HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JACK KEROUAC

jack k

jk

A year ago today, I was driving through the Colorado Rocky Mountains and I wrote this poem:

MARCH 12TH

and here i am
burning fossil fuels in the pitch black
something
carving through the rockies
meandering down I70 like a punch-
drunk fool.

tonight, my love!
i kiss you
goodbye.
your trees are green
with envy
but i
have got to
confirm

that there is a world
past your western
slope.

i am slipping
through the cracks
in a black soul.

and this black soul of mine
seems
nervous;
a puppy, with its
tail between its
legs.

breckenridge burns to the ground
in my rear-view.
and my rear-view mirror
frames flashlight city
chasing after me
but this storm
can’t be caught.

this vehicle
is in motion.

i want my eyes to be
panoramic.
i want my limbs to
stretch history.
i need to know what my feet
feel like
in utah.
i have to breathe in the grand canyon’s
sighs
and the artificial air of vegas
casinos.

i am not retracing anyone’s footsteps.

and i am
not
tracing my
shape
into someone else’s
shadow.

i am disappearing.

i want to know
how it feels
to be in a ghost town.
i want to know how it feels
to be
a ghost town.

(may america lend me the disorient-
ation of not having the mountains to show me
which way west is.)

i need to talk to strangers
uncomfortably
and wake up
hungover
in the afterbirth of the womb
of the west.

i am not trying to erase
christianity.
i am trying to
talk to god
first-hand.

i want to see god’s face
without
any makeup on.

i want to hear that
voice:
mountain whistles
slot machine jingles
tumbleweed scratches
bob dylan’s harmonica

i know god exists.
i just want to meet him in
unexpected
places.

please…
sweetheart
try to understand.
i will
boomerang back to you-
don’t take it personally that
i shoot through your veins at
eightyfivemilesperhour
it’s not in your nature to be so
low.
and tonight!
in the darkest of dark

we can be whatever we want to be.

i’m letting my gut
blindfold my mind
throw ‘em in the trunk
and drive
us all
into
oblivion.

the road there is lit
solely by mountain stars
close enough to grab
between the boulders
and the neon stripper signs
i am sway-
ing like a crane game.

on the road
i am finally home

on the road
i am charming
and good company

on the road
i am as confused and conflicted and beautiful as
america

it’s march 12th
(happy birthday, jack kerouac)

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “HAIKU #2″

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02.07

“Don’t you just love it?” she said. “Every day you stand on top of a mountain, make a three-hundred-sixty degree sweep, checking to see if there’s any fires. And that’s it. You’re done for the day. The rest of the time you can read, write, whatever you want. At night scruffy bears hang around your cabin. That’s the life! Compare with that, studying literature in college is like chomping down on the bitter end of a cucumber.”

“OK,” I said, “but someday you’ll have to come down off the mountain.””

-Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

0207

(the mountain.)

and the wind picked me up
wrapped me in its rope
and tied me mad to the front of a ship
the water billowed below me
as i set sail alone
off to an island
where no man had ever been before

and there on the island
was a mountain
and on the mountain
a cabin where i could be
alone
solitary
no stranger
familiar or otherwise
knocking at the door
no brick of reality
crashing through the window

do you know how brash
a fireplace crackles
when you built it yourself
and there is no sound of traffic
to spoil it?
when there is only the sound of stars
a sound like

that.

to breathe air
untainted by the mouths of others
to make a bed
from the flotsam and jetsam
inside of your head
to walk around inside your own skull
hang your own artwork
unbalanced upon your medulla oblongota
to lean a chair upon the door
of the cerebrum
so no one can get in

to padlock and chain
the cerebellum

to make time like soup
throwing in what you will
two parts nonsense
to twelve parts inspiration
three tablespoons of nap
bring to a boil
let cool
and enjoy
serves one

to love the person
who knows you best
to mark the walls with crayons
the color of your insecurities
the shade of your denials
to explore the entire fucking spectrum
of your color wheel

and to sleep
when you are ready to sleep
to wake up
to the visceral, visceral
raw dog honest momentarily existent
then gone but always visceral
alarm clock in your stomach

and one day
there will be a knock at your cabin door
the sun will seem artificial
and you will not recognize the voice
of another
as something outside of yourself
but they will come
the authorities of reminder
the karma police
if you do not return their calls
they will mail you letters
and if you burn their letters
they will send a warrant for your arrest

you will be reinstated
brought back to the intercourse
of other people
whether it be with joy
or kicking and screaming
you do not own this planet
you should be so lucky to think
that you alone
deserve your life
there are lonely househusbands
an audience of towns
maybe the ear
receptive to the voice of the world
waiting for you

the waves crashed different
when the island learned
it was a peninsula
but fire came along
and the people formed circles
they danced
they hit their drums with love
they hit their drums with love
and the beat alters hearts
and you threw into the fire
your cabin
on top of a mountain
on an island
far from home
and watched as the smoke rised
into the cosmos
to form purple nebulas
and ancient songs
that filter down
to typewriters
and deep
deep deep down
into the soil
beneath the mountain

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.08, THE EIGHTH ENTRY IN MY 28 DAY PROJECT, 02.2013

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

FEATURED POET: FROM BURNING, BURNING, BURNING

San Francisco

San Francisco penetrates me.

We make love under City Lights,

Hubs of progress,

Neon Brothels.

We fuck openly in Castro’s side alleys,

Commercialised piers,

China Town.

We are the children of modern Babylon.

Barefoot whores,

Kerouac junkies,

Cutthroat Queers.

Pilgrims to a Golden Gate

Screaming

Amen!

We scale its womanly curves

Sheathed in a kimono fog.

America’s Geisha.

The City holds me within art deco palms

And fucks me.

I shudder ferociously and scream

‘California.’

San Francisco howls.

Read more HERE.

Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?

RUINED A PERFECTLY GOOD MOMENT

i was sitting here la dee da at the computer listening to wonderful music discovering sensible rhythms when i stumbled onto a kerouac poem. now me and kerouac aren’t too familiar with one another. i’ve heard a few of his ramblings, i’ve read some of on the road and i generally know the spirit of the guy, but sitting here i stumbled onto “october in the railroad earth”, which i clicked on the stereo and i was in love. this man made my rambles look terse straight to the point, dishonest even. i clicked it on and he started talking about san francisco, a recent lover of mine, and i could have misinterpreted but i think he predicted in the piece that rich men would come and take over the city, which they did. don’t get me wrong, there’s still something about san francisco, i learned that during my time out there, but kerouac was on the ball. steven allen behind him kicking those white keys just as hard as the black ones, all live, all real, all viral and not sterile and megalithic and true. jazz. duh, it was jazz. i was enamoured and it went on and on and on and i followed along with the text and then the text came to an end. but it went on and on and on and i was still in love with jack kerouac and i understood a little better what ginsberg said when he said he fell in love with jack kerouac. everything was making sense. the walls were falling down and just when i thought i was on the trip back from hearing and discovering every great poet there was that there’s ever been here came jack like a good, solid nineteen fifties jazz bar punch in the face to wake me up. cold whiskey thrown at me. punch drunk and rawly starstruck it kept going and then it ended. and then a commercial for mcdonalds holiday smoothies came on the speakers and ruined a perfectly good moment.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “VENTI SKINNY VANILLA NO FOAM LATTE”