The Tie-dyed Angel Sings Her Bruise – A Long Poem w/Images by Jaclyn Piudik

Small 1st version of image dream like of woman standing with back to the viewer mid-distance staring into the forest trail evergreen trees colored black and white image with greens and browns using digital layers.

The Tie-dyed Angel Sings Her Bruise

1 _         [textile]

The metropole swills pink
            enjambs black        dyslexic love   breaks
             a year and a day into azalea’s milk

a slave to potent poison – sweet, elusive hankering
consigned to mist and metaphor

What is this neither, this pith
of interior?

That it is empty or full,
that it wanders the corpse of a hero
intent on overdose of neuron dust

makes for an eye-fest     a diligent move achingly
east of Hercules.

What is this neither, this hope-to-be
patch of elbow, skying forward
for sojourn, refuge, combat
               frost on its path, self-soothing sleet?

Trod with care so as not to fall.
Every inch of sidewalk scathes abstract
               now a centimetre, luminary

mail unchained   specks
her trail toward the aster’s center.

2 –          [bruise]

These are thorns between her thighs –
               that compel and pinch
               clench a cup of memory

and she wonders on
               a cringe of light across the tibia
               threads stitched over Mercury

How many deserts has she told them?
Thistledown whispered back
             to a hole in the earth – her
thighs – the earth – her thighs
              of thorn and resin

That scat, jazz or fossil, multipurpose
duotone too slick  –  a silence writ large
in any language garden  –  waste metered
replaces words with astral gilings

She cannot – shunned
for her perfume – and why should she —
western as it is, sandalwood
an early sneak of rose-waft

arranged as liquid in the mode of bayou
wetness loosening into collusion
stampede of agitated weeds
3 –           [lately and the labyrinth]

What accumulates magnetizes
as spice, drips in earth-thirst
a titch of schadenfreude –
                           and nobody’s lamenting

I begin to bare words for sacrifice
             lay them down as Isaac, Iphigenia
             in color blind assonance

I begin to pluck the tesserae from
             museum walls, disturb the peace
             deconstruct the world-wood as suizhet.

Today, I am St. Anne, though I forgot
to pray and there is no laurel in sight

Today I am a vortex, a 10 of clubs
a kidneyful of rage
a wraith resewn in metal

I see morning’s light from some other time
       try to empty the sea in five-gallon jugs

4 –          [siren song]

Speaking of depletion, I smile
             say that I am swallowed in wave

that my underlids are dulse, magenta’d
             a doily on my hide

a stencil of sleep lost
             over one hundred oceans, or only two

a meme of sangfroid across my face
             lichen-eyed tumult

Sedge weeps through me and its effigy
litoral aperture disappears.

                            I had thought myself frail
                            but I am broadband, blind to tamping sounds
                            to skinning words stoked in rime.

                            I am merwoman, everywoman
                            and what looks like fret
                            resists the sweetened dote

                            what looks like tatter is
                            the last harvest of a bigamous seabreeze

                            Intent-on rind worn as vintage
                            tattoo, as bruise-embrace

                            a tangle abraded, kelpish and fierce
                            holds me deep among the reeds.
5 –         [on the other hand]

one ungenerous flinters white – not ungenerous
like a ziggurat crumble or a lawn awaiting marvels
but in a dream, bedded and sprawled.

A skulking fritellaria
mistakes herself for a cobra
what wind to billow her askance.

When I am a cobweb, a death of hair,
I’ll alight as a child, dance on her eyebrow
                                                             in wake.

This finger dipped in topsoil
points to an untimely dandelion, risen
seven weeks before its due –
it would like to believe itself
astragalus, eleuthero, schisandra
filling the space between worm and harm

it would rather be a pellet, a bulb a-lean
in arabesque or ambush, panting for reality.

The flower terrifies itself
            eavesdropping on skin
polka-dotted exorcism in smithereens.
6 –          [theapathy: the gods on leave]

Of your remembered greeting
an outmoded hell, o’ thrall
and thrice known hijinks

What is this lipish drama –
a dram of cryptic messages
stick like plankton to
                               confound and thrill

Do-it-yourself mysteries
riff on dictators
who make a mockery of cabbage
truffle pre-empted by hunger

In such a way, the patella is scraped
by thunderbolt       lends a whiff of lilac
the odor that calls mortality
something to count on,
a chance of starry showers.

There are splinters in the house of god
termites chewing on brick and wallflower

We are enough to fall
on knees and pray our peace
in somersault secrets

We are crucifer and cross, still
a pall, we quaff our word-stuff.
7 –           [and when the river of your grief becomes a continent]

In the gathering madness,
a credo fogs the endless finish.
We malinger meanwhile, extracting
purple streetlight ennui
from sororal bellies
soup and sorghum for a schilling.

A destiny of hands: remote provinces.

Title: Photomania-rainwater. A digitally manipulated image of a woman dressed in white from the back looking into the forest of evergreens. The impression is of tie-dye cloth running thru the visual field, echoes, melting, layers. She is leaning against a tree. This image is repeated 4 times on the page from small to larger sizes and weaves around the poem pdf to give a sense of labyrinth.


1. Banner: Leah – Burlesque (c) J. Piudik (2022).

2. Photomania – Rainwater (c) J. Piudik (2022).

A photo in color of Jaclyn Piudik smiling and reading from her work at a launch at Knife/Fork/Book. Toronto. There are a lot of people at the reading, and Jaclyn is reading at a music stand.  Photo by Robert Frede Kenter.

Jaclyn Piudik 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, Burning House and Barrow Street.  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 an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.  Tweets: @jpiudik

Page layout and design: Robett Frede Kenter.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close