.

Bang!

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those
who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”—This quote was attributed by John Kennedy to medieval thinker Dante Alighieri 

I’m polite and I am civil.
I am civil and polite.
I nod at dullest drivel,
My eyes and head don’t swivel,
I make the heavy light.

I’m a champion of propriety
Without an ounce of spite,
Embracing all that’s trite
With airs of pure delight.
I avoid all notoriety
While tempering anxiety
That sullies our society
In times of fight or flight…

Until you mention politics.
The fix is in, it’s in the fix.
My inner brawler kick, kick, kicks—
Bang! Bang! Bang!

I am meek and I am mild;
I am mild and I am meek—
Imperturbation’s child,
I’m unruffled, never riled,
It’s tranquility I seek.

I’m a spreader of serenity—
No short shrift, sass or cheek.
You’ll never hear me shriek,
I’m whisperingly chic.
My voice is an amenity
With soothing coos of lenity,
I dodge and duck obscenity
In times of fits of pique…

Until you mention politics.
Sticks and stones, stones and sticks.
My inner F-bomb tick, tick, ticks—
Bang! Bang! Bang!

.

.

Kindred Spirits 

I see her every morning and I think,
A slick of lipstick wouldn’t go amiss.
A glossed-on grin might grab her from the brink
Of misery’s mascara-smudged abyss.
Her sorrow saps the sparkle from each eye
And furrows flaw her forehead with a frown.
Her pout is pursed with pity’s pissy sigh,
For every up she has just plunges down.
Her simpering has suffocated zeal.
Her carping’s clipped the wings of sky-high bliss.
I wish she’d quit each fit of squawk-and-squeal
And purge her urge to snipe and gripe and hiss.

If only I could cure with warm affection
My melancholic bitch of a reflection.

.

.

Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).


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35 Responses

  1. Russel Winick

    Susan:

    Thank you as always for your poems. Kindred Spirits does a terrific job of speaking to, as I read it, the relatable struggle to change and improve oneself, and become more consistently positive in nature.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Russel – the struggle in Kindred Spirits is a struggle I bear daily of late… I’m beginning to smile and only griping poetically, so things are on the up. 😉

      Reply
  2. Paul Freeman

    I particularly liked the first poem. It reads like a Gilbert & Sullivan or a My Fair Lady song.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, Paul. I love to play with form and thought the arrangement of this added to the humour of the message… I’m now going to try singing it. I’ll take great delight in the explosive chorus.

      Reply
  3. Bruce E. Wren

    Hi Susan. I always enjoy your poetry, and this small collection is no exception. However, for the sake of intellectual integrity, you should know that Dante never said, or wrote, that quote you placed at the beginning of your poems. I am an assiduous Dante reader, and it just didn’t sound right, so I looked it up. According to this article, https://harpers.org/2010/10/dante-the-curse-on-those-who-do-nothing-in-the-face-of-evil/, it was John F. Kennedy who attributed it to him, but wrongly so. Dante does “blast” the souls who “sit on the fence” in Canto III of the Inferno, but he never wrote that quote. Of course, the darkest places in Hell are reserved in the “Comedy” to traitors.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Bruce, thank you very much for your observation on the quotation front. I must apologize for this. I gave all my time and attention to the poem and picked out the quote without due diligence. I’ll be more careful in the future.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Sally, your comment is a golden ray of sunshine in the dark world of dodgy politics. I do believe my reflection may smile back (Mona Lisa style) tomorrow morning, as a result of your kind words… thank you!

      Reply
  4. Gail

    Reading Psalms can help with the melancholic bitch–taking pictures of birds probably helps, too, I’d imagine. Really, wonderful–you have yet, in my limited experience of your work, to lay on a burden without also teaching. Refreshing as ever.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Gail, I love your advice. Encouraged by your words, I have immersed myself in Psalms today and I have arranged a birding trip for Friday… I’m feeling a little more smiley already. Thank you too for your continued support of my poetry. Hopefully, after reveling in the glory of avian splendor, I’ll come up with some poetry that will cheer everyone up.

      Reply
  5. Joe Tessitore

    P.S. I’m a martini guy as well – after passing my 70th birthday, it would be more accurate to say that I have fond memories of once being a martini guy.
    Mine was Bombay Sapphire up with a twist.
    In Manhattan restaurants, they cost as much as dinner.

    Reply
    • Sally Cook

      Joe –
      What is Bombay Sapphire? Some kind of blue liqueur? For years I concentrated on making sure my drink matched my dress; later I went with bourbon and wawa, no ice. Now I just enjoy a nice glass of good red wine.

