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4 Poems

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Mo Chu Cheng Zhen (To Grind An Iron Rod Into A Needle)

by Sarah Stanton

When I first started studying for this stupid test the teacher taught us a story. The Tang poet Li Bai was a lazy child, she said, always skipping off school. One day, he came across an old woman grinding away at an iron rod. She told him she was making a needle, and that with enough hard work, you could make a needle out of anything. I sniggered with the rest of the boys—come on, she was grinding away at an iron rod—but it got me thinking. I mean, I’m something of an iron rod myself. Continue reading…


A Place of Great and Rushing Silence

by Fei Wu
Past midnight. Salary-men hurtle home drunk and horny to silent apartments, cold rice and a bowl of shriveled green beans swimming in oil. They glance at their still, sleeping wives and consider shaking them awake for a quick and furious fuck, but balk at the thought of worn beige panties, and tofu waists indented with the elastic bands of winter wear. Some turn to their computer screens; pant in the near-dark, faces aglow with artificial light.
Then there are those who phone Xin. Continue reading…


Love Between Trapezes

by Peaches Pleasant
Vivienne’s legs were spread wide, blood rushing to her head. The whip cracked and Damien laughed. “Okay, sweetheart. You can come down now. You’ve been a very good girl.”  Continue reading…


Fifteen Minutes

by Basia Dekleva

“Come on, harder. Fuck me hard.”

“Stop. Ehm, Jess, could we try that one again? Let’s remember the girl is just getting fucked by a big guy she kinda likes, alright?”

Jess rolled her eyes. She had had a bad day and now this. Dubbing porn. Dubbing fucking porn. “Fuck me”, she thought to herself. Continue reading…


Donkey Punch

by W. M. Butler
Being in a long distance love affair is hard work in Shanghai. The distance, the occasional clandestine meetings in hotel rooms across the world. Bali, Bangkok, Phuket, Las Vegas, and in Shanghai. Each meeting a frenzied melding together of fucking, fighting, and making up. Emotions turned up to hard boiled. You go from pure love to lust then hate, spite, fear and finally a numbing tired yawning in your belly when it’s time to leave again. You stumble over yourselves trying to apologize for all the accusations and venom that you’ve been spitting at each other for the past seven days, trying to remember the good times, the coke binges, the walks through ancient Chinese temples built in 1998 where you stopped to fuck in the bathroom, or behind the stage after that event or getting that blowjob on a red-eye flight, spaced out on Xanax and KFC egg tarts. Trying to make sense of all the laughing and the crying and the screaming about not loving each other enough.
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New Home

By Katrina Hamlin

The small blond girl opens the door, and steps out onto the landing. She drags a big suitcase with broken handles. She’s late.
A Chinese man – timid stance, mid-50s – is standing at the top of the stairs.
He is shocked to see a small blond girl on the landing. He spills a “Hello” before he can stop himself.
“Nihao,” she replies, and turns to rattle the keys into the lock. She’s used to her own novelty, and those looks, which come with a reflex “Hello”.
“You live here?” he asks, watching.
“Wo zhu zai zheli. Wo de jia.” She zips the keys into a hand bag, and moves to push past, to the stairs. The plastic wheels rumble on the concrete floor. Continue reading…


Chinese Tea and the Bone Cup


by Danielle LeClerc

Within the seed of every apricot lies a small, soft kernel. Just a few of these pack enough cyanide to stop your heart in minutes.
Jasmine flowers, a popular Chinese tea ingredient, benefit the immune system and lower cholesterol. Jasmine berries, however contain a powerful neurotoxin.
Goji berry, known in China as gou qi zi and in Europe as wolfberry, has recently gained much attention in the West as a naturopathic herb. In small doses it improves circulation and aides the kidneys and spleen. Higher concentrations were used by Germany to poison Nazi bullets, stopping the hearts of victims with remarkable efficiency. Continue reading…


Mongolian Hooker Knife Fight


by W.M. Butler

The bar girls pulled out cleavers out from behind the bar. Obviously a mistake had been made, there was going to be bloodshed.

Hans, the CEO of UniCore was in Shanghai. The man had the uncanny ability to work fourteen hour days, learn Chinese, run a multi-billion dollar operation dealing with metals for cellphone components for all of Asia, and yet he found the time to drag me and my uncle Ross — who was the manager of the company’s mainland China branches — into three day sessions of debauchery. We would not sleep in between these “adventures.” We would finish one night of getting wrecked, have a shower, drink a Red Bull, go to work, then meet up to do it all over again.

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H.A.L. proudly presents: Kelly Tsai live in the ‘Hai!

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