ARAPAHOE COUNTY, COLORADO

you’re off in japan
with the giant cartoons and constant workflow
lost in the hustle and bustle of lines and railways
clinking bells and chaos noise symphonic

you’re off in san francisco
in a slanted city dizzy from the bicycles
burning through the silly traffic
stuck beside the bay
in a tower in chinatown where you drink
mai tais and study the gentrification of
dust below

you’re off in south south america
dancing on the edge of cape horn
hand in hand with a lover
your mind partially above frozen water
but so much more of your epileptic majesty
buried beneath
your hands reach for the south pole
as mine just reach out for you

you are lost amongst the redwoods
mourning the coming death of your loved one
you sit naked beside giants and you paint
with your fingers on the canvas in your lap
the trees don’t end until they get to heaven
you share the trees with heaven

you, stranger, are stuck in the madness of bangkok
the banging of pots and pans
guns, girls and ganja
massive heart attack motorcycle smog lady boy
mad mad madness
in transit from the sanity in your head
homeless and happy and we were so close to something

you are off in the void
the space between nothing and everything
the space between death and faith
fistful of pills
skull cracked against the bathroom tile
your book is still in the back of my car
we never finished our poem

you are out in the ether of the cosmos
you are dancing on trains with strange strangers
and cursing the dice that don’t roll sevens
it’s half past nine and you’re half past eleven
it’s pointless to try to write you

you are off somewhere strange
but you are still adamantly here in my heart
in my chest
in arapahoe county, colorado

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “DRIVING DOWN ORCHARD ROAD”

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02.24

0224

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(poem for a dying mall. (southwest plaza))

everything i’ve ever known
says i should dismiss you
as a silly capitalistic hub
but i can’t do that
i have known you for far too long
when i was a kid
we would visit you

there’s a strange fondness i feel
for the days i would spend hours suffering
beneath the toxic bright lights of the limited too
while my mom and sister shuffled endlessly
through the mass-produced neon clothes

there’s a strange fondness i feel
for pacing around the mall
with my pink-haired freshman girlfriend
hand-in-hand
eating a cherry-dipped dairy queen cone
and watching the kiosk employee
flying his plastic helicopter
by remote control
in the atrium of the mall

there’s a certain fondness i feel
about sneaking into spencer’s gift with friends
and pretending we weren’t just going
to laugh at the sex toys

you are not that impressive
and you never have been
but i have heard the muzak dying
i have watched
as stores with pulses
became white walls
you cannot lie to me
i can hear the heartbeat behind the plaster

i cannot watch anymore
as economic cancer eats away at your insides
commercial ebola mashes your insides
into one million parasitic cellphone case stores

your gold chandeliers have fallen
my sweet, sweet grandmother of a mall
we used to visit more often
but now we’ve just thrown you into a nursing home
and watched you suffer from a ghost town complex

there’s a strange fondness i feel
for the foreign workers at the sunglass stands
their cheeseball slicked back hair
and their desperation to sell you
overpriced sunglasses
you infected them with that desperation

it is never easy
to watch the past
slowly implode on itself

there’s a strange fondness i feel
to know that my father
a shoe salesman
paced daily so many times
by my mom’s work
before he had the courage
to ask her on a date
within you

the love that made me
the love that raised me
was born inside of you

some things don’t go slowly
and sentiment is a strange bird
that lands on whatever perch it cares to

you’re dying before my eyes
and i’m learning now
that you cannot mourn
what you’ve yet to lose

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.25, 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

02.22

0222

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(where am i?)

i woke up
and out my window
were the dusty chinese lamps of chinatown
mount fuji
off in the distance
covered with the snows of kilimanjaro
cold and ancient
i found myself in a foreign land
where the night cafes were open until dawn
the city glowing in the rain

the dusty roads leading to neon casinos
and water clear enough to see to the bottom
there was an identity to this place
though i didn’t know what it was
maybe a western mindset of eastern philosophy
there was something about the way
the snow covered the ground
like the weather wast trying to tell us
we can start over if we want to
or we could just throw all the cats in a bag
and shake it up

i began to feel sea sick
it was as if the palm trees in the distance\
were swaying with me
to the acoustic ringing of polynesian ukulele
and the old, old buildings crumbled
like pixels of my sanity

