for a minute there
it sounded like you thought you did it

that you opened your mouth to speak
and out flew some grand butterfly

for the world to grasp onto and worship
as it fluttered through the poetry of their existence

but when you opened you mouth
what came out was two elements of oxygen

to each singular element of carbon
and a promise to do the best you can to not fuck up

because that’s it, poet, isn’t it?
to try like all hell to not fuck up

not to be a savior but more not to be the bomb
the one that comes bursting into the corridor of the building

exploding in great gaseous fire as you see the eyes
of ten thousand scared patrons fleeing from your monster movie

screams captured in the dissonant frozen frame of memory
if you draw your box too small, it’s easy to be on the wrong side of history

or the debate – or relevancy – or to channel some dead asshole
who talked a whole hell of a lot about buddhism and alcohol and misogyny

your idols should have killed you when they had the chance
now you’re stuck in a web of netflix and your front door is locked from the outside

you default. back to chinese takeout. back to endless newsfeed.
back to the giant post-modern commercialist womb of nonexistence

what they don’t tell you is the insane amount of energy that it takes
to be a good person. to burn the fire you could have saved for warmth.

there is no field day ribbon.
if you’re doing it right, there’s barely a thank you.

but it’s a whole hell of a lot easier to sleep at night.
and it’s near impossible to dream if you don’t close your eyes.


Author: brice maiurro

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


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