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     Bandana Wasteland
      by Carly Bryson

Carly Bryson is a native Texan raised in the oilfields of west Texas somewhere between the Edwards Plateau and the Guadalajara desert. Currently residing in Houston, she writes poetry and prose
dealing with politics, current events, nature, and family dynamics.

She has been published in Carcinogenic Poetry, Calliope Nerve, The Shine Journal, Red Fez, ETC: A Review of General Semantics, as well as two anthologies, and NothingNoOneNowhere.

Bandana Wasteland is her first collection of poetry and contains poems which address an increasingly dystopic and Orwellian society forming amidst an age of war, disinformation, media bias, environmental decline and propaganda.

Bandana Wasteland
by Carly Bryson

“The ground is so dry / fireflies set off small grass fires / in sidewalk cracks”

Bryson’s poems reek of Texas.  Each piece is imbued and informed by a landscape which tests, but never tames her protagonists.  In scenes sharply observed, her characters move through an adversarial world and while her narrators may not know for what they search, they are never without a moral compass.  “... you stand outside your car / as the wind blows dirt into your mouth.”  Whether environment or relationships, life is struggle. This ain’t chick lit, kids.  It’s the human situation.

- Doc Sigerson, poet, essayist and translator

ISBN 978-09832747-7-3
46 pages
5.5”x8.5” perfect bound, paper

To purchase this book, click HERE.



500 Miles

Death is a highway in the Trans-Pecos
where painted white road perforations
blur into single lines.

At night, prehistoric things fly into the windshield
until the wipers have smeared it so badly
you have to pull over somewhere
in the five hundred miles
between nothing and nowhere.

There are no carwashes in Hell,
just a two pump gas station
stuck so far back in time
you can't fill your own tank
and forget about a credit card slot.

You want to order a sandwich inside
but the cat perched atop the counter
suddenly turns your stomach
at the thought of barbeque and fur balls.

Dawn begins creeping over the low mesas
and you stand outside your car
as the wind blows dirt into your mouth.

The kind of grit only a cold cerveza will wash away
but you can't buy it until noon
so you grab a lukewarm soda from the back seat
where it's nestled between a tote bag
and a half eaten bag of Doritos.

Just a half day left of Chihuahuan desert...


"Carly Bryson flourishes as a poet where so many others fall short. Her poetry is somehow deeply meditative, yet has an air of refreshing familiarity about it. Her metaphor is tangible, as are the skeletons that lie just beneath the surface of her poems; voices penetrating the silence, begging to have their stories told and their legacy immortalized. The intense sensory details and arid landscapes Bryson paints with language will have readers reaching for a cold libation, then swimming in it. Picturesque, haunting and sublime is the wisdom woven into the tapestry that is Bandana Wasteland."

- Apryl Skies, Author of A Song Beneath Silence


Carly Bryson's poetry is as gritty and deadly serious as the "bandana wasteland" and "big fried empty" of drought-stricken Chihuahua Desert, and as dense, humid and fecund as the "gauzy shadows" and "moss levees" of the bayous and delta of the Atchafalaya Basin. She captures the stark truth of life in both these dissimilar areas of her homelands that stretch from far West Texas to where Louisiana meets the Gulf of Mexico. Bryson's poetry is firmly grounded in 21st century realities, and speaks directly to contemporary readers. Her work bears re-reading, with each encounter revealing something a little deeper, a little broader.

- Donna Snyder, author of I Am South