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Aaron Belz

Light, Violent, Observational

Pioneers at the Foot of the Rockies

Things That I Have Only One of


Light, Violent, Observational

Sometimes he feels light—and violent.
Like aluminum shoes,

Sometimes he merely observes,
as in, “There are larvae
on my Minerva.” And he
exhales—“Those flies.”

Sometimes, though, he really tries:
“A light breeze bumbled up
the corridor adjacent to the studio
where we were making love.”

Or, “You have a very wide nose
for a girl.” Or, “Your
headband looks funny.”

So they sit on the disused patio.
“You store headbands
in funny places,” he muses.

That’s a Sephora Thick Braidie,
but who are they to manufacture
headbands when they could be
building a better fragrance,

something lighter, more violent.
“Coloured bottles line
the window sills,” she intones;

“light splaying through them
like purity…like the body, blossoming.”
And in the garden, many gnomes.

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Pioneers at the Foot of the Rockies

“Bit of an impass” says one—
hardy farm gentleman, six horses
pulling all his possessions.

“Maybe we head north a while,”
says another. And just as he says
it, a fierce wind descends upon

them, and their hats sail away
into the twilight. “Lost our hats,”
says one, patiently. “Believe

you may be right about heading
north a while,” he adds, scratching
his forehead and chewing a bit

of leather, patiently. “Believe
you’re right,” he says, more quietly,
scanning the horizon to the north

and just as he gets back on his horse,
another fierce wind comes down
upon the two gentlemen and blows

away their families and wagons,
so now it is just them sitting
on their horses at the foot

of the Rockies. Says the other, “I
think we’re alone now.” Says the one,
eyes smiling, “There doesn’t seem

to be anyone around.” They sing,
“I think we’re alone now!  The beating
of our hearts is the only sound!!’

So they chop up their horses for
kindling and build a fire, and that’s
where they settle—and that, children,

is how the City of Denver got its start.

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Things That I Have Only One of

I have two kinds of things, she says.
I have things that I am in to
and things that I have only one of.

That there is more than one thing
that I have only one of is, of
course, the irony of ownership;

the real question, though, is
where do the circles overlap?
What are the things that I am in to

that I have only one of? she says,
and looks momentarily tired.
Perhaps, she muses; perhaps

there is a third kind of thing.
For I also have many things
made of leather. See? she says,

gesturing to a large collection
of leather objects. I am also
into ornithography. Now,

does that count as a thing that I
have only one of? For I do not
have more than one ornithography.

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Considering how little new there is to say about varmints
perhaps one can write something new about vittles,
or if the mood of the room in which one is writing
is cast perfectly for such an occasion one might even
venture to write something new about vittles that also
discusses or touches upon the interests of varmints,
for varmints are known to prefer certain vittles over others
and to reject some vittles entirely, such as anything leafy.

Leafy edibles might not even be properly defined as vittles,
in which case one inevitably turns one’s attention to parsnips.
Rumor has it that there is a certain kind of varmint that,
while unilaterally rejecting leafy edibles, will in fact partake
of a parsnip if the mood in the room is cast perfectly
for such an occasion, or indeed if the white china is so white
as to remind that varmint of the moon and set him to baying;
he might even partake of bay leaves if that is the case.

Bay leaves, however, and in fact parsnips themselves,
have traditionally been associated with critters,
what with the diet of critters being almost entirely leafy
and not at all thought of as vittles. It is almost comical
to imagine a critter munching on vittles. Let’s say,
however, that you’re stumped for ideas for your writing;
in this case, you might try picturing in your mind
a critter eating vittles—or a varmint eating leafy edibles.

Such fancy performs the function of a mental crowbar,
that is to say, it can if you allow it to perform that function:
you will suddenly remember three or four really sucky
moments of your childhood that you had suppressed,
and they will arrive in your mind with their own lexicons
and their own contextualizing power that is so overpowering
as to recontextualize even your recent thinking about vittles
and all the new things you had hoped to write about them.


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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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