Table of Contents



Kirsten Kaschock



Bodie, Knowy, and Shrüd were girls
   become the docents3,
Their minds—white papers, birch-
   ly stripped &fragile, from a tree.
"What do you hoard, and what do you share?"
   outsiders asked the crew.
"We collect the colors there are out there
   the yellow and crimson and blue,
   the green and silver and blue,"
            Said Bodie,
            and Shrüd.



To be redundant, one must decline from the same Latin root.
Radix. To be descended from

is to be radical. Or radish. To be red

or purple. White. Have we mentioned that the only thing
we has used for category is color? Our museum thus

is a type of America. But it isn't literally

America, because America is not made up of poems. It is made
by banging together Depression Era silverware and pretending
life started then—on the rails, a bag-of-all in hand.

Blackbag, clasp.

We am the doctor here. We'm

your guide through your body, the dark, its series of rooms. 




the first room—

If we've meant to &we does      collect by naming      all objects called yellow         

the marigold list     draws we helplessly     toward category     to make/to say

a "grid"/make sacred      findings      thru classifications      that "suggest

themselves"      in ways collectors would/have      assume/d essence      as if       

ontologies of color     inhere <— this is the reduction we seek to re-     cognize

as index of a sort:     when I divides I      records the scaffold scored within &I

drops ocean      into lake                                                              a stone is all



From what idea do heavens fall?
The 3—now—could not remember who proposed
it. Who posited the house's bones as nascent museum.
Who suggested people pony up &about to be ex-
posed one tone at a time. Bodie likened the likely feel
to sensory deprivation. Knowy said kitsch.
Said excessory. Shrüd worked quietly
the figures, calculating the cost of
collecting, the shadow expenses incurred
in stalking a cryptic dream.



Fear came first.

Remember: the moon was a gibbous
moon that night.
                                The rooms I will not go in
in this house, Bodie told Shrüd, are many.
Not, for an example, into the roofless room
where warblers sing incandescence
&trembling, that psalming falter.
Neither will I into the attic. Thought
flies there to fail or be
forgot. Or hung.
                               Not down
to the wetness where strung-up
bats cocoon because always I am
scared of the forms blossoming takes
from us.
                 So don't. Stay where we are.

Shrüd &Bodie together surveyed
the library. The rug underfoot
was sage—gray in its moss-state—&tatty.
They sensed, and were suddenly convinced
*books are corrupt.* Out the multipaned
window they did not consider of the room
a colorless lake dressed in glass floated
phrases that had escaped &assumed
the shape of lanterns.



They met at school.
Two hated each other on-
and-off in strict rotation &two
got to be temporary, not true
lovers. They radiated affinity
but no heat. The third (which-
ever) felt her spark curbed
by proximity, fear of doing
damage, needing unneeded.
Without rail, any two were useless
parallel which limitation they well knew
so worked out a Brontëan arrangement
retiring to a windy property had sat
decrepit for decades, abandoned but kept
as a matter of course in one's family (do
not ask). This was outside Zurich
or Raleigh, or Portland—
probably either one. But
nothing Californian. &Nothing
in the middle.



Of the 3, Bodie was the bother.
Her physicality was actual, she lived
all &throughout her paler
limbs—not simply above
neck, below wrist. She was iffy on
the outcomes of connection. A place, like
any trap, could catch a girl. She ached to be
a problem like Maria, minus
captain, spinning and spinning
in the widening.

Knowy had once told her—
I am anvil, you are balloon, Shrüd string.

Bodie did not find this
the basis of a good machine. Later
she would imagine their trio as massless, a sordid
invention. Inverted marionette, dirigible
of a strange unkind.



The clouds cd sit heavy. They did
&the girls devoted, languishing/laboring
to compose their cabinet
of chromaticity (&other cities).
swallowed by a house of women of
intervening years are of no consequence.
You imagine the 3 traveling (how *you*
wd choose to acquire) but what if
each stayed put, retracing a childing
hood, its formative traumae, to locate
the weave of the basket, wolves of
a persuasive color?
                                     As one glaucous
bauble at a time in them
coalesced, delivery became
inevitable. Boxes happened like
births. The stamps from elsewhere:
new &beloved additions to
the recursion. (To cross these
oceans, they'd placed their arms
like so: X.)



There is a reason some/most marriages house
two. There are reasons why others take hold
of others, briefly, or build distractive progeny
from the local material. As the three begat
the plotting of the galleries, they argued not
whether a whatsit belonged in a given tableau
but over frames of the colors communicated.
One red room Bodie called Sex, &Knowy
Shame. But Shrüd, who knew to use tools, en-
graved the plaque above its threshold: Structure.



Nothing gold
               This will
               not stop dragons
from hoarding.



The gathering of color, being
eternal, had tied them up longways
as on a railroad track (O damsels
fly, O villainous obsession).
                                                    The opening
was to churn up from valley
to release the bundled knot of 3
to aether. Or so the
           Things rarely reach
presumed fruition. The morning of
record—the moment when, past all
endeavor, a beginning begins—Shrüd
scuttles toward backroom to manage
phones, Bodie gets turnt out to do
the greet cute, Knowy wavers
a-widow's walk where pigeons titter
their predictions.
a train of visitors in weekend best stretches
ravenously along the path below—
mawing rivulet of insects in linen.





These bits are excerpted from a narrative project about a museum of color, a subject that obsesses me: what it is, how we define/perceive/experience it, how we value it and incorporate it into our senses of identity and home. I've been reading fine artists and philosophers takes on color (most recently Wittgenstein). Because one has to sift. I keep circling the matter with three characters, not sure if it's matter at all. More a triangulation--mind, object, light. A quote: "Behind those colours there hides the final cataclysm." —Mark Rothko