02.25

0225

(goodbye nightmare.)

there’s a dead deer on the highway of our love
there’s a man in a business suit pretending to be me
there’s a goldfish that lives in my water bottle
there’s a music box ballerina that lives in my glove compartment
there’s daggers falling from the ceiling
and i’m a six year old thinking i can save my self
by hiding underneath my teenage mutant ninja turtle blanket
there’s no room for your family in the lifeboat of our trust

there’s a fly stuck in my skull
and he is driving me up the fucking wall
he is buzzing and buzzing and every hour
i am that much more tempted to just crack my head open
and let the mother fucker out
there are no presidents in narnia or wonderland or heaven
or hell or the matrix inside of my skull
just this god damn fly who is still buzzing
you sound like a mother
do you know that fly?
you keep nagging like a mother
there’s an escaped insane asylum inmate driving the bus
and we’re all going wherever his fancy takes us

there’s ten thumbs where i should have fingers
there’s two left feet where i should have a right one
there’s devils doing angel dust in casino bathrooms
there’s a train station in my heart that’s been closed
for a long, long time and high school kids just sneak there
on friday and saturday nights to get high and make out
there’s crocodiles in the sewer of my bloodstream

nothing is pretty right now and nothing is disney
nothing is saturday morning cartoons
nothing is mister roger’s neighborhood
nothing is monday through friday, nine a.m. to five p.m.
nothing is candygram
nothing is dinner with the family
american steak and american potatoes and coca cola
but not for the kids because no caffeine this late
nothing is that
it’s just a mess up there in my head right now
kurt vonnegut breakfast of champions schizo hodgepodge
there’s some godless hippy waiving an anti-this sign
and he has a point but he hasn’t filled the hole he’s dug
he’s ran onto the stage of my skull
and disbanded the magic trick
but he didn’t put anything in its place
he’s just standing there
like a frickin crack addict on stage
smiling like a moron at the audience
now he’s dancing like the w.b. frog

hello my baby
hello my darling
hello my ragtime gal

goodbye nightmare
hello dream

there’s spare change rattling around my stomach
there’s a faceless image of god on the skin of my eyes
and the television is the best listener i’ve run into
except you, you never seem to say much either

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.26, THE NEXT ENTRY IN THE 02.2013 PROJECT

02.2013 is a twenty-eight day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE

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CHESS

it’s denver in january cold

at the bus stop
there’s a man
in work boots
with a lunch pail
and he looks cold too
his lips pursed
hands in pockets

and there’s a woman
with her two daughters
sitting on the
cold metal
bench
reading them a
story

and there’s a kid
with a baltimore ravens
hat
on backwards
who is pacing
like he’s waiting
for the super bowl
next sunday

there is gum
all over the ground
gum and cigarette
butts

now here comes the blind man
cane in hand
he can’t see me
as i sit here
still
and frozen
does he know
i’m here?

i am some weird caricature
to all of them
lost in my headphones
and underneath my hood
and thom yorke
is going crazy
in my ears
singing my iron lung
they have no idea
he’s whispering
and screaming at me
in the corner
of an asylum
on the other side
of the headphones
he’s desperately singing
with desperation
about desperation
he’s moving me
but he’s not here

there are five other hearts
at this bus stop
waiting to share
the same submarine vessel
to take us to
somewhere else

and it’s cold but not too cold to talk

and i’m off in the asylum
with thom yorke
and i’m twentysomething
in a hoodie
lost in headphones
and as soon as we violently
tug the pull cord
on the bus
and exit
professionally
we will be off to live
our seperate lives together

thom yorke is screaming at me
from some supermarket in england
with his wife
but we are all silent
faceless chess pieces
faced with the same war
but stuck
within our black
and white
spaces

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “BLOOD ON THE AMERICAN HIGHWAY”

MY GREEN FAIRY

the absinthe drinker. viktor oliva.

the absinthe drinker. viktor oliva.

some days
i just
fall
down
the stairs
and i
just
keep fall
ing through
smoke
and mirrors
i travel through
this
funhouse
and past
the golden gates
to the other side

of reality
where she waits
for me
my green fairy

she dance for me
my green fairy
crazy ballet of fire
on her glass stage of desire
she dance for me

her wings in proud display
naked and raw and hard on the throat
she walks across
the good and the evil
of my spectral shoulders
and this she says to me:

“calm your head
your days will collide
if you do not.

close your eyes

feel me running up and down
your spine
this waltz
in waltz three quarter time

taste my heat upon your lips
feel me burning on your breath
sugar cubes and billowed smoke
white lighters and youthful death

open your heart
let me in
the ceremony
is about to begin.”

and i listen to her
my green fairy
my blue delusion
my red midnight
my black confusion

she dance for me
in sacred gardens of the mind
waltzing in three quarter time
she moves the moon along the sky
visions of toxic absinthe why
channels of unrequited love
dirty water, holy dove
she dance for me
she lie with me
and every night
she die for me

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “EARTHBENDING”

Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?

