Meditation on Color: Brown

Velveteen bears worn to threads after years of childhood and adulthood clutching; earthenware pots spilling chili peppers to the ground, and the rough twine that hangs the harvest to dry on back porches. The dress of the local bruja, known for the mystical powers of her one brown eye. Spearing bait onto the tiniest of hooks while standing in umber waders as the silt-murky water passes by. Reddish brown in the welcoming arms of an Indian mother, ready to feed the world in celebration. Amber brown in the welcoming arms of a Mexican mother, ready to feed the world in celebration. Chocolate brown in the welcoming arms of a black mother, ready to feed the world in celebration.

The faded color of bruises that all tomboys accumulate by the thousands. The color of crusty scabs until they bloom into a fresh new red that flows down the limbs, escaping the confines of a repeated circuit and known form. Pastel brown, that just so shade of chocolate gelato, so creamy and filling. The afternoon nap as fawn colored sunlight filters in through sheer curtains. The dried out grass, snapping and kicking stiffly in every soft breeze to blow by, hoping that any animation will make them live again, but no such deranged Dr. Frankenstein lives here, just a man with a watering can continuously pouring and never quite giving up. It is the sand on the beaches, washed brown by the waves, the dismembered seaweed floating up to the surface and entangling the brown arms and legs of swimmers whose fear of sharks and jellyfish is suddenly more real than it was. Brown the grains of sand that stick with impossible tenacity, littering home floors for eons of following summers in microscopic quantities. Summers bring lizards and wasps and ants, the little tiny ones that live and die around the sink faucets—the holy fountain, the Mecca of plenty in the dry earth.

The anemic color of dirt, alive with earthworms and loam and moist centipedes and all the creepy crawlies that survive long after radiation and pollution destroys the rest of us. They thrive on death and this time there is no life for them to churn up. Brown, the shine of shellacked and laminated sheen clicking across tiles as cockroaches explore stock in restaurants of the world—chef’s pets and patrons’ nightmares. It is black tar heroin clogging the arteries eyes and minds of all it claims to love and who adore it in return. The colors in arms of mothers who have been beaten and broken by their men and the system, selling themselves and their girl children into a life of prostitution both metaphorical and literal. Purple-brown the haunting eyes of abuse and terror and deadness, nothing can shock these eyes.

Dilapidated and world-weary brown, the commonality between peon and corporate executive, ignored by art too inglorious and shabby to serve as anything more than a backdrop or a shadow. Overlooked as plain and dull, fit only for portraitures of rocks. The storyline of life and death, the ghosts of faded pictures in faded frames calling out to velveteen bears and chocolate gelato Sundays and the embracing arms of all mothers.


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