(I Will Get Back To The Topic of Female Monks In a Bit)


What are you doing out there
by yourself anyway? Why
did you leave us? I think, today,
I could be
corrupted. And beautiful.
And sunshine. And grey.

Turns out when I needed to end a decade
I would just count backwards

Turns out what I needed was fix my toes, get Thursdays off like you

When the time passes slowly we may think we’ve made poor decisions in life. When it does not, we are prone to looking at ourselves outside of our own burning bodies.

I, like you, long for an environment that will cannibalize us too

When people say we could be so good together
they don’t only mean want to fuck? they also mean
sometimes at least forever Into the eye of the Storm—

I have the backstroke of a collagist though.

Don’t hope we’ll make it back to K town, I don’t
But this tradeoff literally blows. The lateness of this night feels right tonight The lateness of this night is killing all of the computers The lateness of this night is what’s making all of your screens freeze up

She spoke to me like someone she had once been and then,
as though I had made her do it, treated me oddly for the entire week after as though I had seen too much

If someone tells you to calm down
tell them
you can roll the partition up
and drive.

No, I don’t have any qualms about this, but I don’t have direct experience building roller coasters either. Well… it happened…we made
the switch over. She says, ok, so now can we go and cheer my friend up

like the last Thursday of any month…

kiss it good,

hold. that. thought.








There was a little bit of misery, and there was a little bit of beauty, so there was a little bit of misery and beauty, not much but enough, to go around.

There were some mushrooms and some clouds, not much but enough, for a taste.

Nation states formed like bulbs of cells and then broke apart, but then a kingdom was always ever formed. Before we could tire our wrists out upon them. Like roads. Give up, give in.




By the time you found me, it was a timeless time. Everytime you found me.

She didn’t even know what a collection of books was.

Just that there was one book. And it was a magical book.

Something traced me and made me go through toward it, like a faun.

Every time was stone or moss, and she didn’t even know what a collection of words was.

It is not worth mentioning which role was played.

Just that there was one book. And it was a magical book.




There’s a lot I have to tell you

but the oil keeps burning to please the spirits who let us even speak

In every epoch

I have called your name back to me

Your cheek to the inside of my palm

My cheek to the inside of your palm




This is a poem I would like to write

It’s a love letter
It’s a perfect indictment of the crimes of our humanity
It’s a love letter
It’s a collection of my favorite people all together in the general store
It’s a love letter
It’s the words daylight savings time, juillet, miss you, written on the toilet wall




It’s everything about interracial love that is wrong. It’s everything about interracial love that is right.

I’ve tried to bring the universal into this poem. I’ve tried to make sure that the universal never totalizes this poem.

She thought if she could dream up the perfect song it would perhaps maybe save her.

I thought if I could dream up the perfect song we could perhaps both enter and escape this sordid tale.

What we find ourselves with are the nails of the bed frame being drilled in reverse. The room where we watched her being taken apart.

There is a list somewhere of all the people who have lied about their genealogy.






Poet, performer, and sound artist, Valerie Hsiung is the author of three full-length poetry collections, the latest of which is her e f g (Action Books, 2016). Her poems can be found in or are forthcoming from dozens of publications, including The Nation, The Believer, jubilat, Chicago Review, PEN America, The Rumpus, Sonora Review, Poetry Northwest, Denver Quarterly, American Letters & Commentary, and beyond. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of the 2019 Kay Murphy Prize, she has performed her little poetry theater at Treefort Music Festival, DC Arts Center, Common Area Maintenance, Poetic Research Bureau, Casa Libre en la Solana, Shapeshifter Lab, and The Silent Barn. Born and raised by Chinese-Taiwanese immigrants in southern Ohio, Hsiung is now based out of New York.


Tell Me How It Makes You Feel is maximalist, transmissive, exorcist. It cares about bodies, especially unarchived bodies and immigrant bodies and womxn bodies and missing bodies and living bodies, and the relationship between such bodies and their encounterers, as well as the way technology and language and nature shape each other across this opera and the way this shaping shapes the architectures of our mental, physical, and metaphysical habitats. It cares about the other dimensions of text as well as the language(s) that can only survive outside of the book and off of the page. Written through the spirit of a “living text,” a text with living breathing cultures, this collection is both open dialogue and song book.