Matthew Woodman

The Man with the Stick

(after Rufino Tamayo’s El hombre del bastón, 1966)

the first Saturday in June designated
World Atlatl Day
                             the Aztec chert-tipped
projectiles could not penetrate Spanish
steel plate armor but pierced the mail leather
and linen most soldiers armored themselves

against the harsh elements glory be
to the left standing
                                the Coso mountain
range current Naval property steward
           weapons training guided tours by
advance reservation
                   scholars disagree on who
and when and why
design motifs alternate with abstract
rectilinear curvilinear
figures chiseled through the desert varnish

                    and summoning history art
                 increase rites
                                        who will sift
my lines
               my launches
                                     my I put that there


Matthew Woodman teaches writing at California State University, Bakersfield and is the founding editor of the journal Rabid Oak. His writing appears in recent issues of Storm Cellar, MORIA, Central American Literary Review, and Puerto del Sol and more of his work can be found at