1. Provided you can get out of bed, raise the blind and assess the range of hues in the day and your own temperature within the spectrum. Is it Payne’s and washed with your dissolving moss self, warm and wet against it–like your existential dream of the English moors? If rain is on the way, keep your acrylic ultramarine robe on in anticipation of step two. If no rain is predicted, wiggle into your Chinese orange sweater dress, pretend you are about to transform into a monarch, and leave the underwear to someone else’s imagination. Every flesh hue pairs well with Chinese orange and a cobalt accent will make your dead ancestors spring to life and wag their jagged fingers your way.

2. You know it’s going to rain because the sap green spring leaves have turned over to expose their green-gold underbellies and Edna always said that meant rain, so it must be true. Plus you hear faint pinging on the fake gray tin roof, and no, it doesn’t make you happy, but you loosen your fuzzy belt, and when the sound escalates to roar, you fly out the door in your pink rabbit slippers, run into the overgrown grass out back, and angel-scissor out-of-season on your back imagining yourself as a pink/brown paint run, thin and translucent, sliding down Helen Frankenthaler’s canvas. Lie there for a bit, feel the rain wash away the grimness of early day, and watch the sky yawn yellow above the roof as the storm empties its bladder of you.

3. Your neighbors don’t understand how you feel about color, and that’s okay, provided they don’t call the cops. They’ve had many years to adjust, so you own your outdoor color-yard experience with the confidence of a bear ruining a picnic. The sun is now gamboge, a near-complement to your now-dark-damp, ultramarine robe. Rise and return to your home. The backdoor, Davy’s gray with the sun’s splash of rays, is unlocked. There are fresh towels on the bathroom shelf with which to dry yourself. Choose the red one if you feel a bit cool and the orange one to get your kundalini rising, but only if your mood palette calls for it. The walls, also gray, complement any mood you or a guest might have during a particular lavatory experience (gray goes with everyone), which makes you vaguely grateful, but also a tad apprehensive, kind of like you felt near the grasshopper cart in Bangkok and the dare…

4. If you decide to stay in, determine which room sparks happiness, and don’t throw it out. Also figure out whether you’d like to feel harmony, hope, angst, dread, or anxiety today. Pink makes you feel hostile either by itself or with most pairings, the exception being when it’s contrasted with black, in which case you feel a bit slutty and out of sorts. Barbie did that pairing best, but only in the sixties, and then, only with diagonal stripes and molded-on, thick black eyeliner, and a chase lounge. In the house, the walls are all gray, and while they should go with anything, you know with pink or baby blue, it’s baby, baby, baby all damn day, and you’re not up for all the shitting and crying today. Pastels make you hostile too, so you can just throw all those clothes out right now.

5. If you’re feeling indecisive, which you usually are, and you don’t know whether to go out or stay in, and the world just feels like a cacophony of colors that might kaleidoscope you into an unknown galaxy or just the hostile red shit town you embed in, opt for the familiarity of dark purple, of soft flannel sheets, violet shades drawn, the reversible down comforter, gray and black, wrapped tightly around your ochre self, lights dimming as you shift into the hum of raw umber, the ancient, safest womb of it.


  1. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Koss, this is so sensuous, and lush. Love the numbered list (structured backdrop) and often when I do these, I find it is cool to stay open to the order. The mash-up so useful in this. I love the second person POV here, the you/ your, as if the reader is addressed, or the speaker is speaking to the self (HELLO! I’m implicated!) And the large scale of wild-ass color, and brilliant design, all those artistic aspects of what makes your work SHINE! It’s such a lovely, and also delicate way to weave the week of politics into that # 6, too. Without digressing, I appreciate you so very much. AND WOW… you WROTE A BRILLIANT PIECE!!!

    • Koss Just Koss

      Thank you Robert. The color of the election is yet to be determined. Eclipse effects have not run their course. Do you think this piece needs food in it? There was a missing breakfast, I think.

      • Robert Vaughan

        Thanks, Koss. My suggestion is if you want to continue this, keep the whimsy and irreverence- the strange snippets like Barbie and random phrasing is what nuances the colorations. Food could work, but as unexpected as possible!!!

        • Koss Just Koss

          thanks. i might need to have a conversation with the dead about wuthering heights.

  2. David O'Connor

    Koss, this is an excellent piece, brick after brick, the language is so precise and engaging, I’m all in. I feel like you got legs here and it could continue, go long, and by keeping the focus on the colours (plus instructions) and the narrator’s yard you might have a George Saunder’s gem here, so I say, fuck yeah, keep going, see where it takes you…

    • Koss Just Koss

      Thanks so much, David. I’m not sure how long I can go with this, but it might benefit from a couple more paragraphs. Well, I suppose it could be a whole instruction manual, actually, but not sure if I have a lot of endurance. The yard scene could definitely be expanded on, if only coloristically?

  3. Meg Tuite

    Hi Koss,
    This is dripping with lusty brilliance! Love how you start each ‘provided you can get out of bed’ ‘your neighbors’ ‘if you decide to stay in’ ‘if you’re feeling indecisive’ and yet this being is running out in the rain to scissors in the grass, wearing chinese oranges and reds and hates pastels! (yes to the goddamn fucking pastels and the queen’s outfits) So visceral and emotional and sensual rolling out and in these colors to create this gorgeous canvas of language! LOVE LOVE THIS!

    • Koss Just Koss

      Thank you, Meg. I’d guess you’d be throwing out pastels given your intense inner palette of primaries and secondaries. 😉 Thanks for reading!

  4. Len Kuntz

    Hi Koss,

    This is such an inventive piece you’ve created. I loved the “you” POV and all the colors, the quirk and thought-provoking stabs throughout.

  5. Benjamin Niespodziany

    A technicolor paint splatter of a story. Really colorful and vivid. Echoing what many others are saying. Love the tone and point of view, how it’s a series of suggestions or orders, how it’s domestic yet kaleidoscopic. Reminds me of those paint sample swabs at Sherwin Williams.

  6. Ryan Griffith

    I loved all the colors and hues and tones of this poem. Incredibly sensual piece that captivated me throughout. Really strong work!

  7. Lisa Alletson

    Koss, this is delicious, start to finish. You had me at “…your dissolving moss self, warm and wet against it–like your existential dream of the English moors?” Absolutely love it.

Submit a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest