Synesthesia is a brain condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.
People with a lifelong history of such experiences are called ‘synesthetes.’ I’m one! Ever since I first learned the alphabet, letters have appeared inherently colored to me. About 40% of words, in turn, take on the color of the first letter, almost as if the hue bleeds into the word. I also feel strong, seemingly arbitrary emotional associations with most letters, and those seem to be related to the colors I perceive.
Explaining this has always been a challenge. Simply reproducing the colors, as I’m doing here, doesn’t really evoke that emotive association.
Recently, though, I came up with a new way to help non-synesthetes get into my head more genuinely. I asked myself, “If each letter could say one thing to match its personality, what might that be?” Then, rather than coloring all the words to correspond with how I see them, I introduced each letter and its color individually and attempted to present the unique feeling (or, perhaps, temperament) of each letter using the words below it. Please enjoy!
Is there anybody out there
with a LONG attention span?
Have there ever been such people
in the history of man?
“Bullies” much too silly sound.
The pain they cause is too profound.
Once upon a time,
in a land called Compromise,
two people could win
if they could share the prize.
D & E
There is a domino effect
when different forces intersect,
except when neither of them yields—
that’s how we get battlefields.
Fearless in the face of death
is no one, so enjoy each breath.
Grow if you want to overthrow
& again & again, feeling
humility & triumph at the same time.
We act like the Internet is a place
(or at least a thing)
when it’s just an idea,
just like justice.
Even with the world’s
knowledge in hand,
no one knows what it means.
Levitation is a lovely word.
M & N
“We ain’t nothin’ but mammals” – Eminem
(except when we’re ostriches)
Want a useful thought? Here’s one:
play is good for more than fun.
Through play, even wild wolves explore
in peace their readiness for war,
& language (“give a thing a name”)
is mankind’s first recorded game.
The rest is simple to derive:
we work hard & play hard to thrive.
The most advanced tribes ever known
used playing as a shared backbone
as they passed down, against all odds,
their richly painted masks of gods.
Invention (i.e. “make cool tools”)
is simply play with self-made rules.
We use play to grow, learn, create,
communicate & propagate—
plus (Shakespeare said it) play’s the thing
to catch the conscience of the King.
I think I should question
everyone & everything, although
I need more practice.
Religion is an invisible thing which to some
Shakespeare used the word supersubtle,
which to me sounds almost like newspeak.
Turbans, tunics, headdresses & robes are garb,
while gowns, white veils & tuxedos are attire.
You can’t unleash power—
it’s never been leashed.
The blind can see at the violet hour.
Everyone starts as a zygote… right?
Sometimes it strikes me as bizarre
how lucid, yet how blind we are.
Under this canopy of light,
this haven of our atmosphere,
all our visions, however clear,
all shapes & pigments that we see,
flash through time so fleetingly,
vague as the figments left behind
after a dream breaks from your mind.