We’d been performing poetry together for about a year when we added some of Kim’s original songs (and the odd cover) to the mix.
In 1994, we toured the USA with The Ozpoets troupe, (Australian poets Dennis Woodley, Pamela Sidney, Grant Alexander McCracken, John Beaton, and Alex Mellor from the UK) and, during that tour, Kim and I began pairing our poems into what eventually became the ‘Fit of Passion’ show.
This song was written by Kim Downs, sometime in the 1980s, about the border between San Diego and Tijuana, a youthful stomping ground. Sadly, it is still as relevant as when it was written, and references the practices of Colonialism as the root of much suffering and inequality.
Performed Live by ‘Fit of Passion’ (Kim Downs and Liz Hall) in Rogers, Arkansas, 1994 at The Hickory House. Camera by Wayburn Downs. Set by Grant McCracken. Lyrics below.
‘Tijuana Senorita’ (Copyright Kim Downs)
Just up North from Bonita Vista where the city starts
Where life is easy and the streets are always clean
And your good friend Old Mexico is too far away
To make you think just twice about your dreams
And don’t you dare look South at what it means.
Tijuana Senorita Go Home
Those Gringo men
Cannot be trusted alone
Just down South from Otai Mesa where the Border starts
Police dogs bark and searchlights sweep the night
Ragged men jump barbed wire fences and lay in mud
And pray to the Virgin Mary they’re out of sight
And hope those helicopters ain’t out tonight
“In the 1840s, the people of northern Mexico were pushed south by white settlers / Intent on taking their northern lands / Since then, the Mexican people have endured years of poverty and corrupt government / Now, they pour over the border into Texas and California at the rate of 3,000 a day / In search of a better life”
Just down South is a Virgin Bride in a peasant dress
Her skin is dark and her eyes ae simple and kind
Her arms are open to the northern man who’s come to her
For all she sees she might as well be blind
She’ll soon find out what he’s got on his mind