UNFORTUNATELY HONEST

drunk on caffeine i escaped out into the night
hands in pockets i began to walk through the forest
of my fingers into the clearing of my palm
where i looked up at the great ether of my own
two eyes above me
and therein i saw something calling back
the shadow of my own giant looming over me
but the anxiety still called so i kept pushing it out
through my feet
and i moved through the blood in my arms
down its red path
until i came to the great stonehenge
of my dismantled rib cage
white stones torn asunder i sat beneath
the tree of my gut
and there i climbed in and waited
until the poet left the home in my heart
through a little red door
completely naked and covered in paint
he danced like it was someone’s birthday
and me in peacoat and dress slacks
and pinned in with belt and exhausted
i jumped down from the tree
and with my great long scarf
wrapped around my hands into fists
i swung the fabric over his neck
and there in the moonlight
that poured in through the hole in my throat
i strangled the poet lifeless
and i was so sure what it was that would happen
i was sure i would ring out some great eulogy
from the lips of the dying poet of me
and i was sure they would cast into the dome sky
of my internal organs and radiate from my bigger body
like caffeine
but the poet said nothing
nothing was said but it wasn’t quite silence
and then it was over

i didn’t bury the poet that was me
nor did i say grace for the fallen stars
that he cast from his dry heave mouth
dim shining with the looming reminder
of the guilt
the same guilt he carried with him
and now i
but now wordless
just kept walking off the caffeine drunk
but the headaches are so bad
and when you can’t sleep all you can do
is walk and walk and walk and walk
and hope that somewhere out there
is the magical monster you’re after
that after all is just you hiding in a peacoat
and dress slacks
or in some poem that you wrote
when you remembered that’s something you do

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

AMNESIAC

are we so quick to forget
what happened yesterday?
we walk
right foot left foot
one behind the other
in swift reverse
after each step we take
the broom and dust pan
and wash away
our footprints from
the dirt

we take bleach
and ammonia
and we wash the blood
from the carpet
we scrub vigorously
at the vivid reminder
of that one time
that we blacked out
and did some shit
we shouldn’t have

we got so drunk

wouldn’t you hate
for us
to get drunk again?

a contraption!
a mirror put behind
our backs
so that when we look
behind us
all we can see
is the future

terror
is the pill
of the future

it’s what
we wash our mouths out
with

it’s what
lulls us to sleep
beneath the sound
of

well, you know
you can hear it

if you just know
that you could die
at any minute

so where
are we?

who
do we now
pretend
to be?

where
can we go
when we live
on the hollow point?

we dip
our calloused feet
into
an acid bath

we bingewatch
the deathclock ticking

now packaged
individually

priced to sell

i forgot what we were
talking about

must have slipped
my mind

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

SQUAT MELODY

i’m in the middle
of some terrible room of a
poem and you come
waltzing in

reeking of your own perfume
throwing your scarf back
heels clicking wooden floors
you hang your hat
on the hat rack

pinning up paintings
rearranging the furniture
making yourself comfortable
on my comfy couch

you’re opening the blinds
when i want them closed

for the love of humanity
can you please stop gnawing
at my table legs
you stomp around like temper tantrums
you turn the t.v. up
so god damn loud
in this terrible room
of a poem

of all the things
the worst of it is
when you kitten-eyed ask me
if i want to come to bed

my bed

the place i go to dream
of a room of a poem
where i pollack plaster the ceiling
with walls as tall as clyfford still
rothko windows with kooning awnings

and you come in
all militant alarm clock
black leather and lace
and curl up beside me
god dammit

i’m leaving my own apartment now
it’s thirty degrees and i am leaving
seeking couch, seeking strange angels
to replace your familiar monster
sweet and sincere and soft lips

you kissed like you were jumping off a bridge
into the atlantic of my ocean

god dammit!

you’re living in the couches –
all of the strange couches!

i sit

at a bar

in the breath of denver

and the coffee tastes like your comfort
the music
is full of your blood pressure
the way everyone is yelling kind banter
is the opposite of our silent guernica
it is the opposite of our deaf separation

where i find myself

painting pictures of you
to pin to the paper thin walls
of this terrible room
of a poem

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

THIS IS NOT A PICTURE SHOW

"This is Not a Picture Show" by Jana Van Meerveld. Oil on Linen. 2015.

“This is Not a Picture Show” by Jana Van Meerveld. Oil on Linen. 2015.

this is not a picture show

there are no opening credits
no haunting score of music
no rising dramatic plot

this rises and falls as it will
timelines blur
ideas are lost and sometimes

there is no scene of repentance

there is not always
a bombastic kiss
in lunar midnight
on new year’s eve
this is something
more romantic
than that

this is not a picture show

this is sparks
meandering currents
inside your lockbox skull
to present you
this chaotic rock opera

you strapped to a chair
not in the audience
but on stage
you strapped to a chair
writhing

feeling your finger nails
scratching its wooden arms
and your bloody wings burst forth
splayed across the rostrum

rows of empty seats
in the house

the sun is the closest thing
to spotlight

there is no audience
only the audience of memory
a pamphlet
dirtied by footsteps
folded in half
and tucked into the back pocket
of your hard drive

there is a fade to black
but there are no end credits
this does not always end
with a wedding
or a funeral
this does not always end

this rises and falls as it will

timelines blur

ideas are lost and sometimes
they are found again

this is not a picture show
it’s something much braver than that

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

This piece was inspired by the oil painting “This is Not a Picture Show” by Jana Van Meerveld, whose work I’ve recently discovered I have an affinity for. You can see more of her work on her website here.

FANTASY FOOTBALL

sports authority invesco
high budget investor money bags mcgee

mcdonalds corporation sponsorship daddy warbucks starbucks
super million dollar america killing
big downtown office buildings

brick and mortar investment opportunity
401k package super bowL
fantasy football new vegas quid pro quo
commercial vip section suites with champagne and
prerecorded 
laughter
big medicine long fast side effect disclosure
eating grapes

on cloud
stroking yer beard
big breasted girls  fan
patrick bateman zeus
with giant leaves
mini trump
bail out baby
ownership is power

sports authority field at mile high stadium

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

SO I WENT FOR A WALK IN THE WOODS

so i went for a walk in the woods
to be alone with my thoughts in nature
colorado autumn crisp life dying around me
and there before me was a bear!
a mighty bear! he raised up on his hind legs
and growled a monstrous bear growl!
i raised my arms and made myself big
and the bear backed down and took a step away
and then the bear said to me,
“brice.
what the fuck are you doing with your life?”
and i stood stunned.
arms raised high i made myself big
but i felt so fucking tiny.
“i’m doing things with my life!”
i said to the socially aggressive bear.
“brice.
you’re a supervisor at a call center.
that’s not things.
you’re better than that.”
and then i asked the bear if he always
spoke with line breaks at the end of
his sentences.
“yes.
you evasive fuck.”
said the bear.
he was right.
i was evading.
“i’m proud of what i’ve accomplished.”
i said to the bear
in the woods
where i went for a walk to get away
from it all.
“that’s great.
pride is great.
that’ll help you sleep at night.
but what are you doing with your life.”
i sat on a rock beside the bear.
“i’m writing a lot of poetry?”
i submitted for the bear’s approval.
“you always write a lot of poetry.
that’s more a sign of normalcy
than anything else.”
said the bear.
“well, i’m proud of that!”
i said
to the bear.
“pride!
ha!”
said the bear.
“pride is the crutch of the
insecure!”
said the bear
quoting someone, i’m sure.
“i’m sorry!”
i said.
“don’t apologize!”
said the bear.
“just go do shit.”
added the bear.
“i came out here
to think about things.”
i said to the bear.
“way to drag me back in.”
so i fought the bear.
“what are you doing?”
said the bear
as i threw an unsuccessful
punch to its gut.
it landed.
it just didn’t carry much force
behind it.
“ha!”
said the bear
but i continued.
i roundhouse kicked the bear
in the face
and with that one fell swoop
the bear tumbled to the ground
defeated.