when in rome, they say,
do as the romans do

so i went down
to fisherman’s wharf
and i rented myself a fixie
and i rode it through the winding streets
the narrow dark back alleyways
over the grassy knolls
and down martin luther king blvd.
and when i felt burnt out
i retired in the night to a pizza parlor
this city really does never sleep
it’s so big
and there’s just months of sunlights
and months of night

to think slaves made these pyramids
it was so damn cold
and i was stuck in bermuda shorts
lost in the cocaine triangle of denver

i could barely see across this wide wide river
full of caymans and pirahnas, the fish and flauna
and memories of you
you
lost on some distant star of a planet

i wish you were here
we could go see the savage matadors
murdering the innocent bulls

i wish you were here
i guess technically you are

it seems everyone speaks their own language here
the oceans are so blue
the grass is so green
the continents all fit together so nicely
like those hotel rooms
with nothing between each other
but locked doors

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.22, 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

02.06

I’m late again. I know. I’m a terrible person. We’ve had nothing but horrendous computer problems at home so I’m at the library now typing my 02.06 poem…

0206

(kingdom.)

they kept the stones stacked properly
replaced any cracks with newer stronger ones
the moat was only dug deeper
and the ropes of the drawbridge
were always taught
unfrayed and prepared to open their door
to visitors

the prince and his sister, the princess
played together in their room
away from echoing yells down corridors
distorted and unfamiliar to innocent ears

the walls grew taller each day
the halls were repainted
and the flowers well-mended
the windows overlooked the mountains
massive and unflinching
but they crumbled each day
small bits of rock rolling into river

the king dressed regally
his gold polished his robes as neat
as the careful steps he took
through the palace alone
the queen was gorgeous
she grew older as do we all
but she grew better
her dresses flowed beautifully
she carried herself with the stature
of some great bird

and the king and the queen danced
in the ballroom alone
to the sound of the gramaphone
red curtains and waltzes
they danced til they were done

and when they were done
they looked at each other
dead in the eyes
and said i love you
and it was the last time they ever would

the castle was up-kept as well as it could be
no detail went un-missed
no imperfection went uncorrected
but sometimes decay just happens
from the inside out

nothing could save the kingdom
the empire of their love had simply vanished
a silent foreign enemy come in the night
stole the love they harvested like gold straw
the castle was hollow now
and the king and the queen
just the pages of a fairy tale

they closed the book
looked up from the pages
and had to find where they were
without the love
they thought they were promised forever

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.07, DAY 7 OF THE 28 DAY 02.2013 PROJECT

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

02.02

02.02 jpeg

(nightmare.)

and on the second day he rested

went in for a nap and found himself slipping like alice
and when he landed on the other side
he landed on the sideways concrete of san francisco
chinatown at night
outside of a chinese theater
he was drunk dizzy disoriented
lost in hills and chinese lamps
drunk couples kissing down back alleyways
over his shoulder he heard the voice of his father
standing up and dusting himself off
he turned around and sure enough it was him
white smile his father hugged him
and he asked him what he was doing here
but it was a dream and he couldn’t remember
and they walked down the sidewalk together
and they laughed at san francisco together
a girl on her cell phone yelling
“i’m just too LA for this place”
and he turned to his father and said
“what a bitch…”
and her friends came out of nowhere
and they asked him what he meant
and because it was a dream
he tried and tried to defend himself
against the twentysomething feminist women
who outside of dreams he loved so dearly
but they wouldn’t hear him
they just wouldn’t hear what he had to say at all
and the tension was so damn high
and their faces so damn hurt and angry
and eventually they just went off their separate ways

the women still mad at him, his father quiet
and then his father was gone
faded out of the dream like god had plucked him right out

it was night
harsh night now
he was alone in this foreign city within a foreign city
no idea where he was
no money for a cab
nowhere to go if he could get one

and he stumbled to a friend’s door
somehow
by some miracle
in the drunk dizziness of this dream
and he knew his breath tasted of dirt
and his clothes were stale from the day
but the friend she opened the door
and she let him in
and she made him a cup of tea
and he sat quiet in her sideways san francisco apartment
beside her san francisco fireplace
and he drank the tea
and she brought out a man
and he knew right away he wasn’t a good one
he had a shit eating grin
that seemed to say he was footing the bill
for a broke twentysomething girl in san francisco
and this man
his handshake was as flacid as his congeniality

the apartment was dim
nothing to look at
no stories in photo frames
no messy proof the place was lived in
the place was a nightmare

