HOW A RAVEN IS LIKE A WRITING DESK

raven writing desk

when asking one’s self
how a raven is like a writing desk
things can get a bit
unnecessarily complex;
it is not hard to see
how a credible
and verifiable answer
may be hard to come by.
in this piece,
i will attempt to answer this question
which really
should have been answered long ago.

the first thing one must do
is to qualify
what exactly defines a raven.
experience points us towards the idea
that ravens are inconsistently
the strangest of businessmen.
note that all ravens crave independence
and a nice warm bowl of soup.
another less common accusation
of the raven kind
is that a multitude of their chamomile
is that which provides
shelter for storm drains
and by association
wormholes in the eternal treetrunk.

this is great and all
but what is the use of such conviction
unless we dive equally as deep
into the trenches of
orange libraries
to ask ourselves
what is a writing desk?
many scholars
have written on this
but in my research
i have found
they rarely remind us
that historically
writing desks
have been predatory creatures;
often confused with old crows
and barkeepers
who say things like
“put the jam beside the marmalade”.
i implore you
to not be ignorant;
to acknowledge
that bishops and angels
both use writing desks
as a source of inspiration
for their dissertations
of the latter subject
and the ladder observations.
writing desks taste of freedom
though the splinters
have been known to clog the drain
and leave a nasty hangover.

and now for the big question:
how are they alike?
it’s been suggested
that poe wrote on both
but i have no time
for absurd claims.
one’s life
is far too short
to get lost in logical nonsense.
we must be men
and stopping being children.
as we discussed earlier
ravens are the genesis of polka
whereas writing desks
symbolize the civil war
and the flamingos
who became martyrs
for its mahogany cause.
which is really the key here:
architecture.
both seem to have
a keen design
a design that suggests
dances with drunk waiters
and orbital malnourishment
which plagues us all the same.
a writing desk is to sweater vests
as a raven is to bubble bath water.
from there
certain jumps in logic
can be established
and we can find ourselves absolved
of the great question
which so long has burdened us all.

in conclusion
though it may be difficult at times
to find a system to something
as absurd as this
i find that these: two things
may be more alike
than we are willing to acknowledge.
the badgers of humanity
have a knack
for refusing to accept
that tolerance and compassion
towards washer machines and
the occasional stomach rumble
leads us to living in a glass onion
where we stop saying
to the top hat cricket on our shoulder
the ways that a raven
is unlike a writing desk
and start to genuflect
on the passing notion
that a raven
and a writing desk
are in factualitization
the exact
same
thing.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “CRICKETS”

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A TOAST

lift up your spirits!
to this cataclysmic evening!
this parade!
of howling wolves! and monkeys!
to the altered perspectives!
of angels!
and their subjective
paradise!

let our warped worlds come together!
like pangea in reverse!

let all religions reside within us all!
and all around us!

this is my wish for you.
and all of you.

let us toast!
to the fact our irises
are all different colors!
and our pupils are
all
the
same!

let’s get lost!
in the rambunctious sound
of
actual
reality!

and remind our souls
that love
is not just romance:
it is
every breath
the flowers give us
and each one
we return to them!

parks
that are dead
in winter
and alive
with lush green grass
and wide-
eyed people
in summers!

let’s toast!

to the smell of rain!
to the taste of laughter!
forever! tonight!
and ever after!

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “SHOCK TOP”

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”

AND NOW WE PRAY

just thought i’d shoot from the hip today. last night, i drank some wine with some of my best friends, logan and emma. it was wonderful. we talked. just sat here in this basement apartment and exchanged stories and laughed and were as honest as people should always be.

this is what it’s all about, folks. i know there’s a big battle going on out there for the american throne, but while people are out there trying to choose coke or pepsi, trying to sway the wind in the direction they prefer, i think we’re missing out on something important. sometimes i think we get so hooked on foreign policy, we forget the most miniscule of domestic policy. how to talk to one another. i’m not the first one to say it, and i won’t be the last.

the elections always make me see this great polarization between people. all of a sudden we seem to be in a civil war with democrats versus republicans. the system isn’t perfect. if you can’t acknowledge that, then you’ve got some thinking to do, but what i know of this world is we are all radical agents of change. we were given the ability to think things into existence.

what i’m trying to get at is we should stop putting up signs about diversity, and start talking to people who are different than us, and we are all different. we are all some version of weird and some version of interesting. we are all a hodgepodge of stories waiting to be heard. all we can do is share experience to learn to love better.

