X/Ex/Exis, by Raquel Silas Rivera
University of Arizona Press9780816544073
Written in the early days of the rise of world-wide fascism and the poet’s gender transition, x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación/poems for the nation accepts the invitation to push poetic and gender imaginaries beyond the bounds set by nation.
From teen dysphoria, to the incarceration of anticolonial activists Oscar López and Nina Droz Franco, to the entanglement of church and state, these poems acknowledge the violence of imposed binaries. For Salas Rivera, the x marks Puerto Rican transness in a world that seeks trans death, denial, and erasure. Instead of justifying his existence, he takes up the flag of illegibility and writes an apocalyptic book that screams into an uncertain future, armed with nothing to lose.
In today's post-disaster Puerto Rico and a world shaped by the recurring waves of an ecological apocalypse, Salas Rivera’s words feel visionary, mapping a decolonizing territory, a body, and identity of both soil and heart.