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”

VENTI SKINNY VANILLA NO FOAM LATTE

i know what it’s like to be so lonely that anyone will do
i know what it’s like to chase after a dream that was never going to become reality
i know what it’s like to find yourself lost in your own house in a room full of the people you know the best
i know what it’s like to lay awake in bed all night because the adderall stops you from sleeping but it’s that important that you learn to focus
i know what it’s like to accomplish everyone of your new year’s resolutions and still feel like it wasn’t enough
i know what it’s like to be stared at like a monster or the most charming person in the world
i know what grass tastes like and i know what the bottom of a whiskey bottle tastes like too
i know what apple cider vinegar tastes like and i’ll tell you this; it’s way worse than any whiskey
i know what it’s like to be under the bright lights of an operating table
i know what it’s like to stand beside a woman i love(d) on the stage of a church as her parents stare at me with hateful eyes
i know what it’s like to dig holes for eight hours for free
i know what it’s like to be 350 feet off the ground
and i know what it’s like to like six feet underground
i know what it’s like to not answer the phone for bill collectors
and i know what it’s like to wait by the phone to find out if someone is still alive
i know what it’s like to not have a car, to take the bus in the heart of denver’s winter
and i know what it’s like to have nothing to complain about when i look over and see a woman with two strollers and a bag full of food stamp groceries doing the same thing
i know what it’s like to learn you’re on the wrong side of history
and i know what it’s like to be waken up by sprinklers on a strangers lawn
i know that none of this is worth not knowing

if i’ve learned anything from this
it’s that the things that have taught me the most about myself
are never the motivational speakers on the grand stand
they are never the power point presentations on happiness
or the venn diagrams on good versus evil
the things that have taught me the most
are the burns on my tongue from drinking coffee too fast
and the moments that tasted bitter going down my throat
shitty coffee from waffle house at who cares o clock
served by some waitress who’s hard to look at
and doesn’t give a shit about me
never a venti skinny vanilla no foam latte
handed to me by some trust fund brat in a green apron

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “HANGOVER”

CLEVER SALT SHAKERS

that poem’s gone
it was
good intentions

tonight
sitting in a
basement with tickering
lovebirds
it’s starting
to feel
like home
again

there’s a
paranoid hum
this
air conditioner
breeze about
but
that’s
probably just the
apparition of my
something

it’s starting
to feel
like home
in the
apartment
again

for a while there
the walls were
shifting
like
the inside
of a rubik’s
cube

my books
were going
missing
the sun
was a lamp
that could be
clicked on at
midnight

everyone, everywhere
ever
all at once
felt like
strangers
to me
but the adderall’s
dissolving
down
the
drain
and my eyes
and his eyes and her eyes are
smiling

i must have been
punch drunk on rust
and lust
for a month
but that

was two months
ago

a month long hangover
can be
a god damn rattlesnake
a
punch to the
throat

i’m barefoot at night with my
barefeet on the dizzy table

i want to paint a painting of this
painting on the wall

what i really wanna do is
kiss humor
in the back seat of a
cramped
compact
car

i can’t get over April
she’s this
lost month lump
in my throat
bermuda triangulation
i’m so lost at sea
let May crash on me like a
mack truck

i’m wearing my favorite jeans
hearing “Imagine” for the first time
skinny-dipping at
Sea World
i’m
dissolving
down
the
drain
like the Adderall

it’s starting to
feel like
home
in the
apartment
again
all the
junk the
laptops and
books and
bowls and
bags and
deceptively empty
Mountain Dews and junk
seems to be in
it’s place
again

there’s the air again

that computer
breath

(i don’t know where this is going)

but blindfolded
people are
often pushed
to
surprise parties.

the world isn’t
round

it falls off
at the
horizon of
neighbor’s fences
where we become
afraid
to talk to
the mutants in the mirror

it’s
starting
to feel
like home
in the
apartment
again

the whole place
swings
like a basonet

this thing’s gonna
end
like a crescendo

this apartment’s home and you all
are little kitschy items, snow-
globes and candy
tins, handsome whiskey
bottles and
clever salt shakers
sitting
on my
kitchen
shelf.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “EFFIGY”

COMING SOON

FEATURING THE POEMS “HOW TO SET YOURSELF ON FIRE” , “WHEN I WAS MAYBE TWELVE YEARS OLD” , “TO VEGETARIANS” , “SUBTERRANEA” , and “THE PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE OF VARINIA RODRIGUEZ”.

