A History of Detainment

And sex did not create us evenly.

The fashion declines statement.

And the shit on your face is the history of delicacies.

When the disruption of hierarchy deflates us too.

The hammering of souls while sealed in fur.

And we are elated, happily along for the ride.

The cultural significance of feeling sentimental in times of catastrophe.

While navigating the meadow of hypotheticals, I tripped and broke my arm.

And the drive is incomplete without you.

What eyes?

Everyday it is dark and I am not where I want to be.

The movies.

Erotic chatter that is hardly the definition of static.

Slip hints to the bourgeois.

Home to the patriotic loon.

Fishies swimming home in the dark.

The arrival of plentiful.


Tremendous healing adapts to the matriarchy.

How do you say no to a rigorous saint?

How soon until the race is over?

We do not mourn the disruption of hierarchy because we want to be up there too.

Arrogant children ponder an open site.

A little over a pesky dozen.

Anomaly of regulars.

Emergence of a still life.

Vines grow over vines until they become forgotten by the majority.

We need to keep the history of detainment alive.

How to get there how to get there how to get here.

The problem of this body is America.

And there is an emergency in my computer.

Throw a mirror into a swamp, release a soul.

In haste, we retrieve the leftovers—they cannot be abandoned!

A flossing material.

A disguise in blood diamonds.

Material empathy overcomes the drooling child.

We sleep in the scarlet night.

Just because it is not our body, doesn’t make it a finished product.

What does the vagrant want?

The role of the poet is a lie.

The history of detainment correlates with the history of natural skin.

Somewhere out in the countryside, a concept is shrinking.

The aftermath of detainment is a blank cage rattling in the desert wind.

Do we all want contemporary?

The sky opens up and we are split apart.

Armless, I emerge reckless.

Tourniquet to stop the blood rainbow.

To be reduced to hollow refuse.

A grove at the edge of a swamp provides an exit strategy.

To be held in your grave.

Water escapes through the cracks leaving the fishies to die.

The history of prison is the history of love.

We place guards around the perimeter and that is love.

Blossoming is a possibility.

You can’t know if it is possible to blossom in prison if you’ve never been in one.

You can’t know how it feels like to die.

I conceptualize a peak and my imagination goes to a valley of amputated arms.

Even the now moves with such glacial intensity.

Art is the shit on your face.

It is pain, but it is manageable.

A day job.

The movies.

The emergency of sentiment blinds us momentarily.

The beginning of tea and canaries.

Nameless creates a peculiar mound, the mound is oddly precise.

A battlefield of corpses is reduced to a concept.

We are reduced to a concept.

The traditional suicide of “following in death.”

We cower beneath the steps of God.

Our yearning becomes material for tragedy.

A body is tied to an appeal.

Say no to the appeal.

Upset the balance and a river flows backwards into the rain.

The Fawn Response

When co-dependency is the only option, accept exploitation
Adult status means nothing, if you have a child’s mind
A free spirit, as some girls call it
Dog or fawn
I want to please you all the time
Even while dinner is served
And a plate smashes against my face
The superficial wound heals and becomes
A measly frond in the immense wilderness
The intense urge to flee is not the opposite of servile behavior
Just a different method of escape
It is not the feel, but the aftertaste of experience that determines
Its place on the memory chain
Part dog and/or part fawn
Even the most pure vocabulary cannot subdue the intense urge to flee
A shock to the birds, but not to the natural order of things
I abandon myself recklessly
To exhibit my “best behavior”
Being tidy and servile
Is what good girls do best
A good girl is a golden nugget
Like a reusable stamp
Or velcro on a shoe strap
Recognition of talents, obscure as they are
Begins with who you know
Then making sure that the people you know tell the people they know about you
And so on and so forth
Rosily down the chain of command
Into the dungeon
If communication is not your strong suit
Then try again
Try harder
Dissolve all boundaries
A spirit can easily slip in between cage bars
Seeks safety by merging with the wishes of other spirits
Give way to flattery at the first sign of a perceived threat
At least one of you is a narcissist
At least one of you is a dog

