Ambulance Song

i am hungry and restless and full of fire

the trees outside are dead
not seasonally dead
they are chopped down
the trees outside are brick houses
and grumpy people at a bus station
and ten million ambulances

there are so many ambulances that come down lincoln avenue
so many heart attacks and strokes and so many states of emergency

i’ve learned to sleep to the sound of them
to close my eyes during never ending catastrophe
cuddling up with a baseball bat

because the ambulances just keep dancing down the line
like some weird concrete form of synchronized swimming
the most efficient and expensive taxi cab you’ll ever take

it’s fascinating to think that i might ride in a hearse someday
and never know

or maybe i’ll be elsewhere
picking apples off the heaven tree
stealing third base with Eve
in the shade

and peeping down through the marshmallow heaven clouds
i’ll say hey – i’m riding in a hearse
and i’ll say hey – now these fuckers care about poetry
i’ll say hey i never said that! i didn’t even like that guy

because everyone is best buddies with a dead poet they knew
everyone is thick as thieves with the man in the casket

i do have to say it’s worth it
this life
if only for these moments
a grilled cheese sandwich
a first orgasm
sleeping in when you’re a bitter shithead adult
and pissy at your inability to live the life you want

you could drown in it
you could down it like whiskey every day

life is a love song for the hedonist
death is a parade for the realist

margarine is butter for people who think death isn’t real
a grilled cheese made with margarine is like a sad handjob

i’m euphoric for the opportunity to live each day
i am blessed and kind to be in this dream
the protagonist scrolling across this 4k television
i will live hard and eat the things placed before me
but you bet your ass i will burn the fat off my heart
i am holy and desperate and full of moonlight
i am hungry and restless and full of fire

i couldn’t sleep for shit last night
i just tossed and turned

i closed my eyes and died in psychedelic bursts of raging color
like spirits in the river styx reaching out their decaying hands
death is the final revolution and most definitely not televised
i closed my eyes and saw a ballerina dancing on a lake of fire
she floated across the flaming pond but did not succumb to it
bulletproof to the heat she moved in rhythmic time to a song
to a song that i could not hear for it was not my song to hear
she heardĀ something i did not know

i couldn’t sleep for shit last night
i just tossed and turned

and caught up in headache i pulled out the old timey calculator
and i tallied up my problems one at a time cross-categorized
and i dug in to see what the algorithm was numbers floating
strange algebra and cosines and lines of best fit floating through
the air i realized i had a metric shit ton of problems and then i
counted my blessings

and i got too caught up in the poetry of my blessings
to care about the math of my problems

i couldn’t sleep for shit last night
i just tossed and turned
i guess i’ll sleep when i’m dead

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2017

Want to help support a poet? Visit my Patreon Page.

ELEGY

and i walk through the graveyard with flowers in my hand
beneath a stormy sky grey with indifference
until i get to the grave where i buried our love
and i bow down at the tombstone and i lay down the flowers
and i look up to the sky uncracked even by the dead trees

there is a great silence to letting go of something that wasn’t terrible
there is a still lake hidden through the brush of the forest
and beneath that lake there isĀ an entire climate breeding below
fishes swimming aimlessly and dead bodies turning into water
but still the lake is still

i can still see your face light up as i pushed through the crowd to you
i can still feel your warmth sleeping beside me
i can remember us mad and laughing beneath the buildings in Denver
and the songs

i will never forget the songs
they run through my head like wild horses on a carousel
each word relevant to the way that we were
each musical note a leaf stripped away from its embrace of its tree
swaying back and forth like dance steps as it falls to the ground
we swayed back and forth like dance steps as we fell to the ground
the eyes on eyes, the nails on skin, the fingers ran through hair
the moments of ecstasy hidden away from any kind of audience
away from cameras, never spoken from mouths, away from even poems
stuck now like record skips in the phonograph of my mind

we were constellations colliding in a meteor shower
and the blow from our crash was enough to light the cosmos
life born, children running rampant around the universe, and then
fading out like the end of a requiem

and you are not gone, not to me, tall heart
your electricity still runs up and down my spine
your blood still takes hostage my body
but i dug a hole in the ground
and i suppose i must lay in it

six feet of dirt above my head
i laid long nights beside you for an eternal minute
now i must lie without you through a frigid winter
my hands my own shovels
i bury myself with the same tools i used
to bury our love

i will miss you as much as i wanted you
i wish you to find the happy your heart hunts
i wander through the halls of my own heart now

but you and i
we will grow from separate graves like flowers
to bloom, you, red and radiating
me, blue and slithering like vines
and the world will cut us up from our roots
tie us up in string and call us a gift

someone will hold you in their arms
and walk you down an alley beneath stained glass windows
or maybe through a graveyard to place you on someone else’s grave
beneath a clear sky white with pure honesty
to sleep with them forever

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

DEAD RABBIT

i found a dead rabbit
in the backyard of my soul

i took a minute to take it in
the sun beating down on the animal
surrounded by flies

and when that too passed
i took a spade and carved a space for it
in the ground

i gave it a funeral
where i remembered its rabbit life:

running across suburban roads
digging underground tunnels
i reminisced about its rabbit lovers
and its abandoned children

and then i put it into the ground
covered it with the earth
and it was gone

i thought about the worms in the ground
feeding on its protein
i thought about how it would decay
and eventually disappear
as would the worms as well
as would my very thought of it
and this funeral
and this notion that my soul is safe from death
when the truth is i am always burying rabbits
in the backyard of my soul
and at night i lay on that familiar patch of dirt
and i count the stars that i will never have to bury

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

FUNERAL

let’s see where do we start
the wooden walls take in the cigarette smoke
you can’t see shit
someone’s playing broken piano on the creaky stage
but you can make out the face
just the silhouette of a man in a hat
there’s flies buzzing in and around the swinging lightbulbs
the barkeep is mopping the floors up with beer
the backdoor is open
you can hear drunken demons laughing in the alley
but as far as you know
you’ve got the bar all to yourself
you and your well whiskey
you and the weight of every one of your years
and you can’t face it you don’t want to face it
but every single failure every single success
has lead you to this hard seat beneath the moon
that can’t shine so harsh on you from inside of the bar
the barkeep wipes down the glasses
the barkeep washes his hands incessantly
and you just keep testing your liver
the smoke goes blurry
you see a face that you don’t want to remember
you feel her hair in your hands
you’re up and dancing alone
in the middle of the smoke filled bar
your eyes are as red as revolution
your bones are as dry as dust
the lights are swinging and so are you
you’re throwing punches at your own damn face
and it’s last call and tom waits and more well whiskey
and the lovely women of the world are everywhere but here
and you forget your name
and you laugh in the bathroom mirror
and you rub your eyes and don’t recognize the face
unshaven unclean unwell unsober unforgiven
you rub your eyes and you don’t recognize the face
and you’re staring at the flickering halogen lights
on the bathroom floor as the water runs over
and you’re every drunk american piano song
and you’re a modern day john the baptist
and this is gonna sting in the morning
if the morning ever comes
but you’re fading to black end credits
exit music for a film
the white names scroll across the black screen
and then nothing
you’re stuck with nothing
and you better get the hell up
and do something about it
there’s a time to mourn your death
but you better get the hell up before last call

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “TO MARLA”

I WANT TO GET FAT AND GRUMPY WITH YOU

i want to get
fat
and grumpy
with you

i want to
eat ice cream
from the tub
as we
sit together
in our tiny home
watching twin peaks
together
on the couch
and you’ll have to
explain the
whole damn thing to me
because
i’ll be old
and i won’t know
really what the hell
is going on

i’ll make us cookies
but they’ll probably be
burnt
and taste like cigarette
smoke but you’ll eat them
and when we’re done
with the television
we’ll walk around the neighbor
hood and talk about whose funerals
we’ll have to go to this week
and we’ll walk in silence too
and i’ll love you
you know that
i’ll always love you
even when i’m fat and grumpy
and can’t remember shit

i’ll drive us down the road
at twenty-five miles per hour
on a forty-five mile per hour road
and we’ll listen to bob dylan
like it’s bobby darin
and i’ll hold your dried-up hand
in my dried-up hand
but i’ll probably have a stick shift
because i’m planning on being
a stubborn old man like that
but you’ll smile
and i’ll smile
and we’ll smile
and death will be napping in the back seat
with the air conditioning blowing on him

i’ll tell you i love you
and you’ll say what, i didn’t hear you
and i’ll say nevermind
because nevermind you know i do
because i told you a long time ago
that i wanted to get fat and grumpy with
you

and the grandkids will come over
and we’ll bore them out of their minds
with our great stories with huge gaps
in the middle of them where our memories skip
like old records
and they’ll be thinking about their ipads
and their yolos but we’ll make them
hear our love stories
where i’ll make up a bunch of bullshit
because the details will be long gone
but the feeling sure as hell won’t be
and i’ll cook them meatloaf dinner
and you’ll teach them how to play
checkers and i’ll look at your beautiful face
and try to recall what i did
to give you each and every one of your
lovely wrinkles
and your eyes will be no less bright
no less beautiful
and they say women don’t age well
but that’s bullshit
you’re beautiful
you’ll always be beautiful
even when you’re fat and grumpy
and teaching the grandkids checkers

we’ll go to flea markets
and barter the cost of a new toaster oven
and we’ll go to movies at ten in the morning
and we’ll laugh at the funerals
we’ll smile at the funerals
because we’ve been to so many
one for your old pal chuck
and one for my old pal douglas
and we’ll drive hand-in-hand down the road
and into the mouth of the great black something
and if it swallows us whole
or if it chews us up
it doesn’t matter much to me
because i won’t remember much
except that you were the one
that i wanted to get fat and grumpy with
and that was nice

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014

READ “THE CITY AND THE MOUNTAIN”

I DON’T KNOW

be the savior of my religion
be the hand beneath my pillow
be the paperweight on my papers in the wind
be the kiss that beats my alarm clock

i’ll be the dust on your stage
i’ll be the canary to your coal mine
i’ll be the detour to your house
i’ll be the fire to your attic

we’ll be until we can’t
we’ll move like wind ahead of hurricanes
we’ll dance like we’re drunk
in my parent’s basement

then you’ll be the ghost under my stairs
then you’ll be beneath my flowers and my letters
then you’ll be the flowers that rise to your grave
then you’ll be cumulonimbic swan songs

then i’ll be with you amongst the madness
then i’ll be swimming beside you like two halves
of a pair of scissors piercing through paper chaos
then i’ll remember the way we felt

i’ll remember the way we felt

then i don’t know
i don’t know
i don’t know
i don’t know

we’ll make it up as we go along.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “THE WALL AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE”

THE WALL AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE

there is a wall at the universe
where shit heads graffiti their names on the side
street kids hide little bags of drugs behind the bricks
and you and i just sat there
our backs pressed against it

“what’s beyond that wall?”
you asked me
and i told you
“that’s the whole thing.
it’s the wall at the end of the universe.
there is nothing beyond it.”

“nothing is something.”
you said.
i wanted to kiss you.
you were wearing that lipgloss
that tasted like cherries
or strawberries
or some delicious fruit
and when my lips are done
sliding off the synthetic taste
all i’m left with is you.

you and me.
sitting against the wall
at the end of the universe.
the one that doctor gonzo
drove his great shark over.
the one that syd barrett
crashed into
like the comedown
from the astral plane.
this is where we are.

“have you ever wanted
to look over the wall?”
you asked.
“hell no,” i said.
“that’s just

that’s just too much for me.”
“how can you not want to look?”
“to be honest,”
i said,
“i’m slightly disinterested.”

“i’m going to look.”
you said,
and i thought that too
was an honorable choice
so i lifted you up onto my shoulders
and you looked out
into the great beyond
where i imagine
there are no red planets
or white giants
or starbucks across the street from
starbucks
and i asked you what you could see
and you said

“i don’t know how to describe it.”
and i said
“well try…”
and you said
“i can’t even really see anything
i just feel
deep inside of me
this haunting faith
that there is something beyond
this wall.”

