Thursday, October 25, 2007

Four poems by CL Bledsoe

Four poems
by CL Bledsoe


Take this spoon.
Take it outside.
Hold it up so that light reflects from the bowl, the soft cup with which you once held soup, ice cream, peas.
Look into the clean metal.
Tilt the spoon so that you can see behind you, over your shoulders.
You will see yourself, walking.
Behind that, you will see the door you just exited.
Behind that, the person you were supposed to marry in that bar in Saigon.
Tilt the spoon to reveal your other shoulder.
See yourself, again, walking.
See yourself in a suit, a tie.
See yourself successful, fit, funny and good looking.
See yourself liked, well known, respected.
Tile the spoon back towards center.
See yourself now, standing.
This is a lie. Spoons show nothing but lies.
Bury it in salt. Better. Bury it in butter, cake, potatoes.
As long as the thing is full, it can't lie.


They Don't Even Know the Name of the River

Before he was discovered, before the press exploded things, before he was a name, he was just a smell on the interstate. He was drift-body, private, lump in the eddies, flesh swelling out. The discolorations around his neck, wrists and ankles were of no interest to anyone. Is it worth the loss of so much to gain discovery? He couldn't say. He has no tongue, no ability to produce comprehendible speech. If he could speak, would he? This is the question that sets their pens jittering. They imagine his head twisting up out of the water, the bits that used to be lips opening. They imagine profundity. This is where they've got it wrong. Someone told some men to come and take him. He's not even in the river, now. He's in a hole somewhere. But after they took him, the smell lingered for hours. This was his speech, but none of them were there to transcribe it.


Sea People

The ad in the back of the comic book said Sea People. He thought it was strange, because he remembered those kinds of ads and they were for sea monkeys, not people. And they weren't even that, they were shrimp. Brine shrimp. He'd read that somewhere or seen it on TV. He thought maybe it was a new marketing gimmick, an angle, so he sent in five bucks.

Two days later the package came. It was one of those puffy envelopes. Inside, there was another envelope and inside of that, another, and inside of that, a packet like what comes with instant soup and a card. The card said "Add Water" so he took it inside and poured it into a soup mug and added water. Nothing happened so he poured it down the sink.

That night, he remembered that he hadn't seen it on TV after all, he'd ordered them before, when he was a child. His parents wouldn't let him have a pet so he'd ordered sea monkeys to fill the void. Nothing had happened that time when he'd added water either. He began to think he might be cursed. He no longer read comic books on the metro. Instead, he began a study of math.


The Day

The day streaks through the high school gymnasium.
The day is behind the bleachers with Suzie Denkins.
The day flies, but no one can see it.
The day wakes well after dawn, but still early.
The day showers in the dark.
The day plays with itself.
The day left its laundry in the washer overnight.
The day wears dirty clothes.
The day eats oatmeal.
The day has teeth, but most of them have cavities where the fillings fell out.
The day drops its keys when it goes to unlock its car door in the morning.
The day parks.
The day runs.
The day sits.
The day covers its balls when it goes through the x-ray.
The day drinks coffee.
The day sits.
The day stares through the window at lunch.
The day thinks about a television show.
The day sits.
The day sits.
The day eats sushi.
The day has a headache.
The day has to clock out before it gets forty hours.
The day keeps working.
The day has crappy insurance.
The day limps like a single mother.
The day hears drums.
The day dozes in its seat.
The day is an elderly woman, stooped.
The day slips on that old flannel shirt its girlfriend hates.
The day is a whale dying on the beaches of the night.

Author bio:

CL Bledsoe has work in over 150 journals including Margie, Nimrod, The Cimarron Review, 42 Opus and others. His first colleciton, _Anthem_, is forthcoming later this year. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine

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