RECTANGLE STATE

i am enchanted in waiting
i make sandwiches
run rubber erasers across paper
i draw a dot drawing of your face
made up of one million dots
congregating to form my memory of you
as you are gone
lost at a crossroads
i worship your shadow
realizing not even the sun
can capture you

i understand you may never happen
you may get lost in a whirlwind
me lost in another whirlwind
not a single raindrop of intersectionality
but we can hope adjacent whirlwinds
i like your whirlwind adjacent to mine

i send you short love letters
you send me love
my tongue is colloidal silver sure
but my heart is stained blue
and meanwhile yours is an open locket
mine need crowbar mine need leverage
maybe your leverage the best leverage
of your hand on mine on the crowbar

i drive in circles in a rectangle state
i listen to andrea gibsons breaths in my car
i dream of you counting her breaths beside me
driving in circles in a rectangle state
love is sometimes
that’s it sorry
love is sometimes and i am saturday morning
poem leaking faucet
and the faucet keeps leaking
and some nights it keeps me up
with its potential to change
but most nights the fact it is there
is enough to put me to sleep
in your arms
which may or may not be

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

AQUARIUM

i went to the aquarium recently
and as i stood there staring at the jellyfish
the eels the sharks all pushing through the water
on the other side of the cinematic glass
i saw a boy
and he stared right back at me

he did not swim
he did not wear any kind of apparatus
to help him breathe he just walked across the floor of this
small segment of the ocean like a polaroid photo where
he ended where the edges were, he moved in blurs
like someone shook the photo too hard
amongst the aquamarine blue depth he just stared back
we did not speak but we heard everything we said to each other
he told me the water was cold, he told me the days were long
he told me that most people didn’t even notice him
they were too consumed by their camera phones
to utilize the reels collecting dust in their photographic memories

as i walked away he walked away too
out of this snapshot of the ocean
and back into the sunlight where my gills disappear
and i am just and only and less than
but the boy in the aquarium and i
we both know better than that

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

HOCHSTETLER

i cut through twelve hundred city blocks
nine thousand stop lights fifteen thousand
stores eighteen hundred coffee shops
busted through fourteen million crowds
seventy-seven planets twenty-three
galaxies i took a bus during rush hour
a cab during prime hours i sat on
a greyhound from saturn to jupiter
i begged for change from a rabid dog
i did three thousand push-ups in
exchange for a bed i stole a kid’s
bicycle i lived on a farm for a month
with an amish couple with a three-
legged cat named hochstetler just to borrow
their carriage to get into town to call a
friend who let me sleep on his futon i read
through twelve phone books looking for your
number i walked across hot coals
in india in exchange for a map i
literally gave a man the shirt off
my back in exchange for the piece
i was missing to build a time machine
to go back to the appropriate year just
to give you this poem that i wrote
for you because one night when you
were drunk you said i’d write a poem
about you and i did so here you go
i hope you like it.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

BISHOP’S CASTLE

bishop's castle

in the wet mountains of southern colorado
in the san isabel national forest
a man named Jim Bishop
decided he wanted to build a castle

at the age of fifteen
Jim Bishop payed $450
for a two and a half acre
parcel of land
he earned the money
by mowing lawns,
being a paperboy
and working with his father
on the family business
of iron

jim dropped out of school
after a teacher yelled at him
“you’ll never amount to anything,
Jim Bishop!”
but Jim Bishop didn’t hear that at all

Jim Bishop began building a cottage at 25
and since rocks were free and in abundance
he decided to build a stone cottage
people around him would say to him
“wow, Jim, are you building a castle?”
and he heard it too much for the answer to remain no

over many summers
stone by stone
Jim Bishop turned his endless insatiability
into in a castle in the mountains
towers 160 feet high
it still stands to this day

everyone tried to stop Jim Bishop
his teacher, society
even the government tried to halt him

that to me is the american dream
not letting anyone or anything get in your way
including america

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

Jim Bishop is currently in a very hard battle against cancer. To donate to help him and his loved ones through this, please visit this site.

THE LIGHTBULB IS ALWAYS ON

the vandals came in the darkness and spraypainted colorado white
i wake up and its winter again
colorado is like that
teasing you with summer and then all of a sudden bam its frozen all over
it’s like being inside of a broken freezer
intermittently glitching on and off, but the lightbulb is always on
even when you close the door
but this is how we live our lives here: ready for anything
we wake up each day different creatures, creatures of habit

today i stay in and read fahrenheit 451
tomorrow i burn down the churches that have set love on fire
today i sleep and make dreams unseen
tomorrow i drag those dreams by their dead boots into living reality

we rinse and we repeat
we do what others are afraid to do
we live in a landlocked state
but we send waves to all of the oceans

i bounce back and forth between boulder and denver
between spirituality and humanity
between a mountain town and a mountain city
between the mountains and the city
i sit in the sand dunes amongst the impermanence
i see the ghostly bodies swinging from the clocktower
i bike down the yellowed platte river into the emerald city
i listen to local bands stuck on i70 on my way to d.i.a.
i get ragedrunk on pbr at three kings
i smoke a joint with anarchist jesters outside of mutiny now
not mutiny later mutiny next week not mutiny soon
mutiny now i mourn the death of atomic records
jerry’s records paris on the platte

