Friday, June 6, 2014

Colorforms

Dear KJ,

See, this is what happens when you don't write back. My phone's working, I know cos the shill for the company called, wanting me to pay up. I told her I had already worked it out with the other shill, the one that called me the day before.

Well, anyway. 

What I mean is, what happens is, I start to see things, to hallucinate; my eyes stick stuff into my world that I want to see, like the colorforms I liked to play with on the floor when I was little. Maybe Goddess is some girl somewhere, and we are colorforms that talk, and write letters and love people. You never know.

But, like I was saying.

I was on the 8 Mile bus, sitting in the seat with the extra leg room for my celery stalk self, just behind the back door. Just in front of the same door was a gal, a white gal, which is noticeable enough, but here's the thing: she had your dark hair, tied back like she did it in a hurry, and your librarian glasses. She was looking out the window at the gas stations and liquor stores and fast food places, all of them curving by in the back of her right lens as I sat behind her. I think she was seeing something better, filling in 8 Mile Road with Paris colorforms, or Martian ones, just to amuse herself, but maybe I am projecting.

I'm rambling, aren't I ? 

I was checking her out, because she looked so much like you, honey. I thought to myself, stop staring at her, but I couldn't. Then the most unexpected thing happened; I got up to get off, and she got off behind me. I heard her call "thanks!" to the driver, and then she was next to me, and she said hi to me. This was 8 Mile, nobody talks to strangers, but she looked right at me and said hi. This is where I flubbed it, fell on my ass on the dance floor, so to speak. I went into automatic mail lady mode, flashed my for-customers smile and said 'hi, how are you?" just like a tape recording issued by the Postmaster. Jeez louise. I'm used to people I don't know saying hi to me, I smile, I nod, I might as well be a bobblehead.

I'm starting that negative self-talk thing, aren't I?

Well, anyway, she didn't answer, just turned to cross the same way I did, the first time, the way where three lanes of traffic are all turning right, right into one's soft and fragile pedestrian self. I almost called out to her not to cross that way, but I imagine she's already got a mother somewhere, so I didn't. I crossed the other street, the narrower one the cars turn out of, and stood on the other side watching her. She had waited for the tide of minivans and Dee-troit hoopdies to pass by and then she strode her long-legged self across 8 Mile to the center island. She was wearing faded jeans and a loose green tee shirt. She might have just come from mucking out stalls, and she walked like a ranch hand. Like I said, a total babe.

I'm such a lesbian, I know.

So there we were, walking opposite sides of an intersection rectangle, bound to meet again when we both came cattycorner. I was gonna say something to her, because she looked like you and I haven't heard from you, and my colorforms all go blue without you. I can only make midnight, or the ocean, or a leaking ink pen too sloppy for writing poetry. 

Now, what was I saying? Oh. 

I looked down just for a second, crossing the second side of 8 Mile, and when I looked up, Baby Longstrides had vanished. From there, I only have three short blocks to go, and I thought about why I didn't think of something terrifically clever to say, and I wondered whether my dog would have eaten his food or if he is still sick, and about colorforms and what on earth made me think of them after all these years, and I thought about you, you, as I always do....you.

Write me back if you can, babe.

xox

Shay

_______

for Corey's "Lost Art" letter writing challenge at Real Toads. I hope letters-in-my-head count! 

16 comments:

Lynn said...

I had completely forgotten about colorforms! I love that you wrote such a lyrical letter around them.

Herotomost said...

Ahhhhh.....your words always give me a bit of goose pimples. I so love your voice and the reality that it uses to flavor your characters. As you know I am a big fan of characterization and dialogue, and you always manage to endear a reader to a character in a flash. You always leave the reader wanting more and that is a talent that will always make you one of my faves. Hope this missive finds you well, we will talk again soon.

Lots of Love,

Herotomost.

TexWisGirl said...

i was waiting and hoping for the traffic to subside for both of you to meet up on the other side! dammit!

hedgewitch said...

Very personal, very real, and a full share of commonality with all of us who long to see someone who is never really there.

Susan said...

Tears in my eyes. Your story-poem twisted my gut and is so cinimatic I was there, and also in my own journey wondering how she vanished and whether the cat is well. Bravo!

Susan said...

cinematic
Thanks again.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I think cinematic is a good choice of word for this story within a letter. So many great concepts at work here - the colorform analogy, and the sense that this may be another way to write about unrequited love, in the unanswered letters still being sent out.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow. I was wishing that just this once she didnt disappear and that you got another chance. Love the coming back to reality and wondering if the dog ate his food. That is SO how life goes on. Sigh. Loved this.

Helen said...

Emotion welling up inside me .. can't stop it .. bubbling over! Something terrifically clever for me to say? FORGEDABOUTIT! You aced this.

Hannah said...

Your writing comes to life and your voice is audible, Shay...I love this letter. I also enjoy your use of colorforms in a nostalgic way but then also as the emotion of blue...love that. Excellent work!

myheartslovesongs.com said...

only you could connect colorforms and the goddess!

Ella said...

Wow, Shay! I have to read it again-I loved colorforms-you write the best flash poetry!

manicddaily said...

Very vivid and real, so personal as to be universal. K .

ccchampagne said...

Since I don't know what colorforms are (possibly a language/culture thing) I had a chance to imagine it to be just about anything, and that made the already wonderful letter so much more wonderful, enchanting, mysterious and poetic. Wonderful write!

Susie Clevenger said...

This is so original...You create such a story in the form of a letter. You made me smile while at the same time I felt a few tears. Great write!!

Mama Zen said...

This is real as rain. Gorgeous, Shay.