The Window Man

There was a man cleaning the windows outside at work today.
I could see him from my desk. I spent a minute disregarding
his presence until I could no longer take it. I put my shoes
on and walked over to the window, where from my side I stood
and sternly stared at him. I watched his focus, splashing
cleaner on the window and then meticulously running the
rubber blade of his squeegee down the glass. It felt like
math. His eyes following his actions, until he caught site of
me. He stared back at me. We couldn’t speak to each other if
we tried, not with words. But I stared out at him, behind him
some comforting green screen of blue sky. It was a cookie
cutter blue sky. The kind of sky that almost feels beautiful
because it’s existed in every movie ever. The kind of sky that
almost feels beautiful because you drew it in crayon so many
times as a child. He remained staring before this manufactured
sky, chewing his chewing gum, and I stared back. I watched the
window man as he blew his chewing gum into a big giant pink
bubble and filled it with war stories. He filled it with big,
big fish and the story about the one that got away. He filled
it with the song that played the day he met the love of his
life and the clouds that rolled over the day she passed away.
I had nothing to say back to him except to raise my right
hand, as if I had been exalted by his honesty, as if to say
to him, “Is this not love? The way that we understand that
we are not the same, and that truly we just may never actually
hear each other, but still to say I hear you?” I raised my
hand to say I hear you and he raised his hand to say the same
to me, and pulling the pink bubble from the tip of his lips
he pinched it and floated off into the crayon sky and I
went to gather my things and leave work early because I knew
for sure that this day had nothing else for me.

That One Week Where I Thought I Had The Death Disease

there was that one week
where i believed i had the death disease
i put quarters in every gumball machine
and i chewed so many gumballs
i kissed my lover ferociously
like a tiger, like a cracked out tiger

in some strange twist of events
i still found myself brushing my teeth well
you’d think there’d be a resolve but no
i still found myself valuing brushing my teeth
i also began making my bed
maybe because i thought to myself
well, i’ve got this death disease and my days are numbered
i deserve fresh breath and a well-made bed

i deserved all sorts of things that week
twenty minute breaks at work where i’d just wander
to other floors in the building
pacing like a mindless patient in a psych ward
through other people’s drudgery
i’d wink at strange men
sitting at their desk just trying to feed themselves

i stared out the corporate window at the rocky mountains
and i tried to capture frames of them
blinking erratically as if the optic nerve were a classic polaroid camera
the green foothills, the brown mountains, the white snowcaps
like god saying fuck you, my tiramisu is better than yours
like god saying fuck you, i love you this much
and realizing that every person in my life loves me that much

i used my water cup for soda at tokyo joe’s
i didn’t feel any shame
i stared the assistant manager right in his patchy bearded face
as i slurped down dr. pepper like it was the classiest wine
i looked at him in his eyes and i saw myself
i realized i was the assistant manager at tokyo joe’s
that even in the nucleus of my death dance i didn’t quite know how to be

i wasn’t a communist insurgent overthrowing the capitalist structure
of the world of the everything

i wasn’t death riding in on a pale horse

i simply remained me
my lymph nodes swollen like small galaxy

this didn’t allow me access to the manual on how to universe

it seems it takes time and space and patience to universe
it seems to me that communion with everything is more of a goal
than a possibility
it is still a good goal to have
i thought, as i finished my sample of dr. pepper

as i walked out onto the median of the road
as i straddled the double yellow line of mattering
as i realized that it seems to me i put way too much energy into things
like defiance, or worse yet, self-destruction
as a means to matter

that this is probably not the ways to remain a child
that as ugly as responsibility may seem
as much as we want to believe we are babies in oversized suits
the truth is we are animal skinned drums
that never truly explore the echoes of our sounds unto ourselves
we are too fascinated by the big room to dig deep into the small big room
the one that paces its cage in the haunted marrow of our bones

