Two Legs Toward Liverpool


Product Description

poems by

Lynn Ciesielski


ISBN: 978-1-59948-517-1, ~52 pages, cover price: $12

Release date: February 24, 2015

About The Author

LCiesielski_PxLynn Ciesielski is a former Special Education teacher who has largely devoted herself to poetry since she retired several years ago. She took a number of beginning and advanced writing classes through correspondence with Jim Bennett of the Poetry Kit in Liverpool, England. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals including Yale Journal for Humanities and Medicine, Iodine Poetry Journal, Buffalo News, Wild Goose Poetry Review and The Main Street Rag. In early 2012, her first chapbook, I Speak in Tongues was published by Foothills. She is very excited to join the ranks of Main Street Rag poets for the second time.


I’ve been a fan of Lynn Ciesielski’s poetry for years. Her masterful work is imaginatively composed and insightfully inspired, rich with powerful imagery, strong emotions, and unique perspectives. Her skillfully crafted words are thought-provoking, and her playful use of language moves me in many ways at once. Ciesielski is a gifted magician, who casts trance-inducing spells with her unusually creative poetry. I couldn’t recommend this beautiful collection more highly. 

–David Jay Brown, author of Brainchild and Mavericks of the Mind


To paraphrase Lynn Ciesielski, she shares a language that needs no words. Somehow, however, her new volume of poems, Two Legs Toward Liverpool, makes the reader feel as if he is part of a very private library of the heart, one made up of sounds and silences, family, illness, and nature.  We read between the lines to fill in our own stories. Lynn teaches her poetic language from an early line on:  “I live in an almanac.” 

–Perry Nicholas, associate professor, Erie Community College.


A cascade of powerful force, Lynn Ciesielski’s artful, new collection is fueled with poems of love and loss, darkness and light.  “I am a clutch of rare orchids/ in a garden/ where even dandelions wither,” she writes.  She traces real and metaphorical journeys displaying her range as artist in a sestina set in youth and as a hawk flying at night.  She has a gift for supplying nothing but the best words.

—Lisa Wiley, author of Chamber Music


The Shape of Things

In this third season, I wear my hair
long and loose, again a youth,
ruled now by earth and sky.
Silver streaks replace copper strands,
fingers of my daughter’s sons
weaving tunnels to imagined worlds,
where little boys ride sea horses
and dragons eat oatmeal cookies.
Life can no longer clip those wild locks

as it did my second season,
transforming me like rice paper
into a lidded box, layers shaped, set,
sprayed to announce out loud, Teacher.
Composed and stiff like my hair,
I never swayed out of place
even when the wind blew

like the zephyr off the Caribbean
that had rocked me years ago
where fifty dollars and three hours
bought me a Saturday walk-in
at a salon with no walls, no ceiling
just sun-bright sky, simple wood chair
and a stylist with a round mirror
that showed off the new me, island princess,
burnished skin adorned by beaded braids
swinging under island moonlight
many nights in that paradise,
dancing salsa till sunrise.

I live in an almanac.
The covers frame my life,
each photo a word or sentence,
a clue to mark the year,
more spoken in the creases
of the dog-eared second half.

Expanding Universe

My house shrinks like my life,
pushing me into corners,
into leftover spaces that time has forgotten.
Newspaper stacks, broken furniture,
pages of math equations
force rare visitors to scramble for air

as time reduces me to collections,
of sepia photos and paper scraps,
pushing out people as objects
increase in importance.

I have traded hours once spent
drinking tea or playing backgammon
with Eva, Jonathan, Joan
for entire days cataloguing
chipped tea sets and Wittgenstein texts,

leaving not even a square foot
for spontaneous thought.

When the Sky Clears

On the window a rhythm like a game
I played as a child, bamboo tapping
together then down, feet leaping
as I tried to keep the beat, avoiding
the smart of the poles smacking my ankles,
too fast for a kid whose head
was always in the clouds.
Rain spilled from ash-colored streaks
until my mind’s ceiling formed an umbrella
to keep my words inside
where they were safe from the storm.

Even alone, I could not stay dry, my doubts
always raining on my wishes.
So I hid myself from myself,
tunneling faster and deeper
to find safety.

Now that life slows, I no longer run within.
A wider lens lets light and color enter.
My head clears and azure parts the clouds
until my hopes feel free to fill the air
with phrases, lines, stanzas.
Unafraid I breathe again,
so deeply I shout.

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