Found Sonnet, Lines I Loved From Sherman Alexie’s What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned

By Jorge Antonio Vallejos

1. My Indian name is Wants  To Tell You His Indian Name Because It Makes Him Feel More Indian.

2. …my big brother, who was eating and stealing food from the fruit department.

3. If my sons, Indian as they are, contract some preventable disease from those organic, free range white children and die, will it be legal for me to scalp and slaughter their white parents?

4. In Seattle, when white folks first gentrified this neighborhood, they built houses on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, but they turned the front doors of their homes so their street addresses would not be on MLK , Jr. Blvd.

5. Republican, n. One who has, in the past, lied to Indians. Also, one who is currently lying to Indians. Also, one who will, in the future, lie to Indians. See: Democrat.

6. Do you miss the strange women who loved to touch your hair? Do you miss being eroticized because of your braids?

7. White Jesus comes from white people; brown Jesus comes from brown people.

8.  Are you Chicano?

9. I want my coffee to taste like sex and rage.

10. Ariana X. Rodriguez wrote: “There is a word in Nahuatl that means: “All of the memory in the world.” Nobody remembers how to say the word.

11. And who do we become when we are confronted with the truth–with a direct refutation of our closely held beliefs–but still refuse to admit our sins?

12. Do we become liars when we don’t kiss those people who make us tremble and tremble for us?

13. …I drank coffee as strong and bitter as colonialism.

14. I can make up any shit about Indians and you will believe me because you don’t know shit about Indians or rather, all you know is bullshit about Indians, so I can just make up my own bullshit and you won’t know the difference.

Thanks to May Lui for introducing me to found poems.  BIG thanks to Maureen Hynes, one of my poetry Elders, for suggesting writing a found sonnet!

If you appreciate the work I do consider treating me to a coffee or making a donation to  Click on the CONTACT page above to find out how.

About Black Coffee Poet

Black Coffee Poet is a mixed race poet, essayist, and journalist who focuses on Social Justice, Indigenous Rights, STOPPING Violence Against Women, Film, and Literature.
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  1. Dheeman says:

    Just loved it…appreciate what you do…


    Love, D

  2. rasiqra/revulva says:


    Really inspired by the idea of a found sonnet! And also quite antsy to read this book. The lines you chose were very intriguing.


    • RR,

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Yes, the book is a must read. As are Alexie’s first 4 books of poems! His last collection, Face, was a disappointment. When I read this new one, What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned, I was so happy! I felt like Alexie went back to his old self while having still grown as a poet! And he is first, and foremost, a poet!

      Peace, Prayers, Poetry,

      Jorge Antonio Vallejos
      Black Coffee Poet

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