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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 is publishing these poems in Spanish and English in our Poetry section, accompanied by bilingual audio recordings. To read the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th poems in the series, click on the hyperlinks. For more information on the project, watch the video presentation below.

The 12th poem in “The Desert Survival Series/La serie de sobrevivencia del desierto,” read in English by Meryem Kamil and Spanish by Natasha Hakimi Zapata.


For most, the bite of the translucent yellow and brown-striped Arizona bark scorpion is not lethal. Scorpions, night-walkers, seek cool, dark, moist hiding places during the day. If you are stung by a scorpion, clean the wound; do not eat anything for eight hours. It is possible for you to recover. In contrast, a brown recluse spider’s bite is literally “a force of nature.” Expect chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, rashes, hives, an ulcer that will continue to grow in size unless the wound is excised and medically treated. Found in dead wood and debris, the brown recluse carries a dark, violin-shaped trademark on its back.

Para la mayoría, la mordedura del alacrán de corteza de Arizona, de un color amarillo translúcido y estriado café, no es letal. Los escorpiones, caminantes nocturnos, buscan escondites frescos, oscuros y húmedos durante el día. Si le pica un escorpión, limpie la herida; no coma nada por ocho horas. Es posible que se recupere. Por el contrario, la mordedura de una araña parda reclusa es literalmente “una fuerza de la naturaleza”. Espere escalofríos, fiebre, nausea, vómitos, sarpullido, irritación, y una úlcera que seguirá creciendo a menos que la herida sea extirpada y tratada medicamente. Hallada en la madera seca y en escombros, la araña parda reclusa lleva en su espalda una marca distintiva y oscura en forma de violin.

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