(he was okay
just disoriented.)

i wandered the trail
in the woods
to the top of the mountain
and when i arrived
i looked down on denver
like a single cell organism
under a microscope
and all i could hear
were the bear’s words
ringing through my ears.
so i took them out of
my rucksack
along with a blanket
with which i laid down a picnic
and i ate the peanut
butter
and jelly
reality sandwich
filled with strange bear wisdom
and i enjoyed every single bite.
swallowed
digested and i realized
i’m not doing shit
with my life
but i’ll start
because that bear
gets old quick.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

WHY STILL SO HUNGRY AM I

why still so hungry am i
why still so wrapped in ribbon in gauze
in ambulance
in fierce new awakening
in comedown to sugar sweet denver
and its egg crack center
why still so hungry am i
why beat the blood from the heart
banged against the brick wall
grated like cheese
why still so hungry am i
and where goes the escalators
the lack of gravity in the chamber
the people at the south pole standing upside down
and i am them
why still so hungry am i
why my boom not go boom
where my american dream
where my blonde blushing bride
my sit com wife
my day t.v. divorce court
why still so hungry am i
twenty seven
desperate afraid of white lighters
desperate afraid of basquiat cobain joplin
i escape the noose
or do i just ignore its hanging opportunity
a juicy hamburger
floating in the air
like a lightbulb swinging in a basement
why still so hungry am i
where go each branch of my plath tree
where die each planet i do not astronaut
the night sky black as the inside of my eyelids
why still so hungry am i
i go to sleep hungry now
to dream stomach acid dreams
to sleep in to wake up to move to go to die again
each night
starving
craving the dirt of the earth i can’t unbury
why dear white fluffy cloud god
why still so hungry am i

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

COLFAX AVENUE

bleeding vein sancho’s broken arrow snapped over knee
motel graveyard down and out adjacent residential battle zone
chased by the owner kicked to the curb
burning basilica piercing sky giant catholic shiv bookstore ashed cigarette seven eleven
zero to fifteen
homeless home / blanket : carpet / narrow skyline : roof top / thin wind : ceiling fan
longest wickedest livingest deadest zombie crawling claws in concrete
city park drug deal
city park tree wooden hand yearn city cash register
tattooed cowboy gutted bookstore jerry’s skipped record
fifty mile fifty thousand mile mile high freedom fighter revolution rebellion
jolt of neon motel dotted lines dodge traffic frogger cross road
fine line between tuberculosis sex fest and white plague apartment improper burial
stripclub strip mall run from wrist to shoulder blade
drunk driver closed door open coffin quilted with rose lady
hellhorse and buggy junkie trash coin machine push copper pennies into silver razorblade
manic depressive red bull and chloroform crack head shop eight ball corner pocket
death metal speed trap endless mass cheeky monk
twentieth century beer binge twenty first century hangover stuck forever in electric diner
shotgun wedding black tie blood-splattered bride in white
separate but equal sides of the aisle
enigmatic peg leg prostitute poets row sweet sugar dance
bardish squire shitty suicidal comedian poet guitar playing satire lounging
giant face mural man smile steamed white hair dead behind eyes
man woman child all hoodlum green eyed denizen tourist nobody live here
capitolist hill pig on leash mcgangbang wrapper in gutter punk guerrilla crochet music
cemetery in a cemetery adjacent immaculate conception
divine destruction rock opera
italian kiss of death cherry sex bomb dropped in porcelain toilet graffiti markered stall
jack’s market grab big bunny by neck shake like two liter bottle rocket
shoot like argonaut into gentrifical corruption rise and fall like joyce and joy
bukowski bluebird in heart want out but too tough
pour whiskey whores and bartenders
american brick river
beat degenerate jack daniels in the lion’s lair
a dream of four kingdoms replaced by a fifth of vodka
emilio’s pete’s charlie’s tom’s dick’s and hairy’s
mine mine mine
drowning fox in lost lake twist and shout writhe and die you could buy me a drink
cat call midnight writer’s block party poets row
voodoo donut tire screech scratch itch scar run in pantyhose barcade starbar
one up the arm doses in the noses back alley bonfire burn
broken beer bottle fender bender
bubble gum bleu cheese bruce banner amnesia wreck green grass
highway man chasing tangerine sunrise down abandoned highway robbery
pioneer get drunk break down in middle of america build home build business business boom
paint golden aurora across rectangle page snap canvas in half stitch together
pour kerosene on canvas light match let burn color red
wicked witch green smoke rise from ashes western phoenix vulture
rebuild rinse and repeat
great place to visit but nobody lives there
they just go there to die
in the cradled arms
of a widow street that aches with arthritis
but still carries its babies
safely into their bruised bassinets

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

ELEGY

and i walk through the graveyard with flowers in my hand
beneath a stormy sky grey with indifference
until i get to the grave where i buried our love
and i bow down at the tombstone and i lay down the flowers
and i look up to the sky uncracked even by the dead trees

there is a great silence to letting go of something that wasn’t terrible
there is a still lake hidden through the brush of the forest
and beneath that lake there is an entire climate breeding below
fishes swimming aimlessly and dead bodies turning into water
but still the lake is still

i can still see your face light up as i pushed through the crowd to you
i can still feel your warmth sleeping beside me
i can remember us mad and laughing beneath the buildings in Denver
and the songs

i will never forget the songs
they run through my head like wild horses on a carousel
each word relevant to the way that we were
each musical note a leaf stripped away from its embrace of its tree
swaying back and forth like dance steps as it falls to the ground
we swayed back and forth like dance steps as we fell to the ground
the eyes on eyes, the nails on skin, the fingers ran through hair
the moments of ecstasy hidden away from any kind of audience
away from cameras, never spoken from mouths, away from even poems
stuck now like record skips in the phonograph of my mind

we were constellations colliding in a meteor shower
and the blow from our crash was enough to light the cosmos
life born, children running rampant around the universe, and then
fading out like the end of a requiem

and you are not gone, not to me, tall heart
your electricity still runs up and down my spine
your blood still takes hostage my body
but i dug a hole in the ground
and i suppose i must lay in it

six feet of dirt above my head
i laid long nights beside you for an eternal minute
now i must lie without you through a frigid winter
my hands my own shovels
i bury myself with the same tools i used
to bury our love

i will miss you as much as i wanted you
i wish you to find the happy your heart hunts
i wander through the halls of my own heart now

but you and i
we will grow from separate graves like flowers
to bloom, you, red and radiating
me, blue and slithering like vines
and the world will cut us up from our roots
tie us up in string and call us a gift

someone will hold you in their arms
and walk you down an alley beneath stained glass windows
or maybe through a graveyard to place you on someone else’s grave
beneath a clear sky white with pure honesty
to sleep with them forever

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

the difference, Bukowski

yes, Bukowski
i too have wallowed
in a bottle of
Arcadia

and died
with the hot barrel
of some pistol
pressed against my unholy
temple

i too, Bukowski
have loved a woman
and watched her scurry away
a pair of legs
running rampantly for the
horizon

yes, Bukowski
i’ve driven the road
to some shithole destination
where i threw my lifeblood
into a dealer’s hands
and watched like magic
as he made it all go
away

i too, Bukowski
i too

for we both
have wandered by streetlight
to empty roominghouses

we both have fallen asleep
to alcohol

and the static of the television set

like a glorious reminder
of what could be

but i don’t stay there
one morning i wake up
i shit shower shave
and i take that
empty glass bottle
and i smash it into a shiv
and i stab the world
i give the whore her money
and i move on
i make my bed
and i move
on

you see
Bukowski, that’s
the difference, Bukowksi

we’re both coiled snakes
feeding off our own
poison

both bit by the same mongoose
but the difference, Bukowski
is i strike back

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015