By Jimmy Santiago Baca
Translated by Tomas H. Lucero and Liz Fania Werner
The lover's footprint in the sand
the ten-year-old kid's bare feet
in the mud picking chili for rich growers,
not those seeking cultural or ethnic roots,
but those whose roots
have been exposed, hacked, dug up and burned
and in those roots
do animals burrow for warmth;
what is broken is blessed,
not the knowledge and empty-shelled wisdom
paraphrased from textbooks,
not the mimicking nor plaques of distinction
nor the ribbons and medals
but after the privileged carriage has passed
the breeze blows traces of wheel ruts away
and on the dust will again be the people's broken
What is broken God blesses,
not the perfectly brick-on-brick prison
but the shattered wall
that announces freedom to the world,
proclaims the irascible spirit of the human
rebelling against lies, against betrayal,
against taking what is not deserved;
the human complaint is what God blesses,
our impoverished dirt roads filled with cripples,
what is broken is baptized,
the irreverent disbeliever,
the addict's arm seamed with needle marks
is a thread line of a blanket
frayed and bare from keeping the man warm.
We are all broken ornaments,
glinting in our worn-out work gloves,
foreclosed homes, ruined marriages,
from which shimmer our lives in their deepest truths,
blood from the wound,
when we lost our perfection and honored our imperfect sentiments, we were
Broken are the ghettos, barrios, trailer parks where gangs duel to death,
yet through the wretchedness a woman of sixty comes riding her rusty bicycle,
we bury in our hearts,
broken ornaments, accused, hunted, finding solace and refuge
we work, we worry, we love
but always with compassion
reflecting our blessings—
in our brokenness
thrives life, thrives light, thrives
the essence of our strength,
each of us a warm fragment,
broken off from the greater
ornament of the unseen,
then rejoined as dust,
to all this is.
Daniel once again had robotics -- expect the same report for the next several weekends, until the build season is over -- so Adam got to sleep late, I got up and read and puttered on the computer, and none of us bothered getting dressed for outdoors till after lunch. We needed to visit Trader Joe's for butternut squash soup, hummus, and other necessities, and I wanted to go to Michael's to get split rings, so we made a couple of stops on the Pike and a gratuitous visit to Petco since it was right nearby:
A baby corn snake at Petco on Sunday.
Adam bonds with a water dragon.
These are Russian tortoises; there were local red-eared sliders for sale as well.
An aquarium full of geckos.
Petco sells exotic birds as well as parakeets.
And there are many rodents, including these adorable rats...
...and this shy guinea pig...
...and this happy pile of sleepy mice, whose cage was ten times the size of what's visible here yet who all wanted to sleep on top of one another.
We thought about watching the Emma miniseries, but decided to record it instead so we don't have conflicts with the Grammys and the Super Bowl. This left us free to watch the nail-biter of a Vikings-Saints game. I will root for either of these teams over the Colts -- I'd have had more of a dilemma if the Jets had won, particularly since the host of the Super Bowl party we attend every year is a passionate Jets fan -- but we only half-watched their game around dinner, whereas we all watched Brett Favre play his heart out. The Superdome deserved a happy event after Katrina and the city of New Orleans did too, so I don't have any complaints; the fact that neither the Cowboys nor Eagles was in the NFC championship pleased me enough that I didn't mind if the Ravens weren't in the AFC championship!