i watch as the rest of the world discovers the city
i’ve always loved
like the girl i was infatuated with in high school
before she took her glasses off
before she got sexy and cool and well-marketed
but now the tourists come pouring in to new amsterdam

i go grocery shopping at 1 in the morning
in a hoody and gym shorts and flip flops
and i laugh at the man in line
straight out of an eddie bauer catalog
buying a cooler a bag of ice and cold cuts

i drive home from the grocery store at 1 something in the morning
and i see those blue and yellow lights out of the void of the darkness
the snowplows, the great guardian angels of the night who clear the roads
they remind us that even when colorado is shaken up like an etch-a-sketch
they will be there to draw the lines across this red rectangle of ours

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

10TH & OSAGE

the night rolls on
like a silent film

it flickers like old home movies

and i am shadow
void of vocal cords

i am lost in denver
in love with denver
awake in denver
forever in denver

where life is
the slowest american speed
possible

where you be
and people accept that you be
where stages erupt with talent
in the shittiest of dive bars
underwater

just waiting for the wave to crash
this giant frozen wave
this tsunami lost in time

lost in denver
love with denver
awake in denver
forever in denver

in love with the story
that it weaves around me
in love with love
and you
uncatchable jellyfish
away from denver

the north star forever in motion
one thousand lives away

that is you
and i am astronaut
space cadet
chasing infinity by the tail

circles in the sand
lost in denver
where lights reflect on lights
where we cannot see truth
so we make our own
from whiskey and fire
from moonlight and confusion
and death sets in the west
just down the california way
but we lay on the frozen grass
and don’t think about it
we just hold our breath
and count the stars
and lose count
and don’t start over
when we lose count

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “YOU PAINT YOURSELF IN RED AND I PAINT MYSELF IN BLUE”

THE CITY AND THE MOUNTAIN

your love eclipses me like a shadow
like six months of winter
like warm death and whiskey dreams
your snow falls like fragments of white time
like picket signs gathering in peaceful demonstration
the wind is our carrier pigeon
and i do nothing all day long
but write you love letter after love letter
after love letter after love letter
you lift me a mile off the ground
you make my breaths short and intentional
beneath your rocky skyline
beneath your metallic peaks
i am beautiful and inconsequential
your love is forever
and your forever love is the sound of air
against a car window

a winding road / a one way street
a pedicabber / a ponderosa
a deer in headlights / a jaywalker
a flaming crucifix / a lookout mountain
a homeless man / a mountain man
a book on a shelf
and a book in the dust of the dirt
a petroglyph / a river
a bottle of beer smashed on a dirt path
an empty city / an angry sandstorm
an acoustic guitar / an electronic machine
a gypsy / dancing to the future soundtrack
a robot / dancing in the light of lumineers
a light show / an aurora
a sunset / a dubstep drop

smoke
smoke from the city
smoke from the mountain
smoke from the mouths of tiny buddhas
smoke from the mouths of giant fools

you catch me always unprepared
without a sweater without a hand to hold
without a lover to keep me warm
without a care in the world
you catch me you catch me
like a glancing stranger in a lucid dream

i run my calloused guitar fingers
up and down your spine
and you run me back and forth
between your head and your heart
this balancing act
of freedom and love
the city and the mountain

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “I CAN’T AFFORD TO DRIVE TO HANGING LAKE”

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”

