MOTIVE

was it because you were bullied in
school? were you abused as a child?
did you have a vendetta against society?
did the world just rub you the wrong way?
was it because you could only see sin in us all?
did you have undiagnosed mental issues that should
have gone diagnosed?

were you exposed to violent video games,
violent movies, violent comic books at a young age?
were you plotting this for months?
where were you when you decided to take the terror
inside of your broken rib cage and turn it into the
terror we all feel carving holes in our hands?
was it drugs? was it years and years of pent-up rage
and silence? was it something someone said to you
a long time ago that you could have told someone?
are you godless behind your hidden eyes?
were you broken to begin with? are you proof
that some of us are born with two demons on
our shoulders? that some of us enter through exit
doors in shameful masks to rip down the red curtains?
to pierce the surface of innocent skin and beautiful lives?
did you feel your skin pressing the trigger of the gun?
do you hear any of this in your head? most of us do.
most of us are playing judge, jury and executioner in
our hearts and in our heads. hosting trials
asking ourselves what is right and what is wrong
don’t you dare
be proud of yourself. don’t you dare
think i will remember your name. don’t you dare
say you’re sorry – most of us are questioning the state
of the color red but some of us
aren’t around anymore to do that. twelve of us
are stories that couldn’t be saved. twelve of us
are the names that should be remembered. twelve of us
will never see the end of the movie.

the rest of us
are still here saying prayers at dinner tables with empty
chairs. we are listening instead of hearing. we are speaking
instead of listening. why weren’t you? when did your sun go
down and why in the black night of aurora did you sneak
shadowed into these happy homes and tear apart the very
fabric of our humanity? where are you now? who
are you? i will not remember your name. you are not god.
you are not the devil. you are everything we are not; and
you are unanswered questions that you could have just
asked somebody.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “SIMON SAYS”

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those who died early today in the Aurora Theater Shooting. May those lost rest in peace. I can’t imagine what you’re going through and I wish you all the best in this impossibly tough time.

SIMON SAYS

at work
in the parking lot of a
shitty kind of
morning

listening to
the opposite of
lullabies

windows rolled up
doors locked

and if i smoked
i would be smoking
now

out the front
window of my hot black
car

a man with glasses
directly across the way
from me

exits his car
and begins walking
towards the work building.

windows rolled up

“stop,” i say,
he does.

“lock your doors,”
he does. he can’t hear me.

“get on the roof of your
car,” and he turns back around,
robotically, and steps up onto the
roof of his car.

he is skinny and awkward,
standing on the hood of a ninety-five
civic, so naturally
unnatural.

“now jump off,” i say, and
he does. and shit
i’m late for work and i’m sure
he is too.

“take out your cellphone,”
and he does.
“call in sick for me,”
and he does.
“call in sick for you,”
and he does.

i tell him to climb a tree
and he can’t hear me
but he can,
and he does.
he swings
like a monkey from
a branch.

“go jump in
that lake!” and
like a dog chasing after
a ball, he
obeys.

he does not look
tortured.

within someone else’s will
he is peaceful and
undaunted.

he just stands there smiling
in the lake
by the parking lot
near work.

i think of all the advantages
of this situation; the
power.

i command him
never ever listen to my commands
again,
and he does.

it was nice to take a sick day.

 

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

THE ANATOMY OF A TWENTY-FOUR YEAR OLD BOY

Every year on my birthday (July 19th), I write a poem called “The Anatomy of a ___-year-old boy. It’s my birthday today and I’d like to share with you all the poem I just wrote:

Let’s start with the head.

We found the skull to be very thick and stubborn to get
through. One surgeon working on this operation swears
in his testimony that at one point after successfully opening
the skull that he watched the skull close back in on
itself, though this could not be confirmed (nor denied.)

Upon successfully surgically opening the head directly down the
center we were able to begin our studies with a very profound
journey into the central work station of the twenty-four year old
boy. It seems the subject’s mind is fairly saturated with high levels
of dreams,
however, it is worth noting that these dreams are clotted with
equally high levels of thoughts on the female gender:
There were several times during the operation where we had
to enter the brain to rewire the shifting eyes to focus on the
subject at hand.

On that note, the subject’s eyes rarely seemed willing to look
at one thing for too long. The subject was easily distracted
by outrageous ideas, some as far-fetched as doing what he
loved for a living.

Upon searching the mouth, we were clued in that the subject
may suffer from attention deficit disorder, when leftover bits
of Adderall (Amphetamine) were detected hanging on
for dear life at the back of the throat. It is important to note
that this may in fact be the residual effects of a misdiagnosis
but our tests were inconclusive one way or the other.

The subjects bones were made out of a foreign material
unseen in any of our previous cadaverous experiments. Several
chemical tests were unable to identify the substance, but
a brief but luckily contained accident by an intern where a
flammable substance was spilled on the subjects bones led us
to the undeniable conclusion that the subject’s bones, head to
toe, were composed of strike-anywhere matches. The subject,
as we then learned, is highly combustible; it seemed the slightest
spark could set our subject on fire.

Upon examination we were able to monitor the subjects’
heartbeat; and what we found there was most astounding;
not only did the subject have an arrhythmic heartbeat, it seemed
the subject’s heartbeat was reactive to whatever music was playing
in his head. Ranging from classics, such as the Beatles to newer
inquiries, such as Foster the People, it seemed the subject was
completely at the whim of music. Our psycho-surgical analysts
were starting to gain concern that the subject may be too fragile
to undergo this surgery. Everything we were seeing underneath
the skin was substantially honest and vulnerable. (I disagreed with
our psycho-surgical analysts on the proposal of concluding our
endeavors. Personally having counseled the subject prior to
inoculation, I saw the great vigor with which he wrote his sworn
affidavit aggreeing to the procedure.) As if our finding with
the subject’s heart weren’t intriguing enough, later tests showed in
rare, nevertheless consistently intermittent moments, the subject’s
heart would stop beating all together. It brought a wave of fear
over the operation the first time, but we quickly found undeniable
evidence that though this subject’s heart concretely did stop
pulsating time to time, that it did always begin again, always
back to its normal frantic pace.

There was a certain correspondence we were able to identify
between the systolic beat of the heart and the left leg, and the
diastolic beat of the heart, and the right leg. One doctor remarked,
and we all agreed, that the subject marched to the beat of his
own drummer.

Though no tests were performed, I noticed a certain shakiness
in the subject’s hands through much of the testing. As if the
subject wanted to feel everything that was happening to him.
Or maybe as if there was some passion that he was suffering from
anxiety to get back to doing. On a less professional, and more
poetic note, it seemed as if he was typing on the air. As if even in
the midst of this numb surgery he was crafting something.
I couldn’t help but notice.

Government funding only allotted us so much funding for this
endeavor so from there I thought it best to conclude, hoping next
year to re-up our grant and continue to study the anatomy
of a twenty-five year old boy.

 

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

PUNCH-THE-CLOCK

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
free from
make
this
make this poem free
from rhyth-
make the poe-
m free
no beat
inevitable
inevitable
chaos leads to structure
and structures can fall from chaos
please
just a mental day
sorry
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
inhale
exhale
systolic
diastolic
rhythm
rhythm
maybe
this all
was in
vain.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

FACEBOOK

Looking to connect with more poets and writers through Facebook. If you have a Facebook page for writing or poetry, or any kind of art, leave me a link in the comments and I’ll follow you.

Brice

You can follow me too if you’d like: http://www.facebook.com/bricewriting

PLAYING HOUSE

we kissed consonants at each other
our lips fumbling over fumbleover
i thought about why people love zombies
as you crafted pie charts about love
i left the engine on
and stuck in the claustrophobic clusterfuck
of our romantic pissing contest
i wish someone would have closed the garage door
then we could have died slap-happy crack-happy
playing house and imitating the pretty people on the television set
her eyes were as blue as mountains
her tongue, as soft as record scratches
and my sculpture of myself was made out of leftover bits from childhood art projects
happy in the womb were we
our bodies arguing over awkward gesticulations
it was a stillbirth
each secret brought us closer until collision
the golden umbilical cord wrapped around our necks
we suffocated on love
auto erotic romantic pedantic asphyxiation
and our friends and family left the room as soon as we entered
love was circle ponies
and now
i don’t know what it is
until i do, i’ll pursue these one night stands with monogamy
these closed relationships with open wounds
and drain brain fluid onto dead trees

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

REVIEW OF TIM BECKER’S “NEW YORK CITY BONES”

“I’ve been with you since the collapse
When the earthquake shook up the dust
and we were intimate
Since the sirens went off
and your alarm clock scattered
Your eyes were shades of gray
behind a morning cup of coffee
The blades of grass were shaking off the dew
and gasping for breath
I’ve been with you since we fell apart
and melted in a flash flood
While our bodies caved in
In colors and shades
As you stumble out of bed
and I mumble weary nonsense
Somhow I just know we’ll be okay
But now I’m lying here in the
cold sweat of a nightmare
And you’re gone”

