Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 will mark 10 years I've been publishing, so by some standards, that means I've been a writer for a decade. My first publication was in the University of Arkansas' literary and arts magazine Exposure, which I don't believe exists anymore. Shame. They published a poem of mine entitled "The Garden" back in 2001. It was as much a surprise to me as anyone. I'm not going to post the poem here because it was terrible, but it was a start. It took me another year, really, to get published nationally, but by 2002 I was appearing in some decent journals like Story South, Hobart, Nimrod--for which Skip Hays shook my hand and introduced me around the department. Pretty good for an undergrad. who was really just a country boy from the Delta.

2001 was also the year I took two very important workshops--Creative Writing II with Skip Hays, Donald if you're nasty (that one's for you, Matt) and Poetry with Miller Williams. Skip was the finest teacher of writing I've ever had, which is a little sad considering I'm talking about CWII and I went on to grad. school after this. But really, it's a testament to how good Skip is. (He's also a damn fine writer.) He kicked my ass so bad classmates would come up to me and apologize after class, which always surprised me--maybe I was just more used to the stick method than the carrot. Skip tore me a new one, just about everyday, and boy did I need it. I remember this one poem about smoking pot and getting a handjob--I described the semen hitting the wall and sliding down. Skip spent a solid 2 minutes pondering how, exactly, semen would slide down a wall--would it drip or sort of ooze--before concluding that this poem 'took us into the shit house both literally and figuratively'. He taught me to respect not only my audience, but the work itself. If you're interested, here's a story from that class I dusted off and published over at Thieves Jargon.

When I decided to go to grad. school, I went and talked to Skip to see what he thought. "Have you ever been out of the South?" he asked. "I've been to St. Louis," I said, which was all the answer he needed. He told me to get as far away from the South as I could. I ended up at Hollins in Virginia because, well, they gave me a lot of money. At least it wasn't Arkansas. Of course, I've missed Fayetteville ever since I left. It was good for me in certain ways, though. Hollins isn't like the U of A. Forgive me, but my experiences at the U of A were incredible and life-changing and full of assholes who didn't understand why the world hadn't realized how brilliant they were. I used to call them "grad. students" but to be perfectly honest, the worst of them were undergrads sucking up to the grad. students. My point is, at U of A there was a definite demarcation between grad. and undergrad. I think this is fairly common at MFA programs. Not exactly so at Hollins--Hollins doesn't coddle its grad. students. Likewise, at U of A, I might be required to write 3 stories a term. At Hollins, I wrote that in a week, no revisions, no 'I'm just tightening this one up for the fifth time before I send it out'. It was new work, every class period. You know, like in the real world. U of A taught me nuts and bolts. Hollins taught me work ethic. I had my first poetry collection picked up at Hollins. I wrote a draft of my first real novel, hell my first two. I went in to Hollins with maybe 50 publications under my belt and came out with a few hundred and a body of work I'm still sifting through.

Back to U of A--another class I took 10 years ago was Miller William's Poetry workshop. Miller Williams was a superstar at U of A. He was Bill Clinton's second inaugural poet. He was Lucinda Williams' father. He was a lynchpin of the program. He shit daisies and farted sunshine. I got into his class, and by the second week or so, had developed a real healthy hate for the bulk of my classmates. Don't get me wrong--there were two or three folks in there who were so far beyond me as writers it took me most of the term to catch up, but most of them were, as Skip had taught me, taking us into the shithouse. (I should say "we".) They wrote about that one time they went to Paris. They wrote about how, even though their parents were paying their bills, they were independent now. They wrote about poverty from the persepctive of kids who've never gone hungry. They wrote about the trifling concerns of the 20-something in earnest prose that Miller macheted to pieces. My buddy Chris Fulelrton always mentions the time Miller passed one of my poems back to me and said, "I cut 87 words from this poem." That was it. We moved on. Or the time I turned in a poem about what a waste of time poetry is when compared to all the tragedies in the world (like, you know, somebody doing DRUGS!) entitled "Poem for Mr. Williams" and Miller said, "I wish that I had the time to care," and passed that one back. (In his defense, it wasn't exactly how it sounded--the title was really a shorthand--'Poem for Mr. Williams' CLASS' because I didn't have a title, but it came off sounding like an indictment of the man and his life's work.) Butm unlike, apparently, many of them, I had a revelation. So while my classmates wrote poems about their hair, I started writing about rice farming. When they wrote about the time they went back-packing in Europe, I wrote about the time I helped dress a yearling. I started trying to write about things that mattered. If you're interested, my first real breakthrough poem from that class was called "Roaches". It's a little choppy, but I still like it. If anything could be called my 'first' real poem, it's that, right down to the hint of surrealism.

I did some cyber-stalking a year or two back and found that most of the folks I went to classes with at U of A aren't publishing much these days. Most of them never did publish much. To be honest, it's a rare week that goes by when I don't have something picked up or published. But maybe that's just me. I've always talked too much. Let me be clear: I always felt like the kid hanging around the grown-ups' table, as a writer. In classes, I tried everything that was suggested to me about my writing. I never had a swelled head. Some of my classmates had puffed-out chests about their work. They thought they were hot shit. Who was I to argue? I was a country boy. They'd been to Paris once. And yet it's strange to me that so many of my classmates have fallen by the wayside. Maybe they still write but can't be bothered to send it out. I don't keep in contact with most of them. My classmates from Hollins are slightly more prolific. A couple of them run journals. Of course, a couple of them regularly publish novels or collections, too. So there's that. I exchange emails or phone calls with a couple, visit a couple every now and then. I made a real good friend at U of A and a couple friends at Hollins. I accumulated six figures of debt--counting my wife's loans. I had written a novel before I ever went to college, and well over a thousand poems. They were all shit; that's why I went to college to study writing. I went to grad. school to hone my craft and become part of a community of writers. It's awful lonely writing on the farm. That was my goal--to feel like I knew what I was doing when I sat down in front of the blank page. I've written about my pre-college writing here.

So here I am, ten year later. I've got the debt. I've got 4 books out (well, my 4th is due out any day now...) and a stack of manuscripts keeping the post office in business. I haven't made enough money to really even mention. Sure, I get the odd $100 from this journal, $50 from that one, but I've never made real money at writing. Maybe I'm wrong, then. Maybe I'm not a real writer until I make a living writing. I guess that gives me a goal for the next ten years.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


1. finish Zombietown
2. finish Clay

1. finish Habit
2. finish wings

Short Stories
1. place flash collection
2. finish Solum stories

1. re-record Shizknit

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today, I hadn't written in a while, so I thought, "Fuck it, I'll write some flash fiction. That won't take long. Then I can go back to watching reruns of 'Home Improvement.'" I mean, look at the evidence. Read some journals. They're full of flash fiction and most of it is shit. These folks aren't spending a lot of time on this stuff, and if they are, well that's just sad. Sure, every so often one of them stands out, but most of them are instantly forgettable. I'm not singling FF out--the same could be true of poetry or longer fiction. But FF is shorter, even than some poems. And one wonders if the bulk of 'fiction' writers publishing in journals these days even know how to sustain a longer piece of fiction anymore. But if I go much further with this, I'll have to start naming names.

To survive as a writer, one needs momentum. Now that can be tricky. Me personally, I often get it from positive reinforcement--publications, crowd reactions, etc. But publishing, especially online, doesn't really mean much these days. I keep sending my stuff out, and I keep having it picked up. And to be honest, most of the time I'm disappointed in myself when something I've written is picked up by an online journal. "I should've shot higher," say I to myself. Of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum, sending your work to some head-strong grad. student to reject from a print journal because his professor told him not to like it or because he doesn't recognize your name can be a little frustrating too. So where to get momentum? The project itself (whatever I'm writing) offers a good bit. Sure, it's hard to keep up the pace of writing a novel when you work 12 hours a day, especially when you're looking at maybe someday getting it published and then having probably nobody outside of your friends and family read it. So to actually finish a project, I, for one, really have to feel strongly about it. Am I the only one? (I know that's absurdly unfair--there are tons of great writers out there. It's called making a point.)

