A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I enter through security as taxpayer,
the needle’s eye of citizenship. Bag on the table,
keys in a plastic container that could hold mail
or explosives. The only way in and out.
I remember with strained nostalgia
the protests of the eighties—
South Africa, Nicaragua, El Salvador,
the sit-ins at congressional offices,
the time we rode up and down the elevators
with our leaflets until the guards nabbed us
and threw us out. And that last time,
the sit-in during Desert Storm,
suspended between freedom and arrest,
swimming in ether like exotic fish
while our friends pressed against the aquarium glass
with hopeful signs
as if we could change history, levitate the building
like Abbie Hoffman tried with the Pentagon.
Now we are lucky to stand unmolested
on the public sidewalk,
the thin edge of the wedge of democracy.
From Arab on Radar (Six Gallery Press). Copyright 2008 Angele Ellis.