Three Poems by CL Bledsoe

Dirty Sink

A dirty sink with a flower-print background.
This is where I rinse off my thoughts
and prayers. A dog no one will pet.
Better a diamond with a flaw than
a Republican official. A saint is one
who knows mankind but loves us anyway.
There are many vacancies but few
applicants. Mostly, everyone wants
to work but they want to be able
to eat more. It’s shocking that you don’t
realize that. There are two kinds
of people: those who do the work
and those with good credit scores.
I would like to love myself, but I’m not
my type. You have to turn the faucet
on before the water starts to flow.


I Can Rise from the Ashes Like a Phoenix Only So Many Times.

I can no longer hop into your bed
without stretching and a hard drink
first. I’ve learned my lesson about you
and your daydream version of yourself
that exists nowhere outside of your
mind and a police report. I can see
the rivets in your concern. The seams
stretched to breaking. This is how
you care for the world; with a smirk
and nary a second thought for how
the flames will ruin the ceiling frescos.
I’ve listened to all of your dreams
and categorized them into wish fulfillment
or psychopathy, with a small percentage
left to grow flowers from. You can see
the scars on my arms from your suckers.
It was all a terrible misunderstanding
completely on my part. I’ve compiled
a categorical list of regrets and types of meat
I’d like to cut through to get to the soup.
Your name is at the top. Look, we’re
all falling apart. That doesn’t give us
the freedom to live in the liminal
when it comes to the heart. Put some skin
in the game or fold. Move over
into the slow lane for once in your life.
Some of us have places to be.


I Wish That I Could Cry Like You Cry

There’s a pile of grief on my living room table.
There’s a stack of old losses whose faces I’ve forgotten.
Somebody order some chicken nuggets, we’ve got mourning to do.
Somebody close the windows, the death stink’s getting out.
A layer of dust in which to draw rude pictures.
A layer of dust that is our own tribute paid to death.
I want to slap the sun’s face for looking too close.
I want to glare at the wind for copping a feel.
I’m never going to know what happens next or what happens now.
I’ll never remember to change the litter or get a cat.
I sleep all morning and lie awake at night.
I sleep in the sun and huddle through the night.
I don’t care what you said; none of it was true anyway.
I remember all the times you said what I wanted to hear.
Another drink so I can remember what I’m supposed to forget.
Another drink so I can tell this thing the way I want.
Everybody dies alone, but you’ll die alone more.
Everybody makes mistakes, but they don’t set up home there.


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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