CRICKETS

it looks like it’s just me and the crickets tonight
the crowds poured in like flash floods
they shook, they rampaged, they rumbled the house
they spilt their drinks all over the tables
they danced on the wet tables
they kissed in my closets
they unhinged my doors and they set my clothes on fire
they blew out my speakers with their digital tribal anthems
they cursed the name of daylight
their hands reached out towards the night sky
the room filled with smoke
the intercourse of chattering, the music of heart
they filled the crevices and corners of my life
the kissing gourami wallflower star-crossed lovers
who wake up demons with bad breath and hangovers
they clawed at the walls, they clawed the ceilings
they hung their reservations from the ceiling fan
and watch as it shredded them to dust
like leftover confetti on the mardis gras ground
i slipped into my bed, slipped into my mind
as the world turns turbulent around me
as the clocks lost track of time
and the freezer began to fill with pairs of keys
the morning came like snow on january first
and the floor was littered with bodies in coma
slowly they dwindled, they faded, they disappeared
out into the long line of cars
out into the systematic revolution of deadlines
and bus schedules and inevitable responsibility
now you listen to me and what i have to say
until you too wander off out into delusional reality
and then, as it always end up,
it’s just me and the crickets tonight

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “WINDSTORM (A DREAM)”

Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?

A LOVE SONG FOR ELIZABETH BENDS

A shot from the mini-bar costs roughly $7.
Tonight I have spent over $140 on the mini-bar.
I feel like I’m inside of a washing machine. Everything’s oozy and spinning so god damn much.
I’ve been leaving messages on Tanya’s phone.
Beep.
Hi Tanya. It’s Mark. Um. Call me.
Beep.
Hey. It’s… well, it’s me. Call me when you get this. It’s been probably three weeks since we’ve talked.
Beep.
Hi, if this isn’t Tanya, would you please give me a call back? The voice message thing doesn’t say whose phone it is. This is Mark. Mark Swift.       Also, I’m sorry. I realize it’s 2:33 in the morning.
If you are satisfied with your message press one.
Does it cost money to make phone calls using a hotel phone? Can they track your calls?
I’m watching Late Night with Eric Creed, and the musical guest is some Irish band I’ve never heard of. Some band called “The Last Calls”.
Right now, Eric is interviewing this girl, Elizabeth Bends. I shouldn’t say some girl, this girl is gorgeous. Elizabeth Bends. She is flirting with the entire room, and she’s not even breaking a sweat. Her skin looks like it’s never seen sunlight or a bruise or a scar. She’s wearing this soft looking dress with her toned legs sneaking out underneath. She crosses her leg away from the camera. If you think that’s an accident, you are bat shit crazy.
I am standing less than six inches away from the television. The static is jumping to the little hairs on my forehead. I don’t feel that drunk. I’m close, really close to Elizabeth Bends.
“I understand you have a film coming out this weekend?” says Eric, dumbly.
“Yes, it’s called Scandals and the People Who Pay for Them. I believe we have a clip.”
They say something, and cut to the trailer. I fall back on the bed and count the tiles on the ceiling. It’s a nice hotel. The mini-bar, I mean, it is stocked. I’m alone in the hotel room. There are 25 tiles going one way on the ceiling, 26 going the other way. They each look about a foot long.
Beep.
Tanya? Is this Tanya? Call me, okay? I’m in room 917.”
I can’t believe someone put those tiles in one at a time. There are 14 floors in this hotel, probably 30 rooms on each floor. That’s, I don’t fucking know, a shit-ton of tiles to install.
I wonder if one person put each and every single tile in, or if there was a team. I wonder if Elizabeth Bends works hard. Do you think her parents instilled good work ethic and good moral values into her? My stomach hurts. I unzip my pants, and I start to think about Elizabeth Bends naked. I’m touching myself, but I’m not hard.
Do you think she cares if a guy is bald? She’s got to be loaded. I wonder if she thinks about money when she dates a guy. I wonder if she gets nervous on dates.
Elizabeth Bends is whispering naughty things in my ear. I sit up, my chin pressed against my chest. My stomach feels like it’s on fire, like it’s filled with rubbing alcohol. Elizabeth is no longer on. That band, The Last Calls, is playing. They sound more Irish than I even expected them to.
“Thank you for calling 719-555-3221, please leave a message after the beep.”
Beep.
“Hey, Elizabeth. Shit. Hey, Tanya, or whoever. I don’t know if this is Tanya. Just calling again. I mean, it’s 2:40 something but I haven’t talked to you since I left. How are you? I’m doing fine. Denver’s treating me well enough. What are you up to? I’m just about to do some painting and…” I blink, and the room resumes its soap spin cycle.
I’m having a conversation with myself.
I’m having a conversation with a telephone number.
Beep.
“Hi, Elizabeth?” Aw, fuck it. “Yeah, hi. Elizabeth Bends, it’s me, Mark. I just wanted to say you did great tonight. You looked gorgeous. Give me a call back when you get a chance, sweetheart. I’m in room 917. I’ve got a queen-sized bed here, and I wish you were in it with me. I hope your movie does well. It looks wonderful. I can’t wait until your home, and I’m home and we can just lie together and discuss your long days on set, and I can tell you how beautiful you look without makeup on. How beautiful you look when I wake up beside you. I can’t wait to kiss your neck and tell you about my newest painting. I miss hearing your voice. I miss talking to you. Telling you how I’d love to paint you, but you’re never here. I feel like it’s been years since our wedding. I talk to your mom, now and again. She’s lovely. I know when you’re older you’ll be like a great painting, just like her. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss you. It’s hard being in hotel rooms in weird cities and only seeing you through the television screen. It’s hard looking at empty pads of paper in hotel rooms and realizing those are there for lonely people like me. Like a coloring book for kids on a long car ride.”
If you’re satisfied with your message, press one.
To listen to your message, press two.
To erase and re-record, press three.
To continue with your message, press four.
