Journalism In Verse


A Complete and Total Catastrophe

in Immigration/Politics/U.S. by

I am sitting in a poetry workshop trying to describe
my surroundings in a short observational exercise
confined by the beastly heat to the air-conditioned
conference room where snacky chocolates mix
with the smell of cement and rustling pages
flap awkward wings like dirty seagulls in a storm
under windows too high up to meet at eye level
lighting hesitantly the silhouettes in the room
and all the treats on the table eclipsed by the most delicious
biscuit in a box someone brought from the farmer’s market
and as I check my phone to find out how much time I have
I see the newsflash about the man presiding
over the entire country tweeting such insane shit
all the biscuits change color and I am fifteen again
newly arrived in the United States and I love it
but there are some things that just don’t add up
but if I ask what the fuck they’ll just tell me to
go back to my “underdeveloped country”
if I don’t like it and what can I say to that
and in my dream that night I am trying to explain
the current political climate to a gray-haired
comic book character version of Abigail Adams
and my words make sense up to a point but then
she just starts whipping me with her recreational assault rifle
in between bouts of replanting flowers along the runway
trampled by George Washington’s army until
I wake up and fumble for some nice strong coffee
but it’s milkshakes milkshakes everywhere



Anton Yakovlev‘s latest chapbook is Chronos Dines Alone (SurVision Books, 2018), winner of James Tate Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Hopkins Review, Amarillo Bay, Prelude, Measure, and elsewhere. This poem was written in New York City.


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