Weekly Write: “To women who have never known Amazonia” by Liza Wolff-Francis

To women who have never known Amazonia

Dear endangered curves,
Dear blossoming then sagging breasts,
Dear shoulders in wait,
Dear curious vulva,
Dear fairy tale princesses and your witches,

There is a landscape not impossible
for freedom of women.

Trees of proud limbs,
where leaves whisper poems to sky.
Earth savory, fingers to lips.
Its scent in rain
like the imagination of clouds,
fog over trails of fern and animal,
brisk air in nostrils, inside cheeks
like the creation of taste buds,
in lungs, stomach, and toes.

An interpretation of paradise,
this place holds always
the possibility of disappearing,

Weeks, months, lifetimes
of us working beside each other,
sharing space under day and moon.

It took time for us to get here,
and it first meant leaving
those places where we start out
at the bottom, to create a world
where women are the hive
and also the bees.

Where, you might ask, is a place like that?
Where women are valued for who they are,
not for what they can give?

Not for babies we can birth,
or how we can serve you,
or for the stars between our thighs,
and not for our lullabies.

There is only one place I know.
I would tell you to come
if I thought it was safe. If I thought
I could spell out clear instructions
on how to arrive, if I thought you
would easily arrive alive, I would tell you.

Dear doubter,
Dear captive woman,
Dear woman lost to patriarchy,
Dear body in danger,
Dear self, seeking safety,
Dear traveler,
Dear imagination,
Dear world changer,

If you want to come and can make it here,
this is your invitation.

With love,

Liza Wolff-Francis is a literary artist with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her writing has appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a poetry chapbook out called ‘Language of Crossing’ (2015, Swimming With Elephants Press).

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2020 Anthology.

Click here check out the 2019 Anthology:  Trumpet Call; a Swimming with Elephants Anthology available for only $12.95.

Available on Kindle Unlimited: The Language of Crossing

Now available on Kindle Unlimited:  Language of Crossing by Liza Wolff-Francis.

Click here to view Kindle Unlimited as well as find buying options for the paperback.

Liza Wolff-Francis’s Language of Crossing is a collection of poetry that mirrors the true heart-stories along the US/Mexico border. Giving face, voice and humanity to all those who make their way across fronteras, her work is that of a necessary endeavor. She writes of a reality that must be ignored no longer. It is the struggle, strife, and violence that is endured by those who flee their country in hopes of a better life. Her poems, brutally honest and minute, rouse compassion as all good poetry must and begs the question of accountability. Language of Crossing is a political outcry, a finely tuned collection of endurance of a people, and a passionate advocacy for all to take notice. Wolff-Francis is a real activist planting poetic prayer flags across the vastness of a desert.

Featured SwEP Author: Liza Wolff Francis

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC would like to reintroduce to you to Liza Wolff Francis.

Liza Wolff Francis’s chapbook, Language of Crossing, was published in the fall of 2015 by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC.

Liza Wolff-Francis’s Language of Crossing is a collection of poetry that mirrors the true heart-stories along the US/Mexico border. Giving face, voice and humanity to all those who make their way across fronteras, her work is that of a necessary endeavor. She writes of a reality that must be ignored no longer. It is the struggle, strife, and violence that is endured by those who flee their country in hopes of a better life. Her poems, brutally honest and minute, rouse compassion as all good poetry must and begs the question of accountability. Language of Crossing is a political outcry, a finely tuned collection of endurance of a people, and a passionate advocacy for all to take notice. Wolff-Francis is a real activist planting poetic prayer flags across the vastness of a desert.

 

Liza Wolff Francis’s chapbook, Language of Crossing, from Bookworks ABQ

or order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble today!

Already own a copy? Please write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, or submit a review to swimwithelephants@gmail.com for publications on this site.

 

Liza Wolff-Francis

Liza Wolff-FraLizaHeadShotncis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Edge, Twenty, unseenfiction.com, Border Senses, and on various blogs. As a social worker, she has worked with Spanish speaking immigrant populations for twenty years. She wrote the play “Border Rising” from interviews with undocumented Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Albuquerque, NM.

 

The Book You Need to Have

Language of CrossingWhen the manuscript of Language of Crossing first crossed my desk, I immediately knew it was an important work which profoundly reflected upon some of the most disturbing issues concerning immigration in America. In light of recent events, the building of “the wall” and American relations with Mexico, it is even more important than ever.

Through poetry, Liza Wolff-Francis tells the stories, demonstrates the horrors, and gives a human face to those people who are so greatly affected by the immigration. The struggle continues. This is not a reflection of what is past, but a collection of what continues. If you want to truly understand the strife of the undocumented, start here.

Order the Language of Crossing from Amazon for only $10.95 by clicking here.

About the Publication:

Liza Wolff-Francis’s Language of Crossing is a collection of poetry that mirrors the true heart-stories along the US/Mexico border. Giving face, voice and humanity to all those who make their way across fronteras, her work is that of a necessary endeavor. She writes of a reality that must be ignored no longer. It is the struggle, strife, and violence that is endured by those who flee their country in hopes of a better life. Her poems, brutally honest and minute, rouse compassion as all good poetry must and begs the question of accountability. Language of Crossing is a political outcry, a finely tuned collection of endurance of a people, and a passionate advocacy for all to take notice. Wolff-Francis is a real activist planting poetic prayer flags across the vastness of a desert.

Reviews from Amazon.com:

By Francois Pointeau

“In Brownsville there’s a hundred
stash houses where they keep the immigrants
once they’ve crossed over in north heaven.
The coyotes take their shoes from them,
take their clothes so they don’t run, keep them
behind locks. Quiet. Callados.
En silencio, until the next trek
on into the land of the free.

(from the poem “In Brownsville there’s a stash house where they keep the immigrants”)

The poems in Language of Crossing by Liza Wolff-Francis will break your heart. Is this the America we live in? Yes it is. Is this the way we treat the poor and the needy? Yes it is.

Whatever happened to: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” –The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus

These words have become the Myth of America. Wolff-Francis brings the tragedy, the reality of the true faces of the immigrants to life, not the myth…she paints us a picture of what is going on right now on our southern borders. She gives individuals crossing our borders a human face, a human heart, and a human longing for a better land, a better place, a simple place where you can raise your family without the fear of death at every corner. And for many of these immigrants, what they find is everything but. Wolff-Francis doesn’t pull any punches. What she writes about, we can not ignore, we can no longer turn a blind eye to. This is an important collection of poems, and you need to read it.

By hanginwithlewis

I’m so glad I was able to get a copy of Language of Crossing. As I’ve been listening to NPR and hearing about humanitarian crises in Africa and the Middle East, I’ve kept wondering at how strong our national political policies must be, that we turn a blind eye to what’s happening at our threshold. Before the book launch reading at La Resistencia Bookstore in Austin, I knew there were people crossing the border, and many if not most of those journeys did not have a happy ending. But I hadn’t realized there was a humanitarian crisis in progress, so I feel that I’ve at least had my eyes opened in a way that allows me to look at what’s going on more critically and realistically. Not that I’ve saved any lives yet, per sé, but I’m glad to be able to read about your perspective, rather than only hear the President’s. And the found poem that opens the collection, “Border Trauma,” is still haunting me months later.

LizaHeadShotAbout the Author:

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Edge, Twenty, unseenfiction.com, Border Senses, and on various blogs. As a social worker, she has worked with Spanish speaking immigrant populations for twenty years. She wrote the play “Border Rising” from interviews with undocumented Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Albuquerque, NM.