BOOKS: Things to Know for Compañer@s, A No More Deaths Volunteer Guide By Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
Issue 109 Fiction Poetry Nonfiction Art + Photography Film Music Books For Creators more
View Image

BOOKS: Things to Know for Compañer@s, A No More Deaths Volunteer Guide By Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

 Marie C. Lecrivain
arrow_drop_down
 Marie C. Lecrivain
BOOKS: Things to Know for Compañer@s, A No More Deaths Volunteer Guide By Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
by Marie C. Lecrivain  FollowFollow
arrow_drop_down
marie c lecrivain is the edtior of The Whiteside Review:A Journal of Speculative/Scifi Fiction, and poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles....read more Her short stories, poetry, and reviews have been published online and in print, including in Nonbinary Review, The Poetry Salzburg Review, Clockwise Cat, and many others. She's a photographer, jewelry designer, and writer-in-residence in her apartment. For more shenanigans, she can be contacted via email at marie.lecrivain.pd@gmail.com.
BOOKS: Things to Know for Compañer@s, A No More Deaths Volunteer Guide By Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
Share:

Poetry is, by its nature, ephemeral, and in the eyes of many, disposable. However, I’m a fan of poetic ephemera (chapbooks, pamphlets, broadsides, poetry postcards, miniature poetry books - I collect it all). The practice of carrying poetry on one’s person is not unusual, especially in the rarified circles I occupy, and I’m always on the lookout for new material. I spotted a photo in my FB feed of Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo’s new portable poetry broadside Things to Know for Compañer@s, A No More Deaths Volunteer Guide. I became curious, and purchased a copy.

I received my copy in the mail a few days later, along with a very nice note from Bermejo. Things to Know is a long-form narrative poem contained in a small fold-out broadside (8.5 x14) designed by Ashaki M. Jackson, and nicely segmented into a map, which is exactly what it appears to be - on the surface. Things to Know is a powerful poetic vehicle that transports the reader right into the middle of the terrifying, perilous journey Central American immigrants risk for the chance at a better life within the boundaries of the United States.

Things to Know, begins, like any guide, with the question “Did You Know?”, followed by a series of facts regarding dangerous flora and fauna that exist in the desert. The query, “Did You Know?”, comes off as helpful, even humorous, as the reader starts to immerse herself in Berjemo’s concise poetic prose filled with hints on how to avoid mountain lions, lightning, wooly mammoth tarantulas, as well as needle sharp cacti.

The turn in the poem starts with the following:

Did You Know?

Tu Español puede ayudar a salvar una

vida. Compañero is Spanish for we are in

this shit together. Do not be afraid to

speak Spanish.

This passage reminds the reader that this is NOT another piece of poetic ephemera - this is social justice in action, an artistic bitch slap in the face of the reader - one that is sorely needed - of the real and present danger thousands of immigrants face every day; the danger we’re made to forget through privilege and media indoctrination, the constant dehumanization of people who deserve a chance to live, thrive, and contribute to the greater good.

With the truth laid bare, Things to Know continues on a more intimate note, with alternating passages that encourage the reader to be more aware of the dangers and hallucinations one can experience/be subjected to in the desert:

Did you know?

When barrel cacti become tombstones

and their yellow starburst blooms

offerings for the dead, you can go ahead

and belt out Katy Perry songs?

Did you know?

There will be a moment when you

fantasize crashing water gallons down on

the rocks, throwing off your pack,

collapsing on the trail and quitting. This

is when you are to stop and rest. There

are people in the desert who are never

allowed rest.

Things to Know ends on a surprising note, which I will not spoil because I believe everyone needs to read it. As for the quality of Bermejo’s poetic prose, the spare, sharp passages burst into the reader’s mind like full-fledged short film vignettes, colorful and complete, which adds to another layer of urgency, as well as importance.

All proceeds from the sale of Things to Know for Compañer@s, A No More Deaths Volunteer Guide, go to No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes (NoMoreDeaths.org), a volunteer, non-profit humanitarian organization based in Arizona, whose mission is to end the death and suffering of immigrants in the U.S.-Mexico badlands through humanitarian aid and advocacy for more humane immigration policies. If you want to make a difference, purchase a copy of Things to Known and carry it with you as a reminder that your fellow human beings - and poetry - are both areas that will always need care and support.

Things to Know for Compañer@s, A No More Deaths Volunteer Guide, a poem by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo ,© 2016 Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, ($6 + shipping), www.XochitlJulisa.wordpress.com , www.NoMoreDeaths.org .

Bermejo photo XochitlPic.jpg

0 comments

Discussion

There are no comments yet...
 

Discover...

Browse through thousands of stories, poems and more. Whether you're into crimes comitted, tales true or dragons slayed, we have what you're looking for — written by professional and proven authors.

The more you read and interact, the more we can find new and exciting work for you.

Join now

Share...

Automatically make and receive recommendations as you read. Extend your experience through comments, sharing, connecting with authors and following readers with similar tastes. Reading becomes both personal and social.

Decide...

The more you do, the better your experience! We'll improve our recommendations to you and others based on what you've enjoyed and followed. The more a work is liked or person followed, the more impact they have.

Challenge yourself...

Set up a personal challenge to read more. Explore a new genre or author. Red Fez can help you discover more, keep track of everything you've read and broaden your horizons.

Join now

For Writers & Creators

  • Get published in Red Fez.
  • Create a single space to share all your published (and unpublished) writing.
  • Discover who is actually reading and enjoying your work.
  • Find your audience & identify your work to readers who enjoy what you create!
  • Get a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your work. Discover your most (and least!) popular work.
  • Connect with your readers through comments, scroll posts and direct messages.
  • Connect with other writers in your geographical and interest areas.
  • Find a publisher through our extensive list of publishers.

Get Started

Join Red Fez

Start your adventure

By signing up you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.
Already a member? Log in

Log in

Continue your adventures