Amnistía

i can see the you that lives in your head
eternally folding and mending your bed
i can see you laying and counting the sheep
restless and worried and empty of sleep
i can see you waiting for some kind of spark
lying alone on your bed in the dark
lying alone in the dark on your bed
of course i mean you that lives in your head

i too am someone who lives in my skull
with cupboards of china awaiting the bull
and when the bull comes the whole damn thing rattles
in grey panorama it battles and battles
in Guernica in restless in blood on the floor
but it’s the silence come after i truly abhor
i traipse through the shards on my bare swollen feet
and the me in my head hides under my sheets
and lying alone in the dark in my bed
i think of the you that lives in your head

and maybe one day i will open my door
and throw on my rucksack and go to explore
the great range of skulls that make up a range
of mountains with faces so real and so strange
their eyes always blinking and sleeping at night
and while i meander these mountains i might
look in your eyes and see all the magic
that seeps through like beauty seeps through all the tragic
i might find a door at the cusp of your eyes
and crawl through your pupil to find you surprised
that someone has entered the room in your head
and i’ll lay down beside you on your newly made bed
and i’ll kiss you and love you and we’ll fall asleep fast
and i’ll tell you the distance i’ve traveled is vast
i’ll tell you my stories of bulls and the war
and the light shining brightly through the cracks in your door
and the sound of surrender and the breath of the dead
because i see the you that lives in your head

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2017

LOVE POEM FOR A WEDDING

and how the lights will turn around on you
and in shining procession do they fall
in the spring the blooming eyes of custom
winter raises spirits until its call

crystal glasses clinking almost shatter.
they do. she says it so you hear her words
ringing to the back. a car parked at her
request outside. cans hang down to the curb.

liquor pours forever or so it seems.
the night proceeds and proceeds into haze
and sweet surrender and unspoken dreams
so goes the night. so goes the coming days.

watch the sincere glimmer through all your rites
and keep another on those shining lights

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

CALIFORNIA KING

he carved a trench in south broadway
with the simple two step of his left hand brain
shoesoles grinding into the worms and dirt
the dirty ground drizzled with blunt wraps

he tried to solve the puzzle of strange love
that two backed beast which was sometimes a love
and sometimes not flipped over on its white belly

a canary with whooping cough
carrying out flat broke melodies
in the coal mine of his head

birds perched on the sides of brick buildings watched
their short term memories mistaking the lurch
of his pending heartbreak as déjà vu

the trench dug deeper
up to his neck in undelivered love notes
written in braille for the girl with no arms

then the rain came
ten million tiny fists falling then pixelating
ten million drops of water:
the polar opposite of a candlelight vigil
and the rain swept through like a political revolution
here then gone

the polar opposite of wedding vows

cold war on opposite ends of a stage the size of a california king mattress

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

THE GLASS MAN

his skin was made of glass. most stunning of all was his heartbeat in full display systolic diastolic every time blood rushed through his veins. his lungs too, expanding like wings. but so gently did he try to step wherever he went. one thousand onlookers unflinching locking eyes on what they did not know nor understand. when he stepped on the sidewalk the ground clacked like his heel and the concrete were trying to make a fire.

skin is not see through. in each and every person there is an entire intimate ecosystem that is rarely glanced upon. no one knows the churning of your gut. no one sees when you swallow your words and they river down into the pit of your stomach.

of course the man who was made of glass was out in the open. sometimes he would stand at a busy intersection, glass top hat before him, still and steady, just letting the world look on at his public secret. he stared blankly into the sky as children and adults examined him as if he was a museum. as if he was no more than an exhibit tossed out in urbania, here for all to see.

he could not hide, and one day it became too much and he smashed his hand crashing into a brick wall. where once there was delicate glass fingers there was now sharp scattered shards. it’s amazing how quickly fragility can turn to fear.

and the world looked onward still. and the glass man one day decided to never again be shaken up. to not be afraid to show his organs in their fierceness, but to learn to control them. so steady the rhythm of his lungs. he took deep breaths. and his heart for the muscle it was grew larger and larger. all in the eye of the world around him.

when he died, it was an open casket funeral. a still life painting of a life lived thrown out into the open. and as they closed the casket, the glass man became like the rest of us. remembered for those moments where the world was allowed to see right through to the soul of you.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

CAREFUL PATIENT MINDFUL

never have two strangers known each other so well
sitting side by side careful not to cross the crack in the cushions
but every random glance carried the weight of everything
everything there ever was between us and eventually my fingertips
abandoned their post in this armistice to commune with yours
interlaced and quiet they rested like lovers sharing a twin-sized bed
i and you we found ourselves stumbling right back to the page
that we had dogeared the shit out of

this poem is worth its weight in paper
but what comes with it is one thousand ounces of time
dropped from a dropper onto the paths we cross
not always together but never without the other one
and where we’ll end up i do not know but i do know
that these liquid ounces of time will form a mandala
careful patient and mindful that love isn’t this thing
that you take a bite out of and you’ve got it with you always

you’ve gotta keep chewing
through the sweet there is sour and seeds and
moments of pure confusion where you find yourself
in a half empty bed and the wind is too warm
and sleepless and bruised you wander through the halls
you sonder at the dreams you’ve had since you were a child

but if you keep chewing through that
then you’ve got it
you’ve got four lips two each smashed in passion
wandering the edge of another person
delicately traveling through the stories
that never come out in words

in this world you may never be without
there is always fireflies to be caught in jars
but when their bulbs burst like old cameras
when the stars disappear down the broken drain

there in the dark
careful patient and mindful
is love.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

