Picnicking in the Canyons above Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico

In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande
by Stephany Spencer

Song Version:

1— 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 I fled the clan.

Lost my poetry in the desert’s brew, too.
It’s now covered by sandstorms that blew.
With each new windstorm more sands accrue,
So adios, my writings! Adios and adieu!

2— You lie where I was born and grew,
There in LeBaron, the home I once knew.
I couldn’t find you when I fled and 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 believed in had to be shed;
I had to flee ensuing bloodshed.

 3— Part of me’s still in my hometown,
Buried in Chihuahua, Mexico’s ground;
But can’t go back — Can’t traverse the Rio Grande:
The river’s too wide so I stay on dry land.

I remain in my world on this other side,
But so many lonely rivers I’ve cried;
Though most of my tears have finally dried,
There’re many old rivers still flowing inside.
                                                                                    
4- Many rivers ‘tween me ’n’ those I know,
Gulfs too wide since I let them go.
Yet, 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?

coyoacan-more-21-of-39

NOTE: The following two earlier versions of my poem are longer:

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 I fled the clan.

Lost my poetry in the desert brew too.
It’s now buried in sandstorms that blew.
With each new windstorm, sands accrue;
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 I fled; then flew,
So part of me’s left now buried in you.

It’s buried where my past lies buried and dead,
Hidden with my heart that broke when I fled,
Beause all I’d believed in had to be shed;
I had to flee ensuing bloodshed.

Still, I long for my friends and family too,
Who couldn’t see things from my point of view;
They wouldn’t allow me to have my own voice —
They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

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

So part of me’s buried in Mexico —
The part I lost when I left years ago —
It’s back where my heart lies buried alive;
Back where my past took a nose dive.

Perhaps it’s lying 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.

I remain in my world on this other side,
But so many lonely rivers I’ve cried;
Though most of my tears have finally dried,
There’re many old rivers still flowing inside.

Too many rivers between me and 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 2008)

*NOTE: The above memoir poem is the result of major surgery done on my original poem — I cut out over half its verses. I’m happy to say the surgery was successful — though painful.
Below is a less abridged version:

   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 I fled the clan.

Buried my poetry in the desert’s brew, too.
It’s now lost in sandstorms that blew.
With each windstorm, more sands accrue,
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 I fled; then 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;
Adios to my past — adios and adieu.

When will my loneliness ever end?
When will this pain fade away, my friend?
Where are my Journals; the poems I penned,
Then buried deep to protect them back then?

They’re buried where my past lies buried and dead,
Hidden with my heart that broke when I fled;
Because what I’d believed in had to be shed;
I had to flee the approaching bloodshed.

Now I long for fmy amily and old friends too,
Who couldn’t see things from my point of view;
They wouldn’t allow me to have my own voice —
They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

Still, I long for my life that lies buried with you —
The part that split when I fled and flew;
Then tried to find life in the US anew,
To follow my dreams; my hopes renew.

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

No sooner had I found a life and rebirth,
Than along came ravages of old age and dearth,
bouncing and banging at my backdoor;
Backing me downhill forever more.

 But part of me died many years ago —
That part I lost when I fled Mexico —
It’s back where my heart lies buried alive —
Back where my past took a nose dive.

Part of my heart’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.

I remain in my world on this other side;
Yet, so many lonely rivers I’ve cried;
Though most of my tears have finally dried,
There’re many old rivers still flowing inside.

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

Part of me’s there, though put to the test —
Back where many old memories rest —
Part’s with my past and part’s here with me,
Longing for home, where’er 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 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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