the poetry that matters

CL Bledsoe

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,






The Common


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




February 5



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

but void.

                        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.




February 26



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.


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