CL Bledsoe


The way the acorn huddles in fear, the oak
withholds light from the sapling, sucks
up water to keep it from growing too quickly—
the oak isn’t even registered to vote, but here
you are blaming it for robbing its children. 
It’s hard to work up a good hatred for the world 
if you never go outside. The little things, birds
dying on the ground, fallen from their nests.
Children drinking contaminated water in
just about every major city. But that’s just
the poor. Don’t worry. I’ll throw a pie so
we can all laugh nervously. Soon. Also, 
the stump still watered by its neighbors,
the pheromones released as one is being
invaded by pests so others know to harden.
The important thing to remember is that
we’d have to chop them all down to build
a guillotine big enough to behead God. 



If your life is full of shit, there must
be a pony somewhere. This is not
to say one could ride it clear without
the proper equipment and training. 
And those things bite. The problem
with papercuts is they’re too shallow
to bleed us thoroughly, which is often
the same complaint about poetry. 
I would just like to smell better than 
my father, without sniffling and having
a headache all day from cologne. Open
the windows. Drive fast and try not 
to get a ticket. Stop to look at any dogs
you pass. I was never one of those little
girls who wanted a pony. I never could
figure out what it was I loved in the world.
I was always too afraid someone would 
see me hiding and ask, so I never came
up with an answer. They keep telling me
there will be flowers growing from all
this some day. I don’t mention that I
have allergies. No reason to appear rude.   

Lack of Coordination

The problem is one of coordination,
as in who gets to wear black, who
will carry the scythe? Keep some time
open on your calendar for a revolution,
also, you need an oil change. Whatever
happens next is up to whoever can run
the fastest or convince the bear to eat
someone else. Let’s make a list 
of everything that isn’t our fault. Start
with our birth. That’s also the end. Don’t
let’s be average. At very least, remember
that no one gets out of this alive. Except,
probably, some rich guy at some point.
You will never be rich, but that doesn’t
mean you can’t taste their hearts.  



In order to normalize terror, they introduced me
to its sister, Mary Belle, who has 2.7 kids, volunteers
for her church, and keeps a lovely flower garden.
Across the street, terror’s neighbor Jim is throwing
a party. We are all invited, as long as we show proof
of citizenship. It would be rude not to bring
a six-pack. Terror will put in an appearance 
when Jim lectures the hotdogs about their proper 
place inside the white buns. I’m surrounded 
by craft beer, redone kitchens, eye shadow. 
The Christians are comparing guns. I brought
Jim a flak jacket for his Bible. I could tell
by the look on his face he already had one, though.   

That Eternal Farm Upstate Where All Our Dead Pets Live

There’s no reason to be ashamed if you break
down at odd hours, remembering the lives
you set aside in order to sulk in the dark. 

It wasn’t your fault.

The great fingerprint in the sky put its dirty
digit on your brain and shorted out the wiring.
You did the best you could to see past
the electric ants whose bellies never get full.

Who the hell doesn’t wish they could redo
some days? Accountants never get into heaven.
At least there’s still a market for the robe makers.
Someone in a funny hat, with a funny smile, 
someone who hasn’t worked a hard day in their
not-hard lives. There’s no hand to take your coins,
but what you wouldn’t give to run
your fingers through that winter day’s soft fur

one more time. 

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than thirty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, The Bottle Episode, and his newest, Driving Around, Looking in Other People's Windows, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.
previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home