treat people behind counters like human beings. call the people you love who are far away. call the ones who are close. meet your neighbors. respect everyone. i heard a poem once at the mercury cafe, here in denver, where the poet said “why is honoring your children not a commandment?” there is a lot of truth in that.

i’ve been having a rough time, lately. the writing hasn’t been coming as strongly. i’ve felt a very heavy boulder on my shoulders and i’ve tried so many things to cure what ails me. in the end, i know i need the people around me. buildings without people are just archaeology. a testament to what once happened there. it’s not a stage until the lights come up and someone says something to someone. kerouac says “because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. climb that goddamn mountain.” but i think it’s clear that mountain isn’t just hiking mount everest. it’s not going on a road trip to the end of the world. these things are important, but each time you talk to someone you’ve never talked to before, heart-to-heart, you are climbing that goddamn mountain.

i know this has all been said, but i don’t think you can hear it too much. this isn’t my normal type of post, but i never want to lie to my audience. i want to have heart-to-hearts with my readers, because i know no one cares how intelligent i can make myself seem. no one cares what the most interesting mask i can put on is. the trick is to rip the mask off. to rip off the cover of the book and start reading.

thanks for reading,
love,
brice

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 2012

READ “SOAP OPERA OF VAMPIRES”

RANT POETRY COMPETITION

THINK OUTSIDE OF THE HEART-SHAPED BOX

Last week, Lana Del Rey covered the song “Heart-Shaped Box” originally by Nirvana, spurring an interesting response by Courtney Love over Twitter.  Courtney Love composed a now infamous Tweet about how the song is about her vagina:

PHOTO COURTESY OF AUSTIN KLEON

Hey. Wait. I’ve got a new complaint:

What I’d like to say is Huffington Post got it right when they called Courtney Love “outspoken.” I don’t care if you talk about your vagina online. That doesn’t bother me in the least. What bothers me is how Courtney Love managed to demean this song for me and possibly plenty of people around me. I am a big Nirvana fan. I place Nevermind on the list of my favorite albums, up there with The Beatles’ White Album and Hail to the Thief by Radiohead.

“Heart-Shaped Box,” off of In Utero is not about your vagina, Courtney Love.

Who am I to say this? Courtney Love was married to Kurt Cobain, for crying out loud. She would know if the song was about her lady business.

Let’s go back: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. “Oh, that song is about LSD,” said every moron ever. These songs are not about drugs, they are not about Courtney Love’s vagina. Sure, Heart-Shaped Box has a very sexual connotation. Sure, Courtney Love might have written some of the lyrics. What I don’t appreciate is limiting the ideas of what a song is.

Heart-Shaped Box, to me, is about the claustrophobia of love. It’s about the addiction of being lost in someone. Once again, this quickly leads to a sexual connotation, but there’s an intention to that too. I think Courtney Love would acknowledge this as well, but God, is she so desperate for press that she makes these outlandish statements?

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, to me, is about childhood innocence. It’s about vibrant life, it’s about imagination, and yes, John Lennon being the cryptic genius he was, I guarantee it’s no accident that the name also spells out LSD.

Note that I put “to me”, because this is all subjective. The fight I’m trying to fight is people who limit their perspective on what music is about, or limit what anything is about to something as simple as “Courtney Love’s vagina,” or “drugs.” This idea strikes me hard as a writer, specifically as a poet, because when I write, and when most of the people around me make art of any kind, it’s never as shallow as writing about one controversial topic. They have something to say. That’s why it angers me when a complex and timeless song like Heart-Shaped Box gets put inside of another box, gets limited. I just want to challenge people here to not let that song become a one-note song. Don’t let it become an allusion to that one time Courtney Love opened her mouth on Twitter. The same way I challenge you not to define yourself as a hippie, or a hipster, or a rockabilly performance artist, or a mom, or a senator. These things are important to who you are, and may help you find yourself, but you cannot be describe in 140 characters or less, and neither can Heart-Shaped Box.

More on Courtney Love’s vagina:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/courtney-love-lana-del-rey-heart-shaped-box_n_1723074.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment

http://www.nme.com/news/courtney-love/65224

http://whfs.radio.com/2012/07/31/courtney-love-wants-lana-del-rey-to-think-about-her-vagina/

http://nounmagazine.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/stop-everything-things-are-happening-on-the-internet/