The poetry of CL Bledsoe

Now, Imagine There Is No Mist

Think of it like this: a mist
rises, dulling the outlines
of all landmarks, trees, the ground—
so that everything appears
unsure. You’ve got to walk or
stand or do something or do

nothing. It doesn’t matter.
Soon, the mist will coat your eyes.
But your thoughts will remain sharp.

Now, for whatever reason,
you assume the mist is your
own doing. The reason you

can’t find your house, spouse, kids, car,
is a lack of effort. You
should swim the streets, try harder,

make light from yourself somehow,
or process mist and produce
clear air. A moral failing

is no excuse for lying
down and dying. And no one
will even see your corpse fade.

 

 

 

Sparking

1

The night begins with panic. It begins
with a plan, a cherry stone in your front
pocket, a life raft in the roiling waters
of hope, which is the only lie crueler
than permanence. Smell your breath, see
the horror-show that is your face, your body,
for the first time—really—and do not run.
There is such a thing as style. I’m almost sure
of it. There is such a thing as an honest lie, such as:
even though you could destroy me with the butterfly’s
wing of your perfect, distracted glance, I am,
at least, worth destroying. I can be
destroyed, and therefore am indestructible.

2

Or: all I want you for is your body, as in, to sit
beside me, on me, your warmth,
in the dark, hold my hand—the instrument
of my greatest failure—and we will cry
or laugh, together, as the cartoon dog finds
his master or doesn’t, the French orphan
finds joy or despair; not-too-long
walks in not-too-sunny places, as everyone
else we’ve loved dies and we remember why life
hurts so much and is so kind; as I enter
you, and we separate, always too soon, never
enough. I can’t think about that right now
or I won’t be able to put on my shirt. It’s okay
to laugh. It’s good to be funny, right? All of us
are dying slow, so why not enjoy it? As long
as you aren’t on fire, is there ever really
a danger of not being serious enough?

3

Yes. Of course. Everywhere, everything
is danger. Understand: this is your last
chance. If this fails because a hair is out
of place or too in place, or your horrible, dirty
selfish soul—that they were all right about all
along, all of them—leaks through your shirt
and shows itself, you will die alone a long
time from now and everyone will remember you—
not your name, just your presence—as strange
and slightly smelly. But only briefly before
they smile again. The plan is not a plan;
it was never meant to be followed, but without it
you are untethered, the balloon head
they always—always with the they—said you were,
floating, cold in the atmosphere. You must have plans
but be spontaneous. You must be thoughtful
but not make assumptions. Why would you want
to be with someone who does such horrible things
as smile politely and be open to whatever for dinner?

4

Breathe. Breathe and when
the panic comes, use the wind created
by your spinning, not-well-defined-enough
arms, to propel you out the door. You
are nothing and you are something and that’s all
anyone ever is, and maybe, if you shut
your damned mouth for a minute, you could find,
you could find,
you could find your keys.


CL Bledsoe’s latest poetry collection is _Trashcans in Love_. His latest novel is _The Funny Thing About…_. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter and blogs, with Michael Gushue, at https://medium.com/@howtoeven

2 comments

  1. “It begins
    with a plan, a cherry stone in your front
    pocket, a life raft in the roiling waters
    of hope, which is the only lie crueler
    than permanence. ”

    Damn. This is good.

    Like

  2. “It begins
    with a plan, a cherry stone in your front
    pocket, a life raft in the roiling waters
    of hope, which is the only lie crueler
    than permanence.”

    Damn. This is good.

    Like

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