PHANTOM LIMB

o! does this hamster wheel
ever stop hamster wheeling?
i bite constantly at my endless
nails, i shave my neck
constantly. am i not just meant to be
a werewolf? i howl at the moon enough.
my blood grows red in the dark.

sometimes i feel like i’m just
inbetween poems always all the time
just transitioning from the sunday ringroad
to the sunday jungle room madness
captured in the starry eyes of celestial
children.

which hat will i cover my bald head with
today? will i be the ringmaster? the poet?
the devil? the tower? will i be the cynic?
will i be the beaming light of the world?
will i allow it to die out? what chaos do i drown
my cereal in? which character on the box am i?

o! to be beside you. hand-in-hand
this is my favorite place to visit
where the overcast fades and your hands
cross the borders of my body like refugees
like western expansion like the history of
humanity. this is where i be when i choose
where to be i will be. i speak so new so young
so confused and brilliant in the dark star
of your vast eyes. i cannon through the night
like a human cannonball on fire and lost and in
love with the world that you roll around. i
walk on top and keep balance with the gravity
of what we might be.

o! to be dear with a friend. to be reminded
no one person is your everstar and the sky would
be dark if there was only one light in its hugeness.
when the eloquent get high and allow
themselves the priviledge of confusion
the song they sing is laughter.
this i know i think i know but i don’t really
ever stand still.

i fidget. i lose focus. i just cannot stand
still.

they say i have a.d.d. but really
i think i was just born to always be in motion
my name means never stopping never ending
i’d explain in more detail but i’ve got a train
to catch to see the joshua tree. because
i too am a strange tree in the middle of a desert.
a city on a plane. a mustache grown like wild blue horses
looking to capture the dew of unspoken thoughts.
we think we can catch tomorrow but really we just have
to be patient until it decides to become today.

o! how your love reminded me of the love i have for
everything. a poet in love is a dangerous
thing. we could build a space needle or we could
find ourselves between the devil and the deep
blue sea.

i want to kiss you underwater in seattle in the rain.
i want to kiss you in five points.
i want to kiss you in the wings of the stage.
i want to kiss you on the giant runways of the airport
as planes take off into the unforgiving sky
the indifferent merciless sky that loves as fiercely
as it hates. (for love and hate are the double doorway
that passion walks through, i think so)

o! this year! o! to be in this moment.
where we live so voraciously but
with the major bummer downside of rising rent.
it is not cheap to occupy an idea.
you cannot just leave your coat on the seat.
when approached by a large animal
the only option is to make yourself large as well.

display your multitudes. confess your breath.
chase clouds. punch the alarm clock. kiss the cement.
entertain the clowns with your seriousness.
throw candy into their wide open yawning mouths.
tie red strings around their fingers to remind them
to live. always open your gifts before christmas.
count your chickens before they hatch. learn to understand
that disappointment is just an opportunity to love what didn’t
happen.

o! to love what didn’t happen
to mourn the loss of something so huge
that you cannot wrap your arms around it
you cannot bury it in the ground
this phantom limb will squeeze your heart forever
it will squeeze your heart like a stress ball.
so invite yourself to attend the stress ball.
dance with it. twirl it around. feel it with you.
we were gifted with the strange ability to convince
ourselves that something is true until eventually
we don’t have to fake it anymore.
big fish become fairy tales and fairy tales become
legends and legends become gospel and gospel becomes
truth and then we destroy that.
we are so good at demolition when we are seduced by
the idea of creation.

o! dear sweet life
i am trying so hard to coexist with you
to share my bed with you
you ask me if i sleep well when you stay over
and i lie and i say yes
but the truth is i will adjust
because i need you to be here beside me
i find comfort in discomfort
it’s in the word itself
i work through the prefix of yesterday
in hopes of getting to the core of today
i want into this moment
please let me into this moment
dear god, can i please just be in this moment?

