In darkness. Following a red fox. I come to a pile of paintings. I light a match, set the artworks ablaze, and watch them burn. Because I feel the heat I know I am not dreaming. The flare-up illuminates trunks of nearby trees. The ground is dry. In that instant, I fear the fire may spread. A chill shiver shakes me.
He is here…
Not acknowledging my presence, he picks up a burning image and flings it into the woods.
Looking hard at me, he says, “Why did you do that?”
“Keith what are you doing, man?”
“It’s you doing it, Art. This is your dream.”
It is too late. The fire catches in the place where he threw the flaming picture. He takes another piece and sends it flying. Soon we are surrounded by points of orange fire. I see this all from two vantages, as if I am both beside him and also across a vast astronomical distance. From there, we seem to be vaporous, ghostly, glowing within a constellation of stellar combustion.
Blink. Late November. It is brilliant – early morning. I am on the ridge, stalking, moving southward through flattened corn rows with bow in hand. I am stunned to see the magnificent buck. It is more perfect, symmetrical, beautiful than I can imagine. Bent down – moose-like – he eyes me. I sense his dread. I know why he is here. Wild and sex-crazed, he is following a scent and now he knows he will die.
All this happens so quickly, I do not even notice I am watching him through my sight. I must have raised the bow without thought, brought my hands to shoulder height, drawn a bead on him.
I fake heading left and then right. I anticipate his moves. In that instant I know he is mine. But I am overcome with paralysis. I can’t take my eyes off him and I can not kill him. He senses my hesitation and stands straight, upright. Then he charges forward and passes to my left.
As I count the sharp points of his magnificent antlers, “one, two, three, four, five, six…seven…eight” and as he disappears among the brittle pines, I awaken from one reality to another.
Now. I am in your eyes. Within your mind.
Image one: Portrait of Keith Haring, photo by Tullio Francesco DeSantis.
Image two: Detail of “Split Second,” 1986, Tullio Francesco DeSantis