POEMS

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Remarks

Something Usual In Any Other Circumstance

 

 

The afternoon is sunny after the storm

as Joe and I make our way

up the incline of Black Road

slow going in the old V.W. Bug

Our son rests on my lap

something not frowned upon

before child safety-seat laws

only he’s in a small cardboard box

inside a plastic bag

tied with a twist

 

I think of the many times

we’ve traveled this road

him wiggling on my lap

gurgling with glee

I attempt to shade his eyes

from the blaze of light

as we drive that final mile 

 

Today we take him home

for the last time

park in front of the empty lot

scorched black where our house stood

the week before

open the small cardboard box

untie the twist on the plastic bag

and one last time he is animated

playing on the sudden breeze

that rises to guide him to his rest

 

© 2004 Cynthia Bryant

Something Usual...

I read your poem several times, each time crying with a new revelation. But what I’ve ultimately come to realize, Cynthia, is you’ve made your son come alive in my mind, and with every reading of your poem by every reader, your son lives again. What a gift you have given us.

               ❤️️ Becky Bishop White

 

 

Heart wrenching. Very beautifully written.   

 

               Constance Cheslock Hanstedt

 

That's an excellent poem. I also write poetry, so I never say something's good if it isn't. I'm so sorry for your loss.  

 

                               Chloe Wagner

Hummingbird

 

Tiny nervous creatures

Flitters all around

Such intense movement

Without so much as a sound

 

Stunning, all a quiver

Such a solemn face

Expending all that energy

While floating in one place

 

Cynthia Bryant September 22, 1998

Hummingbird

Love this little rhymed poem. Small but perfectly formed. I've only seen a hummingbird once, in France, and this totally captures the experience.

Barbara Scott Emmett,

UK Writer Editor Reviewer

Millennium

 

 

In the minds of surveyors

the scribes of Man

as another century slams full speed

into the wall of time

The millennium

teeters on the edge of abyss

the black hole of future

unexplored

 

Common eyes poised

in a backward gaze

fearful to let go of the familiar

The Midas touch of nostalgia

apportioned to faded past

 

All thought turns now

to the hands of time

swiftly reaching for each other at midnight

For that is how it will come upon us

in the black of night

people struggling to focus in the darkness

only to be greeted by dawn

2001 Cynthia Bryant

 

 

 

Cookies for the Children of Haiti

 

On any given day

kids of every age are seen sitting

legs crossed     squatting  

nibbling this much sought-after staple

in the La Saline slum

 

Women up early

cross an open sewer

to buy dirt

$5 to make a hundred cookies

 

Climb rope ladders carrying buckets

up to the abandoned prison roof

   sift out stones and twigs

   infuse dirt with water

   on occasion add some sugar, salt and butter

fill over-sized clay pots

thoroughly mixing with hands

some while nursing

 

Scoop out a handful at a time

arrange into cookies on the ground

left to dry in the sunshine

 

Sell to others waiting

offer hopes of rich minerals held in the earth

a way to slow the rumble of empty dreams

 

2012 Cynthia L Bryant

Lock Her Up

 

Somewhere 

to a nonplussed audience

 of her parents

a molested daughter

blurts out the secret

about her lately pouting tummy

how it came to pass

 

Somewhere

a mother screams 

unintelligible sounds rise

to blot out offending words

that present too hard a choice

Calls the police

on her canary-yellow kitchen phone

 

Somewhere

the fury of a father

shocks high-color to face

as he pummels daughter 

in attempts to exorcise

the madness   

that threatens exposure

 

Somewhere

nosey neighbors open front doors

stand in groups in their yards

make up minds by committee 

about what sort of folks

and who’s at fault

when laundry is aired

 

Somewhere

small town police arrive

lights flashing

as parents point to daughter 

an undone puzzle on the floor

police gather the pieces 

pile her into the back of a squad car     

 

Somewhere 

an unheard daughter 

serving one-month solitary in Juvenile Hall

revisits over and over  

the last few moments at home

   outnumbered

         incorrigible

 

Cynthia L. Bryant 

Remarks-Lock Her Up
 
"Powerful Poem"
Anita May, LA Poet/ Editor
"Amazing Poem"

"Eric Howard-Editor and Poet

Into Now

Chill Air

moves arms

of great green giants

outside window view

Today they do not dance

Unable to sing...

