First Seizure

I woke in my brother’s arms, nearly
naked, rigid as dead wood,
unable to move, speak, understand.
He threw me in the back seat, steadily
yelling at dad. “You happy now, you drunk
son of a bitch? This what you wanted?”

My father, too worried to fight, remained silent,
even though he’d been the one to find me
in the dark dead of night, shuddering, my mouth
filling with vomit. Still half drunk from the night
before, he’d grabbed a towel, saved me
from choking in my sleep and woken
my brother to drive me to the hospital, this man
who didn’t even believe in using aspirin.

Every bump knocked my skull into the side
of the car. I focused all my effort
on the unresponsive muscles and managed
to move my head slightly away. After that,
I was able to sit up to breathe and see
where we were going.

At the emergency room, my brother reached
wild-eyed into the backseat to grab me. I pushed
his hands off, struggled to stand. “I’m in my underwear,”
I said, “I need pants and shoes.” “You’re coming,”
he said, “Either get to walking, or I’ll carry you.”
I winced across the rocky lot, unsure with each step
if I’d move forward or fall or why
I was even there. It was the first visit
I could remember to a hospital. My father, who I’d never
seen ask for help with anything, ran ahead
to find a doctor, a nurse, anyone.

The Malvolio of the Soul

There is a melancholy in the finality
of the day, and yet, how interminable
would the burning light be
if it never ended? Try to understand: sigh
onto any scale, and our deepest sorrows
would weigh not an ounce. We are, all of us,
made of night and day, capable
of such sight we choose
to be blind. We reek of the smoke
of burnt offerings from the moment
we’re spat into the gloved hands of brotherhood,
but how soon we forget the taste
of those ashes in the sullen scream
of that first aching desire. We are doomed, then,
to marry the tongs, the cold matrimony
of necessity. The heart reeks of nothing
but blood when severed from the mythology
of the ribcage. But it’s oh so warm in there
and tastes of honey.

           Try to understand: the elegance
of the worm, the reliability of impermanence. How similar
the scream of the fox and the laugh of the crow,
the infant’s gas that resembles
laughter. The sun’s master is its setting:
but complain, complain, complain, as soon
as you find willing ears to fill. If thou art virtuous,
there shall be no more cakes and ale. The white stone
of remembrance will remain cold to the touch,
though warm to the sight. But don’t look. Instead,
search for that instrument capable of measuring
the weight of a mother’s final breath, the jar
in which to keep l'enfant terrible from between
the ears. Better yet: die, and rot. Stimulate
the economy of the soil. It will thank you
with the richesse of digestion. Night soil
will fall and be reborn.


Copyright © 2010 CL Bledsoe


CL Blesoe is the author of two poetry collections, (Want/Need) and Anthem. A third collection, Riceland, is forthcoming later this year. A chapbook, Goodbye To Noise, is available online at A minichap, Texas, is forthcoming from Mud Luscious Press. His short-fiction collection, Naming the Animals, is forthcoming this summer. His story, "Leaving the Garden," was selected as a Notable Story of 2008 for Story South's Million Writer's Award. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings. He also writes a flash fiction seriel called "The Idealists" which appears every two weeks.