Anatomy of a 29 Year Old Human

*just about every year on my birthday I write an “Anatomy of a … Year Old” poem. Thank you for reading.

i am a giant lizard monster
trying to lay down comfortably in a sprawling metropolis but the buildings scratch at my back

the cars pierce my feet like legos

i fold myself ragdoll into a suitcase in attempt to be smaller
i’ve tried my hand at big, i wish to be little

i stare into the mirror but it’s not a mirror
it’s the ghost of marley and he’s eating my cereal

he tells me i need to grow out my beard again

he reminds me i am a joshua tree at the end of the western world
he reminds me that it is crucial that i push through heavy desert ground

my veins are filled with marathon runners sprinting but only when it’s dark out
i’ve begun to name the avenues they run down, federal, larimer, colfax

rush hour is a real bitch
my hands shake at the horns honking screaming for attention

i’ve spent twenty eight years sawing myself in half for the big audience
i want to spend the next twenty eight sewn together

maybe salinger, alone in a boat in the middle of a forest

maybe vincent, a militia of mad men in the fields of anxiety

there is hair in my ears and when i was signing my contract this was not mentioned
television led me to believe that this corresponded with twilight years

meanwhile the movies led me to believe i would be a wealthy philanthropist batperson by now
i conveniently ignore al bundy’s belly, his thin hair, his vicious kmart realism

my eyes are the brownest they have ever been
this is good

this is spirit in form
petrified wood to be built into rocking chair conversations and tobacco pipes

i am seeking a clean definition of masculinity
and my femininity is my best hope to get there

there is goldfish in a glass bowl lodged in my heart
i still haven’t figured out what that’s all about but i feed it pellets

i remember that though the castle it swims around is small it is still a castle
and the castle is me and the goldfish is the music of it all

i’m confused
i’ve wrapped myself up in ace bandages but i’m not injured

i decide to play a mummy because for a brief minute this year i was a pharaoh
and now all i want is to be surrounded by true gold and sleep sleep sleep

and wake up thirty and haunt the shit out of these fuckers for at least a few more

we hearty new americans

we not old america
we hearty new americans
we go to work and put headphones in
we turn off world
we strong
we know we must resist and resist constantly
also we must sleep
also we must love
we put full force into situations
where we must learn put streamers up in hell
we don’t know the past
we know of it
we’ve heard of it
we’ve seen germany
we’ve seen empires fall
we’ve never been in a house with such bad foundation
we love still
we move shuffling through street
we see friendly Denver turn rat race
the cows gone home
we dear john letters over the interwebs
we die a little but preserve
we lose left arm strengthen right
we fight we fight we fight
we burn out on television
we seen every episode of everything
we’ve heard every political speech
marched through every protest
now we march for our own feet
and try to put the feet of other’s feet in our feet shoes
we dive we dive we dive
we hold breath we hold space
we trumpet of jazz in silent workroom
we machine
but we funky disco jazz machine
we beer we weed we drugs we drugs we drugs
we sleep through anxiety earthquakes
we float down lazy river with margarita
we dolphins with spacey helmet heads
we do what we do and we do what we have to
we in fear
we bathe in fear
we brush our children’s hair in fear
we three day weekend fear
we water cooler conversation drowning
we wonder the time and date
we cars in lines
we wrapped up in old newspapers
we swallowed in landlocked blues
we trashporn koolaid buster
we under extreme tension headache
skin tone awareness campaign
ugly commercials
unofficial mascots and death notes
we elevator conversations
we doomed
we buy house purchase mortage in doomed
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills

Sea Change

i no longer wish to be made of metal
or stone

i don’t wish to be a brick building
a fortress

i’ve opened the doors, the windows,
the ceiling

i no longer wish to be fire

i do not need to catch on to those
around me

they do not have to hear me

i want to be left alone
to my most beautiful vices
tea and words and music

in my tiny apartment i am reminded
i do not wish to be big

i wish for more music

i wish to be less consumed in telling
stories

and more consumed in creating them

i wish to be paper
the thinnest pulp of paper there is

i wish to be folded
and thrown into the wind

i wish for gentle bristles of a brush
to travel across the skin of me

i want to build castles for the sea
to swallow

i want to remember today and tomorrow

i want to capture them at only so many
frames per second

i no longer want to paint self-portraits
i want to paint the sea

i wish to be a still life painting

i no longer wish to be made of metal

i wish to listen and to love
and then whatever is next
that too, that too

The Fourth of July

imagine one thousand ships sinking into a black ocean
the water twisting and sucked up into the sky