I don’t press anything. I just stare at the hotel phone for a second.      There’s a button for room service. There’s a button for the front desk.    There’s a button for the restaurant.
Are you still there?
The phone knows I’m drunk, I think. It’s checking in on me. If I press five, I wonder if it will bring me a glass of water.
I press four.
“Elizabeth, I want you to know that there’s a lot of guys out there. I know how Hollywood is for a young, beautiful starlet like you, but they don’t love you like I do. They don’t know how I would kill for you. They don’t see the twinkle in your eye that I do. They don’t hear your beautiful voice or the effortless way you speak. They just see a nice pair of legs. A good screw. I want you to know that what we have is all that is keeping me living right now.”
I breathe into the phone. My lips pressed against the mouth piece, I can feel the condensation of my breath on it. The phone smells like a Long Island Iced Tea.
I press 3. I erase my message and I re-record.
“Hi Tanya,” I say, and that’s about it. I’m looking at my reflection in the window. I’m looking out at the city. I’m counting the buildings in the Denver skyline.
One, two, three. I literally say one, two, three into the phone. I am so embarrassed.
“Sorry, Elizabeth. I’m not going to lie. I’m drunk.”
I set the phone down on the table, next to the note pad. I pick up the hotel pen and I write on the note pad “I am in love with Elizabeth Bends,” I set the pad down on the desk and I retire to the corner of the hotel room, a dark corner near the front door, but it’s uncomfortable. I move into the closet, I scoot the ironing board to the side, so I can sit cross-legged on the ground. I start to cry. No tears come out, which makes me feel even more pathetic. I just sob, like I’m forcing it, but I can’t stop. I look up and the ceiling light hits my eyes, and I’m squeezing them shut. Trying to kill this headache before it can start.
I grab my suit-jacket off the hanger and I hold it like it is Elizabeth Bends. I try to remember what Tanya looks like naked, but I can’t. I just met Elizabeth tonight on the television screen, and I can picture her naked more clearly. I close my eyes and there she is, straddling me, biting her lip. In my college dorm. Maybe, on our honeymoon.
My stomach starts doing back-flips and I run into the bathroom. I puke right before I get to the toilet. There, splotched all over the nice tile floor.   Imagine what your vomit would look like if there was nothing in your system but booze. That’s what my vomit looks like. I close my eyes and its Tanya straddling me. I can still smell the vomit, and it’s no longer me Tanya is straddling. It’s some guy. Some stranger with a better body than me.
I look out in the hotel bedroom, and my easel is set up and there’s a canvas on it, but there’s nothing on it. The television is something about some product for making life easier.
I can hear the telephone in the background. The dial tone, like the sound of robots dying.
Beep.
Are you there, God? It’s me, Mark. Was it written in my life story that I would deplete my 401k one expensive hotel room at a time? Was it written that I would be here, marinating in my own body fluids, pondering my marriage to the girl on the television? That I would confess my love to Elizabeth Bends on a hotel room note pad? That I would hit the mini-bar before I even touched my paint brush? I’ve been dragging that same easel into hotel rooms for two weeks now. It’s like my cross. My burden to bare. It’s like an ugly child from a one night stand that I have to drag around with me.
Beep.
God, why is it that if I make money selling paintings, if my art makes it into fine museums that I’m a success, but if it doesn’t, I’m just some child doing finger paintings, avoiding reality? If I kill myself, will I get to talk to you in person? Or do I have to call you on some God-awful payphone from the bowels of hell?
Beep.
Tanya, where are you tonight?
Beep.
I’m here in the bathroom of a nice hotel, debating whether I want to order room service: a snack off the late night menu. I can’t even find the menu, let alone read it.
This washing machine is tossing me hard now. I’m on the floor now, cursing it for the rug burns.
Beep.
There are 25 tiles going one way on the ceiling. There are 26 going the other way. There is a man in a warm bed with his wife tonight who runs all 14 floors of this hotel; all 30 rooms on each and every floor. His wife wakes him up every morning so he can do this. There are companies that run half the hotel rooms in this city. One person runs that company.
There is a company responsible for every light I see in the Denver skyline. Someone made the machine that made those bottles of shots I took tonight. Someone invented the wheel so there’s a legitimate reason why Tanya chose not to be here tonight. Some guy invented the telephone so I could leave messages to fictional characters. Someone looked at Elizabeth Bends and said the world will love you. Let’s put you on a piece of art that is in constant motion called a television. Let’s enlarge your face on screens.
Beep.
God, it’s me. Do you even get to rest on Sundays? Do you ever find yourself lonely, drunk and sick on bathroom floors? Do you think it’s funny that I have no hair left on the top of my head? God, I’m drunk. Do you ever take a drink from the mini-bar? If your blood is wine and your flesh is bread, how can you tell me you aren’t self-absorbed? Maybe we really are made in your image.
I crawl to the living room, my knees bleeding with carpet burn, and I bite down on the telephone cord. I need something to chew on, so I don’t swallow my tongue. This is me clicking the trigger on the phone to make a new call.
The tiles are laughing at me. I can’t prove it, but if I could reach the note pad I would leave a note to hungover-tomorrow-morning me telling him the ceiling tiles aren’t your friend.
Beep.
“Tanya, Elizabeth meant nothing to me. Please take me back. Please. Call me. I know I’m an asshole, but I’m an asshole who loves you. I would do anything for you.”
I erase and re-record. Beep.
“I would do anything for us.”
I press four. Beep.
“I just want you to be happy.”
I press four. Beep.
“I just want us both to be happy. I need to know that still exists.”
I press four. Beep.
“Hi Tanya. It’s Mark. Listen, I loved you, but I think if I keep holding onto what we have left, I will go crazy. I’m sorry.”
If you are satisfied with your message, press one.
Are you still there?

