Friday, June 4, 2010

Jimmy Santiago Baca and the River

I came across one of my newest favorite poems by one of my long-time favorite poets, Jimmy Santiago Baca, in Yes! Magazine. I post it here on Arts Without Borders, but it stands as a testament to the the transparent border between my two blogs, the other being Urban Wilderness. Jimmy's poem (I feel I can call him Jimmy because he once sat at my kitchen table and ate Lynn's famous apple pie) belongs here because Arts Without Borders includes all arts, as the name implies, including literary arts. His poem would find just as appropriate a home on my Urban Wilderness blog, because it speaks to the author's relationship with a river and, ultimately, "the universe". It speaks to me in the same way. I hope it speaks to you as well.

“Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande”

“Sometimes I stand on the river bank
and feel the water take my pain,
allow my nostalgic brooding
a reprieve.
The water flows south,
constantly redrafting its story
which is my story,
rising and lowering with glimmering meanings—
here nations drown their stupid babbling,
bragging senators are mere geese droppings in the mud,
radicals and conservatives are stands of island grass,
and the water flows on,
cleansing, baptizing Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.
I yearn to move past these days of hate and racism.
That is why this Rio Grande,
these trees and sage bushes
the geese, horses, dogs and river stones
are so important to me—
with them
I go on altering my reptilian self,
reaching higher notes of being
on my trombone heart,
pulsing out into the universe, my music
according to the leaf’s music sheet,
working, with a vague indulgence toward a song
we the people.”

If you want to see it in the context of the story in Yes! Magazine, which is about Acequias in New Mexico and the sustainable use of scarce water resources, click here.

If you want to check out my Urban Wilderness blog, click here.

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