I Never really Spoke Spanish

never spanish

I Never really Spoke Spanish


When I was a kid,

because of the line of work I was in,

I learned to say “boug-an-vi-ya”,

and “es-pan-u-ate.”

I was taught these words

by a man who said “chimley” and “liberry”

I still cant say “borrow,”

somehow it comes out “bar-ee”

I don’t think that is correct,

but it is as close as I can get


At age fourteen,

I went with a church group

To Mexico. I love Mexico. I love Mexicans.

I learned enough Spanish

to buy a coke

and to flirt with

Fourteen-year-old Mexicans,

which wasn’t hard.


Then, at twenty-three,

I married the first Puerto Rican

I ever met.

She spoke perfect English,

thanks to a private

school in San Juan

But she thought

and counted in Spanish.


A few years later,

we had a beautiful baby boy

And we thought it would be

a good idea for him to learn Spanish


His mother taught him

songs with Spanish words,

which I learned.

And I learned “abaho” for down,



and “vente a key” for come here

And “vaca” for cow

and “Got toe” for cat and “pet row” for dog,

and then there were two words that meant gentleman and horse

and two words that meant kitchen and sea shell

and I was always mixing them up.


Just recently, the Puerto Rican has been an ex for twenty years, it occurs to me,

I never really spoke Spanish,

I learned code words for

things I knew in English

And some of my code was close enough

People who speak Spanish could make it out.


A couple of years ago, we went

To Paris. I love Paris. I love Parisians.

We decided we wanted to go back

And this time we were going to learn French.


Drive Time French is a series of CDs

that offer the following:

Little is “pe tea”, unless it is

masculine, like a truck,

Truck is “cam-i-on”, and blue is “blu”

as in the sound you make when you throw up,

and new is “nu-vay”, so if you want to say

new blue little truck it is like this

“nuvay blu payteat camion.”

(try not to gag, it ruins the beauty of French)


of course, very few Frenchmen know this code

so on the off chance I need

to tell a lovely Parisian

about a new small blue truck,

I doubt I could, but then, in truth,

I never really spoke English, either.


About anthonyuplandpoetwatkins

https://www.goodreads.com/AnthonyUplandpoetWatkins born in Jackson, The United States August 04, 1959 gender male website http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorI... genre Poetry, Historical Fiction influences James M. Lancaster, Brenda Black White, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Al Filreis member since March 2011 About this author edit data As one of the most public lives ever lived by a private citizen, there is little about me that isn't already available at Facebook or Shelfari and countless other places. Poet, writer, construction worker, salesman, truck driver, climber into the attics of total strangers, father and husband, and all around one of the luckiest men on the planet. My luck continued with a win in the June Goodreads Newsletter Contest! What an honor! http://anthonyuplandpoetwatkins.wordp... Additional Influences: Bob Dylan, William Faulkner, Barbara Kingsolver, Gloria Naylor, Eudora Welty
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