RealPoetik Magazine realpoetik at scn9.scn.org
Sun Feb 14 13:06:42 PST 2010

>From “The Saturation Project”

(after Karlheinz Shockhausen’s *Hymnen* and David Hume’s “missing shade of

Cadmium red: Because this is the color I imagine my living human insides to
be—warm, muscular, and toxic—it is a color I have not yet fully experienced.
Once upon a blotted-out time, cadmium was a magnetized pole of in-out. It
remains an involuntary projection, a screen behind closed eyes
instantaneously evoked when I imagine my gruesome death. Once my insides are
brought to light—like an ancient fresco buried under a church floor—the
color immediately disintegrates.

Scarlet Lake: Swim in it all day, and get out glazed. You are sleeping or
swimming, either way inside an ancient aquatic state. Fuck in the lake that
dusk and pleasure shadows you but will not stay in your body as you walk
home, side by side in a blue funk.

Alizarin crimson: Dark, transparent trance of reading for the first time. My
mind hot and frothy under the spell.  When I look up from my book, my
grandmother is holding a flashcard. The word in red. “I don’t know,” I say,
“alizarin crimson.” She keeps holding it up, looking at me: “YET.”

Vermilion: Intense red made from sulfur and mercury. Prone to turning black
in sunlight. When one day I call my shirt “dusty rose,” my older brother
insists it’s “vermillion.” I chalk it up to a version of male colorblindness
until adults take his side. Even then, it took a paint swatch to convince
me. My brother’s favorite color had always been blue, pitting his will
against mine. How could it be that I failed to perceive the color I love
best in the world? What is the corrective to see what I want? What is the
treatment to see what’s there? What human affliction: the blindness toward
affinity and love.

Brick: It is a reserve red; one we know exists, but are saving for an
emergency. Like all reds, it doesn’t lighten it pinks. If pinking shears
minimize the fray, this red is the cruel radiance of afraid.

To keep reading this piece, please continue to the

*Christine Hume* is the author of three books of poetry—most recently
*Shot* (Counterpath,
2009). She is coordinator of the interdisciplinary Creative Writing Program
at Eastern Michigan University. Every Sunday at 8 p.m. (EST), she hosts
Poetry Radio, which features contemporary and historic sound art,
performance art, sound poetry, collaborations between writers and musicians,
student work, audio narratives, and sound poetry. Today listen in for a
special Valentine Day's show: http://www.emich.edu/studentorgs/wqbr/  or
when you are more in the mood, listen to the podcast at iTunes U.

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