it’s denver in january cold

at the bus stop
there’s a man
in work boots
with a lunch pail
and he looks cold too
his lips pursed
hands in pockets

and there’s a woman
with her two daughters
sitting on the
cold metal
reading them a

and there’s a kid
with a baltimore ravens
on backwards
who is pacing
like he’s waiting
for the super bowl
next sunday

there is gum
all over the ground
gum and cigarette

now here comes the blind man
cane in hand
he can’t see me
as i sit here
and frozen
does he know
i’m here?

i am some weird caricature
to all of them
lost in my headphones
and underneath my hood
and thom yorke
is going crazy
in my ears
singing my iron lung
they have no idea
he’s whispering
and screaming at me
in the corner
of an asylum
on the other side
of the headphones
he’s desperately singing
with desperation
about desperation
he’s moving me
but he’s not here

there are five other hearts
at this bus stop
waiting to share
the same submarine vessel
to take us to
somewhere else

and it’s cold but not too cold to talk

and i’m off in the asylum
with thom yorke
and i’m twentysomething
in a hoodie
lost in headphones
and as soon as we violently
tug the pull cord
on the bus
and exit
we will be off to live
our seperate lives together

thom yorke is screaming at me
from some supermarket in england
with his wife
but we are all silent
faceless chess pieces
faced with the same war
but stuck
within our black
and white



Author: brice maiurro

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

11 thoughts on “CHESS”

    1. True. On my page right now there are several poems with cigarettes in them. That being said, I had a reason for it in each one. In this one, Chess, the whole poem is about being disconnected from people while still being connected. This morning at the bus stop there was gum and cigarettes on the ground and they seemed to fit this idea I was having pretty well. My poem before this one is a sort of American song type thing, dealing a little bit with American iconography. Cigarettes slipped their way in there pretty easily alongside rock and roll and a convertible traveling down the highway with the top down. In the poem, “In Crazy” I don’t know if I directly use cigarettes, but I do have a verse on them, where I talk about buying something that is toxic for you. Right before that guy is Seattle Love Song, which was in response to a 90’s song by Cat Power and once again, cigarettes slipped in pretty easily. I guess my point is I do write about cigarettes a lot, and don’t worry, I will write poems that don’t have cigarettes in them, but cigarettes have always made their way into my writing. If I had a nickel for every poem where I talk about whiskey or America or my A.D.D. I’d be a rich man, but I’m not. I’m just a kid writing poems about cigarettes.

  1. Hi Brice,
    Have you tried compacting a bit? Some of your poems may lose their powerful rythm in fragmentation… This one for example, I’ve imagined it in larger stanzas, with the conclusive sentences kept separate and it seemed more heavy weight… This is a static poem, with very powerful, but static end, and in my oppinion compacting it would highlight exactly the rythmical propulsive sentences…
    Just a -longer- thought…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s