‘dark lord of the rainbow’ by Monique Quintana

— Reneé Bibby

My mom told me a story, a story she heard from her own mother, a curandera in southern New Mexico, about a man who made an unholy deal with the Devil. The details of the deal are lost to me now, but I remember the moral: that Devil walks amongst us, inveigling proximity to humans with an intimacy no Godly creature would stoop to—and that you’d know him, and could avoid the pitfalls of moral peril, by his feet. Some celestial physics restricted his human disguise to everything above the shin bones, so while he may wear shoes to hide them, his feet must remain cloven, goat feet, or sometimes, depending on the version of the story, chicken feet. That same specific reference in Monique Quintana’s micro-essay, “dark lord of the rainbow” immediately summoned phantasmagorical memories from my childhood of a powerful, charming dangerous man who I understood, even then, symbolized everything we were meant to suppress to become “good” Christians: sensuality, sexuality, power, self. Of course, we were warned away from him, a matrilineal edict that Quintana examines. How, in making everything he symbolizes off-limits, he becomes the very thing we want most.

Rag Queen Periodical