I Speak InTongues
Once in a great while, a poet appears on the scene that surprises, overwhelms the reader with her sharp insights, elegant stories, and unique word choice. This poet, for me, is Lynn Ciesielski. From her first poem noting the intricacies of the writing process through her haunting poem that takes us on a nighttime ride to her final poem, “The Muse at Midnight,” we go on a people-watching journey where “anything can happen/if you take your eyes/off the road.”
Her sensitive work, full of startling images, draws us into an almost surreal, private place where “secrets hide like butterflies in moonlight.” Her thoughtfulness and relentless tenderness offers up “a cup of something” for poets and non-poets, lovers of the word and the world.
Perry S. Nicholas, Assistant Professor of English
Erie Community College North
Lynn Ciesielski's muse bids her to write, to seek “Secrets [which] hide like butterflies in moonlight.” She is keenly aware of the elusiveness and fragility of those secrets as she seeks them in a variety of places-in the old and decaying, in childhood memories, in family traditions, in the mysteries of love, in quirky characters; and she does so in a dazzling array of verse forms. She recognizes a certain danger, as in one who “traveled, saw a lot/and understood....too much, I think”; but though she cannot quite find “a sacred link,” she carries on with gritty courage in a sacred language of her own.
David Landrey, Professor Emeritus of Literature
SUNY College at Buffalo
From the book:
Mama uses a corkscrew shaped finger to scoop filling,
creamy cheese, from a bowl on the table, then licks.
Gramma had bought dry ingredients and butter
from the Market on Broadway just after it opened.
Visits take Gramma on journeys in her mind,
back to the old country, shopping in Krakow,
a child, lost among all the pani's her mama knew,
eye level with flowered housedress waists.
Mama measures flour, salt, mixes grains, white
in an aluminum bowl, cuts butter in with fingers.
When it forms into little beans, she adds egg,
sour cream, kneads till it's a soft pillow.
She grasps the rolling pin's red spindles;
stiff hands push. Her face, a twisted cloth
as she works the dough, stamps out circles,
fills each with cheesy mix, folds, seals.
When Gramma rode the ship with her mama,
they prayed each night on crystal rosaries.
Two generations traveling to a new land,
bringing little but themselves and what they knew.
Mama drops pierogis, six at a time into boiling water
where the pockets cook, then fills our plates,
says, “Smacznego”, like Gramma did years ago,
like I will in years to come.
Lynn Ciesielski has a Master's Degree in Exceptional Education from SUNY College at Buffalo. She spent eighteen years teaching full time in city schools. For another five years she worked part time as an instructional aide in group homes for disabled adults. Currently, she is retired and focuses most of her energy on her poetry. Lynn is a newlywed, the mother of a lovely grown daughter and grandmother to two delightful little boys. She loves the outdoors, especially waterfalls and oceans. She travels as often as she can but Lynn loves people even more than the physical world. Family and friends are the most delightful aspects of her life.
I Speak InTongues
is a 40 page hand-sewn chapbook - $10.00.
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