Bark, Archive, Splinter


Where are you from

Spinning an agrestal tale 

Gold and poison, some flight without end, the dress rehearsal, how Europe will perish, imminent destruction, the fatal

          illusion, a murderous rain, microbial warfare, and as for the bibliography 

Land reformation 

Bark, archive, splinter

So what do you owe these trees

To become, one must, you shall, his obligation, your debt, your fault, his blame, to become, to have to, to be absolutely required to,

          to want to be part of his past, to have this present, and just as your future is

Bark, archive, splinter

Some mottos for wood

Militarised bark, lichen camouflage. Platoon of



Everyday weather of lyric violence

Bark, archive splinter

Congress of birds

Deictic: To build a site for speech, before the arrival of language data

Reorientation: What do you remember about the earth

A certain British dialect and lexicon reveals the distinction between two bodies and one carcass

In your vitiated memory, a German accent is let loose in Porto

Jay Gao is a poet from Edinburgh, Scotland, living in New York. His poetry collection Imperium (Carcanet, 2022) is a winner of the 2023 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. He is also the author of three poetry chapbooks. He has received support from Bread Loaf, Tin House, Civitella Ranieri, Community of Writers, and he received his MFA from Brown University. He is a reader for Poetry magazine. Currently, he is also a PhD student in English at Columbia University.