Weekly Write: “Tommy Gun Boy” by Haolun Xu

Tommy Gun Boy

Haolun Xu

it’s a remarkable thing, to see a town that trusts.
i come in to thame street with all the shining people
wearing my dirty yakuza-suit and my face looking like a tommy-gun.
i’m the only foreign man, walking through this area and i pass by white families
that all collectively wear the same khaki flag. and yet,
they don’t see me in their happiness.

now within the town is a small building by the sea, and to my horror i can walk right in.
i don’t need an invitation, so i waltz in,
where the small staircases lead to a beautifully empty library.
it’s a demonstration by the whole town,
because who would steal or ruin such dusty and venerable naval books,
and alongside the library is a small room with no people in it.

when i walked in i notice pillows on the floor and gasped,

gasped because it’s a room for praying and it’s open to everyone.
who owns this room, i say out loud, a ghoul lost within a safe-house –
who takes it upon themselves to make such a small study,
an altar within a library
within a town
within a person’s heart
within a person to violate in privacy


Haolun Xu is 24 years old and was born in Nanning, China. He immigrated to the United States in 1999. He was raised in central New Jersey and is currently studying Political Science and English at Rutgers University. Transitioning from a background in journalism and activism, he spends his time between writing poetry and the local seashore.



“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2020 Anthology.

Click here check out the 2019 Anthology:  Trumpet Call; a Swimming with Elephants Anthology available for only $12.95.