There is just so much white noise out there. So many mediocre writers pumping out so-so work. So little of it is interesting or creative. What little is interesting or creative is buried in the white noise. So what's the point of it all? Some of the white noise is created by folks trying to bolster their resumes in order to nab or keep academic positions, sure. Some of them are still laboring under the antiquated model which leads them to believe there's some challenge to getting published. I'm talking about status, which is quickly becoming a thing of the past, in writing. Sure, the grad. students try to hold on to it, but there's nothing special about an MFA when thousands of other people are getting them every year.

Writing is all about telling stories, sure. Christmas is about giving, too, but we all want to receive every now and again. It certainly is nice when someone sends an email or makes a comment about something you've written. It would be nicer if they enclosed a check. Still, given the choice, I would rather be Van Gogh--the genius toiling in obscurity, than work for Hallmark, sure. Absolutely. No question. Except, of course, that Van Gogh had a LOT of venereal diseases. So we can skip that part.

Friday, December 10, 2010

We have a teacher who is forever making comments about how unprepared she is. She talks about how she has no lesson plans--no idea what she's going to teach next period and how unprepared she is, generally. She brags about winging it in classes and other commitments. She's very young, and I don't think she understands just how bad this sounds. She seems to think it's normal or at least acceptable to be totally unprepared, not only for her job, but for anything else. It's frankly embarrasing.

I was young once. It's hard to belive, but I was. Once upon a time, I made the same comments--not as an adult, but as a student. I was a terrible student and was usually unprepared for class. I was lazy, unmotivated, bored, etc. My point is that I'm talking about when I was a teenager.

Things happen. I can't imagine walking into a classroom and having no idea what I'm about to do or say, but I understand that things do happen. And maybe this teacher isn't being honest--but what could the purpose of that be? She is essentially saying that the profession all the rest of us have chosen isn't worth her time. And she somehow thinks that's funny or cool or...something.

I mean, if you don't like your job, get a new one. Seriously. Why spend your life doing something you don't want to do?

It's a shame. It reveals, if not a deep-seated laziness, then an acceptance of laziness. And let me tell you, if you don't already know, laziness is a hard monkey to shake. (I'm not sure that analogy works, but I love it.) I grew up lazy, and it's been the bane of my existence. My family's idea of a vacation was watching "Bonanza" reruns on TV. We worked hard during the days and sat hard in the evenings. I drive myself with that same work ethic--I work 12 hour days, minimum, plus squeezing in some writing when I can--but I still struggle with this engrained laziness. When I go home, I watch TV. It's a shame. Sure, I can justify it--I just worked 12 fucking hours and managed to do some writing and send some work out. You expect me to go for a jog?--but I'm also getting to the point where, when I wear blue, people mistake me for Veruca Salt pre-juicing.

Okay, so I'm driven. I've gone from discussing someone who isn't prepared for work, to being prepared for life. Sue me. We spend much of our life at work. And life isn't "I've done enough." It's "what have I done?" Who wants to live a half-assed life? I don't. I wish I'd figured this one out 20 some odd years ago, but oh well. Back then, I didn't know there were options.

It's snowing outside. I'm going to walk through it for an hour or so, start a snowball fight with some students, and go make hot chocolate. Maybe after that, I'll watch "Dr. Who" on TV. Oh well. At least I have a plan. It's a lesson.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The newest section of my seriel, River City Blues, is live at Troubadour 21. The whole thing is archived there.

Had to take a break from the novella I was working on, which is a sequel to the novella I wrote over the summer. I don't think they'd work as 1 book. Anyway, 80 pages in, just a few more to go when I get a chance to get back to it. This whole work thing...