I met Tim Becker when I worked with him at a certain popular coffee company, and I knew as soon as I met him, we were going to be more than coworkers. I could tell right away that Tim was smart, and as cliche as it may sound. the fact that he was a twenty-three year old who walks with a cane told me he was someone with stories; someone who lived his life.
At the end of one of our shifts, as Tim closed up the doors, he asked me if I would like to stay a bit and smoke some clove cigars with him outside of the store. I obliged and Tim and I spent a good hour or two shooting the shit, our favorite subjects being The Beatles and Radiohead. I had given up on ever being a Radiohead fan, so Tim dragged me to his car where he put in one of their CD’s. I’ll never forget seeing that stack of Radiohead CD’s Tim had in his car. This guy digested music the way I digested music; ferociously, trying to get to know the artist. Tim wasn’t the type to listen to a song by a band, let alone an album, he would patiently absorb every lick of music that artist ever wrote. I’ve been blessed in our friendship being the same way.
Tim is quiet passion. A rare combination. I can’t keep my damn mouth shut for the life of me. I remember working with Tim at that coffee company that shall not be named; I was playing the part of an angst-driven twenty year old rambling in his ear “Tim, I love her so much but all we do is fight and her dad hates me, but maybe I’m giving up on a good thing etcetera, etcetera, etcetera,” and after probably an excessive fifteen minute rant, Tim stopped what he was doing looked me dead in the eye and said “Brice, sometimes the things we want the most, are the things that would kill us,”
I was over her. He had successfully said exactly what I needed to hear in so few words because Tim is one of those people who listens, who thinks and who says all that needs to be said, never overcomplicating things.
Why do I tell you this? Because Tim’s poetry is the same way. Anyone who is even the smallest follower of my blog knows that I… tend to ramble. Don’t get me wrong. I love to ramble, but there’s something to be said about saying only what needs to be said. Saying things as succinctly as possible. Tim does just that, and powerfully. I think about one of my favorite poems from his book; a poem called “Thirty Cops.” Tim explains how one night he found a group of thirty cops standing around a dying deer, contemplating what to do. He ends the poem, “and thirty cops just earned an hour’s pay.” Beautiful – and if your thinking “thirty cops? really?” yes really, because Tim’s writing is as honest as it is intimate.
Something I may have failed to mention that has been a key factor in a great friendship with Tim is Tim’s sense of humor. It comes from that same quiet place as his passion, but damn if it doesn’t bite you in the ass. It’s sharp, it’s caustic, and you don’t know you’re a victim of a joke by Tim Becker until it’s long over. Ladies and gentleman, as Exhibit B, I present to you Tim’s poem from his book, New York City Bones, aptly titled “Poetry.”

“The wall to my left is white
I’m sitting on a chair made of wood
The room is normal temperature
The ceiling has a grainy texture
The carpet doesn’t look like the ceiling
There’s a photo of my wife on the desk
She is smiling
There’s a painting of a flower
The painting is square
The flower is red
I’m wearing a hat on my head
I’m holding a pen in my hand
And I’m writing this poem
People like descriptive poetry
This is a descriptive poem
Publish this shit”

Ha ha ha. Tim’s book, New York City Bones, published by Flashlight City Press, is well worth the read.

Especially for the hipsters, because they’re gonna want to be there to say “I’ve been following him since New York City Bones,” or perhaps whine that “His first book was way better.”

Copies of Tim’s book can be purchased through this link: http://flashlightcitypress.myshopify.com/

THE GREAT AMERICAN BURGER MACHINE

the great american burger machine
fifty thousand shades of lip gloss
the land of the buy one get one free
five thousand types of cigarettes
a must-have priced-to-sell item
limited time offer while supplies last
best-in-class five star rated
save time save money save energy
are you sick of all the trouble?
are you tired? are you stressed?
god bless whoever invented point nine nine
two-for-one rebate coupons
the american way faster
cheaper better longer lasting
it keeps going and going and going
newest model special edition
collector’s edition twentieth anniversary
edition do i hear one dollar
two dollar two dollar two three
can i get three can i get an amen! sold!
to the man in the stunning suit sitting
beside the label whore in the
ergonomically-correct chair and
god bless you and god bless you and
your beautiful artificial blue eyes and
your beautiful artificial children
all of you everywhere everyone all
at once holiday sale! pre-holiday sale!
post-holiday sale! back to school!
summer vacation! labor day! black
friday! president’s day! memorial day
sale! come on in! open twenty four
seven three sixty five all major
holy-days and the lights and the lights
never turn off and it keeps
going and going and going and
going…

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012