Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 7

Wow! Once we finish today’s prompt/poem, we’ll be a week into the challenge. Excellent! If you missed it earlier or need a refresher, click here to check out the April PAD Challenge guidelines.

For today’s prompt, write a self-portrait poem. Pretty straightforward, right? That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of room for creativity. Just look at artists and their self-portraits; there’s a lot of differences in the self-portraits of Kahlo, Schiele, Dali, Van Gogh, and others–and not just because the artists look different themselves.

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Here’s my attempt at a Self-Portrait poem:

“meme”

i’m not here for your brain
or money but your heart
i admit i’m confused
even more than you are

i stare into mirrors
for hours and feel even
more detached than before
i found my reflection

often i feel i look
out too much to see in
and what i find either
way is much too foreign

so i’ve come for your heart
not your money or brain
i want to feel human
for once and once again

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Today’s guest judge is…

January Gill O'Neil

January Gill O’Neil

January Gill O’Neil

January is the author of Underlife (CavanKerry Press, December 2009), and a forthcoming collection, Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, fall 2014).

She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and an assistant professor of English at Salem State University.

January blogs at Poet Mom.

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PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He actually included a poem titled “self portrait” in his debut collection. Learn more about him here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.

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Tired of thinking about yourself, check out these interviews:

 

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813 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 7

  1. RuthieShev

    Self Portrait of This Writer

    I can be good and I can be bad
    I can be happy and I can be sad
    I can write things in a very quick time
    Or I can fail at making a decent rhyme
    Procrastinate is my middle name
    And I’ve been know at times to complain
    Working on a deadline’s what I do best
    It seems last minute I have the most zest
    I especially love life and color and places
    Meeting new people and seeing old faces
    Writing about everything under the sun
    Is where I seem to have the most fun
    Besides writing, religion, family and eating out
    Traveling, reading and bingo are what I’m about.
    I’m afraid of the dark, storms and most any thing
    But love all the new things that my life will bring
    I’ve enjoyed laughter and also shed many tears
    Have been lucky in friends I’m made through the years
    God, family, and people I’ve met along the way
    Have made me into the person I am today.

  2. IndiFox

    Parallels

    I avoid mirrors
    To stare at my own reflection
    Would mean dissection
    To look into my eyes
    Would take trust

    I avoid eye contact
    To look into souls
    Would mean I could relate
    To look away
    Would take restraint

    I avoid my reflection
    And avoid your eyes
    These two are connected
    But I can’t tell you why

  3. stepstep

    MIRROR

    Can a mirror dig deep into the soul?
    Does a mirror ever lie?
    What do I see when it watches me
    When I stand firm and strike a pose?

    If I hold the light close to my face
    Will it reveal my every secret
    Hidden beyond a strong jaw or tiny wrinkle,
    The mirror wins each and every race.

    A soul search creates a great smile
    Which glows from day to day,
    Will the mirror reveal the truth
    And put it into great play.

    LaSteph

  4. stepstep

    MIRROR

    Can a mirror dig deep into the soul?
    Does a mirror ever lie?
    What do I see when it watches me
    When I stand firm and strike a pose?

    If I hold the light close to my face
    Will it reveal my every secret
    Hidden beyond a strong jaw or tiny wrinkle,
    The mirror wins each and every race.

    A soul search creates a great smile
    Which glows from day to day,
    Will the mirror reveal the truth
    And put it into great play.

  5. bbjzmn

    day 7
    *******
    If you took away all of the doubt

    impatience,grace and just left it all out

    let in the laugh that last too long

    the broken voice shouting the song

    take the sense of caring and temper it slow

    or take the thought and let if flow

    add just enough of “too much fat”

    carefully shave off some of the need for tact

    pour all these thing into a vat of glue

    then surly you’d have her and she’d have you.

  6. bxpoetlover

    I cannot draw
    if I could I would not draw myself realistically

    My self-portrait would look like
    a Picasso painting so that I could
    camouflage the flaws in my skin
    the bulge around my belly that refuses to leave me

  7. bookworm0341

    “Mariposa”

    Crawling along on the ground
    I feel as if everyone is glaring down on me,
    Wondering why I inch along
    With caution
    Aware of their antipathetic eyes
    Slower I go
    Even more cautious then before
    I do not want to make the wrong move
    Say the wrong thing
    Dress the wrong way
    Stray from the norm.

    Tightly wrapped
    Unable to breathe
    Chest closed tight
    It’s as if the world is waiting
    Watching
    Wondering when I am going to fail
    When all plates will drop
    And crash to the floor
    Alone and scared
    I am completely bound.

    Then, after some time,
    I wake up and realize
    It was I who have kept myself this way
    Tightly bound by what others think
    Pleasing people and not making boundaries
    Keeping silent
    when I should just say what needs to be said,
    unafraid to grow and be
    who God created me to be-
    a new creation,
    I emerge and take flight
    With my new found freedom,
    Testing my wings,
    I soar to new heights,
    Not hindered by what used to keep me
    Crawling on the ground any longer
    I am a butterfly.

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 7 (last stanza finished on the 19th), 2014

  8. ToniBee3

    “Angles”

    Standing before myself,
    tri-panel mirrors are sincere,
    reflecting lenticular images.

    Left panel reveals
    a degenerative form,
    a slouched caricature.

    Right panel exposes
    the effects of dynamic duo
    Gravity and Time.

    Center panel bears witness
    to my sighs and lament
    for this neglected shell.

    I scrutinize with countless blinks
    the complex angels of myself
    in these looking-glasses.

    Can I find a perspective or two
    or three within these frames that
    flaunts a secure self?

    Yes, I can.

  9. TuLife

    “TUERE AISHA”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    T o be Me looks fine to me.
    U tterly bona fide
    E xclusive being
    R evered by souls who recognize whole
    E ntirely designed to fit my own mold

    A m I supposed to picture some other Me?
    I magine a different Me, that’s really She?
    S acred is what I see, like my name’s meaning
    H onestly blessed, even when stressed
    A ll I can be is Me, naturally.

  10. Snow Write

    CONSPICUITY
    No coworkers, family, or friends, but alone
    A self portrait is not in my comfort zone
    I do not like when the focus is on me
    I know many who would take that place with glee
    So let me comfortably dwell in the background
    Others who crave spotlight are sure to be found

  11. Mr. Walker

    What’s a self-portrait
    when you are trying
    to get to the Self?

    Do the things that make me
    Me really matter?

    You might be interested
    in my self-portrait.
    And maybe you’re interested in me.
    Thanks, i guess, if you are.

    But i suspect your interest
    is in your self.
    You’re looking for the things
    in me that are in you too.

    This is my self-portrait,
    someone who is trying to find
    the Self in us all.

  12. kimberleetm

    Makeover and Over

    Her hair changes colors
    with the seasons,
    an uprooted tree,
    its roots atop.
    These antennae
    sort the weather
    from the whether
    and sometimes
    find a song
    to boot.
    A root
    that can be cut
    or camouflaged
    can count any scrap
    a feast. At least,
    on a Tuesday
    when the wind
    sends it foraging
    for breath.

  13. schmads09

    Rock What You Got

    “We are our own toughest critics.
    From the way we look and talk,
    To our behavior around crushes.
    We analyze and scrutinize until we are sick with doubt.

    Therein lies the irony.
    Nobody is watching you as closely as you watch yourself.
    We are all too busy creating our own “shortcomings”
    To notice what you assume to be your own.

    The best thing you can do is be confident in what you offer.
    You are the way you are for a reason.
    No matter how much you might want to change,
    You should focus more on owning your strengths.

    We all possess our own unique abilities and talents,
    And we owe it to ourselves to seek out
    Others that complement our skill set.
    Doing so will help foster a more enjoyable life.

    Paint yourself a favorable mental portrait.
    People with money are no happier than those without it.
    Just as beautiful models are no more satisfied than the rest of us.
    It is all a matter of perspective and how you adjust.

    The next time you want to second-guess your response
    Or worry that your friend looks better than you.
    Just remember that it will all be okay,
    They were probably doing the same thing.”

  14. ambermarie

    Baptism

    Little child picks her favorite smell
    Washing the filth in the darkness
    Not caring to show her face in the light of day
    Too ashamed to walk uprightly
    Rocking in the fetal position, letting the water scald her body
    Protected by locked doors
    Soothed by the noise of the falling water
    Cleansed of her fears
    Absolved of her crimes
    Alone and safe in the shadows
    Until she realizes
    It’s herself in the nightmares –
    The one she hopes to keep at bay
    The terror and disgust don’t respect superficial borders
    Fate is boundless
    Grace her only hope
    Praying for salvation, she begins a long wait
    Tainted but divine
    Knowing herself yet striving for that lost perfection
    She remembers who she is
    But is frightened of what she has become

  15. Yolee

    Me
    The makeup of freckles, brown eyes and
    olive skin will not allow compacted minerals
    to pickpocket my eccentricities.

    But some days I’m willing to trade
    softening contours for a personal sunrise,
    blushing sky and a beam raised by the moon.

    Not always

  16. Winter-Rose

    There is a lot that I dislike about myself:

    My hair is boring (grey and greasy)
    my nose to big (huge)
    acne covering my face (spotty)
    I’m definitely not a thin girl (fat)
    I don’t like to run (lazy)
    never speaks first (chicken)
    have trouble making social conversation (boring)
    studies hard (crammer)
    but still fail some exams (stupid)
    Every now and then I take a random guy home (whore)
    and do not ask for his number (bitch)
    I follow Japanese pop-culture (freak)
    likes computers (nerd)
    and board-games (dork)

    there is a lot that I ‘should’ dislike about myself:

  17. Jezzie

    Reflections

    Who is that old lady in the mirror?
    It cannot be myself.
    It must be my mother’s photo
    that’s sitting on the shelf.

    Who is that odd lady in the mirror?
    Always wearing purple
    with a bright red handbag
    that doesn’t go at all.

    Who is that sad lady in the mirror?
    Never seen her with a grin,
    face is always looking grim
    with frown lines that reach her chin.

    Who’s that recycled teenager in the mirror?
    She’s mutton dressed as lamb,
    she still wears sixties make up
    and pouts just like a madam.

    Who’s that person in the mirror?
    No-one else knows but me
    that I might almost be seventy
    but still think I’m twenty three!

  18. Khara House

    Canvas

    Peel me down to the basest degrees
    and you will find the core of me
    is a baobab seed,
    a remnant of some distant shore
    that spat itself into this soil
    and took to root.
    Watered by oceans and blood
    eased like molasses
    from the shoulder blade,
    a woman half broken
    by a southern sun
    and a half million tongues
    rolled tight behind ivory teeth.
    So ready to plant myself anywhere,
    you may find me in your gardens,
    hinting for a plot in your own soil.

  19. azkbc

    Who I Am

    I appear quite ordinary
    with all the basic body parts
    in their predictable places,
    both the ones you can see
    and the others hidden
    beneath my skin. My brain
    is in my skull which is wonderful
    after I fell on the asphalt path
    at Niagara Falls a couple of years ago
    ago and I didn’t go to the hospital
    for three weeks. My mind wanders
    through the maze and bookshelves
    in its home considering possibilities.
    I have hopes for you and me,
    for the books I want to read to you
    and the pictures you have drawn
    with fat crayons and your paintings
    like Jackson Pollock’s
    that I want to hear you talk about.
    Each day, each hour, each moment
    we are together I want to laugh
    and build towers with oversized blocks
    and put puzzles together
    and do whatever you want to do.
    I am your grandmother
    and I will always stand by you.

  20. Julieann

    Self-portrait

    What makes me, me?
    I ask myself
    One parent is southern bred
    With all the social graces
    While the other is a westerner
    With guns and horses
    Cowboys and Indians
    I was born to live a country life
    Quiet with animals and chores aplenty
    And then the city called my name
    And finished raising me as its own
    Throughout the years
    Both country and city vie for my affections
    And time
    A game of contrasts
    Each pitting its charms against the other
    This hodge-podge shows in everything
    From accent to decisions
    Who am I? Which way to go?
    Indecision often rules
    But in the end, happiness and contentment
    Win

  21. pamelaraw

    Poet at Work

    seated and upright
    black stockinged feet
    freed from black-heeled boots
    dangled toes cozy up
    to the heater’s warm hum

    elbows and wrists held
    at comfortable angles
    as fingers curled over the ergonomic
    keyboard, pause for spaces and thoughts
    then tap a cacophony of quick clicks
    and ticks in monotone reportage

    the agency said this
    we found that
    we recommend three/four/five things
    to fix it/save money/win votes

    time check
    eyes dart left
    90 minutes gone
    another 60 to go

    before I can be
    seated and upright
    black stockinged feet
    sloped in stilted black boots
    bum warmed by bus engine heat
    right fingers curled around ballpoint
    left fingers eagle-spread a blank page

  22. lethejerome

    “Minimalism”

    Just erasing records
    overwhelms me. Enthusiasm
    might emblematically limit
    altogether
    new conceptions
    of novelty.

    Jérôme Melançon

  23. Earl Parsons

    No Mirrors Please

    I saw a picture from days long past
    While looking through my yearbook
    I was a handsome devil then
    The years sure changed my looks

    Like way back then my head was full
    Of long, thick, healthy hair
    Now I need a hat to keep the sun from
    Blinding others from where’s it bare

    My face was chiseled like a Greek God
    So healthy looking and bright
    Now puffy, bloated, and whisker laced
    And my double chin’s a fright

    I can still remember my six-pack abs
    Streaming muscles from head to toe
    Well I still got the six-pack and muscles
    Hidden under my fat, don’t you know

    But looks aren’t really that important
    Everyone says what’s important is inside
    But the man in the mirror says otherwise
    As he whispers back to me, “They lied!”

    © 2014 Earl Parsons

  24. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    What are these spots on milkmaid smooth skin?
    What is the gray on peaches and cream?
    Why are the big blues so small?
    Those can’t be my eyes at all.

    No snow-capped coiffure
    Just fade to mouse
    fog over sunshine
    That hair is mine.

    It must be the mirror.
    I’ll clean it
    and then surely I’ll see
    the face that used to look at me.

  25. Erica

    You have no idea how good

    I look in the reflection of his eyes.

    This 5’9″ punch line of a curse is praised and photographed

    the way works of art should be. Cradled as if it might snap at

    any second, but grounded and nurturing like a Coast Redwood.

    My skin, in contest with the dark of night, adorned

    with it’s own stars because melatonin this rich

    should be bathed in, not diluted.

    The weight of my thighs are measured

    in ounces of gold and gazed upon with the

    lust of a million poor beggars.

    In all of it’s rotund glory

    contains last nights sushi and with it

    the secrets of the universe.

    You have no idea how good I look

    in the reflection of his eyes.

    “nebuchadnezzar’s dream” -Erica Jeudy ©

    1. Erica

      CORRECTED****

      You have no idea how good

      I look in the reflection of his eyes.

      This 5’9″ punch line of a curse is praised and photographed

      the way works of art should be. Cradled as if it might snap at

      any second, but grounded and nurturing like a Coast Redwood.

      My skin, in contest with the dark of night, adorned

      with it’s own stars because melatonin this rich

      should be bathed in, not diluted.

      The weight of my thighs are measured

      in ounces of gold and gazed upon with the

      lust of a million poor beggars.

      In all of it’s rotund glory my belly

      contains last nights sushi and with it

      the secrets of the universe.

      You have no idea how good I wish
      I looked in the reflection of his eyes.

      “nebuchadnezzar’s dream” -Erica Jeudy ©

  26. derrdevil

    The Stranger
    By Derryn Warwick Raymond

    He was the stranger on the wrong side of town
    Longing for acceptance, he ventured out on his own
    But on the mean streets mens’ stares were steelier than their knives
    ‘though the least of his worries lay within their eyes

    He got caught in the thick like a new born fawn,
    Whilst the wolves, hungry and eager, gathered all around
    In absolute naivety, he tried blending with the town
    But to inevitable despair, he failed and was beaten down

    And as he lay there in the grime and dirt,
    He knew then his place on this cruel earth
    Far from marauding hordes and open space
    He belonged in gutters, between shadowed alleyways

    Forced to look away and turn the other face,
    He was made to hold proud his name in disgrace
    In that part of town, out of place and touch
    He learned the hard way old dogs don’t change much

    And as he fell into recession, in Anhedonia’s prison he remained
    Forever imbued with the lesson of the streets he refrained
    Oh, one day down the line things may come around
    But ’til then, he’s the stranger on the wrong side of town

  27. Snowqueen

    They say a picture paints a thousand words
    What a bout a self portrait
    Would the viewer and subject use the same thousand words?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
    What about a self portrait
    What beauty did the subject want to convey and what is seen by the viewer
    Physical beauty? The beauty of confidence, the beauty of being free? What beauty?

    It’s what’s on the inside that matters
    What about a self portrait
    I’ve never seen a portrait of someone’s insides have you?
    Sounds gross!
    Ha ha ha ha 

  28. Delaina Miller

    A Photomontage of Me

    Scissors and glue
    maybe a canvas or two.
    The self cannot be seen
    without a montage of all things.
    I think Hannah Höch believed this as true.

    Industry and war
    though these might be one in the same.

    Baby dolls and childish things,
    for me it was Mrs. Beasley and sock monkeys.

    Bicycle rides in the middle of the night
    when a nine year old’s dreams would wake
    her from sleep to fret about bumps in the night
    and men with hairy chins. Never once thinking
    she put herself out there for him.

    The suffocating silence to discover
    difference is not all it is cracked up to be.
    The ill fitting mask I wore made it hard to see
    the worth of me. Charlie had his angels
    but what to make of me?

    I am more like Hannah Höch’s “Beautiful Girl”
    bits and bobs cut out and removed
    from an origin or place. Redesigned by another
    defined and explained by a society. Always looking
    for a museum wall to swing from.

  29. PenConnor

    Me, Myself & I (a triolet)

    I wear my heart upon my sleeve.
    If I could have one wish, I’d fly.
    I dance for joy and fiercely grieve.
    I wear my heart upon my sleeve.
    I’m quick to laugh, and quick I cry.
    In fairy tales I do believe.
    I wear my heart upon my sleeve.
    If I could have one wish, I’d fly.

  30. Geoffrey

    I paint my self-portrait
    life-sized
    in mud on canvas.
    I smear great broad handfuls,
    glorious goo,
    and then etch the tiniest details
    with the ragged-bitten nail of my littlest finger.
    I am a man of mud,
    mud my very nature,
    mud my inner essence.
    The portrait glistens,
    alive.
    The portrait has an earthy smell,
    part earthworm scent, part manure, part organic funk.
    It tastes like dirt.

    Drying,
    cracking,
    the portrait goes flat
    It smells of dust,
    crumples to murk,
    returns to dirt.

    I carve my self portrait in sand.

  31. C.Lilli

    Self Portrait

    Awakening

    A reflection I barely knew
    Showed up in my place
    Dark, sunken eyes,
    A tangled mess above my face.

    Sore, weak, bleeding inside.
    Missing a piece of myself,
    But it had to be so.

    I’ve found strength that was hidden,
    And flickered smiles in the night.

    And there in between the haze,
    Grew a happiness I never knew.

    But seriously, please go to sleep.
    2014 CLK

  32. Jay Sizemore

    A history of scars

    An umbilical cord full of smoke
    turns a placenta into claustrophobia.
    Learning to walk was a nosedive
    into the corner of a coffee table,
    a near-blinding and a scar for life.
    Two years old and bullied,
    pushed from the top of a slide,
    a pat on the back from Death.
    After climbing monkey bars
    hands smell like sweaty nickels
    held through recess to pay the ice cream man.
    Climbing monkey bars in the rain
    equals bruised testicles
    and laughter that takes longer to fade.
    Learning that the monsters of life
    don’t wear hockey masks, just smiles,
    and use love like a machete.
    Flying over the handlebars
    into loose gravel that sticks
    in the palms, glass teeth the world lost.
    Broken heart after broken heart
    upon broken heart, learning to
    go to sleep hungry.
    Lower back vertebrae jammed together
    like twelve cars in a parking space,
    nerves a fistful of sparks and burning hair.
    An elbow fracture that never healed,
    making the Macarena uncomfortable at best.
    Slammed backwards on the blacktop,
    donkey punched by death,
    so now every bad thought
    is a knife twisting in my neck.

  33. clcediting

    SELF PORTRAIT

    I was never pretty.
    My ears too big,
    my eyes too close together,
    but I had character
    I thought.
    Besides I’d rather
    be smart than pretty.
    Intelligence lasts longer.

    Somehow that didn’t stop
    the feeling that I was less;
    that something might be wrong with me,
    that no one would want me,
    that I couldn’t be loved.

    I did what I could.
    I painted my face
    and colored my hair.
    I tried to be the kind of pretty
    other girls were praised for.
    But I wasn’t them.
    I never got things quite right.

    And, one day, there was a stranger
    in my mirror.
    I couldn’t see myself at all.
    Not until I scraped off the make-up;
    found the roots of my hair,
    and made peace with my body.

    The I saw the reflection
    of the girl I used to be
    and the woman I’d become.
    She nodded in approval
    as I left the mirror behind
    And walked into the wide new world
    Inescapably myself.

  34. jean2dubois

    SELF PORTRAIT

    by Jean Dubois

    who am I?

    poet
    photographer
    birder
    gourmet

    it says so right in my bio
    along with information about my modus operendi
    I am usually doing six things at once
    no comment about how efficient that is
    even if we label it multifunctioning
    it lists some of my publications
    without mentioning that I am
    was
    a quilter a world-famous quilter
    who travelled around the country
    the world sometimes
    telling people how to quilt
    how to buy my books
    but that was my public personality
    you want to know who I really am

    who am I? in the who am I process
    I rethought my childhood for
    they say the child is father to the man
    though they never say the child is mother to the woman
    so I thought about my relationship with my bosom buddy
    Bobby Costain how inseparable we were until
    we grew up and went off to first grade
    and there were other boys in the class
    and he didn’t need or want my friendship anymore

    the main difficulty with my trying to tell you who I am
    is that ancient widow that I am my children have the
    idea that they should take care of me should make my decisions for me
    although they sometimes forget to tell me just what my decisions are
    sweet of them to care

    three of them I have three children
    well six now I got three the easy way
    six grandchildren no great grandchildren and no amount of
    complaining seems to do any good on that front
    but you don’t need all that information you just want to know who I am

    this is who I am a lover of mountains and wide open spaces
    of the open highway of the Mississippi River of Anasazi ruins
    of politics and of whatever else is going on in the world
    of ice cream
    of chocolate
    especially of chocolate

    thanks for asking

  35. Mariya Koleva

    ***
    What is a ball of tangled ropes,
    or a bowl of wiggling noodles?

    What do you seek in the mirror?
    But your depression and self-ruin,
    the harsh words you have stored
    for your own tiny wrinkles,
    and especially for those
    not too fine ones, the ones
    you try to hide in vain.

    Veiled behind a hollow story,
    still worthy of your smiles,
    love cuddles quietly.
    ##

  36. jean

    I sit at an intersection,
    Gazing at the drivers
    In their little capsules,
    Distanced from interaction
    Safe from potential hurts
    Each going to an interaction
    A potentiality,
    Will we ever sit together?
    Interact?
    Hurt together?
    Hurt each other?
    Heal together?

    The bumpersticker says,
    “You are unique in all the world
    Just like everyone else”

    Yup.

  37. Joseph Hesch

    “Fixer-Upper”

    Monday broke in today,
    smashed a hole in the window
    of abandoned Sunday.
    It put its cold steel illumination
    to my throat and made me look
    in the mirror again, whether I wanted to
    or not.

    The face framed there’d
    become just another bit of landscape,
    a house neglected, changing so slowly
    I barely noticed in my daily visits
    with razor and brush.
    I know it too well,
    and the resident hidden within.

    Feral beer-bottle-brown eyes
    stared from dark eaves beneath
    the forehead façade,
    discovering the change thuggish Monday
    had revealed. With swift,
    surprising reflection, they twinkled.
    Oh boy..a fixer-upper.

  38. Mickie Lynn

    Creating My Self Portrait

    Start with a smooth cadium yellow light wash
    for my overall positive disposition,
    drips of laughter in bright primary colors,
    and kindness in a smear of warm coppery burnt sienna.
    Apply grand chunky daubs of cerulean blue happiness
    with sprinkles of fluorescent pink blessings
    of family and friends.
    Have thin wiry lines of curiosity transverse the canvas
    in many vibrant colors
    that will be complimentary
    to the creative splotches
    sponged in liberally.
    Make sharp edged points of intelligence
    in a strong, rich ultramarine blue
    and wispy dreams for the future
    in titanium white swirls.
    Add eggshells, sand, and salt for texture
    to represent the rough times I have endured,
    drops of naphthol crimson for the pain,
    and spatterings of yellow ochre for my ugliness:
    vile thoughts for others and self-destruction.
    Complete with viridian,
    my dark depression,
    that slashes across everything
    in thick, broad strokes
    of the palette knife.

  39. Aberdeen Lane

    permutations
    endemic brooding
    obscurities
    gambling with limbo

    layers
    crossed wires
    apparitions
    menacing the angels

    polymathic
    nayward ways
    synesthetic
    theorizing rebel

  40. nmbell

    Self Portrait

    In my heart I am still sixteen
    All grown up, at least in my own mind
    My world is taken up with horses
    And riding through the Rouge River valley

    Though the years have travelled on
    I can still name every horse in the barn
    In those long ago days
    I can still ride the myriad trails
    In winter and in summer

    I know where the river course has changed
    Where the hollow tree stump
    Presides over the fairy pool at the end of Mosquito Alley
    Where the apple blossoms glow ghostly in the moonlight
    Below Spy Glass Hill, even though the Glen Eagles
    No longer perches on the ridge

    In my heart I am still that young woman
    With the whole world before me, holding destiny in my hands
    You, who never knew me then,
    See only the lines in my face and the calluses on my hands
    Glance past the bright blonde hair now gone silver in the sun

    Few of you will look past the limp and the cane
    And recognize the spirit unchanged with the passage of the seasons
    In my heart I am forever young
    And so I will be forever

    Nancy Bell 2014

  41. Catherine Lee

    Contradictions

    Contradictions are at war in me.
    Their bugle calls and drum tattoos
    are my reveille to take arms
    against the duality inside
    this theater of east and west.
    Battle lines and scars advance
    upon my skin to commemorate
    the places where blood was spilled.

  42. seingraham

    AN EXTRA IN MY LIFE

    Listen, I am in the middle of a stage-play
    of my own life
    And some days I am the director and others
    I am the star
    Truth be told though, most days I live on
    the periphery; I feel like an extra in my life
    Go where I’m asked to go, stay where I’m meant to stay,
    hidden in the shadows with the props
    I usually only come out for the crowd scenes
    When and where, I can get easily lost amongst the hoi polloi
    I find myself wondering when this happened, or, if it’s
    always been this way
    Have I always wanted to be one of the unnoticed ones
    Or, is this a relatively recent development
    It doesn’t really matter; as the kids are fond of saying,
    It just is what it is…and I’m good with it.

  43. Kevin D Young

    WHAT SUPERMAN SEES

    What does Superman see above the sink
    first thing in the morning, before that X-ray
    vision thing gets under control? Probably the TV
    in the guest suite (across the hall, past the living

    room, beyond the kitchen) where his wife’s
    sister and her husband left it on all night, the screen
    saver blinking lazily from one pixilation to another.
    Maybe, after he finds the faucet and splashes a hand

    full of water into his face, maybe, after the X-regulator
    grumbles well enough into place, he sees, suspended
    in the mirror, the usual death’s head skull looking black-eyed
    back, the day’s first routine horror hoving to. Better that

    than Freud, probably. His face freshed with all
    that water, all that amniotic fluid that buoyed
    those fetal fears that flushed and followed him
    out, or his father’s emissions before even that. Or

    Darwin, through whose bristled beard runs the drops
    of ancient ponds and seas, basting every future race
    in a soupçon of dire possibilities and death. But then
    Whitman’s Learnéd Astronomer! Before him the banging

    moment so brief it beggers lightning, which now, suspended
    febrile in like minds, tricks long, drawn-out fusillades
    of nervy incantation throughout those brains rained
    from the dust of stars. My rusty razor tells me any

    will slit my throat.

  44. SugarMagnolia

    Self Portrait

    Painting a picture of me
    One may be inclined to spend a lot time on my curly hair
    Or try to get the exact color of my hazel eyes
    Capture my smile at that moment when it shines brightest
    But the picture could never show the heart beating inside me
    Or the fractured soul that yearns to be healed
    It fails to express the chaos that has set up permanent residence in my mind
    If only the portrait could tell a story

  45. k_weber

    A Poem Feet-Width

    “She’s as beautiful as a foot
    She heard someone say, the other day”

    – “She’s As Beautiful As A Foot”, Blue Oyster Cult

    To see the real me
    you need to turn me
    over at the ankles.
    The bottoms of my feet
    are thick and my skin
    is hard layers. It’s all
    the wandering; so much
    pressure. “It tasted
    just like a fallen arch.”
    So many cracks in me, but
    there is a softness. I request
    a grating, cathartic loofah
    that scours my soles
    and brings flakes
    as distinct as a flesh-
    toned snowstorm.
    I’ve filed away the hurt
    of being in this body
    and began buffing out the blemish.
    “Don’t put your tongue
    on the bloody tooth mark place.”
    If I can or can’t help
    who’s gnawing every callous
    or sucking at the Achilles’
    or wasting my teeth
    and just keep walking
    and just brush the last
    of the dead skin away
    I will and I may kick
    and gnash back.

    — k weber

  46. KiManou

    Self Portrait

    calla lilies, lotus flower
    impressed on her body
    tells the story of a phenomenal lady
    who holds wonder in her eyes
    can you see?
    she is thirsty for the unbelievable, the unknown
    the moist pink of her lips mouthing the question:
    do you know me?
    her pulse beats longevity
    in her palm lies peace
    her fragile frame and small breasts
    inhale to exhale power to her people
    the insignia of birthed life scars her belly
    like train tracks to a deep under…valley
    between her legs a tunnel
    of possibilities, nations, generations
    her seeds will serve all creation
    blessed are her calloused feet
    indifferent to continental glaciers
    burnt terra-cotta
    she will pave the way
    she is unstoppable
    she is incredible
    a force unrestrained in her birthright
    she is a Goddess
    she is me

    eMinor

    1. k_weber

      this poem just keeps gaining powerful momentum with each line. the imagery of the train tracks is so perfect… i have never heard someone refer to stretchmarks this way before. then the tunnel… the different ways woman give birth to human life and ideas… by the end of this poem is the realization that this isn’t just anyone you are writing about… it’s you. enjoyed this so much.

  47. robinamelia

    Traits

    My smirky smile is on my father’s lips,
    in his photo, and in his father’s too.
    Thin-lipped folk.

    Round cheeks, though, from my mother’s side.
    You can see them now on my cousin’s daughter,
    moon faced child.

    But my widow’s peak is untraceable.
    Perhaps a trait that doesn’t get passed on
    but only appears at the end of the line.

    Robin Amelia Morris

  48. larrywlawrence

    FINDING MYSELF

    Sometimes I go days without looking in the mirror.
    I get a good look when I decide it’s time to shave.
    In front of the sink, shake the can of Edge, lather up-
    I wonder when the wrinkles start, been lucky so far.
    My left eye, no- right eye is bloodshot again, stress?

    Notice more white hairs than dark, there’s a blemish.
    A few spots here and there, never had them before.
    My wife insists I should go and get them checked out.
    I look tired after a full night of sleep and why does hair
    grow faster in my nose, ears, on the back of my neck?

    Somewhere between the last razor stroke and splashing
    on the cold water, I remember the friend from college
    who always joked about having a Talking Heads moment
    while shaving. All of a sudden you stop, stare at the mirror
    and say “You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

  49. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Self-Portrait – I paint myself in hats

    Baby Bonnet, daddy’s little girl,

    Riding Helmet, never got that pony,

    Bridal Veil, no to avail,

    Mom, nurse, chauffeur, maid cap,

    Every Hat, small business owner,

    Floppy Hat, my Joplin side,

    Ball Cap, walk the dog,

    Grandmother, a new hat,

    Baby Bonnet, pink or blue?

  50. theDolphin

    She. I. She.
    a.k.a. The Paradox

    I am the tigress.
    I am the Eye.
    All Mind, all Heart,
    Ephemeral and Eternal,
    Spiritual, Physical
    Innocent and Sexual,
    Soft and yielding
    But also hard as iron.
    I’m a slob and I’m a lady,
    I’m a mother, I’m a baby,
    I am Gratitude and Greed
    I am Giving, I am Need.
    I’m a lover and a fighter
    And when called for, I’m a biter.
    And I am yours,
    but Baby, best believe that
    I’m still mine.

  51. Penny Henderson

    ESSENCE

    I am six, running with the wind.
    I am twelve, stirring muffins, spewing dust.
    I am eighteen, dancing in gold lame.
    I smile at my newborn, pain pushed back.
    I chart the course of a growing business.
    I stand on Cashel’s consecrated crest,
    lifting my life with spattered, crinkled hands,
    and offering it to God.

  52. grcran

    Self-portrait: Rusty, I am…
    By gpr “rusty” crane

    Part 1: Grumpy Old Man
    My yellowcat Nemo knows me one way
    My daughter another, her six-week-old daughter, my only grandchild, maybe knows me by smell, by now
    My friends know me too
    And because I am right out there
    Direct
    What they know is who I am
    And I do know myself
    I don’t like me much, sometimes, but continue to love, anyway
    Ready to die
    Or not
    Maybe more the former than the latter
    Which is perhaps appropriate, considering
    At age 61, I’m well past halfway there

    Part 2: Young and Clever
    When people ask me, “How are you?” I take it that they might wanna know who I am instead,
    At that moment
    So I think about it
    I’ve thought about it
    And my favorite reply used to be, “Old and grumpy,” and I still use it some, get some laughs, some pity.
    But then I came up with, “Young and clever.”
    It helps, a little, when you’re sixty-one.
    When you can’t climb the mountains you usedta could.
    When, increasingly, you can’t remember why you came into a room or what you wanted at the store.
    When, no it’s not ageism, but no sir, we can’t use you.
    When you outlive two spouses but no longer have any idea how to date, never did, actually.
    When your life feels like déjà vu for days at a time
    When your life feels like a black hole
    And so, I’ve learned to take a leap
    Call myself young and clever
    And, sometimes, I still am.
    And sometimes I’m just Rusty.

  53. Anya Padyam

    Auto portrait

    I sit to paint a picture,
    Of me, in my element,
    Long gaping at the canvas,
    No ideas seem to cement.

    A female, I am, I conclude,
    Do I owe me any props?
    Is there the ideal mix,
    Of the gains and the flops?

    Successful, I decide to add,
    Generous all the way,
    Intangibles, I list many,
    But, how do I portray?

    A briefcase, do I depict
    Or money illustrate?
    Kids and husband in tow,
    Joy, does it demonstrate?

    While I ponder over these,
    The blankness stares back,
    In the nothingness, I settle
    I am an unfinished abstract.

  54. Zeenie

    self portrait at noon

    Looking in the mirror
    is like looking through the belly
    of a poorly-wired clock –

    wheels and wires wound
    tighter with every tick, every beat
    signaling a continuation of time;

    but a clock’s careless construction
    needs fixing before it can yell
    out twelve o’clock – and mean it.

    I am not supposed to be
    a junk-nest for broken
    springs and stolen parts.

  55. keepkeepingmesane

    Light-Sensitive

    By Jeremy Johnson

    Mirrors and rivers reveal no depth
    only light-sensitive surface colors.
    Personality is a cocktail of neuro-chemicals
    shaken in various environments,
    (also light-sensitive).
    so who cares? Especially if who I am
    can be manipulated by weightless shadow.
    That’s not me.

    A dog yips a thousand miles away
    against semis and slamming doors, weather,
    running toilets, and screaming spouses.
    My one-year-old son looks up at me
    eyes agleam and whispers, “… Pup-og…”
    And that’s not me either,
    but it’s damned close.

  56. skanet

    Window treatments give me pause
    Make me think about who I want to be
    I am not a valence.

    Like a housewife
    I am not a floral or vertically striped like
    An old woman, or a homemaker
    But sheer…

    I could be sheer and delicate like a leaf seen from below
    Or dark and heavy like the stormy sea
    A horizontal stripe would lead to being breezy
    Like a life well-earned and full of family

    Bright? No. Bright would never do in a library.
    And if I am anything, I am a library
    But a dusty one? A grand one?
    Rex Harrison and tweed coats?
    All spiral staircases and rolling ladders
    Or mysterious and inscrutable like a book of runes?
    Dusty and half-forgotten, but ready to be found.

    Window treatments make me wonder
    What kind of person I would be
    If I were most myself

  57. drwasy

    My Inner Selfie

    If my smart phone
    was smart enough to pierce
    the silly blond container of me,
    my selfie would reveal two
    hemispheres, one shrunken
    and gray spouting facts and statistics,
    logic and reason—the things
    that served as bread-and-butter
    for my first fifty years.

    But the right hemisphere
    would blind with its beauty,
    a Technicolor mushroom cloud
    of wonder wafting bliss
    and peace and passion,
    the important stuffs of now—
    poems unfurling
    from my synapses,
    a symphony.

  58. Rolf Erickson

    How to Paint

    Inside I’m still that little boy
    running barefoot in the backyard
    under fruit trees and blue skies.

    The cherries are ripe
    and I climb the tallest tree
    sitting on a high branch
    hidden by the leaves
    plucking deep ruby gems
    and spitting with pursed lips
    single pits that drop
    ever downward.

    I roam the stubbled field
    where moles moan and
    my friend Donald whistles
    at the corner of the fence
    and the compost rots
    so gracefully in its bin.

    I am free to be a boy
    and discover what it means
    to have a body in a world
    of shapes and forms
    and wants and wonders.

    There was never anything else
    and maybe never will be.

    How to paint this picture
    so faithfully that perhaps
    someone somewhere
    just might understand?

