Dear Las Cruces,
I am trying to tread lightly, as the pendulum is swung in to full on hate right now. From your drivers who have never learned to merge, to the hoodrats who found a cottage industry in burglarizing me, to the Midwesterners who retire here and complain that this ain’t Kansas, to your simple inability to pave a road in a timely fashion or to even have nice things. I should go easy, it’s hard living in the shadow of bigger cities, forever overshown by El Paso or Albuquerque. Red headed step child of New Mexico cities, you were never Santa Fe, but you were expected to absorb it’s washouts, gray ponytails and excessive turquoise, forever withering at El Patio and telling stories about Canyon Road. Or all the California Cash-outs, recreating far-off, mystical lands with those magical names, like Receda, or Riverside, sometimes even the vaunted Pasadena, whispered in solemn tones. Colonization never stopped, it just switched poles, the East Mesa is trying so hard, so hard. It’s a lot to ask, Las Cruces, to have that missile base out there, lobbing death, practice throws only, shutting down at least one egress point. If there is one thing crazy girlfriends and the Bush Administration have taught me, it is this, ALWAYS HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY, which for you, must mean, what? What are you running from Las Cruces? Gentrification sucks, but so do all the falling apart neighborhoods knee deep in Bud Light cans, dirty diapers and the tatters of Dallas Cowboys paraphernalia. How do you manage, Las Cruces? Look at the Wal-Mart bag blown on to the stalk of the Yucca. Do you know what we call that? The Official Flag of Las Cruces, a cruel joke, and sometimes I feel a little bad. You are trying so hard. There’s only so much you can do. Land Developed all to hell, legislated from afar, trading one vendido city council for another, different money always from outside, funneled into that Maquiladora looking City Hall you just built. But you always just stand there, just absorbing, absorbing. How much can you take, Las Cruces? When do you reach the critical point? Will it be synthesis, or will it be a complete melt down? Is there some Philosopher’s Stone you seek to turn this filthy lead into funky gold? When will you stop declaring war on fun, stop crusading against youth culture? It seemed easier in the old days, Pat Garrett, Billy The Kid, the Clantons, hell, you could shoot your way out of trouble, it seemed back then. But back then, a man could have a drink in a decent bar in peace. Don’t even get me started on THAT, Las Cruces. The riddle of bullets, though, is where to start, or, where to end, it’s a question best not asked, these are alleged to be civilized times, despite the lack of drinking establishments. Yes, Las Cruces, I empathize, I see you, pulled in all directions, trying to be all things to a sundry bunch of assholes. I do not envy you. No, not at all, and every time I pull out my topo maps of you, it is full on lust. Not just a faint stirring in the heart, straight up slobbering, stallion in heat lust. The contour lines, I trace with my fingers, pack some sandwiches and water in my back pack and strike out for whatever colorfully named feature strikes my fancy. Yes, Las Cruces, this is my deal, my thing, for you. If I had but a time machine and a mule, I could see it all, before they screwed it up.