Friday 5 May 2023

2 Poems by CL Bledsoe

Washing the Creek Before the Storm Comes

Let it all go to waste. Say: none of this
is my fault because you won’t find my name
written anywhere. It costs money to read
the truth these days. Someone with a straighter
back is responsible. It’s slander to imply
otherwise. Don’t think I know what’s good
for me even when it’s spitting in my face.
It’s my right to choose to die a little quicker.
I wanted to say something about the way
darkness glints from the center of your eyes.
The gap-tooth smile of midmorning. Tea leaves
corrupted so they spell out 80s sitcom reruns.
I never claimed to know any better, and when
I did, it was obvious I was lying. It’s your
fault if you believed the unreliable narrator.
The smell of slow decay in the breeze has
become constant. No one tells themselves
the truth about their own life, so why would
you think those profiting from lies would?
When the factory runoff comes, the kids
will play in it, like their parents, not knowing
any better, big smiles riding the green stream
down like the slickest slide to carry them into
the rest of their days.

I Will Open the Door

Your face is a canon, a dark hole
zeroing in on my ship.

Your face is the ocean, what’s left
to catch me.

Sharks. Depths plumbed by the vilest

It’s not that I even miss you; so much
has been razed to the bare
boards of truth. I miss believing.

It’s my birthday, and I’m afraid
you’ll show up at my door, drunk
and wanting to talk. Through
the peephole, your face, a cannon.
The darkness behind your eyes.


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, Having a Baby to Save a Marriage, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

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