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Jimmy Santiago Baca
 quote button"I think language gives us courage.  Poetry gives us courage and faith to live with open wounds.  Poetry gives us the means to understand pain in a meaningless age.  Language gives us insight into the darkness that we all stumble into today.  So, I don't know
if it heals, but I do know that it provides us with what we lack.  Language provides us with something that we desperately need. "
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Poetry by Jimmy Santiago Baca










El Gato's life is a Babe Ruth pop-up,
sailing beyond the rival gang's catch, hop scotching crime-chalked sidewalks, fleeing police over backyard fences
from guard dogs barking,
down scuffed alleys where clapping windows and shutting doors applaud him,
sliding under a stripped car homeplate, hearing the news Jo-Jo and Sparky got shot,
he x's their names off building scorecard-walls for dead.

At sixteen,
a brown fighting get down impromptu warrior,
lip-pursed ooohing fevered to defy,
clicking tap shoes on sidewalks,
chi chi chi cano, heel to toe, chin to chest,
chi chi chi cano,
T-shirt rolled to bare midriff, pomade hair back,
low-hugging hip khakis,
inked-cross on right hand,
bandanna'd, top button
tied on his Pendelton, lean and mean,
haunting us with his gangsta' signs.

Poetry by Jimmy Santiago Baca











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