color analysis

a few weeks ago, i had the pleasure of interviewing a professor at the university of texas at san antonio.
that same institution to which i’d run in the months following the demise of a relationship with the only man who’s ever really mattered to me (he mattered too much, which terrified me, and i didn’t matter enough, which i knew… and so the thing was doomed to fail) and the cessation of my employment at borders (turns out i’d had the sense to jump ship before the thing sank) and the months prior to the death of my older brother.
to this day, i want to weep with the gratitude that i had that place to turn–i made wonderful friends there, and i learned from some of the most incredible professors i’ve had the privilege to know. i’d not been blessed to know barker–not until the other day. she’d been invited to speak at the small college here in town, to read her poetry. i’d been tasked with writing an article advancing the event. i sent her questions; she sent me answers.
i’d never read her work until a few weeks ago. she’d written a poem called color analysis. here are some excerpts that resonated with me:

Swatches of fabric held to my face
I am a “Summer,” am told
I mustn’t wear winter, clear, sharp
colors of gems: rubies, sapphires, emeralds

Nothing too strong, definite
I am semi-precious: amethyst, aquamarine, colors
of sky. I am probably an air sign
Think of breezes, says my color counselor

I am told to have nothing to do
with the press of bright yellow, liquid greens
that rush the landscape in April and May.

Autumn would overwhelm me. 

To what season, then, am I linked
apparently forever, floating
rootless on pale air? Am I simply
to sway here on wisps of gray
pale cloud, a little gasp of pink

i read this, and the whole time i thought… i am a winter.

i am winter
who longs for summer, for the warmth
the heat and the light
the brightness, the airiness, the softness
of the pinks and the pale yellows
the sweetness of baby blue
the joy and the fun and the peaceful easy
the long and lazy sunny day
i am winter clothed in sapphire
i am cold and stark and barren
frigid and chilling and dark
i am winded. i am crisp and sharp
bold and brutal, bleak and depressing
i am howling and blustering, wounded
and haunted. ruby red from the rage
and the weeping. i am bitter and broken
emerald green from the envy
i cannot for the life of me fathom
how anyone could want to be winter

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