Color Therapy for Beginners

1. Provided you can get out of bed, raise the blind and assess the range of hues in the day and your own temperature within the spectrum. Is it Payne’s and washed with your dissolving moss self, warm and wet against it–like your existential dream of the English moors? If rain is on the way, keep your acrylic ultramarine robe on in anticipation of step two. If no rain is predicted, wriggle into your Chinese orange, sweater dress, pretend you are about to transform into a monarch, and leave the underwear to someone else’s imagination. Every flesh hue pairs well with Chinese orange and a cobalt accent will make your dead ancestors reanimate and wag their jagged fingers your way.

2. You know it’s going to rain because the sap green spring leaves, like fallen frogs, have turned over to expose their green-gold underbellies, and Edna always said that meant rain, so it must be true. Plus, you hear faint pinging on the gray fake tin roof, and no, it doesn’t make you happy, but you loosen your fuzzy belt, and when the sound escalates to roar, you fly out the door in your purple rabbit slippers, run into the overgrown grass out back, and angel-scissor out-of-season on your back, imagining yourself as a pink/brown paint run, thin and translucent, sliding down Helen Frankenthaler’s canvas. Lie there for a bit, feel the rain wash away the grimness of early day, and watch the sky yawn yellow above the roof as the storm empties its bladder of you, leaving both sky and you exposed.

3. Your neighbors don’t understand how you feel about color, and that’s okay, provided they don’t call the cops. They’ve had many years to adjust, so you own your outdoor color-yard experience with the confidence of a bear ruining a picnic. The sun is now gamboge, a near-complement to your now-dark-damp, lapis robe and pale blue skin. Now rise and return to your home. The backdoor, Davy’s gray with the sun’s splash of rays, is unlocked.

4. Consider the dampness, your drizzling friz. There are fresh towels on the bathroom shelf with which to dry yourself. Choose the red one if you feel a bit cool and the orange one to get your kundalini rising, but only if your mood palette calls for it. The walls, also gray, complement any mood you or a guest might have during a particular lavatory experience (gray goes with everyone), which makes you vaguely grateful, but also a tad apprehensive, kind of like you felt near the grasshopper cart in Bangkok and the dare…

5. If you decide to stay in, determine which room sparks happiness, and don’t throw it out. Also figure out whether you’d like to feel harmony, hope, angst, dread, or anxiety today. Pink makes you feel hostile—either by itself or with most pairings, the exception being when it’s contrasted with black, in which case you feel a bit slutty and out of sorts. Barbie did that pairing best, but only in the sixties, and then, only with diagonal stripes and molded-on, thick black eyeliner, and an accessory chaise lounge. In the house, the walls are all gray, and while they should go with anything, you know with pink or baby blue, its baby, baby, baby all damn day, and you’re not up for all the shitting and crying today. Pastels make you hostile too, so you can just throw all those clothes out right now.

6. If you’re feeling indecisive, which you usually are, and you don’t know whether to go out or stay in, and the world just feels like a cacophony of colors that might kaleidoscope you into an unknown galaxy or just the hostile red shit town you embed in, opt for the familiarity of dark purple, of soft flannel sheets, violet shades drawn, the reversible down comforter, dove gray and black, wrapped tightly around your sienna self, lights dimming as you shift into the hum of raw umber, the ancient, safest womb of it.



Koss(they/them/she) is a queer writer and artist with an MFA from SAIC. She has work in or forthcoming in Diode Poetry, Five Points, Hobart, Cincinnati Review, Gone Lawn, Bending Genres, Anti-Heroin Chic, Prelude, Chiron Review, North Dakota Quarterly, San Pedro River River, Spoon River Poetry Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Kissing Dynamite, and many others. She also has work in Best Small Fictions 2020 and Kissing Dynamite’s Punk Anthology. Koss just won the 2021 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Award with “My Therapist Sez” and received BOTN nominates in 2021 for fiction (Bending Genres) and poetry (Kissing Dynamite). Keep up with Koss on Twitter @Koss51209969 and Instagram @koss_singular. Her website is koss-works.com