From the Compilation “The year of Living Dangerously”

From the Compilation “The year of Living Dangerously”

By John Thomas Dodds


que pasó

The wonder

no longer passes through here

the absentee landlords

of your uniqueness


assemble your wives and children

into cadres of convenience


they return to their corporate havens

in the fat and familiar

It leaves one looking

for answers elsewhere

& elsewhere it is

I felt sorry for Paso Del Norte

the portal to the American Dream

for those who loved her

witnessed the foreshadowing

of dry wells

and a Rio of pain

between the heart

and soul of a desert flower

ripped apart.

¿que pasó? mi amiga

so much la señora

letting the Frocks and Gringos

spoil your sunshine

suck the nutrients

from your once proud breast

for centuries you watched

the rape of your children’s playground

your men passive, autocratic,

scavengers of the visitors waste:

half shells

neatly spread on a bed

of economic promise

There were pockets of complaint

when I knew you

sticking their heads up

when the buffet was served

and bowing when three syllable words

complimented their perceived

rise above minimum wage.

No one got angry—

the sky dyed Asarco grey,

the water table turned to dust

the foundation of your name

crumbled under the onslaught

of nations vying for temporary

possession of your soul.

It used to be

you could shit anywhere

and nobody noticed.

Left alone,

everyone eventually

got used to a common odor.

Fifty years have passed.

The past remnants

of a time of innocence:

mountains, sunshine, desert

linger in the mind—

music, Mexico,

and sweetbread memories

are all that remained

until that is



No longer hangs on the entrance.

The welcome mat a concrete slab

where Niños y Madres

reach out to one another

separated by a Trumped up

aversion to the other—

and a wall of hatred stands

where El Paso del Norte,

the pass to the promised land,

is temporarily out of order

while Lady Liberty

is blindfolded

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