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. :)

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I AM AN APARTMENT BUILDING

i am an apartment building
way too new to look so old
the grass in my front yard
grows ancient and unkempt
it is manic vicious refuses to be cut
it climbs my stoop
where angry looking children
play dice games and punch each other
as hard as they can

my front door is red
you can see it from down the street
it sings like it wants something
it is trying to fill the unoccupied spaces
in my body

there are plenty of vacant spaces left within me
squatters decorate the rooms with their presence,
their knick knacks their petty sentimental garbage
and i’ve grown to cherish what they leave inside of me
if only temporarily

in the room of my head
there is a jazz club with a roof garden
the walls are rich thick wood
and the view is spectacular
the whole city is technicolor after a rainstorm from there

the jazz club is always kickin busy on the weekends
women in breathing black dresses sway to the wind blowing through
pulled along by men in nice suits with fancy hats
who know how to swing dance
they all appreciate the bass player
the way he tugs at his strings in the shadows
unseen but resonating in the blood of the party
the music is rarely driven by the words
it is all just tasteful chaos in here
on the best weekends the ghost of charlie parker comes
and plays his saxophone like he died doing that

the weekdays at the jazz club are hungover and dreary
the tables are messy, the help keep their hands full
clearing off the half full half empty wine glasses
they scrub the scuff marks out of the floors
they water the plants and they see the city around me
in the morning, when its ugly birthmarks are exposed
but they all find it beautiful and it is, just the same

in apartment number 303
there is a mad man, a painter, an artist
pacing like he, pacing like he, pacing like he
can’t finish his painting, he’s stuck, he can’t do it
he cringes in the empty corners, he holds his shins
he inspects the flecks of color on his denim jeans
he is neurotic, useless, talking to his easel and he
is lost, distant, unavailable, phone turned off, mailbox full
he has learned the art of not calling back credit card companies
he stares out windows like the world is staring in at him
he looks around paranoid for the telescopes and the spies
that probably aren’t there, but you can’t be too sure
he heard a crackle on the phone line, he keeps his chain lock on
and he has been known to play music to drown out the madness
of his babblings from the twisted ear listening in
he still hasn’t thought about his painting

in apartment 207
there’s a mother and a father with a brand new baby girl
and a jealous little boy who had to realize
there is a small possibility he is not the center of it all
they rock the little girl asleep and the boy goes out to the patio a lot
he watches the woman draining her soaked sheets the floor below
sometimes he’ll catch the rambling painter creating smoke above him
he looks out at the city like it isn’t real
like it’s something he made up to pass the time between now and then

the mother and father put the kids to bed at nine
the boy just lays awake restless in his dark bed
while the father puts a record on, gently places the needle
and him and the mother dance on yesterday’s newspaper
so they don’t spill wine on the rented carpet
they are careful not to wake their children with their need to love

the architect who designed this building must have been on drugs
there are staircases that don’t go anywhere
and there are attics where there should be basements
there are furnace rooms where there should be janitor closets
and there is this constant creaking
like the floors aren’t going to last much longer

in apartment 808
the bass bumps at inappropriate hours of the night
there is a black poet who lives there
who hums om to the radio until the frequencies pour through him
and he releases onto the white page of america
a cataclysmic inspired verse of devastating honesty
a drum beat manufactured from pieces of the artist soul
and held together with the glue of audacity
he carves his letters deep into the paper
in all caps with the taste of jaeger biting the ink

sometimes in the middle of the night
ghosts bang on his door, claw at the wood, moan in anger
but he never answers them, he just puts his headphones on
and sinks into the weight of horn-honking reality

in apartment 102
there is a 17 year old girl who ran away from home and lives alone
her boxes are half-unpacked and the rancid air is half-baked
as absurd as it sounds, she is building a tree in her windowless apartment
she is teaching it how to not need to be watered
but how to drink what is within you
she has a doll that she is teaching how to be a lady with your legs uncrossed
and how to love yourself more than anyone else ever could
because nothing is ever as unpredictable as someone else’s heart
she drew a painting of a window to hang on her wall
to feel like she can see what is outside of her room
there are mirrors all over her apartment, though she never looks in them

this building is not young
it has its history
there are plenty of people
who have been buried
beneath the floorboards
there is not really anything
to get bloodstains out of carpet

the ghosts they meander where and when they want to
they have no conception of daylight moonlight
they are not being afraid of being seen
they have learned that there is a beauty to be invisible
there is a certain power that comes with being dead
they mostly dance with one another
the hard part for them is always letting go
when the music stops, when that great something
evicts them from my apartment building

the wallpaper in the halls is peeling
the tenants take their hands and try to push it back up
but it wants to fall
reveal that beneath repetitive floral patterns
is porous walls that haven’t breathed in centuries

there is a great coat rack in the foyer
that will hold the hats of strange male guests
and the secrets of lonely old-fashioned women
it will hold the hands of crying honesty
and it will put your coat on your shoulders when you’re cold

in apartment 719
there is a couple that only leaves to let out the dog
to fetch the paper that they never read and to
buy the groceries that they’re so sick of buying
and they fight like the room had poisoned them
and they yell like they hoped someone would hear
the floor is broken dishes, the living room
is an out-of-business wedding chapel where they
look through old photographs that are starting
to not look like them anymore

in apartment 117
there is a back door that a tenant leaves unlocked
and on cold city nights, a couple sneaks in
and they lay on the bed that doesn’t have any sheets
and they take each other’s clothes off with their teeth
and they stare at each other naked and the talk to each other naked
and they find that after the roar of the heat of their sex
after they roll around on someone else’s bed
they find that they only want to stare at each other’s eyes
blinking and watching them dilate like ecstatic black holes
they leave scratches on each other’s backs
sometimes they write things in each other’s skin
“i would have kissed you while the twin towers fell”

sometimes they lay on their backs and watch the fan blades turn
in the heat of the summer they let open the back door
and they don’t worry about getting caught
because they haven’t really done anything wrong

the tenants change, the rooms get better then worse
the landlord mostly keeps out of the building
except for an occasional late night call
where he shows up with a flashlight and a wrench
and a midnight hangover to fix the frozen pipes

everyone shares the same washer and dryer there
everyone pays the rent as late as they possibly can
everyone knocks on someone else’s door at some point

i am not a model home
filled with hypnotic real estate agents
thick wallets yapping their mouths up and down
and little pieces of cheese pierced by toothpicks

i am not a suburban ranch style home
with sparkling floors and one family that i hold dearly

one of these nights
one of my tenants will be drunk and reckless
passed out in oblivion on some shitty couch
they will forget they turned the burner on
the hot stove will set fire to the walls
i will burn down and those who occupy me
will flee in quick fast lines
but once they are safe
they will turn and watch me go
taking with them what they can

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO

READ “WAKA”

CLEVER SALT SHAKERS

that poem’s gone
it was
good intentions

tonight
sitting in a
basement with tickering
lovebirds
it’s starting
to feel
like home
again

there’s a
paranoid hum
this
air conditioner
breeze about
but
that’s
probably just the
apparition of my
something

it’s starting
to feel
like home
in the
apartment
again

for a while there
the walls were
shifting
like
the inside
of a rubik’s
cube

my books
were going
missing
the sun
was a lamp
that could be
clicked on at
midnight

everyone, everywhere
ever
all at once
felt like
strangers
to me
but the adderall’s
dissolving
down
the
drain
and my eyes
and his eyes and her eyes are
smiling

i must have been
punch drunk on rust
and lust
for a month
but that

was two months
ago

a month long hangover
can be
a god damn rattlesnake
a
punch to the
throat

i’m barefoot at night with my
barefeet on the dizzy table

i want to paint a painting of this
painting on the wall

what i really wanna do is
kiss humor
in the back seat of a
cramped
compact
car

i can’t get over April
she’s this
lost month lump
in my throat
bermuda triangulation
i’m so lost at sea
let May crash on me like a
mack truck

i’m wearing my favorite jeans
hearing “Imagine” for the first time
skinny-dipping at
Sea World
i’m
dissolving
down
the
drain
like the Adderall

it’s starting to
feel like
home
in the
apartment
again
all the
junk the
laptops and
books and
bowls and
bags and
deceptively empty
Mountain Dews and junk
seems to be in
it’s place
again

there’s the air again

that computer
breath

(i don’t know where this is going)

but blindfolded
people are
often pushed
to
surprise parties.

the world isn’t
round

it falls off
at the
horizon of
neighbor’s fences
where we become
afraid
to talk to
the mutants in the mirror

it’s
starting
to feel
like home
in the
apartment
again

the whole place
swings
like a basonet

this thing’s gonna
end
like a crescendo

this apartment’s home and you all
are little kitschy items, snow-
globes and candy
tins, handsome whiskey
bottles and
clever salt shakers
sitting
on my
kitchen
shelf.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “EFFIGY”

SUBTERRANEA

for two years now i’ve been underground
residing in these mute walls
with the spiders and the earwigs
there’s no sun in here
only artificial light filters into this
artificial underground apartment
where i count the ceiling tiles over and over
at the end of the work day
that descent down the narrow stairs
is passage through a threshold
here in subterranea
the winters are a little colder
the summers are hotter
the furnace never shuts the hell up
always hissing and moaning
the air stale
underneath the furnace’s song
i can hear harsh footsteps above my head
in the middle of the night
the sound of earthworms crawling through the walls
it’s a well-furnished casket is what it is
it’s like living inside of my head
and somedays
stuck in subterranea
i just sit in the claustrophobic bathroom naked
and let the shower water run down
and the steam occupy the apartment
(when you’re trapped underground
this is sanctuary)

and the dishwasher runs
and the fan dances
and the tv talks to me
and he says to me
“none of us are alive in here”
and he says to me
“someone commits suicide once a minute”
the tv is no company at all
he is just the glare on the wall
in subterranea

somedays
subterranea can be a muse
occasionally the walls are warm
and subterranea opens its doors to my friends
and within subterranea we laugh and we share
but it’s just putting on a show
painting petrified wood walls
a skeleton putting on a wedding dress
as soon as they go
she’s naked to me again
the psychotic state of subterranea
it feeds my dark side
(but when you’ve been in pitch black so long
you’d give anything to be blinded in the sun)
subterranea is an ugly girl with a big heart
stubborn
a different animal

here in subterranea it’s always the witching hour
the fridge hums dumbly
my bed is cold
the poster faces i hang on the wall have shifty eyes
it’s only a matter of time before the pipes break
in rebellion and the whole thing is flooded
it’s only a matter of time before the nuclear family
reality upstairs falls through the ceiling-floor and
crushes me
these walls are getting smaller
i reside in a closed casket funeral
amongst the bugs and sad furniture
where playing old records only makes it lonelier
and god, do i love it here
it’s a dark abstract painting of peace
my own personal bermuda triangle
i’ll continue to hang my hat on its melting walls
because someday i’ll have to say goodbye
and someone somewhere i’ll never meet
will be the next lover-victim of
subterranea

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “TWILIGHT IN THE WORLD OF BALLOONS”