Three poetic statements unite and intertwine in this slim volume to create a rare insight into the lives of people who bear witness to the exclusionary nature of society's most basic assumptions about the nature of gender and desire: men in women's bodies, outcasts, who make their living as prostitutes. With the caring eye of an intimate observer, Benjamin Alire Saenz allows the reader to witness the hopes, fears and dangers of their transformations, sketching their daily lives in a series of short fragmentary prose-poems, showing the familiarity of the seemingly alien. Jimmy Santiago Baca's first person poem pushes the transformation further still, allowing as well as forcing the reader to recognize the frailty and pain caused by a culture's ideas of what constitutes the normal. James Drake's photographs unite the poems, complementing them with a visual thread of equally poetic intensity: changing faces, reflections in mirrors, blood and fears, as well as hopes and guardian angels.
Used availability for Jimmy Santiago Baca's Que Linda Ia Brisa
May 2000 : USA Paperback