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PART OF THE Sanctuary ISSUE

‘some say to reciprocate his extension of hospitality and glorious resourcefulness some say to be occupied indefinitely some say to survive is the most beautiful thing’

Jay Gao’s debut poetry collection, Imperium, layer together formal experiments, lyric intensity and sardonic perspectives on today’s world. Enjoy this extract from this exciting collection.

 

Extract from Imperium
By Jay Gao
Published by Carcanet

 

The Sanctuary Shall Offer Safety

some say epochs later the Translator moved into the sublet sleeping so
close to his asylum of hot earth
some say the Translator noticed a surplus of abandoned beds but zero
doors zero windows
some say the runoff air from the factory vents burnt away the protective
linings on their organs
some say they were one unspeakable contract away from becoming
compacted into a precious fossil
some say like a napkin is stained through with fresh white wine the
Translator folded up the corners of their skins within those
molten micro-histories
some say to be rescued from the hungry angels in the sacked cities
some say to be rescued from the sacred technicians in the archives
some say to be carried down in his cave in the dark
some say to reciprocate his extension of hospitality and glorious
resourcefulness
some say to be occupied indefinitely
some say to survive

is the most beautiful thing

some say yesterday a draught that must have once been a person
caused the weft of their mosquito nets to blow apart, to break
down, to disassemble themselves
some say it was as if a woman in white unravelled as she fled
some say she bolted towards a distant rockfall in a story involving
trapped minors
some say she stacked up those stones from the inside like poison pills
some say to harbour doubt about how poor he proclaimed he was
some say to harbour suspicion about what he used to do in a past life
some say to harbour misgivings when he said he was a beggar back in the
real world
some say the past is never dead. It’s not even past
some say to cook those priceless bison etchings carved onto the cave
walls
some say to make sense of that wriggling punctuation mark he carried
across his shoulders one day
some say you have to use the metaphor that it was as small as a child
kicking and pleading
some say for its mother                                                But I say

 

it is how we divide that head of the last white doe
calling out to be rationed
for eternity
in this loveliest nation of two.

 

Imperium by Jay Gao is published by Carcanet, priced £11.99.

 

Jay Gao is the author of Imperium, forthcoming from Carcanet Press, as well as three poetry pamphlets. He is a Contributing Editor for The White Review. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he graduated with an MFA from Brown University.

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