AVAILABLE THIS SEPTEMBER THROUGH FLASHLIGHT CITY PRESS.

Interesting in reviewing? Please email me at bricemaiurro@gmail

THE GRAFFITI ARTIST

He told me he was addicted to pain killers for over three years. He said it had been several months since he had taken any but he was still getting high off of the residual effects of the drugs in his system. He looked me in the eyes like he was afraid that he would feel everything again all at once. He said for years he wore too small of shoes. He said he would need major surgery to repair the overlapping and cracked bones of his feet. Said that without pain killers he would be in a wheelchair for several months teaching himself how to walk again. He said when he slept with all the girls that he did, he couldn’t feel a thing; said because of this he could go for hours. He told me about how all of the girls hated that. He told me they rarely got a satisfying response from his numb body. He was a high school student. Had been kicked of several schools for fighting. He talked to everyone in the same voice, in the same tone, about the same things, and he would talk as long as someone was listening. He told me he did graffiti. He taught me how to create a tag, and for the only night I ever spent talking to him, I watched him, without a hint of emotion, tell me everything; I felt, in a way, that I understood him better than myself.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “AND I START TO WONDER IF MY NICE LITTLE PILLS IN THE RED DESIGNER CONTAINER ARE STARTING TO CUT OFF MY ABILITY TO RAMBLE”

COMING SOON

Flashlight City Press

AND I START TO WONDER IF MY NICE LITTLE PILLS IN THEIR RED DESIGNER CONTAINER ARE CUTTING OFF MY ABILITY TO RAMBLE

and the monk is far far gone in some universe i can’t join him in
and there’s five white guys on television arguing for the elephant throne and i don’t know their names and i should know their names
and the fridge and i haven’t moved all day and i called in sick for my psychology test today but i couldn’t even get to the core of my own apple at the moment
and this moment is dedicating itself to slackjaws who are happy spending their lives playing backyard horseshoes and the other guy online who agrees with me that newt gingrich looks like the keebler elf
and i haven’t spoken to jack daniels since school started – he texts me from time to time to see what i’m up to but i tell him i’m busy but really he just always overstays his welcome and gives me a headache with all his macho bullshit
and anne coulter is somewhere bitching and moaning about things she didn’t take the time to understand and in heaven, socrates is throwing darts at her face
and in heaven michael jackson is happy that no one is bothering him and in heaven everyone is shaking their angel heads at us
and sometimes i wish i was in heaven too but first there’s too much good poetry to write about this place
and my chores are just gonna have to wait because today is dedicated to freedom
and somedays i wish i could just walk around with a sleep mask on
or even better, i could do a sensory deprivation mask like politicians and tobacco lobbyists and the official american television fan club
and before these pills and my first major revelation of driving my life towards my own happiness i used to never finish what i started and now i always do
it’s my day off and i’ve become a turtle writing about the inside of his shell
so for once, for the first time in a long time i’m gonna stop writing and find myself again in the honesty of incompleti-

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “ANDY WARHOL”