  59. joanne.elizabeth

    “I am”

    Trying to serve the human race
    Running at a hectic pace
    Always longing for more space
    Deepening the lines upon my face
    Journeying by truth and grace
    Following the great I Am

    -Joanne Edgington Henning

  60. danceoftheletters

    Self Portrait

    Who is looking—and with eyes or heart?

    And what if that which is seen cannot be described,
    except perhaps by a sigh long as the trail of light
    wonder leaves when it collides with flesh and bone

    A head is no small miracle, you know—sculpted shell
    harboring sacred orbs that receive and give light
    as naturally as the earth opens her mouth to sweet rain

    The neck, slender and tenuous pillar balancing globe of head
    seated on a throne of sinew and bone. Posturing as captain,
    mind forgets it is not really in charge, persists at the helm

    Purposeful torso connects limbs that reach and flow like
    tributaries towards their source—a source not out there
    but in where the eternal spring reveals itself in flashes of insight.

    Fingers and toes dance like stars in space made infinite by
    Imagination. My body becomes unexplored terrain
    as mind lets go its tether to pain.

    Ground beneath my feet swallows me whole (fear
    Included). What’s left in the end, reflected in the mirror
    of my heart: a smile. Like a luminous bowl open to catch sky.

    Miracles have become as ordinary as milk. Every cell,
    my breath and blood sing hallelujahs. My organs
    throw parties I feel not see. Laughter abounds.

    Ani Tuzman

  61. Mywordwall

    SELF-PORTRAIT

    I am no taller than a mushroom
    I wear a faded wispy crown
    God painted me milk and java
    baked under the equatorial sun

    I see through chocolate pools
    resting on a soggy oval plain
    that often spouts gibberish
    whenever the full moon reigns

    My flower is Impatiens
    I am never-ending war
    But blessed is he who married me –
    for him, sainthood isn’t a distant star.

    ~ Imelda Santore

  62. foodpoet

    I am 301698-2 ¾
    Three days of work to do in one
    0 memories remaining
    1 minutes of peace to write
    6 or more emails always remaining
    9 rushes to finish
    8 follow ups

    2 ¾ years before retirement

    I am 301698-2 ¾…

    Megan McDonald

  63. d dyson

    How very strange,
    to spend so much time viewing others
    to then turn the eye boxes
    around and inward.

    Spending so much time viewing others,
    I see myself as foreign,
    a round and inward
    creature, pale, forever searching.

    I see myself as foreign,
    grasping for colour; a creative
    creature, pale, forever searching,
    speaking in riddles to find insight.

    How very strange,
    to then turn the eye boxes around and inward.

  64. PatsC

    Disclosure

    The school essays,
    How did you spend your summer vacation?
    What makes you special?
    What do you want to be when you grow up?

    The college interviews,
    Who has most influenced your life?
    Why are you interested in our college?
    How do you define success?

    The college blue book,
    What was most revolutionary about the American Revolution?
    What was Darwin’s influence on Capitalism.
    What is the allegory of the cave meant to illustrate?

    The job interview,
    Are you overqualified for this job?
    Why should we hire you?
    What are your salary requirements?

    Questions posed by others,
    A glimpse into the mind,
    The heart of reason,
    The soul of my meaning.

    Answer carefully to protect,
    The essence of intellect,
    The nobility of spirit.
    The stillness within.

  65. lina

    self-portrait

    i am a planter of apple trees,
    an Irish solder at Antietam,
    a settler in the far north
    walking a snowfield
    to stake my claim.
    i am a banker opening
    a vault in Jersey City
    and a girl, watching Smyrna burn.
    i have been marched to
    the hills by the communists,
    stood over slaves,
    planting rice on the sea islands,
    sewn quilts,
    piled bricks,
    captained ships,
    delivered babies,
    given birth.
    i have been there,
    seen everything,
    known nothing.
    i have planted apple trees.

  66. Laura Romero

    Making Me
    -Laura Romero

    A battle rages within
    Emotions run deep
    And scars crisscross
    My body like a road map.
    Each mark tells a story
    From childhood accidents
    To planned adult ventures.
    Children and stretch marks,
    Surgeries and falls,
    Broken hearts and bruised egos.
    All the things you cannot see and more
    Are the things that make me.

    I Am…
    -Laura Romero

    I am a mother, a storyteller, a nanny,
    a wet nurse, a boo boo kisser, a pack mule,
    a monster killer, a super hero, a chef,
    a chauffeur, an encyclopedia, a dictionary,
    homework checker, fact checker,
    a dream creator, an inspiration, always encouraging,
    a wife, a lover, a best friend, an enemy,
    a devil’s advocate, indecisive, pensive,
    generous, secretive, hilarious, ingenious,
    infamous, sexy, a daughter, a sister, a lady,
    a butt kicker, strong, determined, willful,
    stubborn, smart, tender, romantic, creative,
    mindful, cute, nice, a volunteer, nostalgic,retro,
    a lover of words, and in a love/hate relationship
    with my body. I am a woman.
    I am me.

  67. jsmadge

    Under the Radar

    Married woman slouching toward fifty
    Enjoys Anthony Trollope, pickled ginger,
    And walks on the beach in January,
    When it’s blowing like stink.
    Unavailable on Facebook, Instagram,
    Pinterest and Twitter; has no farm
    Animals, electronic or otherwise.
    Lives in cogitation; can’t say
    Enough about privacy. Wears
    An invisible burka: no cell phone.

    Jo Steigerwald

  68. Autumn

    I’m a Shadow

    Eyes of a rainforest,
    Set in soft skin like cream,
    My hair falls around my face like autumn.
    I’m tempted to connect the dots
    That freckle my face.

    But I know better.

    This is not me,
    But a mere shadow
    Of what I will be.

    This is just a seed,
    And when I’m laid to rest,
    I will grow into my self,
    My perfect self.

    Until then,
    This page shall remain blank.

  69. sharon4

    Self portrait with Tenth grade class taking a Vocabulary Quiz
    ~Sharon Fagan McDermott

    Rough morning. New pup couldn’t sleep, kept me up most of the night,
    finally, just as I sank into rest, my phone alarm plays cellos in my dream.
    It’s dark; I’m up. Pup on walk, I’m staggering
    through drizzle, spring, dark daffodils, dark crocci.
    Black and white pup startles at the first bus exhaling down the road,
    skittish, skittish–tries to run me home. But we move on.
    and he won’t do his business; this becomes an obsessive thing
    for new dog owners—and pup barely sniffs the grass, shepherds me
    back to the yard where he picks up a stick and starts chewing. I’m exhausted,
    irked, have to get ready for school. And now here I am, in the classroom
    wearing an old rose sweater, worn to cheer me as rain slips down
    our windows. Can’t remember if I brushed my hair—did I put earrings
    on today? I’m delighted by the quiet of the room, as students
    strain to recall: sartorial, timorous, quell, truculent
    The good noise of pencil on paper. Only a little sound of car tires
    splashing through puddles outside on Morewood Avenue.
    I’m worn out from serving others, worn out from late night grading,
    puppy insomnia, afterschool meetings, last cold vestiges of winter
    blowing in my face before sunrise. I feel crated, caged, confined,
    without a dance left in me. But watching boys and girls immersed
    in language: Limpid, Stippled, Bliss for this half hour, no need to call
    forth energy on my part, just to watch their beautiful young faces
    take a quiz they’ll long forget when they are as old as me, this slice
    of calm, this April reprieve. That girl’s long black hair falls upon her
    quiz; that boy’s furrowed brow, as he gazes at the mottled sky
    seeking answers..

  70. Mokosh28

    Mirror Witness

    I see myself in the bones
    of your suffering, my hair
    in the gray embroidery of your
    pillow even though I
    brush it every evening and once
    a month wash in the dye.

    Pain shatters like a mirror
    slipped from shaking hands and
    reforms the way rain does
    into rivers rippling in caricature
    faces. Is this how I

    seem to you? At one remove
    while you clench for the next
    assault? Still, my place
    is here. I count pills in
    pearl or barnacle, mix elixirs, call
    to schedule the next futile
    treatment. When I look again

    you have fallen asleep and our faces
    slacken in unison, configure anew
    into each other’s, breathing through
    our mouths as though enough
    has been resembled.

  71. mrs.mjbauer

    The Teacher Who Laughs
    by Mary Bauer

    I am the teacher who laughs
    And my students laugh with me
    Because learning should be fun
    Not this scripted curriculum
    Not that box of materials
    Come,
    Let’s do an experiment
    Let’s read under our desks
    Let’s write poems of silliness
    Childhood is too important
    To only learn how to take tests

  72. BezBawni

    Selfie in a More Tranditional Way. Or not.

    I thought a self-portrait would be easy.
    I take a pencil and draw my outline,
    and suddenly – eyes too big, hair too cheesy.
    I erase my nose, have some wine,
    start over.

    I take a red felt pen to fill my lips;
    it’s dry and only smears awkwardly.
    I try a ball-pen and find out it drips
    one or two drops too late, like I bleed.
    Give over?

    Pissed off, I take crayons, draw a sun,
    orange flowers strewn over an endless field;
    I draw winds and streams that run
    across mighty deserts; I build
    bridges and cute bungalows on the very edge
    of cliffs, I paint them bright and dreamy;
    I take a step back to admire the sketch
    and think to myself, “Finally, me.”

    _______
    by Lucretia Amstell

  73. Michele Brenton

    Self portrait.

    “I will never fill this void,”
    so why did I try?
    Years of striving,
    questioning,
    analysing
    self-examination.
    Probing round the edges,
    not gazing directly
    into the void
    because I knew,
    everybody knows,
    it is permanent, inexhaustible,
    indomitable.

    And there we have the twist
    because as long as we don’t look
    we think it is a void
    and avoid the realisation:
    the permanence,
    inexhaustibility,
    indomitability,
    is no chasm of emptiness
    but a well of power
    from which everything
    we need originates.

    Michele Brenton 8th April 2014

  74. Jaywig

    Day 7 a self-portrait poem

    The Mystery of Identity

    The doll in the stroller is African.
    I have made sure she is well-rugged up
    in this cold air. She stares at strangers
    with that naked naïve curiosity
    all children the world over have.
    When they are not too hungry.

    Twenty-two years later I listen
    to expatriate children fling insults
    and swear in three languages.
    I watch the universal dialects
    of acceptance and exclusion
    produce the expected results.

    “Centuries ago,” she says. “You
    were a slave.” I think I probably
    died on the voyage if that’s so.
    I have no memory of being owned.
    I am one of this era’s independent
    women. That’s all I know.

  75. ianchandler

    6:25 A.M.

    Cetyl fragments from my hair
    in the not-yet of cool wisp
    that opens up pieces of the world

    At this time I gaze at a skin-mole,
    selcouth in its amber residence,
    feel the strangled itch of organic brush

    and a latent flame to move in wild,
    burning only because I was set afire
    years ago. What color the fire burns,

    I don’t know. Maybe this is not cetyl
    but sand, and maybe I am suited for the
    beach after all, diving boards so slim

    and glassed-over cry so loud, it almost
    hurts to think about the skin on their
    stomachs. Was equality greater

    than a sense of filling in the last
    slot on a maple bookshelf? Kick,
    slant, and shout from the timbers

    of your lungs and see what answers
    back. I know I did. While you found
    the crowd’s tsunami, wild in the

    wind, I found a small handful of
    coffee clay, perfectly formed. I now
    know I could never rainbow myself

    on a seabrow, and I now know that
    this is indeed cetyl in my scalp, but I
    also know that neither of those things

    matter.

  76. Winter-Rose

    I will never be ‘that’ woman, the ideal on the magazine,
    The girl in the commercial who always gets what she wants, because she’s the future
    (unless she starves to death before that).

    It does not matter that I’m aware how sick the ideal is, that I openly discuss it and express my opinion,
    (the images still haunts me).
    My thighs will always rub against each other,
    my waist will never be two hands wide,
    my hair does not defy gravity, it falls short and flat,
    my hands are big, my nails uneven,
    (Do you know why guys like girls with small hands?)
    my tan uneven, my belly button a line,
    and my silhouette has curves where there ought to be none.
    A short tight skirt is never the solution, just looks pathetic,
    I cannot walk in heels all night, and my feet are too big for that kind of shoes anyway.

    I can act like a lady but choose not to be,
    I swear and say what’s on my mind,
    I tell you when I’m good at something, admit my knowledge,
    I dare be offended if you only see me like a woman, or excludes me because of my sex.

    And worst of all: my goal in life is not to get married, take care of my husband and give birth to his children,
    (I might not even want any of those at all!)

    Thank Goddess I will never be ‘that’ woman.

  77. Jaleese Nicole

    I am not
    me missing you.
    I am not
    my failed attempts at being strong.
    I am not
    the broken reflection I tend to always see.
    I am not
    lost, never to be found.

    I am
    me learning to be ok alone.
    I am
    my successful times of being weak.
    I am
    only bent not broken.
    I am
    getting there.
    I am
    trying.
    I am
    being human.
    I am
    living.
    -Jaleese Nicole, I am

  78. FaerieTalePoet

    Selfie

    I am more comfortable
    in dresses than pants
    and jeans are only for
    snow days and horseback riding.
    You will find me
    hips hugged by a skirt
    rather than hip huggers.
    Pretty in pink or rather
    purple, the color that flatters
    most skin tones.

    I am more comfortable
    skin to skin with women
    whether cis or trans
    butch or femme
    I prefer them to men
    find macho displays
    a turn-off not a turn-on
    and the only centerfold
    you’ll ever find me in
    is a poetry magazine.

    I am more comfortable
    outside the box than in.
    My tears flow freely
    whether joyful or depressed
    thus crybaby was a common taunt
    thrown at me across the playground.

    I am more comfortable
    on stage at a poetry slam
    than drink in hand at a party.
    And this geek girl
    would rather play games
    that involve rolling dice
    than tossing balls.
    I carry poems in my pockets
    and a kindle in my purse.
    And when I see someone
    with a book in hand
    I have to bite my tongue
    to keep from asking
    “What are you reading?”

    I am more comfortable
    watching teen dramas than
    cop shows and prefer
    sit-coms to cartoons.
    I grew up on my little ponies
    and yes nowadays you may find me
    hanging with some bronies.

    My Facebook feed is filled
    with game invites and affirmations
    friends from college and the geek club
    George Takei and Whovians
    it links to Netflix and Goodreads.
    But my relationship status reads
    engaged so if you thought
    this poem sounds like
    a profile on a dating site
    sorry but you’re just too late
    because this girl’s taken.

    Dana A. Campbell

  79. AugustHead

    Self-Portrait
    Where do I find myself? In the reflection
    that does not match the face I feel I inhabit?
    In the body that fights my desires and keeps me
    contained in my imperfections? Perhaps
    those imperfections are me, a story
    I wish to disown. Between my words
    could be where I reside, those cramped
    sentences all squashed together to hinder
    another’s reading of me and my thoughts.
    My wishes feel more solidly me, as I
    strive towards that future self who’s free
    from all the things that others use
    to make me.

  80. briehuling

    April 7, 2014

    Day 7

    Self-Portrait (in honey)

    I am the honey farmer’s babygirl
    my reflection disappearing.

    I am the stingless bee
    bee with gentle wings
    bumble bee
    breezy bee
    best friend bee
    lady bee
    white-windows flutter from my segmented body bee
    nectar sweet like do it to me on the table bee
    bee bee bee
    bravado(less) bee
    loner bee
    loves a good boner bee
    not afraid of a perfect rhyme bee
    too scared to commit bee
    bluegrass party girl bee
    tell me all your secrets bee
    I’m allergic to the pollen that feeds me bee
    ah-chooo
    get high on local honey bee
    yoga bee
    student of the universe bee
    buzz bee buzz
    long distance relationship bee
    google my pets’ symptomatology instead of going to the vet bee
    travel and put it on my credit card bee
    afraid of the beekeeper bee
    don’t take no beeswax from no one unless I love them and fail to draw boundaries bee
    love me bee

    Fly me to the mirror inside your glittering hive,
    show me my antennae. Bee.

    by Brie Huling

  81. EbenAt

    Who am I?
    That’s a loaded
    question.

    I’m a genuine
    Jack of all Trades,
    Master of a few.
    a Rennaisance Dude,
    I reckon.

    I cook,
    tie my own flies,
    build a mean axe
    and pick some,
    to boot.

    I’ll prune your fruit trees,
    name that species,
    Write ya a sonnet
    and croon that tune.

    I’m not shy,
    nor quiet,
    don’t like crowds,
    can chill with the best.

    I’ve read that,
    ain’t seen that new show,
    got no idea who’s hot;
    I don’t miss much.

    I was an idiot
    in my younger days;
    still am,
    but less so.

    I grow older
    sure enough,
    but I’ll likely never
    grow up.

  82. Scott Jacobson

    A LOOK INSIDE

    Looking into my pupils I see two ticking time bombs
    each set for a different time period. My tongue – a swiss
    army knife ready to cut, open, and screw
    just about anything. I am missing all my wisdom
    teeth, so I make a lot of poor decisions. The nine
    inch nails in my shoulder balance my anxiety
    for talking with my need to connect with you.
    I carry my livers in every pocket, I never know
    when I will need a replacement. My heart
    is enlarged with its hidden feelings for you.
    It beats irregularly an SOS signal. My hands
    are huge and calloused. My legs are strong.
    I lift the world up every morning before
    I drop it on the ground. Inside my skull
    is a tiny reptile eating a rose petal
    and I think he likes you.

  83. Margie Fuston

    In the Louvre with Rembrandt’s Selfie

    Rembrandt’s face holds my gaze
    for a moment.
    Briefly, I wonder how long
    it took to capture that shadow,
    hugging the bottom of his eyes,
    the slight sag of his chin and cheeks,
    the droop of his eyes,
    more pronounced in the left,
    the curve of his fingers holding the brush.

    I pull out my smartphone,
    checking for security as I hold
    my arm out from my face,
    curve my finger towards
    my quick form of art and click.
    I take a selfie with Rembrandt’s selfie
    and add it to a hundred more on Instagram.
    I wonder how many he did.

  84. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 7
    4-7-14

    Write a self-portrait poem.

    Lighthearted Reflection
    “Life’s too mysterious; don’t take it serious.” — Mary Engelbreit, artist

    Nose slightly upturned,
    formerly thought snobby
    because she was shy,
    girl in the mirror–

    in her sixties still spry–
    laughs when her daughter
    says, “You shouldn’t wear this;”
    retorts, “Let me be the judge of that.”

    She’s not stick-thin like the seventh
    grade her, but bread and nutella become
    her enough. She feels fabulous Grandmom,
    writer authentic, reader voracious,

    domestic goddess fraud. Yet Thanksgiving
    brings enough praise to last till next,
    and the family’s not vexed,
    if there’s carryout or Steam-fresh and stir-fry.

    She covers the gray but not the age,
    dances in her kitchen,
    reads the Bible page,
    and knows the next breath is as gifted as sky.

  85. Astrid Egger

    Wanting so much and wanting more

    I want to stare danger in the face,
    butting heads with the reverse
    image, but most days my eyes
    pass over the blobs of rosaceae
    covering my cheeks -strangely
    like my mother’s-
    and baby fine hair styled
    to fit under a bicycle helmet.

