The Religion of Hands
Prose Poems and Flash Fictions
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 magical 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.
“His words are engaging, hypnotizing, refreshing, and sometimes startling.” —Minnesota (University of Minnesota)