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The Religion of Hands: Prose Poems and Flash Fictions

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"A man doesn’t sleep with the moon. He sleeps with his hunger, gathers bowls of avocados and wipes his lips with his sins." The Religion of Hands does not foster sleep. Look quickly and you will catch the hint of a fox streaking in front of your car’s headlights at night. Look more carefully out your bedroom window and you may see your life going by, lost loved ones waving hello. "Who were you when the stars were misinterpreted as the fingertips of God?" Ray Gonzalez blends symbolic play with lyrical beauty as he...

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Overview

"A man doesn’t sleep with the moon. He sleeps with his hunger, gathers bowls of avocados and wipes his lips with his sins." The Religion of Hands does not foster sleep. Look quickly and you will catch the hint of a fox streaking in front of your car’s headlights at night. Look more carefully out your bedroom window and you may see your life going by, lost loved ones waving hello. "Who were you when the stars were misinterpreted as the fingertips of God?" Ray Gonzalez blends symbolic play with lyrical beauty as he works from a vast and complex palette to infuse popular culture with myth. The Religion of Hands is imbued with magic realism: a suffocating dream of tamales, mysterious reptilian allusions, a man who "finds God walking down the stairs to hand him an old, tattered phonebook from the year he was born." It offers strange prophecies: "A steady vegetation will grow across the empire as more homeboys are killed in drive-bys. . . . Microscopic scratches on an old vinyl record will form a message discovered in twenty more years when the album is bought at a garage sale." And in 14 flash fictions, it tells of a tiny old man kept in a glass jar, an accordion stored in an old family trunk, tales of sharks and bandits. The religion of hands has its own unspoken sacraments. "The fingers take over, teaching whoever holds the moment that the rapid weight of the open hands is a dangerous way to live." Seamlessly, effortlessly, multi-dexterously, Ray Gonzalez spins words that speak our very dreams.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816524037
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Series: Camino del Sol
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Gonzalez is a professor of literature at the University of Minnesota, he is the author of 14 books and has also edited more than a dozen anthologies of poetry and fiction and is the recipient of the Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the Latino Heritage Award, and the Minnesota Book Award.

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Table of Contents

Ascension day 3
Lines of avocados 4
Adobe 5
It is good 6
The dream of tamales 7
Part of this 8
The fox 9
The boy 10
The thief 11
Cilantro man 12
Fat saint 13
Acoma, New Mexico 14
On the eve of the inquisitorial meeting 15
Bedrock 21
The box 23
Ovary 27
Amarma 29
Misplaced 30
Black tortillas 33
December walk, Mesilla, New Mexico, 1996 36
What lesson? 38
Dead monarchs, Knife River, Minnesota 39
The garden 40
Beyond 41
Heat 43
A song for salamanders 44
It could be 45
In a silent way 46
Prophecies 48
The mirage 53
Window 55
The upside down man 57
Things 59
El Sombrero 61
The accordion 63
The white deer 66
The old man in the glass jar 68
The sand painter 71
A walk to the river 73
I wrote that 75
The shark 78
Thunder and lightning 80
El Bandido 82
Who were you 87
I've got the moves, I've got the cheese 88
The eye 90
Marcel Duchamp steals one of my photographs 91
The sculpture 92
At the Man Ray exhibit 93
Yves Tanguy eats more spiders 98
Anasazi glass, Field Museum, Chicago 99
The house 101
The missing arm of the father 102
Gorilla brain tumor 104
Prayer to the boys of San Antonio 105
The light in the mind 106
Black wasp 107
Half my arm in the cactus 108
March 109
The study 110
The reader 112
It happened 115
At the end of the year 117
Without sorrow 119
The green door 120
Parable against parables 121
For the cottonwoods 122
The religion of hands 123
The darkened smoke of the crocodile 126
The Bruja crying 127
Location 128
The end of the world 130
Buy it anywhere 131
Dreams 133
Leave it behind 135
And there were swallows 137
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