and it only sunk deeper
a flickering rampaging light grew outside
and the lost boy in san francisco
found himself looking out the window
at a creative bonfire
a giant burning sign on the grass below
“YOU CAN’T JUST THROW AROUND “BITCH””
and in this nightmare
this inescapable nightmare
this misunderstanding
this dark dream that felt too real to be shrugged
he found himself on the wrong side of history
his father gone, lost in the bay
his momentary lapse in judgement
making him a sacrifice to the movement of times

there were coolers behind the flaming sign
twentysomethings gathered and drank pretentious beers
talked about progression with honesty
speaking frankly, bonded in their hatred of him
but he was barefoot on the cold concrete patio
behind the metal bars fifty feet off the ground
and he knew in the next room
his female friend, a sister really
had been dragged off by the man with the shit grin smile
door closed, she probably just laid there

he ran out the door
found his way back to the chinese theater
and he banged on the door
it was a saturday night
and people were coming and going in mass
but he couldn’t get in
he knew they were all in there
his friends, his family, his father
he knew that the protesters would find him
with their picket signs and their need to cure misogyny
and he was afraid of it

he was still barefoot
his father never showed up
he didn’t think he’d ever find him
the city hated him for what he wasn’t
he couldn’t go where he wanted to
his sister of a friend
was locked up in the arms
of a poor excuse of a man
he was stuck in limbo
he was stuck in limbo
i don’t know if any of this is coming through
i don’t know if you can hear me from the other side
but it was a nightmare
there was just nothing to grab onto

and when he woke up
he was sweating
sleeping in a room with no windows
at his parents house
his duffle bag splayed open on the floor
his life in boxes all around him
he sat up and breathed the air conditioned air

just nothing.
thank god.

he went downstairs
waking up from that dark coma
and his sister, his actual sister
offered him a cup of tea
and she asked him
“how was your nap?”
and he said to her,
“i had a nightmare.
i didn’t think i could have nightmares anymore
but i did
and it was terrible.”

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.03, DAY 3 OF THE 02.2013 PROJECT

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

BEN

we were gathered around
the four of us
in standard party circle
beers in hand
when he interjected

“the hardest thing
i’ve ever had to do
is to deliver a flag
to my friends’ parents.
i had to stand there
saluting
straight faced
while i waited for them
to finish balling hysterically
when just days earlier
my friend had said to me
if i die
i want you to deliver
the flag to my parents.”

it came out of nowhere.
nothing prompted him
telling us this.
there was no rhyme
or reason
to it being entered into
the conversation
but i’m glad it was.

amongst the alcohol
and stupid balloons
the chit-chattering
and the laughter
all that laughter
we needed a moment
of truth.
a moment
of raw
visceral
unapologetic
humanity.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “IN CRAZY”

CHECK OUT MY UPCOMING PROJECT “02.2013″

IN CRAZY

in Crazy
you’re bound to forget your hat
but never to fret
these things do happen
and luckily the rain rises upwards
and the alligators in the sewers are friendly
in Crazy

in Crazy
the tin soldiers march up the walls
and just about everyone is happy
unless they don’t want to be
in Crazy

in Crazy
i’ll find myself sitting indian style
in a hotel room above a cowboy saloon
fingerpainting on the typewriter
because tonight is not a night for serious
and tonight is not tonight at all
in Crazy

in Crazy
i’m stumbling over double yoo’s
and i’m penciling in an artist date with myself
my hair grows horizontally
sporadic fritz chicken scratch madness
i haven’t shaven for weeks
in Crazy

in Crazy
the queen rules with an iron fist
while the tin soldiers exercise the golden rule
and a silver-tongued jester
speaks to diamond eyes
in Crazy

in Crazy
the mad mad jester
yes he’s the one who knows the ropes
the mad mad jester
he’ll leave a mint on your pillow for ya
he’ll make sure that you’re fit to stay
in Crazy

in Crazy
they’ll lock you away for any old thing
they’ll throw you in a fluffy room for loving someone
who looks too much like you
they’ll toss you in for speaking the truth
they won’t hesitate to tell you your wrong
preposterous preposterous outrageous unmentionable
you’ll be fed what ails you
in Crazy

in Crazy
the unicyclist is lackadaisical
the motor cars are faster faster faster
and the road looks empty and romantic
but there’s long-snouted authorities
hiding in the ditches
sneaking across behind the tumbleweeds
the road is endless and knows no horizon
but the vultures hover low enough to shadow
in Crazy

