Black Wall

1. Black Wall


You underestimated the forests that surround Beijing.
On the car ride over, you’re struck by the bloom of the trees.
They’re enormous, they make for the mountainside.

When you get to the actual Great Wall,
you gasp with shock-
Sparse. It’s thin and pathetic.
It’s not at all like the pictures.
There are thirty people here,
and they’re all scattered
like rocks.
It’s all just a bunch of rocks,
piled on top of each other.
You have arrived at the laziest basilisk in all the world.
You stare at a few telephone poles sticking out from it.

Of course, I know it’s the world’s largest graveyard,
but I’ve seen Queens in New York too-
are all graveyards so similar?


We guard the history of centuries. Elm, evergreen, everlasting
even in the winter-
We grow upwards and forwards,
It is the same scene,
immovable grey against a sea

if you die enough times,
people start to leave you alone.
You are hidden in the rubble,
no-one looks for you in the bloom.

of leaves
over and over,
to prove the same story
again and again


poem by Haolun Xu


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.” He has been published in Quail Bell Review, Rock & Sling, Garfield Lake Review, and more. His most recent chapbook, “Five Memories Of A Beijing Winter” has been nominated for the Versal Amsterdam Prize.