EMERSON BRIDGE

there’s a tree outside my window blowing in the wind and today it’s hard for me to not see it as a blessing
that amongst the concrete the astroturf the drywall the linoleum there is still a hint of life
leaves blowing in the wind meandering around complex apartment complexes and fences where no fences once were
across the forty mile per hour street is a motionless park a boddhisattva named for some white dude
but it was a boddhisattva long before that and it will remain one when the vines cave in the sign – the flag
driving down the highway yesterday in my four chairs on wheels we went under a bridge in denver named emerson
and there was not a tree a bush a river a flower to be found nearby but the road did lead to a whole foods for what that is worth
somewhere in the ground is emerson as trees are chopped down to form the pages of his books and the purists fight against ebooks
and things are getting a bit confusing as teddy roosevelt barricaded the national parks with a shotgun in his hand
and i guess there’s a balance to everything i think as i type this poem on my wooden desk next to my wooden guitar
and my wooden furniture and we are nature too but we yell at wild animals for sneaking into our homes as the bark at us
for doing the same like the souls of native americans as we drive around colorado with bumper stickers that say “native” on them
and we were driving past emerson bridge down i-25 to 6th avenue and 6th avenue to i-70 through city traffic and then
we dove into the mountains because we were all starting to get cabin fever from sitting in the house all day and we needed
to get out so at six p.m. i ran around the house and i said to kathryn hey do you want to go for a drive into the mountains
and i said to logan hey do you want to go for a drive into the mountains and they said yes yes yes can we please
and we hopped in the car with our hiking boots on and a big jug of water and we listened to john denver and bobby dylan
as we moved along the mountain road beside the river like a crying child walking with their grandparents and we moved
at sixty-five miles per hour deeper into the rocky mountains and we rolled the windows down until we had to admit that
we were getting too cold and our ears were popping from the altitude so we rolled the windows back up and we turned on the air conditioning
the man-made wind and we listened to the beatles sing ob-la-di life goes on and we listened to the beatles sing there are places
i remember all my life though some have changed and i couldn’t stop thinking about emerson bridge as logan sniffled from his allergies
and kathryn had her feet out the window and people tried to cut me off like they were in a rush to get out of the mountains and i
just didn’t understand how you could be in a rush to get out of the mountains and i thought once again about emerson bridge and
about john muir getting mad when they built a chapel in yosemite because why would you need to put a church inside of a church
and we listened to the beatles singing about the fool on the hill watching the sun go down and we heard bobby dylan reminding us
that the answer is blowing in the wind and reminding us that we are his friend and i thought once again about emerson bridge as
we went through the eisenhower tunnel and we tried to hold our breath but we couldn’t but we tried we tried to defy our nature
but breathlessly we were reminded that you cannot defy your nature because your nature will win and weeds are always growing
always tearing the foundations of buildings to the ground as they build more buildings on top of the weeds and we live in the
most beautiful of hypocrisies we all live beneath emerson bridge and when we arrived in breckenridge we stepped out of the car
and we felt twenty pounds lighter and logan said yeah the air is lighter up here and i didn’t want to argue with him but that
wasn’t quite all of it for me it was more than that i had chipped off the concrete parts of my soul and walking around breckenridge
we didn’t run into the forest we went and found an ice cream shop and i had a scoop of ice cream in a cone and it was perfect
and the cabin fever was an hour and a half away and then we went back down back home and the beatles sang we are on our way home
and let it be and we crossed beneath emerson bridge and i didn’t even notice that we had crossed and the beatles sang let it be so i let it be.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “MOUSEKETEER”

THE WALL AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE

there is a wall at the universe
where shit heads graffiti their names on the side
street kids hide little bags of drugs behind the bricks
and you and i just sat there
our backs pressed against it

“what’s beyond that wall?”
you asked me
and i told you
“that’s the whole thing.
it’s the wall at the end of the universe.
there is nothing beyond it.”

“nothing is something.”
you said.
i wanted to kiss you.
you were wearing that lipgloss
that tasted like cherries
or strawberries
or some delicious fruit
and when my lips are done
sliding off the synthetic taste
all i’m left with is you.

you and me.
sitting against the wall
at the end of the universe.
the one that doctor gonzo
drove his great shark over.
the one that syd barrett
crashed into
like the comedown
from the astral plane.
this is where we are.

“have you ever wanted
to look over the wall?”
you asked.
“hell no,” i said.
“that’s just

that’s just too much for me.”
“how can you not want to look?”
“to be honest,”
i said,
“i’m slightly disinterested.”

“i’m going to look.”
you said,
and i thought that too
was an honorable choice
so i lifted you up onto my shoulders
and you looked out
into the great beyond
where i imagine
there are no red planets
or white giants
or starbucks across the street from
starbucks
and i asked you what you could see
and you said

“i don’t know how to describe it.”
and i said
“well try…”
and you said
“i can’t even really see anything
i just feel
deep inside of me
this haunting faith
that there is something beyond
this wall.”

“who made this wall?”
i asked
and you said
you didn’t know
and you came back down
from off my shoulders
and you looked into my eyes
and you said
“huh…”
and i said
“what…”
and you said
“nothing.”

there was a pause.
the crickets held their bows
and waited for our cue
to continue.

“i’m gonna throw a brick
over the wall!”
i said.
and you said
“you are such a guy.”
and i said

“i have to know.
i have to know if i can
break down the walls of perception.
what if someone
just put this wall up
to make themselves feel better?
maybe they were afraid of
infinity?”

“afraid of infinity?
do you know how you sound?”

“i’m serious!”
i said.
“why else do we build walls?
because we’re afraid of
not understanding
what is on the other side.”

“or we’re trying to keep
something
out.”
you said.
applying more lip gloss.
“or
maybe,”
you said,
“they were a romantic…”

“what is more romantic
than the idea
that everything continues
forever,”

“i’ll tell you what,”
you said,
“the idea
that you and i
on some cold colorado night
could pack a picnic
and go sit
at the wall at the end of the universe
and accept that we did it.
that together, we made it.
we all want to be pioneers.
we all want to feel that what we found
is the ultimate.
we are nationalistic
to the nation of ourselves
and our loved ones.
that is why we are here.
that is why you and i ended up here
at the wall at the end of the world
so we could pretend our love
is romeo and juliet
that our love
is the love story that they will tell
to our children
and our children’s children.
that our love
is the ultimate.
that is why we build walls.
windows and doors and walls
these are things we’ve created
because it is part
of our idea of home.”

“i don’t need walls
to feel like i’m home with
you.” i said.
and your eyes glimmered
and i saw in them
what i think you must have seen
when you looked over
the wall
at the end
of the universe.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “WHITE SMOKE”