This is a poem that I wrote during the latter part of the three years I spent in southern Mexico.
Life Everywhere the Same
Yes, the life in southernland is slightly different for me.
Instead of oven baking bread, tortillas cooking slowly.
Smoked sausage here I do not find;
Chorizo is the meat they grind.
Whoever heard of gravy?
Indeed, the way of house construction here does differ slightly.
Concrete every way you look, no falls are taken lightly.
Windows everywhere are barred;
Enjoy from rooftop views well-starred.
A yard sure would be nice.
How can they with the mouthpiece same make sounds that do so differ?
I guess the problem central is my mouth and tongue much stiffer.
They talk with speed that’s lightning fast;
For me “y’all” is a word of past.
What is this letter errrrrrrrrrrre?
Despite these superficial changes,
Life falls in the self-same ranges.
We are men the same.
I understand their laughing voice; that language does nor vary.
A heart in any dialect can well convey when merry.
The same in all climes, father’s love.
A child’s hug transports above.
A wife is still a treasure.
Here, too, as all parts of the world, they know the daily grind.
Long hours theirs when fortunate consistent work to find.
I’ve seen many ancianas,3
Doubled bent but yet quite sanas,4
Life everywhere is hard.
They also know as we ourselves, of death the pain and sorrow.
The mother of my friend will ne’er again return tomorrow.
When family draws together near,
The funeral is different here,
But mourn they just the same.
Be Sur or where the heart stay,
Oaxacan pueblo or El Norte,
Be home where it today may,
Life yet everywhere the same.
1South, in Spanish.