CL Bledsoe – Ponder Away

Probably Named Jim

Whoever came up with life

insurance was a genius or

a sucker. The value of dissolute

minerals, the odd carved shell

weighed against the shareholders’

faith. I am at my best when

I’m recycled, a worm’s timeshare

he dreams of retiring to someday.

Everything you die for is

a long-established lie, except

Chocodiles, which exist

as part of a publicly traded

entity. Find me an ounce of love,

justice, quiet. There is a kind

of machinery, oiled with the sweat

and blood of somebody else. It grinds

ever onward while we all try

to pretend we’re not screaming.

Remember, as a child, how you

thought nothing? And then,

the first time you realized what

they’d made for you, you raged?

This is how I heal.

I wash enough things

to make me forget

my hands. I count

dogwood blossoms

until I’ve forgotten

how many times

I’ve started over.

I make a video in

the stairwell I just

cried in trying to

sell it to the French.

Offer the squirrels

outside the window

nuts until they pancake

on the glass. Then feel

strangely ashamed. Some

people who don’t

understand time think

it exists all at once.

The past is now.

The present is the past.

And the future is

something that happens

to other people, who

were better at planning

or just had more luck

than I ever did.

To Know Thyself

Start with the proper accoutrements:

a bowtie with soft colors. A hawk’s

wing draped across your clavicle.

Look at what the pretty people do

and then don’t do that. If you don’t

know what to wear, I know a guy

who knows a guy. What I’m saying

is it’s good to have friends, even

if you have to pay for them. Who

do you think isn’t collecting a check

from you? When the villagers come,

slip a mustache onto your upper

lip and tell them the bastard ran out

the back not five minutes ago. Grab

a pitchfork and a torch. Hope

to God that mustache glue holds.

They make it from the neediest horses,

so. The thing is, you weren’t meant

for any of this. No one was. You

were supposed to be a dancer or

lay on the couch for three weeks

straight or find someone who sees

the you you forgot to make yourself

The one that’s clever and cool. Someone

who somehow isn’t disappointed

in the you you became instead because

of traffic and poor time management.

Good luck. There’s not a one of us who

wouldn’t settle for a nice dessert and

something to talk about that isn’t ourselves. 


Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty books, including the poetry collections RicelandTrashcans in Love, and his newest, Grief Bacon, as well as the Necro-Files novel series and the flash fiction collection Ray’s Sea World. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael  Gushue located here: Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.