dream III

The Woman and I were alone in a room. She told me a Love Story. I knew it was her own. I understood why she could not love me. And as the Woman told me the story — she suddenly became mad — and kissed me in her ravings — she tore her clothes and mine — she tore her hair. Her eyes were wild — and nearly blank. I saw them looking into mine. She kissed me passionately and cried: “Why are you not HE?” “Why not?” And I tried to calm her. But did not succeed. And finally she cried: “What makes me kiss you — it is He I want, not you. And yet I kissed you. Kissed you as if it were He.” — I didn’t dare to move. It was not fear that made me stand still. It was all much too terrible for Fear. I stood there spell-bound. Suddenly the woman moved away — it was ghastly. Her look. Her eyes. — The Woman stood immovable, her eyes glued on mine; when suddenly she screeched: “Tell me you are He — tell me — you are He. And if you are not He I will kill you. For I kissed you.” I stood there and calmly said, what I really did not want to say, for I knew the Woman was irresponsible and mad. I said, “I am not He.” And as I said that the Woman took a knife from the folds of her dress and rushed at me. She struck the heart. The blood spurted straight ahead, as if it had been waiting for an outlet. And as the Woman saw the blood and saw me drop dead she became perfectly sane. She stood motionless. With no expression. She turned around. Upon the immaculate white wall she saw written in Blood Red letters: “He killed himself. He understood the kisses.” —— There was a scream. I awoke.

Alfred Stieglitz, One Hour Sleep: Three Dreams, 1915

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