Stories and Culture

In Cerulean Blue

Thoughts on color, and memory; a poem of colorful impression; and pictures from summer’s Florida, riffing further on the color theme.

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So much of where we go is color. There’s theory that states our memories are colored with emotion; could it not be said that our memories emote in color? Perhaps better to ask: what is it about memory that brings it to life on recall? Is it the scent that you will somewhere encounter again? Is it the flash of bright hue?

I traveled with a lover, once, to the north of Moldova. It was early enough in my time there that I was still skittish with the people around me. On our way through a regional center, I had to ask for directions from a stranger. The scarf on her head was flowered in soft clay colors. I went slowly, all cheer, to evade surprise. She, more skittish than me, failed to answer. Perhaps the smile was the problem? She stared long-ways. When I repeated myself, with warmth, I invoked the plea: “Grandmother?” It must be hard, I think, to ignore that call. She turned to us then. We only wanted to know how to get to the center of the town we were in. She mentioned we could take a bus, or walk, it wasn’t so far.

We stretched our legs North.

Trekking, we passed a dead dog still in the main street. The poor beast was whole, and if the pools of blood under his mouth and hind legs hadn’t spread, he could have easily been a mutt on a hot summer’s day. He was sleeping in the road, it could have been soundly under an awning’s shade. The blood seemed fake – brighter, shinier and stickier than Hollywood custom.DSC07224I looked to long-ago notes for that passage – and my memory, now, has congealed the dog’s blood to a thick crystal lacquer. It’s vicious red, like kinky boot pleather preserved.

This reminded me of another colorful moment.

I had a conversation, still in Moldova, with a visiting Italian photographer. We sat in a kitchen over dinner. We talked of communication, how it’s changing, how people are trying to transform the medium. He said to me, no one’s doing anything new. They are trying. In photography, he said, they’ll take whole studios to the fields to fabricate nature where it stands. My photographer friend didn’t seem so impressed. But they’re trying, at least.

Even then, I thought about memory – looped back to the dog. How the image had changed, I knew it had changed though I couldn’t recall what it had been like before.

Could we use that phenomenon, then? Could we revolutionize something like photography with our memories? Hack our minds for past images, then pull them and copy them? I thought it could be art, could be interesting – you’d print the picture, but it could only be your impression. “Maybe the red flowers would turn out to be blue.” Like the dog’s slick end turned to punishing crystal.

In Cerulean Blue

The queen in cerulean dress,
Nonchalant,
Brassiere straps bare,
Oversaw
The rest of us.
Subtle,
She relaxed beneath the crowd
Elevated
In aura, if not in space.
Somehow
This made her seem higher
Than the rest of us.
The beast,
Tethered, but
Barely,
Resting at her front
Seemed edifice,
Nearly.
But beast’s warmth burned
Compliment
Into the proceedings,
Attracting
The rest of us.
Like people do,
We greeted,
Milled,
We thanked,
And left.
Throughout
Queen was,
Her posture read,
She was present
Though not conspicuous
Like the rest of us.
Welcome, she said.
Meet.

Daytona and St. Augustine, Florida

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