Layne Meacham

Shaman

 Shaman

Shaman

A poem by Joel Long
After Layne Meacham's painting "Shaman" (see above)

This primitive eye looks out amount the shattered blooms,
poppies like blood between
my skull and scalp,
blood teased by gusts unnatural, ripping the canyon.
If the eye is flat, I cannot circumnavigate the round
thing without envy, pomegranate, peach, buckeye,
so I must imagine depth,
must imagine the retina
in the black like a hydra, electric tongues searing the air
as they undulate through the brain.
I am not partial
to distortion. It makes sleep so uncomfortable
when I see how malleable what I thought
was permanent
is,
nose broken to the occipital, jaw twisted to the ear.
I could hear myself fine from the previous slide.
And to leave anything blank is terrifying
after all, doesn't that leave room for the elision,
for the nonsense words to come sputtering from the mouth
of matter, sulfurous steam from the pores of limestone.
it is not for me that hair grows, that horses
stand in some cold field scraping frost from grass
from the dirt.
I want to be neutral, but everything

desires its own continuation, even wood,
even the streetlight, faltering in the morning,
buzzing like a locust rocking on its back.
If any part of me is on fire,
I want to know.
I welcome pain as a warning, an alarm.
I want to pay attention with my nerves

when things fall away. Wake me. Turn me in that direction.