Alizarin crimson, amaranth, American
rose, auburn, burgundy, cardinal,
carmine, carnelian, cerise, coquelicot,
crimson, dark, electric crimson, fire
brick, flame, folly, fuchsia,
garnet, henna, Indian, jasper,
kermes, lava, lust, magenta,
maroon, mahogany, nebula, oxblood,
Persian, pink, quiet, raspberry,
rose, rosewood, Rosso corsa, ruby,
rust, scarlet, terra cotta, Turkey,
Tuscan, Tyrian purple, Upsdell,
Venetian, vermillion, -violet,
wine, xenial, yarn, zeugma
shades backdrop the mountain
until it is the opposite of expectation:
snow crusts the base as flames
scald the peak. And all of the dank
entrances where the families live
feel the conflagration urge,
to meet their scalloped tongues,
assess how to step outside
and look into the cold light.
Red hues that levitate, lurch, lap.
To be a world pigmented,
a pigment that clings as tone
when the orchestra ceases
and patrons sit, blood ringing.
a cane’s middle finger
sere tree’s charcoal husk
an owl walks
its wolf to gnaw awake
See yourself in the mirror/chalice.
The bodies that you’ve been/loaned.
Can that be your schooner/yoke?
And the waves from the hand/ocean
have ensnared the hull/pocket
who is the mountain/sits the octopus
…you have separated the gloaming/loam
come apart in the coral/on the slick crops
…you have witnessed repetition/whittled words
come apart in the crossfire/on the sick copse
…/…you have sycophant wishes/sundered like cephalopod suckers
the infant mouth/the uncertain basking in salt
…/…you that were enfleshed/flensed
the distant wreckage/archaic sloop.
And the magpies morph into pelicans:
The wind pinch on molten feathers:
Avian conglomeration bodes tornadic:
Comes together to form a creature:
An enormous antelope:
Steps across the chasm:
Shadow may never be clear:
[“To live is not like walking through a field.”]
So we describe it by words and pictures:
Considerable: the enveloped kite of bones
I carry forth today.
To want flight as a casket.
I have lived dialects, mute to cacophonous—
mauve diction from uvular crux:
glom the gonfalon.
I eulogize swart armor with ocular
Eye stitched into trunk, horse under leaves,
embalmed winches accept
my fabric hand, flay froth from spume.
I wade into the unknown boulevards,
a flagpole’s groove
through birddom and grief.
The red and
Air Force, air superiority, Alice,
azure, baby, Bondi, Brandeis,
Cambridge, Carolina, celeste,
cerulean, Cobalt, Columbia,
cornflower, cyan, dark, deep sky,
denim, Dodger, Duke, Egyptian,
electric, Eton, Federal, glaucous,
Honolulu, indigo, International Klein,
iris, jaded, Kashmir, light,
Majorelle, Marian, Maya,
medium, midnight, Navy,
non-photo, Oxford, Palatinate,
periwinkle, Persian, Phthalo,
powder, Prussian, Queen, royal,
sapphire, sky, steel, teal, Tiffany,
true, Tufts, turquoise, UCLA,
ultramarine, violet-, viridian,
Yale, YInMn, zaffre
we associate with blood, vessels,
the body in death, un-oxygenated.
Sea creatures accustomed to living
beneath the grind of machinery.
Maggie Nelson’s Bluets
[“what goes on in you when you talk about color
as if it were a cure, when you have not yet stated your disease?”]
reminds us that we think in color.
What, if not emotion, do we call the palette?
And the palate tastes berries.
Our accomplishments on pallets,in the memory banks:
the place we went to college
our favorite team
[Los Angeles (formerly Brooklyn)],
and the cardigan love
we plant as a flag on our body.
This is to say that I see you
in the reflected color
my light receptors transmit
to my brain. That is to say
you in all your shades.