FLAT PLANET

I am wearing a tuxedo and listening to Boards of Canada in my bathtub. I have set my television on top of the toilet seat and unplugged my electric razor to free an outlet to plug it in. I tune the television set over to a news station and The President’s face flashes before me. The television still on mute, Boards of Canada still playing, I watch the squabbling motions of the mouth as a blue banner across the bottom of the screen informs me of another closed door. I myself have closed the bathroom door and locked it. I have taken large pieces of wood and strategically nailed them to the door of the bathroom to ensure I am safe from the flat planet on the other side and it from me. In the bathroom stall at Sputnik, somebody wrote Make Stabbing Nazis Great Again. I hold a strong fist for non-violence but I fear that if I release the grip of my fingers I may find a dead butterfly in my palm. I hear a door slam shut in Wyoming. My cellular phone is ringing but I am too shattered on the tail end of a coffee high to gather myself to answer it. A cuckoo clock tweets. Boards of Canada continues to play. My cell phone rings again. My yellow home telephone rings as well. I could not be bothered to move. My hotline phone rings. I have opened my window to let a winter breeze in and outside of my window I can hear a nearby payphone ringing. Every phone on this flat planet is ringing. The President continues to move his marionette mouth. The television set remains muted and even if it were not, the sound would be drowned out by Boards of Canada and the ten billion phones ringing on the other side of the door which I have boarded up in case of anything. I have nightmares but I just try to fall asleep when I do. One phone is ringing for your state senator. The invisible voice on the other line recites a love poem about tolerance. The line stutters and turns to a solid beep before the voice of a robot operator speaks and requests that you try your call again. Another person leaves another voicemail. A slave song. A song that would sing the body electric but it is cast on the other end into an ocean where the electric sting fizzles out and is ultimately swallowed by spineless jellyfish. For a split second, I escape my tuxedo and my bathtub and I think about the purple lipstick kiss that you left on my kitchen cabinet. I imagine what it must be like to have time to love another human being the way that the marrow in our bones so desires. Another phone rings. It is my dear friend Cathy asking me if I will be marching for equal pay and I say no. I have to work that day. Jessie asks me if I will be marching for affordable housing and I say no. I’ll be working my second job that day. The bathroom door seems to shake and I have a heart attack and I recover. I pull my heart out of my chest, wind it, and put it back in. I ponder if the door really did shake. I place my ear to it and on the other side of the door I hear the breathing of a police officer in riot gear. I can hear the condensation of his breath on the curved clear mask that surrounds his face. I start to wonder if this is real or imaginary. I reenter the bathtub, having another heart attack while fact checking if there is in fact a police officer in riot gear on the other side of the door. I check multiple websites that a website told me are credible websites. They point to yes. I still hear the police officer’s breathing beneath every phone through time ringing and beneath Boards of Canada performing an electronic composition based on the ethereal horror of 1970s horror films. I realize I may be in a 1970s horror film. I stand up and look in the mirror and my tuxedo has become an evocative dress spattered in blood. I am now the main female protagonist in any of several slasher horror films. I look at the blue bags beneath my hollow eyes. I look at my barely covered breasts. I realize that I have not slept in several days as I am being chased by a man with a giant knife. He shakes the door. I retreat into the shower and curl into the fetal position. Closing my eyes I hear the ringing phones again. Beneath the sounds of the ringing phones I cannot hear America singing. I see three little girls in glittered red white and blue dresses dancing at an inauguration. I taste the bloody residue of a hamburger on my tongue. The sink drips. Each drop an unfulfilled promise. A window appears on the wall. I watch as a singular brown leaf levitates up to the branch of a tree out the window. The leaf turns golden. The leaf turns bright green. A dedicated army of leaves follow suit levitating up back onto the tree. A return to their parents’ home. I watch a boy on a bicycle drive by out the window in reverse right to left. I watch as a demolished building becomes undemolished. It is a big box store. I watch as the big box store brick by brick is unassembled. Construction workers use their crane to pull steels bars out of the sky and back onto the ground in piles. Slowly the buildings disassemble. Smoke goes back into giant cylinders. A park with trees. Winter Fall Summer Spring. The sun sets and then rises. Cars drive by backwards. It is all so fast. A toddler walks, then crawls, shrinking back into a newborn baby. A mother drives with her newborn baby to a hospital and doctors work carefully to put the baby back inside of her. Each day she shows a little less. I watch a political bill, a mainsail, disappear one letter at a time. I watch bathrooms relabeled colored and white. I watch a painter paint over a black president with white. Back in the bathroom the drips from the fountain float upward, scared they return to where they were. I see refugees fleeing peace for war. I am alone. I pant like a dog. I sweat like an intelligent woman in a Russian cathedral. My hands brittle. Sledgehammers pulling back bricks. Walls being built. Dominoes. Flowers fold up into buds. The television turns to static. It disappears. I unboard the bathroom. I disassemble my one bedroom apartment in Denver. I drive to Aurora. Police cars outside of a movie theater. I drive to Aurora. I kiss my girlfriend goodbye and then lay on the bed where we make love depressed as all hell and wondering where we’ll be when the sun stops rotating around this flat planet.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2017

