by Peter Cashorali

Mountians, photo by Marek Piwnicki
Photo by Marek Piwnicki@Unsplash

After a while, colors noticed me and came forward. The green of a cypress tree was first. It was an intentionally dull green, dull as a parking lot on a hot day, yet as I didn’t look away it smiled its approval and opening its doors invited me down stairways, where in spite of the darkness there were many interesting things laid out on tables. In the throat of an iris was a sticky rich yellow, the disgust a man feels when he does something that makes him sick, and he knows he won’t stop. And white! Was white besieged in its tower by the armies of all colors or a criminal mastermind, undermining and coercing the spectrum? When two shades of white met they battled briefly but to the death, at which point the loser turned rose pink or ice blue. The European flesh tones and Cuban gold of dawn were crueler than anything I had previously known, making a racket such that I wondered how anyone could sleep, and the blood and gunpowder of sunset made me proud and bitter to be a man, Alexander carrying his own death wound down the stairs into oblivion. In clearing skies after rain the brief sea green like cologne as it evaporates caught me up breathless in its wake and tugged me after it, until it became its own alter ego, a cigarette ash gray that escorted me gently back to the earth, knowing my disappointment. The blue of a couch broke free of the couch and left it behind in the shallows, and rolled towards me with compassion but no mercy, and in general all the colors rode ahead of their objects as ladies ride palfreys and ladies-in-waiting walk, handling the luggage and hotel accommodations. Each of them claimed a share of my nerves, stomach, scrotum, hairs on the back of my neck, and crossing over the moat entered the big house where previously I had lived in solitude and poverty, and each of them found their own suite of rooms. There were arguments and secret alliances, love affairs, offspring. Each put a brush into me, painting the world. Nothing was wasted.

Peter Cashorali

Peter is a queer psychotherapist, previously working in community mental health and HIV/AIDS, now in private practice in Portland and Los Angeles. He is the author of two books, Gay Fairy Tales (Harper San Franciso 1995) and Gay Folk and Fairy Tales (Faber and Faber, 1997). He has lived through addiction, multiple bereavements and the transitions from youth to midlife and midlife to old age. He believes you can too.




2024-Jun-01 15:19

This is one of those pieces that sort of jumps out at me with its strange vividness. Densely grouped as it is in a single paragraph, it wants a careful reading, and is worth it. I find beauty and desolation, not in equal measure, as in all reflections of life, and not in opposition to each other, either.

Trilety Wade
2024-Jun-02 00:35

What a stunning piece. You rearranged my brain a bit in the most enticing way.