Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Angele Ellis: If We Live

For John Reoli


to be of arab descent

is a practice of disassociation,

you write. I read dislocation,

wrenched identity. Hanging

limply from sorrow’s shoulder.

You write, i guess i always knew

but it was so unconscious...

Our grandmothers counted their gold

along the lengths of their arms.

We spin ours from paper until dawn.

If someone said our true names three times,

cousin, would we flame and disappear?

as if most americans can distinguish

the differences, or even care to…

Does every desperate act erase the differences,

bring us closer to those in nameless cells

held by force of lawlessness or burning will?

If we live, John, my grandfather said

when anyone spoke of the future. If we live.


from Arab on Radar (Six Gallery Press). Copyright 2008 Angele Ellis.


Angele Ellis’ grandfather in his cigar store in Carthage, New York, circa 1940s.

One comment on “Angele Ellis: If We Live

  1. Charlie Brice
    May 15, 2017

    This poem lives in my heart. Bravo, Angele!

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 15, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , , .

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