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Colors

When we think of colors, just as colors,
we think confusion for they overwhelm
in their array, bouncing off the back of the eye
in their clothing of hues. I wanted red,
but was told red is too something
too vivid, too bright, running too much
like blood. So I turned to yellow, since
I admire tangy lemons, and even dirtied gold
of late sunflowers, droopy in their hangovers.

Mixing them with water, in varying degrees
of course, thins the primaries into new
shades, the middles, the pales, the pinks
and baby blue. Oh yes, blues, but not
that slow poignant music of lost love;
the midnights, the cornflowers, the jay,
and the bay at midday when the sun
tells the sky to be on the water.

And swirling them together with
a paintbrush is the most fun, inventing
purple, orange, rose, teal and muddy
brown, the color we carefully avoid,
that lowdown earthy color, which reminds
us of grimy work and life’s clutter—
the contempt, the unredeemable,
unplanned, muddled life, jealousy,
and all the colorless days.

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