ASARCO #212, May 2012. Photograph
©BruceBerman 2015


Photograph and text by Bruce Berman

I miss you ASARCO.

You were texture. You were identity. You were muy macho. You had cajones. Your candy stripe shaft spewed your acids and we ran for cover. At least we were moving. You were not vanilla. You were not something else. You were, well, ASARCO, un madre. You were definitely not bourgeois, pro seguro. On dark nights, down on Paisano, huge trucks dumped your excrement and giant flames roared into the sky, lighting up I10 like a festive firecracker.

Now you are a bald pallet awaiting “The Grid.” They fiddle before they drop the hammer, just enough time for one to build trust in the untrustworthy. What should go on the ground that has your blood? Should it be a Western Town? Giddy up! Should it be an amusement park? Ice cream! Maybe it could be a “multi use” nothing (Ha! What else do you think they will do!)? We need more apartments and strip centers! Maybe we can just let UTEP spread its, its…well…it could just spread whatever it is that UTEP has.

I will politely clap. I am not lamenting the inevitable any more than I do on The Day Of the Dead.

Yes you were a cancer dispenser, a reminder of danger, vulnerability and of the sweat and blood of working men. Oh yeah, you were one bad hombre. Oh, and how the gerentes avoided your gaze. You were so not sheik. How could we sell this bipolar berg as the cultural and artistic epicenter of the great southwest with your giant schlong sticking into the sky, having intercourse with the eyes of every passerby? No no no, you had to go. You were so, well, nasty!

I miss your Great Schlong. I miss your hiss and your tattoo against the blue desert sky. I miss your flexed muscle and your otherness and your belching breath. Oh yeah, I miss your nastiness because I would rather be killed by nasty than I would by euphemism, mimicry, mediocrity and self aware smugness. My soul aches for authenticity and here, that was you.

So, great giant, kisses to you. Hugs. Perhaps this  is the last Post of my deep and abiding dance you and I have shared, our prolonged embrace that started the day I found you two days after I arrived here from your spiritual sister -my former home- on the south side of Chicago (where other giants lived). Through days and nights, summers and winters, sulphur-gulping afternoons when your huge hot heart belched out toxins (less poisonous than the ennui of the developers), I bid you a final adieu (maybe).

ASARCO furnace guy,1987
ASARCO furnace guy, 1987

Some day, soon, you’ll be replaced by something new, something civil and tame, a companion and tribute to this city’s plastic surgery face, a companion to the minor league Baseball Stadium. You, too, can be a shining example of a so-called resurgence, a monument to those who knew not what they were, what they had, or what they did.





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