Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines

June 23, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar more items
Arts and Culture
Email this item Print this item

Transborder Immigrant Tool Series: Desert Fruits ‘Dethorned, Dethroned,’ Can Be ‘Delectably Edible’

Posted on Aug 25, 2016

The tuna, a desert fruit featured in the fifth poem in “The Desert Survival Series,” is not only edible, it’s delicious. (Carola Jacobs / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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 each of these poems in both Spanish and English in our Poetry section, accompanied with bilingual audio recordings by various contributors to the project. To read the first, second, third and fourth poems in the series, click on the hyperlinks. For more information on the project, watch the video presentation below.


The fifth poem in "The Desert Survival Series/La serie de sobrevivencia del desierto," read in English by Amy Sara Carroll and in Spanish by Natasha Hakimi Zapata.

(1.3 MB)


You can survive without eating anything for three weeks in hot
weather. But the body’s need for hydration is a different matter
entirely. Consume the fruit of prickly pear, saguaro, organ pipe,
yucca or cholla for their moisture alone.


In the summertime, pitahaya dulce, the fruit of the organ pipe
cactus, ripens to red and drops its spines. The prickly pear cactus’
tuna reddens to purple, but never loses its needles. Dethorned,
dethroned, both are delectably edible. Peel their skins.

En climas cálidos, puede sobrevivir hasta tres semanas sin comer
nada. No obstante, la necesidad de hidratación del cuerpo humano es
un problema completamente distinto. Consuma las tunas del nopal,
saguaro, órgano, yuca y cholla, aunque solo sea por su contenido


En el verano, la pitaya dulce, la fruta del cactus organo, se torna
roja y pierde sus espinas al madurar. La tuna se torna un color
morado, mas nunca pierde sus púas. Destronadas, desespinadas, ambas
son deliciosas. Quíteles la piel.



Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile

Truthdig will publish poems that offer insight into current events and sociopolitical themes relevant to today’s world. From entries across the nation, Truthdig staff will select poems based on both their artistic qualities as well as the social issues they discuss. To read our guidelines and submit a poem for our consideration, click here.

Related Entries

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook