We Outlast Empire is a recurring series which aims to highlight poetry that explores the many angles of our current global and political situation. With words, we hope, we may transmute a part of ourselves—a part however small or large—that can exist without drawn borders, without violence, without injustice.

Adverse Action Notice

Send us your bank statements,
your paystubs, your ontological
arguments, or else we will shut
your file down. Your pharmacy
will rattle your bottles empty.

After the last two days of tablets,
the last two days of shelter from
lightning-strike seizures, the
embarrassment of convulsing
like a Pentecostal, you may find

yourself drooling in front of your
friends or back at the Family
Support Division at 8 a.m., sitting
in a row of scratched captain’s
chairs from which jurors delivered

death sentences 20 years ago:
Please Take a Number lettered
above the bulletproof windowpane
in which your interviewer—blond
mustache, Bass Pro T-shirt—yawns,

puttering. 11a.m: Call Melissa, scratched
with a quarter in the bathroom stall:
$25 BJ’s. You have only four tablets
left, and an MRI scan in two days.

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    Black and white image of Puerto Rican poet Salvador Villanueva as a young man. He has coarse black hair and beard. He wears a white button-down shirt with rolled up sleeves at the elbows. It seems he is gesturing to someone off-screen in the middle of conversation.
    The Anti-Poetry of Salvador Villanueva

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