#CC3300 was the red font color in which I wrote all my away messages during the AIM era. These were the first days of collecting colors, words, names to represent ourselves on the internet, and the fashion around that time was leaving song lyrics in your away message, enjamb’d like the poem you thought depicted you that day. My screen name was ILOVENEWYEARS. I’d taken acid one New Year’s Eve and declared it the only holiday I didn’t hate. My away messages were fragments of poems I was writing as a teenager, troubled and overwritten work when I look back on my notebooks, but sometimes a friend would ask me what song I was quoting from in my away message and I’d have the smug, embarrassed pleasure of writing back, that one’s mine. These were red days and I wanted everything painted red. I worked at a local paint shop, I brought in #CC3300 and we color-matched the tint and I carried home two gallons for free. I’d heard hospitals are painted white in order to keep patients calm, red being the color that induces the most anxiety. For three years I slept in a bedroom that was painted #CC3300. Nowadays I live with an abiding anxiety and have panic attacks at least once a week.

Danniel Schoonebeek is author of the poetry collection American Barricade (YesYes Books, 2014) as well as two forthcoming books, a travelogue called C'est la guerre (Poor Claudia, 2016) and a collection of poems called Trébuchet (University of Georgia, 2016).