HOCHSTETLER

i cut through twelve hundred city blocks
nine thousand stop lights fifteen thousand
stores eighteen hundred coffee shops
busted through fourteen million crowds
seventy-seven planets twenty-three
galaxies i took a bus during rush hour
a cab during prime hours i sat on
a greyhound from saturn to jupiter
i begged for change from a rabid dog
i did three thousand push-ups in
exchange for a bed i stole a kid’s
bicycle i lived on a farm for a month
with an amish couple with a three-
legged cat named hochstetler just to borrow
their carriage to get into town to call a
friend who let me sleep on his futon i read
through twelve phone books looking for your
number i walked across hot coals
in india in exchange for a map i
literally gave a man the shirt off
my back in exchange for the piece
i was missing to build a time machine
to go back to the appropriate year just
to give you this poem that i wrote
for you because one night when you
were drunk you said i’d write a poem
about you and i did so here you go
i hope you like it.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

TO THE WOMAN AND/OR GIRL WHO SENT HERSELF FLOWERS

those flowers are not from you. they are from me.
i wanted to send you something to let you know
that you are very very very much loved.
i know sometimes life can feel quite busy
or overwhelming and sometimes unbearable
but through all of this you always remain
in my thoughts, because you deserve to be thought of.
that is the truth. these are not just pretty words
that are a dime a dozen. this is truth. the truth.

i hope you picked out your favorites. yeah i knew you liked
those flowers and it’s not important which flowers you picked out
but the fact that you chose carefully what flowers
you would get yourself allowed me to get you the flowers
that you wanted, because people are not given flowers
often enough. and it has nothing to do with the price.
if you can’t afford flowers, steal your neighbor’s flowers.
i do not encourage theft: steal your neighbor’s flowers.
there are too many flowers living complete boring lives
in suburban wastelands or botanical gardens. there are flowers
in the discount section of the local grocery store.
that is the literal image that corresponds with a craigslist
missed connection ad. buy those flowers.

these flowers are a torch, so pick red and orange and yel-
low ones, because i am passing on to you something that you
should hold dearly as i would hold you dearly if you were not
across highways, oceans or galaxies my sweet alien love. i
want you to know that you are incendiary. when you
ignite the spark in your pulmonary arteries you set
flame to your lungs and the fumes in your lungs climb your
trachea like a smoke stack and you burn like a great ship
on a still ocean as brachiocephalic fireblood rushes to your
untouched arms and that is why i got you these flowers
so neither of us will ever forget the way that you were and are
and always will be.

this is the way that you were and are
and always will be.

take these flowers and find them water.

give them sunlight and sing them stupid songs.

put them in your windowsill and watch them bloom
young light to gamma-ray burst to inevitable dusk
may they be with you through it all.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

ALASKAN SUMMER

what if we could still the ocean?

what if we all stood still for one damn moment?

what if we used our weight to hold back the heavy hands of time

instead of spinning forward the hands faster and faster

faster and faster and faster still

one hundred cups of coffee

one thousand pounds of heaven

one million gallons of gasoline

we drive we drive we drive into the night

blindfolded behind the wheel of a jetplane

we crash into morning like a plane into a building

like an alaskan summer we live for six months straight

and try to forget the dark days we dive into

we are lost and kind of happy

we are lost and kinda something

but it’s time to call it a night

i gotta be up early

and i’ve been up all night watching old home movies

of us traveling through Love

the trees blur by outside the car window

but the scent of the evergreens is lost on film

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

SKELETON QUESTIONS

if my skin vanished like a styrofoam plate on a hot burner
if my muscles began to wriggle down my body like slugs escaping
if my veins and arteries and capillaries
all wound up like a tape measure into my heart
and then i loaded my heart into a potato gun
and shot it straight up into space

if i plucked out both of my eyes with my fingers
unscrewed the top of my mason jar head removed my brain
and donated it in the name of scientific progress
if i tore off my tendons and ligaments
filled my lungs with hydrogen tied them tight with a string at one end
and let them float off into space like two really creepy balloons
if i made my intestines into a giant rubber band ball
and kicked it into the atlantic ocean at night
if i threw my liver my spleen my kidneys my stomach
my bladder my diaphragm my apendix my pancreas
into a shopping cart and pushed it over a cliff

if i stood before you some strangely joyous skeleton
would you still love me?
where does the soul reside?
where is the heart, the actual heart, the
heart of the heart?
where does the soul reside?
i will remove the phalanges
the metacarpals the carpals that type this poem
i will rip out the pharynx the larynx that sings to you
to try and find where the song comes from
where is the heart of the heart?

what is the ghost hand that squeezes the heart like a stress ball?

what generator generates the static electricity of a kiss?

these questions aren’t easy
these are questions for skeletons
and i am warm and typing and breathing
and beating and thinking and blinking and blinking
and i am no skeleton today
but maybe i should be practicing
going to skeleton classes trying to figure out
how to be a skeleton
how love is eternal when on a long enough timeline
most of us are already dead
most of us are skeletons
unprepared to answer these skeleton questions of love and loss.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

donate blood

i can’t help but wonder about my ex-girlfriends sometimes
i wonder how big their wings have gotten or how small their horns
i wonder what existential epiphanies i didn’t get to experience
and i wonder what coals i didn’t have to cross for them

i run into past loves occasionally
it’s always interesting
that unspoken conversation you have
your bodies never forget each other
your eyes never stop staring at each other
but neither of you are the same person

they say we regenerate every cell in our bodies
over the course of seven years
what does that leave us to be?
what words would we say over coffee
flipping through pictures of strangers in phones
reminiscing about the things we once hated about each other
that are gone now

if you’ve ever watched a balloon float off into the sky
and followed it until you couldn’t see it anymore
imagining it hovering into orbit
past satellites and unidentified flying objects
you know how it feels to truly let go
to realize you are just an old radio song
to realize that mountains were once oceans
but first that bitter sting

like a needle piercing skin

never forget
donate blood

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

BREAKUP WALTZ

and the way
we go on
when our words
lose their weight
is all just
a strange form
of grieving

and the way
that we call
with nothing
left to say
is all just
a strange form
of grieving

when they’re there
they are there
so you have
things to say
to these ghosts
who walk down
your hallway

now, listen
i’m sorry
i loved you
that’s the truth
it’s too late
it’s over
it’s over

time is not
always in
four four time
sometimes it
does what it
wants to do

sometimes we
dance and when
the song halts
all we have
left is our
waltz

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “10TH & OSAGE”

i blink and

i blink and
one million people pass by me
at one million miles per hour
as stupid flowers bloom
and brilliant cities are planned
and corrupted
and born again
from the genesis of tragedy

i love in the moment
i mean
i try
but i get lost at sea
with my technology
and my telescope
that can see the wall
at the end of the universe but
only from the perspective
of my sight

and there
sitting on the wall
at the end of the universe
is a manic pixie dream girl
my answer to questions
i should be able to answer on my own
but unfortunately
not all of us are born
philosophers and tech gurus
some of us are just born
starry-eyed idiot boys
forced to pace around our rooms
for 40 days
with no water no oxygen
not an ounce of television
just us our love
and the exhaustion of staring at the
ceiling

i wander drunkenly down the halls of
harvard
i love voraciously as i fall asleep in a bathtub
in your heart
i drive myself insane trying to recreate
the something that maybe
but possibly
maybe not?
i fall asleep with a lampshade
on top of my enlightened head
in the bathtub
of your heart

(what the fuck is he talking about?)

i blink and
i am lost in some sea of angelic
monsters

i blink and
i am shooting downtown
in a metal death shuttle
piercing the skin of den
ver

i blink and
i am lying in bed
reading 10,000 pages
of a murakami novel
not about you
my room was hit
by a tornado
and i really couldn’t
give a shit

i blink
and my sister is marrying
the man of her life
i blink
and she is rosy-cheeked
and happy
and barefoot
and pregnant
and still in love
and she cries at her son’s
graduation
and she holds her husband’s
hand
and she holds her husband’s
hand
as they ascend into heaven
and i blink and i
blink
and i blink
and

i channel surf
the million lives i want to
live
and don’t think about
pink elephants
you’re thinking about pink elephants
aren’t you?
and don’t think about death
oh wait

i blink and
i am driving to saint joseph
to save my lover

i blink and
i am playing pinball
until four in the
imaginary morning

i blink and
i am in the car crash arms
of my saint joseph lover

i blink and
i am playing the white album
backwards

i blink and
i am swimming in my mother’s
chicken noodle soup

i am swimming
in a bathtub
in a hotel room
in your heart

i am charismatic
and charming
and almost out
of anxiety pills

i am down to
my last
anxiety pill

i am
my anxiety pills

i just
don’t know
who what where
when
why i’m at
at the moment
in the
sand dunes
in a hotel room
in your heart

i blink and
i am billy pilgrim
who has come
un
stuck in
time

against my
mother’s wishes
i have stared too long
into the eternal sunshine
of the spotless
mind

