Whores Smoking Crack in the Staircase of Chungking Mansions


by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

My colleagues and I,
stomachs full of Indian curry,
too much, but not too spicy,
marvelled at the sight,
for half an epigrammatic second.

Did you see that? One asked.
Whores, taking crack.
The other said:
Hey, people, taking crack.

On the street, we were again
sold watches, old phones,
tailored suits, massages.
Or they were.

My face was too clearly
Hong Kong and my gender
too unambiguous

to be a potential customer.

Cover image by Steve Calcott

About the Author:


Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong-born writer currently based in the UK. She is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and an editor of the London-based Fleeting Magazine and the academic journal Victorian Network. She edited Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology in 2006 and co-edited Love and Lust in 2008. Her own work has been widely published in print and online and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times and the Forward Prize. She is finishing her PhD thesis on Neo-Victorian fiction at King’s College London.

One response to “‘Whores Smoking Crack in the Staircase of Chungking Mansions’ by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming”

  1. Charles Bane, Jr says:

    Remarkably arrogant and unpoetic.