SOME FLOWERS

the idea behind
giving someone something
stolen

like a
hostage in the
night

as you both die
of thirst.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “A BEAR IN TOKYO”

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POEM FOR A LOVER IN MY FUTURE

when i lay
my head down
against your
bare stomach
i can hear
worlds turning
within you.

the way
shells contain
oceans
distant and quiet
is the same way
that you
provide for me
free radio
free justification
of every life decision
that has led me
and more specifically
my ear
to lean
against your stomach
like we are
pieces of fruit
in a still life painting
as the art museum
burns down around us.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

elevator music.

Image

We made out in an elevator for seventy two hours straight and it took us until 48 hours in to realize that the elevator had broken down. I spoke orange juice and you spoke gasoline in a diet cola world and surprise, surprise we made napalm. We made intricate solar vibrations of trash can drums beating in your empty room of a womb. Feminine claw against masculine skin. Angel dust and devil’s food cake and grandstand bandstand orchestral chords of symphonic orgasms splayed out across the starry night paint smeared and transient as oceans in wind. You throat punched me in the heart. You brilliant manifesto of bitch. You beautiful garbage disposal of fantasia. You sickening amount of whiskey spins and vodka breath and then existential hangover. And then the hangover from the hangover. And then the awkward silence. And then we’re sitting on separate hills looking out at different reality mountains and then the elevator doors opened and we got out.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

A BREAK-UP LETTER TO AMERICA

dear America,

you are everything I’ve ever known
and that’s the problem.

i feel
saturated by you
consumed by you
i feel as though
you’ve branded your name
on my ass.

you’re blurring
my vision.

you
are gorgeous.
really you are.
your desert dry skin.
your baltimore scars.
the way you refuse
to let me be on top
but you are the crazy girl
you don’t know how to say no
to anything
especially yourself
and especially me.

it’s weird
the way you tell me
you’re overweight
and you don’t care
that you’re happy this way
that life is all about
doing what you want to do.

America
it scares me how good you are
at firing a gun.

America
it’s funny the way you pretend
to dig through your purse
for your money
when the check comes at dinner.

i don’t think you realize
i am enamoured by you
really i am
it’s been years and years
and i am still in lust with you
thick lust
deep lust
the kind of lust
that i don’t even know
if love is buried beneath it.

i’ll never forget
that little box in your room
where you keep those vintage photographs
of dead native Americans
and old money
and your rosary.

it seemed to me
that every night before you went to bed
you’d apologize endlessly
for your sins that you still
just keep on committing
am i in love with you
because you make me feel
like a better person by comparison.

i don’t know
if i can continue to be with you.

remember the ferris wheel
at coney island?
we passed cotton candy
between each other’s mouths
like we were forcing our opinions
down each other’s throats.
remember the way we felt
when we walked through ellis island?
we were so small all of a sudden.
we were so lost in the same dream
together.

do you remember
watching the fireworks
because we were too impatient
to wait for the bombs?
do you remember the time
we got drunk in Vietnam
and Afghanistan and Iraq?

is that all we do together?
get drunk
get into fights
and get kicked out of bars?
you never pay your tab
you just leave your card
and cancel it the next day.

do you realize, America,
that i have a box of i.o.u.’s
from you?

do you realize, America,
that you called Joe Frazier
a nigger when he wasn’t in the ring
and a God
when he had your flag on his shoulders?

do you realize, America,
that i’m only with you
until i find someone new
if there is anyone new?

i can’t do this anymore.
we just sit on your dirty apartment floor
and watch the roaches crawl around
on the television.
we’ve got too many shows recorded
and not enough hours in the day
to watch them all.

you’re exhausting, America.

you’re annoying, America.

you’re sexy as hell, America.

you know how to drive
a corvette through the mountains
at ninety miles per hour
with your red high heel
pressed against the accelerator
and brandon flowers
playing from the tip of your cigarette
and into the radio.

you drive a stick shift
like manifest destiny.

your sirens
are red white and blue,
America.

your arenas
are the size of God’s pockets.

your phone
is dead half the time,
America.

i’m writing this letter to you
because i’m afraid
that if i break up with you in person
you’ll threaten
to kill yourself.

your videos
are viral, America.

your impressionable little sister
dresses just like you,
America.

i remembered when i realized
i don’t love you anymore.

we were sitting on a swing
on your front porch
in alabama
and you were singing
but all i could hear
was lies in your words
the gospel was gone
the folk wind had been
knocked out of you.

i need to make something clear.
breaking up with you
might be the hardest thing
i’ve ever have to do.
i love you to death.
i crossed out mom’s name
on the heart tattoo
on my bicep
and put yours in its place.