that’s the tricky part, isn’t it?
to be in the moment and not think about being in the moment
i watch movies and i think about the script
while the masses around me are engulfed in the tragedy and the comedy
i wish i could laugh, i wish i could cry
but i just keep analyzing

the unexamined life is not worth living
but the fully examined life is never lived

o! phantom limb
pull me up into the sky
let us be together
in the cradle of infacy
where we know everything
because we know nothing
and nothing about that

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

SHADES OF UGLY

here we are dear stranger
amongst the twilight
amongst the fetal gestation
we process the world
through rose-tinted glasses
we canvas our hearts
through manic soap opera words

here we are dear stranger
lost in the thick pudding of life
twisting addiction into commentary
hard love into performance poetry
this is the nature of the beast

and this big great beast
swallows us whole
minnows swimming through
peristalsis candid moment
honesty in the ice cubes
in the whiskey amen

amen amen amen
hallelujah your body
hallelujah your anthem
i swim through seas of predisposition
trying to get to the cause of caustic

pencil me in for an appointment
burn down bridges of negativity
i want to love so badly
that i am willing
to sacrifice sanity

and what is sanity
what is this casino air we breathe in
while we dwindle our wallets down the throat
of a beast with a bottomless pit

i am lost in chemical
found in sobriety
i channel the broken television
and sing songs of protest
against commerciality
against consumerality
against systems which disallow
the beautiful unheard to sing

sing, beautiful unheard
i am overspoken for
so white so male so american
i set my coat in puddles in hopes you can cross the road safely
as i lose myself into my ancestry of whiskey
as i bang the monday night doldrums
as i die alone in hopes that someone
lives a beautiful life together
with the rest of the beautiful world

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

WEATHER REPORT

some days we are snowstorms
freezing moments in place
turning our chronicles into icicles
we put our problems on ice
and we hibernate

that’s been me
cryogenically frozen for a lifetime
i’ve airstreamed through the spring of summer
and i’ve fallen into the bitter of winter
i’ve rinsed and repeated
i have mastered my radar by making it predictable
and all i’ve been left with
is the air pollution stuck in my skull

and then you came into my life like a flash flood

an adiabatic anomaly
you anticycloned my anvil cloud
until it came crashing down like acid rain
putting atmospheric pressure onto my hydrological heart

here i am now, lost in your iridescent fog
macrobursts and bomb cyclones
outflows of aurora borealis
you threw my soul into saint elmo’s fire
and cradled it like a cumulonimbus cloud

you have saturated me in your summer showers
spun me up in your solar energy
you have steamfogged my windows
and engulfed me in your ultra violet radiation

your love
is a veering wind
and i am a weather balloon
ballooning through your weather

wind chill is not a factor
when you factor in the insolation of your indian summer
warm advection travels my veins
radiating into sea level pressure
i will sleep safely among your red highs and your blue lows

i was scattered across the snowy screen
opening umbrellas inside my house
when you reminded me the power of my popcorn convection

when it rains now i step outside
the permafrost gone impermanent
i am here to report
a forecast of four thousand meteors
raining down like amazing grace
from the pendant echo of my throat
to the morning glory heart
of your orographic geography

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

CHARLIE ON FIRE

charlie’s killin it right now
he’s up and down those stairs like a tennis
ball
like a slinky
like a new pair of socks
he’s beedleedooding and bombombopbop
he’s fierce ferocious
unpredictable dictable digestible indigestion
wop wop skidaddle and he’s
back to the same
streets
and he’s still going he’s not stopping
still going not stopping
punchin through just punchin through like always
bird bird bird
tweedlydee
the drugs tweedlydee
the days
tweedlydee the women
pooteeweet but not quite there yet
he’s spastic sporadic diasporically cantankerous
he’s motion in the ocean
jazz jazz jazz jazz
bang bang bang
he runs and he walks and he skidaddles
and he’s not too sure
you too sure
your nose it grows who too sure certainly not you
you too sure
mister too sure in the suit in the pants all grown up
you don’t know
listen to your old boy charlie
sitting on a tree branch listening for ambulances
as winter springs into summer’s fall and rinse and repeat
pooteeweet but not quite there yet
i tell ya though
charlie’s on fire right now