imagine your house is on fire and so is your neighbor’s house
great plagues of locust pushing through the alleys of your veins

imagine you don’t remember your name or what year it is
and imagine for a second that you don’t know who is the leader of your country

my tongue tastes like death and it doesn’t matter what toothpaste i use
i can’t help but spend hours each morning brushing off the black death of my ancestors before me

their names don’t fall off the tip of my tongue i see them easily enough on street signs and churches

imagine being an adult and learning to read for the first time
try and imagine what it’s like to not have been given the gift of reading handed to you

imagine the weight of words when everything on the television tells you it’s over
imagine there is a breath hidden in prayers tucked between the paper births and the ink stamped eulogies

imagine convincing yourself you can read with the sound off
that you can close your eyes and great wings will grow from your chest

it’s been years since most people have been in a bookstore. that’s the truth.

but this poem isn’t a public service announcement.
it’s not a shaking finger.

it’s a dying one.

as the ground swells up and swallows each of us whole and then we’re gone
and we’ll stay in walls forever besides soldiers and rapists, arsonists and nuns

everything i write lately is about death but i’m finding it hard not to write about death.

bring me dead flowers preserved between pages of a book
bring me hope in a little glass jar
bring me a child with eyes bigger than unending war

i fall asleep
incapable of keeping my eyes open and someone says to me
happy fourth of july

and i say oh, is that today.

Wake for my youth so far (i hope)

and the next clock reminds me that in eight months of living in this apartment i have yet to clean my fridge
and the next clock reminds me that the older i get the less i grow my beard out and that one is surprisingly sad
the next clock tells me tonight i should relax and watch kendrick lamar videos
and the next clock irks me to paint paintings any time i try to close my eyes to sleep.

the next clock is you, naked at the foot of the bed, crawling towards me
yet another clock is you, locked off and silent, no matter what volume i twist my voice to.
yet another clock is america.
yet another clock is my car in the driveway, my debt flooding the basement, the sounds of sirens surrounding my house at one in the morning though i couldn’t be certain what the crime is.
the next clock is death. duh.
the next clock is time and time is a live studio audience laughing. they are laughing and laughing though i don’t get the impression any of this is funny to them. though i don’t get the impression they are enjoying themselves, or that they are here for any reason but to be an ethereal railroad tie, punched through my railroad.

and lately i don’t get the impression this gets easier.
i do get the impression that one’s dreams change over the course of any given lifetime.
sometimes in revelation. sometimes through Reality, as Reality kicks our asses at ping pong, and then proceeds to literally kick our asses. and then proceeds to give us the beautiful painful distinct privilege of watching our parents get older.

the next clock is me, and it’s a very large clock. i can see myself in its glass. the image is changing. for me, it’s like a roulette wheel spinning through different versions of myself, upon which i can impart varying levels of love.
the next clock is Christmas, because even the worst of Christians can’t deter me from loving the heart of winter, two exits after the solstice. even the worst of Christians can’t deter me from finding sonic joy in the temperance of warm alcohol and family. whatever family may be. don’t cage in your limitations on love. do you hear me?

the clock ticks like an atom bomb. i shed my skin like a snake. i drive the bus to school. i turn in my homework on time. i kiss the girl, on the neck, in the car. i pull out the praying bar and i sit and i pray to a wooden ceiling.

dear wooden ceiling, allow me to not get too wrapped up in this algebra. allow me to magically know when the pizza is done cooking. let me roller skate with death during the couple’s song. dear wooden ceiling, shield me. dear wooden ceiling, allow me to know the difference between surrender and defeat. may i lay with lions and come out their king. let me lay with a woman who humbles me. chase off the ghosts, this isn’t pac-man, but it’s pretty close. illusory fruit and maze. like a bible story.

dear wooden ceiling, when i die make me a clock with no hands. paint my wings in something heavier than feathers. kiss me warm. wrap me in velvet until i miss the sandpaper. until i wake up, and i wake up, and wake up, i wake up, wake up, wake up.

