late for school
not the first time this has happened
my internal clock is set to work – 7:30
and psych starts at 7
i can’t keep track of this all
my mental calendars have been dipped
in hydrochloric acid
i’m not meant for itineraries
but i’m trying
going to bed at nine
setting alarms for six
work at 7:30
work at 7:30
punch the clock
punch the clock
god, i want to punch the clock
the minute hand and the hour hand
are strangling me
while the second hand hits me in the kidneys
tick tock
the pendulum of a grandfather clock
is a swinging blade inching towards me

(as of late
i have to assume that the sun is still coming up
and settling down
cubicle walls and textbooks shade me from rationalizing a systematic symphony of light and then dark and after burning so much midnight oil i’m forgetting waht a normal chemical balance feels like)

my skin is as pale as computer paper
my heart beats like the beep beep at the beginning of call center calls
i want a room made of windows free of clocks where time is just something your parents made up to scare you
i’m trying to make this poem free from rhythm
free from
make this poem free
from rhyth-
make the poe-
m free
no beat
chaos leads to structure
and structures can fall from chaos
just a mental day
i’m just having a mental day
i’ll sleep in for once
count sheep out of order
and lose count
stop tallying everything
deny there being
seven days a week
twenty-four hours a day
three hundred and sixty five days a year
punch the clock
five days a week
forty hours
plus over time
i am over time
count the things formerly known as days
in moments

i breathe in
i breathe out
this all
was in



Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.

8 thoughts on “PUNCH-THE-CLOCK”

  1. Ya know, I can only hope, when I get over my fear of letting people into my thoughts that create the madness that may be considered poetry, hidden in a notebook with death threats on the front *true story*, that they affect people the way your words do me. I feel like I’m stalking your site, but I want to keep reading. A-flippin-mazed!

    1. Thank you so much. I’ve suggested this to other people, but if you’re struggling to be more honest, watch the movie “Howl”. That movie single-handedly made me more unafraid to write how I am. In it, Ginsberg talks about how he use to struggle with writing, thinking to himself “What if my daddy doesn’t approve of this?” You have to write your poetry for you. Like no one is ever going to see it. The trick from there – is to let people see it.

      1. Everything that is written is perfectly honest! I have always been able to write to make myself feel better. I feel it is easier than talking because I never let anyone in when there is something bothering me. Hell, when I’m really pissed or upset about something, my husband (who’s name is Brice, btw) ends up with a “note” usually lengthy! haha.. But, that’s me. He didn’t even want me to start a blog. I was going to make it completely private and not have my name associated with it at all. Honestly, this is the scariest thing I’ve ever done, because of the fact that no one ever knows what I’m thinking or feeling (except when I’m fuming ;)). I’m slooooowly starting to feel a little better about myself because of it and hopefully I will gain enough courage to be able to put some up. I will check into the movie..do you know if it is on Netflix? It better be interesting, too, because I usually can’t sit still long enough to watch a movie…something about ADD?! lmao..Anyway, thanks again for your kindness and suggestions!

  2. Time is a fascinating concept….one which you expressed most engagingly! Thank you for sharing this…and the encouragement to put ones self out there — I will remember this “You have to write poetry for you.” Blessings to you good sir! ~ 🙂

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