AN EMPTY ORCHESTRA.

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

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

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

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “SINATRA ON THE MOON”

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SINATRA ON THE MOON

sinatra on the moon

i’m trapped on the moon with a bottle of whiskey
i’m sitting in a lawn chair watching the earth
rotate around the sun and it reminds me of the way
we used to dance together, in strange jazz clubs
whose names i don’t remember, i could never remember
i remember the way we reclined our car seats back
and pretended to stare at the stars, when in truth
we were just staring at the ceiling of the car
where the cigarette smoke had eaten away at the fabric

how things have changed
your spaceship left long ago, at my request
and i awoke from dreams that i had sent you away
from earth, only to learn you had left me on the moon
trapped on the moon with a bottle of whiskey
i’m sitting in a lawn chair watching the cell phone satellites
hover around the twittersphere, swing around the blogosphere
the big blue ocean and the waves that crash that mean nothing
to me but form the sand that forms the glass window
you maybe stare out like some cheesy fifties movie or something
at the moon, the full moon or maybe the absent moon
i don’t know, but we could be staring at one another
but maybe that’s just the whiskey talking
and to think i almost didn’t bring the whiskey with me
the only thing that could have made the moon more lonely
debateably

i feel like frank sinatra up here in the stratosphere
not charming, young sinatra
washed up smoked stained suit sinatra
sinatra knowing he will never sleep with a woman again
as beautiful as you were in that red dress at that ball
in new york city on new year’s eve in america on earth
the sinatra who proudly proclaims the glass of whiskey
in his hand and shares with the audience that he is
in fact, quite belligerent, and when life gives you lemons
you take the first spaceship up to the moon
so you can sit forever and collect your thoughts over whiskey
which, of course, are muddled like a weird trumpet solo
like when the band drops off and there’s no drums and no nothing
just miles davis solo romantic silent – listen, just shut up and listen

i’m trapped on the moon with a bottle of whiskey
and earth is this gem that i used to own
that i auctioned off in exchange for an eternity of quiet
endless space, endless silence, peace and god damn quiet

peace and god damn quiet.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “BIRD #2″

BIRD #2

you pulled over
on the side of road
and you played a song
for a cow
in the middle of nowhere
i don’t remember where
because it’s not important
but you played that song
to that cow
in that field
in the middle of nowhere
and some may say
why the hell
would you play a jazz song
for a cow
in a field
in the middle of nowhere
but i guarantee you
that cow went back
and he or she
bragged to all the other cows
forever more
that bird pulled over
in a field
in the middle of nowhere
just to play a song
for him
or her.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “BIRD #1″

BIRD #1

i can just see you,
charlie parker
watching television
at the stanhope hotel
hard of breath
hard of head and heart
i can see your glazed eyes
as you watched the juggler juggle
on the dorsey brothers stage show
and you juggled the drugs
with the loss of your daughter
you juggled your bebop revolution
with the aftermath
plane rides to los angeles
red eyes back to new york
days on end in a garage
you jazz players
love to lock yourself away
with the discipline
of a madman

thirty-four years old
but you must have looked
twenty years older
watching the juggler juggle
on that black and white television
and you laughed
you laughed and you laughed
and you laughed until you were choking
and the baroness asked
if you needed to go to the hospital
earlier that evening
and you refused
you couldn’t juggle any longer
but you knew
if you stayed where you were
you could die laughing.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “POEM”

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”