In a sea of gray,
the red bleeds out
like a brilliant flag amidst the smoke,
coming to life in a burst of crimson-
I marvel at the sight.
But then it’s gone,
and the beige swallows me up.
The fleeting flare of color collapses
and I am returned to the bleak cave
that is the underground.
I become one with the crowd,
a gray fish in a gray school,
striving for the stairs that rise out of my reach-
they are the deliverance from this pit
that festers with sound.
I am bumped and nudged,
elbowed and overlooked,
like a bobbing leaf in a raging stream.
Curses and whistles drizzle in my ear,
and then I see the red.
As the stairs ascend beneath my feet,
the red pulses past the pack,
a flash of color in the stilted sunlight-
a bright bloom that lifts my soul.
I long for it to stay.
But it is all gray,
everything is gray,
and I climb the stairs with heavy feet;
the train whistle below fares me well
as I abandon the gloom.
Finally I break away,
emerging like a wrinkled sprout from the mud.
I feel rejuvenated, I taste the air-
only to gag on the curling smoke drifting
from a man’s pipe.
Above is just as soiled as below;
there is no difference, none at all-
and the gray is fierce with teeth that tremble,
devouring everything. There is no color;
the red is gone.
This poem is sort of long, but it’s the result of a writing exercise. The object was to take a piece of your writing, whether it be a narrative, fictional setting, etc., and transform it into a poem. This was from the opening chapter of a project I completed a while ago, and I decided to give it go. To be honest, it didn’t turn out exactly how I planned…but it did give me a whole new perspective on that scene.