Lomas del Poleo For Now


Tres niños before The Grid, June 2009

Lomas del Poleo/Juarez, Chihuahua/Mexico

June 20, 2009

Lomas del Poleo. The battle goes on. More people leave. People fight to stay.  A mean strip of ten lane highway has snaked its way through Lomas del Poleo (see previous posts or Google it). The Developers got what they needed and left what they didn’t, more or less. They don’t even blink as they plow ahead. This highway is going to happen, no matter what. The development will follow, is gonna happen, no matter what. Nothing stops the grinder. The Grid viene: Diamond Shamrock, The Chicken Colonel, Pemex, trucks full of electronic crap, three bedrooms, two baths, probably a Wal Mart (whoa..let’s not get too crazy!), the same vexing and stinking Grid that we hate and that people fight to have (Iran, Cuba, Libya, you, too, can have it!). There goes the texture, and, in the case of Lomas del Poleo, the isolation and faux rural vibe, the farm at the edge of the city, the special dream that has been Lomas: get out of the city, raise some chickens, leave us alone. A quiet hope on the edge of always possible chaos that is Juarez.

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There Goes Breakfast

Chicken man

Rooster man of Chaparral, NM – 2008

He has been raising these birds since he was a teenager. Fighters are they, he and his birds.

Now, cockfighting is illegal in New Mexico. Outlawed. “Civility,” has come to the funklands. God help us. Now come the thiefs with pens. They been fighting this since Billy the kid.

The rooster man keeps raising his birds. Doesn’t know what else to do.

He speaks of the “Old Man,” and “Ralph,” “Juan Pedro,”and the others. Each has a name. There are hundreds.

When he speaks, he says their names softly, a Lover’s murmur whispering his loves’ names.

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Que Miras Musico: Change


Musicos, El Paso – April 2009

Wary eyes.

Everyone’s wary, in El Paso/Juarez, these days. The border is at war, with itself, with it’s two yin/yang sides, with the Interiors of each of the two sides.

Everyone’s wondering where it’ll end, where they will fall on the have and have not scale, what’ll be left of this little rough Shangri La (not a Shangri La of paradise but a refuge for those who have fallen from paradise. Sort of a suburb of Shangri La).

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TEA Protest, El Paso, Texas – April 15, 2009

This man was photographed in El Paso, Texas at a “TEA party.” At the TEA party are, mostly, the aged and, seemingly, the innocent, with much esoteric political discussion, predictions of the end of the Republic, impassioned anger and, to be fair, much sincerity. To my “”eye,” it seems a little sad. Sadness for what, I am still trying to process and determine.

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No Futbol War


“Maleno,” Juarez – March 2009

Juarez, March 13, 2009/ Estado Benito Juarez, Juarez, Chihuahua/Mexico

The Juarez Indios are a professional futbol team(soccer). They are in the middle of the Cartel Drug War. Much of the city of Juarez has rallied around the Indios, finding some “normalacy,” in the middle of the troubled Juarez violencia. Julio Daniel “Maleno” Frias is a star of the team, a “striker,” a troubled city’s hero. The city loves him, he’s a hero in the middle of bad news caused by rats. When Maleno,” was younger he joined a gang. He got shot. He decided to change his life and he did. Maybe this is why the city fell in love with him, he’s a living metaphor for a city’s hopes. Maybe they just like the way he plays: smooth, quiet and intense.

Some players have left the team and others have sent their families back to the cities they came from (some in Mexico, one in Argentina), trying to avoid the touch of violence that has afflicted Juarez, Mexico’s third largest city.
The team is struggling to stay in the top tier of Mexico’s professional soccer league.
Attendance is sold out.

Futbol is trumping the war.

So far.

Life goes on.

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Border Magic Eye


Cordula at the fence, March 23, 2009

Anapra, NM/Colonia Anapra, Juarez, Chihuahua

Yesterday I worked with an incredible journalist from Der Spiegel (the German equivalent of Time). She is German, from the north of Germany. Works out of the DC Bureau. Sharp and smart and witty and ironic and puro journalist. We did a story at Fort Bliss. She was bright and lively and brave and charming and funny and we’d had a successful day and did a great story together. She wanted to see “El Paso.”

So we head for the border (I’m a one trick pony. To me, the border is El Paso).

