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Aaron Belz

Stopping by the Mall on a Snowy Evening


My Best Friend's Wedding


The Importance of Self-Care During the Apocalypse

Stopping by the Mall on a Snowy Evening

That isn’t your face, though it is,
in fact, beautiful: It’s an ornament
hanging from a Christmas tree
in the mall food court.

I see your face everywhere
is what I’m trying to say,
and while that may mean nothing
in this current economy,

neither does a Sbarro calzone
prepared gummy and lukewarm
just the way you used to
like it. Lukewarm. Gummy.

That isn’t your laugh
tinkling through the night air,
though it is melodic: It’s
someone else’s iPhone text tone

playing Jingle Bells, well just
the first few notes over and over
much like the first few notes
you passed me in middle school,

which meant next to nothing
until replied-to, and even then
were vaporous. Atomized. Blown
across the home room floor

by the saddest breeze
a person can try to remember.
And that isn’t your car
pulling up to a BP pump, or

at least it isn’t you getting out.
It’s an older guy who looks lost
and isn’t dressed attractively,
though he is, in fact, attractive.

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How dumb are you? Well let’s see.
Let’s start with how dumb I am,
and I can answer that simply

by pointing to my garden.
It’s fruitful. I’m not dumb,
nor, despite your fondness of me,

are you. You’re brilliant, sweet;
if the world’s a vegetable stew
you are its best little pea,

and I mean that sincerely.
I don’t love stew, Marjorie.
Maybe I’m good not with words,

but then again neither are you,
I’d wager, based on your verbal.
Oh, you don’t like bringing

that up? Haha, math whiz.
You auto-outperform a quadratic
equation scholar in your head

but don’t know where Bath is.
You know where the bath is,
and so do I. So do we. How cute

are we, padding from the ensuite
all damp and betowelled? Well
I’ll leave that to the crowd

to determine by its applause.
Meanwhile we’ll be in the loveseat
kissing and trading old saws.

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My Best Friend's Wedding

What if you watch all but the last 30
minutes of My Best Friend’s Wedding, so
you don’t know who he ends up with—

or “up with whom he ends,” as it were—
does it matter? It is less a film, in any
case, than a parable of the good life

gone horribly better, with one too many
statuesque divas cavorting in and out
of Victorian doorways and filigreed

elevators, shushed bellhops and tailors
backing carefully out of frame, gala
proceedings only a handful of the millions

who’ve flocked to giggle at this flick
could come close to affording, and for what?
To descry, if distantly, men and women

so articulate and elegantly appointed
as to draw attention away from our so-called
lives, here, in the mud of clerical serfdom,

where nothing ever ends well, or in fact,
even ever ends. It just keeps going;
you don’t quite know what’s happening.

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Trying to understand my neighbor.
I can’t. She is super weird, like Babar.

Me, on the other hand, I am normal.
I wear blue jeans and a sweater. Nothing formal.

I check sports scores on my phone.
She, however, sits eating peanuts alone

looking across the yard at me.
Well what is she expecting to see?

Fine so I don’t have much of a social life.
At least I don’t wander around with a knife

whispering the names of neighborhood children
like some sort of incantation.

At least I don’t wear a chandelier on my head
and answer the phone “Is this Fred?”

every time. Like, yes, that is my name,
but why does she answer everyone the same?

Her back yard resembles a dump,
and I’m guessing she even voted for Trump.

I’ll never be able to sell this place
with her walking around with that look on her face

carrying a sleeping bag full of slippers
and penguin flippers.

Plus, she’s never willing to lend me milk.
So tired of her and her ilk.

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The Importance of Self-Care During the Apocalypse

In other news, handbasket sales are skyrocketing,
and so are skyrocket sales, reported skyrocket
and handbasket sales reports earlier this month.

Silver lining? Think again: DriClime® polyester
lines a rugged but breathable shell putting this
all-season cagoule at the top of your handbasket

for years to come. “What’s in your handbasket?”
goes the popular slogan, though silver and gold
have we none, such as we have we give you—

credit. And the Apocalypse. And a word to the wise:
Take care of yourself. Take a walk, give a hand
job (or jobs), count to 500. You know, Botany 500.

Breathe. The 700 Club. Mile High Club. Fight Club.
Club Med. Breathe (in the air). It’s politics
qua politics—it’s politics during the apocalypse.

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Aaron Belz lives in Hillsborough, NC. His poetry has appeared in book form three times—The Bird Hoverer (2007), Lovely, Raspberry (2010) and Glitter Bomb (2014)—and has been included in a few anthologies.

Perhaps the best way to first encounter his work is through a video of one of his readings:  Then follow him on Twitter at


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