By Thomas Sayers Ellis
Or Oreo, or
worse. Or ordinary.
Or your choice   
of category


or any color   
other than Colored
or Colored Only.
Or “Of Color”

or theory or discourse
or oral territory.
Oregon or Georgia
or Florida Zora


or born poor   
or Corporate. Or Moor.
Or a Noir Orpheus
or Senghor


or a horrendous   
and tore-up journey.
Or performance. Or allegory’s armor
of ignorant comfort


or reform or a sore chorus.
Or Electoral Corruption
or important ports
of Yoruba or worry


or fear of . . .
of terror or border.
Or all organized

Source: Poetry (October 2006).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

October 2006
 Thomas Sayers Ellis


Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room (Graywolf, 2005) and a chaplet, Song On (WinteRed Press, 2005) and his interview with Bootsy Collins appears in Waxpoetics #18. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Lesley University low-residency Creative Writing Program.

In April 2014, Thomas Sayers Ellis was a featured writer for Harriet.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.