Adrian Belmes

There’s two kinds of people:
the kind that spit, and the kind that don’t,
the kind that drink, and the kind that don’t,
the kind who take the young and supple palms
of plants and break them in their hands,
and the kind that don’t,
that pull the fronds, discover music,
feel bad when they snap the gentle leaves.

What are we but an exercise in elocution,
telling lies about the steppes of Georgia,
pretending to be poets?
We are not the people of the mountain,
but for the day, we might be.
For the day, we may pretend to be.

We may come down, tired and laughing,
long sober from the drive, just giddy from the climb,
reciting poetry about the steppes of Georgia,
pretending to be people we are not
but nonetheless ourselves.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

Everyone is always taking drugs and has been.
The good we do is not the good we want to do.
We want the world, but we are breaking bottles
that we didn’t carry up the mountain in the first place.
Only our discoveries have consequence.
Only our pretending can be true.

Adrian Belmes is a reasonably-depressed, queer, Jewish-Ukrainian poet existing currently in San Diego. He is EIC of Badlung Press and has been previously published in Misery Tourism, X-R-A-Y, Back Patio Press, and elsewhere. His chapbook, "this town and everyone in it", is available from Ghost City Press. Find him at or @adrian_belmes.