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

BREAKFAST IN BED WITH BEN FOLDS

i woke up this morning to a stranger at my bedroom doorway
it was Ben Folds, charming as i imagined him
he carried a tray of eggs and sausage and pancakes
and coffee and orange juice
he set it beside me on the bed and he said to me,
“the more you know you know don’t know shit,”
and i said “that’s not how you greet someone in the morning,”
and he said “why you gotta act like you know when you don’t know?”
and i said “you’re right, ben folds. thanks for bringing me breakfast,”
and he said “you’re welcome, brice,”
and then he picked up my guitar in the corner and began playing Jesusland
and i fell back asleep out of this dream of a morning where the music
coming from my portable cellular phone’s speaker is a conversation
that i can have whenever and wherever i need
and it’s not all bad and the morning is my second favorite
after the late night that can hurt so beautifully
but they need each other and this morning i needed breakfast in bed
with Ben Folds, thank you Ben Folds, thanks for the conversation
and for the orange juice, you’re a good guy i think, Ben Folds, i think so

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

ORANGE

our conversations lately feel like a living room without lamps
like we fell asleep with the oven on and the house burnt down
it is close to impossible to not get lost when traveling to your house
and i know it is the same for you

i am sorry that i gave my shoulder demon a soapbox to stand on
i apologize that the angel on yours seems to be in a coma
never mistake passive aggression for aggressive passion
i speak these words through my baby teeth
i wash my mouth out with soap in the mornings

i am sorry again but i don’t believe in boxing gloves
if you’re gonna hit me i want it bareknuckled
i want it in person and i want it right away
don’t bruise me with oranges

we are a contained nuclear explosion
we are an apocalypse in a snowglobe
no one would doubt Christmas is your favorite holiday
and mine is Halloween
i guess that’s why our orange words fall on white cold shoulders

i miss your vintage love
and your chicken noodle soup kitchen
but the string between our soup cans is broken
we gotta talk

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

GUEST SERVICES

I approached the woman popping her gum and placed the plastic bag on the counter between us. She stared blankly at me.
“Can I help you?” she asked me.
“Yes, hi. I’d like to return this please.”
“What is ‘this’, sir?” she said.
“It’s my heart.”
There was silence, distant registers clicking and beeping in the background.
“You would like to return your heart, sir?”
“Yes, that’s correct,”
“Is something wrong with it?”
I laughed, and then I laughed some more.
“Oh yes,” I said, “There certainly is. The damn thing is too fragile. Every bad day, every tremor from a shaky friendship cracks the thing right open. I feel like it’s once a week that I’m trying to super glue the damn thing back together. It’s too sensitive. Too effective, I guess. I hate the thing,”
She popped her gum.
“Would you like to exchange it for a different heart?”
“No, I really don’t think so,”
“We have a large variety of hearts, sir. I don’t mean to impose but maybe you’d be happier with a different model,”
“Look. I appreciate your concern, but I’m sick of the thing. It gets me into too much trouble. I’ve got an extremely effective mind and that has been leading me well so far, so I really don’t think I need a heart at all,”
“Well, sir. Do you have your receipt?”
“My receipt?”
“Yes, sir. Your receipt. All returns require a receipt and must be within 90 days of purchase,”
“Well, I’ve had this heart all my life, and I definitely don’t have a receipt,”
“No receipt, no return, sir. I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do for you, but have a nice day,”
“Please. Just take my heart. I don’t trust myself with it,”
“Sir, I’d recommend maybe you try a pawn shop,”
“A pawn shop? A pawn shop? You’ve got to be kidding me. You think I would just send this heart off to a pawn shop? To be thrown on a shelf to collect dust. To be placed in a glass case next to a Nintendo 64 or an alcoholic’s kidney? They won’t give me shit for it either! I guarantee you they won’t give me a third of it’s value,”
“But sir, you said yourself, it’s too fragile,”
“It’s not too fragile! That’s not what I meant. It’s a good heart. I can’t have someone walking around with this heart in their chest not knowing its value. Some idiot kid who is gonna just play wall ball with it. Some sadistic collector who is just gonna put it on display. This heart is a return, not a pawn,”
“I can’t help you, sir,”
“Hey, do me a favor…” I looked down at the woman’s name tag, “Rhonda. Rhonda, do me a favor. Take this heart home. Give it to someone who deserves it,”
“Sir,”
“No, Rhonda! Don’t you ‘sir’ me! I need this heart gone. It’s toxic. I can’t get anything done with the damn thing. I need you to take it,”
“Sir!” she said, her nostrils flaring, her eyes on fire now “You can’t return your god damn heart! It’s not a fucking toaster! It is YOUR heart. It is not MY heart. It is not anyone’s heart but your own. Who the hell do you think you are, anyways? Demanding something because you’ve given up. Because you have not a single clue what you actually have there. You are slapping life in its fucking face, SIR. This is not how things work. You are stuck with that heart. It is part of you. So you better stop trying to pretend it’s something to sell, something to abandon. It is a gift, and not everyone is so lucky to have such a gorgeous heart. I swear, the entitlement you feel to not feel. It blows my fucking mind. You know what? Lock it up. Go purchase a safe and throw it in there for a week. Tell me how that works out for you. Have a conversation about your heartless life with a friend. Grab a couple drinks. See how that goes. See how terrible your life will become when you are just going through the motions but never experiencing anything. Give me your eyes while you’re at it! Return your fucking throat to me. I’ll give you in-store credit on that one! You cannot just give up like this. You are so ungrateful for the thing that makes you so much what you are. And beyond all of this, you don’t even have a god damn receipt! Get out!”
I said nothing. I wondered what I’d be feeling if my heart wasn’t packed up in front of me. I just stared at Rhonda, a deer in retail headlights.
“Get out of my store!” she yelled again.
I began to walk away, heart in hand.