    And shout out that I have
    lost my teenage heroic self
    to frequent moves and
    discarded diaries;
    replaying my outgoing message
    with this slightly inflected voice,
    I have resolved to bring it down
    by at least a decibel.

    A wise choice for an introvert
    and I am patient for the better
    part of our conversations,
    until I can feel her creeping in,
    the youngest child, frantically
    waving her arms as if to say
    wait for me; wanting so much
    and wanting more.

  86. tbell

    Self-Portrait

    A woman who has forgotten
    who she is, perhaps never
    knew until this taking up
    of brush and truth she
    could paint
    herself

    anything
    other
    than
    a
    puppet
    on
    a
    string
    to
    please

    had no idea that frequent
    tiny twitch behind her
    blind right eye
    is rage.

    Copyright © TD Bell
    All Rights Reserved

  87. Stephanie Geckle

    I am sitting on my daddy’s shoulders
    out in the backyard on a summer day,
    Cypress, Texas, 1983. 
    My little arms are squeezing,
    tying a knot around his head.
    I am terrified. 
    Not caring to see over the fence.
    Even the thick green blades of grass wince 
    beneath his giant feet (so far down)
    and shout, “Put her back on the ground!”

  88. Linda Hatton

    Self-Portrait

    I am letters rearranged in countless
    combinations. I am still life of The Scream
    with fruit. I am watercolor instead of sketch.
    I am taut-stretched seams of secret
    pockets. I am globs of paint with no
    instruction. I am mountain peaks
    and carrot tops. I am metal detector
    built of fleshy heart. I am inedible carets
    and ampersands. I am search-and-rescue
    for drought-plagued worms. I am a hot iron
    leaving no impression. I am blown away,
    weightless, like love’s heartfelt wishes
    on dandelion seeds, forgotten
    once out of sight.

    -Linda G Hatton

  89. silencebreaksyourheart

    I am my father’s daughter,
    who wished she was his son,
    to be perceived as inherently
    strong and valued just like him.

    I am my mother’s daughter,
    who fears not living up to the
    standards of being a woman
    like her, powerful in her own right.

    I am my brother’s sister,
    who pokes and prods but
    ever with a heart to make him
    better and to make him laugh.

    I am my father’s daughter,
    who dreams of battles and
    has already fought them in
    the fields of the heart and mind.

    I am my mother’s daughter,
    who cannot help the desire of
    freedom over staying home,
    who has wanderlust.

    I am my sisters’ sister,
    the middle of them but
    the strong core that acts
    as a compass when storms come.

    I am my brother’s sister,
    who always wanted to be
    just like him in every way,
    who thinks it impossible.

    I am me, a contradiction
    but my own creation of
    war and of love, of healing,
    of hopes, of dreams, of life.

    -S. Monahan
    All Rights Reserved

  90. Shell

    Self Portrait
    By Shell Ochsner

    I am me.
    Whatever that means.
    Take me for who I am,
    or not at all.
    In strong arms,
    I will not fall.
    I feel too much
    I like a rush.

    Hopeless romanticism
    this I crave.
    Admit it not,
    stubborn and brave.
    Silly at times,
    Serious too often.
    Loneliness is hard to soften.

    Love much,
    Eat much,
    Drink much.
    Pray not enough.

    Complicated yet,
    easily satisfies.
    All I ask,
    Truth not lies.

  91. brandonspeck

    self portrait at twenty four

    at twenty-four my full-time job
    includes rolling my eyes at
    people who talk about the future
    but always speak in the past-tense.

    I’m doing my best
    to not talk like a half-read dictionary.
    I speak less, but with sharpened arrows
    aimed at a yawning false-nostalgia.

    I have monkey-wrenched fists
    stuck between yesterday and tomorrow
    trying to leverage my voice into today.
    I am 24 and my voice has no future.

    //brandon speck

  92. hohlwein

    In my yoga practice
    I am supposed to look at myself.
    For 90 minutes – to focus on myself.

    Of all the things I do
    kick, pull, stretch, rest, twist, breathe,
    rock, sit up, be still, lengthen, reach

    by far the hardest is to look at myself.

    What kind of face is that?
    Where did that come from?

    I don’t like it

    If I’m honest
    I don’t like it

    She looks humorless
    and the features vanish
    in a flat, fleshy field.

    I forgive that face its redness
    The dull, pulled back hair
    the effort
    or the opening mouth.

    But why is it the hardest thing
    to look just look at myself?

    I can look somewhere else.
    At my clavicle.

    At my ear.
    At him – that’s better.

    I will try again tomorrow
    to just look at this person.

    To keep looking.
    To notice that we breathe
    at exactly the same time.

    to reach

    and to love her
    for her breath.
    as we do
    I can see
    have that in common.

  93. Alaska Christina

    Me, Myself and I

    On the third Tuesday of every month I leap from beneath the covers
    dancing and playing and swirling
    as the ever-changing light plays its peek-a-boo games through the blinds.
    The innocence of childlike bliss fills me
    my feet wandering through the moments
    as they pass minutes to hours.

    On this grey Monday I hover beneath the warm flannel sheets
    groaning and twisting and waiting
    as the shadows throw themselves against the walls.
    Melancholy leans its weight upon my shoulders
    my breath narrowing to brief inhalations
    as they shallow reflect and pause.

    On Thursday afternoons my light and dark embrace,
    flirting and touching and dancing
    as the hardwood floor creaks and sighs to their frenzied tango.
    Windows fly open and shutters swing on their hinges
    my fingers bounding across faded piano keys
    as they wrestle me to myself.

  94. Yerma Skyflower

    Self-portrait

    I am made of blue paint,
    All of me, different shades.

    My hair, waves of the Gulf
    Of Mexico. My eyes are coconuts.

    My blood is orange juice the color
    Of blueberries. I have wings

    That no one can see except for me—
    They’re a sad blue. They droop—

    They’ve almost lost their shimmer.
    Each day I become thinner because

    I’m wasting away. Each time I see
    A baby I can’t eat until the next time

    I wake up. I think mothers are lucky
    Because they get to be green. Their cells

    Scream of life. They help others thrive.
    They are jungles of love where

    I am a desert of empty. I am the dunes
    Before the water of the beach,

    Blowing all over, no point,
    Just riding the wind.

    My skin is dry beneath the harsh light
    Of a Florida sun. One day if I have a son

    Or a daughter they can teach me
    To not be so blue.

  95. youarehome

    -Self-Portrait-

    This is what I know: There are rooftops
    that know what leaving means better than my
    shoulders, and still
    they stand up straight in the rain. I am all elbows
    and knees and tripping over myself every time I try
    to speak, tell me how to open
    doors without knocking
    first. There are four seasons
    each year, but I forget what light means
    for three of them. I’m getting a tattoo of a globe
    so I can remember that it’s permanent, this
    world, that it spins on a crooked axis, even when
    I haven’t moved in months. I talk about darkness
    in the past tense, never once have I called
    my best friend to say, “I swear
    it’s pitch black and it’s 2 in the afternoon, I am
    fucking freezing, how can this be
    June? I miss you.” I’m always
    missing people. Looking back, even though
    it’s all so small now, so tiny I could smudge it
    with my thumb, blend it all into a sunset of what was,
    so I could learn how to become, my god, I just don’t know
    what forward motion means, I’m always afraid
    I’ll skip over something. Still.
    This is the first poem I’ve written with capital
    letters. Maybe uppercase Is
    look like slices of light tearing through
    night. Maybe this is enough.

    1. RebekahJ

      This is fantastic, brilliant. Thanks for a fabulous reading experience to start my day. Reminds me of Maira Kahlman and many Surreal and Dada folks.

  96. phocus

    Who am I?

    Who am I?
    I don’t really know.

    A mom, a wife, a scholar, a cook, a baker?
    A quilter, a writer, a cook or a cheese cake maker?
    A runner, a poet, a teacher, a cook?
    or have I yet to find my nook?

    I like to create, to make things from scratch,
    to bring to life paintings, quilts, meals, or new clothes,
    even poems and books, sculptures, or plays,
    do research, think about theories, and history,
    or invent stories and silly songs and dance all days.

    For family and friends,
    I like to host parties and entertain,
    for conferences,
    I like to write papers, present, and explain
    With friends, I like to talk,
    sit around, drink coffee or go for a walk,
    share memories and plans
    of things to do with our clans.

    So then, what do I want to be?
    A good person who helps those in need
    and supports her family!

    But what am I?

    A traveler, a person who fights her fear
    A happy individual who explores far and near
    in words and colors, on canvas, paper and cloth,
    a dreamer, a thinker, a worrier, and a friend,
    who wishes to continue with everything
    happily until the end.

    ©Uta Raina, April 2014

  97. RAW

    AND?

    Get called something your whole life
    It starts to lose meaning
    Until one day
    You wake up
    And it is what you are
    And you don’t feel any different

    I know I am but what are you
    Gay. Slut. Whore. Bitch.

    I am an object when I want to be

    I am a sex toy by choice

    I am a cave on purpose
    Explore me
    Be a man but don’t be a dweller

    I am an escape
    My bed is an omnivorous island
    It will eat your time
    It will eat your stress
    I will eat your fingers
    I will eat your feelings

    Hurt me anywhere except the temple

    Play me like a harp
    Play me, play it, play with it
    Run your fingers along my strings until you make the music out of me

    Make love to me on the outside

    It isn’t a game
    But it sure is fun
    We can play a game
    If you want to
    Let me be your queen
    Worship me
    Move me any way you want to
    Check
    Mate

    I want you to be selfish with me

    I will contact your eyes
    And speak your body
    I will scream your name in whispers
    I will give you the message in morse code
    With each tension of my muscles

    You say I feel so good inside
    But you don’t know me inside
    Or what I feel

    Bitch. Slut. Whore.

    I take no offense because it’s not offensive
    I need no defense to an empty insult

    Call me a slut and I’ll say thank you
    Call me a bitch and watch the dog’s face
    Cuz she knows what she is and she’s damn proud of it
    She’d fuck you up in an instant if the smell of fear in you didn’t overpower the smell of
    Testosterone, PBR, and Axe Body Spray
    Call me a whore and I’ll make you pay
    Say I was ever a virgin and I’ll bow down to your cock
    With a sideways smile and my fingers crossed behind my back
    Just wait

  98. TheFlawlessWord

    The Face that Looks Me in the Mirror’s Eye

    Is these days more and more my mother’s.
    It’s not I’m a chip off the proverbial block
    But rather that I’m approaching the age
    When she stopped growing older and I did not.
    The same thinning hair, the same random grays,
    The same still-smooth skin that never creased—
    And I wonder if mine ever will.

  99. Kit Cooley

    Magpie

    Pick up one smooth stone,
    and then a shiny bobbin,
    follow that feather on the wind,
    peek under a leaf,
    to see what lives there.

    Sit for hours absorbing words,
    on smooth pages full to the margins,
    listen to each breath and sound,
    and try to make sense of it all —
    the pleasure of finding things out.

    ~ Kit Cooley

  100. Richasapenny

    Methhead to my Madness
     

    Climbing the wall
    My eyes smell it
    Inside I hear it
    Crackling hissing sweet 
    Hitting the back
    Of brain and teeth
    The bubbling brown
    Is puddling sexy

    To and from
    The secret trailer
    Weaving the city 
    Blue ball smuggler 
    Back alley bags
    Tied to my sack 
    Rubber band yeah 
    Never found once
     

    Whispering there
    Big beautiful 
    Chapped lips  
    Did you get it?
    The shit the shit
    Ready to bust 
    See thru blouses 
    Big smile houses

    Drilling eyes
    Right though me
    Meth blues sadistic 
    Sex left in my head 
    Dropping pants 
    My swollen unit cutting
    Lovingly as a surgeon 
    Mind body cravings
    A litter box anything 
    Drawing writing painting

    Stealing cars 
    And shiny people
    Or plumbing… Heavy?
    Lift me up a VW
    Bolted…. welded  
    I pried it off too
    How I love you baby
    More than that!

    My imagination 
    Skilled observation 
    Finding you saved me 
    Thank you left hand 
    For allowing me
    To share this SOS
    Letter to myself
    Not to get a high
    I want it everyday 
    But in my right mind
    Methhead to my madness
    Thank you God tonight
    Forever I will write 
    Poetry 

  101. cbwentworth

    A fashion moron,
    addicted to jeans
    Knitting is my thing,
    but forget crochet
    Grew up as a nerd,
    proudly still called one
    From comic book stacks
    to Twihard status
    A dork to the core,
    you’ll never change me
    Nose stuck in a book,
    classics and mainstream
    Pages turn each night,
    a cat sleeps on my lap
    Never a mother,
    except for furkids
    Teenagers, I teach
    they’ll never scare me
    When they learn, I smile,
    my day is worthwhile
    After a good run,
    I search for my muse
    She keeps my words safe,
    while I find a pen

    – – –

    C.B. Wentworth

  102. Crista Jackson

    This is an indirect self-portrait, but a self-portrait nonetheless.

    Emotion Work

    Particles visible only by
    sunlight squeezed through the blinds,
    freckle the air. I unwrap little orbs,
    little earths, remember the look she is
    wearing now. The almost-white
    teeth of her smile. Sadness,
    an old friend—breath of
    fermented peach—who
    arrives at random and says sit.

    I am the woman who bore me.

    We will never admit this.
    Instead, we force the pine tree
    through the doorway. Orient the
    branches this way, then that;
    a head through a birth canal.

    The wind travels across the
    mountain’s face, as we sit
    silently; a boomerang of
    smokeless smoke.

    We watch the sunset.
    To my father it is an act of
    God. A small miracle,
    him in love with the blush of it.

  103. C.

    What?! A self-portrait…of me?
    A silly poem this surely would have to be
    With cave paintings, copycats, a myriad of ruses
    Mystics of the mind, even acorns might serve as muses
    Mmmmmm I think I’ll have a can of tomato soup….
    See it’s already started, that hurt my stomach
    That despicable burnt old piece of cheese.
    But I’m sorry you came to hear to here my travels,
    I guess I should introduce you to myself
    First, a big black knot, lies always, wobbly and unsettled
    A giant Me, so to speak, is tied atop my head
    A thin waste, yet thickened skin
    (Huh, are you dyslexic you may have wondered
    Close, I’ll give you that, but still missed it by a mile)
    Though I’m not helping you, sitting there
    With a sort of Jekyll smile, a lioness’ grin
    Do you know Hakuna matata? That’s my alma motta!
    Journey after journey, but this is not the end
    Grey curtains unroll a silver-lining, a glass token
    Where stories forever bend, dancing into Night
    wood burning unfolds questions of our sanity
    Chirps a bird perhaps, a robin we all hide within
    What’s a rose within a name, anyways?
    What beast inside the jungle gym did you see as a kid?
    So will you stay inside? How risky is your fate?
    Despite lonely games, onward you must travel
    Maybe to a restaurant in the heart of Casablanca
    Just order slyly, kid, and smile
    I want what she’s having, obviously
    Heated pie with raspberry, but always on the side
    Find yourself, use a compass if you must!
    Look for my black sails, and drink up my hearty gin
    Or else risk turning grey, burning into black within
    No doubt you’ll want to write drunk and edit sober
    The rain won’t make a difference, when you waive farewell,
    Because you’ll hold your arms up high,
    At least hold tight through days of overwhelming swell.
    Please, boy, wear your favorite costume out
    Go play with the birds and follow me inside
    No, you must first set down the smooth butter knife
    Maybe find a mirror in an antique shop or two
    And yes, actually, you may have noticed one other little clue
    A letter, half opened, I’ll admit where some secrets lie inside
    Mirror, mirror, on the wall, why wear a black veil
    Even til death do us part, what do we have to hide?
    Glasses of water, next to signs?
    A city in ruins, a gladiator left to die?
    Hand grazing wheat, a dead family in the distance?
    Artistry, these are the self-portraits I’d like to find
    The paintings drawn from these beautiful minds
    Through starry night skies and once upon a times
    In seemingly neverending rhymes
    In time, we continue to lose our minds
    As you did, coming here, a rap, tap, tapping
    For a tell all story of mine?
    I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you,
    But I wasn’t at my chamber door
    For when you came a knocking
    I’d been traveling
    The truth is, I’m a Tralfamadorian
    This, and nothing more.

  104. kelleyc416

    Prime

    Blues and greens,
    Fashioned to conceal,
    Curving gently to cup the round, taut
    Skin now unwrinkled, acne retreating—
    Not too young:

    Prime. Like a number?
    Always a little odd, but now?
    It’s too much to molt swan down
    To the core
    Where I cling to a girl

    Spoiled by love and
    Fat on chances thrown away

    But the woman sees a face,
    And with a touch, reclaims
    Her presence: there’s beauty.

  105. GirlGriot

    Draw
    my face.
    Can you see
    missing pieces?
    Can you see me? Me?
    My
    selfies
    give little,
    almost nothing
    true. I look angry,
    face
    empty,
    unfocused.
    Looking inward,
    hints of love, want, faith.

    My
    own eyes
    see flaws, see
    scars, see my eyes
    different sizes.
    Face
    isn’t
    self-portrait.
    I am greater
    than my looks alone.
    Why
    is it
    hard to find
    the me inside,
    the kernel of real?

    (I’m writing the same form of poem every day this month. Each year I choose a form and spend a whole month working/playing/wrestling with it. This year I’m writing Aruns. An Arun is a 15-line poem with the syllable count 1/2/3/4/5 — 3x. It may be a new thing in the world, made up by me last year. “Arun” means “five” in Yoruba. Tonight’s poem is two full Aruns as stanzas in a larger poem.)

  106. Melahlah

    Who am I?
    Am I charcoal,
    dark, gritty & smudgable?
    Or am I pencil,
    gray, sharp yet mostly erasable?
    What about watercolor,
    with it’s need for an outside source
    to thin it into usefulness?
    Am I fine oil? Smooth pastel?
    Maybe versatile acrylic?
    Indelible pen & ink?
    No, no I think I know.
    I think I’m clay.
    Just plain old,
    moldable clay;
    breakable, but with so much
    potential.

  107. Christine Sutherland

    From One To Two
    by Christine D Sutherland

    My husband came home last night,
    After forty-nine days,
    So now I have to switch back,
    From one to two.
    It’s easy to slip into a routine,
    Even if it gets dark and lonely along the way,
    It’s hard sometimes making that switch back,
    And on the day of one of the hardest…a poem about me,
    Am I the girl who is alone six months out of twelve,
    Or the wife now making room for the both of us.
    It gets harder every year.
    Every day trying to figure out a “normal” way of being,
    Afraid there is no good answer,
    And still figuring out who I am,
    Trying to bring harmony and order to the chaos.

  108. LiveOakLea

    I’m not much different than Nicole Kidman.
    I have two eyes, both blue, or green,
    Depending on the light.
    I have hair, reddish blonde.
    I’m over 50, but I was once the age she is now.
    I have a nose with two nostrils.
    I have a chin,
    Two ears,
    Eyelashes, lots,
    Eye brows, two.
    I have a butt
    And two legs,
    Two breasts,
    Ten fingers,
    Ten toes.
    My toes haven’t tickled Tom Cruise under the covers,
    But I was married twice, like Nicole.
    I’ve given birth to two children.
    One of the main differences between Nicole Kidman and me
    Is that she will never know who Laura Lea is, so that’s one thing
    That I have that she doesn’t.

  109. MichaelMcMonigle

    Pretender

    false to face
    hidden lower than the crowd
    discontent whispers
    pricking towards weakness
    picking towards fear
    selling the easy for profit
    with no reason no right
    no courage to lead
    the murmurs
    he will not believe
    in spite of it all
    truth does not lie
    on his pathway
    slap away God’s touch
    then aching for love
    conviction seems foreign
    wait for the next sin
    to test anew
    and always failure
    as he is done
    refusing to be guided
    pretending he is God
    one amongst himself

  110. saracosty

    How an Artist Copes

    I am a mosaic
    of every time
    you hurt me.
    My beautiful face
    and body
    are constructed from
    your f*ck ups,
    and carelessness
    that turned me to shards
    of sad, broken promises.

    I allow the light to pass through
    but not without keeping some
    for myself.
    It isn’t selfish.
    You left me with none.

    I am an intricate recreation
    of a person I used to be,
    composed of colorful,
    sharp stories
    that’ll cut you to the core.
    If I had let that glass
    sit in my soul
    I would have slowly
    bled
    out.

    But I’m creating something from the ruin.
    I’m making myself anew.
    What would be the point
    of all that hurt
    if I couldn’t create
    something beautiful
    out of it?

    I made my pieces
    into a whole
    and I’ll never
    shatter
    again.

  111. Renada Styles

    Reflection

    This reflection is crass
    A vision’s distortion
    Refracted in my mind
    Eye

    A window-
    A broken shield
    Disfigured in flesh

    Remind
    Remind
    Myself of the vain
    Crossing this limp
    Heart of mine

    Digress
    Turn inward
    Keep the pupils outward

    The reflection reverted
    Converted
    Concave in middling thoughts
    Of ideals

    The reflection is crass
    A vision’s distortion

    Remove thy eye
    Close the tunnel
    To perception

    Remind
    Remind
    Myself
    This reflection
    Isn’t what they,
    I
    See

    It-
    I
    Isn’t real

  112. DCR1986

    Nana’s Sunflower

    I
    am wearing
    my great-great grandmother’s pearls.
    Dangling from my neck to chest,
    they freely droop from
    small to medium to large.
    My facial skin is bare and delicate
    from the lathers of Africa’s finest.
    Soft, brown ringlets from my mane
    Gracefully descend to greet my shoulders
    And rest on my semi-laced, ivory and emerald dress.

    I am sitting with her spirit.
    Nose buried in
    the same scent her nose once
    welcomed and adored.
    I could be silently praying
    Because my head is bowed and
    my face wears peace
    And my lips are bonding.
    While I caress this single stem,
    My eyes are relaxed
    And then I sniff.
    Then, I sniff again–
    for her to breathe through me.

    -Danielle C. Robinson

  113. intheshadowofthesoul

    A Negative Slide of Me in The Sun
    Lydia Flores

    Tight tendrils of hair fall around my face
    a fire blazes behind my ribcages and
    you can see the smoke unfurling
    from my lips when I speak.
    Two stars illuminate you
    from tiny pinhole cameras.
    I always see the moon in everyone,
    whether crescent or full, it decorates
    the dark like a rusty flower vase.
    There is no love I can give that won’t
    defrost your cold bitten hands or
    burn you up from the inside in kisses.
    Rivers flow from my hands, my veins
    will show you the way and in opened palms
    I am a cascade of heart beats and pulses.
    I give but I am an ocean, I have a hard time taking.
    whatever you burry will resurface like a sea shell, but
    press it to your ears and you can hear my thank yous.
    Dwindling legs, but the metronome will continue to sway.
    If you forget me, love will remember. It will paint my name
    scripted, on the living room wall of your memories.
    If my skin resolves my age into ripples of wrinkles
    and death proposes to me believe me I’m marrying him.
    You will forget what I look like, but I hope you remember
    the heavy hanging pointlist portrait, in a generational series,
    of Christs blood. I am a window, I am a mirror
    and when you look at the faded double exposure
    held up in your little hands. You will see me again
    or maybe you will not see me at all.
    You will see the face of God, you will see love.

  114. Amirae Garcia

    To My King – Amirae Garcia

    Her name demands attention. Do not rush through it,
    do not make a single mistake. She demands your
    tongue when you speak of her. Say it slow,
    make love to each syllable. You will not wish it
    was something else. You will find yourself in awe.

    Ah like realization. Ah like a note in a prayer.
    She wishes to carry you and place you in wonder.
    Marvel. Stay. Ah. Like the sigh her heart makes.

    Mi as in my. My. She takes possession. She wants.
    She yearns; and it is for you. She reaches out and touches.
    Touch her back. It’s okay. It is okay. She’ll be soft. She will be gentle.

    Rey. Sunshine. Warmth. Like it’s all she ever wanted to give.
    She was meant for this. Her arms fall like open curtains,
    inside the window is her heart. Look inside while you have
    the chance. It does not come too often. Do not fear when she becomes fire.

    Her name gives homage to her king, to the one she holds dear.
    She does not stand for nothing. Stand beside her
    and she will love you. Oh, she will love you.
    Stand with her and she will stand with you, too.
    When the sky falls down, you will know she was true.

  115. miaokuancha

    April 7, 2014

    Prompt: Self Portrait

    The woman in the iron mask.
    All the tear ducts flow inward.
    Acheron and Cocytus
    Winding their way to the dead pool
    in her belly.

    The woman in the iron lung.
    She doesn’t inhale.
    And so there is nothing to exhale.

    The woman with the iron heart.
    Soldiers on.

    The woman with the iron back.

    Fish swim, birds fly.
    Years run, memory cheats.
    Hair dries, hands wrinkle.
    Iron is the sound
    Of the temple bell.

    ~ miaokuancha

  116. saracosty

    Religious Pilgrimage

    My whole body is aching.
    It hurts to bend my fingers
    or to press play
    on the next episode on Netflix.
    My throat feels swollen
    and gloopy, as I used to say.
    I quickly strip on
    and off
    layers on layers of clothing.

    My hair is greasy today.
    The small swipes of mascara,
    an attempt to go to class,
    are layered underneath my eyes.
    My skin is angry after
    days of heavy, caked-on stage makeup.
    My voice sounds like a gravel back road
    being driven on during a
    drought.

    Today, I am sick.
    I am a veritable mess.

    I know usually
    I am clean and clear-headed,
    presentable and pretty,
    and not in so much
    (physical, real)
    pain.

    I am really sick today.

    But it’s been a month since I told you
    to go $#@% yourself
    and said goodbye.
    A month since then,
    and I have gotten stronger,
    even though getting myself
    a milkshake today
    felt like a religious pilgrimage.
    (I am on a pilgrimage
    away from you
    and towards something better.)
    I’m sick today
    in my body,
    but for once,
    I can say
    with a sigh of relief,
    I am not sick in my mind.

  117. Hannah

    Selfie (Spun of Soil with a Sprinkle of Sea)

    I’m an enthusiast
    flora encompassed
    rooted in forest
    I rest.

    I find restoration
    harbored in the V of bird’s migration,
    held in the nook of the nearest mountain;
    I’m alive under this sun.

    I dream in hues of underwater,
    I become a voyager-
    a beaver of the river…
    whistle and whir.

    Some may say I’m a visionary
    puzzling words agilely
    simply spinning a story
    but these poems fill my heart with sea.

    For small purple periwinkle – I’m deeply appreciative
    and in this true blue wooing ocean expansive
    I’m a happy captive,
    readied to live.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  118. Linda Voit

    I Am A Crazy Quilt

    Cotton, polyester and velvet bits
    cut from their dresses, table clothes
    and unfinished projects –
    none a perfect square

    I am hand-stitched by strong women
    who shared earth together a while
    and trusted their blue denims,
    solid lime greens, powder pink

    florals, and tartan plaids
    would somehow meld
    into a certain kind
    of unconventional beauty

    to go with nothing and everything
    to bring comfort and warmth to others
    to distract the eye from worn spots
    with a thread of humor

    Linda Voit

  119. Benjamin Thomas

    Just a Lily

    Just a bump
    On a log,
    Stoic, happy as happy can be.
    Achromatic, enjoying
    The lost scenery.

    Pride tells me
    To be oak.
    Stand tall, and soak in
    The season.

    But I’d much rather
    Be a lily in the valley
    Trusting in all simplicity

  120. acele

    4/7
    Violin Teacher

    I bow as I greet each child

    I give their fingers funny names like Stinky and Pinky

    I work on developing good posture
    I work on developing beautiful tone
    I work on developing beautiful hearts

    I listen
    I watch
    I show
    I smile and listen some more

    We play together

    I am constantly reminding students to check their bow-hold and
    often negotiating numbers of repetitions

    I say “yes! That’s it – now do that again!”

    At the end of each lesson we bow again
    “Thank you for teaching”
    “Thank you for learning”
    and it is their turn to remind me
    of why
    I’m me

  121. cobanionsmith

    Teacher, a self-portrait

    Do not think of Mr. Escalante.
    There is very little balding, near-sighted savior
    in me, though I believe a negative

    times a negative can sometimes equal
    a positive, and like him, I want
    to fill every hole of ignorance.

    Perhaps I’m a touch of Mr. Schneebly:
    an occasional impostor, a bit
    of a rocker, a passionate fool for rhythm.

    I admit I can be Mr. Hand: a buzzkill,
    at times an instrument of destruction—
    relentless, unrepentant antagonizer of instigators.

    But, ultimately, who doesn’t want to be Mr. Keating?
    What a beautiful captain of what we stay alive for,
    a devoted deliverer of verse

    whose converts live only to breath poetry.
    Honestly, I’m really a frustrated scientist,
    a quack doomed to failure fumbling

    with words to parse out the nature of things,
    the matter of each matter with insufficient evidence,
    incomplete hypotheses, and immeasurable
    quotients of disquiet and verisimilitude.

    If only inspiration were as easily given
    and devotion as unconditionally won
    as depicted in celluloid dreams.

    (c) Courtney O’Banion Smith

  122. Michael Wells

    Self Portrait Over Exposed

    I am burnt around the edges—
    my sepia easily faded into the world

    at large. I am most uncomfortable
    with myself in such company.

    Brown eyes hold back
    an ever reclusive smile.

    I am not doped in sadness
    It’s just a mask I can’t shake.

    I can smile inside. I can laugh.
    Still I feel counterfeit

    a forged person framed
    in a real world crowd.

    Michael A. Wells

  123. encrerouge

    Twenty First

    Encrypted the transcription to the eyes
    of who do not dare and resist the tint,
    permanent and incoherent by nature
    here lays the initiation of the equinox

    numbers count the hold of each breath

    once the dot patterns flew with fall
    shoulders bared to the idea of proximity
    and yet again, the tattoos were not enough
    to make sense of the criss cross heart

    flotsam prickles from the roots

    bells have always malfunction upon hours
    textiles will forever cover, to the public eye,
    the sense of pores who cry in the hollow night
    for the particles of yesterday’s melody

    spruce cork encloses but entirety is a wildflower

  124. Alpha1

    JUST THE WAY I AM

    I am the poet as artist
    Viewing myself as is
    Without bright watercolors
    Splashed on a canvas background
    Without oils or pastels on my
    Palette to choose from but
    Equipped with only
    An iphone pointed straight
    Ahead poised
    To capture my face my
    Mirrored image smiling
    Beneath a stoic expression
    Head down grimacing
    With a fixed gaze
    A portrait of myself
    Taken by myself
    Looking elsewhere

  125. jasonlmartin

    American Self-Portrait

    I’ve heard of men in third aged worlds
    who move their children on their backs,
    their bones succumb to generations,
    read their stories in the curves of their spines.

    These are men who have no mirrors,
    can’t measure flaws with useless vanity.

    These are men who have no watches,
    can’t stop time, so no efforts in futility.

    I shrink in their shadows, pale in comparisons
    to these men who burn in suns to teach us lessons,
    bear the marks of a thousand wounds of selflessness,
    while all I can draw is a self-portrait of self-centeredness.

  126. Lori DeSanti

    Before We Were Brittle

    I was whole in your rearview;
    barefoot on scalding pavement

    waving you off to work in the heat.
    What happens if lightening strikes

    sand? The same, I assume, when
    glass pierces an eye. Oh your eyes—

    like sea glass, crystals settled on
    my eardrum, we were constant

    as my vertigo in a hurricane. I
    remember when we moved, that

    mirror you promised wouldn’t
    break; and I told you superstition

    followed me like a black cat. That
    moment when the frame slipped

    from your fingers down the flight
    of stairs, shattering like grains of

    sand, kinetic energy breaking into
    glass against my skin; I found that

    marvels can only be beautiful if what
    makes them wonders, won’t leave us

    marred.

  127. James Rodgers

    What I’m Not

    I’m not short
    and I’m not skinny
    Don’t ask about my bothers
    because I don’t have any

    I don’t play an instrument
    and I’m not quiet
    I’m the one least likely
    to cause a riot

    I don’t eat beef,
    no pork and no chicken
    None of my grandparents
    are alive and kicking

    I’m not sunburned
    and I’m not hot
    You don’t know what I am
    but you know what I’m not

  128. bethwk

    Self-Portrait
    by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider
    farmpoem.wordpress.com

    I want my heart to be a singing bowl,
    drawing forth your resonance,
    and sending it back, shining and quivery,
    shimmering threads of sound dancing in the air.

    I want my ears to be baskets of soft meadow grass,
    holding the stories like fragile eggs,
    letting the rain trickle through.

    My face is the wide sky, round, a doorway.
    My face is the guardian, standing in shadow.
    My face is a table. My face is a window.

    I will remember your face forever,
    but when I turn from this mirror,
    my picture will fade, and I will be only
    a dream of myself, a lost story.

    I want my eyes to be sponges.
    I want my colors to pulsate and flash.
    I want my hands rain droplets
    of from the healing river.

  129. Bucky Ignatius

    Crowd Source

    In my looking glass I see
    a hundred different faces, each

    with a different set of longings
    and fears, a logical mind,

    honorable heart, reason
    for being. Each with a god

    given right to free speech
    all its own, locked and loaded,

    none of them any too eager
    to hold my gaze for long.

    Bucky Ignatius

  130. flood

    Muddied By Both

    When it rains,
    the arrowhead
    throbs at an odd angle
    beneath patella.

    Veins are not
    riverbanks, but
    summers have been
    muddied by both.

    True north
    was a songbird.
    It is now a ringing
    in the ears.

  131. fahey

    “Apple Pie”

    As someone else (sort of) said,
    to make a self-portrait, first you must create the universe:

    slice up every sentence ever written,
    throw in every word you ever wrote;
    shave off some whispers,
    chop up some doubts,
    bake until golden brown.

    It’s no matter if you don’t make it.
    In fact, you definitely won’t –

    whenever you start, you’ll finish
    by learning what you already know.

  132. susanjer

    Self-Portrait as the State of Minnesota

    A poem is a naked person. Bob Dylan

    My arteries are water flowing north
    to Hudson Bay, east to the Atlantic.
    That river down my trunk goes south

    to New Orleans picking up silt.
    My right shoulder is arrowhead,
    the left a prairie advertising for bees.

    Both stapler and sticky note
    are my heritage; world’s largest
    twine ball, bundt pan, too.

    Once upon a time I walked on water
    where I swam in summer. No wonder
    I believe in fishes and loaves.

    Wild loon with stop-signal eyes
    lets out a tremolo, wail and yodel.
    Found naked on a northern lake.

  133. SestinaNia

    Princess Goddess Dark Stranger

    Tucked into that nebulous moment
    between thought and word,
    she rests, biding
    her time and yours.
    She’ll wait until the universe has spilled
    over her, leaving a dusting
    of starshine in its wake, glossing
    her with eternity.
    Only then will she burst
    forth and ricochet
    through the galaxy of you—
    a shooting star,
    brief but exquisite.

    –Sara Doyle

  134. peacegirlout

    Ana G’s SELF PORTRAIT

    SELF backwards H added spells FLESH
    PORT imPORT im PORT ant TROP
    TRAIT or BE TRAIT or BE TRAIT

    SELF LESS SELL LESS SELF
    PORT TRANS sPORT ABILITY
    TRAIT OR BE TRAITor OR BE

    SELF
    B E
    TRAYAL

  135. amaranthe

    Self Portrait

    The water is shallow here and deep over there and, oh
    I wouldn’t step too far that way: coelacanth crossing is
    never pretty. Nothing is quite as it seems, and things get
    lost before they are ever found. Who wants to go diving into
    the muck at three hundred fathoms? Hardly anybody
    with any meat to their heart.
    The seals are hungry.

  136. inkysolace

    I was innocence with you
    I was the carpet in the back and I was the voice that read aloud
    I was the spectator of your marvelous puppet show
    and I never had to be anything, anything else–

    It was 8th grade and we were fourteen already
    if you count the hours we put on pause
    to stretch the week we had together
    like worn-out gum
    it stayed under my fingernails and I was
    rebellion while you were careful
    I was skirts without shorts, the high point
    of a swing’s trajectory
    I was convincing to your sweet, innocent eyes
    and you ate up the color of my lips with
    unused fingers
    we were the shadows in the playground
    intertwined silhouettes behind light brick pillars
    and I was the one pushing the sun back, back–

    I was gentleness with you
    I was soft wishes, pauses and deep breaths,
    longing, never hungry
    I was a dictionary with you
    looking up the grandness of love and the impurity of skin
    I was bravery, simple happiness
    replayed on silent loops
    I became a ghost with you
    I forgot to look up forever
    because I knew it was the moment
    you would let me stroke your hair
    someday, someday–

    You were beautiful and I became worry
    I was self-denial, weaknesses in design smothered in cracking paint
    I was falling from a thumbtack,
    holes in the back of formal shirts
    I was rejection, rejection
    always
    already
    before, before you spoke–

    Now, I wear jewelry
    glued fragments of the words I all
    called most important
    I am a mosaic of the reflections
    I’ve seen in tender eyes
    I can spell out anything I want with
    three or four names
    I can spell brokenness
    with the initials of clumsy fingers, perfect hair
    we never really left each other

  137. KTLiz

    At the anthropology department

    A loop of silver links and navy sits on Richard’s desk
    the bracelet, the tiny star of David, is so small it must
    be for an infant, I think. But Richard says “welcome to the tribe-”
    tossing it towards me, and it fits.
    I have grown up making Elmer’s glue collages, writing America
    is a melting pot, a tapestry, and woven country
    in shaky crayon letters. It’s all blank paper,
    because my family never celebrated
    more than rootless traditions, tricolored and mostly borrowed.
    With rumors of heritage, gossiped generations, but no oral history.
    No sense of knowing where we came from.
    It is 95 dollars for the DNA test, but I bought five continents
    Worth of ethnic origins. The percentages are filling
    Flavors. Native American. East Asian. West African. Jew.
    And suddenly, I am full of everything I thought
    Existed only outside of my white white empty skin.

