History of a Future

Renée Reynolds first appeared in Party Like It’s 1984 and, because she is just so darn talented, we decided to include her in our new book. This second publication from HAL is a collection of short stories that are all about the bad things that make life in China kinda worth it! Sadly, you don’t get to see inside the book yet but if you check out Renée’s wonderful poem below you’ll know why she’s in the new book! We think Renée’s poem is almost as keen as Renée herself!

If you’re like us and can’t get enough of this girl’s awesomeness then check out the rest of her work on HAL as well as her new story Satellite American on Unshod Quills.


By Renée Reynolds

Old people walking backward
Posing brides in funeral white
Styrofoam swan feed
Root-ward growing treetops
Million-dollar watches that don’t keep time

Mobile phone stock traders on the school-bound metro
The art of the copy; the copy of the art
Skin whitening lotions next to tanning creams
North South East West; Dong Nan Xi Bei
Poisonous vitamins; toxic medicine

Hazardous housing

Flawless empty eggshells for 10 kuai
A gold-plated beggar’s cup
Eco-friendly car alarms
Baijiu with green tea

Death by foot traffic; death by videogame
Awarded Nobel Peace Prizes declared blasphemous
Cloud seeding
Crispy soup
Poverty Chic

Overeducated baristas serving undereducated engineers
Government officials with disposable income
The terms over-educated and disposable income
Earthworm-scented perfume; flower-pot Rodins
Corporate Social Responsibility of Defense Weaponry Designers

Nuclear Bomb Health Insurance
Yes means no and no means maybe
Melamine for babies
Free Money
Counterfeit fen

You won’t take our beef so we reject your chicken
Acrobatic blowjobs cheaper than a steak dinner
A stolen copy of The Economist
Carbon credit auctions
Self-mutilation as a career move

The Word Ban; the word ‘ban’
“Don’t forget anything you take”
Heart-shaped birth control pills
Platinum-plated dildos
The zero-tolerance exemption clause

Invisible transparency
100% Cotton-free Polyester
Stylish bikini with matching hijāb
Muslim Barbie
A Pure Blend

Innovation Training
A Global Tradition
Fabricated intelligence
Accidental assassination

“My other personality is a winner” [T-shirt] on a toothless cherry vendor
Discount seeing-eye dogs for children
Sunday Marriage Market in People’s Park

Night-shadows sharper than the day ones
The company of loneliness

“Gan bei! Want to see our pet Orca now?”

My free will is your destiny
The path inside the present
“A very fragile and explosive situation”
Luxury Logo Tattoos
Ugly is the new Beautiful; Persuasion the new Truth;
Green the new Black; Coercion the new Kindness;
Discriminatory the new Competitive; Disruptive the new

Chaos Theory, The war on war, Cost of Living, Waking
Dreams, Death Value, “Trust but verify”, Anti-matter,
Subject Verb Object; Object Verb Subject, Reverse
Psychology, Overfitting, Palindromic Sequences — never
odd or even, Human, DNA

Shanghai, 2010