Two Poems by Ray Gonzalez
El arroto - a river spirit dwelling where many people have drowned
El arroto arrives in the white flame,
touches your forehead with doubt,
hides its true form when you love
what doesnít belong to you,
el arroto weaving out of the way
as its music is misread,
its cool fiber entwined around
your idea there is one savior,
but he is too busy picking moth
wings out of pieces of bread,
el arroto riding from your blankets
to steal your dark bottles of glass,
play them as the instrument left
behind by someone who wanted
you to care, el arroto moving
to its own wind, its geometric
wisdom bringing you back
as you lift your arms and trace
a blood vein across your neck,
el arroto waiting for you to cross
to the other side of the river
where no one has waited in years,
but someone is finally there,
waving arms warning you about
a closeness you donít understand.
I know the fog when the men who
play with it come back to strike.
By a hidden fire, a single
noun at the end of the reason.
I sense the word when the face
of another catches me as I fall,
my angry ones passing into memory
with little guitars playing in their skins.
I respect the glass beetle and am faithful
to the idea of rice milk.
When I taste it on a piece of paper,
I lie down to sleep with each word.
Deposing of street lamps. I leave two towns
without having been gone.
Through the arched shadows, the sparrows
command against the wind.
I whisper their first notes, subtract them
from the cut healing on my palm.
In a mercado stall, the slicing of the pigís
head where a pretty woman smiles.
Finding my history books and worn shoes,
I close my imagination with two lumps of coal,
slip beside the trapped beggar in the stall,
wonder about the blood apples in his skin
as the mercado catches the fire and
the pigís head hisses with smoke.