Ray Gonzalez


My loved ones forgotten in the wind with
caricatures of poverty adorning their necks.
They kiss one another, build gallows for themselves,
leave the frame to vanish in the dust.

Collect their amulets and worn sandals outlined
by the English Only crowd mistaking their state
for the land of vision and petrified cars
burning their expensive gasoline.

The wild landscape where my loved ones hide.
It is part of a strong man's hairy chest-
red welts where he gave himself a kiss
when he found a sanctuary for their kind.

Organize the wise believers to follow you
to the edge of the flowers where the bees
tremble and wait to surround their children first,
their hives smashed open by a secret treaty.

Gleaming wishes make it easier to believe
someone will rescue them, take them home,
replace their desires with a yearning for what
never dies, only counts border weapon plants.

You assemble the heart first,
the mind second, their peaceful sleep third.
When you greet my loved ones, nothing
happens without my kindest permission.

This means penance and a way to get there-
Bull fighters on the computer screen flying around
the bull that snorts and screams, its bloody
foam the volcano of my loved ones' dreams.

Ray Gonzalez is a poet, essayist and editor born in El Paso, Texas. He is author of Memory Fever (University of Arizona Press 1999), a memoir about growing up in the Southwest, Turtle Pictures (Arizona 2000), which recieved the 2001 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and a colletion of essays, The Underground Heart: Essays from Hidden Landscapes (Arizona 2003). He is the author of six other books of poetry, including three from BOA Editions: The Heat of Arrivals, the 1997 PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, Cabato Sentora, the 2000 Minnesota Book Award Finalist, and The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande (2000). He is also the author of two collections of short stories, The Ghost of John Wayne (Arizona 2001) and Circling the Tortilla Dragon (Creative Arts 2002). His poetry has appeared in the 1999 and 2000 editions of The Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses 2000. His non-fiction is included in the second edition of The Norton Anthology of Nature Writing (W.W. Norton). He is the editor of twelve anthologies, most recently Touching the Fire: Fifteen Poets of the Latino Renaissance (Anchor/Doubleday Books 1998). He has served as poetry editor of The Bloomsbury Review for 22 years and founded Luna, a poetry journal, in 1998. He is an Associate Professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


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