In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande

    rocks-near-colonia-le-baron

*In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande,
I buried my diaries in the desert sand;
Now they lie lost in a foreign land —
Lost in LeBaron when from there I ran.

Buried my poetry in the desert’s brew, too.
It’s now lost in sandstorms that blew.
With each new windstorm, sands accrued,
So adios, muse babies! Goodbye to you!

You lie where I was born and grew,
There, in LeBaron, the home I once knew.
I couldn’t find you when from there I flew.
So part of me’s left now buried in you.

Slowly the tears trickle, two by two,
Down my cheekbones like drops of dew,
Ever homesick but can’t ties renew,
It’s adios to my past — adios and adieu.

When will my loneliness finally end?
When will this pain fade away, my friend?
And where are my Journals and the poems I penned,
Then buried in the earth to protect them back then?

They’re buried where my past lies buried and dead,
Hidden with my heart that broke when I fled,
‘Cause all I’d believed and held dear, instead,
Suddenly collapsed and had to be shed.

Still, I long for my family and old friends too,
Who could not see things the way I do,
They wouldn’t allow me my own voice —
They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

Still, I long for my life that lies buried with you —
For the part that split when from there I flew,
When I tried to find life in the US anew,
To follow my dreams and my hope renew;

Now in deep abyss, I traverse this earth,
Looking for meaning to renew life’s worth;
Looking for Mother’s long-gone mirth,
Though now she sleeps in Mexican earth.

No sooner had I almost found rebirth,
Then signs of death came, bearing no mirth —
Bouncing and banging on my back door,
While backing me up downhill more and more.

 But part of me already died years ago —
That part I left when I escaped Mexico —
Back where my heart lies half-buried alive —
Back where my past took a nose dive.

Perhaps that other half’s in my hometown,
Buried in Chihuahua, Mexico’s ground,
But I can’t go back, can’t traverse the Rio Grande,
The river’s too wide so I stay on dry land.

Remaining in my new world on this other side.
Still, so many lonely rivers I’ve cried;
And though most tears have finally dried,
Many old rivers are still left inside.

Too many rivers between me ’n’ those I know;
Gulfs too wide since I let them go.
Yet, part of me’s buried there in Mexico,
Down past the Rio Grande I love so.

Part of me’s there, though put to the test,
‘Cause that’s where many dear ones rest:
Part’s with my past, while part’s here with me,
Longing for home, wherever home may be.

Divided and torn by the Rio Grande
Flowing between me and LeBaron land.
I wonder, is half my heart buried there,
In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande?

(By Stephany Spencer,  4/2008)

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

*NOTE: I revised this poem (see below)
— Did surgery on it: Cut out over half its verses. (My writers’ club doesn’t accept, for their newsletter, poems longer than 45 lines. I submitted and had published this poem in the California Writers Club’s November 2016 newsletter, “The Scribe.“)

Also, when it comes to singing this narrative poem, forty-five lines makes for a three-minute performance — plenty for a poem this deep and full of story. Just to verify this, I sang my song yesterday at Songmakers’ Saturday Song-Circle. The group agreed that forty-five lines is plenty if I sing it rather than read it. (I read it to them, also — the five-minute version — just to get their helpful critique and feedback. And they kindly sat through the whole thing!)

*The following is the shortened version: (But I have since done even more painful surgery on this poem — I’ve now cut it down to a twenty-eight line poem to perform as a song. (I only have that version in my song folder.) @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

  coyoacan-more-21-of-39
In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande

In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande,
I buried my diaries in the desert sand;
Now they lie lost in a foreign land —
Lost in LeBaron when from there I ran.

Lost my poetry in the desert brew too.
It’s now lost in sandstorms that blew.
With each new windstorm, sands accrued,
So adios, muse babies! Goodbye to you.

You lie where I was born and grew —
There, in LeBaron, the home I once knew.
I couldn’t find you when from there I flew.
So part of me’s left now buried in you;

Buried where my past lies buried and dead,
Hidden with my heart that broke when I fled,
‘Cause all I’d believed and held dear, instead,
Suddenly collapsed and had to be shed.

Still, I long for my family and old friends too,
Who could not see things the way I do,
They wouldn’t allow me my own voice —
They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

Now, in deep abyss, I traverse this earth,
Looking for meaning to renew life’s worth;
Looking for Mother’s long-gone mirth,
Though now she sleeps in Mexican Earth.

 But part of me’s buried in Mexico,
The part that died when I escaped years ago —
Back where my heart lies half-buried alive —
Back where my past took a nose dive.

Perhaps that other half’s in my hometown,
Buried in Chihuahua, Mexico’s ground,
But I can’t go back — can’t traverse the Rio Grande,
The river’s too wide so I stay on dry land.

Remaining in my new world on this other side.
Still, so many lonely rivers I’ve cried,
And though most tears have finally dried,
Many old rivers are still left inside.

Too many rivers between me ’n’ those I know,
Gulfs too wide since I let them go.
But part of me lies there in Mexico,
Down past the Rio Grande I love so.

Divided and torn by the Rio Grande
Flowing between me and LeBaron land,
I wonder: Is half my heart buried there,
In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande?

(By Stephany Spencer,  4/2008)



  Hi, friends, family and relatives: This is the Rendition I did today at my California Writers Club get-together and Open Mic –- a performance of my song I wrote in 2008 called “In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grand.”
 Comments
Dena McLean

Dena McLean It’s great that you can sing and play an instrument all in front of an audience. It’s not easy.

 

Steph Spencer

Steph Spencer Thanks for your feedback, Dena. Yes, you are right when you comment that it’s not easy to perform in front of a live audience. One Actor put it this way: “To be a Performer is to scare yourself to death for the rest of your life.” Because almost always, at least one thing unexpected happens.

For example, this time the Mic setup at the California Writers Club was not amenable to me and my guitar, so I was unable to have my written lyrics in front of me in case my mind went blank. I had to walk over to the podium when I needed to double check the next verse I was to sing.

Of course, that didn’t go over so well in the video. But now I know I need to always take my music stand along wherever I go to perform — just in case the setup is different from when I performed there the month before.

But, once again, it proves what speakers and other performers already know: No matter how many times you perform, you always learn at least one new thing with each and every performance.

I was not proud of how the video came out, either, but I posted it anyway, for practice, and so people could hear the music that goes with my lyrics posted above, “In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande:”

The lighting was poor and the video should have been done closer up. In the end, it all made my dark apparel look dismal. It’s hard to get anybody, on the spot, to know how to take a good video with my iPhone! But with this experience, I now know, next time, to look for a better amateur photographer, LOL!



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