Valerie Hsiung: A Body Without Sex Without Scrutiny

Valerie Hsiung: A Body Without Sex Without Scrutiny

Three excerpts from I did it, I said it


Paper thin enough for holes


The throat of a newborn bird receiving the vomit of his mother


Will you touch me


She asked the world


Which to her appeared as the face


Of her beloved


Over a bluish grayish subtext a face in a windshield


A compression that expands


A fist through plywood



Hanging down from a pole


It’s a body without sex without scrutiny without booths full of kleenex


Walking into the ocean


See the holes in the wall in the shape and in the size of a person’s head


The picture frame tilted ever so slightly so that today it couldn’t be hidden


The way a face can turn


In empathy and in travesty


Like one sway of the branch


One last marathon / One last hurrah


Ten more years / or a thousand…


The scars she had to prove what everyone else thought was just a myth


It comes and it goes


But is never there if she tries too intently to control it


If she tries too intently to ensnare it


I don’t want to be


The murderer of a dinner party gone fussy


And see that’s where intention can have


Its own twisted downfalls


He hands me an archival catalogue of White House State Dinner menus


The instinct for control or predation


A wooden coat rack from a white house snapped in half


Because he was angry

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Poet and performer Valerie Hsiung is the author of three full-length poetry collections: e f g: a trilogy (Action Books, 2016), incantation inarticulate (O Balthazar Press, 2013), and under your face (OBP, 2013). Her poetry and interviews can be found or is forthcoming in an array of places, including American Letters & Commentary, Apiary, Black Nerd Problems, Cloud RodeoCosmonauts Avenue, Bone Bouquet, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Diode Poetry Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Luna  Luna Magazine, Mad Hatters’ Review, Moonshot, New Delta Review, PEN Poetry Series, Prelude, RealPoetik, Tammy, and VOLT. She has performed at Casa Libre en la Solana, Common Area Maintenance, Leon Gallery, Poetic Research Bureau, Rhizome, Shapeshifter Lab, and Treefort Music Festival, among elsewhere. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hsiung studied literary translation and ecopoetics at Brown University and is currently based out of Brooklyn, New York, where she works as a modern-day matchmaker. She serves as an editor for Poor Claudia. Find her online at