It's just poetry, it won't bite

All the Lost Crayons

09.27.12 Posted in words to linger on by

Richard Peabody is an awesome writer and the publisher of Gargoyle Magazine.

All the Lost Crayons
By Richard Peabody

1) Prussian Blue (ceased 1958)

Kids fight over their favorite crayons.

If you reach for my Aquamarine or Copper
I might just bite you.

And who didn’t love you
Prussian Blue?

I needed you for the deep water
surrounding Mike Fink’s river boat,

for the night sky above Bull Run,
or the deep sea adventures
of Sea Hunt or Captain Nemo.

So when they changed your name
to Midnight Blue

we were too young to get it. 
Where did you go to Prussian Blue?

Well, this new color will have to work.
Look, it almost matches.

And I wouldn’t learn about
Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue” for years.

2) Flesh (ceased 1962)

I used Flesh for all my cowboys
and Civil War soldiers.

My Davy Crockett and Lone Ranger
coloring books.

Bronco, Lawman, and the Cisco Kid.

What on earth were they thinking
when they changed your name to Peach?

No hero is Peach-colored.
Every kid felt betrayed.

The Peach crayon was way too sissy.
And it wasn’t remotely close

to the color of the peaches we ate
on summer visits to North Carolina.

Peach. We all wanted to grow up
takeover the crayon companies and
name our own damn crayons.

3) Indian Red (ceased 1999)

My favorite crayon of all was Indian Red.
It was the first one to have its paper

peeled off. The first one to be used
down to a minuscule nub every time.

Parents balked at buying a new set
of crayons just because one was toast.

Use Red Orange they said.
Who would color Tonto Red Orange?

Parents don’t know anything.

How dare they change your name to Chestnut.

I just missed using you again
when I began coloring with my daughters.

But you haven’t been in most sets of crayons
in living memory.

I thought you’d given up
the ghost long long ago

when all of the TV westerns
were replaced by bikinis and secret agents

when I couldn’t find you
no matter how hard I tried

one hand on my Tales of Wells Fargo coloring book.
Dale Robertson and that stage coach.

Another hand on Maverick or Roy Rogers.

Nothing else worked in your place.
Not Brick Red, Mahogany, Maroon, or Salmon.

And only now I discover that you, Indian Red,
weren’t based on American Indians at all.

You were always meant to be the type
of red used in fabric from mainland India.

Chestnut? No way. Indian Red was so cool.

You’re dead to me now. Along with
the other retired colors–Raw Umber,
Thistle, Blizzard Blue, Magic Mint,
Maize, and Blue Gray.

Replaced in the Crayola Universe
by Metallic FX Colors and Silly Scents,

with names like Alien Armpit, Booger Buster,
Big Foot Feet, and Sasquatch Socks.

One Response to “All the Lost Crayons”

  1. The naming of colors – loved this!

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