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Cloudy Day - Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca (Jimmy Santiago Baca)

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It is windy today. A wall of wind crashes against, windows clunk against, iron frames as wind swings past broken glass and seethes, like a frightened cat in empty spaces of the cellblock. In the exercise yard we sat huddled in our prison jackets, on our haunches against the fence, and the wind carried our words over the fences, while the vigilant guard on the tower held his cap at the sudden gust. I could see the main tower from where I sat, and the wind in my face gave me the feeling I could grasp the tower like a cornstalk, and snap it from its roots of rock. The wind plays it like a flute, this hollow shoot of rock. The brim girded with barbwire with a guard sitting there also, listening intently to the sounds as clouds cover the sun. I thought of the day I was coming to prison, in the back seat of a police car, hands and ankles chained, the policeman pointed, “See that big water tank? The big silver one out there, sticking up? That’s the prison.” And here I am, I cannot believe it. Sometimes it is such a dream, a dream, where I stand up in the face of the wind, like now, it blows at my jacket, and my eyelids flick a little bit, while I stare disbelieving. . . . The third day of spring, and four years later, I can tell you, how a man can endure, how a man can become so cruel, how he can die or become so cold. I can tell you this, I have seen it every day, every day, and still I am strong enough to love you, love myself and feel good; even as the earth shakes and trembles, and I have not a thing to my name, I feel as if I have everything, everything. Jimmy Santiago Baca

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