Mexican American Poems
Mexican American PoemsMexican 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
& 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,
Death draws respect
and fear from the living.
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
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
An acquaintance at Los Alamos Labs
who engineers weapons
black xd a mark where I live
on his office map.
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,
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
from the deep well.
We walk on in silence,
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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