Aaron Belz


She found herself increasingly attracted to a man
who was incapable of taking himself seriously.

He found himself partly intrigued by a woman
who appeared to be falling in love with him.

He tried, over mojitos, to teach her the basic
principles of disdain, to which he attributed

the clocklike motion of history, including war,
sudden stardom, suicide, unattended classes . . .

She kept looking at his eyes while he told
her that he hated everyone in the world.

She looked also at his hair, which was scroungy,
and his shoulders, which were different sizes.

He purposefully acted bored in front of her,
though inside he was slightly intrigued

by the punk rock tee shirt she was wearing
and the fact that she had her hand on his leg

as he spoke of the ultimate meaninglessness
of sports such as soccer and hockey, because

their games can end in a tie, and on top of that they
are pastoral, which is out of step with modernism.

Why deceive ourselves he asked. Why act
as though we're shepherds when we're scientists.

She got a curious look and pointed out that one
would be hard pressed to classify hockey

as a pastoral sport, since it is played on ice,
and she moved her hand a bit upon his leg.

To what end, he said coolly, enacting rage
that he did not feel in his heart of hearts.

He knew in the middle of his mind that this
was an actor's rage and now he also knew

that he had a heart of hearts. He also knew
that she was there and that she wanted something

very old from him, sensed that she in fact
would not let go until she had exacted her toll,

and he thought in his mind that which he had
recently spoken with his lips--to what end.

To what end, to what end, seemed also
very old, might have resonated in the minds

of herdsmen during the days when love was
less calculated or something. He was losing

his words now, that frame upon which he
had been hanging the vapors of daily experience,

or attempting to hang them. She was there.
Are we still talking about hockey she asked.

Expert Witness

“Nothing gets in its way,”
The long-limbed monkey
Rejoindered from his precipice,

For nothing could stop the advent
Of the nuns in their tents,
Or penetrate their artifice.

“Can I get a witness?”
One monkey digressed
While fouling his own house.

Man and earthen pot alike
Sat unused, like rusty trikes,
As the primitives gave witness.

Tall cranes, big ships,
And nuns with giant hips
Gathered around that mouse.

Aaron Belz

Aaron Belz's third book, Glitter Bomb, was published by Persea in 2014. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.