On the drive home, I buckled my heart up in the passenger’s seat. I drove 10 miles below the speed limit the whole way home. When I got home, I opened the door to my chest and I placed my heart inside. I put on my favorite record and I lied down on my bed, smoking a cigarette. My poor lungs taking the beating like body guards for my heart. I felt the blood pumping through my veins. I fell asleep and I dreamed of all my past lovers and waking up recharged I started my life up again.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

REUNION

this shouldn’t feel foreign
but it does
fingers against the surface
rhythms that i’ve trumpeted
one million times
but there’s something else

an electricity bouncing back
that i’ve not felt before

i shave my beard

i shave my head

i disrobe my skin
in front of my self
in the mirror

the familiar skeleton
appears before me
top hat before chest
ready to perform

what am i doing?
this white rectangular cell
that my black footprints dance around
why bother?

no matter how loud you yell
the echoes fade out

no matter how quiet you whisper
they’ll never lean in close enough

dance monkey dance

smile for the camera

yes be reckless
love reckless
kiss reckless
punch the piano keys
kick the organ in the kidney
all on camera
it’s all on camera
we’re on camera
we’re always all on camera
each photograph an ash of skin
each thought a spitwad on the blackboard of time
we document our deaths so voraciously

and why do we do this again?

oh yeah
that’s why
because it feels fucking good
because it’s a stethoscope
we can place to our cold chests
to feel our percolating hearts percolating

(i am reminded
of the condensation of my lips
on the petroglyphs
of you skin
fleeting life
meeting
eternal static
i am reminded of you
in the middle of this poem
not about you (til now)
and that’s how it goes sometimes
and the uncalculated calculation
of that squint that you squint at me with
eyes shining like new sunstars
just born into a lightless sky
that i remember is the why
you are why
you are the why when i why)

my back against my front door
i spelunk my own caverns
in search for silence
i still think of you (still now)
but the world isn’t silent tonight
it is hiding in the tall grass
and i can feel it coming
and i am ready for the whatever
and the whatever comes along with it
give me your best fucking shot
i am ready for the whatever
and the whatever sure as fuck
better be ready for me
my arms great blunderbuss guns
the trigger your pre-arthritic fingers
interlocked in mine in waiting
beautiful and ready to click

life you son of a bitch
hit. me. hard.
and i will swing back like
i’m being pushed

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015