I want to be a shaman
Who can really sing the blues,
Wailing from high
On ancient stone towers,
Steeped in jimson weed vision,
Arsenic and thunder.
In poisoned exultation
I will reconstruct
Forgotten symphonies of weather,
Pounding out the beat
Of blood that moves too slow.
I know the architecture,
The muscles and the veins.
I want to wear tattoos
Carved by wind, cactus
And violent rain.
I'll have to talk with
The nervous green lizard
Who hides my animal dreams
Deep in the shade of dangerous rocks.
He must know that I have unveiled
The secret music in his scales.
I have swallowed the roots of silence
And I am ready to play.
I want to don Raven's ebony feathers,
Dance to the grace of rimrock
And dying juniper, twisting
For the pleasure of an invisible moon.
I want to drag lightning at my heels
Trailing sparks through hoodoo gardens
Like vagrant Coyote, criminal of fire.
I want to inhale the rush
Of musty midnight earth,
Trading licks with Badger,
Tunnel mystic and bedrock philosopher.
I want to greet the dawn with Rattlesnake
And have her pierce my ear.
I'll require a bloody remembrance
Of polished bone and rattles.
With fading fossil hands
I'll reinvent the drum and flute
And then I'll be a shaman
Who can really play the blues.
From the book, "Raven's Address: Notes from the Colorado Plateau" by Eric Walter
Longhand Press ©1993.