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16 Shades of Gray

You left me in the morning

Just at the cusp of day

Spring rain was softly falling

In sixteen shades of gray

While looking in the mirror

I smile at my dismay

These tears cloud my reflection

With sixteen shades of gray

I step outside and walk to

A neighborhood caf?

And order sugared sorrow

That?s sixteen shades of gray

I stare at people passing

Blind to my display

Why can?t they see I?m crying

These sixteen shades of gray

I stumble to the office

And gaze at the array

Of flowers on my desktop

All sixteen shades of gray

There?s talk but I don?t answer

I?ve choked on the clich?

Of heartbreak?s common colors

Those sixteen shades of gray

Your picture in my wallet

Last week?s fragrant bouquet

The world within my vision

Just sixteen shades of gray

Some day I?ll find a rainbow

Instead of shades of gray

Bright hues to stop this hurting

But that day is not today

I?m looking at the window

That keeps the rain at bay

Inside my eyes it?s pouring

Out sixteen shades of gray


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Format in which sense? The rhyme scheme? The repeated phrase? The rhythm of the sounds? This one, like a couple of the others I've done in the last few days, sounds like a song in my head. Makes me wish I could write music.

Gabe told me that he'd written a poem after reading a couple of lines of one of mine from this week ('one and one makes two' etc from Do The Math) and I wanted to talk about that.

This one, 16 Shades of Gray, was a line I saw in an electronics ad and for some reason I liked the phrase '16 shades of gray'. It seemed to have potential. I thought of how Eskimos are said to have so many words for 'snow' and I thought, in the same vein, someone sad might see as many as 16 shades of gray and no other colors.

Same with Do The Math, I had heard it in passing, rolled it around on my tongue and suddenly thought of a poem. The three recent Christmas ones were inspired by a day of listening to holiday music on the radio: White Christmas Turning Blue, At The Window and I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus.

I think that happens a lot, you hear a word or phrase and then are inspired to write a poem. That's not how stories work for me but a lot, maybe half, of my poems are like that, inspired from a word or string of words (either heard or just spontaneously thought of) that catches on the edges of my brain. It's got nothing to do with stealing, no one owns individual words or phrases, but might have something to do with how the emotional nature of poetry intersects with wordplay and sound.

Anyway, 16 Shades of Gray is my favorite recent poem of mine and I can't get the refrain out of my head, to be honest. Maybe I should be writing jingles for commercials.

Thanks for commenting Codey, I've noticed that most of my recent poems and a couple of my recent stories have generated zero response here at AD, which is depressing and not conducive to creating more. Mainly, though, I've been less productive because I am not well. Hope to take the reins back up soon.



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I haven't been commenting enough lately, just me, not you, TR.

This one's great, you packed a lot of imagery in those 16 shades of gray. Yes, it'd make a fine song. If someone has a talent for writing music....

I was particularly struck by these lines:

[ ... ]

And order sugared sorrow

[ ... ]

Of flowers on my desktop

All sixteen shades of gray

[ ... ]

Some day I?ll find a rainbow

Instead of shades of gray

Bright hues to stop this hurting

But that day is not today

[ ... ]

The first is the kind of unusual evocative word-imagery you're especially good at in prose too.

Flowers and a bouquet in shades of gray, the colorlessness of the mental image is striking.

Contrast between the usual rainbow of all the colors versus colorlessness again. It's well done.

Thanks, TR. Though it's on the sad side, it's a fine poem. I sure liked it.

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