old (2007), Uncategorized

Week of Poems: Day Six

Dinner with TPVG went swell. I’ll be up most of the night grading papers, but that’s OK. Last weekend, I hung pink holiday lights on the doorway from my living room to my kitchen, and tonight I bought a mistletoe ball to hang in the middle. It looks delightful (see out-of-focus photo, right).


I also bought lights for my windows, and I’ll be putting them up tomorrow—figured hammering at 1am would violate the spirit of the holidays. I’ve got scented candles lit and music playing and it’s toasty warm inside and in a couple of weeks a bunch of ladies are coming over for a cookie exchange and Sunday I’m going with A. & J. to a sober holiday party… and well, I just am super (and genuinely) happy and immensely grateful. And for today’s poem… a little something from Jimmy Santiago Baca. Namaste.


It would be neat if with the New Year

for Miguel

By Jimmy Santiago Baca

It would be neat if with the New Year
I could leave my loneliness behind with the old year.
My leathery loneliness an old pair of work boots
my dog vigorously head-shakes back and forth in its jaws,
chews on for hours every day in my front yard—
rain, sun, snow, or wind
in bare feet, pondering my poem,
I’d look out my window and see that dirty pair of boots in the yard.

But my happiness depends so much on wearing those boots.

At the end of my day
while I’m in a chair listening to a Mexican corrido
I stare at my boots appreciating:
all the wrong roads we’ve taken, all the drug and whiskey houses
we’ve visited, and as the Mexican singer wails his pain,
I smile at my boots, understanding every note in his voice,
and strangers, when they see my boots rocking back and forth on my feet

keeping beat to the song, see how
my boots are scuffed, tooth-marked, worn-soled.

I keep wearing them because they fit so good
and I need them, especially when I love so hard,
where I go up those boulder strewn trails,
where flowers crack rocks in their defiant love for the light.