Jimmy Santiago Baca

in New Mexico, The United States
January 02, 1952

Jimmy Santiago Baca of Apache and Chicano descent is an American poet and writer.

Average rating: 4.12 · 4,159 ratings · 379 reviews · 48 distinct worksSimilar authors
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Martín & Meditations on the...

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Black Mesa Poems

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Healing Earthquakes

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Immigrants in Our Own Land ...

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A Glass of Water

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Working in the Dark: Reflec...

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The Importance of a Piece o...

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C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans

4.33 avg rating — 42 ratings — published 2002 — 4 editions
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Winter Poems Along the Rio ...

3.66 avg rating — 41 ratings — published 2004 — 2 editions
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More books by Jimmy Santiago Baca…
The Esai Poems: Breaking Br... The Lucia Poems: Breaking B...
(2 books)
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“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 live with my hate,
they have changed me, and I am not the same man,
they give me no shower, so I live with my smell,
they separate me from my brothers, so I live without brothers,
who understands me when I say this is beautiful?
who understands me when I say I have found other freedoms?

I cannot fly or make something appear in my hand,
I cannot make the heavens open or the earth tremble,
I can live with myself, and I am amazed at myself, my love, my beauty,
I am taken by my failures, astounded by my fears,
I am stubborn and childish,
in the midst of this wreckage of life they incurred,
I practice being myself,
and I have found parts of myself never dreamed of by me,
they were goaded out from under rocks in my heart
when the walls were built higher,
when the water was turned off and the windows painted black.
I followed these signs
like an old tracker and followed the tracks deep into myself
followed the blood-spotted path,
deeper into dangerous regions, and found so many parts of myself,
who taught me water is not everything,
and gave me new eyes to see through walls,
and when they spoke, sunlight came out of their mouths,
and I was laughing at me with them,
we laughed like children and made pacts to always be loyal,
who understands me when I say this is beautiful?”
Jimmy Santiago Baca

“And so I pray I am today as honest
with myself, with life all around me and below and above me,
with all who I encounter.”
Jimmy Santiago Baca, Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande

“Every poem is an infant labored into birth and I am drenched with sweating effort, tired from the pain and hurt of being a man, in the poem I transform myself into a woman.”
Jimmy Santiago Baca

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