H.A.L. at Cool Docks 2-10 tomorrow

H.A.L. is going to be at the Cool Docks tomorrow selling books and making poetry for the masses. If you’re a poet and want to craft tailor made poetry for the fine citizens of Shanghai and get PAID for it then we’ll see you there. 

The Amazing Pick-a-Path Mystery of the Sinister circus Murders’ Exit Second Banana will have a few freaks running around to keep you entertained. All are welcome.


Jing Wu

by Effie Pow

Mrs. Su Xue adjusted an oil painting that hung above the bed. It was her own copy of Monet – a woman in a field under the shade of a parasol with a red bloom at her waist. She admired the way she painted the grass and saw herself in the same dress with a sunny breeze behind her.
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4 Poems

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by Lindsay Redifer

I have a new zit. It’s wedged just under my nose, right on the skin of my upper lip, so it hurts when I talk. I want to pop it, but I know this zit. It will rip through my skin fiber by tiny fiber, and the pain will last for days. The smart thing to do is leave it alone, but I know I’ll attack it before too long.

I try not to think about the growing blemish on my face and focus on baby brother asleep in his crib. I can almost see him from my hiding place in my closet, but I can’t open the closet doors too much or else everything packed into the small space will tumble out. Before he was born my step-mother bought everything she could think of for a new baby boy and then bought it all again in a bigger size, claiming “he’ll grow so fast!” She spent Father’s money faster than ever while she was pregnant.

I put my hand in my pocket to feel the small objects floating around inside. A dried cherry, a small button, a balled up piece of napkin and a silver candy ball. I’m not sure which one will work; I’ll have to try each, but I need to be careful. This must look like an accident. Continue reading…


H.A.L. International: Come On Down!

by N. Celestina White

“Roderick Stahl 1-579, come on down!” The brightly-painted Gary George 536 cried, voice amplified automatically by his built-in microphone. The contestant jumped in place with a clatter, his paint job still gleaming wetly. He ran down the aisle to the lower stage, soft metal bangs sounding as his hand-analogues slapped other hand-analogues. Jim Roddey 95 spread his hand-analogues wide, greeting the newcomer with his trademark smile.

“Welcome, Roderick! Our next item up for bid is…” As Amanda 1-634 rolled out the prize, everyone oohed. It was a multi-part gift set, including a personal audio/video system, a free paint job at Old Sal’s Paint Shoppe, and a set of automatic wheels.

“15,045,” said Roderick.


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Le Coq Sportif

by David Foote

I am Dusautoir.  That is my name.  It is my considerable dishonor that before today I didn’t know I needed one.  If I thought of myself as anything it was as Dàshī, the maestro, king of a disputed kingdom.  I sat in my box at the market, enduring the wall eyed, frenetic squabbling of my neighbours, and watched as one by one they were removed.  Where were they taken?  Tiān ā, I knew little and cared less!

Soon only one other was left, and him I called duìshǒu, the rival.  Across from us we could see our guīfáng, the broody courtesans we both knew to be our birthright.  How I longed to cover them all, batter them with my wings, and crow my triumph to the heavens.  Only the bars between us kept me from scratching out my rivals eyes with my spurs.  My hour would come though, and during those long hot nights towards the end of summer, as the sleepy murmuring of my harem drifted across the narrow gap between my cage and theirs (exciting in me a fever I thought could never be quenched) the image of my duìshǒu’s bloody comeuppance is all that sustained me.

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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…



by Fei Wu

Henry crushes the remainder of his still-burning cigarette into the plush floral patterned carpet with his scuffed Italian leather shoes. He takes a deep breath in front of door number 666, and lets himself in. The door whirrs and clicks open, and Henry finds himself face to face with a topless teenager. She’s young, probably younger than both his daughters. There is cocaine residue beneath her nose. Her eyes are unfocused, her tits are small. She raises her bird-bone hand toward his face, and Henry flinches backward.

They’ve destroyed the suite. The yellow wallpaper has been torn into Plathian shreds, the air smells of blood and alcohol, the walls are pulsating with bass, and his boss – the treasury secretary of the Shanghai Train Bureau is sitting, draped in a sleek, brown, bear’s pelt amidst a pile of writhing young women, empty Mou Tai bottles, and 100 RMB notes. Henry tries to sneak into his room, the smallest room, unnoticed, but his boss is uncannily alert. He calls to him. Continue reading…


Lao Song’s Turtles

By Nicole Stanton

Lao Song lived in a small cottage by the Yangtze River where the crickets sing all day and night. It was a tiny cottage big enough for the old woman, her three turtles, and an orange her cat which she kept only because to send the cat away would be the same as sending away her fortune.

Lao was a very superstitious woman. She always ate her fish from the head to tail. She never cut her toenails at night out of fear of falling over the next day. Once she woke her husband after a dream, saying, “Wang, I dreamed of salmon. We are going to have baby boy.” Nine months later Lao brought their only son into the world. But that was all long ago. Long before the war took the boy’s life, long before the woman moved to the river with her turtles. Because Lao believed her turtles kept away evil spirits she was sure to always consult with them before making any decisions.

One day the old woman was picking tomatoes in her garden when a hen came to her gate. “That’s strange,” Lao thought, watching the hen, “who could be coming to visit me?” But when Lao looked to the small dirt road a girl appeared from behind a bend. She was a too old to be a girl but too young to be a woman. The girl’s skinny legs and feet were bare and her head was covered by a big straw worn by the village farmers. Continue reading…



H.A.L. Publishing is launching “LIT”, a bi-monthly evening of video poetry, storytelling, readings and performances. The event will feature several notable authors from around Shanghai, including the owner of H.A.L. Bjorn Wahlstrom and Canadian author W.M. Butler. Also, the evening will offer a sneak peak at the upcoming Mamaguchi Storytelling event, and premier Renee Reynold’s dark-reading project “subtext”. No cover. Starts at 8:00pm.


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