Very nice poem went up at poemeleon

Lots going on, little time to write about it. Here's a recap:

--We were Christmas shopping for my brother at Wal Mart the other day. He's become this unemployed, morbidly obese thing. I wanted to buy him some new clothes because he looks like a vagrant, but we can't afford to buy him nice things, so: Wal Mart. But I didn't think the largest sized clothes at Wal Mart would fit him. It made me very sad because he's going to die from this weight. Then I saw a student with her mom. I'd made the student cry the day before by reprimanding her for leaving a committment and not returning. Crocodile tears. The mom wasn't happy to see me.

--Last year, I made way more students cry. Am I slipping?

--One of my favorite students, an ex-drug addict who I take to NA meetings once a week, got into a good college with a scholarship. So maybe I'm accomplishing something. Then she skipped the meeting this week.

--I was playing guitar and picked out a song my band used to play that I'd forgotten. Then I realized that I don't actually have the movie I was going to show in class tomorrow. Frantic search. New lesson plans.

--My YA novel Sunlight is coming out in a week or so. Wouldn't it be nice if someone bought it?

--When we were kids, my big sister and I stayed up late on Christmas Eve and filled our own stockings. We would put fruit from the kitchen, pennies we'd saved. Will my child have memories like that?

Friday, November 19, 2010

I've been thinking about a story I wrote years ago called "Groceries." It's about a woman and her youngest picking up aluminum cans on the side of the highway to sell for grocery money. They pass a horse pasture and she spots a dead horse on the ground and spends her energies keeping her son from seeing it. It reminds her of the farm her father had which was foreclosed on. That's all. Right at 1000 words. One of the best stories, maybe the best, I've ever written. I workshopped it in grad. school, and the teacher tore it apart. He didn't understand why they were so poor. That one took me aback. She was a single mother in Arkansas. How could she not be poor? He seemed to feel that all farmers were rich. Well, I grew up on a farm. Let me educate you: we were poor as shit.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that just because one has had different experiences from others doesn't mean one has had more or more profound experiences than others. I think it has to do with whether you've paid attention, how open you are to the world. Regardless, it's making me a little sad that I haven't written about that single mother anymore just because it might confuse an MFA professor. I hardly ever really write about Arkansas except in a way that makes me sound like a grad. student. I never wanted that. So be warned, I suppose.

So then I see a writer like Daniel Woodrell, who wrote _Winter's Bone_, which was recently released as a film. It's magnificent. I'm happy to see somebody fighting the good fight.

The reason I'm thinking about all this is because I'm giving a reading in New York at the KGB Bar in a week or so. I don't know what to read. Maybe I'll read "Groceries" just to confuse them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Haven't posted here in awhile. Been extremely busy. This year, in addition to teaching 3 classes, running the Writing Center, etc., I'm doing college counseling for half the senior class--about 17 kids. It's been incredibly time consuming mostly because I have very little idea of what I'm doing. Haven't had a lot of time to write. I've got a big deadline coming up, also--November 1st. Lots of kids sending out their applications in the next week. I'm getting caught up. I need to write a half-dozen or so letters of recommendation, and I'll be solid.

I need to hurry because I want to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I was originally thinking I'd actually finish the zombie book I've been kicking around forever, but now I'm thinking I'll write a book about the time I lived with a drug dealer in Searcy, AR. It was a pretty bad time for me, all things considered, but it's been on my mind a lot lately. To make that happen, I need to work my ass off this coming week. Then I'll need to work my ass off for the next month. Maybe after that I'll write that zombie book. But if anyone out there is doing NaNoWriMo, my call sign is clbledsoe. Friend me.

Been working on music a log lately. Nothing to post, or anything like that. Mostly trying to relearn songs my band played 15 years ago. I'm going to go do that now, I think. I'd like to get everything set up so I can record soon. Last weekend, we painted and moved furniture. Might set up a little bit of a studio in our spare room. We didn't know how good we were. How could we? We were just kids who'd been told we weren't worth shit to anybody or for anything. Who knew shit grew roses?

