No Enemies: Poems


Poetry collection rails against injustice and challenges readers’ complacency.

by Jimmy Santiago Baca

ISBN:  978-1-55885-927-2
Publication Date:  September 30, 2021
Format:  Trade Paperback
Pages:  139

Look Inside


Acclaimed poet Jimmy Santiago Baca knows something is wrong with contemporary society. He’s afraid “that the whole network / that connects us / and society together / is going to collapse / that our lives / will be dependent on tiny / little blue wires / that can’t shake my hand / or share my joy, / that won’t challenge the police / to stop beating a brown man / or can’t do even something as small / and gentle as smile.”

In this collection of new poems, Baca expresses his sense of responsibility to use his gift for the greater good. “If not me, then who / speaks to money, power, privilege / if not / an ordinary man / then who?” He chastises those who use their connections to benefit themselves at the expense of the impoverished, imprisoned and undocumented. Frequently, he takes aim at poets and politicians who put their lucrative positions ahead of their constituents: “Governor, if you choose a career / where you have to ignore the truth / and pillage the unfortunate, at least / outlaw automatic weapons.”

While many of these poems are stinging rebukes against the wealthy and powerful and their disregard for children living in poverty and the environment, others are beautiful odes to his indigenous roots. There are buffalo with their gentle hearts, sacred places where he prays to his ancestors and the plants growing on steep mountainsides that give “me courage to keep clinging to hope and to learn / life’s most important lesson / practice how to lean in life so as not to fall.”

Baca writes urgently about the most important themes of our generation, including education, justice, the environment and even the coronavirus. Ironically, he notes, “the enemy didn’t come at us crossing borders, / swinging machetes and machine guns.” No, nature herself has come to clean house, to give “Mother Earth a reprieve from our greed.”