THE HANDS THAT REACH FOR WINTER

the hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the hands that reach for winter
the nights that reach for pain
the guns that reach for murder
the fire burns the same

the beds that burn for lovers
the streets that turn like time
the art of stabbing in the back
the acidity of lime

the words that clasp like thunder
the planes that land unharmed
every righteous number
that we shoot into our arms

the man from california
the woman from d.c.
every foreign victim
from sea to shining sea

comforter of angels
chancellor of drugs
loving heart of death now
now the death of love

brilliant manifesto
child in the gutter
orphan military
absent-minded mothers

the sermon on the mount
the dusting of the crops
the clicking of the gears
the roller coaster drops

we fall
and we fall
and we fall
some more

we dig our graves
and dance with death

we talk like
virgins

we walk like
whores

we eat
until
there’s nothing left.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

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DRIVING DOWN ORCHARD ROAD

beneath the wooden hands of angels
through the rusty Colorado dirt
alongside the cold wind
that feels like warm hands

orchard road, you hold my soul
you speak so softly, luminary
your dead tree breath of pine and winter
white lines float across your sky

i fall deep into your ancient threshold
your winding veins of endless trail
bristle and color and water and fire

my heart does not beat within you
the old do not die within you
love is a stone wall within you
the strongest autumn falls within you

orchard road, you hold my soul
you hold my soul, and i hold yours

you just close my eyelids
and sing lullabies that wash away
the hurt that hides inside my bone
and the pain i’ve inflicted on the world

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

 

02.19

0219

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(in limbo.)

we were sitting on the swings at a park in the aftermath of a snowstorm. you asked me if i had any cigarettes and i told you no. i don’t know how many times i’ve told you i don’t smoke and i don’t have any cigarettes, but it never seems to strike a chord with you, and i guess i get that. smokers have a certain sick sad desperation to their vice. wow, that sounds redundant. what i’m trying to say is despite the insurmountable odds that i don’t have a cigarette, you still always ask me if i do. maybe it’s not desperation. maybe it’s hope. faith in what is most likely not true.

you were glowing. you were always one of those girls who made sense bundled up in the middle of colorado winter. your cheeks looked good with a little extra red to them.

“that’s okay,” you said about the cigarette, “because i have this invisible cigarette.”

you spared no artistic expense with this. you reached into your jacket and pulled out an invisible package of cigarettes. you pulled out one cigarette.

“phew. last one.” you said, “unless you want one, in which case i have one more?”

“no, i’m good,” i said. you looked a little disappointed.

you put the invisible box back in your jacket and swinging a little you pulled out an invisible lighter. i watched you actually inhale. you were smiling. one of those good smiles. one of those true smiles that wasn’t based on some social situation that makes you feel obliged to smile. you were experiencing actual joy, sitting in that park, freezing our asses off.

and then for the high point of your performance, you blew out cold air, and i swear to god, you somehow made it billow like actual smoke.

“very well played,” i said.

“thank you, thank you,” you threw your fake cigarette onto the ground, “fake cigarettes aren’t the same though. they don’t have any sense of danger to them. you don’t feel any fire in your lungs,”

“i wouldn’t know. i’ve never smoked,” i said.

“yes, you have,”

“no. no i have not,”

“you’re a fucking liar,” you said, “i distinctly remember last time we were drunk in denver, you were chain-smoking,”

“i don’t remember this at all, so clearly it never happened,” i said.

“you are a liar,”

“why are we out in this?” i asked.

“because we both are twenty-four and living at home,”

“yeah, i didn’t see that one coming,” i said.

“you have nothing to be ashamed of,” you said to me, in that sympathetic way you say everything, “you are just in limbo between places,”

“i guess that’s true,”

“i, on the other hand, am a bum,”

“no, you’re not.”

my sympathy didn’t sound as good as yours.

“yeah, i kind of am. rich parents are a blessing and a curse. the blessing is they show their affection towards you through money, the curse is the same,”

“your parents love you,”

“i’m not denying that. some days it just feels like their world is moving too fast and sometimes it’s a dry cleaning ticket that gets lost in the madness, or a pair of car keys, but sometimes it’s me,”

i don’t think you, or most people for that matter, realize how often they talk in poetry.

“wanna make out?” i asked, smiling some deadbeat frozen smile.

“you’re funny,” you said, but i wasn’t trying to be funny. maybe it was a poor word choice on my part, or maybe we were just gonna keep on living in this land of indecision. maybe we’re destined to swing back and forth together in this white nothingness at some time between night and morning.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.20, THE NEXT ENTRY IN THE 28 DAY 02.2013 PROJECT

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

“A SUMMER CIGAR” BY NICI E. BROWN

Recently, I ran into this poem and thought it was fantastic. I know it’s the middle of winter, but I think maybe that is the best time for a summer cigar.

A Summer Cigar

Glass splits burgundy into facets
through the crystal ball of a wine glass
that has no power to tell the future,
only quiet it down to a numbness.
I have to laugh at the idea
of a ten dollar bottle of wine paired
with a ten dollar cigar.
It takes four matches to light -
What hidden pleasures
will the thick, spicy smoke enhance
in my cheap Malbec?I hear the neighbors cursing at each other,
taking the stress of back-to-back retail jobs
and a janitorial position during graveyards
out on the family they work for,
the bus hydraulics hissing from Meridian,
an immigrant grandmother laughing as she ticks
off hopscotch numbers with her first-generation
grand-daughter in between planting
her soon-to-be blooming annuals in the neat
boxes of her tiny Garden of Eden
in poor East Boston, a pristine space, the only thing
still sandwiched between calamity and the sea.

Smoke curls from my lips
to cast about into the breeze.
I have to keep pace with the cigar
and carefully note the wind’s strength.
If I smoke too little
the flame will go out.
Sometimes I think we could break with the intensity
that’s in the beauty of a single moment in our own skins
but the taste is fleeting,
quick to be scattered away.

Life only deals out
happiness fractured into fragments
here and there, from time to time.
For some reason, I always reach
for the same happiness recipe
though I never have the same ingredients.
You’ve got to learn to cook what’s in your kitchen.

It’s been a long winter, so
get drunk on summer, and spin
what love you can from the warm air.

When the cigar burns down,
the closer [it] gets to my lips, the
sparser my breaths become, or
it’ll burn too hot.

READ MORE POEMS BY NICI E. BROWN

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WINTERSONG

cold white hands claw their way through the earth reaching up hopelessly
silver roads turn to white ash into the distance where the earth swallows itself whole
the days are solemn and honest and empty and we are underground with the rabbits
hibernating with the thought of a dead deer on the side of a frosty mountain road
no one sees anything, this is one of the many faces of peace and this is the church of death
this is the small sound of an ice age and the path we follow each year when our luck runs out
the canyons are tossed in white and the air is tiny daggers that pierce the pale skin to the bone
and the bone is the same bone that is exposed meatless on the face of the earth where there is no sun
and the ice is the mirror buried beneath the powdered ground where we cannot see ourselves
and does anything matter when everyone is frozen alive and love is a distant season
as the fortunate are lost within the summer they’ve harvested and hoard within their thighs
while the rest of us are anorexia and devastated ghost town wind blowing chiming crackle
and i am left with nothing, abandoned by the leaves that once clinged to me

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “THE KING OF HIS LAWN”