Posts Tagged ‘colors’

So Many Colors

Worries are hidden in mattresses

Like dollars and nickels

And relief comes from a clear ear

Suddenly unbanked of its wax


Remember who took me by the hand

Rumi stopped me and said:

Stop as you look at this carnival

Half of it is just your body

And the tricks it’s playing on you


And the carnival had so many colors

Red, green, blue

So many colors

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According to Brent Berlin and Paul Kay in their classic 1969 study of color naming, our words for color are based on a hierarchy of a few well-known and biologically constrained hues, and from these, all other colors stem. So it need not be that there be a million different words for blue or red, like certain discredited linguistic theories might tell us.

However, somebody has forgot to mention this to the paint and design and fashion industries, which seem to have an endless capacity for naming new colors, ones that appeal to emotions as much as common sense. Thus I present to you a list of new color names you might soon be seeing in catalogues and paint stores … on swatches and at K-Mart.

Bleeding hackberry red

Midwinter frostbite cyan

Spider-vein green

Sunset Strip hangover orange

Hooker-nail-tip teal

Smog alert taupe

Deep fried merlot

Ambiguously gay puce

Dusty, dusty, pale pale rose

Dusty, dusty, pale pale sage

Dusty, dusty, pale pale black

Thin-air, oxygen-deprivation blackout muslin

Red stoma

Summer goiter

Early morning chum

Baby shit green

Canary Island fighting dog periwinkle

Boiled aubergine purple-pink

Classic margarine

I Want My Kids Back mauve

Pink Bris

Hostile Peach

Gay Honey Pine

Red autumn fugue

Anal Prolapse

Aunt Martha’s Hot Rhubarb Red

Midnight putty

Dead as a doornail green

Spring mustard gas attack

Passive aggressive ochre

Coagulative necrosis purple

Rose shadow mocha

Self-abuse nacre

Spring circumcision ruby

and finally,

Plum wine backwash

Got any? I’m all ears.

(Originally posted Oct. 7, 2007)

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