It's hell getting older. So little survives. I can't imagine what it will be like in another 20 years.

Did I mention tha I have a short story collection out? It's called Naming the Animals: collected stories, by CL Bledsoe. Look for it on

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I had a short memoir piece picked up by "The Arkansas Review" called "The Shakes." Also received the newest Pear Noir! with not only a couple of my poems included, but one poem as a postcard. Very cool. I haven't read it yet, but lots of great writers in here: Jac Jemc, Rae Bryant, David Erlewine, Shane Jones, Mike Kin...sella, David Yost, etc. etc. etc.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Walnut Literary Review just accepted "This Fine Day," "Returning to Teaching after a Short Absence," and "First House" for their fall issue.

I just wrote the strangest story.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Home Burial" was picked up by Troubadour 21. Also, a poem was picked up by the Naugatuck River Review...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pear Noir has accepted 3 poems--2 to be published in the regular journal and one, apparently, to be published as a postcard. Pretty sweet.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

At the beginning of the year I posted a to-do list. Since my birthday just passed, I thought I'd revisit it and figure out a summer to-do list.

WRITING TO DO: Summer, 2010

1. complete the manuscript for Habit of Doubt, or whatever it ends up being called
-needs more poems about mom, Huntington’s Disease testing, Sword of Damocles, etc.

Short Fiction
1. develop Solum stories collection
2. place Solum stories in good print journals

1. finish a draft of Clay
2. finish Zombietown & place

1. pay off smaller student loan

ETC. TO DO Summer
1. read 100 books
2. lose weight

Monday, May 10, 2010

Verse Wisconsin accepted "The Book Store" for their special issue on work. Also, The Dead Mule accepted a chapbook of poems from RICELAND called MY MOTHER MAKING DONUTS, which is forthcoming in June.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2 poems, "Oklahoma" and "Harry" accepted by Vertebrae. They were very nice about it, seemed excited. I'm looking forward to seeing the issue.

Been moving forward with the short story collection. NAMING THE ANIMALS will be published by Mary Celeste Press in June, I believe. I've proofed it and we're tweaking the cover. I'd like to proof it once more before we go to press.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Not Ours to See," from the manuscript in progress "Habit of Doubt," or whatever it will be called, was accepted by Smash Cake, which actually pays a little. These poems deal with a period of my life that occurred a few years ago when Jillian and I were first living together and I underwent testing for Huntington's Disease. The manuscript isn't quite "there" yet, but people seem to like it...

Friday, April 16, 2010

I had this idea I was going to write another series of month poems similar to the series in ANTHEM. I wrote one, "February", which was just picked up by Right Hand Pointing #33, guest edited by Howie Good.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"18," "Morsels," and "If You Meet a Man in the Street Who Claims to be Rupert Murdoch, Kill Him; the True Rupert Murdoch is Within" were accepted by Pear Noir. Also, "Magpies" will be reprinted in the yearly print anthology of Temenos.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pindeldeyboz took a story, "Mouth," from a series I've been working on. Maintanent 4 took a poem, "Long Time No See."
"Grievances" was just published by Boston Literay Magazine
Cervena Barva Press took a 10-minute play, "Duck Hunting," as a chapbook.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

So I've been experiencing the closest things to panic attacks I've had in years. Not sure why, exactly, except certain difficulties on the job, but nothing really worse or even as bad as usual. Frankly, it's been a nice week, and yet my flight response is in overdrive. More on that in a bit.

So my sister called the other day and told me a story. Her step-daughter works at a tractor supply store in Searcy, Arkansas. She and a customer started talking about poetry, like you do while browsing the new Case IH catalogue, and the customer mentioned that his wife loved the work of this poet who was from Arkansas but now lives in Maryland.

