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Green Chile by Jimmy Santiago Baca

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by

Wendy Cisneros

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Green Chile by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Green Chile by Jimmy Santiago Baca
FONTS
I prefer red chile over my eggs
and potatoes for breakfast.
Red chile ristras decorate my door,
dry on my roof, and hang from eaves.
They lend open-air vegetable stands
historical grandeur, and gently swing
with an air of festive welcome.
I can hear them talking in the wind,
haggard, yellowing, crisp, rasping
tongues of old men, licking the breeze.
But grandmother loves green chile.
When I visit her,
she holds the green chile pepper
in her wrinkled hands.
Ah, voluptuous, masculine,
an air of authority and youth simmers
from its swan-neck stem, tapering to a flowery collar,
fermenting resinous spice.
Green Chile
Green Chile can be identified as a staple crop in the life of Americans. Throughout the poem Jimmy continues to tell the signifance of the chile pepper.
Who is Jimmy Santiago Baca?
Jimmy Santiago Baca was born on January 2nd, 1952. He was born in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. He is an American poet and writer, one of his famous films is "Blood In Blood Out."
First Stanza
First Stanza Explained
The name is "Green Chile," but in the first line of the poem Mr. Santiago quickly states that he in fact prefers Red Chile over his eggs. He then goes on to say, "Red chile ristras decorate my door, dry on my roof, and hang from eaves.", that line itself demonstrates the importance of Chile in the community that he grew up in, given that Mr. Santiago grew up in New Mexico and is of Indio-Mexican descent. The next couple of lines are, "They lend open-air vegetable stands historical grandeur, and gently swing with an air of festive welcome. I can hear them talking in the wind,haggard, yellowing, crisp, rasping tongues of old men, licking the breeze." Here he treats the Chile as if it were human and compares them to "old tongues of old men", who are usually storytellers which tell the history and tradition of communities such as the one he grew up in.
Second Stanza (Part 1)
Explanation
He then goes onto say that his grandmother loves Green Chile. Green Chile represents youth and he describes that by saying, "she holds the green chile pepper in her wrinkled hands" and "an air of authority and youth simmers".
Second Stanza (Part 2)
A well-dressed gentleman at the door
my grandmother takes sensuously in her hand,
rubbing its firm glossed sides,
caressing the oily rubbery serpent,
with mouth -watering fulfillment,
fondling its curves with gentle fingers.
Explanation
The Green Chile is then personified as "A well-dressed gentleman at the door". This part of stanza describes the Chile as a lustful crop for this culture that is suggested with the lines, "with mouth -watering fulfillment, fondling its curves with gentle fingers."
Second Stanza (Part 3)
Its bearing magnificent and taut
as flanks of a tiger in mid-leap,
she thrusts her blade into
and cuts it open, with lust
on her hot mouth, sweating over the stove,
bandanna round her forehead,
mysterious passion on her face
as she serves me green chile con carne
between soft warm leaves of corn tortillas,
with beans and rice–her sacrifice
to here little prince.
I slurp form my plate
with last bit of tortilla, my mouth burns
and I hiss and drink a tall glass of cold water.
Explanation
He is once again describing the lust for the Chile and even mentions it. He then goes onto say "her sacrifice to here little prince." He is saying that his grandmother is sacrificing the green chile she adores for he prince, her grandson. Another part that demonstrates the power of the chile is, "my mouth burns
and I hiss and drink a tall glass of cold water", we can quickly all relate to the buring of chile in our mouths.
Third Stanza
All over New Mexico, sunburned men and women
drive rickety trucks stuffed with gunny sacks
of green chile, from Belen, Beguita, Wllard, Estancia,
San Antonio y Socorro, from fields
to roadside stands, you see them roasting green chile
in screen-sided homemade barrels, and for a dollar a bag,
we relive this old, beautiful ritual again and again.
Explanation
"Sunburned men and women" describes the workers in the field, who work to obtain the chile. "Belen, Beguita, Wllard, Estancia, San Antonio y Socorro" are all cities in New Mexico. "From fields to roadside stands, you see them roasting green chile in screen-sided homemade barrels, and for a dollar a bag, we relive this old, beautiful ritual again and again." The story continues to relive itself in their culture.

The End
Figurative Language
"I can hear them talking in the wind" (Personification)
Full transcript