02.04

02.04

(feeling like a burn out…)

i am trashcan scratchpaper
i am goodwill artwork
i am unfinished dishes
and i am sawdust from the crucifix
of the thief beside jesus

i am stems of marijuana
i am clicking alternator
i am shotgun shells
swept off the floor
of a shooting range

i am the skin of onions
i am the aftertaste of alcohol
i am a wax candle
where the wick has been snipped

Ii am a cardboard box
with the bottom cut out
i am the foreskin
of the son of Abraham
i am the baking soda
used to cut the cocaine
i am one third
of a one dollar bill

i am an outdated damaged copy
of an encyclopedia in a dead language
but somewhere
a dead man wakes
lost at the crossroads
of dementia and amnesia
and he finds me in his pocket
and i am his salvation
i am the book he holds in his hands
until he become useless white dust
in the stupid brown dirt

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.05, DAY 5 OF THE 02.2013 PROJECT

02.2013 is a thirty day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE

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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”

THE ANATOMY OF A TWENTY-FOUR YEAR OLD BOY

Every year on my birthday (July 19th), I write a poem called “The Anatomy of a ___-year-old boy. It’s my birthday today and I’d like to share with you all the poem I just wrote:

Let’s start with the head.

We found the skull to be very thick and stubborn to get
through. One surgeon working on this operation swears
in his testimony that at one point after successfully opening
the skull that he watched the skull close back in on
itself, though this could not be confirmed (nor denied.)

Upon successfully surgically opening the head directly down the
center we were able to begin our studies with a very profound
journey into the central work station of the twenty-four year old
boy. It seems the subject’s mind is fairly saturated with high levels
of dreams,
however, it is worth noting that these dreams are clotted with
equally high levels of thoughts on the female gender:
There were several times during the operation where we had
to enter the brain to rewire the shifting eyes to focus on the
subject at hand.

On that note, the subject’s eyes rarely seemed willing to look
at one thing for too long. The subject was easily distracted
by outrageous ideas, some as far-fetched as doing what he
loved for a living.

Upon searching the mouth, we were clued in that the subject
may suffer from attention deficit disorder, when leftover bits
of Adderall (Amphetamine) were detected hanging on
for dear life at the back of the throat. It is important to note
that this may in fact be the residual effects of a misdiagnosis
but our tests were inconclusive one way or the other.

The subjects bones were made out of a foreign material
unseen in any of our previous cadaverous experiments. Several
chemical tests were unable to identify the substance, but
a brief but luckily contained accident by an intern where a
flammable substance was spilled on the subjects bones led us
to the undeniable conclusion that the subject’s bones, head to
toe, were composed of strike-anywhere matches. The subject,
as we then learned, is highly combustible; it seemed the slightest
spark could set our subject on fire.

Upon examination we were able to monitor the subjects’
heartbeat; and what we found there was most astounding;
not only did the subject have an arrhythmic heartbeat, it seemed
the subject’s heartbeat was reactive to whatever music was playing
in his head. Ranging from classics, such as the Beatles to newer
inquiries, such as Foster the People, it seemed the subject was
completely at the whim of music. Our psycho-surgical analysts
were starting to gain concern that the subject may be too fragile
to undergo this surgery. Everything we were seeing underneath
the skin was substantially honest and vulnerable. (I disagreed with
our psycho-surgical analysts on the proposal of concluding our
endeavors. Personally having counseled the subject prior to
inoculation, I saw the great vigor with which he wrote his sworn
affidavit aggreeing to the procedure.) As if our finding with
the subject’s heart weren’t intriguing enough, later tests showed in
rare, nevertheless consistently intermittent moments, the subject’s
heart would stop beating all together. It brought a wave of fear
over the operation the first time, but we quickly found undeniable
evidence that though this subject’s heart concretely did stop
pulsating time to time, that it did always begin again, always
back to its normal frantic pace.

There was a certain correspondence we were able to identify
between the systolic beat of the heart and the left leg, and the
diastolic beat of the heart, and the right leg. One doctor remarked,
and we all agreed, that the subject marched to the beat of his
own drummer.

Though no tests were performed, I noticed a certain shakiness
in the subject’s hands through much of the testing. As if the
subject wanted to feel everything that was happening to him.
Or maybe as if there was some passion that he was suffering from
anxiety to get back to doing. On a less professional, and more
poetic note, it seemed as if he was typing on the air. As if even in
the midst of this numb surgery he was crafting something.
I couldn’t help but notice.

Government funding only allotted us so much funding for this
endeavor so from there I thought it best to conclude, hoping next
year to re-up our grant and continue to study the anatomy
of a twenty-five year old boy.

 

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012