1994 SEATTLE LOVE SONG

seattle

minor chords amongst the dust
i’m the only one who comes to your show
the ground is littered
with empty bottles of cough syrup
i stand among the wreckage
and i watch you destroy yourself
i can’t look away
from the mirror you hold to me

i can’t escape the morphine sea storm in your eyes
envy’s eyes are as green as yours
envy’s eyes are as green as yours
you’ve got me wrapped up in your small pox blanket

you’re a newspaper fire burning in a rusty trash can
a shopping cart in hashbury at night
you’re not as glorious as i’ve made you out to be

i’m a gas fire and you’re the water
i’m a gas fire and you’re the water

i’ll burn like big giant factories
i will give you a sunset
the color of chemicals

minor chords amongst the dust

you left your phone in the car
along with our 1994 seattle love song
our song of retribution in a wasteland
we are just getting lost in different drugs

what happens when glass slippers slide
on black ice

we are the sound
of an i.v.
drip

i swear you smell
like kurt cobain

you taste like
sonic youth

someone popped
every single one
of the balloons
at our birthday party

someone left the car on in the garage

envy’s eyes are as green as yours
i can’t escape your morphine sea storm

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “TOO FAR DEEP”

About these ads

CAPTURE

capture me in your film reel
put me back inside your toxic head
give me the angst i crave
give me the perfume of wastelands
give me the perfume of wastelands

it’s insensitive of you not to call
i swear to god i’m hanging over the edge
of this building and i’m gonna jump
i swear to god i’m gonna jump
without your visceral voice
i will hit the concrete headfirst

i’m not trying to be the bull in your china shop
i’m not looking for romantic disney love song
give me your health insurance
and all the disease that comes along with it

let’s pursue the american nightmare
let’s try to put the past behind us
let’s bury our children in the yard together
trauma bond with me for life
won’t you trauma bond with me for life?

i know there’s not a lot of hope here
i know there’s some spaces inbetween
they don’t fill in
they’ll never fill in
but let’s continue through shitstorms
umbrellas open now
umbrellas open now

we are children who played with lead paint toys
we are the island of misfits
let’s just close our eyes and hum the garbage disposal
let’s let go of that shiny diamond ring of hope

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “FAST LANE”

DEATH RATTLE

always the bridesmaid, never the bride
he dresses in your sister’s clothes
and sneaks up behind you
with piano wire
he strangles you
just when things were beginning
to go so well.

lies. lies. lies. lies.

it’s life that’s the killer;
so dramatic, so whiny
callin you at two in the morning
when you gotta work the early shift.
calling lonely and horny
when you gotta work the graveyard shift
and shit, man
you know you gotta call in
because seize the day
carpe diem-
am i right?

but no-
death is the asshole.
the one who punches you
in the kidneys,
makes you piss blood
not true!
not true in the fucking least
life has just perfected
her death costumer.

but life is the day
and death is the night
right?
wrong.
if life is the day
and death is the night
then why do you crave
a little more two a.m.
and a little less
six thirty in the godless
morning?

death is your ally.
your friend
who just wants
to get you drunk.
tell you
to dump that bitch.
she’s just playing games
with your head, man.

life.
shit, man.
life is your friend
sometimes.
death is always waiting
by the phone
for you to call and
hear me, you:

when life stabs you in the back,
when she
sleeps with your best friend
and turns off your alarm
so you’re late for work.

when life cancels your insurance
just before driving your car
into the first brick wall
she finds.

when she strikes you
with sodium penethol,
truth serum,
just before
your lifetime achievement speech
and calls your mom
and tells her you murdered someone
and the cops catch on
and they break into your house
in the middle of the night
and arrest you for the crime
that life committed,

hear me, you, brothers and sisters.

death will be the friend
who takes a taxi
to the penitentiary
to try and bail
your sorry ass out.

life is the terrorist who hijacks the plane.
death is the friend who is waiting
on the other side
with a sign
with your name on it.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “BEAUTIFUL HOUR”

Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?

BEAUTIFUL HOUR

sometimes it’s just too much to ever handle
there’s too many woman with eyes like intelligent design
there’s a sun that has burned for all of us
and will always continue to burn for all of us
and when we don’t have that, we have the moon
we have the moon and the stars and the black silk sky
and the oceans that reflect the light so we’re captured
we’re captured between the two and we don’t have a choice
but to see ourselves as one common entity
we are all, all of us, every single one of us
part of the same vehicle of life, don’t flatter yourself
you are not something special
you are amongst a billion special things
we need to seek this out in one another, in everyone
we need to remember the way
that we help to push the grass out of the ground
we must remember the way that a heart can succumb
to a bass line, i’m not even joking
your heart can literally adjust to the music it hears
and it definitely can adjust to those around you
so i beg of you to answer, why can’t our eyes see
why can’t we appreciate the million instruments
that surround us, and the glorious grandiose
extraterrestial superhuman cataclysmic kaleidoscopic
kandinskily colorful grandiloquent magnum opus of existence?

