Aaron Belz has created a world all his own with Lovely, Raspberry from Persea Books. Let’s call it Belzland. In both traditional and free verse poetry, he populates this world with strange sounds, strange sights and stranger fascinations. In Belz’s playground people ask Al Gore about the muse, turn their face into a glowing pear and use Alberto V05 Extra Body Shampoo to make sense of their love life. The result is a slender, ribald romp across things ancient (Henry the Eighth and The Waste Land) and maddeningly modern (Mr. Potato Head, Skee Ball, Michael Bolton).
In some of the poems, one need go no further than the title for a good chuckle. Case in point: “The One about the Ectoplasm and the Osteoblast,” with the two forces bantering at a bar, deciding about drinking Dead Guy Ale.
Beloved of puns, Belz has many playful titles such as “The Love-Hat Relationship,” “Slam Dunque” and “Train to Mehlville.” This last poem begins with the sobering line, “I have been sponsored by a local society / to sever these melons with this black mallet.” The speaker of the poem is in a stasis. He has been sponsored but he is not doing his chore, his duty. A rain starts, his wife is on the phone with her sister, his daughter is getting out of a cello lesson, but he can’t bring himself to start hacking away:
and earth could be colliding and I would have
to cherish this humble chore as if it were
a kiss with my new bride. On that day she wait-
ed beautifully on the platform, and I was late.