Color ku


Today I went into a paint store with a history similar to mine – we were both born in Newark before 1960 – Ricciardi Brothers. I was helping a friend choose paint colors for  shutters and doors. I love and always gravitate to the section with rows upon rows of colored cardboard squares or rectangles that I will refer to as paint-color chips. They are there to either delight or confuse the senses. Each chip has a name chosen to label the color paint for purchase. However, the names  are decidedly intended for shoppers born after the millennium and not the Crayola Crayon set like me. While the paint chip names are worthy of poetry, haiku in particular, they are wildly undescriptive of colors related to my ocular memory.

With this in mind I decided to celebrate the new age color names. I will try my hand at writing a haiku (or senryu) for each color name. I will use the name in full within the short poem and it will be italicized. I will also describe the true color as I remember it in the Crayola Crayon box of lifetimes ago.

I call these small color gems “color ku”. They will be grouped  into sets of three with a similar theme. It’s all in fun and will be continued in subsequent posts as I get back out to the paint store. Thank you Ricciardi Brothers and all paint manufacturers for the inspiration.

 color name: indian sky – crayon color: pale blue

indian sky

rose hips swell with

another passing


color name: mexican feather grass – crayon color: light sage

mexican feather grass

I can only guess

what lies ahead


color name: north woods – crayon color: light green

north woods

into its shadows a murder

of crows



color name: hillside view – crayon color: dark sage

hillside view

sweeping into the pond

a ruby sky


color name: forest light – crayon color: greenish white

forest light

please – not the name

of another beer


color name: goose bay – crayon color: gray green

goose bay

full moon

on the rocks



color name: river rapids – crayon color: pearl white

river rapids eddy the sound of stone


color name:  sailor’s knot – crayon color: cream

freshening breeze

I cannot undo

a sailor’s knot


color name: shoreline blue – crayon color: light blue green

skimming waves two pelicans dive into shoreline blue



color name: starched apron – crayon color: pale peach

starched apron

one tray of cookies

with brown edges


color name: victorian lace –  crayon color: faded white

victorian lace

oh how quickly

we button up


color name: soft fleece – crayon color: cream

soft fleece

the play of light

through a pine






Dusk, docks and toes

It was a tough weekend. Heat index above 100 degrees in the sun. The air was limp and languid. So was I.

After a four-lime rum punch

I took the camera by the bay to capture color, light, texture and I got toes

Chipped nail polish and woodgrain go well together
another look at the life of a tree

Day is done. Always filled with poetry of sky and water, light and color, wind and stillness.

When the west wind blows…

On Long Beach Island, a barrier island off the southern coast of NJ it means:

hot oppressive heat waves that blow in from the mainland
black biting flies that hitch a ride in for a day at the beach to dine on ankles and toes
searing sand that blisters bare feet on the mad dash to the water
water so cold (the warm water of the gulf stream is also blown offshore) that same blistered feet and fly-bitten ankles and toes turn numb

welcome to the beach on days too hot to really enjoy it
hard to appreciate but it’s true – some days it’s just too hot to go to the beach
this was one of those weekends – two full days when just trying to breathe is a chore

the dog is hiding under a self-built foxhole and is getting good at catching flies mid air
dragonflies dive like kamakaze pilots and take quick rests on any part of your body
sailors stay in port drinking beer with photos of sailboats on the label
hydrangeas wilt and there’s not enough shade for everyone to find a comfortable reading spot

even so, unable to sleep on the second floor of an unairconditioned beach house last night, I was able to hear the waves crashing on shore in the distance and though the sky was hazy all day – the stars were out and I like to think also listening to rhythm of a west wind night

into dunes the last drift of a wave

Mid summmer moon

full belly moon
wildflowers meander
in the meadow tonight

full belly moon
someone’s lost wedding band
now on my ring finger

full belly moon
midway through summmer
your cancer returns

full belly moon
keeping company with
crickets tonight

Sunday mornings

If Sunday evenings are a blue hue then Sunday mornings also have a color feel. To me it is a tender green – the quiet color of new shoots. While Sunday eves have a melancholy tone, Sunday mornings are restful and thoughtful. No conversation in the distance – more of a solitary soulful flavor. In the Christian world it is traditionally a time for prayer. In a non Christian household it may be a time for buns or bagels. I enjoy a good crumb bun or sesame bagel on Sunday mornings.

This Sunday morning I am sitting by the bay. There is a sailboat in the distance, a kayak drifts with the current and soft waves lap the shore. Gulls and other busy birds call and chatter. The breeze is cooling yet gentle. The sun is a soft promise today. In a short time, my solitude will be interrupted and the day will take on a new color.

Until then…

reeds rippling in the breeze a hammock’s own tempo

A snatched sentence

“Agendas cannot replace adventure.” Julia Cameron

A simply elegant statement of a truth. All too often as artists, poets and musicians we forget this and cling to “rules”. Rules are great and necessary for climbing the ladder, but it’s great fun to hang on with one hand and look around from a new height. From a couple of rungs up – some sentence fragments snatched from here and there:

dusk on the edge of sky a touch of rouge

clouds what they tell us what we know

moonlight in the waves froth lost edges

tonight the summer wind whispers through purple grass

Is this good poetry? Maybe not but it sure is fun to write!