Issue 31: Jazmine Linklater

 It spins when you throw it



The January sun casts shadows on the tarmac 

from the goopy murmuration happening in the sky 

that I don’t see. From behind dark glasses I look  

right back at you, trying not to flinch, 

but if our gazes snag you know I’ll move away.  

I’m cultivating brazenness as a method of defence  

against the suffered differences between  

being seen and being looked at  

without the shield that company provides. 

This solitariness produces hypervisibility  

that interrupts the ‘time alone’ I craved.  

Could well be my own projections  

smothering the simple world, or that 

the real gravity of looks do pull at surfaces  

and drag us into momentary orbit 

as we pass by on the street.  

It seems that I’m ventriloquizing now.  

Or, I am speaking from the heart.  

Not enough structure in this concrete  

not enough shameless in your no.  



Because I failed the introductory workshop 

I take the tram out of the city at sunrise to escape.  

We'd best start over now and more self-consciously  

with that celestial mauve smudge seen over Wythenshawe  

that by Shadowmoss has settled in the corners of our sleepless eyes  

like we might be together. 

Here's an ethics that collectivises blindly 

and another problem with the vacuum of your look  

that’s sucking at my top coat 

before I’ve had a chance to dry. 

Please don't try to make of me a person. 

Just don't look at me, okay?  

She read from a text in three phases in which  

her protagonist achieved invisibility  

by simply ageing out her waiting.  

She put on a bright pink dress  

She walked the city at night  

She said the questions to be asked of poems 

are not the same as those we ask within them.  

I too am shoring up some inviolability of self I’ve heard of.  

So let's make ourselves very small now. 

Now make yourself very small. 

And close your eyes tight.  






Chronology Bog 

I am Hanne Darboven scrawling out my calendar  

because the CBT says three times grateful every day  

but the way the ball point pen nib moves across the glossy paper  

doesn’t change the fact that once again  

my dreams were frightening and violent 

and the night won’t posit  

any clear hypotheses about production.  

The knife is in my hand again –  

its shark fin blade emerges from my palm. 

I take the bait and open up the surface 

of your painting so I can enter the cathedral 

to feel the grandiosity of architecture 

sweep what might be called a spirit up  

to whatever's hanging out around the eaves  

which is, probably, a shorter poem, 

its hypothesis more methodically exploited or 

a turning handle on a pocket music box  

that churns out half a dozen notes  

at any speed the hand or brain can manage  

to make a glinting line so straight it would cut flesh. 

If the path of least resistance is one averse to introspection  

then the thoughtless girl exists inertly because detachment is a balm  

and when some gratitude does leak on other surfaces in earnest  

the proof of pleasing is that she is incapable of saying why

its light winks back off those strange corners –  

just like that. I’ll start at January again, 

proceed as if I were embarking on a novel

and rewire my brain by concretising all the positives around me. 

Escape those traps laid out by all that claustrophobic talk of voice because

no one ever had a real thought while trying to write a poem. 

Can't you help disturb the surfaces from underneath

to find where something caught?

Exploit another stupid rhythm

by opening your palm 

and plucking the hand's ligaments in order 

to catch an echo of a new hypothesis to posit.  

Enchantment is a space where no commentary should be. 

If she falls down on the broken glass  

and half her head is opened gruesomely like some cult horror scene 

with chunks of brain come loose and blood all over  

then I will fall down too and when I find a cliched shard 

lodged in my palm, its blade protruding from the skin 

I’ll know it’s time again to start again.  

The vigilante does still call the cops in panic. 

They wobble in and, on request upon the threshold  

remove their boots like humble houseguests. 

Let’s see this little wound of constancy. 

No need to falsify with every explanation.  

Can’t you simply keep this knife and use it?  

Cut a door in the side of the day –  

Jazmine Linklater is a poet and writer based in Manchester where she works for Carcanet Press and edits Corridor8. Her most recent pamphlet is Figure a Motion (Guillemot Press, 2020). 

Copyright © 2023 by Jazmine Linklater, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author