CL Bledsoe lives in Maryland. He has published 2 collections: a chapbook entitled _____(want/need), and a full-length collection entitled Anthem from Cervena Barva Press. His work has appeared in 42 Opus, Barrow Street, Mud Luscious, and elsewhere. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine http://www.ghotimag.com
The Circle None May Cross
1. The feet are stones,
2. gray and cracked with crystalline nails.
3. They taste of salt, smell of
salt, crumbly feeling, each step echoing
the sounds of bats hunting in a mine
(black and yet streaked white).
4. And yet, recall the cold-tasting arch,
5. revealing soft skin, soft nails, soft
6. stone. Once, I held a perfect
ankle in my palms, cupped warm against
7. the light (because it was hid, it was lost)
8. The smell of dawn,
the taste of cool air,
9. Joie de vivre eating through my nostrils;
it is the end. You've been lied to
all these days.
10. This is when you count thumbs
to remind yourself how high you've risen.
11. Tomorrow, you won't remember how,
even with shoes off,
12. helpful though that may be.
13. The stairs loom, the loom stares,
the hunters will learn the trick
of which hand to place on which wall,
common sense is often lacking in the com mon
keys eat the fleas they groom from their neighbors.
Shh! someone will hear
the rising sun before it appears. Learn to smell ch arm
the groundhogs, then we'll see who spe ed(s)
ucated doesn't mean able to reason, only broke. But dumb is free
your nethers from the oppression of underwe ar
ctic ice will be remembered as a flavor of slus hi
ps can be replaced when they fail, why not ide as
sume that everyone is trying to get you, but in a really lackluster
and ineffectual wa (y)
de into the stagnant waters of middle class ethics. Consider commuting
to save g (as)
k me how many socks I have without holes. Better yet,
ask my to (es)
cape now while they've dozed of (f)
eel free to disagree as long as you don't
I picked at a scab on my cheek
until I got it off, and everywhere the blood
touched, a new scab formed. I picked all those off
my face and neck and hands and leg
and when they bled, it spread
until it covered me completely. Tourniquet
brought me flies for protein, which the orderlies
confiscated. The gods of flies like wasted blood.
See how their white clothed maggots are drawn to rot.
I felt squelched
up top, weak from lack
of blood, dug around and found a knot
too big to cut, so I pulled
it free, tore hair and flesh from the roundness
of my head, unraveled it like string
from a sweater until nothing was left
I felt hollow
as an Easter bunny, the darkness
between my ears full of light,
dust. The breeze from the vent
made my toes twitch when it blew
over the hole. I turned up the fan
and made myself dance a full five minutes
before the orderlies came
and wrapped me up in gauze.
If there were such a thing
as politics, I would be a political
prisoner. Though everyone
else in here is guilty. They've locked
me up for wearing the wrong socks.
I'm fortunate there's always
such a thing as prison, or else
where would I be?
I had two fingers left and I spent them
on this. The doctor was right: once
you break the pig, all you'll have
left is pork.
Heard an orderly snuffling
out in the hall. Couldn't understand
anything he said, so I passed him a note
under the door and watched as
he unfolded it, eyes growing bright
until he saw that it was blank.