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Alameda Street Showboat: Blast From The Past

Alameda Street Showboat, El Paso-1987

Alameda Street Showboat, El Paso-1987

Alameda Street is about (what’s this “about,” stuff?) to get stomped. Progress. New Hospital and Medical School down the Street. Progress.

‘ta bien, really. Time to move on. One thing about Urban Renewal and Plans: we have had the best of it and now you can have the rest. The next “blight,” that I move to -older and wiser now- there will be no Forwarding Address.

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A Valentine (in Texas)

Cracked window in Valentine, Texas-Jan. 9, 2009

There I am, tooling through the vast landscape of West Texas, working for an English language newspaper working out of Abu Dubai, Arab Emirates. Don’t ask. I’m not sure I understand the assignment. Something about Bush returning to Texas and illustrating what two brothers, who were doing a road trip, saw (except, according to my editor, they were really bad photographers).  What that has to do with West Texas, I can’t figure.

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Spin Balance landscape

Spin Balance Landscape, Chaparral, NM-August 2008

Space. Glorious space. Wonk yer brain but we all need more space. Maybe because we wonk our brains so much. This is from the funklands of southern New Mexico. It looks right across at the slim tip of West Texas that is El Paso. Juarez, Chihuahua is the horizon.

Space. This is the Tender Mercy of No Man’s Land.

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Lomas del Poleo revisited

Protest for Lomas del Poleo, Jan. 2008

Protest for Lomas del Poleo, El Paso-Jan. 2008

It was only a year ago that the plight of the people of Lomas del Poleo was the highest priority of cross border activist politics. The people were systematically being robbed of their land, their court actions were, basically, being stonewalled, the injustice of the top to the bottom was blatant and a coalition of forces stepped up and, on this day did, a bi-national protest at the Mexican Counsulate in El Paso and the Mexican Counsulate in Jaurez.

That seems like long ago.

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Santa? Juarez needs one

Santa en Juarez-Dieciembre 2008

Venga Santa….come on!

If ever there was a place (other than certain parts of Africa right now) that need some kind of Devine Intervention, this is it.

Come on Santa! Forget the regalos. Paz, baby. Bring on the Peace.

If there is a Santa, bring on the Peace.

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Two way island


FBA#20-El Paso/Juarez-Dec. 2008

First block of America (FBA).

El Paso Street. La Frontera. I’d call it Texas but it ain’t. Everyone knows it if they’re from here. Texans hold their arms out, full length. Americans think it’s part of Mexico…or hell. New Mexicans…furgidaboutit! It’s all they have to really feel superior to.

El Paso, the nation-state of nowhere.

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Tender mercy


LBI #7 Pano.series-Carlsbad, New Mexico/December2008

Been working on the Land Before the Interstate (LBI) series for a long time. Every chance I get to go there I grab. Time machine. No Interstate. No giant concrete suppository running right through your heart. The kinds of places Duvall would crash down in in Tender Mercies.

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Dogs shake the shoe


Shakin’ the shoe, Memorial Park, El Paso-August 2008

Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the roses. Well, in the park, there’s lots of things to smell. A dog’s life can be wonderful. Humans? Well, sometimes, not so much.

One thing for sure: grabbing milliseconds of time out of the megaseconds of life is still -with no great reason behind it- a lot of fun.



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The sword of Juarez

The sword of Juarez, Nov. 2008

The sword of Juarez-November 2008

There’s a sword hanging over Juarez. The sword of Juarez. Murder. 1500, this year and we have a month to go. A drug war? A crazy’s war. Get it over with. Somebody win the war for turf, already. Nobody cares. Get it over with, one side win, one side lose, then send your drug shit to the gringos and let the people go free, let them come out of their houses at night, let the undertakers worry about their bills, again. Somebody win, already, because nobody is winning at all.

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Angry princess/Princesa enojado


Angry princess/Princesa enojado, El Paso-October 31, 2008

El Paso, Oct. 31 (Halloween), 2008

Halloween on El Paso Street, the first (or last) block of America. Everyone is dressed and laying a festival veneer over the street. 5:30pm, people still rushing to the bridge to Juarez to get home (especially these days, trying to get home before dark, before the murders begin).

Cookie is one angry Chihuahua.

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Ciego Musico/Blind Music


Calle Juarez, Ciego musico/Blind Music, Juarez – 1982


This man played in the streets of Juarez for all my first years in La Frontera. He was blind. He was small. He made music like a special desert bird, joyful to bathe in just a drop of water, joyful to sing, even to the passing and witless American tourists.

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