you kiss me
like we’re on a hill
in the fifties
with the top down
king and queen
of suburbia
teenagers
with chewing gum
and a yawn
that is just an excuse
for me to put my arm
on your shoulder.

you’ve taught me
how to dream,
America
but we always see
the horror movies
in theaters
and they give me
nightmares.

night terrors
of los angeles riots
and sandusky
and columbine
and politicians
snorting coke
laughing
like hyenas
i wake up
in sweats.

and it’s strange
because then you comfort me
you wipe my forehead off
with the bill of rights
and you sing to me
“oh lord
won’t you buy me
a mercedes benz.”
and you’ve got
just the right amount
of makeup on your face
and i can see driving through
nowhere between western cities
in the black of your eyes
i can see me smiling
with a quarter tank of gas
hoping i make it to salida
before i run out of
gasoline.

i can see gasoline
in the black of your eyes
spread out
over the ocean
like a blaze of glory
like a belligerent night;
like one of our one thousand
belligerent nights.

you smell like
chanel perfume
you shouldn’t
it’s french
but you just do
whatever you want to
don’t you?

you make me smile
like a god damn
happy meal.

what am i saying?
i’m breaking
up with you.
i’m not in love with you
anymore.

yes i am.

oh god
you must think i’m crazy
go ahead
throw me in your white padded room
tell me
what you want me to be
i’ll be
whatever you want me to be
because you have always been
what i wanted you to be.

we all ran away
from home at some point.
some of us made it
to the bus stop down the street.
the light of the world.
but you ran away
and you never looked back
you rode bareback
to the end of it all
to the last frontier
where we met
in san francisco
because we couldn’t afford
hawaii
and we kissed
sitting down
at the top of lombard street
and you promised me
that you would never forget me
you promised me
that you would try your best.

this is not an easy breakup.
half of my underwear are at your house.
my c.d. collection is tucked beneath your bed.
my trust is buried
in your backyard.

we bought a dog together
and we named him rex
and we gave him a backyard
to play in.

what are we going to do
with our baby?

you’re not going to
try to collect the money
you offered to spend on me
are you?
are you that person,
America?

okay.

okay,
i’m sorry.

we need
to pull
the trigger.

i’m leaving you,
America.

i want my favorite
t-shirt back.
the one with
the graphic
of bruce springsteen’s
ass in demin jeans
on it.

the one i wore
when we stayed up all night
laying down on your parent’s roof
watching the fireworks
watching the planes fly by
talking about our dreams
and how we had
to keep each other accountable
for them.

i’m leaving you,
America.

probably for a girl
who looks just like
you.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “THAT GOOD OLD-FASHIONED DUBSTEP”

ELEVATOR MUSIC

there is this elevator that runs up my spine
and play music that is just plain terrible
elevator music. hold music. public television music.
i cannot stand it. and my cat burglar heart
tries like hell to sneak in in the night
and rip out the speakers and reinstall in its place
new sound. vivid sound. the kind of sound
that shakes your neighbor’s walls
the kind of sound that you just lay
eyes up counting the little white flakes
on the ceiling while they are banging on your door
sirens and air horns and bass bass bass
that’s the song i want to play inside my elevator
filled with strangers who don’t talk to each other
but tear them out too.

i want to replace them with a man in a tux
and a woman in a slinky red dress
and when they first get on the elevator
they are as far apart as can be
but the man looks over and the woman looks coy
and as soon as the doors closed
they are throat deep in each other’s mouths
and she asks him if he’s married
and he says yes and she says i don’t care
i don’t care tonight because we were trapped
in this elevator that goes up brice’s spine together
and we are here to beat the doldrums away.
we are just figments of brice’s midnight imagination.

i don’t remember the last time i kissed someone.
i mean sincerely sincerely sincerely kissed someone.
seats leaned back, non-elevator music on the radio
just got lost in the rhythm that they present to me.
tonight, i’m sleep deprived and thinking only of this.
tonight, the elevators were just a segway to what
i really wanted to say to you, dear reader.
but you see, i couldn’t get to it right away
because the delivery man was trapped on floor five
because the infidelitous couple were hijacking the elevator
jammed it stuck at level four, so i had to wait
for their moment of love to end to find exactly
what
i was looking for.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

