The Transborder Immigrant Tool is a GPS cellphone safety-net tool for crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. It was developed by Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g. lab in 2007 by artists Micha Cárdenas, Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Elle Mehrmand and Brett Stalbaum, in conjunction with CALIT2/Visual Arts Department/University of California, San Diego/Program in American Culture, Latina/o Studies/English Department/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Poet Amy Sara Carroll wrote a series of 24 poems, titled “The Desert Survival Series/La serie de sobrevivencia del desierto,” which were uploaded onto cellphones equipped with simple compasses and interfaces. Each poem is a form of lyrical advice that provides readers and listeners with tools for every hour of a day spent in the pernicious borderlands between the U.S. and Mexico. Truthdig will publish each of these poems in both Spanish and English over the next few weeks in our Poetry section, accompanied with bilingual audio recordings by various contributors to the project. To read the first poem in the series, click here and for more information on the project, watch the video presentation below.

The second poem in “The Desert Survival Series” read in English by Ricardo Dominguez and in Spanish by Elizabeth Barrios.


Climb or walk in the morning. Rest midday beneath creosote bush or mesquite, insulating yourself from the superheated ground. Remember–even the sidewinder hovercrafts, the bulk of its body above the scalding sand as it leaves its trademark J-shaped tracks across the desert dunes.

Camine o escale en las mañanas. Descanse al mediodía bajo un mezquite, una hediondilla o gobernadora para protegerse de la abrasadora temperatura del suelo. Recuerde–aun la víbora de cascabel aerodesliza la mayor parte de su cuerpo sobre la ardiente arena mientras deja su característica huella en forma de “J” a lo largo de las dunas del desierto.

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