Red on Red
By Rosa Cruz
Red protects itself. No colour is as territorial. It stakes a claim, is on the alert against the spectrum. (Derek Jarman)
outside the room where nothing is natural and a red bed burns on terracotta tiles rooks make jagged black nests in trees piercing the innocence of baby blue skies while she stretches opens her legs in invitation or obstruction sensible shoes and ankle socks to hey babe take a walk on the mild side counting sunbeams and sunglasses contemplating train times lunch times the times they are a-changing times bacteria breeding on skin whether she dares eat a peach how best to navigate squalid subways breathe don’t breathe look up look down walk run the number of steps required to reach the pareidolian blue portal on the wall and whether a slide of big red lipstick in Love in a Lift would calm her down
although it’s spring autumn hides and multiplies in young hazel nuts that quietly bud on branches and brush the window with newborn sweetness while archangels sleep in attics waiting for Christmas and she contemplates red for love life death disquiet ardour angst the knife held too close to the flesh the exquisite pain that flowers blooms and how trees bear witness as they always must to the red of dawn splitting the sky while angels hide in leaves that flicker like flames
The image that inspired this poem is Le Lit Rouge, by Francis Gruber, 1944. A public domain image from wikiart.org.