i am
jim carrey
in eternal sunshine of the
spotless mind

i am
kate winslet
in eternal sunshine of the
spotless mind

i am
hiding from
the velociraptors of reality
in an oven
on a dinosaur island

i am love
(i should always take a
moment to remember that
because it reminds me
that there is no such thing as
incorrect or irrelevant
or unimportant
you are important
you are too important
and the things that
you say
create waves that last
long after the moon
has blacked out drunk
remember that)

remember how beautiful
you looked
in my rear view window
as i went so very
not fucking gentle
into that good night

i blink and
i am watching my friends
sail away from the shores
of colorado
into the distorted audio
of california
into the arms
of jack daniels
into the eyes
of spiritual materialism
into the death star

i blink and
i am wallflowering
so very well
i am so very good
at wallflowering
when i want to
wallflower
and for the longest
i felt terrible
about wanting to
wallflower
but if time
the liar
has taught me
anything
it’s that i’m allowed
to wallflower
we move
so fast
even when
we’re not in
motion

i blink and
i am beneath your version
of the stars

i blink and
i am doctor gonzo
on a two-week
sociology binge
where the windows
are shattered
and the doors have
been busted open
and i am taking notes
on the human disease
and its beautiful
afflictions

i blink and
i am listening to a
tape recording of your voice
telling me nice things
about myself
and i am still
out of anxiety
pills

(i blink and
I turn off the lights
and listen to
something
and i meditate on
how people would speak
if words were as expensive
as college)

i blink and
call my mom and dad
on my way home from work
in zero degree temperatures
in november where i live
to tell them i love them
and i want to see them
(and i want to see you)
soon
i’m sorry i’ve been busy
and feeling very anxious
and honestly
i feel like if i blink anymore
i might miss

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “FUNERAL”

TO MARLA

i think about it sometimes
messaging you and saying
“wanna take off
where we left off?”
i would play charles bukowski
and you would be marla singer
and i would attack you
the moment that you walked
through the door
your coat hanging recklessly
on a chair somewhere
thumping footsteps up the stairs
the bedroom door slams
and there we would be
young and stupid in an instant

afterwards i’d crack a window
so you could smoke
i can’t stand cigarette smoke
but i’d stand it anyways
and you would be coy
using your arms and legs
to cover yourself
and i would just lay there
and stare up at the ceiling
and the stucco images
that don’t really seem to form
anything
just random images
there for the sake of being there
and in one moment
sunglare piercing
i’d see your eyes grow wide
as mine grew small in their reflection
universes expanding
contracting
and i’d be in love
incredible original love
then boom it would be gone
and i’d realize
that i don’t want to play
charles bukowski
and i would offer you breakfast
no
i don’t think i could
offer you breakfast

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “TINY LITTLE MOVER MEN”

TINY LITTLE MOVER MEN

any creature
that has had a fruit
in a tree
that it cannot reach
and will never be able
to reach
understands that circumstance
can sometimes
have the upper hand
over passion

sometimes you have to go hungry
to remember what it feels like
to be truly full

sometimes your soul is evicted
tiny little mover men
meandering up and down the staircases
in you chest
packing your lovely shit in boxes
and pulling up the carpets

sometimes it’s the big one
crashing down like loud loud reality
sometimes you have to sleep
outside of yourself
but remember you can see the stars

you say they are eternal
i say you are a liar
you say i am a nihilist
i say i pulled the death card
you say i’m just in transition
i say way too much
but i do understand
those words never really were
my fruit to begin with
and you still dance
in the giant ballroom
down the hall of my heart as
tiny little mover men
meander up and down the stairs
carrying boxes in and out

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “DRESSER”

NOVEMBER

here we are again, beating heart
from the silence rose an opus
and from the opus rivers of blood
flow eternally to the tips of fingers
to the skin of lovers
outreached to the angry sky

this poem will not solve love
love cannot be solved
only this can be said of love:
it is what it cannot be what
it wants to be when it isn’t
it acid burns in the stomach
it rises from the seas like
the krakken and it crashes down
on sirens and sailers alike

here we are again, november
i have pulled the death card once again
upside down inside out
lost in the heart of america

they say the great wave will take us all
they say that love is fleeting
they never shut up and listen
he asks me “where are the crickets?”
and i imagine they’ve packed their shit
evicted from my skull
and i am left with this awkward silence
and november is my april
my cruelest month my favorite album
i’ve played it so much it skips and skips
and here we are again, november
will you love me the way i want to love you
or will we draw a big black x on the calendar

here we are again, november
in the year of our lord 2014
blessed be the saints in my head
and the demons on my finger tips

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “STUPEFACTION/”