Brice Maiurro (he/him) is a poet from Earth. His work has been compiled into two collections, Stupid Flowers and Hero Victim Villain. He has been featured by The Denver Post, Boulder Weekly, Suspect Press, and Poets Reading the News. www.maiurro.co
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.John Lennon
What does this quote mean to you?
I think about this quote just about every day of my life. It’s so easy to get swept up in any moment into what seems so important, while those little things fly on by. Recently, I took care of a dog, a great dog, Garbanzo, while my friends were in the process of moving. I’ve never had a dog, I grew up with cats, and I was very excited. I felt like a little kid the whole time, taking him on walks, chasing him (or having him chase me) around the house, taking weekend naps curled up beside him, it was amazing. I work from home like a lot of us and analyzing business processes for a solar company felt really important until I’d look over and see Garbanzo, belly up, requesting a few good belly pats. Every day at work I told myself there was no time for me to go on a walk, but when I was watching Garbanzo, I was outside, bundled-up, several times a day and I was so happy about it.
What books have made an important impact on you and why?
Radical Dharma by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens and Jamine Syedullah. Since I was maybe 22, the ideologies of Buddhism have always resonated with. I was raised Catholic and that didn’t stick, but Buddhism has always made sense to me. It’s a religion, or ideology, built around intentionality and compassion. There’s a lot of wiggle room to find your own way within the forests it offers you. Especially something like Zen Buddhism, that often has an attitude of “always do this… unless it doesn’t work for you!” I appreciate the grey space, but found myself plateauing in my Buddhism over the last couple years, as with American Buddhism comes a lot of white people feeling kind sitting on a yoga mat while there’s big revolutions going on outside of its doors. Radical Dharma busted open those doors for me and showed me this new beautiful intersection of anti-racism with queerness with Buddhism. That you have to take your Buddhism practice into dismantling it all.
Lama Rod’s experiences of rejecting his Christian roots really resonated with me. He found he had a lot of anger, but opted to say “this isn’t for me” rather than “let’s burn this to the ground.” Rev. angel reminded me the ideas of existing in a state of not having all the answers, and expanded my ideas of queerness beyond gender and sexuality into a larger realm of seeing how binary thinking is so pervasive in the smallest microcosms of our culture to the very large interlocking systems of oppression that we should collectively disrupt and transition to a better place. Radical Dharma reminded me that our liberation is a collective liberation and we all have to use the tools we’ve been given to work together.
What is the value of writing and art in the current state of the world?
I see it all as storytelling. In many ways, we all exist in silos. Storytelling is a way to peek into someone else’s silo, maybe inch their silo a little bit closer to our own. Storytelling can be a time capsule, it can be an exercise in compassion and solidarity, and I believe with the right considerations in place, it can be a therapy.
How has writing and art helped to form the person you are today?
I discovered poetry almost on accident. I just was bored and found myself messing around with words. The words led to more words, which led to poetry events, which led to a larger, though far from holistic, understanding of Denver’s communities, and through all of that, I’ve been able to teach things with my words, but what I love maybe more is being the student. I’m very blessed, in considering all my privilege, that for years I’ve had the chance to be exposed to the writing and art of so many people unlike myself. That continues to challenge me.
As for my writing now, writing is best for me when it’s fun. When I’m having fun, I feel like I’m doing something well.
What is something that matters to you?
Kindness matters to me. Small gestures that set the tone of the world we deserve to gift each other. Goofiness is a virtue of mine, sincerity. Cooking matters to me. I love that cooking offers me this chance to spend time by myself in the kitchen, and then share the rewards of that time with the people near and dear to my heart. My partner, Shelsea Ochoa, matters to me. She challenges me to do more and be more, and especially to be myself more.