SHOESTRINGS

we were two sets of shoestrings tied tightly to the line
interwoven entangled by our umbilical cords
we reached our arms out like limbs and dug deep into the roots of one another
and now as the swaying steadies we find ourselves still
hung up above rooftops and the sounds of distant urban traffic

we expected the spark
what we weren’t ready for was the fire
the blaze of flames across our spinal columns
and now we fall like dominoes
my single finger the instigator of the assembly line rumble
the clacking of stone minds and granite hearts
and here we are

i walk home from school and carry my own books
reviewing the lessons of the day, replay classroom movies in my head
untuck the middle school love notes from my pocket
and correct the scribbled lines of lust in the margins
for grammar and punctuality

the timing’s all wrong

it’s like a silent rom com in reverse

i pull down my pants and then hand you a flower

i do have something to say

despite the ten thousand pounds of rubble that my tongue laid out before us
buried beneath is an entire civilization of love that i’ve been slowly rebuilding
dirty hand by dirty hand i present each slab of lumber side by side
to create a foundation worthy of the love that i don’t yet know i deserve

and the house isn’t finished, there’s no running water
and i made the mistake of building it in a neighborhood where kids
throws shoes tied tight together up over the powerline
but before the mad inevitable hurricane comes barging in like a battery ram
breaking down the door i’ve assemble to separate the outside world
from the inside of our hearts clacking like wooden chimes in the wind
my hope is these floors i put down can serve as a proper dance floor
for two sets of shoestrings tied tightly to the line
an ode to the miles they walked to get to this one strange awkward moment

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

SATURN’S RETURN

they say that saturn completes an orbit every twenty seven years.
for twenty seven years it travels its usual course only to find by the time
it reaches the end of its journey that it is in the same place it began.

funny, isn’t it? we work so hard to disillusion ourselves that the things
we struggle with are not part of who we are. we stack layer after layer
of armor on frail bodies and we tell ourselves we’re protected when
the truth is we are really now just unable to move.

this is me shedding off each and every layer that i ever put on.

layer #1:
i’m the new kid in my fifth grade class and all the girls have a crush
on me. i can barely break through my shy to raise my hand let alone
acknowledge the notes slid beneath palms and the smiles across
flat wooden desks. here i am now twenty seven and single. some days
i see myself as a singular experimental vessel thrown into this sociological
experiment called humanity in the twenty first century. other days i vomit
letters just to remind myself that i can still do anything with this giant
pile of unstamped love letters i’ve acccumulated in the pit of my stomach.

layer #2:
i begin middle school and i draw on the white board a graph demonstrating
the decline of grades over time. running parallel is a second line showing
the correlation between grades and the ego i built as a young kid around
them. halfway through this graph the lack of focus kicks in and i’m thinking
about the career test i took that told me i’m a good fit for retail management.

layer #3:
i push through high school and i find myself attending metro state seeking
a degree in depression and appropriate places to take a nap. each day i wake
up, brush my teeth, get ready, take the car to the light rail, take the light rail
to school just to push myself further from the door of my missed class. music
is there for me, but after enough time it’s less like a blanket and more like
a burlap sack wherein i beat myself with sticks for the person i was the day
before and the day before that.

layer #4:
i’m writing eight hundred poems a day about nothing and i’m calling out of
my job that i hate. i’m smoking weed but less in a cool this helps me to relax
kind of way and more in a wow it’s really easy to refuse any accountability for
my own life kind of way. i blink and i’m sitting in my boss’ office and he’s
asking me if i even care about my job.

it’s in this moment that i realize it’s not that i failed.

it’s in this moment that i realize that i just have never attempted not to.

the next day i plant a seed. i water that seed and provide sunshine and
nutrients. i sit patiently and sober with myself and wait until through the
ground grows a tree. i cut down the tree and i build myself a home. i fill
that home with freedom and beauty, and with truth and love. i open the
windows and i let the light in. the light is bright at first. it burns my eyes
and i find myself dropping salty tears warping the wood below my feet.
i leave the door open. i let in the ghosts of my past and they help me to
arrange the furniture of my existence. i paint the walls in the shades of
my emotions. i give the extra paint to my neighbor. i create a neighborhood.
i create a community. i realize that i am not alone and that i’ve never
been alone. my house is warm from the warmth of the people that fill it. slowly
i strip every layer that i ever put on until i stand naked at the center of my
everything. and there in that moment i wait for applause but there is no
applause to be had. the ghosts all have disappeared. my friends and family all
trudged through the rain to their own houses. i find myself alone again but
i am not afraid. it’s so quiet that i hear my heart beat for the first time in
my life. i can feel each persistent push of chaos through my veins delivering
meaning to my lungs, my mind, the tips of my fingers.

i walk out into the cold rain. it stings but each droplet is like an old friend
tapping me on the shoulder. i turn around to them and there behind me is
every moment of pain that preceded a shining moment of ecstasy. i find
myself in observatory park and there in the center of all the trees is an
observatory. i enter in and it feels like a church. i peer through the telescope
and after searching the sky for twenty seven years i see it there before me. saturn.
returned from its dance across the cosmos. saturn speaks to me. she tells me
all the things i’m not. she asks me what i want to be and i say to her that i
don’t want to be anything. but there are so many things that are already alive
inside of me. so many love letters i’ve yet to write. she kisses me with her
light.

i have so many love letters left to write, but this one is to myself.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

A STRANGE PHENOMENON

it was a strange phenomenon. the way that
your insecurity ate away at your sweater
like moths. each second a little more of
your soft curves revealed beneath the
material war being sieged around your
looming aura. your fingertips lost in
brushstroke against the walls of a dying
dream. you were an entire ecosystem.
creating while you destroyed. earth
rattled around your apple core while
you projected angel dust onto an
unsuspecting audience of time and
space and there you were moving
through the compartmentalized
rooms of my lungs like the smoke of
sage through a haunted house.

blink
and there we were four hands gripping
the reckless drunk wheel of death
and speaking tip of tongue to tip of
tongue. speaking amphetamine binge
of life to sweet holy surrender to
honesty. speaking i.v. drip to punctured
vein. speaking holy new gold moment
to fourteen reincarnations of stars come
to fruition in sparks. flying drawn together
but at the very last moment lost. to a wall.
so blatantly before us the whole time. and
so we learned how to dance in the blind
dark.

and some glowing sun rose over the
graveyard where we buried our tension. i
tossed and turned without a blanket and
underground until this flood of light lifted
my one million bones to the surface where
i found two choices. and i took one maybe
even older than us. maybe even older than
this soil these musical notes that ramble
incessantly now in my head. that is the one
i took.

and you disappeared like a ghost into
a fire and i consumed by another life and the
fire you went to wrap around your life was red
satin and when it was too late i unwrapped
you and you twirled and you twirled and you
were down to bare skin and you twirled and
you twirled and you were down to brittle bone
and you twirled and you twirled and what
i saw before me was nothing but the empty
space that created this strange phenomenon.

so now i set out on a sea of trouble unable to
rationalize this idea of love not believing in
love. of a doctor not believing in medicine. of
a dancer that doesn’t trust the body. a painter
that cannot see the color in the dead canvas.
of a portrait of love stuck in still life. unable
to see itself. or see at all. or see at all. a strange
phenomenon. a blindness from refusing to
ever stare into the sun.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

I’VE DRAWN YOU MAYBE FIFTEEN HUNDRED TIMES NOW

i’ve drawn you maybe fifteen hundred times now

i’ve drawn you naked
resting in the sandpaper palm
of my open hand

i’ve drawn you riddled with bullets
licking blood from your lips

i’ve sat and i’ve sketched
every singular ounce of your curves
onto the sistine chapel ceiling
of my unholy skull

every fogged breath against
the window pane of my cornea
every scratch against my retinal walls

i’ve drawn you like a pair of scissors
drawn out then back together
sharp blades dancing against the friction
of one another

i’ve drawn you like the paper that they cut

i’ve drawn you like snow
falling onto cardboard boxes in some back alley
that doesn’t exist

i’ve drawn you like time
abstract and mechanically lost
graphite swirls extending across paper edges
onto tables like dust

i’ve drawn the forest
that runs through the spaces between my bones
and i’ve drawn the fires
that you ignite across my dried tinder
across my fallen leaves
the smoke that billows and fills the pages

i’ve drawn the tiger pacing the cage
the pendulum swinging across the body

i’ve drawn all the saints in heaven
all the angels arranged in chorus in rows
yellow suns blaring from their horns

i’ve drawn you in the dark
silent predator unseen but present
a constant reminder

i’ve drawn you in hoodie and leggings
i’ve drawn you in leather and lace
in time and space

i’ve drawn you tall like gods
like the chrysler building
like bodies falling to the ground

i’ve drawn you every which way i know how
upside down rightside up inside out
guts splayed widening across empty space
like the expansion of zero gravity

i’ve drawn you as an alien planet
one million clones in militant rows
saluting the flag of my heart

my wrist is breaking
bones grinding down from the ineffable pressure
of you

there has been nothing
that has left me feeling quite like this
a poet lost for words
forced to draw
and maybe shoot

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015