Voiceless    a prayer

      Help these simple humans

      So busy doing 

      they have forgotten

      Look up from your gadgets

      See your path spread out

Folks allowed to meander into treachery 

Many animals fade into extinction

Days bake in blazes or frosted in ice

Winds swirl like genetic markers changing blueprints of landscape

Great migrations swarm from rising seas

As much as in peril of receding fresh

Holes open   Lands shake   Air turned caustic

Outside chaos mirrors inside madness

 

Mother Earth may have to rid herself

 

(c)2022 Cynthia L Bryant 

Tree Lined Park

 The Ritual

 

Covers up over the chin,

tucked in around my body

Teddy hugged closely to my chest,

arms crossed

Legs stiff out straight,

clamped together and

crossed at the ankles

Breathing quiet and shallow,

until it virtually disappears

Closet doors shut all the way

Bedroom door opened wide

Supersonic hearing activated

Eyes focused on the open door

 

Is this the way

all 7-year-old girls

prepare for sleep?

 

Cynthia L. Bryant ©June 12, 1994

                            *

My first poem. It won third place in The Morris Center, San Francisco, CA International  Poetry Contest..

9.0 Two Hours Later  

 

Viewed from above

beaches littered with little semblance

of what must have been cycled lives

that rose then fell 

with thirty-foot waves

that crashed into reality

faster than Japan’s bullet trains travel

arriving at the speed of tourist carrying jets

to ring the gong of tragedy

so clearly

the whole world shivered 

and cried out as one

 

©2005 Cynthia L. Bryant

Crossroads

 

Nightfall contained pitch-thick air of desert

though muted night-lights glistened above

no light made its way through doorless opening

into the adobe pueblo with earthen floors

floors to sit, fitfully sleep upon

ample water from a nearby well 

 

Daylight hours spent in town

daughter perched on hip

husband’s eyes hawk-like from a distance 

as we pulled manna from the hearts of tourists 

for formula, diapers, food 

enough to gas the psychedelic painted van

bartered for in Colorado the month before

 

Barely into my seventeenth-year

on the sly with Army-deserter husband     

who hid beneath a dark-haired wig 

tied at his forehead with rawhide band

Our hungry daughter

whose bottom prickled with rash

that year outside of Taos

 

Summer season brought happy diversions

shared with brightly clad wanderers

whose long hair, beads, bandanas

colored my world

as they trickled eastward 

toward rumors of days and nights 

filled with free-love, music

 

We stayed on 

unable to follow the dreamers

Our young family

pressed deep into living

that summer of ‘69

battling survival and dysentery

against colorless New Mexico backdrop

under shadow of fading youth 

 

©2005 Cynthia L. Bryant

Blue Hummingbird
Image by Lachlan Donald
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Epiphany

We think we know the story

heard it since Sunday school 

     And the angel visited Mary

     told her she held the fruit of the Lord

     in her womb

   

And even though her condition was such 

Joseph would take her for his wife...

legitimize the heavenly rape

In those times unwed with child

bequeathed a slow gruesome dissolution to an adulterer   death by stoning

at the hands of neighbors

for your shame

 

So, what if this was your young life alone   pregnant   circumstance waived

rape or consent     death your prize

What would you say

using all imagination under heaven and earth

slacking death's desire tugging at robes hem

to stay rocks  

bashing in your tender brains

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Panther

Very Atmospheric-captures Jim Morrison perfectly. What would have happened, I wonder, if the devouring had been allowed to take place?

Barbara Scott Emmett, UK Writer Editor Reviewer

Panther

The stranger's open hands

found mine

grasped them firmly

pulling me up

on to the backdoor landing

Clothed in black

leather pants

that hung low

clung to narrow hips

encircled by ovals of silver

Long-sleeved white shirt

hugged close to 

masculine shoulders

several buttons open

down his chest

Restless curls

wandered his head

wild and free

settling on his collar

Intense cat eyes

almost golden hungry with curiosity

took my temperature

With self-satisfied smile

he purred

               "Hey honey,

        What ya doing here?"

Suddenly self-conscious

I mumbled something

about my old man

being in the opening band

            "Too bad"

His lips pursed into pout,

showing me to a chair

That night so long ago

at the American Legion Hall

hand in hand with a guy

whose name I can't recall

lost in a universe of faces

on a darkened dance floor

one beam of light

shone on the Vee-Jay announcer

     "Time has come to welcome

    here from L.A. with their hit

    Light My Fire, topping the charts

    Let's hear it for ...The Doors"

Like a clap of thunder

the drums thumped solitary

As strobe lights flashed

the electric harpsichord played the intro

as the young man in tight leather pants

leapt onto stage like a panther

microphone in hand

It is only now in the luxury glint

of recorded history

I realize how closely I had come

to being devoured

 

Cynthia Lane Bryant

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Novice

 

Today’s flight began early

Before mother earth had waken

Stand in lines   Remove shoes

Please place all jewelry, change, phone and computer

In the white plastic boxes provided

 

A walk through the metal detector

Already comfort zone level ajar

When the machine clangs alarm

 

Taken aside red-faced    stricken upright 

A hand wand is waved up and down the body

Emitting another rude sound

 

When out comes a barrel of a woman with the look

Of an annoyed pit-bull

Has me stand still    arms out straight

Gets to 1st and 2nd base with witnesses

As my PTSD alarm kicks in

And I disappear

Only my rhinestone-studded blouse

To face the verdict   

2016 Cynthia Bryant

We're trying, we're hoping

We're hurting, we're loving

We're crying, we're calling

'Cause we're not sure how this goes

Calling All Angles-KD Lang and Jane Sidberry

Diving into 2020

 

Who of us could have imagined?

Living in a time of so much suffering and loss

We scratch through the dust bin of history

For an understanding yet to be known

We revile the wagging tongues spewing poison

Daily on screens large and small

 

Pictures of dead bodies piled high

Most never able to see loved ones at the end

 

Tireless unsung service workers

Beyond weary in their bones and minds

Less cars going to work   Less planes in the air

Factories closed to save lives

Fresh products left to rot

Farm animals raised only to euthanize

 

Hungry get hungrier     poor poorer

Easy targets for a ravenous virus or selfish society

Feral creatures venture out

parade main streets USA 

Air fresher, freer of pollutants

Earth quieted hums in harmony

People bitch, yell, demand their rights

A re-opening of things   back to normal

Mother sings to those who will hear 

Opening begins with minds and hearts

(c) Cynthia Bryant 2020

 Supremacy.

Am I really superior.

how can that be?

Thin skin   milky white

created in absence of love

sold on the black market

I crawled on bloodied knees

through emotional obscurity

to now

 

As i look about I spy every hue

of upright human doings

flesh tones run the gamut

of albino white to darkest night

happily housed souls

the family of human kind

 

Even color of eyes give little hint

of what character of soul

peers through

Each have sulked in poverty

to increments of gilded wealth

Kneeled down to many or no god

Experienced joy and loss

Besides the necessary differences

of male to female anatomy

and amorphous others 

spectrum of all remains the same

Have the same viscous fluids

that maintain life on the inside

loosen each moment when interrupted

erupted to air, flowing on the ground

circle the drain

 

Our emotions are all that separate souls

allow self-loathing   hatred of others

to divide us

we cannot detect from sight

that which makes that atom split

makes us destructive to one another

Superiority does not exist

in a world where all

were created form stardust

with misfit genes

that only enhance imperfections

Cynthia L Bryant (C) 2021

Early Dream

 

 

Drawn from troubled repose

rubbing sleep from eyes

I follow laughter

down the hall

Enter knee-hi into a room

with a soft haze of acrid air

alive with sleek hands

holding chilled stems of cocktails

smoldering butts 

between yellow-stained fingers

 

I search frantically for mother

as prattle dances across the room

from the myriad 

of bright red mouths 

that smile hideously

cackle loudly   then louder 

I gasp in horror

for mother’s face 

is on each and every

wicked witch there

 

August 19, 1999 3:46 PM 

 

Cynthia Bryant 

Brush Stroke
Night Scene

Cold Skin

 

Cheap masks

quiet grimaces of despair

Years survived chaotic fury

 

Graveyards layered in myriad lies

piled higher than used-up people

can ever take back

 

Trudge travailed paths

baked into finite history’s deep ravine 

Times of folks whose evil tones

Slipped out like shit from overfed crows

feasting pain and loss

 

Heretic lost    burned in effigy

hoping to create something pure

out of skid marks left by Trump

Beach Town Summer

 

The stone bench carved with Celtic knots

waits in the garden

remains empty

As I admire it from my office window

 

Alongside the deeply rooted fifty plus foot tree

has the look of someone poising

right hip swung to one side

gnarled limbs buoyant on ocean air

 

Small precious butterflies dart in around

bright summer foliage

the place my dogs love to play

chase their shadows

as lemons decide when to drop

join the others on the ground

 

Even the many birds

Who sing, chant and rail for me this June morning

Know little of the path  travailed dreams

dead and otherwise

That led me here today

my bit of Shangri-La

(C)2018 Cynthia L Bryant

Southern Breeze

Beautiful description brought the heat and perfume of the South right off the page. Then we get to the grit. We get to see the sad reality behind the beauty. Things have changed since Rosa Parks sat down-but not enough yet.

 

Barbara Scott Emmett,

UK Writer Editor Reviewer 

Utopia

SALT

 

Often when you touch me 

    in that familiar way 

sensation transports me

takes me to the borders of the infinite

a place where you and I are intertwined

with all that have been or will ever be

dazzling jewels like sea foam

sunbathing on the rocks

Cynthia Bryant (C)2015

Stars

Age of Night

 

Darkness that teased

stars to light

long before

God called forth

the heavens

Serenity that quelled

a molten melting pot

cooling    hardening sphere

into the Rock of Ages

First to suck breath

off the atmosphere

last to leave

its moss dark kiss

after he calls it quits

(c) 2000 Cynthia L Bryant

Dedicated to Rosa Parks

who went to her final glory

 October 24, 2005.

 

Southern Breeze 

 

Summertime in the south

was slow with thick wet air

smell of magnolia blossoms

fragrant mint grew in yards

Swamp-coolers and overhead fans

moved like molasses poured over fritters

 

Black tea, sweet and well iced

hushpuppies served with syrup     

grits drenched with butter, on the side

Where sensible white-folks with means

hired colored women with hungry children 

for pennies on the dollar to do their bidding

 

Syndicated Amos and Andy Shows 

played by under-employed black actors

brought peals of laughter across the South

on black and white televisions 

in proper white homes 

where blacks were allowed only as servants

 

White-hooded Klansmen still came by night 

continued to burn crosses

hang bitter crop reminders of hate 

from white poplar trees 

that Billy sang about at 78 r.p.m.  

for whites and blacks to sway to 

 

The time before Martin had his dream

that ended in a nation’s nightmare

Days when thousands of people marched

singing “We shall overcome”

and a tired working woman took her place

defiantly in history, just by sitting down

Cynthia Bryant (C) 2005

Romantic Sunset

Gloaming

In the etch less seam

between light and dusk

we the lucky peasantry

stand in attendance

   glorious last hurrah

Sun-beamed clouds unfurl

tangerine pink of fading light

that slinks below sight

into royal purple sky

and in the hush

Earth sighs

(c) 2001 Cynthia L. Bryant

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Moments Before

Siren's sound

Light-flash glares

Rubble to warm

 

Tucked under a school

upon a shelf    astounded dolls

sit in lines    knees to chest

Final resting place

past    dreams of home

(C)2022

Sitcom Life                        

 

Back then

When "Donna Reed" was mother

"Father Knows Best" dad

When my young mind settled

Living in black and white

Fantasy unavailable in color

Too vivid in real life

 

A set-aside place

Where life problems got resolved

Over a twenty-two minute time slot

Everyone loved happily ever after

No matter what the story line

Every day ending with a hug and kiss

 

Back then

When "Donna Reed" was mother

"Father Knows Best" my dad

When make believe parents

Were the most I could hope for

Filling mile-wide gaps of affection

Where my Techni-color family dwelled 

 

(c) 1997 Cynthia L Bryant

Still Small Voice

 

They made me come see her

those folks that protects kids

Last year they took away sissy

for getting too fat or sumpin’

Next day police grabbed papa Joe

took him straight aways to jail

Mama says same thing happened to her

with papa Sam 

Seems like womens are always causin’ problems

 

One time 

after my baby brother Buck went to his rest

Mama told me her mama passed when she was ten

At Eleven, sissy born almost dead 

could barely whimper

When she was thirteen I came into the world

screamin’, her daddy’s face grown on to mine

she slapped regular for no good reason 

 

I saw the whole thing 

clear as softball every Saturday afternoon

behind the old school

Papa Horace came knockin’ round midnight

singin’ Amazin’ Grace how sweet your mouth

lookin’ for some sugar

no more childs that way

 

How mama told him 

she was fixin’ to have another child 

he stopped singin’ then

turned all mealy-mouthed 

mama shouted no, then screamed

Horace’s shiny black boot

caught her side, her open mouth

then landed on her belly over and over

‘til she was quiet as night

 

Mama’s in a high bed on wheels

her mouth split open like rotten peaches

left on the ground, spittle bubbles

runnin’ from the corners of the black hole

where teeth used to be 

open to no man  no how

 

