CHESS

it’s denver in january cold

at the bus stop
there’s a man
in work boots
with a lunch pail
and he looks cold too
his lips pursed
hands in pockets

and there’s a woman
with her two daughters
sitting on the
cold metal
bench
reading them a
story

and there’s a kid
with a baltimore ravens
hat
on backwards
who is pacing
like he’s waiting
for the super bowl
next sunday

there is gum
all over the ground
gum and cigarette
butts

now here comes the blind man
cane in hand
he can’t see me
as i sit here
still
and frozen
does he know
i’m here?

i am some weird caricature
to all of them
lost in my headphones
and underneath my hood
and thom yorke
is going crazy
in my ears
singing my iron lung
they have no idea
he’s whispering
and screaming at me
in the corner
of an asylum
on the other side
of the headphones
he’s desperately singing
with desperation
about desperation
he’s moving me
but he’s not here

there are five other hearts
at this bus stop
waiting to share
the same submarine vessel
to take us to
somewhere else

and it’s cold but not too cold to talk

and i’m off in the asylum
with thom yorke
and i’m twentysomething
in a hoodie
lost in headphones
and as soon as we violently
tug the pull cord
on the bus
and exit
professionally
we will be off to live
our seperate lives together

thom yorke is screaming at me
from some supermarket in england
with his wife
but we are all silent
faceless chess pieces
faced with the same war
but stuck
within our black
and white
spaces

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “BLOOD ON THE AMERICAN HIGHWAY”

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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/

REVIEW OF TIM BECKER’S “NEW YORK CITY BONES”

“I’ve been with you since the collapse
When the earthquake shook up the dust
and we were intimate
Since the sirens went off
and your alarm clock scattered
Your eyes were shades of gray
behind a morning cup of coffee
The blades of grass were shaking off the dew
and gasping for breath
I’ve been with you since we fell apart
and melted in a flash flood
While our bodies caved in
In colors and shades
As you stumble out of bed
and I mumble weary nonsense
Somhow I just know we’ll be okay
But now I’m lying here in the
cold sweat of a nightmare
And you’re gone”

I met Tim Becker when I worked with him at a certain popular coffee company, and I knew as soon as I met him, we were going to be more than coworkers. I could tell right away that Tim was smart, and as cliche as it may sound. the fact that he was a twenty-three year old who walks with a cane told me he was someone with stories; someone who lived his life.
At the end of one of our shifts, as Tim closed up the doors, he asked me if I would like to stay a bit and smoke some clove cigars with him outside of the store. I obliged and Tim and I spent a good hour or two shooting the shit, our favorite subjects being The Beatles and Radiohead. I had given up on ever being a Radiohead fan, so Tim dragged me to his car where he put in one of their CD’s. I’ll never forget seeing that stack of Radiohead CD’s Tim had in his car. This guy digested music the way I digested music; ferociously, trying to get to know the artist. Tim wasn’t the type to listen to a song by a band, let alone an album, he would patiently absorb every lick of music that artist ever wrote. I’ve been blessed in our friendship being the same way.
Tim is quiet passion. A rare combination. I can’t keep my damn mouth shut for the life of me. I remember working with Tim at that coffee company that shall not be named; I was playing the part of an angst-driven twenty year old rambling in his ear “Tim, I love her so much but all we do is fight and her dad hates me, but maybe I’m giving up on a good thing etcetera, etcetera, etcetera,” and after probably an excessive fifteen minute rant, Tim stopped what he was doing looked me dead in the eye and said “Brice, sometimes the things we want the most, are the things that would kill us,”
I was over her. He had successfully said exactly what I needed to hear in so few words because Tim is one of those people who listens, who thinks and who says all that needs to be said, never overcomplicating things.
Why do I tell you this? Because Tim’s poetry is the same way. Anyone who is even the smallest follower of my blog knows that I… tend to ramble. Don’t get me wrong. I love to ramble, but there’s something to be said about saying only what needs to be said. Saying things as succinctly as possible. Tim does just that, and powerfully. I think about one of my favorite poems from his book; a poem called “Thirty Cops.” Tim explains how one night he found a group of thirty cops standing around a dying deer, contemplating what to do. He ends the poem, “and thirty cops just earned an hour’s pay.” Beautiful – and if your thinking “thirty cops? really?” yes really, because Tim’s writing is as honest as it is intimate.
Something I may have failed to mention that has been a key factor in a great friendship with Tim is Tim’s sense of humor. It comes from that same quiet place as his passion, but damn if it doesn’t bite you in the ass. It’s sharp, it’s caustic, and you don’t know you’re a victim of a joke by Tim Becker until it’s long over. Ladies and gentleman, as Exhibit B, I present to you Tim’s poem from his book, New York City Bones, aptly titled “Poetry.”

“The wall to my left is white
I’m sitting on a chair made of wood
The room is normal temperature
The ceiling has a grainy texture
The carpet doesn’t look like the ceiling
There’s a photo of my wife on the desk
She is smiling
There’s a painting of a flower
The painting is square
The flower is red
I’m wearing a hat on my head
I’m holding a pen in my hand
And I’m writing this poem
People like descriptive poetry
This is a descriptive poem
Publish this shit”

Ha ha ha. Tim is published under the same company I will soon be published under, Flashlight City Press. His book, New York City Bones, is doing extremely well and is something I think everyone should read.

Especially the hipsters, because they’re gonna want to be there to say “I’ve been following him since New York City Bones,” or perhaps whine that “His first book was way better.”

Copies of Tim’s book can be purchased through this link: http://flashlightcitypress.myshopify.com/