Memoir Lyrics: 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, more sands did accrue,
So adios, muse babies! Adios and adieu!

You lie in the land where I birthed 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.

Now 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,
Nor would they allow me to use my own voice —
They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

I long for my life that lies buried there too —
And for the part that split when from there I flew,
When I tried to find life in the US anew,
So as to follow my dreams and life 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.

But no sooner had I almost found rebirth,
Than designs 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.

And remain in my new world on this other side.
Still, so many lonely rivers I’ve cried;
And though many 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.
Yes, part of me’s buried there in Old Mexico,
Down past the Rio Grande I love so.

Part of me’s still there though put to the test,
‘Cause that’s where many of my 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)

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*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.) Eventually I shall post a podcast of this song, and maybe even the sheet music — if and when I get time to write it out.):

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  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 more sands did accrue,
So adios, muse babies! Adios and adieu!

You lie in the land where I birthed 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,
Nor would they allow me to use my own voice —
They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

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

 But part of me’s also 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.

And remain in my new world on this other side.
Still, so many lonely rivers I’ve cried,
And though many 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 Old 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)

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