Jimmy Santiago Baca

(2 January 1952 / Santa Fe, New Mexico)

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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 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?

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Gold Star - 14,340 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (10/16/2014 11:17:00 PM)

    Let there not be such miserable situations to human beings where their freedom is curtailed, walls are painted in black and dark and water supply is cut off and alienated from the mainstream of human life which is against natural freedom and love of life itself. A poem with a difference but however relevant to make such precautions to maintain the freedom and justice to man. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 388 Points Willian Menuci (10/16/2014 12:00:00 PM)

    Maybe not so well written or stuff, but I still loved the message he tries to pass on.
    Loved it. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,053 Points Elena Sandu (1/28/2014 6:30:00 PM)

    . If each man of this world could only once deepen into self to find out that true happiness is not in what we have or touch, the human kind would quit doing such harm we do today to our mother land. A poem to teach the essence of our lives. I am very grateful for reading it, thank you! (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 7,045 Points * Sunprincess * (11/25/2013 5:59:00 PM)

    this is beautiful, sometimes when you go this far down...you find yourself and you find God :) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Konjit Berhane (11/2/2005 1:32:00 AM)

    a very beautiful poem, one of the best i read. It touches every one i think.
    so keep the good work.

    koni (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Vidushi Khera (10/4/2005 9:15:00 AM)

    Amazing poem...i think it's really true...we find ourselves when no body is ready to look out for us...and in that we find great comfort and we can understand the beauty of our lives even in the darkest of times! !
    Wonderfully expressed poem
    Luv
    VidZ (Report) Reply

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