Paul's book Burn is available from (ECW) www.ecwpress.com

His anthology, The I.V. Lounge Reader, is forthcoming from Insomniac Press www.insomniacpress.com

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Books available from www.chapters.ca

Burn

The I.V. Lounge Reader

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For more Poets
Paul Vermeersch Paul Vermeersch


Mixing Grey: A Practical Guide For Painters

I

Industrial Grey

555555555555555 –a cold, flat tone, neutral
in value, the grey of a shadow cast on fresh concrete
by a vagrant sleeping in the afternoon
near the doorway of a bank.

55555 Mix 2/3 sky with a broken ceiling
55555 6 hills on fire and their reflection
55555 in the eyes of spooked horses

II

Dove Grey

55555 –a very soft, even, bluish hue
the colour of a young woman's skin
in the dark just after your eyes adjust.

55555 Add the ashes of a banned book
55555 to the tears shed in deserts
55555 by statues of virgins.

III

Gunmetal Grey

5555555 –close to the darkness
lying behind the fog that hangs
under streetlights, but with sharper
edges, a glint, the silhouette
moving quickly through the alleyway.

55555 Mix equal parts of air
55555 locked inside a steamer trunk
55555 with depressions left in wet grass
55555 by little boys running with
55555 towels tied around their necks.

IV

Smoke Grey

55555555555 –a colour not unlike a smudged
thumbprint on an invoice for imported linen,
but more like the idea of a smudged thumbprint
on a invoice for imported linen.

55555 Combine the smell of pin lying on a bed
55555 together with the Earth seen from space
55555 by a dog about to die inside a satellite
55555 that will continue to pass swiftly overhead
55555 for another one-hundred and fifty-five days.

V

Battleship Grey

5555555555 –a light, frivolous shade,
like the thin film of soot on a pair of eyeglasses
worn by a chimneysweep falling off a roof.

55555 Rub the ink from a twenty dollar bill
55555 around the blowhole of a beluga whale,
55555 then light a match.

VI

Stone Grey

55555 –the same ratio of light to dark
you might see gazing through a thick
canopy of poplars in September when
they go to seed, and the seeds float down as though
someone's lit a firecracker's fuse inside
a feather pillow, and you let the pistol drop because
you can't decide if being in the same place next September
wouldn't be just worth it, and you head home before
they find the note.

55555 Add the chorus of a tune
55555 you hummed as a child
55555 to a verse of the one
55555 you are thinking of now.