ALAN WATTS ON THE BACONATOR

Living today the way we do, among the chaos, and here in a time full to the brim with a sense of self-imposed purpose, we really are given no choice, but to consider what it means to be, the perfect hamburger.

Now picture if you will, a cow; spots, four legs, perhaps a bell around its neck. It is, for all intents and purposes, aware that it is a cow. What it is not aware of, is that it may some day be the ground beef patty of an American hamburger.

And does it need to know? It was thinking about this hypothetical cow which led me to consider if we, in fact, have made hamburgers the way best suited for the continuance of humanity, above all things, in pursuit of the perfect hamburger.

Long ago, some man, or woman, some person, decided to recreate a large bovine creature, in part, into the patty of a hamburger. What if that person had not had that inclination? What if they were inclined to translate, say, salmon fish, into a delicious hamburger? What if there were no fish to be had? What if this person had not been? What if this person had opted to dig instead into their own flesh and blood to consider that which we can consider, a hamburger.

Perhaps what happened is what was meant to happen, perhaps not. But I do know this – Wendy’s Baconator (C) is, beyond any fashionable spark of a human doubt, far superior to any other hamburger ever conceived by the human race.

Food scientists, through carefully centralized, organized and deductive research have concluded, in tandem with the scientific method, that when it comes to the hamburger, there can be no doubt, that the combination of beef patty, of cheese and of bacon, is far beyond anything else we, as modern humans, within our realm of thought creation, could induce into existence.

Now, what of those who do not like bacon? You see, there are those among us who do not like sizzling, crispy sensation, delivered to us from pork, from the animal the pig to be consumed by the mouth, and bigger picture, by the human digestive system.

The main question I wish to pose to you is this: if I one refuses to acknowledge, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that there is within the spectrum of human personality, those living among our large tribe, who do not like bacon, do they truly exist? Do they have to exist? And if you join in this larger thinking, in this collective mentality that if we focus energy on the idea that those who do not like bacon do not exist, how would it be possible that they would truly exist? I think of the old question, the old allegory regarding a tree in the woods. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

So for our purposes I ask, if we acknowledge that it is absurd, that it is impossible to not like bacon, especially to not like bacon when paired with cheese on top of a delicious Wendy’s Baconator (C) hamburger, do those people exist?

I believe they do not.

This is the nature of human beings, really. To be able to see that at the core of human life is the identity of an undeniable attraction to the perfect hamburger, which is, as science provides us, The Baconator (C) from Wendy’s restaurants.

We are limited only by what we allow ourselves to see as the perfect hamburger. But if we can escape our ego, and see the eternal, immeasurable, objective reality of hamburgers, we can then acknowledge that the perfect hamburger is in fact the only and only Baconator (C).

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

CENTRAL PARK LOVE STORY

A man sat at dinner with his beautiful wife in a restaurant in New York City.

The restaurant was nice. Very nice; the kind of place that not just anyone could get into. The kind of place with chilled salad forks and tiny portions and luminescent views of Manhattan.

The beautiful wife was seven months pregnant. They were out celebrating their one year anniversary. She was radiant. One of those women who maintained her glamour even through pregnancy.

They spoke of their marriage and all of its successes. They spoke of their excitement to be parents and how privileged they were to live among the business elite in one of the most coveted cities in the world.

The man’s gold watch shined brightly in the white light of the upscale restaurant.

The man told his wife that he had been thinking about things and that he really wanted to be a dinosaur that lived in Central Park.

The woman laughed, and said, yes, and I would be a giant squid that made its home in the main pool of the Manhattan Rec Club.

They smiled at each other.

The man told his wife he was serious. That his life with her was rewarding and beautiful and heartwarming and gratifying, but he wanted to be a dinosaur who lived in Central Park.

