A GIRL NAMED AMERICA

we adopted this girl
from an orphanage in the middle of nowhere
and we named her america
and we made her america
and we made her pretty
we put her hair in curlers
and we dyed it blonde
we put her in a pink dress
and red rouge

we taught her how to walk in heels
and how to smile with vaseline on her teeth
we made her eyes blue
and we threw her out on stage

and she was our little princess
with her sparkling tiara
queen of this old beauty pageant
she juggled and she sang
and she twirled her baton
like the american flag

we taught her how to barely eat anything
we showed her how to fold her napkin
and to excuse herself from the table
we taught her to cross her legs like a lady
we never stopped teaching her how to win

and on the world stage, she smiled
and she danced and she sang and she smiled
and when she spoke, she spoke of charity
and freedom and she opened her arms
for the world to hug her

then she got older
and the world is cruel
and everyone got sick of her
saying the same scripted things
again and again
and she grew desperate for attention
she got naked on the silver screen
burnt herself into an edie sedgewick coma
made a million off her tragedy

she danced for dollars
thrown by old, rich, white, american men
she still smiled like marilyn
but she was dying where everyone could watch
she talked about the past like a drug she loved
she shot quick fixes into her fragile arms

meanwhile
her lovely bones turned to dust
her structure began to break
her knees cracked
and her backbone crumbled
while we yelled at her
to get out on stage
and dance like she used to

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “I AM AN APARTMENT BUILDING”

About these ads

THEATER #17

do you know what it’s like to tear tickets at a podium
standing on the same set of legs for twelve hours?

i do.

do you know what it’s like to make enough popcorn
to feed the swarming, blood-thirsty masses
of horny adolescent locust cows
filtering mercilessly into the concession stand?

to burn a perfect batch of kettle corn, terrified
as the sweet smoke rises towards the fire detectors
and you know if it gets to be too much
that the alarms will sound
and the box office will have to refund
every ticket sold that evening
to the growling sheep ready to pounce at guest services?

to sit alone in a giant room filled with candy
disgustingly suicidal at three in the morning
counting pieces of stale sour strips by the pound
when all you want is to go home
and die for a day or two in your warm bed?

to wear a three-piece-suit in a congested concession stand
making popcorn bites and overpriced pizzas
while your sixteen-year-old cohorts jack off behind you?

to hold the door for the smiley motherfuckers coming out
of rancid movie theaters leaving behind used condoms
and the scent of bad chainsaw-slasher-horror-movies
and pubescent screams like sadistic adolescent dry humps
in the back of minivans?

to digest a three-course-meal of super nachos
topped with synthetic guacamole
and diluted jalapenos
and insecure sour cream and cheese
that turns to stone in your lower intestines
that you eat on a ten minute grace period
between cleaning monster theaters
where children find ways of getting sour patch kids
and malted milk balls stuck on the ceiling?

to tell the new hires to go get more ice mix
or to only scrub the yellow squares of the carpet
because they’re the only ones that get dirty
or to tell them to go clean theater seventeen
because haha, there’s only sixteen theaters here?

to escape from the cinematic madness to the back room
where the drink compressors hiss
and the dishwasher gargles
and there’s a starry-eyed girl waiting there
and in the midst of gladiator battles and spaceship races,
there is a moment of nothing

where the universe puts its phones on silent
and you too can kiss like you think you know what love is?

to run the satellite food station on a tuesday night
which means you have plenty of free time
to contemplate why you need a second food staion
open a god-forsaken tuesday night?

to have your boss pull you aside to tell you
that you can’t show up to work drunk anymore
and it’s okay if you’re late
just call.

to lock up the front doors at closing
and then to unlock the arcade games
so you and your stupid coworkers can play pinball
and DDR to your little infantile heart’s content
and little known fact -
the high scores on the arcade games at the movie theater
are held by the employees of said movie theater.

to walk to the last bus in the streetlight twilight
with a black trash bag full of popcorn
that keeps you company on the lurking ride home?

to be a ghost in the projector room
to be God flashing images of everylife and eternal heartbeat
onto the anorexic white screen of pure truth?

to sit in a GMC Jimmy at four in the morning
listening to song ADD with a sweet girl
who happens to be your boss
who you like to make out with -
who cares?!
the movie theater isn’t exactly your five-year-plan?

to go talk to the widowed ticket-taker
who hugs you with her eyes
and tells stories the way stories are meant to be told
between two people
instead of between a gaggle of morons
and a billion dollar budget?

to be stuck in the money room
starving for food and moonlight
but you aren’t leaving
until one hundred dollars finds itself?

to go home smelling like decaying sugar
and italian sodas and superficial butter and sweat
and the dead babies living in the squeaky movie theater seats
and coke and diet coke and icees, yeah, blue raspberry icees
and all-beef hot dogs and so much drama
and it was the worst job ever and it was yes.

just yes.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO

READ “WENDOVER, UTAH”

MOTIVE

was it because you were bullied in
school? were you abused as a child?
did you have a vendetta against society?
did the world just rub you the wrong way?
was it because you could only see sin in us all?
did you have undiagnosed mental issues that should
have gone diagnosed?

were you exposed to violent video games,
violent movies, violent comic books at a young age?
were you plotting this for months?
where were you when you decided to take the terror
inside of your broken rib cage and turn it into the
terror we all feel carving holes in our hands?
was it drugs? was it years and years of pent-up rage
and silence? was it something someone said to you
a long time ago that you could have told someone?
are you godless behind your hidden eyes?
were you broken to begin with? are you proof
that some of us are born with two demons on
our shoulders? that some of us enter through exit
doors in shameful masks to rip down the red curtains?
to pierce the surface of innocent skin and beautiful lives?
did you feel your skin pressing the trigger of the gun?
do you hear any of this in your head? most of us do.
most of us are playing judge, jury and executioner in
our hearts and in our heads. hosting trials
asking ourselves what is right and what is wrong
don’t you dare
be proud of yourself. don’t you dare
think i will remember your name. don’t you dare
say you’re sorry – most of us are questioning the state
of the color red but some of us
aren’t around anymore to do that. twelve of us
are stories that couldn’t be saved. twelve of us
are the names that should be remembered. twelve of us
will never see the end of the movie.

the rest of us
are still here saying prayers at dinner tables with empty
chairs. we are listening instead of hearing. we are speaking
instead of listening. why weren’t you? when did your sun go
down and why in the black night of aurora did you sneak
shadowed into these happy homes and tear apart the very
fabric of our humanity? where are you now? who
are you? i will not remember your name. you are not god.
you are not the devil. you are everything we are not; and
you are unanswered questions that you could have just
asked somebody.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “SIMON SAYS”

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those who died early today in the Aurora Theater Shooting. May those lost rest in peace. I can’t imagine what you’re going through and I wish you all the best in this impossibly tough time.