believing i had the death disease
all that was revealed to me was the mirror of what i wasn’t
all that was revealed to me was gratitude
buckets and buckets of gratitude
my eyes broke down in temper tantrums of gratitude
lying on my bed in antibiotics
i began crying thinking about the way i tried to ring you out of your love
and i promise you this, poem, i will stop trying to weigh love in grams

believing i had the death disease
i spoke frankly each and every day to my mother and father on the phone
who still reminded me i haven’t paid my toll fees
who said yeah you just can’t think about it
and i said okay good luck to me with that
and they said no no no you’ll get it
and i said ok
and all of the phones on this floor kept ringing and ringing
so i just kept saying ok ok

Mayday

it was crazy, really
the way that we sat talking stoned in your basement
the way that these words that we thought tasted like sweet ginger kombucha
poured out of our mouths like turpentine
muddying our naked bodies frictioning like flint

it was crazy the way we burned down
and the whole time we burned down
we yelled and whispered “i love you, i love you”
again and again until our bodies gave out

the whole time we burned down
the carcasses of deer dissimulating into the dirt
a fast motion video of ten thousand worker ants
hounding the occasion to taste the sweet remnants of the moment
but us born again small in their bellies
but ten thousand times over
but love

but there’s so much stubbornness in early May to be had
spring is a pushy little bitch

and then we were disappeared
too everywhere to feel anything other than everything
and in the everything was a call to arms to push through your madness
to push through my own madness
to find out what lies on the other side of all this madness
even knowing the answer is more madness

and every ounce of moon rock that we pulled from each other’s skin
by the force of our own separate gravities
every ounce of ocean that we precipitated into little cartoon clouds above our heads
every ounce of green honesty flourishing like feathers in your eyes
told me what i already knew because you’d told me so many times

what you’d told me so many times
as i maybe foolishly argue that love and freedom are the same thing

what you’d told me so many times
that i’m so busy thinking about the winter in the heart of the spring

The Apple Store

I walked into the apple store and asked the man if I could buy an apple.

He told me no.

I said that isn’t fair.

I want to buy an apple.

He said to me “well, I don’t want to sell you an apple.”

At this point, another someone walked by and the man gave them an apple.

“Well, just give me the apple,” I said to the man.

“No,” he said again.

“Why?” I said.

“Why not?” he said.

“I’m hungry,” I said to him.

“You should work on not being hungry,” he said to me.

“That’s precisely what I’m trying to do,” I said to him.

“No,” he said, “you’re trying to be full.”

“Same thing,” I said.

“Not at all,” he said.

“I want to speak to the manager,” I said to the man.

“I am the manager,” the man said.

“Well then, I want to speak to your boss,” I said.

“I am my own boss,” he said.

“You can’t be your own boss,” I said.

“Yes you can,” he said, “you would understand that if you weren’t so hungry.”

“Well, I’m going to be hungry until you give me that apple,” I said.

“I guess you’ll always be hungry,” he said, biting into the apple.

I left the Apple Store and sat on a bench outside beneath the sun, which just laughed at me as I cried. Then I laughed and the sun cried, and then after quite some time and a decent spell of boredom, I decided not to be hungry anymore and I wasn’t.

THE PRESTIGE

Day 2 of 30 days 30 poems

the man put his hand on the stove and decided not to remove it
he felt the searing burn of the electric heat on his flesh but still
despite every impulse in his body he refused to take it away
as the tips of his fingers began to catch flame and crumble
like five cigarettes dwindling before his very eyes he wondered
am i any of this? what line have i crossed that no one else has
am i a hero? will it be a legacy worth telling that one day i
a man no different than any other man decided to put my hand
literally into the fire, here in the midst of this suburban whiteness
here in the midst of this humming refrigerator talk show blues
white bread bologna kraft single mayonnaise sandwich cut the crust
is it worth it that i burned myself alive alone here inside of my home
inside the strange tube light shadows of this cookie cutter kitchen
his wrists on fire his arms on fire all of him on fire until he disappeared

and then bones carried away into clinical labs
and then the dust of a human life swept up
sucked up into a vacuum separate from everything

and then what?