 

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Hey guys,

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Love, Brice

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The Guts of Dexter

you find yourself falling apart like wooden blocks
toppling over your self

you don’t know if this is the norm
or if this is an experience completely unique to you

you were in a car eight hours down the pacific coast highway
but you missed it all you slept so hard

your body is constantly reinventing itself
checking scars is a good way to make certain you are still alive

very similar to lucid dreaming
we all need something to ground us

something to yell at us that we’re okay when we find ourselves in a wind tunnel

if god is real then i think they’re probably suffering like all of us
their garbled brain gone schizophrenic
multiple personality disorder as they try to decide which human reflection of them is correct
post traumatic stress disorder from watching city after city fall
like wooden blocks toppling over themselves

your heart is a parakeet at best
some kind of mid-sized bird in a shoebox

you don’t really see any of this coming you’re so busy buying better shoes

you’re exhausted you don’t allow yourself to see it until you get stress sick
and you find yourself hopped up on dayquil watching people’s court and price is right

you start to wonder if you should be your self as you find yourself older each day and still single
asking your self am i that one individual milk jug at the back of the fridge at work?

eternally stuck restless half frozen past expiration waiting for some magic warm hand to grab you
your feet fall asleep as you balance on the strange telephone wires of time

asking yourself had someone not told me i’m good with people would i be in customer service?
if i didn’t excel at mathematics would i have any interest in being a mathematician?

you’re like a swan boat maybe, with a hole in it
a tiny hole on the underbelly

not enough to capsize you but definitely enough to make things uncomfortable
enough to make you feel bad for the attention that you require to continue to float

you shouldn’t feel bad
god is somewhere counting change to see if they can get themselves a rodeo burger before payday

we’re all just ditzing around and there’s a few of us who really think we’ve nailed it
but those people’s houses could get hit by tornados

or sometimes they get crushed beneath the extreme illusory weight that the stack on their chests
i’m not blaming them i’m just saying we’re all the weird green potato chip somedays

i’m just saying if you figure out what normal looks like please draw me a diagram or make a pie chart or cast some sort of line out because i’m starting to settle down on the idea that it most likely just doesn’t exist and that pretending that there is an answer is probably the best way to destroy riding this question out until our inevitable descent into the guts of Dexter, the turtle that someday will swallow us all

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2017

In Pictures

the earth is pulling back against us all
as we push off we realize we are all just scratch n sniff stickers glued down by gravity
mannequins set into motion marching out of cars into light rail trains
big trucks stuck in traffic
whales in sardine boxes
broken pencils trying to carve our initials in an asymmetrical heart below our loved ones
two letters
a big fucking cake
shared joy empty beds
faces unpixelated and repixelated across empires
across oceans full of skeletons and sunken ships
and then in the clockwork of it all we begin to burn up
ten thousand grams of mess
disattached in smoke and flame
burning
dear john letters and IOUs
burning
unresolved conflicts
trains halted before the crash frozen in grayscale in pictures
burning
dead watches on anxious wrists
wedding rings on the claws of monsters
burning
for the strangers who prefer to stay strange
and the family too distant to be familiar

Potential Song Names

skeletons.jpg

a swan in a tar pit
the brain busted from the jar
i organized my smut films
pray to the government
discounted lobotamy
haikus for hitler
scorsese was a saint
unprinted newspaper
taxi cab yellow
born on the forth of august
died in the arms of a clock
anger management problem
kentucky fried children
the age of bob dylan
god bless you, mayor hancock
twenty dollar motel room

and letters

and letters i do not have the letters that i wish
to have to letter you i do not know where to
begin i love you in a language that i do not
speak and i am so afraid and desperate and
desperately afraid that i will never have the
letters to build the ladder that i wish to build
to climb into your left lung and sail across the
air of you like waves i do not have the letters
and each day you are further away from me i
do not have the letters all i have is this poem
made only from these letters which i use so
very damned often i just wish to hold your
hand in a flea market and i wish to spend my
last days on this earth wandering aimlessly
to the local fruit stand missing you so very
immensely and it will be a hurt that i have
never felt but i don’t know how i will ever
climb into your left lung to have it because
i do not have the letters and so i write in
circles and predicted patterns like a paint
shaker hoping desperate for a crack in the
lid and when the whole colors of it all
splatter maybe i will see that i did not need
the letters because i had the colors i had the
colors inside of me and if it’s your love then
you will have it and that i like to believe i
like to believe i like to believe because i
close my eyes and you are not so sky distant
you are tangible and somewhere maybe
drowning in letters and desperate for color
and i know i will be your favorite color i
know i will if only i can find the letters or
the colors or the maybes tucked behind
bricks in the strange alleys that we’ve
both passed through in dreams

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