"My uncle is a poet from Arkansas who now lives in Maryland," my neice stated.
"Is his last name Bledsoe?" the guy asked. When my neice confirmed this, the guy said, "My wife loves his poetry."

Weird, huh? I told this story to Chris and he said, "Well, I mean that's your demographic."

So then yesterday I got an email from a publisher to whom I'd sent a short story collection. They want it. Jumping the gun, here, because I haven't even seen a contract, but still nice. Couple of longer stories (in the 20 page range) plus quite a few 10-15 page ones. No flash--didn't seem to fit. Tentatively titles NAMING THE ANIMALS. Mostly stories about troubled relationships with a stong animal theme. I'll just ignore any sexual implications in the previous sentence.

My reaction to both of these things was paranoia and fear.

The bottom line is that the ant-si-ness may well be coming from a lack of literary production. I do feel anxious when I don't write for a certain amount of time, have for years. Frankly, it can cause insomnia, which I think is the reason I was waking up so early for a couple month stretch there. I've actually been writing a bit, lately, but I've also been feeling that itch to do more. Hence putting together the short fiction manuscript in the first place. But it's very difficult to find time right now. We're in the middle of term finals. Grades are due Monday, and I have a stack of essays about an inch thick (hey, it was 2 inches yesterday) plus May Program stuff, getting geared up for next year, possibly switching over to do college counseling (a big maybe) next year, etc. I'm starting new novels in all my classes, etc. So I scribble when I can, but that's not good enough for my belly and my brain. This post, for example, was only possible because of a late start due to weather.

Still, there are chipmunks wrestling on the back wall and there's only one more week until Spring Break, so there's hope. For what, I'm not sure. But it squeaks.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Carcinogenic Poetry took a couple of holdouts from Riceland.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

7. Moon (nice)
8. The Hurt Locker (meh)
9. Extras: Season 1
10. Taming of the Shrew (very funny)
11. Fringe Season 1
12. Weeds Season 5 (I'm amazed at how funny this show is.)
13. Inglorious Basterds (meh)
14. Gran Torino (very good)
15. Public Enemies (I don't know why I rented this.)
16. Paranormal Activity (meh)
17. The Unit, Season 1, Disc 1
18. The Importance of Being Earnest
19. Avatar 3D (Fern Gully meets Pocahontas. It looks really good, but that's about it.)
20. Extras: Season 2

* = saw it in the theater
So I was thinking that I watch a lot of movies, but when I sat down to think of the ones I'd seen recently, I couldn't think of many. So I thought I'd start keepong track to see if I'm really a movie junkie. The thing is, we don't have TV (we have A TV, it just doesn't receive we use it to watch movies) so I'm including TV shows we've rented. So this is total TV/movie watching.

So here's what I can remember watching in January (with help from Netflix):

1. Shakespeare Retold: Taming of the Shrew/Midsummer Night's Dream
2. Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5
3. Lost Season 5
4. Due South Season 1 & 2
5. The Book of Eli*
6. Legion*

Of all of these, Shakespeare Retold: Taming of the Shrew was the best. Very, very funny. It's available on Youtube.

* = saw it in the theater

Dear Ghoti Readers,

The term “soundtrack to my life” has become a bit of a cliché, but I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have some special relationship with music, a song that reminds you of an old lover or the trip you took your family in 6th grade or any one of life’s random moments.

For us at Ghoti, music holds a special place, so we have decided to dedicate and devote this issue to the energy and inspiration which music provides us on a daily basis. We would like to thank everyone who contributed, both working musicians and writers whose work has been influenced by music.

Also, a very special thanks to Sarah Jurado, a wildly talented photographer who graciously provided us with our cover photo. We hope you, the reader, enjoy this issue and continue to celebrate music and the musicians who make it.

Best regards,

The Editors

Monday, February 08, 2010

Boston Literary Review just picked up a poem I sent yesterday. It's been awhile...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

11. A Civic Pageant, poems by Frank Montesonti.
12. The Importance of Being Earnest, a play by Oscar Wilde
13. Marvelous Hairy: a Novel in Five Fractals, by Mark Rayner
14. What to Do with a Dying Parakeey, a poetry chapbook by Corey Cook.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Books I’ve read in January (all of these were for review in Ghoti):

1. Listen: twenty-nine short conversations, short stories by Corey Mesler. Brown Paper Publishing, 2009. $14.00.
2. The Future is Happy, poems by Sarah Sarai. Buffalo, New York: Blaze Vox Books, 2009.
3. Do Something! Do Something! Do Something!, a novel by Joseph Riipi. St. Petersburg, Florida: Ampersand Books, 2009.
4. Easter Rabbit, a collection of micro-fiction by Joseph Young. Baltimore, MD: Publishing Genius Press, 2009. $13.95
5. Airs and Voices, poems by Paula Bonnell.
6. Staring at the Animal, poems by John Cross.
7. Lost and Found, flash fiction by Meg Pokrass.
8. The Possibility of recovery, poems by William Delman.


9. Finding the Words, poems by Dan Maquire.
10. The Taming of the Shrew, by Shakespeare.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



Weight falls like miles beneath our tires.
Rest is a day that hasn't come,

though we mark it each month, hoping.
Lines form around our eyes as though

they were once much larger, and the sun
has shrunk them and condensed their contents.


Noise fills the eyes as well
as the ears, stretching from our door—

a snake's belly rubbing
the linoleum-covered concrete of the grocery

store, the carpet at work, worn by lines
of shoes, all stamping out

an oroboros, their eyes on its scales, each

painted with advertisements for
healthcare none of us can afford.


Eating out is a good way to say I love you
when there's someone else at whom to stare.

Let someone younger earn the tip
by keeping the glasses of our evenings filled

so we can sip away the time until bed

while we keep the air full of the noise
of our minds winding down.


Fall into the flour smelling bosom of maturity.
Skin pale, doughy. Vanilla. Hair blonding.

The nipped fingers of youth harden, shrink
like uneaten fruit. Cells die. The ones

that remain spread like splayed toes
to fill the space.

(Originally in, I believe, Press 1)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"I May Be a Bear" is going to be reprinted in Press 1's anthology THE RED ROOM. "Texas" was anthologized by Mud Luscious press in FIRST YEAR.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Also, it's not really funny...

Working Titles for Quentin Tarantino Films

City on Fire 2
Mutilating Cops to the Oldies
Lake Bears
Pond Kitties
Reservoir Dogs

Vinnie Barbarino’s Dance Party
Seriously, I’m Not Winona Ryder; I'm Uma Thurman!
Pulp Fiction

Positive African American Female Role Model
Coffee Crotch Rot
Jackie Brown

Hurt Bert
Carve Marve
Maim Seamus
Assfuck Chuck
Kill Phil
Kill Jill
Kill Neil
Kill Bill

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Caper Journal took "The Wayback Machine," a new poem of mine. I've been playing footsie with them for a while. Also keep coming close with Leveler--they actually took a poem, but it was a simultaneous, so I withdrew it and haven't been able to hit again.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The new issue of the Arkansas Review apparently has an interview I conducted with poet and activist Ed Madden and a review of ANTHEM. I haven't even seen the issue yet. One of the editors sent me a quote from the review: “With its hip, straightforward, unorganized, and unique sense of style, Bledsoe’s Anthem is a brilliant, but humble, collection of poetry that reflects a long awaited shift in Southern poetry.”

Unfortunately, I don't even know who the reviewer is...
"Fire and Rain" is up at The 2nd Hand.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A poem, "Crow or Car Tire," accepted by Leaf Garden Press.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Hamilton Stone Review accepted "Old Gray Mare," an essay about a car of mine that burned in the parking lot of a Wal Mart in West Memphis on New Year's a few years ago.