No More Lilies

A turquoise pyramid
balances on a band of foam

A computer virus makes
competition more deathy

Hoards of money stashed away
in invisible vaults
don’t hoard money
hoard design

Let death be handy
like adolescent boys
  & their pulsating cocks

What once was luxury
is now data
  oozing out of pores

manipulated by soft robots
horizontal & perpendicular

  at the same time dumb
  leaves unfurl into mega leaves

the moon becomes less and less talented
  like the deranged totem
    outside your lobby window


The elevator goes up and my tears flow down
while the people’s opinions decrease rapidly.
Chatter in the amiable distance.
We are all vegetables alone in the night
flowers in my glazed esophagus.
Tie string around the baby’s wrist
bind the soul to the body
Tie a collar around the dog’s neck
bind the body to the master
Master eats a little bit of pork for survival.
The dog consumes its complex
and it is contagious.
To sink beneath the earthly surface
and know that heaven is coming
Its existence taints us, enlists God’s spells
A room that paints us into complacency
made dark and darker
brown and browner
Silence created by the mud of elders.
What goes around comes out the other ear
Scattered, predatory and baseless.
Like feral leaves in grass
Stray dogs in the distance
Myriad of slobbering tongues.
The law states:
Who you are in the morning
is not
who you are
at night
a home amongst the forbidden
a minor discrepancy
a boy being folded into the shape of a crab
shoved into a car, not a symbol.
The neighbors step out of their unseen
houses to watch as neighbors do.
It is dusk
Colors amass in a heavenly green
Prayer hands cup over prayer hands
Littles play with other littles
Little boys’ genitals like hanging fruit
(The apple fills my hybrid throat with glee)
I enter into child’s pose
Spill out the contents of my brain
Perform miracles in the bowels of my animal kingdom
What is it like to have another half
What is it like to have, but not own
What is it like
To look down at a pile of soft muscles and know
they are not yours
What is the feeling of new skin
The soaking of vegetables in salted water.


Erase the memory and then the eyes,
Then instantly match the movement of your neighbor.
Facial recognition systems lull people into a false sense of security.
Just like that, identities melt away into the blue.
Everyday the kids get a little wilier,
Hitching rides with strangers.
Nothing to snack on, but a mealy apple that has been sitting out for weeks.
To live and sleep amongst your prey
Here’s how to do the flowers
Play host at the dinner party
Then play Russian roulette
When restoring the hard drive, intuitively scan the cursor over the largest form.
Apply ointment to the exterior
Allow the form to dictate direction, but not the other way around.
Install every fear into your worst enemy.
One for men
And one for women
Stuck in a place where you don’t want to be,
Now having to deal with wild pigs
The refugees have no choice but to change their tactics.
Gather in large numbers for a totally different flying technique
Streamlined and energy efficient

Let’s travel together
On hoverboards
Over countries
The same old story
From rags to riches.
Apply the cool gel of disbelief
With a coffee stirrer,
Eat with a side of coffee and cake.
Imagine what part of this poem qualifies it as “junk”
Take that part and bury it outside.
A sapling
Becomes a colony
Of ants
Each ant
Instantly matching the movement of its neighbor.
A skeleton made from the bodies of 2 million workers
On payroll
Running out of space on the hard drive
For pigs
And folic acid
And car payments

Let’s hear their voices!
This poem is no cause for celebration
The heir to the fortune is no cause for celebration
Don’t cry,
Instead hold people accountable for their mistakes.
Blow air bubbles into the margins of doubt.
Baseball field-shaped bubbles
An influx of foreign influence from the Western world
Junk mail
Another pair of sneakers
The internal bodily functions of this poem
Miniature people in human machines turn the challenges of the machine to their advantage
Channel super powers
Facial recognition technology
Cannot be replicated with smoke
And mirrors
A complicated meeting of cultural and spiritual matters.
Refugees constantly shift in a floating maze,
Passageways open and close in a series of unremarkable patterns.
The urgency of recognition is a desire for consistency in the modern world.
Desire having no real consequences
When it’s fight-or-flight
And nourishment is scarce
And the leaves
The leaves
Are bloodless.

Christine Shan Shan Hou

Christine Shan Shan Hou is a poet and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Publications include“I'm Sunlight” (The Song Cave 2016), C O N C R E T E S O U N D (2011), a collaborative artists’ book with artist Audra Wolowiec, and Accumulations (Publication Studio 2010). christinehou.com


Title Quantity Price