Transmute these blues into something beautiful

the synesthesia of sadness

the sadness starts off blue (sadnesses often do) and tastes like blueberry pie on a rainy day

Jonah Angeles
3 min readApr 20, 2023
Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

the sadness
starts off blue
(sadnesses often do)

and tastes like
blueberry pie
on a rainy day

especially after
cancelling plans you were
anticipating all week — 
you didn’t feel like going — 
and now your friends are saltier
than instant ramen, which,
like the thought of you,
is better than nothing

plans look so pretty from afar,
pale and glimmering
orange horizons laced
with burgundy
and Blue’s Clues
subtle hints of
oncoming gloom

the sadness
is a cruel winter wind
making a surprise cameo
(in the spring)
surreptitious and slick,
rustling and slithering
through the grass
of an empty field

you’re lying in the middle,
transfixed by the sky,
hoping answers fall on you
like raindrops
or snowflakes

the sadness
sounds down-tempo,
and cloudy
something you’d find
on a Lo-Fi beat playlist
and skip

it sounds all too familiar
derivative of something
you hoped to never hear again
and yet here it is
(and this time, it’s a DJ Khaled remix)

the sadness
is a gut-punch,
a melting cherry sundae
making you think,
misery has never
tasted this sweet

but in reality,
you’re in a tub,
the sadness seeping
out your pores

the tap is running —
hopefully fast enough
to replace the pigment
before it stains you
(like a tattoo)
because everyone will
know how steeped you are
in it

you’ll appear bluer
than all three members
of the Blue Man Group
but the only one who will
care to stick around and
watch you do the weird shit
blue people do
is you…

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

…and me, maybe, at one point
back when I still cared about you

remember when you said
you adored my curiosity,
how I was willing to listen deeply
because I wanted to
see what you see,
my dear synesthete

you called it pure empathy
bordering on telepathy

you said I was rare like
the truest shade of indigo
(Oliver Sacks once wrote about)

you showed me once
how your brokenness tasted;
it made my heart re-enact the
climax of Titanic
(no cap)

I breathed the air
you drowned in,
sinking deeper
into your world of
sensory crossover

the empathy between us was like
a bicycle built for two
and now I perceive every
feeling as a sensory collision
(just like you)

who else can read your heart
like a graphic novel printed
on the sleeve of your skin?

even your veins hint blue
(as veins do)
but your blood bleeds
crimson (on exit)
just like everyone else’s

now cue the feelings
of purple and foolish for
ever thinking you were
special or different since
you can witness music while
everyone else just listens?

what good has it done
to know so intimately the
redness of number 7?

how the song “Crew Love
(by Drake and the Weeknd)
tastes like Red Bull mixed
with muted rainbows
and carbonated percussion?

none of this has ever lessened
the symphonies of suffering,
nor your psychological projections
(in 8K resolution)

everyone calls it sadness
as if it doesn’t manifest
in so many forms—
notes, flavours, hues

before transmuting into something new

the sadness
gradually becomes

like falling into a bed of
freshly washed sheets,

you might as well greet it
with the familiarity of
an old friend

it shows up more often
than any of them

I dare you to transmute
these blues into
something beautiful

so everyone will see what sadness looks like
(to you)

I see sadness often too
(but, for me, it isn’t blue)

the sadness looks a lot like you
(my sadnesses often do)