Four Poems by Ray Gonzalez


The bat loved my belly button. It flew out of it when the caverns were no longer enough. Thousands of other bats ignored me, while my bat ate my thoughts and carried them south to the mountains where Cochise, the Apache, painted his face to resemble the flat-nosed rattler. My bat made it back into my hands that night, its beeping reminding me I left my jump rope in the shower, the sweat and pounds lifting higher than the line of bats encircling my car. When I went to bed that night, something motioned to me to start running because the bat that loved my belly button knew more about my body than I did. When the cloud of bats disappeared by morning, I found my lone bat crushed on the road, tire tracks lining its wings to resemble lifelines on the palms.


Let me go a short way and I will show you where the level of meaning rises and falls, its blended muse traveling into a mold of the pebbles in dust-duplicated triangles and mountains miniature as the desire to change. Let me move toward the diminished towel of arrows-finely shaped arms of gold given to ancestors who lied to get them, migrated to keep them, disappeared to know them. Let me shift into a spirit all its own, its form accustomed to laughter, its hidden smoke weaving a trail for my worries, my blackened stage of dirty feet and dirty faces waiting for me to sing. Let me work on memory, on thought, how to level the horizon after darkness has poured in, leaving me to wonder what would happen if I turned my back and let unaccountable happiness sleep between my fingers.


Someone dissolves into yesterday's climber who made it to the top of the night walk, the massive snow capped mountain in his dream waiting for him to select certain animals to play with. Someone plants a grain of sand in one of those closed eyes and the pain is positioned to show him how the harvest will be. Someone doesn't understand and decides to stand in front of the rock wall and look up forever, condemned and called as a corn follower who made it this far without dropping the bundle of husks on his back. Someone doesn't want to be identified, so the fields are never cleared of rocks, the galleries never illuminated with bloody portraits, the meeting at the lake never held, the ceremony never disrupted by the enemies of the magnolia trees. Someone survives the picking of the corn and becomes an unknown woman standing on a great block of ice, her ability to be worshipped reinforced by the autumn return of a thousand birds flying out of a sun that blinds everything first before rising in the sky to look beyond the fields.

Picasso painting

Bending down to pick up a piece of paper, I hear a sound coming out of my ears. Looking up, the skin glows as if I am wrong and the day will settle its differences, bring its strings to me. Straight and quiet, the wood is carved until the unknown friend holds it. I am alive to see this. When the chord is invented, I move over, let him sit next to me. He has something on his face. His fingers cannot be seen. There is no blue moment to define. It is entirely arranged to sound as if a day has opened and I have been let in. And it is always a burned blue city I find inside the tiny flask in my hands.

Ray Gonzalez

Fiction by Ray Gonzalez