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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


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



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

Blue Hummingbird

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

Something Usual...

Lock Her Up



to a nonplussed audience

 of her parents

a molested daughter

blurts out the secret

about her lately pouting tummy

how it came to pass



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



the fury of a father

shocks high-color to face

as he pummels daughter 

in attempts to exorcise

the madness   

that threatens exposure



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



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     



an unheard daughter 

serving one-month solitary in Juvenile Hall

revisits over and over  

the last few moments at home




Cynthia L. Bryant 

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

"Eric Howard-Editor and Poet

Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil



When I go to this favored place in imaging

Where tall grass and cattails surround 

Cool dark waters alive with reflection

A looking glass scrying questions

With no foreseeable answers


I gather abstract queries recovered from both sides

Dreamland and tangible tests

Mortality and frozen living    pictured in shadows

Has this been a chosen path or one stumbled upon by fate


Gazing into test of reflection

A horrid dark entity appears solid

Holding its space   faceless   still nameless 

Only aware of self   yet threatening 


I lean forward to catch a glimpse of the face

Who has come to do war over our existence 

Wanting to know what I must challenge soon

Cutting short before a face is revealed

In enough time to keep from falling into the pond

Where I surely would drown


©2023 Cynthia Lane Bryant



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



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


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

covid golden gate bridge.webp

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

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

(C)2022 Cynthia Bryant


Small but beautifully formed.

Barbara Scott Emmett,

UK Writer Editor Reviewer



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

Ukraine Children.JPG

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


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 

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

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


Remarks: Still Small Voice

"Passionate. Heartbreaking. Wonderful poem." 


Cindy Anderson, Monterey

"Heartbreaking, I am moved beyond words."


Sheila Landre


"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

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                                                     

Knot Knowing


Braided rigidly in childhood

Gently unwoven without thought

   Santa tied to gifts faded with years

   Followed by giant hopping rabbits

   Colored boiled eggs that nobody ate


Huddled in mollycoddled upper middle-class

my country always the righteous leader of the free

where a Christian God determined choices of liberty for all

Everyone’s propagandized experience the same view

above the fog of reality


Ruminate on rote holidays loosely based on Pagan myth

A first Thanksgiving of wrongly named Indians   savages

losers in cowboy games

Trinkets exchanged Indian givers

dry paper treaties that choke going down

Colonization stealing words   beliefs   lives


African Americans casual mention in textbooks like footnotes

Pictured serving betters in fields of cotton with simple song-joy

kidnapped   chained close quarters below deck

wallowed in vomit   shit     tears for ancestors lost

So severe the treatment administered

Nazis used our blueprint to oppress Jews


Yes, we learned how Germany treated their Jews

In 1930’s America   we excluded them

Doled out neighborhoods to live   clubs to join   jobs to seek

Our final solution, turn back ship-filled escapees

To concentration camps   bullets   gas    then ovens


Tulsa’s Black Wall Street Massacre of 1921

Most knew nothing of before 2019

As a graphic novel Watchmen

released on HBO   watched in horror

Streets of successful blacks of Tulsa

awash with killing   burning   

chasing reminders    those who earned the same

or more than hate riddled whites


Millennium stories color our nation

The lies, the lynchings, the Jim Crow South adorned postcards

Buffalo soldiers   escaped and emancipated slaves  

drafted and enlisted   fought    died here and over there

maintain American moxie

Still treated like filth   no jobs   no honor


Redlining kept America white    segregated and racist

In the Bronx landlords bribed

beyond poverty-stricken neighborhood kids

to burn it down in the 1970’s

create slums    collect insurance money

cleanse area of color    build ritzy apartments


Sundown towns still exist in America today

As do people of color chosen to die for our honor

Still fight for the rights of others

Voting roles stripped    to drive while black

Or walk street paying a price   the final one


History muted annexed protect fragile whites

America bans books to hide shame

Keep folks from shuddering at two-faced mirrors

Knowing has escaped   loosened

Knot untied

(C)2022 Cynthia Bryant

Rope Circle

Missing in Action



He walks the neighborhood

halted step - jump - step

left leg wounded in the war

Shoulders hunched

from years of holding belongings on his back

Stringy hair

dusted with white

like the donuts he devours

at the soup kitchen


He stalked the jungle once

like a leopard

hunted by the enemy

trained to kill

or be killed

the life he once knew

obliterated in napalm

exchanged for this nightmare


He walks in night terrors now

prefers the safety

of the enemy he knows

to those yet to materialize

His freedom allows no square box

with walls or doors

to hold him hostage

moving daily to avoid capture


He stalks the neighborhood

after dark    in fatigues     

face painted with mud

(C)1998 Cynthia Lane Bryant

Missing in Action  


Powerful, tender poem!

Louise Moises Donleavy

At 70…


There’s a hollow

in the space youth once grew


Bits and pieces strewn

without prejudice


Stretched thin in process

seen through to the other side


Some still full of fluff

float to the surface


An amusement to ponder

a nightmare I wandered


Never filling the void

sacralize memory or thought


A hole bombed out

left to challenge non-believers


© 2022 Cynthia Bryant




Having never nursed a child properly


A dragon has taken up residence

Into the darkened cavern


She brought forth progeny

Fed them off living walls


We can burn them out

Use chemical warfare


Send in the dragon slayer

Armed with a great sharp sword


But because you never learned

How to correctly nurture your own children


The old cavern will collapse

And dragon has a chance to set you ablaze


Save her own

(C)2023 Cynthia Lane Bryant

Agony of Jim Crow



I can’t comprehend

the mindset it must take

to hate on the cause of skin

tainted a shade too dark

in one’s mind eye


At what point

in the spectrum of color

does pigmentation bleed

over invisible line becoming a target


Hue casts shadows

that stalk then stain

an entire lifetime


Moment upon

mealy mouthed hatred

must pick away

while Crow feasts the soul 

a constant reminder of crime   

being born black

(C) 2018 Cynthia Lane Bryant

Rinse Cycle


Ocean at high tide

slowly recedes

belching up treasure


Yesterday's creatures caught 

exposed unaware

In the giant net of twilight


Spotlight of gloaming

Gently displays

Iridescent jewels

discarded by mermaids

grown tired of it all 

(C) 2014     Cynthia Lane Bryant

Change is Going to Come



It was rumored for years

Nobody believed


The scientists

Playing around in the gene pool


Day 1

After the bombs fell

All awoke

Still perfect in every way

Only changed


I no longer female

Aware of the subtle weight

Between thighs

chest pulled taut

Against me


My mate appeared before me

He no longer he

He now she

With full ripe breasts

Smooth soft cheeks


In those short sweet moments

As magnetic poles shifted

As men became women

Women, men

Wars suddenly ceased


Precious time spent

Coming to terms

Self exploration

And then full out

Joyous coupling


Life flourished anew



(C)October 5, 1997 Cynthia Lane Bryant

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