because making something disappear isn’t enough
you have to bring it back

The Bus Stop is Denver

There used to be a tiny old man who each morning woke up and went and sat at the bus stop just off the intersection of Broadway and Littleton. I’d see him scooting along at the crack of dawn, walker in hands, until he finally sat and rested on the green bench. There are all types at this bus stop. Noticeably, there is a school for the blind down the street so it wasn’t unusual for a pair of blind folks to come wandering over, canes out and standing patiently at Broadway and Littleton, waiting for the bus. They talked about the weather or their loved ones, anything really. The tiny old man sits quietly in the background, head turned slightly down and listens to every word they say. I kept to myself. Ears lost in sounds. Anyways, the bus would come along and the blind folks and whoever else the day blew in would board the bus. I too would board the bus, and grabbing a window seat I would look out and see the tiny old man still sitting there. I’d go work my entire work day and coming home from it all, there still would be the same tiny old man. He would sit there all day, in the sunshine, in the cold fall, he would sit at the bus stop. He’d be there for the raging hormones of the Littleton High Schoolers, for the zombie morning commuters, for the single moms hustling groceries. He knew something. He knew that if he stayed in one place, the right place. The world would come to him, and from that very same place, then the world would leave.

Much Love

don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that there is a downside to giving too much. just be careful that you are taking care of yourself along the way. if you’re doing that, your heart can be a greyhound bus, my friend, taking lines and lines of future funeral guests in and throwing them gently wherever it is you want them to go. let me make myself clear. love more. if you are at all like me, your plateaus are your valleys. your high points are painful because you realize damn, we’re not gonna get a lot higher than this. but you will.

i am not one to prescribe to the christian devotion but i do believe in heaven. to scoop up some beat philosophy i wanna tell you that if you’ve got the bricks and the smile you can start to build a staircase to heaven right now. just remember – the feet go on the top side of the bricks.

look, i’ve been scared shitless this year. my anxiety, especially lately has been through the roof, but i think that’s largely because i’m not letting it win. i hold it true that at my core i am an introvert but i love people too god damn much so what i’m learning is how to be a buoy in a sea full of people. i’ve gotta be. i was given the gift of air so i can’t stop filling these life rafts, and you. you’ve got way more things going for you than i do. anyone who resorts to rambling as a profession like myself really has but one job and that’s to tell you that you can do anything. anything other than writing. unless you’re a writer too in which case we’ve got coffee. it’s not always warm but it’s mostly free and once you sit down at the alphabet piano and feel those synapses firing in your fingers, you’ll get it.

there’s not much to get. the television will tell you there is. the internet will tell you there is. a massive self-help section at the old timey bookstore will tell you there is. that’s fine. none of these things are innately bad. but really what it all boils down to is it’s all love. and not just a little love. much love. what i have for you is much love. so eat off my plate. sit across from me at my table. get on this here greyhound bus because there’s space for you. there’s space and there’s much love. Yes.

 

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2017

Exquisite Corpse

when we kissed underwater
in the mouth of the whale
and the dead christmas trees
were put up for sale
and the Japanese salesmen
they pushed us around
and they tried to get us talking
but we didn’t make a sound
we were so stuck in love
like some gum on a shoe
but it got to the point
where the truth wouldn’t do

when we kissed in the ocean
in the mouth of the beast
and we showed up so late
for your mom’s bloody feast
we got lost in the back
of a honda civic dream
and we thought we would dance
but it came out a scream
so we left for the country
of a closed broken door
and i said that i love you
and you called me a whore
and i knew you were right
thought I did have my doubts
as i washed your car windows
and wiped lipstick off my mouth

so we kissed in a desert
for the strange passerbys
and they threw out their cigarette
which i always despised
so i shook my big fist
and you rolled your eyes back
to the dark of your skull
and you never came back
so i left you alone
with an old red balloon
to float off wherever
away from your doom
and i came home and slept
for a couple hundred years
and i woke up a cockroach
i woke up in tears

it was strange and dramatic
and it cut like a knife
and i don’t think i’ve ever
had more fun in my life