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “SHOCK TOP”

THE KIDS’ TABLE

at the grown ups’ table
the adults compare incomes through
cleverly disguised
vacation stories

at the grown ups’ table
they lace the expensive wine with traces
of spanish inquisition

at the grown ups’ table
everyone is wearing
fresh-pressed suits and pretty dresses above
the table but underneath
the table they sharpen their
knives with the steely edges of their
manicured claws

at the grown ups’ table
everyone makes a specific point
to compliment someone’s meat loaf
casserole, to play
advocate to someone’s ambrosia salad
while carefully ignoring someone’s
homemade raspberry vinaigrette
dressing

at the grown ups’ table
someone isn’t mentioning to someone else
that there is a tiny dated speck of political agenda
stuck between someone’s
grinded white teeth

at the grown ups’ table
there is assigned seating and you will be
tested on your acquired knowledge of
chilled salad fork,
soup spoon,
and when you toast
how appropriately you bang
your obnoxious knife against your
crystal wine glass (ideal for
riesling, just a sin to use for
cabernet sauvignon)

at the grown ups’ table
someone is offering to take your plate for you
so they can plot your social murder in the trenches
of the granite countertops of their
catalog kitchen

at the grown ups’ table
dessert means coffee and coffee means
conversation and conversation
means mental minesweeper; psychological warfare
over a lovely blitz torte served on the
second finest china in
this
american
household

meanwhile
at the kids’ table
everyone is playing with each other’s food
squished together at the colorful plastic table
and laughing at each other’s
jokes

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “LOVE AND ITS FAMOUS IMITATIONS”

LOVE AND ITS FAMOUS IMITATIONS

somewhere out in the world
there is a couple on a park bench
tongues rammed down each other’s throats
and they pause to breathe
and she is feeding him chocolate
and he is feeding her bullshit
and they are eating it box after box
watching a ravenous ball of flame
crash repetitively defiantly into the horizon
and they are holding hands
like mangled scissors in a drawer
like tangled wires behind the t.v.
they are holding hands terrified
they might lose the other
but more accurately
they are terrified of being alone
within themselves instead of without

but no
they will share a bed
and he will cook her breakfast
and she will pretend to be asleep
and they will dress up for easter
they will kiss for the photograph
they will make love for the anniversary
they will become one giant couples costume
and they will die in the same grave
every night
never alone, always lonely
scared and humbled by the suburban dream
the flipping of channels in the den
and the children out back with the dogs
as under the same roof they live separate lives
conjoined twins in parasitic symbiotic cacophonous unison
and each morning the ring wants to fall down the drain
the pictures want to break
the flowers in the yard want to die
and they make love like puzzle pieces
they are two halves of a half
two holes of a whole
they are drowning in the ocean
of sincere misplaced trust
and the opulent reflection
of someone else’s sunshine
on their shallow lake
their handshake
contractual agreement
their non-violent shotgun wedding
two lives
wasted
feeding off the other’s
oxygen

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “THE CYCLONE AT LAKESIDE”

BULLSHITTERS

there are these mannequins among us
constantly filming their biopics in their weasly heads
they talk like channel surfing
they make babies like they’re told
they point finger guns at the coppers
as they go to the astroturf universities for criminal justice
i wish they’d swallow their tongues
how the resolution of the digestive process thereafter would gracefully mimic their former speech patterns
cookie cutter rock stars
they used sugar instead of cocaine
apple juice instead of whiskey
they mock the labels of movements
that never wanted to be labeled
in expensive t-shirts
in canvas bags that will always remain unpainted
as profound as a coffee table
but nowhere near as conversational
they speak into microphones wired to headphones on their ears
on the importance of recycling
they steal, they plunder, they take what isn’t theirs
they leave their cerebral play-doh out
until it dries up and isn’t fun to play with anymore
weekend poets
“i can’t protest tonight, i’m getting my hair done”
cowards in lion’s costumes
princesses in burlap bags
whores in onesies
i lament the death of their individuality
not even
their very being
suffocating in an air-tight room of wandering
they dance like dead people
they make love like divorcees fuck
they sing other people’s songs
and forget the words
they follow cars
they spray-paint golden people the same shade of bullshit that they are
and print off equality flags
their rear-view and front-view and side-view windows
are covered with bumper stickers

they kiss with their lips
their hearts in a coma
they sing with their throats
as sirens shipwreck inside of them
tame tigers
ugly beauty contests
elitist religions
the open-door policies of bomb shelters
come-as-you-are black tie events
there are these manicans among us
with black market jackets filled with
imitation heartbreak watches
they give absurdity a bad name
as they watch other people play the victim
on high definition television screens
in their cars
as they drive through nature green and life-like
to bullshit towns
that they overpopulate
with overboiled ideas
and al dente emotions
holding hands
listening to the radio’s bleeding ears
as bullshitters
translate truth into
electric folk songs.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “THE GRAFFITI ARTIST”

PLAYING HOUSE

we kissed consonants at each other
our lips fumbling over fumbleover
i thought about why people love zombies
as you crafted pie charts about love
i left the engine on
and stuck in the claustrophobic clusterfuck
of our romantic pissing contest
i wish someone would have closed the garage door
then we could have died slap-happy crack-happy
playing house and imitating the pretty people on the television set
her eyes were as blue as mountains
her tongue, as soft as record scratches
and my sculpture of myself was made out of leftover bits from childhood art projects
happy in the womb were we
our bodies arguing over awkward gesticulations
it was a stillbirth
each secret brought us closer until collision
the golden umbilical cord wrapped around our necks
we suffocated on love
auto erotic romantic pedantic asphyxiation
and our friends and family left the room as soon as we entered
love was circle ponies
and now
i don’t know what it is
until i do, i’ll pursue these one night stands with monogamy
these closed relationships with open wounds
and drain brain fluid onto dead trees

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012