you don’t know
none of us know
we make up questions
and we find answers
but we can feel each other’s presence
we know when someone is looking at us
we can feel love
never forget that one
we can feel love
sometimes it’s easy to get separated from that
but it’s there
i assure you
right now
i have enough for all of you
and i’m trying to pass it on
i can’t hold onto it
i’ll explode
we’d all explode
be unafraid to love those around you
be unafraid of what is different
because the things that are the same
are boring, they’re boring
and you don’t want to go to the same grocery store
at the same time
to see the same boring faces
and buy the same foods
and check out with the same cashier
every day of your short short short short short life
life is not very long
bad days drag out tugging at our legs
to appreciate the good ones

open your mind
open your eyes
open your arms
open your rib cage
and let that god damn drum beat
let it beat
let it beat like it has never beat before
bleed on the canvas of life
do not be afraid
of being too happy
there is no such thing
there are no limits
that’s the god damn point
you will not put a period on the end of a sentence
you are a conjunction
you are the connective tissue of everything
we need you
i need you
even if i don’t know it
reassess the hatred in your life
what aren’t you doing?
what should you be doing?
who should you be calling?
what do you have to say to who?
i guarantee you
i fucking guarantee you they will be glad to hear it
even if it’s bad news
and there is bad news
just open
regret there not being more hours in the day
and that is all
i want you to imagine yourself smiling
and now i want you to smile
can you do that for me?

can you do that for me?

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “BUKOWSKI #2″

Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?

ON THE HUNT FOR THE HEART THAT BEATS LIKE MINE

and i have run into several interesting kinds along the way
the girl whose heart ticked like a richter scale
whose pulse i feared to make rise
because along with the waves in her blood, her skin
came seismic cracks in the land, tsunamis and volcanos
the devastation of flash flood like we were all
drowning in her childhood

there was the one whose heart i could not feel beat at all
silent the crevice of her chest sounded of a hand over a mouth
a door that had been boarded up with nails and bad habits
she said she wanted to die so anyone else could live
and i tried to tell her that you cannot die for a stranger
if you are not able to live your life for yourself
but she sure as hell tried and refused to give up
as i found myself giving up on her

some hearts are made arrhythmic
they bounce around the chest cavity
like a schizophrenic cell mate
they dance in heavy drugged delirium
they twist through psychosis
and they refuse to acknowledge
that someone else may catch on to the pattern
in what they thought was
their complete lack of pattern

those seem to be my favorite to catch
and the ones that are best at getting away

this one heart
beat like a symphony all on its own
like a great deep dark jazz drum rumbling
it echoed through me and still does
my bones the beams for it to try to tear to shambles
it filled me with black oceans where i could not see through
and i just kept swimming along through this haze
and i’m still just swimming through this haze
on the hunt for the heart that beats like mine

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “HOW A RAVEN IS LIKE A WRITING DESK”

Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?

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. :)

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”

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE TO, AMERICA?

i tried calling
you didn’t pick up

where have you gone to, America?
i can’t find you under my bed or in my closet with the other monsters
you seem to be everywhere all at once like you’re imitating God, but maybe you’re just photocopying yourself until the ink turns to white like your flag on the moon
where have you gone to America?
when I go down on you, you never return the favor

where have you gone to, America?
your model homes are empty
your desks in your schools are empty
your teachers are just praying for tenure
where have you gone to, America?
are you in Central Park with those cast to the corners?
are you in Brooklyn with the rappers who reside in check out counter headphones?

the Dodgers are in Los Angeles now
the Lakers are in Los Angeles now
how come she always gets whatever she wants?
where have you gone to, America?
your youngest daughter still needs you

where have you gone to, America?
your unwrapped gifts are stacking up under the Xmas tree
your churches have walls to expand for the holiday rush

where have you gone to, America?
you left the groceries out on the table
you left your poor friends out on your San Francisco doorstep
you left your children at school with a gun
and you want to blame the trigger for the finger that pulled it

you want the television to babysit us
while you go out drinking with strange men

i tried leaving you this message, America
but your mailbox was full

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “ANDROID”

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”

FEAR

fear is the strings that move the fingers across the typewriter
fear is the blood that pumps the legs through the unemployment line

fear is the crackle behind the mother’s voice in the son’s head
the father’s voice in the daughter’s head
fear is the force that lifts the blouse over the head
the pants down off the ankles
fear is the wind that blows the sheets off of the bed

fear is the truth that pushes the words from the back of the throat to the ears of the anxious
fear is the fire in the pit of the stomach that burns the oils of regret

fear is not the torch that leads through the tunnel
fear is what you are left with when the light goes out
when you walk blindly using the broken glass beneath your uncalloused feet to guide you to uncertain rooms, uncertain bars,
uncertain jobs, wars, trenches
into the uncertain hands of uncertain lovers
where on off day days you get a good glance at something fleeting
but worth the walk

fear is not the snap of a father’s belt

fear is those residual scars you choose to keep
and those you let fade
those battles you fight like a mad man
and those you let go of like lovers
you wanted to hold onto
but sometimes the things we want most
are the things that would kill us

fear is the bones beneath the skin of courage
and fear is what is left in the ground
when we disattach
unafraid
from our bodies

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “LOITERING IN THE PARKING LOT OF AN EVIL BANKING CORPORATION”