Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Donna Ruff, "10 Dreams..."

10 Dreams of Georgia O’Keeffe

God taps Georgia O’Keeffe on the shoulder. Hard. “Owww!” says Georgia. “What do you want?” “See that mountain over there?” God asks her. “I will make you a deal. If you paint it often enough, I will give it to you.”

Georgia O’Keeffe rolls her dungarees to her knees. Climbs on the back of my ‘34 Indian. Adjusts her goggles. Locks her arms around my waist and says, “Take me to New Mexico, you fool.”

We are camping. Georgia O’Keeffe is inside her tent. She is a young girl. The door flap is open. She is sketching, but I cannot see what it is. She is peering out the flap and she is sketching. The tent is warm and dark and filled with long legs spiders. “I can stay in here forever,” she says.

Georgia O’Keeffe is looking through the hole of a sun-bleached pelvic bone. She sees a woman burning tiny holes through paper. An intricate pattern of hundreds of holes, each singed brown around the pinhole circumference. A laser of white light shines through each hole. Georgia O’Keeffe tells me the woman is Donna Ruff. She tells me to make myself tiny enough to swim through the holes in Donna Ruff’s paper. “With pleasure,” I say. Afterward I am out of breath, but I tell everyone I see to look at

I see Georgia O’Keeffe sitting inside her own cunny. She looks right past me at something that fills her with mystery and wonder. She sketches.

Georgia O’Keeffe stands naked on a sun-baked mesa. The landscape is the same hue as her skin. Georgia O’Keeffe is the ravine in the landscape. She is completely camouflaged except for her white hair and the blue swallowtail butterfly that lights on her mound of Venus.

This one is a recurring dream. I am wearing a Marlon Brando leather jacket. Georgia O’Keeffe wraps her arms tight around my waist. She rests her right cheek against my shoulder. We speed full throttle along the westward highway. “I can feel that,” she tells me. And I can feel the Georgia O’Keeffe’s nipples sparking on my back.

This one is a wet dream. Georgia O’Keeffe calls a studio day. Judy Chicago, Louise Bourgeois, Kara Walker, Petra Press and Donna Ruff are all there. Alfred Stieglitz and D. H. Lawrence show up, too. I see everything as if my back is stuck to the ceiling. I am snapping pictures like crazy but I can’t remember if there is film in the camera.

Louise Bourgeois crawls on all fours looking for spiders in the corners of the floor. Donna Ruff cuts designs in the headlines of the New York Times.

D. H. Lawrence and Stieglitz are wrestling naked, Greco-Mexican style. They wear silver and blue, red and gold masks. They grunt and sweat and roll around on the floor. The auto wind whir of my camera is deafening.

Petra Press is ink stamping talisman icons on every surface: tables, walls, foreheads, the inside of thighs. “To protect us from maniacs,” she says. Kara Walker makes everyone into paper dolls. She projects shadows of our silhouettes on the wall. Our shadows dance a conga line. Judy Chicago arranges the furniture into a triangle and lights shabbos candles.

I am back on the ceiling. I am naked and I wonder if they notice me. My legs spread eagle, my arms stretched out, my back velcroed to the ceiling. “Nothing is less real than realism,” says Georgia O’Keeffe, looking up. She crumples up confusing details of my thoughts and throws them in the trash. I am left with an essence. I have never been harder with desire.

In this dream, Georgia O’Keeffe paints an artichoke. “Peel back the petals,” she tells me. I use my tongue to unfold them petal by petal until the dark living core is left. I cup my lips around the heart of the artichoke to form a seal. My breath comes warm and moist. My tongue so close but always a moment from touching. I have the taste and smell of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art on my face.

This one is really strange. I am a ram’s skull. A ram’s skull with magnificent horns. My eye sockets are hollow, but I see Georgia O’Keeffe. My nose and jaw are gone. My horns rise up and twist and point to the heavens. They span sixty feet, six inches across. I am dead, but I feel strong and virile. Georgia O’Keeffe is painting me.

I see Georgia O’Keeffe inside her own vagina looking out. I know I will not remember this dream. The sex of her art is on my face. She shows me her butterfly. I know I will not remember this dream. She locks her arms around my waist. I feel her press her breasts on my back. I know I will not remember this dream. She burns tiny holes in my skin. I am vectors of light penetrating a dark tent. I see now what she has been sketching.

I wake up. I write.