Out of corner of your eye, you catch a sudden fleeting shadow,
Something hairy, something crooked, something with claws.
No dark figment, though, to be brushed off and dismissed – o no,
But real, substantial, complete:
Shaman born and bred, me.
Special from the start, holy babe, swaddled in Navajo shawl,
Destined by the wind’s power to be body healer,
Soul healer, tribal lynchpin:
Drummed and rattled my way beneath the skin,
Secret journeys, fuelled by rock-wisdom, tree-wisdom, earth-wisdom;
The gift of spirit understanding.
Power creatures at my beck and call, in cahoots with the land,
To soothe sick humans, dependent on me all:
Bad energy remover, soul retriever, exorciser-in-chief…
So many things I did, so much anguish endured
On behalf of the mollycoddled herd; so trusting, so assuming
Of my intercessions, yet so arrogant and ungrateful.
A rethinking of strategies required:
One day, no knowing when, big decision:
To hell with tribe, its neediness, its wellbeing;
Enough of selflessness, of restoration,
Time for me to overturn, overturn, overturn:
Took to tricking, to pranking, but needed more
To satisfy my thirst for collective comeuppance.
Something sharp required, with tribe scared witless:
A transformation, a blurring of man and beast – half man, half beast;
He who walks or runs on all fours, when deemed,
Fit to terrify the feeble-minded:
Graveyard-scavenger, corpse-dust poisoner, face stealer,
Hollowed-out thing; mangy dog, sometime wolf,
Or fox, or coyote; eagle, crow or owl, and even such stuff
As nightmares are made, too infinitesimal for eye to see.
Soul stealer, body stealer, spirit stealer, stealth killer:
Others of my kind, from desert plain to lush forest;
From dirt-poor village to filthy-rich city; from one land to another,
Across oceans of divide; a network of ill-formed malcontents,
For whatever reason, whatever the excuse,
Itching to undermine, to destroy, all peace of mind, all joy,
All collectivity, no matter the shade, or sex, or god, or any other
Tittle-tattle drivel paraphernalia:
By all means, I go, flat out to crush,
By the millions, one fell swoop, when time is ripe:
A global phenomenon, a raging of chaos, be it war, famine,
Flood, fire, pestilence, fear – whatever takes my fancy.
Discord sown, left, right, centre, with the sower unknown:
We Skinwalkers so smart, disguises perfect,
So you not know who and what we are.
A human face, oozing riddled infection beneath;
One breath, and a fix of red eye – you a gonner.
Beware your leaders, and all their ilk,
Since very likely us, really shocking your system.
Under the skin, everyone grey, but we – I – vivid, livid,
Feverish yellows, purples and greens – a palette of sputum: