"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Moon by Rafael Jesús González

Christmas Moon
Christmas eve in the desert is full of recently polished stars
but none shines so brightly as the full moon that caresses the
back of the mountain stretched like a lizard asleep. On its
side, the mountain wears its own star of electric lights like
the jewel of some Masonic order. This border where the tips
of the tails of the Sierra Madre to the south and the Rocky
Mountains to the north almost meet is called El Paso del
Norte (Pass of the North) through which for centuries have
filtered merchants of the Mexica empire, Spanish conquis-
tadores roasting in their helmets and breastplates of steel,
gringo adventurers, and refugees from dictatorships and
hunger. It has been the door and port of pilgrims, of the poor
in search of lodging, of shelter, of refuge, of work.

On Christmas eve in other times the posadas came to their
close in time for midnight mass at the cathedral. The holy
pilgrims have arrived and the child of light is born. Halle-
luiah, halleluiah, halleluiah – and peace on Earth.

But it is not only on this night that the Río Grande and the
mountain, the moon and the stars see José (and Pedro and
Pablo and Juan) and María (and Chayo and Rosa and Car-
men) come, and see born, in a stable or not, Jesús (and Lupe,
Arturo and Susana, Francisco and Cecilia) all children of
light. But even so, there is no peace on Earth.

For these nights, since I was a child, in San Jacinto (or Al-
ligator) Plaza has been decorated a giant Christmas tree full
of lights (and, to my childishness, marvels) with a star lit at
its tip. Above, the stars of the heavens are very far away and,
though enormous beyond imagining, appear very small to
the sight. Shepherds or not, no one expects the angels to sing
to us, and were we wise we would content ourselves with our
humble moon, mirror of our own star the holy Sun, awesome
enough though small as stars go, and we would realize that
peace on Earth will not come to us from the heavens but
from ourselves, all made from the dust of stars.

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Rafael Jesús González
           -- Rafael Jesús González, 
(c) Rafael Jesús González

See the author of this poem read at Fronterizos in Exile: A Reading of Border Writers and Expatriates, Wednesday, Dec. 29, at the Loftlight Studio, 315 El Paso Street in Downtown El Paso (near El Paso Street and Overland).

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