Naked / Cindy B. Stevens


poems by

Cindy B. Stevens

ISBN: 9781-59948-681-9,  ~ 40 pages, $12

Release Date:  April 24, 2018


Cindy B. Stevens was born in Pennsylvania and raised on the east coast with her military family. She received a degree in Psychology from Trevecca Nazarene College and has spent her married life living in Kentucky and North Carolina. She graduated with high honors from Johnston Community College with a degree in Paralegal Technology. After her eighteen-year career as a family law paralegal, she enjoys her part-time workweek and low-stress life. She is a singer and appears as a regular on the Murphey School Radio Show. She is also a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. She and her husband, Richard, have two adult sons and daughters-in-love, and live in Hillsborough, NC with their cats, Stella and Izzy. This is her first collection.

Raw in its resistance to suffering—that of loved ones, ultimately, things of the world—Stevens’ poems are stylistic, adrenaline-charged, possessing heart-deep lyrics. Through subjects such as family, relationships, womanhood, birth, and religion, Naked displays a sense of the omnipresence of what’s important, powered by a gifted use of imagery, turn of phrase, and stays true to its own music. —Phillip Shabazz


Naked is a deeply personal and emotionally sweeping collection of poems. Each one is a meditation, a memorial. Sensual moments. Elegies for the lost. Profound explorations of the landscapes of the soul. Stevens’ poems sing of family and lovers, of locales seen more clearly in the rearview mirror and of longings laid bare. I was transformed by their reading. Cindy B. Stevens is a tremendous poet with a singular voice. —John Claude Bemis


Cindy B. Stevens’ collection Naked reminds me of a passage from Cory Taylor’s book Dying: A Memoir, “…how to tolerate the terror of our own impermanence…” Cindy’s poems create the space where love, loss, and memory swirl to find voice. Death is “a suitable place to store” grief, love of brothers, mother, father, and lover. Marbled within the poems is a keen wit, “Lester grieves for me/my sister is too dignified/to let tears soak her peach silk blouse…I need a Bellini.” The poem “Kind of Girl” proclaims love as “you beg me not to die” reminding me of St. Augustine, “to say I love you is to say I want you to be.” Her poetry conveys a direct connection to the natural world, trees, curtains, a cat’s meow, soft tar highways, as well as angels who watch over the “tail end of the minute.” NAKED is an invitation to reflect seriously on the uneasiness that the here is where there will be no me. In “The Fireball” Stevens writes “I realize I am not your breath/your food or water/but I want to be necessary.” What more could we want from a poet? —Elon G. Eidenier



Lester grieves for me
winds his sorrow as a winter scarf around his neck
its tendrils drape across his chest
he cries while his father hugs him
my sister is too dignified
to let tears soak her peach silk blouse

I watch the scene from my mirror
roll my eyes
canned music bleeds through speakers
believers raise their hands like sunshined flowers

there was no coin to purchase my funeral dress
so I wrapped myself with a deathbed sheet
its drape shrouds my bones
casket closed

I float the coffee bean aroma through wallpapered rooms
it fails to veil old lady perfumes, sweat, and aftershaves
my Irish linen tablecloth is stained with spilt tea
littered with cookie and sandwich crumbs

Lester walks in the kitchen to grab a banana
but they have leaked their ripeness
not even good for breads or cakes
sticky chocolate-like goo congeals at the bottom of the fruit bowl

my hair swept to one side
Lester dreams I kiss him
dark glasses sunscreen my eyes
my sheet sweeps dust bunnies across the plank floor
I carry his unrequited heart in my hand
try not to squeeze as I tiptoe from his bedroom

god, I need a Bellini
I listen for the dismissal bell
find the exit sign
I look for me, but I have flown



summer cousins


lightning bugs in jars
under nut-pick, screwdriver-stabbed lids
hastily screwed tight
in the field
beside the road
where the summer afternoons’ warm, gooey tar
now cools

glass falls
bounces to road edge
breaks in pick-up-able pieces
sets shimmer lights free
wander higher
float to tree branches
surround the wood fort built in daylight
beyond the cemetery
where daytime’s brave explorers venture

the quiet, black night
permeates the heat that emanates from Porter Road
truck wheels hum on U.S. Highway 6





I cried for you this morning
cried really for me
dreamed I was visiting at your house
I lost it
weeping better describes the sense of emptiness
I heard a whippoorwill in the early morning fog

love survived beyond our song
your scent, I took for granted
it drew me to the closet
still hung with your clothes

you thought you had it easy
but you didn’t know what to do with me
or with your feelings
I wanted to take the long way to Paris
thought I knew what I was doing
the gear from drive to neutral

now sunsets over familiar creeks mark
places long gone
gallery painting of a boat on cinderblocks
for repair in someone’s yard
I’ve seen that boat before
just don’t remember where
I try to remember how old I am

I hope when I’m in the old folks’ home
they’ll let me sleep

without my clothes

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