in Crazy
the elephants sit on golden thrones
and the monkeys howl at poetic nonsense
the donkeys bray and bray and bray
but everyone has ears like mouths
in Crazy

in Crazy
they’ll put your coffin between your fingers
and you’ll pay the cowboy a pretty penny
to punch your lungs for a few rounds
give it the old college try
then throw what’s left onto the ground
to rinse and repeat and rinse and repeat
in Crazy

in Crazy
the muddy muddy raincoat man
whistles his song of water
and drops the pennies in the puddles
he sits beneath the bridges
the old troll, he barely moves
the automobiles just faster faster faster
and the bridge decays like people’s faces
in Crazy

in Crazy
they put the bags on their heads
they hide their mouths and eyes and ears
but their bodies are flashed across the intelligent art show
the art show that sings you to registers
the heartbeat that slides its fingers into your wallet
the brazen lunch bell, the limited sound of freedom
in Crazy

in Crazy
you’ll love the way you’ll learn to love
you’ll paint a masterpiece in the old folks home
they’ll hang it on the giant fridge
they’ll put it in your
personal manila file with your name on it
you’re bound to forget your hat
in Crazy

in Crazy you’ll live
in Crazy you’ll die
in Crazy
in Crazy
in Crazy

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “1994 SEATTLE LOVE SONG”

CALIFORNIA, STOP SWALLOWING MY FRIENDS

you’re a monster! a monster, i tell you!
you lure them in with your nihilistic theme parks
and your caustic beaches
the promise of Hollywood and the west of the American
west
in the night, your ocean reaches its bony hands under the covers
and digging its polluted claws in, it drags them anxiously
through the fires of Utah and the flowerless graveyards of Las Vegas
i watch all this sleepless from the fragile glass window of my Colorado home
in the swaying arms of my humble mother
rocking me to sleep in a Rocky Mountain high
but how my friends tried to grasp on to those mountains as you grasp them in tantrums

you need so much god damn attention

the blonde-haired blue-eyed boys and the sexual shape of video cameras
this one goes out to the friends i’ve lost
desperate and scared amongst the grey smog and the pedophile buildings

i can hear you laughing at all of this, California
stop swallowing my friends, California
your jewel heart fell into the Pacific Ocean
and my friends are lost, manic and drugged in your vicious riptides
you digest them in your swollen valleys
they waste away, going nowhere in rush hour traffic
listening to catchy horror music on the radio

oh, the California radio! it tastes of silicone
it burns like vodka tonics and the Beverly Hills Hotel
they are all just prisoners there; of their own device
into your guts they go; an assembly line of starry-eyed followers
into the factory; to be printed like Marilyn, to be loved like Jackie,
to be shot like Kennedy
i can’t stop them
they are scared and horny and thinking with their adolescence
they are less reckless, and more self-mutilating

California, i can see the scars underneath your breasts
i can taste the cheap boxed wine on your breath
your eyes are busy telephone wires for crow’s feet to rest on
you’re so skinny
i can see right through you
i don’t care
just please
California, stop swallowing my friends

“Denver is lonesome for her heroes,”
and you are just hungry for your villains

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “ANXIETY AT THE HOUSE CAFE”

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”

EFFIGY

(i really like this one, so i’m only gonna leave it up for a couple days before i take it down to try to get it published. ;) )

and the simple truth is this
i am always on fire
i don’t know how to put myself out
and whenever i come close
whenever i open a window
to let the breeze in
or step out into the rain
i can never let that last ounce
of fire die
it is that which i hold onto
as dearly as god

it is that which will follows me
to death’s house
and we’ll stay up all night
talking about the world
and what we remember it was

but first
i will find myself
in the windows of buildings
seventeen actual stories
above the ground

i will find myself in the blaze
of a lamp post on the red curtains
of the stage

i will find myself
in the torches that the righteous
and the rest of bare

i will find myself
in the ashes of a farmhouse
in the absolute middle
of america

i will find myself
gnawing at a desk
with the heat of my hands
and i know
that this is where i’ll die

and i know
that this
is as real
as the bonfire
stretching its arms
across the back of my
beautiful lover

colorado
how could i ever not die for you?

colorado
i don’t have the strength
to crawl away
from your love

colorado
you feed me

this is where i’ll die
just a fire
desperately trying to burn
as long as it can

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “YOU’RE GONNA REGRET IT”