“who made this wall?”
i asked
and you said
you didn’t know
and you came back down
from off my shoulders
and you looked into my eyes
and you said
“huh…”
and i said
“what…”
and you said
“nothing.”

there was a pause.
the crickets held their bows
and waited for our cue
to continue.

“i’m gonna throw a brick
over the wall!”
i said.
and you said
“you are such a guy.”
and i said

“i have to know.
i have to know if i can
break down the walls of perception.
what if someone
just put this wall up
to make themselves feel better?
maybe they were afraid of
infinity?”

“afraid of infinity?
do you know how you sound?”

“i’m serious!”
i said.
“why else do we build walls?
because we’re afraid of
not understanding
what is on the other side.”

“or we’re trying to keep
something
out.”
you said.
applying more lip gloss.
“or
maybe,”
you said,
“they were a romantic…”

“what is more romantic
than the idea
that everything continues
forever,”

“i’ll tell you what,”
you said,
“the idea
that you and i
on some cold colorado night
could pack a picnic
and go sit
at the wall at the end of the universe
and accept that we did it.
that together, we made it.
we all want to be pioneers.
we all want to feel that what we found
is the ultimate.
we are nationalistic
to the nation of ourselves
and our loved ones.
that is why we are here.
that is why you and i ended up here
at the wall at the end of the world
so we could pretend our love
is romeo and juliet
that our love
is the love story that they will tell
to our children
and our children’s children.
that our love
is the ultimate.
that is why we build walls.
windows and doors and walls
these are things we’ve created
because it is part
of our idea of home.”

“i don’t need walls
to feel like i’m home with
you.” i said.
and your eyes glimmered
and i saw in them
what i think you must have seen
when you looked over
the wall
at the end
of the universe.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “WHITE SMOKE”

THE HANDS THAT REACH FOR WINTER

the hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the hands that reach for winter
the nights that reach for pain
the guns that reach for murder
the fire burns the same

the beds that burn for lovers
the streets that turn like time
the art of stabbing in the back
the acidity of lime

the words that clasp like thunder
the planes that land unharmed
every righteous number
that we shoot into our arms

the man from california
the woman from d.c.
every foreign victim
from sea to shining sea

comforter of angels
chancellor of drugs
loving heart of death now
now the death of love

brilliant manifesto
child in the gutter
orphan military
absent-minded mothers

the sermon on the mount
the dusting of the crops
the clicking of the gears
the roller coaster drops

we fall
and we fall
and we fall
some more

we dig our graves
and dance with death

we talk like
virgins

we walk like
whores

we eat
until
there’s nothing left.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “HAIKU #1”

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, COLORADO

you’re off in japan
with the giant cartoons and constant workflow
lost in the hustle and bustle of lines and railways
clinking bells and chaos noise symphonic

you’re off in san francisco
in a slanted city dizzy from the bicycles
burning through the silly traffic
stuck beside the bay
in a tower in chinatown where you drink
mai tais and study the gentrification of
dust below

you’re off in south south america
dancing on the edge of cape horn
hand in hand with a lover
your mind partially above frozen water
but so much more of your epileptic majesty
buried beneath
your hands reach for the south pole
as mine just reach out for you

you are lost amongst the redwoods
mourning the coming death of your loved one
you sit naked beside giants and you paint
with your fingers on the canvas in your lap
the trees don’t end until they get to heaven
you share the trees with heaven

you, stranger, are stuck in the madness of bangkok
the banging of pots and pans
guns, girls and ganja
massive heart attack motorcycle smog lady boy
mad mad madness
in transit from the sanity in your head
homeless and happy and we were so close to something

you are off in the void
the space between nothing and everything
the space between death and faith
fistful of pills
skull cracked against the bathroom tile
your book is still in the back of my car
we never finished our poem

you are out in the ether of the cosmos
you are dancing on trains with strange strangers
and cursing the dice that don’t roll sevens
it’s half past nine and you’re half past eleven
it’s pointless to try to write you

you are off somewhere strange
but you are still adamantly here in my heart
in my chest
in arapahoe county, colorado

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “DRIVING DOWN ORCHARD ROAD”