Aaron Belz has published two books of poetry, The Bird Hoverer (BlazeVOX 2007) and Lovely, Raspberry (Persea Books, 2010), both of which have been well-received. John Ashbery writes, "Belz's poetry reminds us that poetry should be bright, friendly, surprising, and totally committed to everything but itself. Reading him is like dreaming of a summer vacation and then taking it." For links to poems, reviews, tour dates, and other information please visit http://belz.net
Enchanted Evening Together
Questions want to be asked.
Hence the question marks.
Such as: How are you doing, Max.
Max:There are no meadowlarks?
And: Something is happening later?
Symphony or symphonette—no.
Or: No? Not exactly French waiter,
but simplicity becomes you as you
become every question's worst answer.
What IS it about her? they moo.
You have all the poise of a dancer,
but still, what is it about you.
A string part—a part for strings—
you play along on your air clavichord,
and so it wanders, fluttering its wings.
You order at last. The soup du jour?
We think of thousands of things.
Behind the scenes: Aaron Belz on writing "Enchanted Evening Together"
The first two lines are typical of the way my poems begin. A ridiculous theory passes through my mind—in this case, that questions are questions due only to the presence of question marks—and I frame it as a couplet. Then I support the theory with an example—in this case, a discussion between my cousin Max and me. I choose my cousin because his name really is Max, and I like the way "Max" rhymes with "asked." I choose the subject of birds for the same reason, because "meadowlarks" rhymes with "marks." Unlike certain of my peers, I very much like making end-rhymes.
Having begun the ABAB quatrain pattern I keep it going, and I try to keep the theme moving, too: "Not exactly French waiter" both rhymes with "later" and provides another example of a situation in which statements turn into questions: I hear a French waiter say, "You are ready to order, sir?" I then do another thing I typically do, which is to turn the spotlight on the reader: "simplicity becomes you as you // become every question's worst answer…. / what is it about you?" And then render you more absurd as a participant in the poem, playing an "air clavichord," which references all the air guitar my cousins and I played as kids.
On second thought I would strike the last line. It seems a bit overboard or galactic. Too big-sounding. But I'll leave it, because now it's a teaching point.