santiago baca

how I traced my finger down your spine
                 when you slept,
your spine
                 is the ascent of the crane
                 toward the sunshine,
and my hands my face my torso and chest and legs and hips
became air, a blue cold arctic air
you glided up in your song of winter love.

Jimmy Santiago Baca

your spine
                   is the ascent of the crane
                   toward the sunshine,
and my hands my face my torso and chest and legs and hips
became air, a blue cold artic air
you glided up in your song of winter love.
—  Jimmy Santiago Baca, from “Yesterday,” Winter Poems Along the Río Grande (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2004)

A voice in me soft as linen
unfolded on midnight air,
to wipe my loneliness away—the voice blew open
like a white handkerchief in the night
embroidered with red roses,
waving and waving from a dark window
at some lover who never returned.

Jimmy Santiago Baca, from section V of Martín, Martín & Meditations on the South Valley (New Directions, 1987)

I looked for you […]
even as I picked my clothing
from a motel room floor,
my lips raw-damp from another woman’s kisses,
as I drove out of the parking lot,
burning headlight smoldered haze–
you were the mist,
always forming, always beyond grasp,
airy and fleeting.

Jimmy Santiago Baca, from section IX of Martín, Martín & Meditations on the South Valley (New Directions, 1987)

Tattered ends of months and years
now give us shelter and warmth—the crumbling shack
of my life white pigeons of dreams nested in,
now flew to give news of my life
to you.
Until morning we talked, until the white wing beat
of dawn folded its wings across our features,
and shaped a silence of love on them.

Jimmy Santiago Baca, from section IX of Martín, Martín & Meditations on the South Valley (New Directions, 1987)

Poems on the Mind - A Destiel AU

I said I would do this, so I did it! Heck yeah, Valetine’s High School AU!


- Poems on the Mind -

“What are you doing?”

Dean blinked. He was staring again. That new kid. The one he kept bumping into. The one who kept opening doors for him and picking up his books. The one he couldn’t even talk to without consonants stumbling over vowels. The one who apparently had the same favorite movie as he did, reread the same book as him, the one whose favorite food was the same as him. That new kid. That friggin’ blue-eyed new kid.

“Is it even worth talking to you, or are you just going to stare into the distance at your true love over there?” asked Charlie.

Dean shook his head, turning his gaze back to his best friends.

“No, nah, that’s not it,” said Dean, laughing nervously.

“Well, there’s that little holiday called Valentine’s Day coming up, brother,” said Benny, smiling knowingly, “You may want to do something about the ogling that day.”

Dean felt Carmine envelope his face, as he swatted the idea away.

“That would be weird, wouldn’t it? Some dude giving a random guy a card—that would be weird, right?” blabbered Dean, twiddling his fingers nervously.

Dean wasn’t sure what to make of his feelings, really. It’s been easier since he and Sammy moved in with Bobby—transitioning into being okay with these feelings of his, these thoughts. Sometimes, Dean was glad his father disappeared. It made a few things easier.

Benny and Charlie looked at one another, then to Dean.

“Dorothy sent me a Valentine last year, and look where we are,” said Charlie.

Dean groaned, rubbing his face. He forgot for a hot second about his gay best friend.

“Sorry, Charlie, I didn’t mean it bad, I just—I wasn’t raised to think this was okay, is all,” grumbled Dean, unsure of what to do with his hands.

One drifted to Charlie’s shoulder. One lazily shrugged back into his pocket. Charlie simply smiled.

“You’re new to this. I know that. I won’t fault you every time you slip up,” said Charlie, “Just don’t screw up with this one, he’s cute. And from what I’ve heard, he sounds…interesting.”

Dean furrowed his eyebrows, confused.

“Interesting?” Dean asked, Charlie merely smiling, “What do you mean by interesting? What does interesting mean?”

The bell rang.


Charlie and Benny laughed.

“I’m sure you’ll see in that next class of yours,” said Benny.

“What? English? Why?” asked Dean, panic rising.

“Well, a little birdy said that Mr. Novak was transferring English classes. Something about moving him around to find where he fits and that he was more interested in English than they expected?” said Benny.

Dean tried to stop himself from hyperventilating as his friends snickered at his reaction. They waved him goodbye, dead man as he were. He had no clue what he’d do. He never talked to the blue-eyed new kid without making a complete fool of himself. He didn’t know how to. The kid was friggin’ intimidating, and apparently he was held back. Dean barely whispered a hello to Mr. Crowley and made a beeline to his seat in the back of the class. The class slowly trickled in as a raven-haired student walked towards the teacher. Dean couldn’t pull his eyes away from the new young man, couldn’t stop his ears from zeroing in on him, even if he was yards away.

“Where should I sit?” asked the student.

Mr. Crowley acted as if he barely registered the question.

“Yeah, uh—over there. Next to Winchester,” Mr. Crowley said off-handedly, waving his hand around the general direction of the young man who’s color was draining from him.

How could Dean stay cool in a time like this? The starting to scruff, awkwardly walking beauty was barreling down towards him like a snail to a leaf. He scratched his head, sitting next to Dean.

