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Jacket 15 — December 2001   |   # 15  Contents   |   Homepage   |   Catalog   |

Aaron Belz

Two poems and two dialogs

Practical Aspects of Sleeping with a Blanket

First there’s the warmth. Then comes dreaming, a subject
Often measured by men with calculators, although it has no dimensions.
“Suggested reading: The other two Psycho Problems
Then there seems to be a period of bemusement
At stuff lying on or near the bed, then hope, a few moments
                  Of terror, after which, silence.
It was silence that befuddled even Zarathustra, who stormed
Out of the beyond, her arms full of mixed books and greens —
God help us!
“I really have no idea what possessed me to write
            another Psycho Problems fanfic.”
This happened to me once when I was having sex with Lucy.
She shouted, “Hey Jerry. These motherfuckers are annoying me.”
She was clearly asleep.  I thought it might be a night terror,
So I looked it up on the web.
Deep, dimensionless dreams, wherefore art thou? From whence
Do you usher, what distant and
“I claim only Jade. The rest belong to Haim Saban.”

A Garden Patio

There are tulips: restive, jointed.
This plastic table is jointed too, looming
outwards into the night breeze. Every
pretty thing clamors for a compliment —
or cowers in disgrace, depending on its
demeanor. Am I among them? The flukes
in the millpond wander solemnly from bank
to bank. Theirs is not to reason why!

I think I am happy just playing tennis.
Maybe I’ll take a grainy photograph
of myself, backlit, swimsuited, on some island.

In the garden black-eyed Susans throw
their ungainly whorls from side to side.
Mrs. Malaprop is telling them how beautiful
they are. Her pleasantness is met with boos,
hoots and catcalls.

I’m standing erect
in the photograph. It’s the sea
in the background that’s tipping.

The Tapscott & Mature Dialogs

Conversation Piece

Victor Mature: “How should one speak, Stephen?”

Stephen Tapscott: “Straightforwardly, I hope. Perhaps with a bit of art.”

Victor Mature: “A bit of art?”

Stephen Tapscott: “I do not know, my friend. You make the rules. They are yours to own.”

Victor Mature: “Begin with this: a man heads to a deli.”

Stephen Tapscott: “Okay.”

Victor Mature: “To buy a pack of smokes. On his way, beneath fattening fruit he wanders, below an empty sky, and all the things of spring.”

Stephen Tapscott: “Okay.”

Victor Mature: “Picture yourself paying the waitress five dollars. She asks you — ”

Stephen Tapscott: “The waitress?”

Victor Mature: “Bear with me. Asks you whether you need change, and you say — ”

Stephen Tapscott: “Being a gentleman, of course.”

Victor Mature: “Being a gentleman notwithstanding, because your coffee was only eighty cents. You say, Just bring me three.”

Stephen Tapscott: “I see, that’s still a hefty tip.”

Victor Mature: “You catch on quick, my Tappy friend. A mind like scissors. But wait: she brings you three, okay, but now you know the question was three of what.”

Stephen Tapscott: “Three cents?”

Victor Mature: “Three slices of blueberry pie. But all this dreamy thought evaporates once you arrive at the deli for your smokes: You are the man. You have been lost in fancy for three blocks. And now the world is straight. Buy them and go home.”

Stephen Tapscott: “Oh what a turn! You speak with art, old Vic. You make the language sing.”

Victor Mature: “It makes me sing, more like. It’s quite a thing.”

The Conversation

Victor Mature: “If only I could get my little doggy to bounce. But see, he has no helium. He is a rain cloud on a string, how sad he is.”

Stephen Tapscott: “That would be boss, Vic. If I could get my hat to come off, this green felt tricorn I’ve been wearing, I’d be a happy man. I would leave politics and settle down.”

Victor Mature: “I love you Tappy. Keep saying what you need. Me: If only I could stop the whistling in my head, as of dozens of old folks whiling away the time. Yes, if wishes were horses and all, they say, but really. If I could get the images of smashed up jewelry off of my retinal cortex... they are burned there, Stephen. Burned.”

Stephen Tapscott: “You go, Vic. This is good. Get it out. If I could fly away to Mars I wouldn’t, because Earth is the only place for love. That much is sure. Think of Scotty and his bonfire at the beach; think of Robert and his father’s tree.”

Victor Mature: “Steve, you bring back memories. If I had an extra vacation mansion or even a timeshare within a Sunday cruise of here, I’d invite you and Judy up there for a long weekend, sure. We’d hit the links, and you could drive the cart.”

Stephen Tapscott: “I am thinking of a sensual night, swirling in honeysuckle and jazz. I am thinking of empty pools, of poodles running free. I am picturing plates of lightly oiled fish and jars of wine like blood devoured by you and me and our other halves, in the company of the famous men and women that say good things, make the world tick. That would be better than this.”

Victor Mature: “An improbable dream!”

Stephen Tapscott: “A hockey player’s fantasy, Mr. Mature, but nonetheless we hope.”

Victor Mature: “If we could at least unstick our hiking shoes from this asphalt alley, Tappy, I would run like the wind to the deli and buy us a fresh pack of smokes. Until then, I look into the eyes of your Madonna t-shirt, you complain melodiously about my wilted pup.”

Stephen Tapscott: “This is how we talk, Vic.”

Victor Mature: “This is how we talk.”

Photo of Aaron Belz

Aaron Belz has a master's degree in Creative Writing from New York University (1995) and will begin a Ph.D. in English at Saint Louis University this fall. He has contributed to Exquisite Corpse, Mudfish, Gulf Coast, RealPoetik,, elimae, etc., with work forthcoming in Fence, Fine Madness, Snow Monkey (special feature!) and Pierogi Press. Feel free to check out his site at or email him at

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