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”

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HAND TAKES WHEEL

it’s the return of the millenial landmineheaded boy poet
the child prodigy who can’t see the whiteboard from the back of the classroom
the rampaging aging bamboo tree that is thankful for the water it is given
and that is about all that it needs
quill and ink and scroll
hand takes the wheel and the rubber hits the asphalt
as the glove hits the face and the knuckles hit the teeth
and they’re off
pulling into the lead the inevitable truth of the brushstroke

he used the same damn toothbrush for so long until he got lucky
and he could afford a new one and he didn’t throw away the old one
he used it as a hodgepodge ghetto ass painting instrument
to flick the colors on the canvas with a lack of control
that ensured that he could never ever ever feel comfortable
taking credit for what he had done

any pieces of gold that got mixed in with the offbrand cereal vomit
was just luck
but he doesn’t believe in luck
and things are getting really confusing
but one thing is for certain
the little wooden horses are circling the little wooden track
and place your bets now, bukowski
because this dented up rocket ship is trying to fly
antigravity words pushing through blackholes
and coming out floating amongst the cosmos of the twittersphere

(a flower grows
in post-apocalyptic america
and it wants you to know
yes
undoubtedly
singing to a flower
will always help it
to grow)

and the weatherman says
flash flooding expected in the west
today
wear a coat
and
do not drown

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “NAGASAKI BABY”

POEM FOR A LOVER IN MY FUTURE

when i lay
my head down
against your
bare stomach
i can hear
worlds turning
within you.

the way
shells contain
oceans
distant and quiet
is the same way
that you
provide for me
free radio
free justification
of every life decision
that has led me
and more specifically
my ear
to lean
against your stomach
like we are
pieces of fruit
in a still life painting
as the art museum
burns down around us.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

THE BLUEST SKY THAT YOU COULD MAKE FROM SCRATCH.

there is a dog in the yard
on a leash that is tied
to a tree
and it’s trying to get away

the sprinklers are running

there is a white fence
there are cars driving by
and there you are
behind it all
staring out of a window

staring out at the flies dying
the concrete heating in the sun
the bicycle tied endlessly
to a telephone pole with one tire
never to be rescued

you are staring out at the birds
shitting on your driveway
and the dandelion poofs that just
float on by
the ones that don’t give a shit about you

and you are still sitting there
behind that window
behind that prison of a window
where you just do nothing
just wait for the mailman to stop by
with a big brown box
and inside of that box
is the dream that you ordered
when you were a twelve year old girl
and it fits just right
red and slinky and crawling down to the floor
it fits you
like it was tailored perfectly to you
and you deserve it
for all your hard work
all the days you’ve put in
all the tears you’ve cried
and the sweat that you have sweat
this dream is yours

don’t wear it in the rain
it might shrink
it might get dirty

do you even remember how to jump in puddles?
do you even remember what a mistake tastes like?
do you even remember how sexy a voice can be
when it is hoarse
and dry
and thirsty
for someone
or something?
do you even remember what it feels like
to taste a cake that you baked yourself?

you just dance on the roof of this house
that someone else built with their hands
with your dream
your pretty red silk dream
amongst the white cotton ball clouds
and the bluest sky you have ever seen

the bluest sky that you could make from scratch

if you look there
across the way
you’ll see an apartment complex
and on that third story there
in the window
is a man sitting exhausted
at a computer screen
crunching numbers
his eyes swollen and red
his fingers moving like legs
on a thirty day hike to survive
do you see him?
or is he an invisible ship
crashing onto your shallow shore?

he is looking for the right algorithm
he is putting pennies into the machine
hoping that the copper can form pipes
pipes that can send water
where water is needed

he is ticking away
like a time bomb
he just moves on
to the next sentence
and you are so pleased with yourself
congressional medal of honor
for the way you sat at that window
waiting for life to come to you
shrink wrapped
bubble wrapped
preserved on ice
but never fresh
never raw
never wriggling in your soft hands
just served on a silver platter
that someone else made

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “CONVERSATIONS WITH BRIAN ENO.”

MY NIGHT WITH A CUMULONIMBUS CLOUD

i hope you’re happy
i can’t go to sleep because of you
i can’t even close my eyes because of you

i can’t dream because of you
i can’t reset my soul
or digest my day
or forget the moments of terror because of you

i can’t shake these grasshoppers in my jar
i can’t shut off the rush hour traffic in my head
this red eye flight seven-thirty-seven
crashing against the wall of my skull
i can’t float down this night river because of you

i can’t sleep with the television turned off
i can’t sleep with the television turned on
i can’t god damn do a thing but type this god damn
poem
this stupid fucking poem and my eyes are so heavy
and my neck is so soar
and the nightmares just float on the ceiling of my room
and the ghosts of my ex-girlfriends lay starry-eyed beside me

it’s all backwards
someone left the fridge open
i can’t get out of bed
the house is so god damn cold
i can’t stop thinking about you
i can’t forget this adolescent reckless rock opera
that i spewed at you as if i could carve you into loving me
with the sound of my voice
and this was ages ago
and who you are is ambiguous
even to me
nothing is clear
i’m just living inside of this heckling
cumulonimbus cloud
this cumulonimbus cloud that just fucks with me
and i’m drowsy
nyquil drowsy
driving on coffee fumes through utah at night drowsy
less than a quarter tank of gas
and it’s running out
the belligerence in requiem form
i can feel it running out
but my old bones in my young skin still ache
my old soul in my battered rib cages still coughs
and sits by my fireplace heart
and rocks in his cliche rocking chair
and why won’t you let me sleep?
i just wanna sleep
i just want need to not be in this world
for a few hours
eight or six
i’d even settle for four
anything
to help me remember how much i love this world
anything
to help me remember
and to provide the eulogy
for this ugly cloud
this stupid cloud that just thunders
and never has the courage to lightning

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “HIROH KAKAI”

BUILD MUSCLE

When I was in high school, I was a skinny, skinny kid. You could see my ribs. I had chicken legs, and I could eat anything I wanted whenever I wanted, then puberty hit me like the prodigal piano falling from the sky. I gained a lot of weight. When I was 18, I was working at the movie theater, living on a diet of buttered popcorn and raspberry Italian sodas. I had never learned how to regulate what I ate. It was irrelevant to me. I kind of had a hard time in my early twenties and just kind of lived carelessly, day-to-day, and it reflected in my weight.

Then I decided to try to change that. A couple years ago, I was proud of myself for losing thirty pounds through a summer of tennis, good eating habits and Power 90, but alas somewhere along the way I learned when you’re working out, you need protein; all I heard was I can eat hamburgers, and next thing I knew I was back to my old habits.

I wanted to be skinny again. I wanted to be my old self again. I missed how I looked. I knew myself as skinny Brice, and I thought I’ve myself as the artist formerly known as skinny Brice, but something happened to me a few months ago.

I looked in the mirror and I noticed that I am a wide person. I have very broad shoulders and hips and I basically have the body structure of a dictionary, and I realized, I don’t want to be skinny – I want to be strong.

SInce then, I’ve started focusing more on lifting weights, building muscle, and God, it’s a beautiful thing that fat turns into muscle. I can see myself getting stronger, and it makes me feel so much better. I can see what I’ve been through in my arms, in my chest, in my legs.

But this post isn’t a fitness post. This is not a health blog.

What I’ve realized is what this really means to me.

Before, all I wanted to do was get rid of every ounce of fat on my body, and it never worked. I’d always lose momentum along the way. What I know now is that I want to take what I’ve been, and become something I never thought I could be. I want to become stronger.

Tragedy is tragic. The news is dripping with it, it feels like. Bombings. Shootings. War. I feel like the aisle of our country is parting like evaporating ocean, and today it became the most overwhelming it’s become. I just wanted to separate from it. To remove this toxic fat off my body. Take a knife and tear it off from the fibers, but I can’t do that. We can’t do that.

You cannot remove something from who you are, as much as plastic surgery would have you believe you can. You have to do something with it. Race has come up lately. Trayvon Martin died, and it has changed things. There’s those hairs that raise on the back of your neck after a storm passes.

I was walking to the gym the day after the passing of the final verdict of the Trayvon Martin case, when I came upon a twentysomething black kid walking down the street, and I could tell there was something there. Indescribable almost. To be following him down the road the day after that case was plastered on every lit up screen was bizarre. That’s the only word I can say for it. It was almost surreal. I wanted to say something, but what would I say? How do you act like nothing has happened?

I didn’t say anything. I just walked by. I should have said something. I’m shy, yes, but I should have said something. Just said hey how’s it going. Anything, but there I was, trying to cut off that fat instead of turning it into muscle. Choosing complacency over courage. Ignoring what was there instead of grabbing it and ringing it out like a towel.

Today I was driving home from the store when the car in front of me broke down. I drove around this elderly woman, bewildered behind the wheel and thought to myself

I should help her.

I don’t know what I could do for her though.

She probably has a phone.

It couldn’t hurt to offer to help her.

But my light turned green and I drove off. Coward, I thought. I circled the block, and came back behind her. I got out of my car and went to help her, but she was gone. I wish my impulse would have been to help. I wish I knew what to do right away.

The fact of the matter is our gut isn’t always right. Trust me. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. Your instinct is often wrong. That’s why when you approach that good-looking person, you think of what to say afterwards. That’s why you think of the perfect witty retort as soon as your competitive coworker walks away. Your gut is not always right. In fact, it is often wrong.

That is why we have to build muscle. We have to train ourselves to do what is best for ourselves. Pain, pain, pain, pain, then pleasure. We have to reach further then we think we can. You have to stretch your muscle to the point of discomfort so it will grow, and after you do, you will feel so good. So good. The best high there is is the way you feel after you do the right thing, but there’s a hangover. You will be sore the next day. We question even the hero in ourselves.

Hero, admittedly, is the wrong word. This all is about being a good fucking human being. For yourself, if for no one else. Do it for the feeling that you did the right thing. You might even find that the smile on the person’s face who you talk to, who you invite into your life, who you help change the busted tired of – that smile may be what you remember, not how awesome you are. I bet you quickly forget about yourself as soon as you realize how they feel. When you recognize them as someone outside of you that you have affected for the better.

We have to build muscle. To rearrange the old cliche a bit, buy someone a fishing pole, not a fish dinner. Buy seeds, not tomatoes. Invest in your future happiness. Don’t throw makeup on the ugly parts of the world. Show them how they can be beautiful.

Don’t burn bridges. Create scenic routes. Get in your car. Drive aimlessly. Meet someone new. Spend some time alone. Do something. Do anything. Don’t sit around starving yourself. Turn what’s in your stomach into energy and turn that energy into force and force blood to your arms, your legs, your heart. Never forget your heart. Don’t lose weight. You should carry that with you always. Don’t lose weight. Don’t cut off your fat. Build muscle.

FOUR BEERS IN AT THE IRISH ROVER (TWENTYSOMETHING IN THE CONFESSIONAL)

i’m stuck in the eye of the storm of my twenties
the wind has all but stopped
but the well is overflowing with craft beers and conversation
vacationing on the island of Denver
summer sun setting on certain opportunities as the opalescent moon rises
a moon that shines like a chunk of my soul set on fire and tossed into orbit
as my mouth waxes and wanes
letting in the words I won’t soon forget and letting out the thoughts I hope the world accepts
praying on my knees above broadway
a floating raconteur, a child blown by the wind torn between utter consuming chaos and financial responsibility
i love the way the void tastes
as i chase this shot of confusion with an ice cold glass of inevitability
who am I are we?
what channels will I subscribe to and where does the wheel stop
i spin that mother fucker hard with intention but that same moon spins winds that no amount of muscle can withhold
let it be
let the chips falls as they will
as I hold the door open for myself
forever the gentleman

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

AN EMPTY ORCHESTRA.

i was put on this earth to bang my head endlessly against the keyboard
to splatter pollack jizz on white white white white paper and to listen
to jazz alone in rooms with no windows and ageless space and dull air
air that’s been processed far too many times in and out of my lungs
exhausted carbon dioxide monoxide dihydrogen oxide and blood
these walls they bump like raised veins through skin and my lonely om
is the tone that brings them so close to climax in this heroin binge
this lapdance to the past half of my life as i approach sigh my
quarter life crisis

i was put on this earth to bang my head endlessly against the keyboard
and walk down endless sidewalk approaching dawns and dusks that want
absolutely freaking nothing to do with me the sun is far too busy
trying to keep up with his endless addendum to wonder about me
don’t you worry about me, darling, i’m just fine swimming in the tempest
in my teacup, the sound of howling wolves echoes through porcelain skulls
turned upside down and as i lay in this mug that says “life’s a bitch” on it
i stare up at the night stars of moab and realize that we are just as close
as we are far from this timeless waltz, timeless waltz, timeless waltz
this masquerade of atoms in the eve, bowing and curtsying in the garden of eden
we keep digging for the garden in the middle east with guns like shovels
and diplomacy like pails but our king’s cup runneth over, our holy grail
spilleth in rivers of blood as baby moses is swept away into the dead sea
when really we should turn our eyes to the skies and see that peace is floating

it is orbital, it is all around us, the intentional space between the skydiamonds
that do not compare how bright they shine they just be and burn the midnight oil
of themselves and we trek to work to make the coffee to fax the paper to
shake the hands to kiss the ass to assist the customer to spin in chairs and
try to mimick the gravity of being shot into space but we just wear our monkey
suits to work and trek to giant metal death machines through energy drive thrus
and past last call and we cheers our glasses to fiscal responsibility while the
karaoke machine just cries in the corner. an electric death. an empty orchestra.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “SINATRA ON THE MOON”