Humbled to announce the latest blurb for my new novel, Pura Neta, set to be released September 2020 by Pochino Press:
Imagine—writing made with blood tattooed in books, the libraries which the conquistadores burned. In Pura Neta, Benjamin Bac Sierra gives us such a poetic work for our time.
–Maxine Hong Kingston, Author of The Woman Warrior
Watch the video, read the excerpt, enjoy!
CHAPTER THREE: CARTOON
I plan to blood-let, to sacrifice my sangre.
My ancestors would cut their most intimate flesh and spread the pouring blood onto parchment paper, bark cloth that was then burned so that through the smoke that exuded from the flames, the spirits could snake out to reveal blessings—mysteries that drove a civilization to the stars and that were tattooed down in books, thousands of codices ultimately burned by the Spanish Conquistadores’ holy men. Alone in this room, confined to myself, to my mind, to my pride and pain, I blood-let through writing so that I can communicate with spirits, so that I can share with you secrets burned away so many moons ago.
Nuestra purpose—because we are all in this thing together.
Unholy jungle of life
I know you
With your wicked webs and
There is no escape
I create my own existence
Independent of life’s schemes for me
I stay ready
Because it attacks with
No matter your atrocities
I love you still
I’m not ready for defeat
I stay ready for a kiss
But staying ready is hard. You gotta always be on point, but how can that happen when you don’t have the most important tool they tell you that you need?
As a youngster, as the infamous Little Cartoon, my goal hadn’t been to graduate from any school but to graduate to the pen. My purpose was the prison revolver. My Brother was already inside, would later be killed in a prison riot. Young homies were also following the painful path. We were supposed to accept la pinta as our true education. In fact, inside the walls there were rules, codes, oaths, slick moves, and tough grading. A for assault, B for battery, C for chokeholds.
Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness.