Ray Gonzalez

The cat eating a lizard in the backyard. The eyeglasses wiped with a cloth that leaves a tiny scratch on the right lens. A beautiful piano sold at an auction. A mother singing a song she learned in church, singing to herself in the shower. A window left three inches open so dust blows into an empty room all day. A newspaper with an important article thrown away. The man searching for his mistress's phone number and not finding it. The summer slowly approaching without signs of great heat. A willow tree about to bend in the wind. The dusty shoes left in the funeral parlor. Six photographs of the dictator surviving the bombing. The first honeybee of the season disappearing in mid-air. A necklace suspended in the shadows of an illicit rendezvous, the jewelry falling from one hand as two other hands reach out. Four teeth pulled out that day at the dentistís office giving off a steady glow as they are discarded through stainless steel equipment. One bible in a hotel room. Three torn condom wrappers inside the door. A computer printer running out of paper and not signaling for a refill. Love debated at a meeting between a divorced couple and a divorced marriage counselor. Insulin hitting the heart of the latest patient in the hospital room. The whistling of a tune the small boy imitates from his father as the boy walks to school. The dog smelling garbage in the alley without eating any of it. A tornado warning siren refusing to sound at the end of the neighborhood. Eye make-up stinging the left eye of the fashion model as she trips on the runway. An idea the emperor had that set off a war that never made it into the history books. The family rejecting the cheap coffin for the more expensive one. A vacuum cleaner sucking up the dirt from a manís shoes, his wife doing all the work. A stack of books gathering dust, three of the books missing their covers, four others marked with pen by a poor student. One chicken crossing the country road. Three crows squabbling among themselves over a road kill. The wheel of a toy tractor coming off in the boyís hands. Pictographs of the tribe discovered in the canyon and misinterpreted by a young archaeologist attracted to his new assistant. The tiger in the zoo getting ill and dying. An old shipwreck discovered by a diver three months before the diverís heart attack. A mathematical problem proven by a substitute teacher to a brilliant, though confused student. A phone book covered in bread crumbs from a manís morning toast, the phone number still not found. A credit card purchase never recorded by the buyer or the credit card company, the expensive digital camera a fine addition to the household. The circus fire of 1923 appearing in fourteen history books. Pieces of toilet paper spray painted onto the canvas the final addition to the collage the artist has struggled with for three weeks. Chopped parsley for garnish, tomato soup, and garlic toast the last things served at the reception. The screen showing three misspelled words. Rachael the only name the old man pronounces just before he dies. The parrot skipping from foot to foot on his perch in the living room. A woman waving goodbye to her lover, nothing unusual happening in their lives. A postcard of two kittens suddenly falling off the bookshelf to land inside one snow boot the writer will not wear for eight months.

Ray Gonzalez is the author of numerous books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. His most recent book of poetry, The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande (BOA, 2003), received a National Book Criticís Circle Award Notable Book Citation and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Other books include Memory Fever (University of Arizona Press, 1999), a memoir about growing up in the Southwest, Turtle Pictures (Arizona, 2000), which received the 2001 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and a collection of essays, The Underground Heart: A Return to a Hidden Landscape (Arizona, 2002), which received the 2003 Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best Book of Non-fiction. His collections of short stories are The Ghost of John Wayne (Arizona, 2001, winner of a 2002 Western Heritage Award for Best Short Story and a 2002 Latino Heritage Award in Literature) and Circling the Tortilla Dragon (Creative Arts, 2002). He is professor in the MFA program at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


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