What Color Do You Feel?
My friend Spencer asks me, every time we talk on the phone:
“What color do you feel?”
I hate this question because I hate fiddling with red, green, and blue sliders as if it matters, and I’m angry Lab color isn’t the presiding standard — you can achieve much greater saturation in Lab.
I hate this question because I always feel like a black Sharpie, like a fat-tip can of black spraypaint, ready to deface a building, to black out the windows of a train car, to plaster NEKST on the side of 190 Bowery.
The closest thing I have to a religious ritual in New York City is to stop and pay my respects to the NEKST tag — every single time — at 190 Bowery.
Fuck street artists.
I like criminals.
I hate this question because she always pushes me — “No. You can’t choose black or white. You have to choose some color.” So I say “Warm red,” because I don’t hate that color. I say “Some yellow, like goldenrod,” because I don’t hate that color, either.
I hate colors — I don’t hate colors. — because they feel like decoration, and I don’t like decoration. I just want to hear what you have to say. I want to know who you are.
Revisiting a book I read today, a quote:
“If you have revolutionary ideas, they are much more likely to be listened to if you do not have revolutionary dress.”
— Marvin Bower, former managing director of McKinsey.
“What color do you feel?”
Whatever color the end of the world is. Whatever color revolution is. Whatever color it is when I tear my robes from my body at the death of my ego. Whatever color the sea is where there is no light. Whatever color the inside of a heart is. Whatever color you want — but do not shine light upon it.
How I Ended Up Working at COLLINS
- wrote a book
- dropped out of high school
- did first design / writing internship under David Self
- did another design job, freelance
- reached out to Collins
- flew to NYC once for informal interviews
- reached out more
- flew to NYC again unannounced and got real interviews
- got hired
- been there since june ’19
Recorded Jan. 4 2021, 11 PM, Brooklyn, New York.
Writer: back down.
No amount of poetry flirts with the woman who does not read.
No words seduce the woman who fetishizes silence.
In my world, the words,
“I love you.”
fly across the page when said. Those words dash from one mouth to the other and bites on the way out. The interlocutors interlock lips.
I shut my mouth and you filled the silence with a gaze I suspect kills most victims.
I thought reticence meant resistance. It meant: “Stop talking and start fucking. Then you will know.”
Grant me forgiveness — not for being late to notice, but for still having to put it in language, on paper, still having to consult my interpreter before loving.
I Watched a Man Die Today
At the Atlantic Ave/Barclays Center train stop, I walked into the atrium at the north door and wandered around waiting for T so we could hang out — meanwhile, others were waiting around too, staring down to the lower level.
If I hadn’t wandered over to the ledge and looked down, I wouldn’t have seen it:
White guy. Late-thirties. White t-shirt. Red blotch in the center of his chest. Sprawled out as if awaiting a white-chalk outline. Three police officers tending to him. He was still breathing, but barely conscious.
I looked down and back up ten times, pleading guilty to my own fascination. I watched his breathing slow.
And then it was gone.
The spot where I stood aligned so perfectly with the death below that his dying eyes appeared to meet mine and didn’t move until one of the officers shook the man’s face back and forth. (Why the officer did this, I have no idea.) Not even in someone’s sleep have I seen every muscle in the face so relaxed, every flap of skin and even his open mouth and tongue swing back and forth like a ragdoll.
I watched a man die today.
The crowd gathered. People stopped, people left. T showed up shortly after. We went on our walk. Went back to my apartment. She revealed affections without speech. In an unlikely turn of events, the most brilliant and aloof woman I have ever met is sleeping over tonight. She’s stroking my leg, watching me write, and half-hates herself for doing so.
Indulging in love — no matter how temporary, detached, or shallow — is the sort of thing one might not do if not pressured by the prospect of a great flood. Soon, the world ends. Your world ends. Her world ends.
And when that happens, our eyes may only meet in a one-way silence, as opposed to the two-way hush of acknowledgement while we hold each other close.
No matter how much we repeat —
remember that you will die
live every day like it’s your last
— the end comes like a great flood.
The waters rise and eyes fall back into ones skull.
The earth engulfs your casket with a few swings of a shovel.
The crowd surrounds the memorial and then the flood recedes.
A Theme for 2021
Rather than resolutions, a theme.
Recorded Jan. 1 2021, 3 AM, Brooklyn, New York.