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2017

Anatomy of a 29 Year Old Human

*just about every year on my birthday I write an “Anatomy of a … Year Old” poem. Thank you for reading.

i am a giant lizard monster
trying to lay down comfortably in a sprawling metropolis but the buildings scratch at my back

the cars pierce my feet like legos

i fold myself ragdoll into a suitcase in attempt to be smaller
i’ve tried my hand at big, i wish to be little

i stare into the mirror but it’s not a mirror
it’s the ghost of marley and he’s eating my cereal

he tells me i need to grow out my beard again

he reminds me i am a joshua tree at the end of the western world
he reminds me that it is crucial that i push through heavy desert ground

my veins are filled with marathon runners sprinting but only when it’s dark out
i’ve begun to name the avenues they run down, federal, larimer, colfax

rush hour is a real bitch
my hands shake at the horns honking screaming for attention

i’ve spent twenty eight years sawing myself in half for the big audience
i want to spend the next twenty eight sewn together

maybe salinger, alone in a boat in the middle of a forest

maybe vincent, a militia of mad men in the fields of anxiety

there is hair in my ears and when i was signing my contract this was not mentioned
television led me to believe that this corresponded with twilight years

meanwhile the movies led me to believe i would be a wealthy philanthropist batperson by now
i conveniently ignore al bundy’s belly, his thin hair, his vicious kmart realism

my eyes are the brownest they have ever been
this is good

this is spirit in form
petrified wood to be built into rocking chair conversations and tobacco pipes

i am seeking a clean definition of masculinity
and my femininity is my best hope to get there

there is goldfish in a glass bowl lodged in my heart
i still haven’t figured out what that’s all about but i feed it pellets

i remember that though the castle it swims around is small it is still a castle
and the castle is me and the goldfish is the music of it all

i’m confused
i’ve wrapped myself up in ace bandages but i’m not injured

i decide to play a mummy because for a brief minute this year i was a pharaoh
and now all i want is to be surrounded by true gold and sleep sleep sleep

and wake up thirty and haunt the shit out of these fuckers for at least a few more

we hearty new americans

we not old america
we hearty new americans
we go to work and put headphones in
we turn off world
we strong
we know we must resist and resist constantly
also we must sleep
also we must love
we put full force into situations
where we must learn put streamers up in hell
we don’t know the past
we know of it
we’ve heard of it
we’ve seen germany
we’ve seen empires fall
we’ve never been in a house with such bad foundation
we love still
we move shuffling through street
we see friendly Denver turn rat race
the cows gone home
we dear john letters over the interwebs
we die a little but preserve
we lose left arm strengthen right
we fight we fight we fight
we burn out on television
we seen every episode of everything
we’ve heard every political speech
marched through every protest
now we march for our own feet
and try to put the feet of other’s feet in our feet shoes
we dive we dive we dive
we hold breath we hold space
we trumpet of jazz in silent workroom
we machine
but we funky disco jazz machine
we beer we weed we drugs we drugs we drugs
we sleep through anxiety earthquakes
we float down lazy river with margarita
we dolphins with spacey helmet heads
we do what we do and we do what we have to
we in fear
we bathe in fear
we brush our children’s hair in fear
we three day weekend fear
we water cooler conversation drowning
we wonder the time and date
we cars in lines
we wrapped up in old newspapers
we swallowed in landlocked blues
we trashporn koolaid buster
we under extreme tension headache
skin tone awareness campaign
ugly commercials
unofficial mascots and death notes
we elevator conversations
we doomed
we buy house purchase mortage in doomed
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills