A BREAK-UP LETTER TO AMERICA

dear America,

you are everything I’ve ever known
and that’s the problem.

i feel
saturated by you
consumed by you
i feel as though
you’ve branded your name
on my ass.

you’re blurring
my vision.

you
are gorgeous.
really you are.
your desert dry skin.
your baltimore scars.
the way you refuse
to let me be on top
but you are the crazy girl
you don’t know how to say no
to anything
especially yourself
and especially me.

it’s weird
the way you tell me
about your unhealthy lifestyle
and that you don’t care
that you’re happy this way
that life is all about
doing what you want to do.

America
it scares me how good you are
at firing a gun.

America
it’s funny the way you pretend
to dig through your purse
for your money
when the check comes at dinner.

i don’t think you realize
i am enamoured by you
really i am
it’s been years and years
and i am still in lust with you
thick lust
deep lust
the kind of lust
that i don’t even know
if love is buried beneath it.

i’ll never forget
that little box in your room
where you keep those vintage photographs
of native Americans
and old money
and your rosary.

it seemed to me
that every night before you went to bed
you’d apologize endlessly
for your sins that you still
just keep on committing.
am i in love with you
because you make me feel
like a better person by comparison?

i don’t know
if i can continue to be with you.

remember the ferris wheel
at coney island?
we passed cotton candy
between each other’s mouths
like we were forcing our opinions
down each other’s throats.
remember the way we felt
when we walked through ellis island?
we were so small all of a sudden.
we were so lost in the same dream
together.

do you remember
watching the fireworks
because we were too impatient
to wait for the bombs?
do you remember the time
we got drunk in Vietnam
and Afghanistan and Iraq?

is that all we do together?
get drunk
get into fights
and get kicked out of bars?
you never pay your tab
you just leave your card
and cancel it the next day.

do you realize, America,
that i have a box of i.o.u.’s
from you?

do you realize, America,
that you called Joe Frazier
the n word when he wasn’t in the ring
and a God
when he had your flag on his shoulders?

do you realize, America,
that i’m only with you
until i find someone new
if there is anyone new?

i can’t do this anymore.
we just sit on your dirty apartment floor
and watch the roaches crawl around
on the television.
we’ve got too many shows recorded
and not enough hours in the day
to watch them all.

you’re exhausting, America.

you’re annoying, America.

you’re sexy as hell, America.

you know how to drive
a corvette through the mountains
at ninety miles per hour
with your red high heel
pressed against the accelerator
and lana del rey
playing from the tip of your cigarette
and into the radio.

you drive a stick shift
like manifest destiny.

your sirens
are red white and blue.
your arenas
are the size of God’s pockets.

your phone
is dead half the time.
i’m writing this letter to you
because i’m afraid
that if i break up with you in person
you’ll threaten
to kill yourself.

your videos
are viral, America.

your impressionable little sister
dresses just like you.
i remembered when i realized
i don’t love you anymore.

we were sitting on a swing
on your front porch
in alabama
and you were singing
but all i could hear
was lies in your words
the gospel was gone
the folk wind had been
knocked out of you.

i need to make something clear.
breaking up with you
might be the hardest thing
i’ve ever have to do.
i love you to death.
i crossed out mom’s name
on the heart tattoo
on my bicep
and put yours in its place.

you kiss me
like we’re on a hill
in the fifties
with the top down
king and queen
of suburbia
teenagers
with chewing gum
and a yawn
that is just an excuse
for me to put my arm
on your shoulder.

you’ve taught me
how to dream,
America
but we always see
the horror movies
in theaters
and they give me
nightmares.

night terrors
of los angeles riots
and sandusky
and columbine
and politicians
snorting coke
laughing
like hyenas
i wake up
in sweats.

and it’s strange
because then you comfort me
you wipe my forehead off
with the bill of rights
and you sing to me
“oh lord
won’t you buy me
a mercedes benz.”
and you’ve got
just the right amount
of makeup on your face
and i can see driving through
nowhere between western cities
in the black of your eyes
i can see me smiling
with a quarter tank of gas
hoping i make it to salida
before i run out of
fuel.

i can see gasoline
in the black of your eyes
spread out
over the ocean
like a blaze of glory
like a belligerent night;
like one of our one thousand
belligerent nights.

you smell like
chanel perfume
you shouldn’t
it’s french
but you just do
whatever you want to
don’t you?

you make me smile
like a god damn
happy meal.

what am i saying?
i’m breaking
up with you.
i’m not in love with you
anymore.

yes i am.

oh god
you must think i’m crazy
go ahead
throw me in your white padded room
tell me
what you want me to be
i’ll be
whatever you want me to be
because you have always been
what i wanted you to be.

we all ran away
from home at some point.
some of us made it
to the bus stop down the street.
the light of the world.
but you ran away
and you never looked back
you rode bareback
to the end of it all
to the last frontier
where we met
in San Francisco
because we couldn’t afford
hawaii
and we kissed
sitting down
at the top of lombard street
and you promised me
that you would never forget me
you promised me
that you would try your best.

this is not an easy breakup.
half of my underwear are at your house.
my c.d. collection is tucked beneath your bed.
my trust is buried
in your backyard.

what are we going to do
with our baby?

you’re not going to
try to collect the money
you offered to spend on me
are you?
are you that person,
America?

okay.

okay,
i’m sorry.

pull the trigger.

i’m leaving you,
America.

i want my favorite
t-shirt back.
the one with
the graphic
of bruce springsteen’s
ass in demin jeans
on it.

the one i wore
when we stayed up all night
laying down on your parent’s roof
watching the fireworks
watching the planes fly by
talking about our dreams
and how we had
to keep each other accountable
for them.

i’m leaving you,
America.

probably for a girl
who looks just like
you.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “THAT GOOD OLD-FASHIONED DUBSTEP”

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02.14

0214

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(lovey dovey love love love.)

i love you so much
some nights i just stand outside your window
and watch you sleep
in the middle of winter

i love you so much
i have wired your entire house
just so i can hear every last word you speak
i love you so so much

there ain’t no mountain high enough
ain’t no valley low enough
ain’t no restraining order effect enough
from keeping me from getting to you, baby

i love you so much
that i slashed your car’s tires
just so you’d have to call in to work
and i could continue to watch you
from outside of your window
in the middle of winter

i love you so much
that i replaced all the mirrors in my house
with murals of you
that i made myself
my favorite one
is all of them

i love you so much, baby
that i have our kids name’s picked out already
i think we should name them fred and wilma
because you watch the flinstones alot
i’ve noticed
when i watch you
from outside of your window
in the middle of winter

it doesn’t mean a thing
that we’ve never spoken two words to each other
it doesn’t mean a thing
that your dad has kicked the shit out of me
true love conquers all

i love you so much
that i haven’t worked a normal job
in several months
i’ve been way too busy loving you baby
from outside of your window
in the middle of the night

you remind me of my mother

i love you so much
that i knitted these little sweaters
for all of your cats
all six of your cats
i can’t wait until all six of your cats
are all six of our cats
when do you want to get married?

i love you so much
that all i want for valentine’s day
is for you to lift this restraining order
so that i can knock on your door
and give you this giant teddy bear
and these dozen roses
and this box of chocolates
and this collection of seven thousand poems
that i have written for you
while standing outside of your window
at midnight
in the middle of winter

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.15, THE NEXT ENTRY IN THE 02.2013 PROJECT

02.2013 is a twenty-eight day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE

02.05 (LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET FROM A YOUNG POET)

02.05

 

 

(letters to a young poet from a young poet.)

i’ve heard too many times
“i am not very good at poetry,”
that is like saying
“i am not good at breathing,”
you’re going to do this
whether you want to or not
so you might as well
make your breaths deep
take in the fragrance in the air
along with the carbon monoxide
write your poetry
like a carpenter would make
his own crucifix

if you are uninspired
and you are a poet
it is time
to start sneaking into movie theaters
time to drive your car home in reverse
spend a day trapped inside your home
dressed like emily dickinson
stalking a housefly
attempt to roll uphill

your blood is eighty-five percent water
come to a rolling boil
you were not made to be luke warm
if you are body temperature
you are denying yourself
the chance to be something other than a body

you will write shitty poems
you will have shitty relationships
and shitty jobs with shitty bosses
and sometimes the most precious of poems
gets damaged in a move

you are not a poet
until you type your soul on a screen
and forget to save
but when that computer crashes
you will learn
that some things cannot be taken away from you

there are plenty of people out there
who won’t want to hear your poetry
but you do not speak for them
we all speak to the ears that want to hear
there is a method to the madness
of bees and their flowers

you do not have to share your poems
but document your heart beats
and your heart murmurs alike

sometimes a bad poem
is the prosthetic legs
of a good poem

as far as love
you have to love
loneliness is a bitch
big, big bitch
the fat kid in class
who steals your lunch
because he can’t get full on his
but you have to love
throw yourself into uncomfortable

pad your bed with broken dreams
make strangers less strange
and embrace their stories as your own
because time turns us into alphabet soup
and no one can claim the letters as theirs for long
your mouth carries the fiber of the universe
your dreams form our reality
speak now
or forever hold your peace

write everyday
write with borrowed pens on napkins at diners
and write with scratches on the backs of lovers
tiger stripe God’s car
throw eggs at his driveway
ding dong ditch his front door
leave a flaming bag of dog shit for him to put out
God knows only how to smile
at the precocious little monster you’re being
someday you’ll just be glad you made some memories

a poet is one hell of a hard thing to be
there is no health care, no 401k
no big benefits package
you don’t get sick time
but you will make money off of it
you’ll just be dead by then

the wealth of a poet is measured
in the lint in your pocket
and the gems you’ve placed
in the pocket of the hearts
of those around you

a friend once said to me
the worst thing someone can be to you
is bad poetry
and i believe that to be true
i cannot unhear what i have heard
and you cannot say
what you decided to let be unsaid

take a second
close your eyes
and take in a deep breath
now
before you start turning blue
let it out

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ 02.06, DAY 6 OF THE 28 DAY 02.2013 PROJECT

02.2013 is a thirty day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE

HOW A RAVEN IS LIKE A WRITING DESK

raven writing desk

when asking one’s self
how a raven is like a writing desk
things can get a bit
unnecessarily complex;
it is not hard to see
how a credible
and verifiable answer
may be hard to come by.
in this piece,
i will attempt to answer this question
which really
should have been answered long ago.

the first thing one must do
is to qualify
what exactly defines a raven.
experience points us towards the idea
that ravens are inconsistently
the strangest of businessmen.
note that all ravens crave independence
and a nice warm bowl of soup.
another less common accusation
of the raven kind
is that a multitude of their chamomile
is that which provides
shelter for storm drains
and by association
wormholes in the eternal treetrunk.

this is great and all
but what is the use of such conviction
unless we dive equally as deep
into the trenches of
orange libraries
to ask ourselves
what is a writing desk?
many scholars
have written on this
but in my research
i have found
they rarely remind us
that historically
writing desks
have been predatory creatures;
often confused with old crows
and barkeepers
who say things like
“put the jam beside the marmalade”.
i implore you
to not be ignorant;
to acknowledge
that bishops and angels
both use writing desks
as a source of inspiration
for their dissertations
of the latter subject
and the ladder observations.
writing desks taste of freedom
though the splinters
have been known to clog the drain
and leave a nasty hangover.

and now for the big question:
how are they alike?
it’s been suggested
that poe wrote on both
but i have no time
for absurd claims.
one’s life
is far too short
to get lost in logical nonsense.
we must be men
and stopping being children.
as we discussed earlier
ravens are the genesis of polka
whereas writing desks
symbolize the civil war
and the flamingos
who became martyrs
for its mahogany cause.
which is really the key here:
architecture.
both seem to have
a keen design
a design that suggests
dances with drunk waiters
and orbital malnourishment
which plagues us all the same.
a writing desk is to sweater vests
as a raven is to bubble bath water.
from there
certain jumps in logic
can be established
and we can find ourselves absolved
of the great question
which so long has burdened us all.

in conclusion
though it may be difficult at times
to find a system to something
as absurd as this
i find that these: two things
may be more alike
than we are willing to acknowledge.
the badgers of humanity
have a knack
for refusing to accept
that tolerance and compassion
towards washer machines and
the occasional stomach rumble
leads us to living in a glass onion
where we stop saying
to the top hat cricket on our shoulder
the ways that a raven
is unlike a writing desk
and start to genuflect
on the passing notion
that a raven
and a writing desk
are in factualitization
the exact
same
thing.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “CRICKETS”

Interesting in submitting to Flashlight City Blues?

“A SUMMER CIGAR” BY NICI E. BROWN

Recently, I ran into this poem and thought it was fantastic. I know it’s the middle of winter, but I think maybe that is the best time for a summer cigar.

A Summer Cigar

Glass splits burgundy into facets
through the crystal ball of a wine glass
that has no power to tell the future,
only quiet it down to a numbness.
I have to laugh at the idea
of a ten dollar bottle of wine paired
with a ten dollar cigar.
It takes four matches to light –
What hidden pleasures
will the thick, spicy smoke enhance
in my cheap Malbec?I hear the neighbors cursing at each other,
taking the stress of back-to-back retail jobs
and a janitorial position during graveyards
out on the family they work for,
the bus hydraulics hissing from Meridian,
an immigrant grandmother laughing as she ticks
off hopscotch numbers with her first-generation
grand-daughter in between planting
her soon-to-be blooming annuals in the neat
boxes of her tiny Garden of Eden
in poor East Boston, a pristine space, the only thing
still sandwiched between calamity and the sea.

Smoke curls from my lips
to cast about into the breeze.
I have to keep pace with the cigar
and carefully note the wind’s strength.
If I smoke too little
the flame will go out.
Sometimes I think we could break with the intensity
that’s in the beauty of a single moment in our own skins
but the taste is fleeting,
quick to be scattered away.

Life only deals out
happiness fractured into fragments
here and there, from time to time.
For some reason, I always reach
for the same happiness recipe
though I never have the same ingredients.
You’ve got to learn to cook what’s in your kitchen.

It’s been a long winter, so
get drunk on summer, and spin
what love you can from the warm air.

When the cigar burns down,
the closer [it] gets to my lips, the
sparser my breaths become, or
it’ll burn too hot.

READ MORE POEMS BY NICI E. BROWN

READ “A GIRL NAMED AMERICA” BY ME, BRICE MAIURRO

Interested in having a poem featured? Email me at bricemaiurro@gmail.com. Please just one submission at a time, until I get back to you.

A POEM’S APOLOGY

i’m sorry i’m not a cartoon show.
i’m sorry i’m not a greatest hits CD.
i’m sorry i’m not a dubstep remix of the national anthem.
i’m sorry i’m not a virtual striptease.
i’m sorry i’m not a plastic book about vampires.
i’m sorry i’m not a scripted reality TV show.
i’m sorry i’m not a live bluegrass performance.
i’m sorry i’m not a wet t-shirt contest.
i’m sorry i’m not a commercial for tampons.
i’m sorry i’m not a stand-up comedy routine or a dueling
piano bar or a beat boxer or a heartwarming
bible about chicken soup or a legal document or a closing
statement or a viral youtube video or a first-person-shooter
game or a broadway musical or a circus with clowns and
juggling bears and tamed tigers and the mustachioed
ringmaster,

but i am not sorry that i am a poem.
i am not sorry i am a penguin
looking for my true love penguin
to give her
this
one
pebble.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “ON THE FIRES IN COLORADO”

MARCH 12TH

and here i am
burning fossil fuels in the pitch black
something
carving through the rockies
meandering down I70 like a punch-
drunk fool.

tonight, my love!
i kiss you
goodbye.
your trees are green
with envy
but i
have got to
confirm

that there is a world
past your western
slope.

i am slipping
through the cracks
in a black soul.

and this black soul of mine
seems
nervous;
a puppy, with its
tail between its
legs.

breckenridge burns to the ground
in my rear-view.
and my rear-view mirror
frames flashlight city
chasing after me
but this storm
can’t be caught.

this vehicle
is in motion.

i want my eyes to be
panoramic.
i want my limbs to
stretch history.
i need to know what my feet
feel like
in utah.
i have to breathe in the grand canyon’s
sighs
and the artificial air of vegas
casinos.

i am not retracing anyone’s footsteps.

and i am
not
tracing my
shape
into someone else’s
shadow.

i am disappearing.

i want to know
how it feels
to be in a ghost town.
i want to know how it feels
to be
a ghost town.

(may america lend me the disorient-
ation of not having the mountains to show me
which way west is.)

i need to talk to strangers
uncomfortably
and wake up
hungover
in the afterbirth of the womb
of the west.

i am not trying to erase
christianity.
i am trying to
talk to god
first-hand.

i want to see god’s face
without
any makeup on.

i want to hear that
voice:
mountain whistles
slot machine jingles
tumbleweed scratches
bob dylan’s harmonica

i know god exists.
i just want to meet him in
unexpected
places.

please…
sweetheart
try to understand.
i will
boomerang back to you-
don’t take it personally that
i shoot through your veins at
eightyfivemilesperhour
it’s not in your nature to be so
low.
and tonight!
in the darkest of dark

we can be whatever we want to be.

i’m letting my gut
blindfold my mind
throw ’em in the trunk
and drive
us all
into
oblivion.

the road there is lit
solely by mountain stars
close enough to grab
between the boulders
and the neon stripper signs
i am sway-
ing like a crane game.

on the road
i am finally home

on the road
i am charming
and good company

on the road
i am as confused and conflicted and beautiful as
america

it’s march 12th
(happy birthday, jack kerouac)

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

READ “SOAP OPERA OF VAMPIRES”

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