Georgia O'Keefe (1913)
Just above the too-hot weight of low Texas sky,
there are bone-white bones, a steer skull
with a kindly smile. Her Amarillo students
ask, Why do you dress like a man?
Alone, outside her rooms-by-the-week hotel,
she fights the impulse to dance the rhythm
of the wind. A trainload of cattle jerks
and groans eastward. Why do I like to kiss
the boys, tongue and hard, but decline turnabout?
And if the smoke from a lone cowboy's
campfire in Duro Canyon is golden-blackness,
heaven is a flower flattened between
textbook pages. Loneliness is so lovely,
black vultures across Texas flat ground.
The poem is from Red Shuttleworth's Ghosts & Birthdays (Humanitas Media Publishing, 2012). Ghosts & Birthdays, available on Amazon, presents bio-sketch poems on Julius Caesar, Wyatt Earp, Gertrude Stein, Marilyn Monroe, Norman Mailer, Sonny Liston, Kay Boyle, Hunter S. Thompson, and many others.
Red Shuttleworth's Ghosts & Birthdays
is available on Amazon