logo image a digital codex of contemporary pan-american writing

Issue 21, Poesía | October 2017

     

Doble Sentido: Tips for Traveling While Central American, Centro de Migrantes, 2017

Which name do you want? I travel with a Mexican name, but I can give you my Guatemalan name if you want. You know, in case something happens. I talk like a Mexican. It helps me en el camino. It’s not hard. Pinche, guëy, órale, chido, padre, no mames. Tú. Tú. Tú. The second you say vos you’re done. Some of these young guys it’s their first time and they haven’t learned that yet. But I’ve been en el camino lots of times so I know how to talk and dress. You like my sunglasses? With these I look more Mexican, verdad? I’ve learned how to walk with confianza —like I belong here and when the migración pulls over the colectivo I say, “Soy chiapaneco. I’m from Chiapas. No tengo mis papeles porque se me robaron. Somebody gave me money so I can take the bus home.” How can they know? What can they do? Unless they haul me up to headquarters to check my prints, they won’t know I’ve been deported. Sometimes they say, “Sit there until we figure this out. You can’t travel without papers.” I say, “Yes I can, I got rights. ¡Suéltame! You can’t keep me here. My abuelita is home alone you bastards!” And they let me go most of the time. Sometimes they let me go because they’re tired of wasting time or because they don’t want to be wrong in front of their bosses. But other times I know the game is up when they ask, “¿Que vamos a hacer Chapín?” Then I slip them some cash. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Doble Sentido: Tips for Traveling While Central American, Centro de Migrantes, 2017