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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 7, 2018.
About this Poem 

“I redacted 122 pages of H.R. 4900, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, known in shorthand as ‘PROMESA,’ into a sestina or a ‘palimpsestina.’ ‘PROMESA’ establishes technocrats and global financiers as colonial administrators of the Puerto Rican economy, enabling them to manipulate bureaucratic time across the island. This colonial orchestration of time is lethal and bound up in the manufacturing of debt, so I redacted the bill while thinking about decolonization and breaking cycles and arrived at this poem.”
—Joey De Jesus

P̶R̶O̶M̶E̶S̶A̶

and in each for such as fall to board
reduced to liquid dispute over sight
the term means and the term means
territory the term me- island budget,
its sole discretion reports instrument
pursuant to paragraph or subsection
 
session the public powers by section
data in the sunshine code; the board
shall secure a metadata government,
document electric metadata insights
with respect to Puerto Rico its budget
with respect to the budget the meaning
 
given to debtor. Trustee made means
operative under this operative section:
a wild refuge of solid waste to budget.
No electricity, water, nothing to board
to pool the pool separate or cite sight
in violation of violation. Instrumental
 
in such noncompliance, the governor
deadlines instrum-, deadfreeze, mean
bankruptcy of public faith in oversight.
Privatization, redeem this Act, section
on behalf of debtor submits to board
no coven to plebiscite ‘cept budget
 
bond bond restructuring budget budget
certain lands exclude land instrument
in decline—body of waste overboard
nothing shall endanger species means
emergency of waterbody undersection.
Enforcement of property all the sights
 
an opportunity for privatization, sight
the insolvency, counterparty budgets
to reduce oil electric for island territory
island electric power authority means
transitioning to privatized government,
a cause to challenge unlawful board.

Copyright © 2018 by Joey De Jesus. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 7, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Joey De Jesus. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 7, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Joey de Jesus

Joey De Jesus

Joey De Jesus edits poetry at Apogee Journal and is a 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship recipient.