Will Loneliness leave this New Year? Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Read this poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca today. It is a poem of loneliness, yet a poem a hope and spring.  When I read this again I am reminded of Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Both poems are reflections of a solitary man searching for happiness. 

It would be neat if with the New Year
By Jimmy Santiago Baca
for Miguel

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
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.


  1. Nicely written. I love those boots swaying to and fro singing a Mexican song loving so hard. Just sweet.