Literary Orphans

“Centering,” “Slant,” & “Face Value” by Jan Wiezorek

Centering

Wasn’t expecting

a navel today. But I

found it held in concrete.

It sat there while I swept.

Down there: I bent to see it

in its lily cup, resting,

all branched, pecked at

as unfamiliar seed.

I saw it move once:

its own chaplet of

chapped lips like

monster sunflowers.

When I thought,

it was of pools.

I never saw mother in one.

And I thought of mine

sprouting infinite prefaces,

baptizing the concentric circles.

The me of me. Heat warms

my speech from those lost,

divorced because of me—

I cannot begin to question

these crosses. I’m learning

now to suck the marrow

of mercy from this font.

 

O Typekey Divider

 

Slant

My vision always: sliding sideways—

I do not see the place,

but only hum along.

 

So digging

brings on its hunches.

I am—now that you speak these words—

 

brought to become.

I part with others and latch on

to a sight that, once found, moves on.

 

And I want to do better,

you know that; it’s so clear, my making

myself, on purpose, for me, who is

 

in some way announcing

(but is unable to do so) in context.

More should be said here,

 

and when I try,

I cannot retrace it, or find my place—

so I cannot discover the spot

 

that needs

definitive infinity,

though I did find a bald spot.

 

Right now, as an example,

nothing special,

but a digger

 

is what I am, we are,

as much a wiping away

as eyefuls of damp.

 

O Typekey Divider

 

Face Value

In a flurry—as simple as a pouch

entering its own gathering.

 

That I am alone again

is to say that I have not

added all this up along

the cervices and shadows,

the edges and ridges that fall

clear across my face.

 

It suffers like me, from all the

extremes of focus, the diatribe,

the oblique, the saturated insides,

and I know how much skin

is required here.

 

Floating through,

I entered a hut where

I washed dishes

and dried them into

square copper coins.

All this before looking

at my hands—and how

they paid.

 

By then the road went

uphill in blue so dry that

my heel cracked

without my touching it

for the fifteenth time.

 

At the top I saw a pediment

and another bay opening

onto the sea. So I lifted my arms

and spread my fingers,

keeping the two center digits

together and the outer two apart—

 

as if this were the only state

of being for bypassing a mind

that can no longer hold its center.

 

If I have a chance, I hope

to send you a postcard.

O Typekey Divider

Jan Wiezorek writes from Barron Lake in Michigan. He has taught writing at St. Augustine College, Chicago, and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at The London Magazine, Yes Poetry, L’Ephemere Review, Words Dance, THAT Literary Review, Leaping Clear, and Cabildo Quarterly. Jan is author of Awesome Art Projects That Spark Super Writing (Scholastic, 2011). He also writes about unsung heroes for The Paper in Buchanan, Michigan, and did so formerly as a freelancer for the Chicago Tribune. Jan holds a master’s degree in English Composition/Writing from Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago.

O Typekey Divider

–Art by Marcos Lomba