Mexican American Poems

Mexican American Poems

Mexican American Poems

There are many Mexican American poets that have created great Mexican American poems about the Mexican American culture.

One of the most popular subjects of the Mexican American poetry is the crossing of the Mexican American border and Mexican immigration in general.

However, this is not the only thing that Mexican American poets have been, and still are, writing about. There are many Mexican American poets that wrote about love, passion, religion, wisdom, freedom, loss, pain, death, everyday life and all other aspects of life.

In this article we will present to you the Mexican American poems of the three great Mexican American poets: Gary Soto, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Mexican American Poems By Gary Soto:


A Red Palm

You're in this dream of cotton plants.

You raise a hoe, swing, and the first weeds

Fall with a sigh. You take another step,

Chop, and the sigh comes again,

Until you yourself are breathing that way

With each step, a sigh that will follow you into town.

That's hours later. The sun is a red blister

Coming up in your palm. Your back is strong,

Young, not yet the broken chair

In an abandoned school of dry spiders.

Dust settles on your forehead, dirt

Smiles under each fingernail.

You chop, step, and by the end of the first row,

You can buy one splendid fish for wife

And three sons. Another row, another fish,

Until you have enough and move on to milk,

Bread, meat. Ten hours and the cupboards creak.

You can rest in the back yard under a tree.

Your hands twitch on your lap,

Not unlike the fish on a pier or the bottom

Of a boat. You drink iced tea.

The minutes jerk Like flies.

It's dusk, now night,

And the lights in your home are on.

That costs money, yellow light

In the kitchen. That's thirty steps,

You say to your hands,

Now shaped into binoculars.

You could raise them to your eyes:

You were a fool in school, now look at you.

You're a giant among cotton plants.

Now you see your oldest boy, also running.

Papa, he says, it's time to come in.

You pull him into your lap

And ask, What's forty times nine?

He knows as well as you, and you smile.

The wind makes peace with the trees,

The stars strike themselves in the dark.

You get up and walk with the sigh of cotton plants.

You go to sleep with a red sun on your palm,

The sore light you see when you first stir in bed.

By Gary Soto



Great Mexican American Poems


Saturday At The Canal

I was hoping to be happy by seventeen.

School was a sharp check mark in the roll book,

An obnoxious tuba playing at noon because our team

Was going to win at night. The teachers were

Too close to dying to understand. The hallways

Stank of poor grades and unwashed hair. Thus,

A friend and I sat watching the water on Saturday,

Neither of us talking much, just warming ourselves

By hurling large rocks at the dusty ground

And feeling awful because San Francisco was a postcard

On a bedroom wall. We wanted to go there,

Hitchhike under the last migrating birds

And be with people who knew more than three chords

On a guitar. We didn't drink or smoke,

But our hair was shoulder length, wild when

The wind picked up and the shadows of

This loneliness gripped loose dirt. By bus or car,

By the sway of train over a long bridge,

We wanted to get out. The years froze

As we sat on the bank. Our eyes followed the water,

White-tipped but dark underneath, racing out of town.

By Gary Soto

Mexican American Poems by Juan Felipe Herrera:

In the Cannery the Porpoise Soul

In the cannery the porpoise soul

and the shadow fins of spirit boats lie awake

the hundred hooks and flying reels

one harpoon

& the silver fleshing in the nets

the mayor is waiting/counting scales

dreaming new quotas & tuna coasts

(under the table blood & payrolls

swim to the shores on a crucifix of oil)

in the cannery the porpoise soul

steals a dagger for the engines throat

tuna fins etch an X

on the green stone of the ships floor

there are documents with worker sweat

files and rolled sleeve salt

a spear of sails and anchor years (lost)

inside the shoulders and against the ropes (somehow)

a policy gunned the waves back

before the porpoise sea was born

by Juan Felipe Herrera



Amazing Mexican American Poems

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings

for Charles Fishman

Before you go further,

let me tell you what a poem brings,

first, you must know the secret, there is no poem

to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,

yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,

instead of going day by day against the razors, well,

the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket

sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from

the outside you think you are being entertained,

when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,

your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold

standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,

is always open for business too, except, as you can see,

it isnt exactly business that pulls your spirit into

the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,

you can even join in on the gossipthe mist, that is,

the mist becomes central to your existence.

by Juan Felipe Herrera



Mexican American Poems By Jimmy Santiago Baca:


A Daily Joy to be Alive

No matter how serene things

may be in my life,

how well things are going,

my body and soul

are two cliff peaks

from which a dream of who I can be

falls, and I must learn

to fly again each day,

or die.

Death draws respect

and fear from the living.

Death offers

no false starts. It is not

a referee with a pop-gun

at the startling

of a hundred yard dash.

I do not live to retrieve

or multiply what my father lost

or gained.

I continually find myself in the ruins

of new beginnings,

uncoiling the rope of my life

to descend ever deeper into unknown abysses,

tying my heart into a knot

round a tree or boulder,

to insure I have something that will hold me,

that will not let me fall.

My heart has many thorn-studded slits of flame

springing from the red candle jars.

My dreams flicker and twist

on the altar of this earth,

light wrestling with darkness,

light radiating into darkness,

to widen my day blue,

and all that is wax melts

in the flame-

I can see treetops!

By Jimmy Santiago Baca



Inspiring Mexican American Poems

Choices

An acquaintance at Los Alamos Labs

who engineers weapons

black xd a mark where I live

on his office map.

Star-wars humor.

He exchanged muddy boots

and patched jeans

for a white interns coat

and black polished shoes.

A month ago, after butchering a gouged bull,

we stood on a pasture hill,

and he wondered with pained features

where money would come from

to finish his shed, plan alfalfa,

and fix his tractor.

Now his fingers

yank horsetail grass

he crimps herringbone tail-seed

between teeth, and grits out words,

Om gonna buy another tractor

next week. More land too.

Silence between us is gray water

let down in a tin pail

in a deep, deep well,

a silence

milled in continental grindings

millions of years ago.

I throw my heart

into the well, and it falls

a shimmering pebble to the bottom.

Words are hard

to come by, Would have lost everything

Ive worked for, not takin the job.

His words try to

retrieve

my heart

from the deep well.

We walk on in silence,

our friendship

rippling away.

By Jimmy Santiago Baca

There are many other great Mexican American poems that you would enjoy. Therefore, what are you waiting for? Start explore the great depths of the Mexican American poetry.



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