blackmail press 21
Jill Chan
New Zealand

crossed cultures - special issue
Jill Chan was born in Manila, Philippines.  She migrated to New Zealand when
she was 21, and started writing poetry a year later. Her first book, The Smell
of Oranges was published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop in 2003. Her poems have been published in New Zealand magazines Poetry New Zealand, JAAM, Brief, Bravado, Trout, Southern Ocean Review, Spin, Takahe, and some other magazines.
Her second book, Becoming Someone Who Isn't, was published by Earl of
Seacliff in July 2007.


Small, divided
to fit my palm,
not wholly given up
yet ready to be shadow.

Whenever I’m touched
by another, I ponder
on memory’s sometime
refusal to light.

Native lines held in,
perimeter of heart.
Dearth of sky
and water.


With time to myself,
the absences around me,
these gates to break through,
where to go
to leave everything behind,
as if we ourselves
are places to discover,
both the eternal tourist
and the city
where we recognise the streets
enough to get lost in them.

Second Language

Sometimes I catch
and call a language
that isn’t mine,
stepping behind
a dream, raking
burning leaves,
or entering backdoors
one after another
after another drops off
the edge.

That can be freedom
but sometimes it flies
toward a closed window
suddenly caught
without strange recourse
or the clarity of glass,
the way I can only see
so far.

Featured Artist Fiona Holding