This Poem Is Envious and Young

— Neologism Poetry Journal, May, 2024


When I was green and people asked me

what my favorite color was

I felt like I was lying when I said green.

            I liked all the colors.

                        The greens were lime and sage and olive,

                        Lincoln, tea, and serpentine,

                        jade, viridian, malachite and more—

I didn’t know which was real and envied

                        other colors’ primary certainty.

I said green because I knew it was mostly good:


            the wise old calm of modeling clay

                        the earthy Gumby-green scent on my hands

                        when I made snakes and pre-school pancakes;


            the accidental chlorophyll discovered

                        when I brushed the yellow tempera sun with sky

                        and wondered how green got there from the tree;


            the spring-grass infield with the Dodgers on

                        my acid-green transistor radio,

                        my holey Levi knees no longer blue;


            the viridescent dreams and hothouse

                        memories of Grandma with her fuchsias

                        and her glads, the sky sea-green through hazy glass;


            the shades on either side of redwood leaflets,

                        a darker, public waxy green on top,

                        the secret water-channel glow beneath;


                                    but not the putrid green

                                                of the slimy, overcooked spinach

                                                I choked on to escape the kitchen table,

                                    or the color from some glistening gland

                                                in the car-rent body of the cat

                                                who crawled off under a bush to die.


There is no color without light;          

            the quiet of deep forest green

            so quickly dims to black in early evening

but stabs back at dawn,

            the golden red it catches in its summits

            reflecting back its brightest verdancy. 


No color is one color:

            each a rainbow unto itself.

            All the colors is no color at all.


This poem is not envious

            of the no-color poems

            of black-n-white interminable TV grays

            that shout from either side

            at all the colors they are not

                        neither rosy nor sanguine

                        ultramarine nor umber

                        amethyst nor plum:

 it would rather be chloroplastered in the sun.


When this poem is old, and yet still green,

            closer to the white light

            (black as the pit from pole to pole)

                        living the green revelation

                        of our cool green privilege

it will not envy anymore

            but only wish to be

                        like crocuses in snow,

                                    key lime pie on ice,

                        avocado ripe in gator-skin,

                                    green butter on a slice,

                        a grass frog croaking in the dark

                                    before she makes her final leap,

                        an oval emerald on your heart,

                                    a promise I will keep.