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Stick with the red wine, Sally, because it is good for you (but not much better for you than plain red grapes). Bombay Sapphire is just an intensely herbal gin. It’s a clear liquid, though the bottle it comes in might be tinted blue.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      I’ve just discovered the wonder of the shaken-not-stirred lifestyle, Joe… and there’s no going back! Purely medicinal, of course. 😉 Your “Bombay Sapphire up with a twist” sounds like it has the sort of Bond sophistication I’m looking for in Tequila country… oops, that may be a Texas faux pas!

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Tequila, Susan, is just fine if you can’t get your hands on a case of Lone Star Beer. As for the James Bond martini angle, I think it went from stirred-not-shaken (Sean Connery) to shaken-not-stirred (subsequent actors) to “Do I look like a man who gives a damn whether his martini is stirred or shaken?” (Daniel Craig) Anyway, self-medication is a Constitutional right. Whatever floats your boat is the medically endorsed prescription. A line from an old song by Dillard and Clark:

        There’s a train leaves here this morning, I don’t know what I might be on.

      • C.B. Anderson

        I don’t want to leave you hanging, so here is the whole song:

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        C.B., I love your James Bond observation… I’m in the Daniel Craig camp. Thank you for the Dillard & Clark song – my reflection stared back with a furrowless brow and a grin as their music soothed and smoothed this morning.

  6. Corey Elizabeth Jackson

    The blistering and incisive criticism of the baleful lady in your stark and biting sonnet is captivating. There are flavours of dry wit in it reminiscent of some of Shakespeare sonnets’ more understated ironies. The theme of the alluring yet often complex young lady is also familiar to many a Shakespearean sonnet. Packing a unique and satisfying punch is the scathingly effective self-criticism of the final couplet!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Corey, thank you very much for your comment with all its attention to detail. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare’s sonnets, one of my favourites being 130 – My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun… I love the humour and the wonder the poem brings. If mine is but half as good as The Bard’s masterpiece… I’ll be grinning for a year – no more smudged mascara and frown lines! With much gratitude for your fine eye.

      Reply
  7. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, you are bang-on with “Bang.” You would not believe the heated vitriol between friends over here during the interminable Brexit debate. “KindredSpirits” is brilliant. Time for one of those curvy mirrors I guess. We await the Meghan Markle verse. I was going to write one but I have still got my fingers stuck down the back of my throat after watching that interview.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you so much for your highly amusing comment. And, yes… I can most certainly believe the heated vitriol between friends during the Brexit debacle. I had many a scorching debate with friends and family. That’s when I stopped reading fiction and read everything I could clap my eyes on about the politics of Brexit… Rod Liddle’s “The Great Betrayal” being my go-to favourite. .. dear Mr. Liddle helped me out of many a dark debate corner. LOL

      I’m glad you liked Kindred Spirits… I sweated over the title. I didn’t want to give the game away… and, I’m glad it worked.

      I’ve just read Piers Morgan has been sacked for not apologizing to the sparkling Markle. I never thought I’d say that I admired the patronizing Piers… but, I do. Oh, what a strange world we live in. Great fodder for poetry, though!

      Reply
  8. Joseph S. Salemi

    Both poems are great, but I love the surprise ending of “Kindred Spirits.”

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe S., I’m thrilled you like them. I must point out that I adopted a faux persona, such is the creative wonder of my vast imagination. 😉

      Reply
  9. David Watt

    Tremendous poetry Susan.The closing couplet of “Kindred Spirits” made my day.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, thank you! I’m glad to have made your day that much brighter… we could all do with an extra dose of humour these dire days. Keep smiling, my friend!

      Reply
  10. Daniel Kemper

    I’d like to praise the brilliance of the first because the difficulty of just-right humor, satire and hidden depth wrapped in so-called light verse has an added and under-appreciated difficulty factor. Brava!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Daniel! I thoroughly appreciate your attention to detail.

      Reply
  11. Norma Okun

    I am so glad that the quote found the proper place. Nonsense is nonsense and I am glad Susan you find it fun to try to put that into some metrical rhyme. At least it was what I got out of The Bang. The Kindred Spirits poem, was a little shaky. Either because what you put on the face was not there to stay, or should not be there when you are not feeling happy. Either way both were fun to read.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Norma, your perception knows no bounds. I appreciate your comment and I’m glad you had fun. Thank you very much.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Norma, thank you very much – I like to think of myself as having all those traits. I fear my honesty may get me into trouble… but I simply have to give in to it and spread it in the only way I know how… poetically.

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