Sunday, March 12, 2017

El Paso: UTEP: Tender Tendrils

Oh, so delicate. Like tiny pink fairy fingers.

Pink tendrils, UTEP, El Paso, Texas. March 2017.

Pink tendrils, UTEP, El Paso, Texas. March 2017.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Creative Life: The Cinquain

Numbers. September 2010.

In my little black-and-white composition book was a scribble about cinquains.

A cinquain is a poem with five lines, non-rhyming, in which:
  • Line 1 has 2 syllables
  • Line 2 has 4 syllables
  • Line 3 has 6 syllables
  • Line 4 has 8 syllables
  • Line 5 has 2 syllables

From WriteShop:

Typically, a cinquain follows this sequence:
  • Line A: One vague or general one-word subject or topic
  • Line B: Two vivid adjectives that describe the topic
  • Line C: Three interesting -ing action verbs that fit the topic
  • Line D: Four-word phrase that captures feeling about the topic
  • Line E: A very specific term that explains Line A

Examples, both from WriteShop:

Hidden, hungry
Preening, searching, stalking
Waits as if praying

Graceful, ringed
Spinning, whirling, twirling
Dances with neighbor Jupiter

My experiment

Effluent, dark
Arching Searching Grasping
Reaches to suck me down but. No.

Log bridge over mineral spring, Borjomi, Georgia (Caucasus). April 2012.

Friday, March 10, 2017

El Paso: UTEP: Milky Way Explosions

Milky seed pods, UTEP, El Paso, Texas. March 2017.

These splashy milky Angora-cat silky seed pods.

Milky seed pods, UTEP, El Paso, Texas. March 2017.

On a walk on the UTEP campus in March.

Milky seed pods, UTEP, El Paso, Texas. March 2017.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

El Paso: Border Servant Corps

The Wall, looking east toward El Paso. December 2016.

Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.

This is the mission of the Border Servant Corps.

I learned about the BSC by chance when I went to a 12-step meeting at Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico. There was a flyer announcing an Issues Night, to be presented by some Catholic sisters who work with people in Puerto de Anapra, just over the border into Mexico.

I saw that - hey! - the Issues Night would occur literally around the corner from my apartment in El Paso.

I'll get to that Issues Night, and others, but for now I just want to introduce the Border Servant Corps.

Border Servant Corps promotes and demonstrates justice, kindness, and humility through the intentional exploration of community, simplicity, social justice, and spirituality in the U.S./México border region.

BSC puts together volunteers-in-residence with organizations that support BSC's purpose. There are one-year volunteers and there are short-term volunteers, e.g. for the month of January or during the summer. The volunteers come from all over the United States (and can come from other countries); they live in one of two communal houses, one in El Paso and the other in Las Cruces.

Happening onto the BSC gladdened my spirit in a time of despondency following the November 2016 election.

The current administration and its modern-day Vichy collaborationists scuttle across the banquet table, biting and snarling and ripping meat from bone, dropping miserly orts to the floor for us ordinary folk, telling us we are eating cake.

The Border Servant Corps - it brings light and succor.

Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Juarez: Fourth Date: Adelita!

Adelita, Museum of the Revolution on the Border, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. February 2017.

On my 4th date with Juarez, I visited the El Museo de la Revolucion en La Frontera aka the Museum of the Revolution on the Border.

That's where I met Adelita.

Adelita is armed and can jump on a horse while wearing stilettos and a very tight dress.

Adelita is a blend of real life, fantasy, and the romanticized archetype of hundreds (thousands?) of women who fought in the Mexican Revolution.

There are stories and songs of Adelita. A movie. Art.

The video below, Adelitas: The Unknown Heroes of the Mexican Revolution, is a quirky, yet informative telling of history, produced by students in El Paso:

Here's the famous song about Adelita, performed in Spanish but with English subtitles:

But below are two soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution, more tied to reality, photographed by Agustin Victor Casasola.

Soldaderas, Mexican Revolution. Photo by: Agustin Victor Casasola.

Shep Lenchek wrote an instructive piece about women soldiers in Mexico, not only during the Mexican Revolution, but during the Spanish Conquest, in Soldaderas - Mexican Women at War. An excerpt: 
While there may be some lingering doubt about the exact role of women in the Conquest, their participation in the Mexican revolution is well documented. However, now they were oft times classified simply as camp followers or prostitutes. Perhaps here too male chauvinism played a part in denying or minimizing the truth that female Soldaderas often stood shoulder to shoulder with male soldiers and fought to the death. ....
.... While it is true that the vast majority of the Mexican women who were involved with the military were non-combatants, it is also factual that thousands of these women lost their lives while performing their very necessary tasks [in the front lines]. Because many of them did become involved sexually with the soldiers they served, either for love or for money, it has become too easy to dismiss all of them as simply prostitutes or else simply ignore their existence.

Mr. Lenchek introduces his readers to a book that examine the real soldaderas in Mexico:Soldaderas in the Mexican Military, by Elizabeth Salas.

Movie poster of 1958 movie Si Adelita se fuera con otro. Source: Stanford University.

This article gives me an excuse to post - again - this painting by Carlos Flores:

Carlos Flores painting, El Paso, Texas.

Viva la Revolución, hermanas Adelitas.

Monday, March 6, 2017

El Paso: Stopped at the West

The end of a road over Segundo Barrio, El Paso, Texas. October 2016.

An El Paso buddy of mine is an American of Yaqui, Spanish, and Mexican descent. Maybe a pinch of Mescalero Apache.

When he was young, his parents moved from Segundo Barrio out to the Lower Valley, which is in southeast El Paso. His was the second family to move into a brand new subdivision there, where they bought a house.

In the 1970s, when he was an adolescent, he would, from time to time, ride his bicycle to El Paso's West Side. Let's say the West Side boundary, at that time, sat just north of the current UTEP campus.

I'm a little blurry on where the west/east boundary was, but I'm not fuzzy about this: Each time my friend rode his bike to the west side of the city, a police officer stopped him and told him he could go no further. He had to stay on the east side of the city.

In He Forgot To Say Goodbye, Benjamin Alire Saenz touches on the geographical demarcations in El Paso in the not-so-distant past:
[Ramiro] We have our own house on Calle Concepcion. …. Mrs. Herrera, my English teacher. She … thinks we’re just a bunch of dumb-ass Mexicans good for nothing but flipping burgers and making breakfast burgers at Whataburger, and that I’ll grow up to be one of the better burrito-makers. Yup, that’s what she pretty much thinks, we’re all a bunch of burrito guys.  … Thomas Jefferson High School [in South-Central El Paso]… “La Jeff.” .. And our rival school, well that would be “La Bowie.” .....

There’s a pre-med magnet school that they built right next to our school …. all the pre-med students that come from the other parts of town all go to their classes in their nice separate building and have their nice separate classes. Put it this way: The good, intelligent pre-med magnet school students attend their classes in a separate facility. So we don’t even have “contact.” That’s the word they use, too. “Contact.” Like they’ve landed on the moon. … What are we gonna do to those kids, kill them? Touch them? Infect them with Mexican ways of thinking? Make them ride burros? Take their English and put it in between two pieces of corn tortillas until it sounds like Spanish? …