AND THESE LITTLE ORANGE PILLS ARE STARTING TO DISSOLVE IN MY STOMACH

and it burns like a bad relationship
i need a cigarette i need a cigarette
the whiskey cabinet’s empty and some voodoo
horror ghost has replaced my water of life
with tequila
and the tequila tastes like sand and dead dry cacti
and the truth tastes as synthetic as sugar-free bubble gum
when i said goodbye to you, i seemingly forgot to open my mouth
and since then, my mind won’t shut the hell up
and it’s taking moves back in a chess game it lost a long time ago
and you are a dent on my driver’s side door that i keep for character
and i carry on the way cancer does
and i carry the weight of the featherwords i’ve wasted on my skeletal back and bare a demon child on my hips
and lust is just love that is more fun to rhyme

these people on the television are trapped and none of us can get them out
al bundy watching us watching television with our hands down our pants
and the television is just the middle man
forced to talk; never knew it could plead the fifth
and the fifth of whiskey is gone
and i’m forgetting what i’ve already mentioned
and it’s 11:14 and it’s the witching hour
and somewhere in the world it’s 3 pm and christ has just died
and somewhere in the world someone someone loved
and somewhere in the world someone someone loved
had some form of something happen to them
yes – i am – affirmative – positive reinforcement backed up only by centuries of black plague barn burning flames of fires ashes to ashes dust to dust
beginning to end and in the beginning someone had to be there to tell the story
who wrote down the story of adam and eve?
who heard god firsthand?
the world’s longest game of telephone
who heard god firsthand?
i hear him firsthand everyday
dead white male
seeks
living black female
seeks
salvation from this sideshow circus that was created by the people who brought you
absolutely everything
baby-back ribs made from bunson burners
and love made from sound filtered through the tiny holes of a car radio
and the bass bumps
and the bass bumps
and everyone has a headache
and people don’t know what a migraine is
and we are all the 1%
yes
we are all the 1%
and through the eye of the needle, america is too obese to fit itself
and i am typing this; thank you, google, thank you, dell, thank you hp and mac and electricity and edison and/or tesla and panasonic and whoever it fucking was
who wrote about adam and eve
we need to set up tents in the caverns of our robot hearts
and reteach them to beat involuntarily
we need to reteach our bodies to climax without two-dimensional naked fairy tales
and we need to remember that the greatest search engine is communication
and social networks are talking mouths
sleeping narcolepsy
haunted coffins
turn your cell phone off
(the show is about to begin)
walk naked to your neighbor’s house
shovel their sidewalk
and don’t stop when you get to the concrete
i couldn’t decide what to wear to bed, and i can’t decide if these little orange pills in my stomach are god or the devil
but i do know the color of blood when i see it
and i know human beings produce tears because they are sad, or sometimes cold
and i know that these thousands of towers that we built were built of hopes and dreams
and men turned to dirt so steel could stand
and i know that lobbyists just want to be cowboys like the rest of us
and i know that the seats in the senate house have cupholders
i know this, because we know this
and you can occupy route 66 from one end to the other
and you can occupy every store front and back alley of new york city
but when the twin towers fell, no one worried about the printers and the copy machines
no one worried about the papers and no one should have
these towers are lifting us towards god
and we can keep continuing being groundlings babbling about these suits with ken-doll haircuts
their briefcases filled with secrets and repressed orgasms but this fight is as faceless as the fire we all threw our cigarette but’s into
and whined about the high price of gasoline to feed it
you can occupy any place on earth
but i ask you, orange pills or no orange pills
please, occupy yourself
occupy you wife’s bed, and your husband’s tombstone
occupy your daughter’s baseball game and your son’s ballet recital
occupy each and every one of your fibers of skin as they are touched
we can expand outward to the universe but we will never conquer every frontier
it’s time we implode, two-at-a-time, and occupy ourselves

these little orange pills are to help me focus
these little orange pills take away the deficit attention
these little orange pills help me build cross streets and crucifixes
over weeks and weeks
and they are little and they are not perfect but they occupy within me
and one by one allow my fingers to type individual characters on this alphabet piano
let your enemies be faceless
we are all good men
and we need to rebuild these skyscrapers
not crash into them

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012