A DIALOGUE WITH GEORGIA O’KEEFFE II: GHOST RANCH
Move that mountain
in paint and you can have it.
But you had to die first.
Now your spirit comes
in and out of serious play
here at Ghost Ranch
along with the brujos and brujas.
The Tiwa elder towers above us
spirit tall along the path near the school built
in your backyard because he is curious about those
of us who have lost our sacredness in this valley of
And my friend asks,
Why do they call this Ghost Ranch?
You like to spook the tourists
by blowing in the ear
of those even slightly
Memories they will never
As for me, you noticed my return
but there was no love loss
only begrudging acknowledgment—
like an old lady who does not trust the living.
You want to know if we are serious.
You are used to working with so little.
I remind you we’ve met
before in a New Orleans museum,
hoping this familiarity wins your approval.
You don’t remember me, why should you,
but I was the one wearing the mind
of the critic as if I’d had anything useful to say.
I took it upon myself to evaluate
a lesser masterpiece
in order to impress
Yes. I dared.
And you packed a punch, nearly landed
me on my knees
when you revealed the full power
of the death mask hidden
in the folds of that mountain
you moved in paint.
Humbled—I’ve returned all
this way to the mountain
of my belonging
where not even you
decides who sees into the empty space of the
pelvis bone where all life begins
and ends in the twinkling
of the creative eye.
I say, YES.
I say YES to the wayward, jet-set cowgirls
who teased your aesthetic sensibility of beauty
and who yodeled coyote songs under the vacant
eyes of the bleached steer’s head.
I say YES to the eternal joy
sprung like water from your
in this land without rain.
I say YES to the spindly branches
and wind-carved trunks
of the cedar trees who hold their beauty
long past death.
To you, I say, YES.
I say, YES.
I say, YES
to the entire mountain
of my heart.
The way it was gifted to you
on this magnificent day at Ghost Ranch,
I dare say YES