WEST

Photo by Nathan Cowlishaw

Photo by Nathan Cowlishaw

ten thousand years ago
the world was taken up into a dust storm
a giant funnel grabbing everything
and spitting it out all across the earth
that dust storm died in the western united states

the edge of humanity
it took us moving that far west
to take a minute to stop moving
expansion is a two headed dog
one head foaming out the mouth insatiable
craving bone craving blood craving more
the other with closed eyes dreaming dog day dreams
we walked this whole world over
to end up in a desert

the wind dry and honest
the sky as blue as the potential of rivers
vast canyons like empty graves
scattered skulls dust of bones
trains on unending pathways through mountains
and valleys and hundreds of miles of death
a tree in the middle of nowhere
buzzards picking apart skulls
this is the end of the line
the last page of a long and confusing story
este es mi casa
this is my home

the rebels who rebelled against everything
the tongues that never found their taste
the swelling ground the shaking core the sun
the sun unabashedly breaking through clouds
the giant microscope in the sky
watching down over these red fire ants
these farmer’s tan arms these dust bowl workers
these women on porches holding in their arms the future
the mother of invention is necessity
and we are living in drought
we are drinking the water of life
while we die of thirst
this is the beautiful west
the largest ghost town i’ve ever seen
where the spirits never leave
because there’s nowhere else
for them to go

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

Nathan Cowlishaw, one of my favorite photographers who provided the photo for and inspired this piece, currently has a kickstarter going to raise money for a trip across the Mexican border and to continue to document this beautiful country. To pledge support or learn more, click here. To follow Nathan on Instagram, click here.

CALIFORNIA, STOP SWALLOWING MY FRIENDS

you’re a monster! a monster, i tell you!
you lure them in with your nihilistic theme parks
and your caustic beaches
the promise of Hollywood and the west of the American
west
in the night, your ocean reaches its bony hands under the covers
and digging its polluted claws in, it drags them anxiously
through the fires of Utah and the flowerless graveyards of Las Vegas
i watch all this sleepless from the fragile glass window of my Colorado home
in the swaying arms of my humble mother
rocking me to sleep in a Rocky Mountain high
but how my friends tried to grasp on to those mountains as you grasp them in tantrums

you need so much god damn attention

the blonde-haired blue-eyed boys and the sexual shape of video cameras
this one goes out to the friends i’ve lost
desperate and scared amongst the grey smog and the pedophile buildings

i can hear you laughing at all of this, California
stop swallowing my friends, California
your jewel heart fell into the Pacific Ocean
and my friends are lost, manic and drugged in your vicious riptides
you digest them in your swollen valleys
they waste away, going nowhere in rush hour traffic
listening to catchy horror music on the radio

oh, the California radio! it tastes of silicone
it burns like vodka tonics and the Beverly Hills Hotel
they are all just prisoners there; of their own device
into your guts they go; an assembly line of starry-eyed followers
into the factory; to be printed like Marilyn, to be loved like Jackie,
to be shot like Kennedy
i can’t stop them
they are scared and horny and thinking with their adolescence
they are less reckless, and more self-mutilating

California, i can see the scars underneath your breasts
i can taste the cheap boxed wine on your breath
your eyes are busy telephone wires for crow’s feet to rest on
you’re so skinny
i can see right through you
i don’t care
just please
California, stop swallowing my friends

“Denver is lonesome for her heroes,”
and you are just hungry for your villains

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “ANXIETY AT THE HOUSE CAFE”