Dean blushed. The new kid knew who he was.

Dean glanced over to see there was something in the young man’s hands. It was a sheet of paper. With a poem.

“You, uh…you like poetry?” asked Dean, coughing, trying to make his voice lower.

The blue-eyed student jumped a bit, not expecting the jock to speak up. He turned to Dean, slowly nodding.

“Uh, yeah…I got switched because I like English. I want to join the Slam Poetry team here,” said blue-eyes.

Dean faltered. He didn’t expect the guy’s voice to be that low.

“W-what poem is it?” he asked.

Blue-eyes raised an eyebrow.

“You like poetry?”

“Secret passion,” Dean whispered, smiling as he winked, “Don’t tell anybody.”

Dean didn’t know where he found that charm, but sure enough, the new kid was chuckling just enough for Dean to know he didn’t say anything stupid.

“I Am Offering this Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca,” said the new kid.

Dean kept smiling and nodding. He had no clue who that was or what that poem was. Blue-eyes began to grin, leaning closer to Dean as he whispered the poem.

I am offering this poem to you,

since I have nothing else to give.

Keep it like a warm coat

when winter comes to cover you,

or like a pair of thick socks

the cold cannot bite through

                       I love you,

I have nothing else to give you,

so it is a pot full of yellow corn

to warm your belly in winter,

it is a scarf for your head, to wear

over your hair, to tie up around your face

                       I love you,

Keep it, treasure this as you would

if you were lost, needing direction,

in the wilderness life becomes when mature;

and in the corner of your drawer,

tucked away like a cabin or hogan

in dense trees, come knocking,

and I will answer, give you directions,

and let you warm yourself by this fire,

rest by this fire, make you feel safe

                       I love you,

It’s all I have to give,

and all anyone needs to live,

and to go on living inside,

when the world outside

no longer cares if you live or die;


                       I love you.

Dean couldn’t keep eye contact throughout the whole poem, especially when the first whisper of “I love you” escaped the young man’s mouth in but a breath, an airiness to the words. Dean couldn’t even. He just couldn’t. He was turning colors he didn’t even know the words to. It wasn’t until Mr. Crowley shouted, “HEY! STOP WHISPERING SWEET NOTHINGS TO EACH OTHER AND PAY ATTENTION, BACK ROW” that Dean could even pull his attention away from the mesmerizing new kid.

Dean cleared his throat after the bell rang, standing up and glancing over at blue-eyes, who was packing his bag. Slowly.

“So…you like poetry?” asked Dean dumbly.

The raven haired kid merely smirked.

“Nah, I just carry around poems to confuse the masses,” he said, leaving the cogs in Dean’s head to start moving.

Dean rang the doorbell. He was nervous. Sweating up a storm. He had somehow managed to convince his friends to find out where the hell this guy lived and drive him over to the apartment complex.

So there he stood. Looking like an idiot. Great.

The person who opened the door was not who he expected. It was the music teacher, Mr. Gabriel Shurley. He yawned, eyeing Dean.

“Cassie! Looks like someone’s here for you! He’s cute!” he shouted, smirking at the blood-drained Dean, “Oh, don’t worry, my brother will be here soon.”

Dean heard stumbling and crashing. Blue-eyes came tumbling over, shirt half-buttoned. He stared, mouth agape.

“D-Dean?” he blurted, morning affecting his voice, making it crack.

Dean had to start before he thought twice about it, stopped himself from doing it. He took out a crumpled sheet of paper. Gabriel tried to hold in his laughter as his younger brother stared in sheer confusion at the whole scene. Dean gulped as he began to recite a poem.

This is not a book. Otherwise, by now

We would love each other.

You would not put me first,

Out of a kind habit, under your coat

And clutch—as a sudden rain

Spate down. For I’ve seen it done

For the hardly known.


No, you would know with a book you love:

How nothing held your eyes

The way the words did, with archer-focus:

How each arrow heading toward you

Was slowed by the dripping beehive

On its spike—


Nothing else could hold what you are

Still: I pressed your heart in speech and saw

What a musical you let rush, nothing

Else in the eyes. This is not a book,

But a streak—

Words cross reins—

The brow splits, veins careen.

For a moment, blue-eyes stared at Dean, wide-eyed. Gabriel merely smirked, leaving the two be and waltzing back into the apartment.

“I, uh,” Dean began to say after a long pause, “I, uh, heard you liked this poem? ‘Honey/Manila Portfolio’ by Farnoosh Fathi? I, uh, Valentine’s Day and all, and-and, I just wanted to ask you, you know, if nobody asked you yet and all, if-if you would be my—”

Dean babbling was forcefully stopped by a kiss. Dean felt his knees weaken as he gave into the feeling.

“Yes,” said Cas.

Dean sighed, smiling goofily as relief spread through his body.

“Good,” grumbled Dean, “Because that was friggin’ embarrassing.”

Cas laughed full heartedly. Dean didn’t care, though. All he cared about was that Cas…Cas said yes, and that was oddly all he needed.