Two Toronto Poets ~ A Three Day Series. Part 2: Three Poems by Jaclyn Piudik

My Mountain

a shopping mall that autocorrects to suffering
garlanded with acronyms: h&m   hmv   kfc    bmv

its scree: crushed McDonald’s coffee cups,
condom-strew about the parking lot
its flora: brad nails and rust debris

and fauna; seagulls pecking at discarded pizza crusts,
after-dark rodents, a maim of pigeons in their makeshift dovecote

empty beer bottle talus, scintilla
                        of deciduous thought-streams
       smatter rapidfire beeps and chimes ka-chings


We are in a tree now, an atelier of newly pickled walls
a frown of intended garden
one last cicada seize left behind    after the hegira
catkins tremulous between our eye-ear
someone else’s already    a cacophony
a practiced memory of fiction and wood

This night the bulb becomes physical
sinister geometry – a migrant wile
becomes populace     arms swinging at different velocities

How the moon looks annoyed
             because they took too much off the top
                     won’t accept her mane, her wane, her come-nots
                                      her violent greens cracking through

How the pen writes blue    and what language
                                      leaks out      or this or that glides

Where are the words, Wilhemina?
Be prepared to fall!

The wrapper grows among crumbs
a new era born on its tenth avalanche.

Speaking in Tongues

Once in the face of gnawing, a rave
the corner sunsmash bugaloo of home
the mesh bus stop: a shell of world
disappeared, taken as mother and city
as urdu, russian       meaning borrowed

beside the b-side       the delicate horror
of lacrimal ducts, windows
roughed out of cahoots, a little segue
humming vignettes in situ –

and from the south a violating light
wraps hard      doesn’t leave
a pillow for memory      the so-called
bedouin scraps       congregate
re-vowelled into supple topography

Please hold the handrail

The warm rubber of morning
tells me where I am and how I travel

How to build a god –
       mix    match    morph
an operatic truth we can’t unriver
clinging madly [magically?] to a million grasses
the nudge of the escalator
looting memory to constitute a present

Minimalism is a mistake – like slow-cooked roses
– concierge of the mind’s dirty laundry

She on the stoop combs her eyebrow
           into place
           a portrait of constant recognition

the epistemic aha!

when the head is a heart and the heart ahead
dwarfing a lion imagined as dog
    or crooner of yesteryear’s pop

One building past
a geography of waste: pock-marked plastic, injured vinyl
fragments once a melody or a line dance

The strays on the street won’t come too close
but we share a secret

miscegenated handprints
blue until the afternoon
windexes them away

an intimation of clear water

Jaclyn Piudik reading at Knife/Fork/Book. Photo by Robert Frede Kenter

Jaclyn Piudik @jpiudik is the author of To Suture What Frays (Kelsay Books 2017) and three chapbooks, the corpus undone in the blizzard (Espresso Chapbooks 2019), Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (fooliar press 2005/8). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Burning House and CV2.  She received a New York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Alice M. Sellers Award from the Academy of American Poets. Piudik holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, as well as a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.  She hails from New York and currently lives and works in Toronto.

Banner Art: “Toronto Take #2” by Robert Frede Kenter

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