Could it be that red is the only color that is continually asking for a body?, 2019

Diving into red, I wrote out a list of connotations: “the color of your insides”, first on the list. I meant blood, but also organs, and flesh and guts. Molten lava, the inside of the earth, is only red when moving: black when stagnant. Maybe red is just motion: “the absolute motion, the motion of life” (S. Pancoast). Life giving, quite literally, with it coursing through our veins, as I write this, as you read this, as we live and breathe: red.

“[Geyron] thought about the difference

between outside and inside

inside is mine, he thought”

Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson, p. 29

Geyron, the mythical winged creature, lives in a world that is red inside and out. His guts, his skin, the dirt, his cows, all red. But, he realizes here, the red inside belongs to him. Maybe for those of us who are red only on the inside, red belongs to us.

“Could it be that red is the only color that is continually asking for a body?”, John Berger asked John Christie in their correspondence documented in I send you this Cadmium Red. If I gave red a body, what would it say? What does it already say in our bodies? What words belong to red and when do we feel it? We’re supposed to “see red” when we are angry, but also see red under our eyelids, staring at the sun: looking through our skin, seeing our insides.