Jimmy Santiago Baca
Jimmy Santiago Baca is an American Poet and writer.
Life and Career
Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, in 1952. Abandoned by his parents at the age of two, he lived with one of his grandmothers for several years before being placed in an orphanage. He wound up living on the streets, and at the age of twenty-one he was convicted on charges of drug possession and incarcerated. He served six and a half years in prison, three of them in isolation, and having expressed a desire to go to school (the guards considered this dangerous), he was for a time put in the same area of the prison with the inmates on death row before he was ... more »
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Jimmy Santiago Baca Poems
Who Understands Me But Me
They turn the water off, so I live without water, they build walls higher, so I live without treetops, they paint the windows black, so I live without sunshine, they lock my cage, so I live without going anywhere,
I Am Offering This Poem
I am offering this poem to you, since I have nothing else to give. Keep it like a warm coat, when winter comes to cover you,
Like An Animal
Behind the smooth texture Of my eyes, way inside me, A part of me has died: I move my bloody fingernails
I prefer red chile over my eggs and potatoes for breakfast. Red chile ristras decorate my door, dry on my roof, and hang from eaves.
Is a question of strength, of unshed tears, of being trampled under, and always, always,
A Daily Joy To Be Alive
No matter how serene things may be in my life, how well things are going, my body and soul
As Life Was Five
Portate bien, behave yourself you always said to me. I behaved myself when others were warm in winter
Everybody to sleep the guard symbolizes on his late night tour of the tombs. When he leaves, after counting still bodies wrapped in white sheets, when he goes,
It was a time when they were afraid of him. My father, a bare man, a gypsy, a horse with broken knees no one would shoot. Then again, he was like the orange tree,
An acquaintance at Los Alamos Labs who engineers weapons black x’d a mark where I live on his office map.
I see Senora Sanchez along the river. Black catfish pop the silver
The blackbird sits On a bronchial limb Ready to Squeal his guts
Padilla unloads mangy herd of Mexican cattle in the field. Meaner, horns long and sharp for bloody battle, lean from a diet
Is cut close, blades and bones, And the stench of sewers is everywhere, Blood-sloshed floors, And guards count the dead
Who Understands Me But Me
They turn the water off, so I live without water,
they build walls higher, so I live without treetops,
they paint the windows black, so I live without sunshine,
they lock my cage, so I live without going anywhere,
they take each last tear I have, I live without tears,
they take my heart and rip it open, I live without heart,
they take my life and crush it, so I live without a future,
they say I am beastly and fiendish, so I have no friends,
they stop up each hope, so I have no passage out of hell,
they give me pain, so I live with pain,
they give me hate, so I ...