The wife looked blankly at her husband for some time. Told him this wasn’t even funny anymore. Told him she was confused. A great silence overcame the couple. A tension shared by both their sommelier and their waiter as they came to see if they would like more wine and to deliver the check respectively.

That night they lied beside each other in bed in their beautiful apartment in the heart of Manhattan but the great silence remained.

In the morning, the woman awoke and her husband was gone. She put her hands on her stomach and she began to cry. It was not a weeping cry. It was an empty, almost tearless, cry. The kind that fills you with confusion and then like the wind being knocked out of you, even that is then gone. It was a very empty cry.

Meanwhile, the man went to a costume shop in Manhattan. He flipped through a catalog of costumes and requested that the costume shop employee bring him, of course, the dinosaur costume to purchase. The dinosaur was the Tyrannosaurus Rex. So named for its perception by human beings as having been a superior being in the dinosaur kingdom.

The man put on the costume and stopped by the bank. He had his funds transferred to his wife’s account.

And finally, the man went to Central Park, where in his dinosaur costume he roamed the great trees, the great fountains, the great green fields of the park. Day and night he roamed as the dinosaur he felt deeply in his heart he was meant to be.

He was in love.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

GEOFFREY DONAHUE

geoffrey donahue’s day started as normal. he went to the printer where he scanned his badge and printed the copies he needed of a document to help facilitate his morning meeting. geoffrey made a mistake though. where he only needed 10 copies he accidentally printed 100. he had hit the 0 button excessively in error. but in that moment of watching the 100 copies of the document to help facilitate his morning meeting, geoffrey felt a great wave of soothing energy come over him. he became entranced, watching as paper after paper came shuffling down the print tray. it was mesmerizing. geoffrey then thought nothing. geoffrey then felt nothing. when the 100 sheets of paper finished printing, he printed another 100, like it was nothing. like the strings of the universe were in full command of his actions. like geoffrey donahue was nothing more than a vessel for the will of the universe. geoffrey donahue, who was now running late for facilitating his morning meeting. geoffrey donahue, know around the office for his dad jokes and being a good listener when someone was having a bad day. he printed another 100 copies. geoffrey made a mistake though. where he only meant to print a third set of 100 copies he accidentally printed 1000. he had hit the 0 button excessively in error. around 73 copies into this batch of 1000 copies, the printer ran out of paper, and once again the universe commanded. some invisible ominous puppeteer pulled strings at geoffrey to gather paper from the nearby filing cabinet and fill the filing cabinet with papers. geoffrey was not aware of any of this. geoffrey donahue was elsewhere. geoffrey donahue was thinking about his past. geoffrey donahue at last was taking the time to work his way through the daunting moments that led up to and followed his divorce from his once wife, mrs. elizah donahue, who was now elizah brown. a coworker or two walked by, unaware the exact details of what geoffrey was doing. they assumed whatever it was was important, and kept walking. geoffrey continued to retrace the steps of his failed marriage as the 8 1/2 by 11 papers continued to travel magically from the guts of the printer and onto the printer tray. until finally, the geoffrey had no more thoughts to think about his divorce, or his life in general for that matter. it was then that geoffrey donahue’s legs kicked slowly out from beneath him until he was levitating about 2 feet off the ground. light as a feather and still as a board. slowly, geoffrey donahue began to float upward and through the ceiling. he disappeared like jesus on easter sunday but no one saw this. they were very busy with their monday workload, mostly catching up on emails and scheduling down meetings for the current work week. geoffrey had ascended to another plane. the papers continued to print en masse from the printer. later that day, the management staff pulled geoffrey’s direct reports to inform them that geoffrey donahue was no longer with the company.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2016

MILLENNIAL BLOGS A LONG WINDED AND UNFOCUSED RANT

First of all, there’s no such thing as a millennial. It’s something your mother made up to scare you. Sure there’s positive and negative attributes pushed on millennials but the bottom line is those negative attributes end up creating dissonance between different generations. I have made a point in my life to not identify generation y as generation y or the same for baby boomers. They are just persons. Peoples. Individuals. Folks. It is insane, especially in a time in history that feels as if it is moving so fast, to think that you can put people in a box. To think that any one quality exists among a group of people is ludicrous, not to mention, in my humble opinion, a huge factor as to the disconnect that exists in our society.
I think that the world is so big that the only way we think we can manage it is to label it. Maybe labels are useful societal tools, but I think it’s much more likely that these labels we fling out are lazy ways to categorize varying opinions on groups of people who in fact are barely even groups of people. They are just humans huddling around the fire for warmth.
And good for them. Common interest is the breeding ground of society, but remember this: everyone loves food. I think it’s impossible that anything has brought humanity together more than food. Maybe sex, though that’s debatable too. My point is that we can build up common interest as reason for separation from other people, but at the end of the day we’re just slowly surrounding ourselves with people who are more and more like us. No wonder we are such a polarized world. I think the big thing is to break through perceptions, find the people you’re afraid of, and talk to them. I’m not saying to find the evil dictator and ask him out for a drink, but I kind of am.
I witnessed a conversation at work today between two people with very different political affiliations and it was one of the most respectful things I have ever seen. This is what the world asks of us. To not think we are right, and to remember that the person who believes something so different from you has needs that are not being met too. So say something. Get outside your comfort zone. Make sure we keep talking to each other. And I mean talking. Wars are made from people who are too afraid to talk to each other. End rant.

YOU ARE NOT A FLOWER.

you are not a flower.

you do not rise
from the soil
like some dandy little
spark of life

you are not
overflowing
with green vanity

you just are.

when spring hits

you do not bloom

you do not rise up

from the cold winter

to burst forth into
some spectral showcase
of expressionistical color

you are not some
kaleidoscopic
manifesto

you are not
in constant competition
with the bright roses
around you

you are not
in constant praise
of the sun

your tongue is not
held out before you
drinking in
the ultraviolet rays
you’ve been fed

you do not
think of your roots
as being for
gathering life
into your body
like stranger prayer

you are not a flower.

you bloom inward
you burn circles
in your living room rug

trying to find
unidentified life lying
in the widening crack
of your ceiling

you lick the salt
from your wounds
and watch your hands
swell

you waste days
you boil water into boredom

you’ve torn your roots
from the bureaucratic soil
of bureaucracy

lifted
your two-dimensional legs
from the blueprint
they laid out for you

and you’re not always
so beautiful

you don’t have
the distinct privilege
of a best laid plan

you are something else

seedless
fruitless
without petals

you dance best drunk
and to heavy metal

you are not a flower.

you are the crayon
that walked to the edge
of town
and outside of the lines

and when you bloom
it’ll be in the middle of winter
in the middle of the night
and you will not bloom delicate

you my dear
will bloom fists and fury

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

MY SOFT TONGUE ROLLED OUT BEFORE ME

wherein my tongue rolls out before me
like a great delicate scroll of paper
like a languid love letter yellowed with time
each syllable a worm digging through my stomach

and the crows come along
and they pick at my lengthy tongue
each one snagging a small segment
of my soft pink honesty

my raw delicate marriage to uncertainty

and when the crows have had their fill
i cross the warped floorboards
of my crooked house
teetering on the top of a thin mountain

wherein i roll my tongue back up
into the hardware of my guts
the strange wiring of my innards
where sparks fly like desperate traffic
at an intersection

and in my jaded bed i dream

i dream of a reality where i do not question
the period beneath my question marks
where the laws all make sense
and more than strange suggestion

i dream in worlds where the bleeding hearts bleed

a great still lake where each and every pixelated
square is covered by handcarved canoes

and when ever the wind blows through
the canoes move in succession like music
and the storms come and the storm passes
and when it’s all over the canoes sit still

never having to flinch at a raised hand
or a dark comment or a loud voice
just canoe after canoe on a vast quiet lake
moving in succession like music
through time and space
through grey thought and afterthought
my soft tongue rolled out before me

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

LETTERS

So,

I’ve always wanted to do something like this, so I’m going to start light. I like writing at someone else’s prompt. I used to hate it, but after writing a lot of poems you start to learn your own tricks and themes and sometimes it feels like you’re writing the same poems again and again. (Good chance to write something completely outside of your comfort zone, in my opinion.)
Anyways, I would like to say, if anyone is interested, send me an email at bricemaiurrowriter@gmail.com and tell me a little bit about the poem you would like for me to write. Could be just one word, a theme, a style, anything is fine. Just give me some kind of prompt. I am going to choose my five favorites and mail out poems to those folks. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with and see how this goes. I’ll keep it open for one week! So send your requests on over! This should be fun.

Please include your mailing address! Can’t wait!

-Brice

MANUSCRIPT

he takes the manuscript. he paces. he paces around the room
with the manuscript. he doesn’t know what the manuscript is
anymore. it’s paper. it’s just a bunch of paper. what is paper?
what is that noise of feet against the floor? he sets down the
manuscript. he bites his nails. he paces. he bites his nails while
he paces. he daydreams. he is superman. he is superman in
some weird fetish dungeon. there are german women crawling
all over him. he daydreams. he digresses. he grabs his glass.
he fills his glass in the bathroom sink with water. he sips the
water. he looks in the mirror. he’s not there. he stares but
he is not there. he leaves the bathroom. forgets his water. he
paces some more. he bites his nails. he bites the tips of his
fingers. he eats the skin right of his fingers. he chews on the
bone like a dog. he takes the manuscript. blood on the manuscript.
he sits down sips whiskey sitting in his oversized chair and he
reads over the manuscript. what did i even write? he thinks.
what is it here that i even did? did i write this? i can’t remember
a word that i wrote. who am i? who were my parents? why am
i looking through this paper? ooh ooh that’s pretty good, he
thinks, as he looks at a line here and there. pretty good

pretty good he continues. this is not too bad. i think this
is pretty good. he rearranges the poems. he rearranges the
order of the poems. he thinks to himself what is the proper order
of the poems? in what way can i arrange the clear glass
slides of my heart to best show up on the projector? how do i trick
them into loving me? how do they do it? how did they trick them? how did
they get them to fall for them? how did they get them to fall in love?
what flowers did they buy for society? where did they take her?
how far did they drive just to be with her? what did they do? what
is it that they did? his bone dry finger drips red blood on the
manuscript and again he’s pacing. he’s pacing across the living room
barefeet sliding against the grime of the wood floors. what barking
in my skull? what incessant noise? what remainder of the division
that i was able to equate to paper. what to throw out. what to keep?
what to tuck away for after i die? did the others do it? did they tuck

away for after they die? are we just robbing the cat from the
sarcophagus? why this pacing? he takes the manuscript. he sets the
manuscript on the window sill. a slight breeze picks up. the pages
dance. he cringes. runs for the window. saves his darlings. feels the
white ash on the tips of his fingers. he falls to his knees. a bird in
the window. he says back bird! away bird! this is not your manuscript
bird! this is my manuscript bird! you can’t have it! it’s mine! i wrote
it! plagiarist! fraud! wolf in sheep’s clothing! the bird just wants to
read it. can’t i just read it? says the bird. no! back devil! back you
devil bird! the bird shits. resumes to the sky. flies the fuck off. the
man looks at the manuscript. looks at the fire. looks at the manuscript
looks at the fire. manuscript. fire. manuscript fire. he paces. he eats
the pages. he takes page one and crinkles it into his mouth. he takes
page two. eats it. page three page four. every single page now gone.
tumbling inside of his sickly stomach. he looks to the fire. he thinks
i am the fire. now i am the fire. what have i done? he vomits up the
manuscript but just scattered letters come out. o’s and k’s and x’s.
he assembles them like a puzzle. the shadow of the sun moves
across his wood floors. he finishes the puzzle. he packs the manuscript
into a manila envelope and he stumbles out the doorway down the
stairwell to the mailbox he puts the manuscript in the mailbox he closes
the door. he sits down. he sips the whiskey. he walks into the fire.
he starts to burn. a little more each minute as the flames lick his fingers.
he paces. he paces around the fire. his ankles turned to ash. his shins
turned to ash. his knees ash his hips ash his shoulders ash. dear editor,
attached is a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. thank
you for your time. sincerely me. p.s. i am a big fan of everything that
you guys do and to be a part of it would just mean the world to me.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015

SAINT PARADOX

he is trapped in open boxes
drowning in bonfire
shaking the stirred cage

he rubs his back against bookcases
and paces mad man madman through
the halls of twilight

fingers lost in manic hair
mustache twirled
like a primitive torture device

he bathes
in the blood
of philosophers

he is
queen size mattress
on the ceiling
punchbag basement
textbook torn asunder

he is lost in the arrow of his compass
he dives off like a diver
into blue mystery hazy cold rivers
reflections of bridges
in his deep puddle heart

he looks you in the eye
he grabs your heart by the collar
he punch you in the
critical thinking

he turn hungry monster at midnight
dance like electric jello puppet

he kiss you with words

he stab you in the ignorance

he is peanut butter
peter parker
cartoon character

he is love
strewn out like intestines
across your thin
glass
earth.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2015