I DON’T KNOW

be the savior of my religion
be the hand beneath my pillow
be the paperweight on my papers in the wind
be the kiss that beats my alarm clock

i’ll be the dust on your stage
i’ll be the canary to your coal mine
i’ll be the detour to your house
i’ll be the fire to your attic

we’ll be until we can’t
we’ll move like wind ahead of hurricanes
we’ll dance like we’re drunk
in my parent’s basement

then you’ll be the ghost under my stairs
then you’ll be beneath my flowers and my letters
then you’ll be the flowers that rise to your grave
then you’ll be cumulonimbic swan songs

then i’ll be with you amongst the madness
then i’ll be swimming beside you like two halves
of a pair of scissors piercing through paper chaos
then i’ll remember the way we felt

i’ll remember the way we felt

then i don’t know
i don’t know
i don’t know
i don’t know

we’ll make it up as we go along.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “THE WALL AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE”

THE WALL AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE

there is a wall at the universe
where shit heads graffiti their names on the side
street kids hide little bags of drugs behind the bricks
and you and i just sat there
our backs pressed against it

“what’s beyond that wall?”
you asked me
and i told you
“that’s the whole thing.
it’s the wall at the end of the universe.
there is nothing beyond it.”

“nothing is something.”
you said.
i wanted to kiss you.
you were wearing that lipgloss
that tasted like cherries
or strawberries
or some delicious fruit
and when my lips are done
sliding off the synthetic taste
all i’m left with is you.

you and me.
sitting against the wall
at the end of the universe.
the one that doctor gonzo
drove his great shark over.
the one that syd barrett
crashed into
like the comedown
from the astral plane.
this is where we are.

“have you ever wanted
to look over the wall?”
you asked.
“hell no,” i said.
“that’s just

that’s just too much for me.”
“how can you not want to look?”
“to be honest,”
i said,
“i’m slightly disinterested.”

“i’m going to look.”
you said,
and i thought that too
was an honorable choice
so i lifted you up onto my shoulders
and you looked out
into the great beyond
where i imagine
there are no red planets
or white giants
or starbucks across the street from
starbucks
and i asked you what you could see
and you said

“i don’t know how to describe it.”
and i said
“well try…”
and you said
“i can’t even really see anything
i just feel
deep inside of me
this haunting faith
that there is something beyond
this wall.”

“who made this wall?”
i asked
and you said
you didn’t know
and you came back down
from off my shoulders
and you looked into my eyes
and you said
“huh…”
and i said
“what…”
and you said
“nothing.”

there was a pause.
the crickets held their bows
and waited for our cue
to continue.

“i’m gonna throw a brick
over the wall!”
i said.
and you said
“you are such a guy.”
and i said

“i have to know.
i have to know if i can
break down the walls of perception.
what if someone
just put this wall up
to make themselves feel better?
maybe they were afraid of
infinity?”

“afraid of infinity?
do you know how you sound?”

“i’m serious!”
i said.
“why else do we build walls?
because we’re afraid of
not understanding
what is on the other side.”

“or we’re trying to keep
something
out.”
you said.
applying more lip gloss.
“or
maybe,”
you said,
“they were a romantic…”

“what is more romantic
than the idea
that everything continues
forever,”

“i’ll tell you what,”
you said,
“the idea
that you and i
on some cold colorado night
could pack a picnic
and go sit
at the wall at the end of the universe
and accept that we did it.
that together, we made it.
we all want to be pioneers.
we all want to feel that what we found
is the ultimate.
we are nationalistic
to the nation of ourselves
and our loved ones.
that is why we are here.
that is why you and i ended up here
at the wall at the end of the world
so we could pretend our love
is romeo and juliet
that our love
is the love story that they will tell
to our children
and our children’s children.
that our love
is the ultimate.
that is why we build walls.
windows and doors and walls
these are things we’ve created
because it is part
of our idea of home.”

“i don’t need walls
to feel like i’m home with
you.” i said.
and your eyes glimmered
and i saw in them
what i think you must have seen
when you looked over
the wall
at the end
of the universe.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “WHITE SMOKE”

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″

THE HANDS THAT REACH FOR WINTER

the hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the hands that reach for winter
the nights that reach for pain
the guns that reach for murder
the fire burns the same

the beds that burn for lovers
the streets that turn like time
the art of stabbing in the back
the acidity of lime

the words that clasp like thunder
the planes that land unharmed
every righteous number
that we shoot into our arms

the man from california
the woman from d.c.
every foreign victim
from sea to shining sea

comforter of angels
chancellor of drugs
loving heart of death now
now the death of love

brilliant manifesto
child in the gutter
orphan military
absent-minded mothers

the sermon on the mount
the dusting of the crops
the clicking of the gears
the roller coaster drops

we fall
and we fall
and we fall
some more

we dig our graves
and dance with death

we talk like
virgins

we walk like
whores

we eat
until
there’s nothing left.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “HAIKU #1″