for one thousand years
in the honesty of my bed

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

SMOKES WHEN DRINKING

i wander barefoot into the cold night
little rocks beneath my calloused feet
peacoat and boxers and tipsy
i shuffle through the obnoxious wind
badgering me for bus fare and attention
i disregard the human beings on patios
that stare on from lawn chairs
beneath glowing horsefly light
my shadows morphing, laughing
as i shuffle madly through the evening
i am aware of the monster
that i am right now thank you
headlights and ambulance sirens
death is around i can hear him stalking
but i’m a couple in and i want to smoke
i’m not much of a smoker normally
don’t got enough commitment
but i do want my damn cigarettes
and this cost (which is a cost)
is not too high so i push through the void
in search of the vice
to help me to continue to push through
the void

beautiful unsober evening
i am in love with your species
your genus, your family, your order
your class, phylum, kingdom
of love and temperance

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

LULLABY FOR NEW YORK CITY

they say that you never sleep
that you’re a restless insomniac
pacing eyes wide open around your tiny apartment
looking out the window
not suicidal, but kind of curious what would happen
if you jumped

this is me saying
that if you want to lay on my couch and close your eyes for a minute
that’s okay with me

yes i know we’ve never met
yes i’m aware how creepy that makes me seem
but you’re beautiful

well
i know you’re photogenic
your eyes sing electric
your veins pulsate with life
you stand tall
like an old woman who hasn’t forgotten the value of posture
of asserting your power
of letting the world hear the roar of your subway arteries
to feel the steam that pours out from the holes in your skin
your bloodshot eyes twinkle

i can hear fuzzy radio in windows
i can hear back alley whispers
i can hear the distorted blackbox beneath the debris
it keeps you up at night i know
the room spinning like a mobile above your bed
a gospel chorus of two thousand nine hundred and ninety six ghosts

i can see the scars beneath the bandaids
i can hear the crick in your bones
i can see the limp in your step, the shell shock in your eyes

this is me saying
if you want to lay on my couch and close your eyes for a minute
that’s okay with me

exhaustion reminds us
that we’re supposed to stop and dream

close your eyes

que sueñes con los angelitos

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

ALL-AMERICAN BOY

he’s an all-american boy
serves his country
loves his patiently waiting wife
red meat blue beer
gun shooting
flag waving
all-american boy
church on sundays
drives his hummer
blasting bruce springsteen
motor purring loudly

and at the end of the night
he goes home
closes the bedroom door
and he puts on the reddest of lipsticks
and slips into his  favorie lingerie
and he dances to gaga

he dances to gaga
like his life depends on it
like his rhythm could break borders
and end this endless war

as the world watches
this eternal bloody soap opera
he dances a dance all his own
no one to ask
no one to tell
this all-american boy

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

ALASKAN SUMMER

what if we could still the ocean?

what if we all stood still for one damn moment?

what if we used our weight to hold back the heavy hands of time

instead of spinning forward the hands faster and faster

faster and faster and faster still

one hundred cups of coffee

one thousand pounds of heaven

one million gallons of gasoline

we drive we drive we drive into the night

blindfolded behind the wheel of a jetplane

we crash into morning like a plane into a building

like an alaskan summer we live for six months straight

and try to forget the dark days we dive into

we are lost and kind of happy

we are lost and kinda something

but it’s time to call it a night

i gotta be up early

and i’ve been up all night watching old home movies

of us traveling through Love

the trees blur by outside the car window

but the scent of the evergreens is lost on film

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

YOU AND ME AND US

i am a country at war with myself
i am removing my legs with my arms
and my arms with my teeth
and reassembling myself to resemble
someone i know longer recognize

that’s the point of this
you douse yourself in kerosene
strike a match
and bam
incendiary symphony
that’s what i do
that’s what i have always done

you are a blur in drunken traffic
you are as fleeting as america
and as blissful
as it is advertised
to be
you are a great machine of love
and i feed nickel after nickel
into your slots
sipping on this free drink
in some shoddy casino
in nowhere, nevada

and we are alone together
well, we are on camera
so there is that

we go together
like war and violence
like those black and white dots
on television screens
constantly frantically in motion
just pushing aimless amongst the static
never still
but never touching
that is you and i
two atoms
forever in motion
incapable
of stopping
two atoms
incapable
of stopping
of stopping
incapable.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

SKELETON QUESTIONS

if my skin vanished like a styrofoam plate on a hot burner
if my muscles began to wriggle down my body like slugs escaping
if my veins and arteries and capillaries
all wound up like a tape measure into my heart
and then i loaded my heart into a potato gun
and shot it straight up into space

if i plucked out both of my eyes with my fingers
unscrewed the top of my mason jar head removed my brain
and donated it in the name of scientific progress
if i tore off my tendons and ligaments
filled my lungs with hydrogen tied them tight with a string at one end
and let them float off into space like two really creepy balloons
if i made my intestines into a giant rubber band ball
and kicked it into the atlantic ocean at night
if i threw my liver my spleen my kidneys my stomach
my bladder my diaphragm my apendix my pancreas
into a shopping cart and pushed it over a cliff

if i stood before you some strangely joyous skeleton
would you still love me?
where does the soul reside?
where is the heart, the actual heart, the
heart of the heart?
where does the soul reside?
i will remove the phalanges
the metacarpals the carpals that type this poem
i will rip out the pharynx the larynx that sings to you
to try and find where the song comes from
where is the heart of the heart?

what is the ghost hand that squeezes the heart like a stress ball?

what generator generates the static electricity of a kiss?

these questions aren’t easy
these are questions for skeletons
and i am warm and typing and breathing
and beating and thinking and blinking and blinking
and i am no skeleton today
but maybe i should be practicing
going to skeleton classes trying to figure out
how to be a skeleton
how love is eternal when on a long enough timeline
most of us are already dead
most of us are skeletons
unprepared to answer these skeleton questions of love and loss.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015