The red bandana mama wore to bed 

Is missin’, ripped off 

Head wrapped with a clean white rag

stained with red patches like the berries

she puts up the end of every summer

spreads on our bread all winter long

 

Everyone of my papas run off or run in

No papa to take me in

Show me man stuff

Tell me how lifes gonna be

State foster folks my familys now

 

Grace is gone 

Left me like her mama left her

no good for nothin’ mama just lays there

No more mouthin’ off, no more nothin’

Just like her papa Sam told me

Before he took off 

Women’s ain’t nothin’ but troubles

They gets what they deserve

All of them bitches

 

Cynthia Bryant  (c) 2018

Back Alley...

a misnomer, too benign

For such a vile deed

The place I was taken

To cover the heinous deeds of my father

 

The house in disrepair

rubble all around

question of sanitary conditions

Answered simply by lifting eyes or nose

 

There, seated on well-worn couches 

Fidgety frightened, forlorn women

I in my shame, hardly daring

To look up or glance around

 

Given a tranquilizer an hour before arrival 

At the den of death   corners of my vision softened ever so slightly

 

Mother sat by my side 

Attempting small talk

A nervous ruthless culprit in crime

Determined to have her way

 

Strangers

Lead me down the darkened hallway 

To a lighted room—

Given gas, almost immediately

 

Awakened into a nightmare: 

Loud squealing, crashing sounds, 

Brightly colored flashing lights

Assaulted my senses

 

As my molested body contracted to hold on

Sounds of a ruinous running remedy

Poured into some far away bucket

Outraged, my tortured mind screamed 

 

I came to—two tampons crammed up 

My young, ravaged body   fragile mind splintered beyond belief   or caring

 

Father’s sin washed away clean

Murderers paid in full

I was encouraged to leave, post haste

 

 

©2005 Cynthia L Bryant

 

Remarks: Still Small Voice

"Passionate. Heartbreaking. Wonderful poem." 

 

Cindy Anderson, Monterey

"Heartbreaking, I am moved beyond words."

 

Sheila Landre

 

Atlas

 

 

He must have been

on a walk that spring afternoon

stooped to smell marigolds

 

I bet that is when it happened

a casual acquaintance asked the favor

 

     Carry this for a moment     would ya?

 

Precariously hunched over

the weight of the world

on his shoulders

  

I know how he felt

 

Perception

an interesting game of the ages…

(C) 2021 Cynthia L Bryant

Mafia Man at Night Black and White
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Ban the Bomb, Burn the Bras

 

Women ripping them off

taking to the streets in numbers

that staggered imagination

everyone was protesting something

 

In midst of fray

   breasts became important to me

   checking delicate buds daily

   couldn’t wait for them to grow

 

With time came the first brassiere

   cinched the diaphragm

   covered the obvious

   promised to lift and separate

   suddenly we were shapelier

 

The first time out without

mom insisted 

Band-Aids be placed over aureoles

as if nipples were eyesores

that would wound

 

Out of the house, out of the harness

revel in every bounce and jiggle

expand ribcage without duress

no more dents in shoulders

as if I carried the world

 

I suppose

the shelf-life of my breasts shortened

   a day, a week, a year

for the rebelliousness

only to redress once more

a few years later

 

As for the bombs

they still fall

   off and on

but put your minds at ease

   Word is, they are smart now 

 

Cynthia L Bryant                                                     

Salt

Small but beautifully formed.

Barbara Scott Emmett,

UK Writer Editor Reviewer

Clouds

 

Many days

clouds have sullied the light

with their downcast brooding

weight of untried tears

 

Perhaps vision of the miniscule minion slimy

slinking from every overturned rock

has burdened their sensibilities

 

You see greed and hatred has seized the day

it is the year of our Presidential election

 all that is right with our world

becomes overlooked as grace dies

 

When this second deluge commences

the world is covered with tears

Will we the survivors be content

with a dry spot to lay our heads

as we watch the gentile giants in the sky

pass over

(c) 2020 Cynthia Bryant

Autumn Sky

"Ban the Bomb, Burn the Bras”

 

As with so many of her works, it is the searing honesty that first appeals - writing about an intimate subject in a way I have never heard before - a subject that many might find uncomfortable or too personal.  But that is exactly what I want to hear - the Band-aid line is so telling and revealing (or not!) - a real experience, a human experience I can relate to even though I am not a woman.  Again, as with many of her poems, Cynthia mirrors the intimate against the impersonal world - a backdrop where names might change but the horror never does.  A lovely piece of work on so many levels, quintessential Cynthia.

       

David Marrow