Poetry From a Native Son

Upon arriving in El Valle a couple of nights ago, I was talking to a jovial local man who asked me what my profession is. This can be very difficult to answer on the fly. You’d think that I have it down pat since I’m asked it often.

Being completely truthful is hard enough in English, but almost impossible in Spanish. Here are some possible answers:

“I’m experimenting with travel and new media.”  Travel. I must be at least semi-wealthy. New media. What the hell is that?

I’m trying to experience life on the road at the dawn of a new age where wifi can usually be found and had without diligence.Huh? Way too cryptic.

I’m a blog writer and makeshift photographer and I sometimes forget why.” What?

I’m traveling around and trying to find things to write about in your beautiful country.Now we’re getting warmer.

I’m a writer.” JACKPOT! This answer is understandable in any language.

The latter is what came out in that particular situation. I don’t get paid for it; but, it’s what I do almost daily. This answer is the closest to the truth, and it doesn’t confuse people.

It can still be a tough thing for people to register.  For example: if I’m on my computer somewhere and there’s no Internet connection, I always get asked:

Do you have Internet?”


This answer generates bewildered looks from locals and tourists alike. People down here seem to think that the only things travelers do on a computer is get on Facebook and check email.  How about manipulating photos?  Duh! Don’t most travelers spend a ludicrous amount of time on this task? Perhaps I could also be writing something in a word processor?  I’ll stop there as the list could go on and on.  There are many things to do on a computer without the Internet.

Luis Ricardo, the man who asked me what I do for a living, said:

I love to read. But to write, you have to be real smart to write. I can’t do that.”

I thought: Really. How hard is it? All you need to do is put your fingers on the keyboard and let them move. Tap, tap, tap, key after key after key. . .

After a short chat we exchanged:

Buenas noches!”

The next morning I ran into Luis Ricardo along what’s called Avenida Central. He insisted upon bringing me to see his friend who’s colloquially known around town as El Chamaco.  El Chamaco gave Luis a watermelon which Luis cut and insisted that I eat.  It was yellow, not red, and delicious and quenching, even more than the red ones.

Luis then introduced me to his friend:

This is the writer from the United States.

Chamaco then suggested that Luis show me the garden out back. There were so many herbs, spices and vegetables to see. They were freshly sold out front by Chamaco. If I had a kitchen this stand would be a dream.

Because of that magic ‘W’ word, I was respected.

The next morning after that, I walked by Chamaco’s veggie stand. He waved. I walked over and told him that I was off to check out some beautiful nature. He told me that he once wrote a poem about the natural beauty where his people have resided for thousands of years.

He insisted upon reciting it. After being impressed, I pulled out my pen and paper and asked him to say it again, more slowly.  Here is his original Spanish version: –followed by my English translation

Auria de Rio Anton
Alli yo te conoci
Un calor tan imenso
En mi pecho yo senti
Era el color de tu Mirada
Que penetraba mi Corazon
Y alla me dejiste
Te quiero
Las floras y las mariposas
Nos dieron su sonrisa
Y tambien la suave brisa
Super preticia y honor
Las arenas blancas y las aguas cristalina
Ellos fueron testigo de nuestros gran amor

El excurasia faltaba firmamentos la luz del sol
Y sin saber ni como
Amanicimos entre la sado
En un hermosa placer
Pero en esta rida todo puedes su sedir
Y si porcia acas un dia
Nos llegamos a seperar
Yo te estare esperando para dar te mi perdon
Solo te pido vida mia
Te que lo agamos auria
Auria de Rio Anton


The golden Anton River
There I knew you
A color so immense
In my chest I felt
There was a color from your look
That penetrated my heart
And there you told me I love you

You gave us the flowers and butterflies
You gave us your smile
And also the gentle breeze
Super pretty and honorable
The white sand and crystal water
They are the witness of our great love

Missing the skies and sunlight
And without knowing how
We woke up between
In a beautiful place
This life is all you
And if it happens one day
We arrive to separate
I’ll be waiting to give you my forgiveness
I ask only for my life
You choose oh golden one
The Golden River Anton

El Chamaco

The people of this idyllic mountain community speak Spanish as their native tongue and have a Catholic church. However, this poem reflects that there is still animism mixed in with Catholicism.

The people are one with the land.

The rich earth is made up of many natural Gods.


7 responses to this post.

  1. AL: Thanks for the comment. Unfortunatly the theme I’m using now is rather limited. I agree, it looks good. It’ll work for now, until I manage to make the full switchover to hosting myself, and learning CSS etc so that I have much better manipulation ability. Anyway, one thing at a time. Poco a poco


    • Posted by Al on March 26, 2011 at 00:08

      I think my iPad displays the site differently, I’ll send you a screen capture so you can see what I’m talking about.


  2. Posted by Al on March 25, 2011 at 02:24

    Wow, I’m not sure what to compliment first, the post or the new look of your blog, both are awesome.


  3. Today I saw El Chamaco for the third straight day. He recited yet a third poem. I wanted to move on from El Valle today. It was seemingly a little bit sad for him as he insisted on accommodations for me. I hope that he gets to see this post as I gave him the URL. However, my guess is that he’s on the unfortunate side of the digital divide.


  4. Yeah Somerville I agree. The whole post has agood aura about it! It seems like the drifter made a great connection here.


  5. Really! Wow! Thanks! I had no idea what to think of that post. It just happened.


  6. This might be my favorite of your posts so far. Love it! Great writing, Writer.


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