  138. Deri

    Malleable

    Equal parts
    surgeon
    artist
    psychopath
    he dissects the image
    before him,
    then scrapes the canvas clean
    until it is blank
    and his cunning brush
    can push thick paint into shapes
    of his own liking.
    Painstaking work
    to create something
    that will match the dreams
    of the mind.

    Frustration, desperation,
    finally resignation.
    He will never
    get it quite right
    and so it is tossed aside
    where it waits
    for another man
    to come along.
    Scrape the canvas clean,
    begin again.

    And I wonder
    who I will be
    this time.

  139. JoCam

    As night furls me in triple blankets
    I lose myself, a fragment at a time.
    I tell my toes good night, I hear them snoring,
    “Farewell!” I tell my knees, the knees, “farewell!”
    And so it goes, bone by joint, until my chin.
    I feel my chin with somnolescent fingers,
    snatch at a wee hair in a crease,
    ponder my drooping cheeks, the bags below my eyes,
    the wen that sits beside my nose,
    my spindly sideburns which obscure my ears.
    It is a good thing I have night. I do not
    have to scrutinize a mirror. I can dream
    up beauty where it has never stepped,
    put color in the greying hair,
    re-rouge the cheeks, re-gloss the lips,
    and sleep though all the princes of the world
    should fail to wake me.

  140. Funkomatic

    There is a picture in the hall closet
    Made of camel hair coats, wool hats

    In the bedroom a sculpture of him
    Entirely of dress shirts, ties with ‘zing’

    The slacks have to go first Mom says
    Leaving out that slack wasn’t given

    While the others crack up on the rocks
    I keep filling paper bags to give away

    Scattering ashes while the fire burns
    Wondering what my self-portrait looks like.

  141. Sharon Ann

    Self Portrait

    What do I look like?
    Hmm, not really sure.
    I spend little time gazing at myself in mirrors.
    Just the time spent
    brushing hair,
    placing makeup,
    checking hemlines in the mirror.
    My hair is brown.
    My eyes – brown too.
    My skin is fair of late,
    not enough time in the winter sun.
    I wear my hair up now,
    easy, and very consistent looking.
    I keep myself trim (sort of)
    although I am not as athletic
    as I once was.
    I wear reading glasses now,
    recently a very dark shade of gray.
    What do you see?

  142. pcm

    Self Portrait

    Boxy head
    To rattle thoughts
    Shoulders round
    When worried lots
    Heart unruly
    Flitter flutters
    When in ears
    Music mutters
    Bum enough
    To sit for hours
    Legs to stride
    Amongst the flowers
    Pointy toes
    To show the way
    Up to heaven
    Or here to stay.

  143. candy

    Only I Know

    You think you know me
    from the top of my shiny silver hair
    to my pastel painted toes
    short and a little overweight
    you think you know me
    jeans and t-shirts
    garden dirt under my nails
    you think you know me
    blue eyes behind brown rimmed glasses
    always smiling
    you think you know me
    But only I know
    the Celtic warrior princess who lives inside
    raven hair flowing
    green eyes flashing
    ready to do battle when the enemy
    invades my personal kingdom
    Only I know

  144. Paoos69

    Wonder if this self-portrait
    Will portray the self
    Or will it merely be
    A mirage of prophecies

    For one knows not sometimes
    What the self holds within
    Revealing and concealing
    Illusive yet upheaving

    I fear to draw even a caricature
    Of this self that I am
    Seething with enthusiasm
    Yet unsure and shy

    An amalgam of contentment
    Seemingly snobbish
    But would like to say
    Pure at heart

    Now that I know
    Draws endless questions
    Of self, for self
    As I trudge along

    Someday the real self
    Will reveal
    And to my amazement
    A new friend I will make
    With unyielding zeal.

  145. tunesmiff

    A KNIGHT IN TARNISHED ARMOR
    G. Smith
    —————————
    A knight,
    in tarnished armor,
    Dented,
    and not just from the battle.
    Rusted,
    around the edges;
    And loose
    enough to rattle.

    Worn and torn along the seams;
    He’s seated with King Arthur – in his dreams.
    He’s seen the fallen touched by death’s cold pallor;
    He’s known the better part of valor.

    He seeks,
    the Holy Grail;
    He been,
    where dragons lie;
    He’s stood
    and faced the foe;
    And looked
    him in the eye.

    He’s raised a toast here in the banquet hall;
    He’s held his place there on the wall.
    He knows his name means “simple farmer”
    This knight, in tarnished armor.

  146. dolsz35

    The Divine

    What are you?
    Who are you?
    What defines you?
    Are you your skin?
    Your blues?
    Or maybe your shoes?

    Why doesn’t anyone ask me?
    They just tell me who i’m not
    or who I want to be,
    but will never be.

    If someone were to ask me,
    this is what i’d say:
    What is it to you anyway?
    Or maybe I’ll be bold for once
    and speak my mind.
    Maybe i’ll say that
    I’m God in disguise.

    I am a muscle fiber,
    a whisper,
    a silent cry;
    a river flow
    a cold snow
    a lullaby.

    For everything that you see
    is within me.
    I am stardust
    I am sunlight
    I am moonlight
    I am
    This is all that i can be.
    Infinite.
    Wondrous.
    Eternally undefined.

    I cannot be described.
    But I am not alone,
    for everything you see in me;
    is but a reflection
    of your own
    soul.

  147. LuvingLife

    Living Canvas

    Brown
    Brown skin covers me
    And it smells so sweet after a day in the sun

    More brown
    Two brown marbles that laugh during tickle attacks
    And cry when saying goodbye to loved ones

    Inside there’s a pearl
    Encased in a shell, it beats
    Pumping life, love and light through my body

    My body
    So short and small
    Fragile enough to break, but so strong it holds the universe

    Taisha C

  148. Genevieve Fitzgerald

    Day 7 – self portrait

    Posing for
    the photograph

    Standing straight
    chin up, shoulders down

    Beside the window overlooking
    setting selected to define me

    I bite my lip, cannot resist
    and as I push the button

    Smash my nose and palms
    against the glass

    Never having considered myself
    all that photogenic anyway

  149. BDP

    I used to think some things so important.

    –My mother

    “Reflexes: Self-Portrait Ghazal”

    Age ten, I saved my first: a toddler who loved lemon drops
    lost breath, I held him by his feet, thwacked, out plopped lemon drops.

    Age twelve: another tyke, but taller, we searched fields, found him
    face in and sinking, diving, I plucked him where the cold pond drops.

    Age twenty-two: young man about to step, green light, I pressed
    him back, car running red, the driver glanced, eyes black round drops.

    They’re tales that I won’t write each time my background’s on. But you:
    Cues shrugged then now register, strange ache, you turned ill, pin drops.

    Anointed Queen of Cancer Ward, radiation blue shawl.
    We stood in rain storms where truth poured down and drops soaked in drops.

    And yet, ignored, denied, refuted with our counter flows,
    not giving up. Mom, I still make believe so tension drops.

    You saved yourself for two years longer than the docs said, strong.
    I think of that, the heat of self-recrimination drops.

    –Barb Peters

  150. RebekahJ

    For those who are interested in poetic form, this uses a Welsh form called the soldier’s englyn.

    Self- Portrait as Soldier

    Blanking her eyes at sharp words
    Pressing her cheek to child’s hurt
    Lips breathe-pray as each day turns

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  151. Tamara Rokicki

    The Mask

    A mask that hides
    The worth within.
    The veil that shrouds
    The pride I should feel.
    Deep brown eyes
    Hint at a mystery,
    But it will never come out.

    A mask that hides
    Untold fears and wishes.
    Desires for a face
    That doesn’t belong.
    It is shrouded by beauty
    But it is labored in vain.

    A mask that hides
    For the world has seen faces,
    An unique form,
    A strange resemblance to her.
    Invisible lines,
    Freshly sunbathed.

    Tamara Rokicki

  152. spacerust

    “Luscious Symphony” by Karl A. Avila

    Overgrown,
    many different weeds,
    all living within me
    together in harmony.
    Each important
    to me as the next,
    mixed in,
    beautiful flowers
    balance the hues
    to display a natural bouquet.
    Together,
    we sway
    among the gentle breeze,
    flowing,
    whichever way
    the wind blows.
    No resistance
    to the world around me,
    I live freely,
    dancing along,
    enjoying every gift,
    every moment,
    the world brings.

  153. mshall

    Self-Portrait

    Girl child
    On the cold tile
    Tender heart in hardened world

    Spider
    In the corner
    Spins a web of softest silk

    Girl child
    screams for hearing
    silent pain that rends the soul

    Spider
    waits for dinner
    what will come will come with time

    Girl Child
    Feels the cold tile
    Isolated by her misery

    Spider
    Sitting patient
    For flies will fill her soul

  154. PKP

    HI ALL – I AM TEMPTED TO STAY AWAKE ALL NIGHT READING AND COMMENTING – EACH POEM I HAVE READ SO FAR IS BRILLIANT IN ITS OWN WAY – I AM DELIGHTED NOT TO BE IN POSITION OF JUDGING – THIS PROMPT HAS CREATED A DIAMOND NECKLACE STRUNG TOGETHER OF EACH AND ALL … WOW!!!! (of course perhaps we are all a bunch of raging narcissists simply bringing our best work to our favorite subject – LOL ). OF COURSE – ONLY JOKING AND IT SIMPLY DOESN’T MATTER – THE POEMS HERE ARE JUST FANTASTIC TODAY!!!!

  155. christinamcphee

    The mirror sags inward
    weary from to many scenes
    of bloodied camouflage
    mopped up with the ordinary demeanor of cotton balls
    The spent metal rod a clown face red
    Fatigues clutching the ground
    cowering from the naked flesh
    Remembering school yard innocence
    cowboys and Indians at play

  156. Beth Rodgers

    So many instincts
    So much emotion
    Sometimes aggression
    Always devotion.

    Times when I’m happy
    Times when I’m sad
    Times when courage is
    What I must have.

    Energetic and bubbly
    Yet sometimes depressed
    There’s a slew of feelings
    To which I confess.

    I love love and kindness
    Creativity and laughter
    I’m passionate and resourceful
    Happiness is what I’m after.

    It’s really quite simple –
    I’m a person with hopes
    And I won’t settle for being
    Someone who copes.

  157. Emily Cooper

    We Ourselves and I

    This poet tries to retreat
    to center

    a silent desert
    of the brain
    (or de la Soul)

    tumbleweeds of neurons
    purely and wholly
    formed within

    and the external
    cannot enter.

    An ironic pastime maybe
    for a poet of the news

    for bias molds
    the stories

    and the self
    is forever
    circumstance-imbued.

  158. MeenaRose

    Well Versed Selfie
    By: Meena Rose

    daughter of the Moon
    in love with Sun’s
    warming kisses

    come find me out
    and about walking
    lost to my surroundings

    otherwise, find me within
    engrossed and absorbed
    in whole

    I inhabit a world of gray
    the basics come in
    black and white

    certainty is slippery
    a world of relative
    absolutes

    I dodge confrontation
    but will fight for what
    is right

    a living oxymoron
    a breathing conundrum
    is the verdict on most nights

    I chisel and I chip at
    the question of self
    liberating self-slivers

    http://2voices1song.com/2014/04/07/poeticasides-day-7-self-portrait/

  159. beale.alexis

    “Self Portrait”

    I start with the face
    God colored in a few shades too dark
    to fit in with my mother’s side of the family.

    They’re no Aryan eyes,
    but everyone says they
    almost resemble hers.

    I’d almost rather be colored in gray.
    At least then people wouldn’t
    have to ask

    “Do you consider yourself
    black or white?” Truthfully, I’m neither.
    I’m a perfect combination of the two.

  160. Janet Rice Carnahan

    CLAM UP

    “I am my self

    Wherever I am”,

    Said the shell

    To the clam.

    “Glad you said this,”

    Came the reply,

    “Truly, I am . . .

    Because you know I try!”

  161. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Alive with Color

    Like Vincent, I, too, am “alive with color.”
    With the artist’s eyes, I see the purple dark,
    Brightened by spiraling gold light.
    No monochrome existence –
    No shade of gray subsistence.

    I am a tropical village alive
    With turquoise and salmon,
    Buttercup and lilac –
    Tones of singing color –
    Unafraid of my rainbow palate life,
    I paint the world!

  162. Pat Walsh

    Today’s prompt put me in mind of a favorite passage from Wordsworth, about “the child being father to the man.” Here’s my take on the theme:

    Self-Portrait

    If you saw me in the morning
    my tiny hands outstretched
    to collect the love of day

    you might see my eyes alive
    and my round face laughing

    Just a blessed, blessed boy
    dressed in starlight mild
    to dance the day in pious play
    son of a well-loved child

    If you saw me at the noon
    full of righteous care
    for useless worries of days ahead

    you might see my shoulder shake
    and my pale cheeks drawn

    Just a blessed, blessed boy
    dressed in starlight mild
    to dance the day in pious play
    son of a well-loved child

    If you saw me at the eventide
    with gait full wrapped
    in thoughtful steps of careful pace

    you might see my eyes aglow
    with sparks of larger things

    Just a blessed, blessed boy
    dressed in starlight mild
    to dance the day in pious play
    son of a well-loved child

    If you saw me on the Moon
    fiddling with my muse
    I would wave and say hello

    you might see me smile again
    and recognize the abiding child

    Just a blessed, blessed boy
    dressed in starlight mild
    to dance the day in pious play
    son of a well-loved child

      1. Pat Walsh

        When I first worked this one into shape, I was a little worried that I was spending too much time on the format, but I guess it actually helped to keep the imagery crisp and concise. Thank you for your feedback, Linda. I really appreciate it!

      1. Pat Walsh

        Thank you – the Wordsworth passage I was thinking about is from the epigraph to his epic “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” – particularly the lines:

        “The Child is father of the Man;
        And I could wish my days to be
        Bound each to each by natural piety.”

        So inspiring. I’m so glad that you are a fellow Wordworth fan!

        1. gmagrady

          On this much needed, perfect spring day, I found myself reading “The Daffodils” which brought me to “Immortality…” and back to your poem. Still loving your images, Pat! Thanks again for sharing.

  163. beale.alexis

    “Mirror, Mirror”

    The reflection mirrors elegance
    Pure lace dress, black tights, kitten heels
    She’s the winter solstice

    The reflection mirrors pride
    Make up finished, hair up in a tight bun
    A true ballerina, ready to put on a show

    A knock on the door,
    Unhinges the girls thoughts

    The reflection mirrors a mother standing beside her daughter
    “Too short, too tight, you are
    Ridiculous”

    The reflection mirrors shame
    Exposed skin, hunched shoulders, no eye contact
    Oh mother, you always know how to make me feel so insignificant

  164. toujourskari

    Self-Portrait

    Her upturned visage holds mysteries of reckless love
    with eyes the color of daydreams and sky castles
    dancing with crystalline laughter.
    Her lips dripping with sweet sonnet honey
    wait eternities to be kissed.
    A gentle blush upon her well-turned cheek
    gives permission to willfully forgive.
    Fairy tresses braided with worlds unknown
    are tied with fragile golden years.
    Hands folded in raucous prayer
    to her wild-at-heart Poetpriestking
    reach out to the priceless dying world.

    Under a pensive willow tree
    She sits alone and weeps
    She sits alone and dreams
    She sits alone and smiles
    She sits alone and remembers who she is
    And she is good

  165. LizMac

    Self Portrait

    Young Self:
    What is it like to be grown-up?

    Older Self:
    It is like juice concentrate
    That has boiled away the possibilities.

    Young Self:
    Will I ever be pretty?

    Older Self:
    Perhaps. But by the time
    You realize this, the reasons will have disappeared.

    Young Self:
    Will I be happy?

    Older Self:
    You will ride roller coasters
    And learn to channel timidity, joy and rage
    Along narrow tracks.
    But take hope, at least, from maturity’s mobility.

    Younger Self:
    What will make me most happy and sad?

    Older Self:
    Your Children.
    They will take your heart on thrill rides to undiscovered places:
    Down ends of rainbows, and up to kingdoms in clouds;
    While their pain will cut deeper
    Than any of your own.

    Younger Self:
    Will I feel good about who I am?

    Older Self:
    No. On good days you will manage
    ‘Sort of okay.’
    But you’ll also get better at dress-up and pretend play.

    Younger Self:
    Will I fit in?

    Older Self:
    Eventually those around you,
    And you yourself,
    Will get better at pretending to be nice
    In the total absence of reciprocal understanding.

    Younger Self:
    Yes, but will I have friends?

    Older Self:
    Only a few.
    But those will splash beauty, color, and texture
    As they ebb and flow,
    Rise and set
    Across your life’s work.

    Younger Self:
    Does it feel good to have no more homework?

    Older Self:
    Yes, it will feel very good.
    All you need is to know how to read, count, and ask questions
    Whatever else they may say.

    Younger Self:
    Will I be afraid?

    Older Self:
    Yes.
    Of isolation, futility and lost opportunity.

    Younger Self:
    Should I be hopeful?

    Older Self:
    Hope is the only thing to hang onto
    As you drown, burn, freeze and flail.

  166. PSC in CT

    Self Portrait

    Paint me
    in natural pastels —
    winter whites, hues of blue,
    charcoal gravel gray,
    powdered sugar snow.
    See me in the trees,
    sketched
    in pine needle palette,
    oak leaf ocher.
    Trace my silhouette
    in spring green, fill it in
    with flecks
    of mouse-eared chickweed.
    Stipple me
    in rippling watercolor.
    Splash me
    on riverbed rocks.
    Color me hard-headed
    with a heart of stone.

    PSC/2014

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      Love this, PSC! So vivid, so colorful, so present and I love all the references to nature. I thought, “Trace my silhouette in spring green, fill it in with flecks of mouse-eared chickweed” was brilliant. Great job!

  167. lionmother

    A Portrait of Me

    I started as an unpainted canvas
    young and naive and full of hopes and dreams
    eager to explore the world and find its wonders
    grabbing onto the hand of another explorer
    who swept me up in his tumultuous life
    moving here and there as the painting
    took shape and soon I was a teacher and a
    mother and brush strokes later a writer
    sweeping over the canvas always my
    truth that do well unto others and they
    will do well unto you
    gathering steadfast friends for the
    coming storm in my life
    painting over the faults and the bad times
    letting the light from the good shine through
    and now though there is still more room
    left to paint, the composition is full of all it needs.

      1. Janet Rice Carnahan

        I agree with Linda . . . WOW! Through your words, one could see your canvas and the turns your truth took and I love “there is still more room left to paint.” Great poem!

      1. lionmother

        Thank you my dear poetic friend.:) I too feel the poems today are spectacular. I guess this prompt brought out the best of us poets.:)

        I am also loving all of your poems, but can’t decide which of these gems to on which to comment. So consider wonderful as the comment for all!!:)

  168. dandelionwine

    Solid Glass, Elusive Self

    Perhaps
    this is ego
    speaking, but
    I have examined
    myself
    in the mirror
    long enough
    to know
    a little
    something
    about
    mirrors.

    Sara Ramsdell

  169. Ashley Marie Egan

    Imperfect: A Poetic Self-Portrait
    by Ashley Marie Egan

    To love the face in the mirror,
    You must accept all your flaws,
    Then your mind will become clearer,
    And the critics in your head will break into applause,

    When I was a teen,
    I hated everything about me,
    My thoughts were so mean,
    And the bullies ignored my plea,

    Now that I’ve grown,
    I’ve come to love myself,
    I’m glad I’m not a clone,
    I took self-hatred off the shelf.

    I’ve embraced my pale skin,
    All these scars and moles,
    Even my misaligned spine that hurts like sin,
    And these crooked teeth with a few holes,

    So what? My nose has never been perfect,
    But it turned out to be completely worth it.

    Inside and out I’m ridden with imperfections,
    But take it from me, there’s no need for corrections.

  170. Bartholomew Barker

    Self Portrait

    It just needs a little editing
    Take some off the gut
    Fill in the thinning hair
    Unrecede the hairline
    Smooth the wrinkles around the eyes
    Too much grey in the beard
    Just leave some at the temple
    To look distinguished

    It’s my own fault
    For not dying young

  171. JRSimmang

    KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

    My evening walk
    took me to a corner of the
    neighborhood I’d never seen before.

    A single house,
    occupied by a single light,
    bent to the wind and
    the setting sun.
    If a house could bow,
    this one did.

    A woman emerged from the deck
    and beckoned a good evening.

    A compulsion, perhaps it was,
    that drove me to her company.

    She had three chairs on her deck,
    and I obliged when she invited me in for tea.

    Her house,
    a cluttered mess
    of remembrances
    (for memories are hardly tidy),
    clung to her light bed sheets,
    delighting that the windows and doors
    finally, and
    once again
    had another pair of boots.

    She asked me about my father,
    who was a working man,
    and she told me of hers,
    a noble man in the eyes of God,
    shatter-proof and substantial,
    who smiled even when he was crying.

    I nodded along,
    reforging my father in my head.
    She asked because my hands were thick,
    and my eyes were piercing,
    too piercing to be a woman’s gentle gaze.

    She asked of my grandmother,
    who was a woman of grace,
    buoyed by perseverance
    and who insisted on reverence at the dinner table,
    folded napkins,
    and who was always prepared for guests.

    She said hers was the same,
    congenial,
    handsome,
    ever-present.
    In this,
    she said I would make my grandmother proud,
    sharing a pot of tea.

    She asked of my mother,
    and I told her of her nose,
    the family nose,
    and the hair that shone
    pure light.
    My mother, she said,
    must have been a real gem,
    to snag such a man
    as I described.

    I thanked her for her hospitality
    and her conversation
    and made up some excuse about this
    and that.

    As I tread the street back home,
    I felt for the picture I
    kept of my mother,
    always in my pocket.

    I would visit the old house
    in the foreign corner of the
    neighborhood soon.

    I occasionally need a warm cup of tea.

    -JR Simmang

  172. Amaria

    “I am who I am”

    I am who I am:
    the little brown-skinned girl
    among the sea of pale faces.

    I am who I am:
    the Jersey girl with an accent
    who doesn’t pump her own gas.

    I am who I am:
    the silent one in the corner
    listening to voices surrounding her.

    I am who I am:
    the beautiful lady across the room
    that you’re too nervous to speak to.

    I am who I am:
    the woman standing before you
    and I will not change for no one.

  173. carolecole66

    Rite of Spring

    In early May, before the frost free date
    she’d be at the nursery in a frenzy
    of colors: pansies, impatiens, long-
    stemmed coreopsis that leaned into the sun,
    clematis for the trellis, daisies, and black-eyed susans,
    day lilies that later would refuse to bloom in tended plots,
    snapdragons and marigolds. She grabbed them all.
    She couldn’t stop herself. And later, their black flats
    arrayed upon the kitchen table, they’d droop and sag
    as she watered them and sang. Just a week
    they’d need to stay alive, a week before
    they could survive in the shallow trenches
    in the still-cold earth. It was a little like giving birth,
    she thought. The joy of full flower August nothing
    to this flush of first spring lust. She dreamed of reading
    Madame Bovary in the green backyard, in the warmth
    of the sun, the lush colors swaddling her, the light bright
    heat of fertility breathing through her skin.

    Carole

  174. MeenaRose

    I Rise
    By: Meena Rose

    Take away my dreams, I dare
    You to alter my destiny;
    A shackled future thrust upon me;
    It will not matter, I will rise.

    Weigh me down with your demands;
    My plate is already full;
    I will carry your burden even though
    You should; no matter, I rise.

    Hit me with your best shot;
    Chances are high you won’t miss;
    I fall, I crumble, I cry;
    It does not matter, I rise.

    Has history taught you nothing?
    Perhaps you slept through class;
    To stop me, I must accept defeat;
    Never will I do this, I rise.

    Hate me, mock me, betray me;
    Break my faith in mankind;
    You still will not put out
    My flames, for I always rise.

  175. Grey_Ay

    Have You Seen Me?

    Have you seen a prism?
    That bit of crystal through light along the walls
    all those different colors, all the different sizes
    always moving, always changing

    Have you seen the wind?
    Moving along, quietly, until it’s not
    and when it’s not, it’s evil, it’s unwelcome
    but sometimes, it is

    Have you watched the sky?
    Always there, above, blue, or black, or red or orange
    sometimes clear, sometimes full of clouds
    sometimes completely hidden from view

    Have you known me?
    For I am as changing as the light
    as welcomed as the wind,
    as constant as the sky.

    But I am only me.

    -A. Ault-

  176. marianne426

    I am me every day. That I cannot change. Some days I like me more than the days I feel insane.

    I get up early, go to work and try to do my best. I come home and wind it down and try to get some rest.

    My days start to look alike and this does worry me some. I don’t want to get lost all day and never see the sun.

    I wonder what my purpose is and when it will become clear but until then I’ll keep smilin and try to spread some cheer.

    Someday soon my insides will either warm me or make me sick. I still love me either way, whichever me I pick.

    I’ve had my share of good and bad and as I age I know I will find the meaning in it all and hope it makes me grow.

  177. Anvanya

    Red is the New…

    Clipped to the sun shade in his S-10 is that photo
    Of me at Deception Pass Bridge.
    Paul shot the picture; I am all comfied-up in
    A brand new red winter fleece, mit white snowflakes.

    I can recall the day and the trip, his hand tugging mine;
    He’s always gone ahead and I’m the one a step behind.

    We had just crossed the highway on foot (a big no-no) –
    I nearly lost my balance as he ran ahead –
    So my cheeks are pink and my hair is fluffier than usual.

    It’s his favorite photo because it’s me, so he says,
    Your smile lights up your face. Green eyes are bright in the
    Rare sunlight reflected from the watery passage below.

  178. matthew

    This is
    I see myself in fragments
    I burn with rebellion
    It is a sharp sliver of self
    I see
    This is a picture
    a few frames of film
    that proves Oswald
    was a loner
    proves that I am one
    as well

    Exhibit A: My father
    questioning me
    over a list of chores
    a little scrap of paper
    my step mother scribbled upon
    misspelled work to be done

    “And just exactly why?
    why aren’t all these chores done?”

    This is me shaking scared
    near tears
    I burn just a little
    fragment a sliver of me
    I say ” I did the chores
    that were spelled correctly”
    And I am a loner
    the only one amused

    This is myself a little
    Fragment of me
    And I burn whenever
    I spell something wrong

  179. gmagrady

    THE DREAMER

    She played with
    a Baby Alive doll,
    feeding and cradling,
    loving and soothing
    make-believe
    cries to sleep—
    the mother.
    And now,
    I have teenagers…

    She played
    in Brenda’s basement
    with the younger set
    on the block who
    sat at school desks
    in the musty
    cemented walled
    room—
    the teacher.
    And now,
    1000+ students later…

    She cut out pictures
    from Teen Beat
    of rock stars
    and heart throbs,
    their eyes
    mesmerizing her
    even when
    lids closed for
    the night—
    the wife.
    And now,
    we celebrate 17 years…

    She wrote in journals,
    daily reflections
    followed by short stories
    and poems of
    teenager strife
    and twenty-something
    searching, longing—
    the writer and poet.
    And now,
    I finalize a manuscript
    of historical fiction
    and post a comment on
    Writer’s Digest’s
    PAD challenge,
    Day 7…

    Age 46
    and still
    dreaming…

  180. novacatmando

    A question about epistemology: large, looming, legend-making.
    How long do you have to touch history to become it yourself?
    If you were like me, a boy at the bottom
    not the one gifted with raising the gauntlet—
    the one who spent the moments considering,
    praying, and then passing our folded flag.
    Then cropped from the picture at Iwo Jima.
    In narrow memories, there’s no hero obituary for me.

  181. kingac

    In That Way Back Corner

    There’s a tote somewhere,
    tightly sealed – with old
    unused Holiday stamps in
    random denominations.

    The dvr is almost always
    over half full, and inevitably
    some of it will never be viewed –
    just deleted, and rerecorded.

    Two laundry hampers sit
    lonely as the dirty clothes
    end up at the foot of the bed
    or strewn across the bathroom counter.

    Every house has that drawer in
    which things get placed, never
    to be used or looked at again –
    Sometimes that’s how I feel.

    -John Pupo

  182. RuthNott

    Self Portrait

    I am old…
    No longer the beauty,
    No longer slim,
    No longer energized,
    No longer ambitious.
    I am old.
    Thinning gray hair,
    Overweight but losing,
    Tired and weary, drained,
    Lacking motivation.

    I am old.
    Where do I go from here?
    Will you lead me?
    Time marches on.
    I am older.

    ©2014 by Ruth Nott

  183. Jenn Todd Lavanish

    Just Jenn

    Blue jeans, t-shirt, pony tail, hat and boots
    Marching into each day in my personal uniform.

    I am just casual.

    No better or worse than my peers
    Leaving impressions in my wake.

    I am just memorable.

    My eyes won’t work like yours
    Challenged in sight but not in vision.

    I am just artistic.

    Never meeting a stranger
    Willing to lend a hand.

    I am just friendly.

    Getting beyond the Jennifers and Jasons of my generation
    Choosing to stand out and not conform.

    I am just independent.

    Holding to my vows and promises
    Living the Great Commission.

    I am just Christian.

    A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother,
    Relating and working with those I encounter.

    I am just busy.

    Living each day in a role I play
    Dreaming and planning for tomorrow.

    I am Just Jenn

  184. Emma

    I Am:

    I. Terrified
    When I learnt my
    Mortality
    I realised
    My body could
    Unmake itself.

    II. Angry
    The words you speak
    Like acid thrown
    At my spirit,
    Erode my will to
    Grin and bear you.

    III. Tired
    This screwed-up world
    Exhausts me ‘till
    I struggle to
    Keep going, to
    Keep from hiding.

    IV. Managing
    Between cynicism
    And survival
    Instinct, I cope,
    I push myself
    Through the motions.

    V. Brave
    ‘You’re wrong’ I say
    Staring into
    Your eyes, shoulders
    Square and back straight.
    It takes everything.

  185. Debbie

    ABOUT ME

    My posture begins quite straight
    Then starts to relax while I wait
    For that moment to grab the bait.

    The idea or theme starts to build
    As my head is creatively filled
    Darn, the flow is killed.

    Think again of what to say
    Words to write on this day
    What am I trying to portray?

    I’m all about wanting to write right now
    Just a need, just a hope, an informal vow
    And when it all falls together – wow!

  186. DamonZ

    “Looking back to today”

    I held your picture in my weathered hand.
    Your fatherly face looking back at me.
    Then something happened, something most unplanned.
    One of those things that made me weak in the knee.
    The reflection staring back in the glass.
    The reflection I thought, it must be you.
    At first it was opaque and somewhat crass.
    In a flash it came to focus, right on cue.
    The man looking back in the glass was your son.
    I didn’t see it all these years gone by.
    Suddenly my emotions came undone.
    I began to break down, tried to keep my cheeks dry.
    Your crow’s feet, eyes, and hair gone grey,
    Are all right here, still alive today.

    By Damon Zallar

  187. Jane Shlensky

    I don’t know if the format will hold. If not, imagine the second lines indented and all titles as italicized.

    A Speedy Promenade Past Pictures in an Exhibition,
    a retrospective of Woman in Bits and Pieces

    Winged Victory
    a sketch, before she turned to stone
    Leda, a triptych
    before and after swan song
    Woman, Throwing Stone at Bird
    an accusation
    Grown-up Girl
    with packed bag
    Aproned Goddess
    distributing fishes and loaves
    Eastward Ho!
    geisha playing samisen
    Portrait of an Artist as a Young Thing
    Leda sans feathers
    Woman at Piano
    . a modernist interpretation
    The Artist in Her Museum
    curtain drawn on fossils
    High Noon of Woman in Sun
    avec sunscreen
    Freedom from Want
    serving roast swan
    Not all Parts Regenerate, Woman 4
    but some do
    Recumbent Figure in Sweat Suit
    retiring smiling countenance
    Marigolds on Mirror
    Reflection? I see no reflection

  188. Kendall A. Bell

    Some things never change

    I still bite my own lips
    and sit alone in dimly
    lit rooms spreading words
    like sickness, still cringe
    when I look in mirrors or
    feel the fabric of a shirt
    stretching over my bloated
    stomach. I reinvent myself
    as often as I can, avoid
    any chance of attachment
    for too long. There are
    leeches everywhere and there
    soon will be nothing left
    to give. I procrastinate –
    hold grudges and watch crappy
    sad movies and blubber in
    silence. I never forget names,
    even when I’d rather forget
    my own.

  189. RavenCorbie

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
    Who do you see there in the hall?
    A static shape that yet somehow
    Shifts and shimmers and even now
    Wavers in the space not there
    The image nothing but clear air.
    I see myself not as I am,
    But as I was or as I spam
    Myself with views both fair and foul
    Created by my fears and howls:
    I am ME, I’m ME, ME, ME!
    But what is there, what do you see?
    Where is truth, where does it lie
    When in the mirror even I
    Can only see that which I make
    And not the real me; just a fake.

  190. dianemdavis

    a self portrait poem, of my main character, in my work-in-progress verse novel…

    My name is Mei
    but Mom calls me
    Little Dragon
    because I was born on
    the fifth day in the fifth month
    of the Chinese Lunar calendar–

    during the Dragon Boat Festival.

    My grandmother, PoPo, says
    children born in the fifth month
    are difficult
    and those born on the fifth day
    are cursed with bad luck.

    But I think she’s wrong.
    Dragons are proud and strong
    and bring good luck, like me.

    Only, I’m not feeling lucky.
    PoPo is coming to Boston
    for the Dragon Boat Festival
    and to see me.

  191. lionetravail

    “And You Know? It Don’t Come Easy!”
    by David M. Hoenig

    Perfectionist who fails the summit,
    time and again.
    Who braves the gauntlet to run it;
    never knows when
    to acknowledge defeat. Dadgummit!
    Does NOT go gen-
    tle into literary spirit’s dark plummet!
    Time and again.

  192. shethra77

    The Older I Get

    the less I know who I am.
    But when I was little I knew:
    a reader and writer,
    a superhero, a big sister.
    I knew I loved pork chops, spinach, and noodles,
    the color orange, drums and violins.
    I loved my family
    I loved singing, the church choir,
    seeing the sun shine through the stained glass,
    feeling the organ rumble through me.
    I knew I could fly if the swing went high enough.

    Now I wish I could fly–the swing
    never goes high enough.
    I think
    as a super hero I’m not going to make it,
    but pray god for courage all the time
    the courage of big cats
    and fierce mothers.

    What I am is who I love
    and what I love
    the mirror and the facets
    the jewels, dark and clear
    that I choose to reflect
    and those I bury inside.
    What I am sings within
    and escapes though the cracks.
    I am the reflection.
    I am the child.
    I am a black panther.

  193. Sara McNulty

    Still Blonde (with a bit of help)

    Look! there she is,
    that girl I told you about.
    I am surprised she is
    out and about, because
    I heard she was a little
    loopy. Oh yeah. Her mother
    had to sit outside her class
    rooms for a whole term
    in junior high. She could not
    hang out at the diner
    with us, unable to eat out
    in restaurants. She could
    barely leave the house.

    Yeah, I know, that was
    a long time ago. Look
    at us all now, past middle age,
    some divorced, some with
    kids and grandkids. She looks
    happier now, keeps her head
    up when she walks. Well no,
    she was always thin. I heard
    she moved out west with
    her husband, has two dogs,
    writes poems, and still loves to read.

    She seems a lot more balanced.
    Well, they did not have all
    those meds then, did they?

  194. PKP

    Ah Whitman

    Song of myself?
    how to compare
    I too had some rippling
    muscles – a belly
    you could bounce
    a quarter on
    breasts that had boys
    speaking only to them
    as though I was the
    Headless Horseman
    it wouldn’t have mattered
    their gazes so fixed
    back then
    all the physical stuff
    in a nice package
    that got a few
    doors opened
    but not any of
    the important ones –
    some of which still
    remain firmly shut –
    others which swing
    wide open on creaking
    hinges – now that the
    breasts have fallen
    toward the stomach
    that can now hold a
    handful of quarters
    and so
    I sing

    1. pilk00

      I’ve read through most of the first 20 or so and this is one of the best so far IMO, because of your sense of humor, but also a more advanced sense of poetics.. Main thing, I guess, I enjoyed your poem :)

      1. PKP

        What a wonderful comment – especially given the fact that I just wrote that I think that the work here is just fantastic today – I am humbled and delighted that you enjoyed :)

  195. PKP

    another piece of the puzzle

    they sat on the steps
    in the summer
    a hot misty night
    he smoked blowing
    smoke rings into
    the heavy popsicle
    scented air
    and asked with
    a voice like Alice’s
    caterpillar ….
    “Would you rather
    be the product of
    cold calculation or…”
    smoke rings floated
    “the product of love”
    She already – a twelve
    year old Nancy Drew
    knew the answer –
    having found their
    teenaged love letters
    tied with blue satin
    ribbon in some
    boxes in the basement
    but liked making the
    choice for herself
    then –
    s
    i
    t
    t
    t
    i
    n
    g
    on the steps
    that summer

  196. Beverly Deirocini

    for fear of being misunderstood

    blinking cursor beating to the rhythm of racing hearts
    the dance begins all over the keyboard
    fingers plopping down on keys
    like juicy raindrops splattering on asphalt.

    thirty paces forward then back- tap!, tap!, tap!
    some other word to fill the space
    thoughts are materialized, immortalized, then vaporized
    with the command of an index finger and key.

    seven lines in and the breathing begins
    reiterations turn into incantations
    as the lips whisper the words in hurried pace
    progression, possession, obsession.

    Closed lids and I hit “send”

  197. Cameron Steele

    Self-Portrait

    Don’t look for me in mirrors
    or hold your breath by the window
    hoping to catch a small rub of a
    brown eye by the willow in the back.
    I’m not reflected there or in
    the copper bottom pots you
    hang over the stove, cleaning
    them every August in fresh
    tomato juice, the more acidic
    the better, until they gleam
    in the kitchen like omens of easier days.

    Stop searching for me
    in photographs from those days,
    you’ll get nothing for bending over
    their silver frames except a sore back
    and nostalgia for a woman
    who once grew backyard romas next
    to the small weeping willow, brought them
    to you every summer, ripened and red
    and ready to squeeze the juice out of.

    The garden grew over long before
    you started buying cleaner
    from the grocery, rubbing your
    pots in half the time so you can sit
    in your chair before sun-down, crossing
    your fingers and your eyes ever so slightly,
    praying that by squeezing them shut
    you’ll catch a glimpse of the gritty self
    you tried so hard to rub away.

  198. maxie409

    Abstracted

    No artistic bent here;
    my stick-person self-portrait
    (at best a kindergarten attempt)
    gives nothing away. So I must
    rely on daubs of colour on my canvas,
    an abstracted me, if you will.
    Do I paint the honest grey
    of my hair or the Light Reddish Brown?
    You make your choice;
    I have made mine.
    Now Merry Berry for my lips
    or perhaps Coral Crush
    depending on my mood.
    No rich dark chocolate
    for my eyes, more like (as
    I was once informed)
    brindle shit brown. Not very
    complimentary but certainly descriptive.
    Now some pink because a cousin
    once said “That’s your colour”
    and some yellow for my
    sunny nature but add a few speckles
    of green for the envy
    that sometimes rears its head.
    Time has cooled my temper
    so very little fiery red is needed
    but you may spatter some blue
    because I am told I can be cold.

  199. Andrea

    I am

    I am a tote bag

    unfastened,
    things falling out,
    but with sturdy handles

    I am a golf ball

    dimpled,
    banged up,
    hard cover, yet soft core

    I am stainless steel

    trusted,
    un-rusted, yet often
    a poor conductor

    I am the shoes I walk in

    new, old
    high, low
    always changing

  200. PKP

    Self- Portrait

    with the same name
    as Hester’s love child
    and Mrs. Rosenberg
    her kindergarden teacher
    confusing – whether
    high art or a finger-painting
    beginning to think
    all is the same
    changed only by
    the critic viewer

  201. PKP

    in the night…

    Standing behind wooden spokes
    In the night
    In the night
    Waiting with a wordless scream
    For something keenly felt but as
    Yet completely totally unknown
    The wheel turns

  202. LeighSpencer

    Unstill Life (With Dogs)

    I’ve never wondered
    what I’d look like
    missing an ear

    Hair tucked behind
    single earring
    gold or silver
    always a lizard
    hanging on

    I’d be smiling
    usually

    Real or frantic
    posed
    for posterity
    since I never seem to catch myself
    unawares

    No wavy lines
    like wind through a cornfield
    No flowers in my hair
    No monkey on my shoulder
    No peripherally peering pipes
    (that may or may not be pipes at all)

    Representation
    without speculation
    on what any of it means

    My smile
    My graying hair
    My purple glasses
    My dogs

    Wagging and waging
    to join me in the frame
    no gallery will see

    Motion and emotion

    Documented not captured

    Comfortable
    in the family album

    My unstill life

  203. eileenDmoeller

    April Self Portrait
    by Eileen Moeller

    A woman with a mouth full of crocuses
    and birds flying through her head.
    A resurrected woman whose blood has all been shed,
    adorning herself a shawl made of pentecostal words.
    A woman who sketches herself, with a pencil,
    from this angle, that angle, naked, now
    smiling, now wearing a clown nose,
    a bird’s beak, throwing herself,
    like a fish, back into quickening
    every year. A woman with eyes
    full of rain and peepers singing
    spring songs in her hair.

  204. Roderick Bates

    Self Portrait

    by Roderick Bates

    In the style of Constable:

    A tall, beefy old man walks across a field
    dragging a large branch behind him.
    The sky is slate gray, snow lingers
    in the low spots and to the north
    of the larger rocks. A cow watches.

    In the style of Van Gogh:

    Background spins, blue on gray.
    Blue shirt under gray coat.
    Yellow-orange skin jumps out
    at face and neck. Quick lines
    and thick paint, colors unmixed.
    Gray beard, gray hat, gray eyebrows.
    Hazel eyes stare at and through,
    blue-gray thoughts implied.

    In the style of Rockwell:

    Truck on jacks, both front wheels off.
    Heavy-set man in blue jeans sits
    on one of the tires. A smudge
    of grease on his forehead,
    thinning hair sticks up.
    Lug nuts in upturned hubcap,
    tools and pieces of filthy metal
    strew the ground around him.
    A small box says Brake Shoes;
    he looks perplexed.

    In the style of Rothko:

    Raw umber slash at bottom,
    fading upward to tan. Then
    cadmium light to dusty pink,
    and on up to Payne’s Gray,
    a bit of canvas showing through.

  205. Julie Morrison

    Where I Belong

    Has no other than me been this complicated?
    A perception can become so skewed
    Experiences are not my fate
    Nevertheless became accrued

    Yet there is a need to get back to basics
    To the plan that He has for me
    Propelling me to keep on searching
    Praying in faith to be set free

    What’s in my heart clearly revealed
    When I shed unforgiving past
    So much lovelier to love and be loved
    To throw off this ugly mask

    When I walked through that glorious portal
    Something moved within my core
    Stubborn soul remains yet Spirit in tact
    I let my Savior lead me through the door

    Yet this stubborn soul forsakes me
    But He has made me strong
    He lifts me up so high
    Reminds me where I belong

  206. Julie Morrison

    Where I Belong

    Has no other than me been so complicated?
    A perception can become so skewed
    Experiences are not my fate
    Nevertheless became accrued

    Yet there is a need to get back to basics
    To the plan that He has for me
    Propels me to keep on searching
    Praying in faith to be set free

    What’s in my heart clearly revealed
    When I shed unforgiving past
    So much lovelier to love and be loved
    To throw off this ugly mask

    When I walked through that glorious portal
    Something moved within my core
    Stubborn soul remains yet Spirit in tact
    I let my Savior lead me through the door

    Yet this stubborn soul forsakes me
    But He has made me strong
    He lifts me up so high
    Reminds me where I belong

  207. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    She Is

    She is on the beach, picking up stones.
    She bends to examine marks and colours.
    It’s a warm autumn day, but very windy.
    Her little carry bag is blown sideways
    despite the weight of stones and her thongs.
    (She likes the feeling of sand in her toes.)

    “I’m going to paddle my feet in the water,”
    she says to her friend. Her friend comes too.
    “Careful,” she adds, her friend being a stranger
    to this beach, “The ocean plays tricks. It chases you:
    entices you in too far, then pounces.”
    Sure enough, the tide draws way back, and waits.

    They stay on the edge. When at last it returns
    with a sudden surge, it catches them only
    up to their ankles. They sample it again,
    spreading over their feet, which drink it
    through soles, through skin;
    then retreat up the warm, firm sand.

    She throws her arms wide, crying out,
    her face lifted up to the sky. The sky is full
    of dancing clouds. Her friend also dances.
    Finally they rest on the wooden bench
    overlooking the vista: sand, surf and sky.
    “We’ve got plenty of time,” they agree.

    Note to Americans: “thongs” is the Aussie term for what you call flip-flops.

  208. priyajane

    So Much More To See

    There is so much more than what you see- of me, in me–
    Behind my half moon eyes lie
    oceans of jades
    in desert sand
    and jasmine flowers
    in oyster bands

    Shades of night rest in my hair
    with curly locks
    of sparkling dreams
    that look for dolphins stars
    in open skies

    My earthy skin has sunny skies
    some moistened puffs
    and tough branches
    that hold and mould
    with floating scuds

    My tiny feet love sunset walks
    in their minty green shoes
    yearning for wings
    and butterfly shells
    looking for poetry

    A lotus still in early stage, is peeking
    through my belly’s rage
    unfolding slowly
    searching for scented phrases
    to reflect my gaze

    There so much more than –what I see – of me, in me———

  209. lionetravail

    “I Could Be A Le Carre Character”
    by David M. Hoenig

    Tinker, I: play purposely poetic pursuits
    Tailor, I: suture sentences setentiously
    Soldier, I: fight fatigue for fruitful frivolity
    Spy, I: love looting loquacious lexicology

  210. mbramucci

    Self Portrait

    Long arms, tan and freckled
    Wrists like knotty oak
    Lead to fingers, short but nimble
    Like the words I spoke

    Long hair, thin and dark
    That frames an angled face
    Olive eyes have point of view
    From mind that tends to race

    Pink lips slightly puckered
    O’er a subtle chin
    Try to hide these crooked teeth
    But quickly take to grin

    And I have my Nana’s ears
    A bit too long and large
    My Poppy lent his Slovak brow
    It’s good for taking charge

    My nape rests lightly just between
    The slender collar bones
    That reach toward strong shoulders
    That could bear the weight of stone

    A beating heart that pumps with love
    Although it’s slightly calloused
    From opening too freely for
    Some sheep that hid wolf malice

    Inside, I’ve got some guts
    I’ll try to use for finding glory
    If I do, I’ll share with you
    The rest of my life story

  211. anneemcwilliams

    THE DESIGNATED DAUGHTER

    Take this woman.
    Consider the shoulders, recognizable
    at appointments, or grocery stores,
    pushing a wheelchair, guiding an elbow,
    carrying two purses. Is she fluid?
    Like a wave,
    she spreads. In sleep
    she is slicing loaves of bread.
    In an unfamiliar room
    she is asked to wait, and in patience
    finds softness, she finds words for
    try harder, for be relentless.
    Streaming over, she ebbs,
    covers vast territories,
    growing more conscious
    of losing and leaving.
    Her childhood grows in significance.
    Her body shelters what it must one day release.

  212. CathyBlogs

    Self-portrait

    The pen the paper
    the words the lines
    Just strip me naked
    inside you will find
    the pen the paper
    the words the lines
    rip out my heart
    beating there you will find
    the pen the paper
    the words the lines
    lay bare my soul,
    fierce angels, and find
    the pen the paper
    the words the lines
    take my very breath
    in the air you will find
    the pen the paper
    the words the lines
    ransack my grave,
    errant robbers, you’ll find
    the pen the paper
    the words the lines
    the pen the paper
    the words the lines
    the pen the paper
    the words the lines

    the poem. A poem.

    Cathy Dee writing at CathyBlogs.com

  213. Mariya Koleva

    ## Self-portrait ##

    What is that ball of tangled ropes,
    or the bowl of wiggling noodles?

    What do you seek in the mirror?
    But your depression and self-ruin,
    the harsh words you have stored
    for your own tiny wrinkles,
    and especially for those,
    not too fine ones, the ones
    you try to hide in vain.

    Veiled behind a hollow story,
    still worthy of your smiles,
    love cuddles quietly.
    ##

  214. beachanny

    This Is Me

    The Irish troubles brewed within me until they blew each other apart.
    See my Irish blue eyes, my earth eyes, my eyes like marble earth.
    Catholic and Protestant (and Celtic old) frozen into Germanic strength.
    Through these eyes, these hurt eyes, these wizened eyes

    I saw Rome, the Rome of men, the Rome of crosses, I crossed
    the earth to see it, I’d always wanted to, and I saw the burning
    crosses of war, of persecution, of execution affixed to churches
    in every piazza and I knew they burned inside of me killing
    mankind, persecuting people, creating prejudice that had lived
    since tribal times..bound in flaxen cords, bound with the wisps

    of my fair hair bleached from lack of sunlight in caves. There
    were the people, my people removed from blackest Africa to
    Northern climes; oh yes, check out the road maps on my palms
    the wanderlust imprinted there. I followed those roads out of the
    heartland where the Irish had come, out of Missouri and Oklahoma
    away to Texas to a native place and to Louisiana to soak up that
    Frenchness that is only a small percent of my crooked smile, my
    need for richness, for design, for beauty, for the odd, the curious,
    the weird, the occult, (oh the celtic call was strong in New Orleans)

    there there I found another part of me, the time traveler, the wizard,
    the artist. On across the nation where I was born, traveler of place
    state to state, time to time, ice to glacier, hope to city, energy to
    corn field, gold leaves to mountains, green granite to desert flame.
    Where in my face can you see love, tenderness and kindness; I
    suppose it’s there though my brow claims intelligence first, and last.
    My sturdy body would have wanted stronger legs and feet, though
    never fast they moved over many roads, and up to highest stars.

    Can you see my partners, my consorts, my friends hiding behind me?
    They’re only shadows leaving their hopes, designs, and needs on me.
    But I come forward to say that there is order, it’s written on my
    freckled countenance and that order comes from courage to change,
    and will to protect, to care, to construct, not to tear down, not to
    do harm, not to put myself first, but to change for good, to give, to love.

    © Gay Reiser Cannon – All Rights Reserved

  215. shellaysm

    Silhouette

    Under projected angelic light,
    one small face
    in chalky trace:
    innocence in black & white.

    Hair held back by haphazard barrette,
    one stray lock aside–
    a taste of the girl inside–
    with no clue if she’s blonde or brunette.

    Poised, still: a moment’s statuette,
    knowing play soon pursues.
    Pert little nose protrudes,
    eyes shyly hidden by their deep set.

    Today, if a rendition were drawn
    by my own hands some way,
    I’d wonder how much it’d stray
    from my ebony profile forgone.

    As aging eyes unfurl
    I believe I’d still see,
    just waiting to be,
    that same, hopeful little girl.

    Lips pursed beneath smile’s net,
    hope despite unknowns.
    Oh, to spend a day on loan
    with my Kindergarten silhouette.

    Michele K. Smith

  216. James Brush

    WHY SELF PORTRAITS SHOULDN’T BE TRUSTED

    Jazz or maybe rock, some country, when they
    Ask that odd question about my favorite
    Music genres and artists. But my tastes are
    Eclectic. There’s always a bit of an internal
    Squabble. It seems so odd. How do you

    Determine which conflicting tastes should

    Box you in? It’s as strange and unsettling as
    Relying on physical appearances and style to
    Understand anything true or honest about
    Someone you’ve only just (or never) met, so 
    Here’s something that really happened:

    I have gray hair, but momentarily forgetting,
    I told the nice lady working at the DMV
    It was brown. She took a photo for my license.

  217. Buddah Moskowitz

    Identity Politics

    Am I one of those
    writers
    who only comes out
    when there’s an audience
    in need of distraction?

    Close down the
    Tuesday night poetry club,
    turn out the lights,
    remove my avatar
    of Chunky King David.

    Without your reflection,
    your approbation,
    am I only
    fingers tapping
    on an anonymous keyboard
    in a blip of a blog?

    No.

    I am the minesweeper
    clearing a way
    through her moody minefield
    of stultifying depression
    and angst.

    I am the handyman
    fixing leaky relationships
    dripping human sewage,
    patching torn parachutes
    and crossing my fingers
    that they’ll work
    if ever needed.

    I am the servant,
    trying and failing
    before a God of
    infinite mercy and kindness,
    who remains
    ever silent,
    so that the only
    castigating voice is
    my own.

    I am all these things
    and many more,
    but I only ever
    become a writer
    when I stop being
    everything else.

  218. cam45237

    Worth

    I’m the rubble in the ruins
    I’m the clutter in the closet
    I’m the whiskey in the well
    The rusty water in the faucet

    I’m the canker in the abscess
    The infection in the wound
    I’m the fracture in the ankle
    I’m the smoke that fills the room

    I’m the sawgrass on the greenway
    I’m the claws across the board
    I’m the ragweed among roses
    I’m the dissonance in discord

    When I consider my reflection this is what I see
    What it does is make me wonder why in hell you’ve chosen me.

  219. Kendall A. Bell

    Since Joseph did a self portrait cento with song lyrics, I had to do the same…because it’s a frickin’ great idea and his was cool. I’ll be doing another self portrait poem, as well.

    They sing me like this (a self portrait cento)

    Gather me up because I’m lost.
    I won’t waste your time with lies
    and there’s not much truth to tell.
    My will to live is under attack,
    I have the days when it comes easy.
    I think I used to have a purpose,
    then again, that might have been a dream.
    I am turning up in circles
    and I’m spinning on my knuckles,
    don’t forget that there are circles left undone.
    Cut my wrist on a bad thought
    and head for the door.
    I’m writing on a little piece of paper
    I’m hoping someday I might find.
    Well, I’ll hide it behind something
    they wont look behind.
    I am just a copy of a copy of a copy,
    everything I say has come before.
    I can’t remember how this got started
    but I can tell you exactly how it will end.
    If I could start again,
    a million miles away,
    I would find a way.

    (Songs: Every Day Is Exactly The Same by Nine Inch Nails, Happy Sad by Gemma Hayes, The Letter by Kristin Hersh, Scoundrel Days by a-ha, Vitamins V by Kristin Hersh, Copy of a by Nine Inch Nails and Hurt by Nine Inch Nails.)

  220. lshannon

    I am not what I was yesterday
    Re-engineering and re-imagining
    The reflection of my many selves before

    My style remains stubbornly
    Hidden In clutter and chaos
    Influenced and altered
    A costume of indecision

    Self knowledge is not the issue
    It is surprisingly self expression
    That stands silent.

    I am waiting for words
    To paint my portrait

  221. C.R. Klein

    You Don’t Know Me
    ________________
    By C.R. Klein
    ________________

    They come from a haze of memory,
    like children.

    My grandfather,
    grandmother smiling,
    faces faded like ghosts into the past.

    I see my grandfather
    walking from the mist,
    smiling.
    This quiet stillness
    embraces me;
    a meditation.
    Empty benches,
    a still merry-go-round.
    It makes me dizzy, spinning,
    nauseous, disoriented.

    Take this meditation.

    Crush life to powder, gulp it down,
    do it through a haze of tears.
    Breathe deep and steel yourself;
    shimmering ghosts of the past are a bitter pill to swallow,
    a deep, unbearable, constant sadness.

    Now is not the right time to show pain,
    to reveal weakness, to say that we can’t do it,
    that we don’t want to,
    that we are afraid.
    But its never
    the right time,
    so,
    I suppress this knot of sadness and grief,
    daily.
    Buried deep,
    you don’t know me.

    Unwrap the chocolate coin and let it melt;
    give me the last chapati and I know its love.
    Everything I’ve ever seen or heard becomes me.

    Everything I’ve ever thought or felt is me,
    and you don’t know me.

    -© C.R. Klein,
    All Rights Reserved.

  222. Mark Conroy

    “Look—Watch—See”

    I hate the hungers of youth
    Do they ever go away
    This fear of forgiving
    Was never meant to stay
    Forget for a moment
    The real facts of life
    Ideas are all alike
    My mind can never sit still
    I hate the silence of not knowing
    What’s inside of you
    Where I need to be
    To think things though
    So few ideas have words I know
    I’m everything I’ll ever be
    Intentions are nothing
    They just seem to be real
    No one else knows them
    Or can abide me except you

    Mark Conroy

  223. Reynard

    scrapbooking me

    i cut them into pieces
    these images of me
    keeping what i want to see
    discarding all the rest
    i pick the words i want to say
    pick the memories i want to stay
    carefully putting them back together
    on the background that i choose
    deciding want i want to keep
    and what i want to loose
    i can caption with the text i like
    embellishing to my delight
    oh the joy of crafting
    my own soul

  224. pmwanken

    A JOURNEY’S REFLECTION

    There have been days on this journey that I would have liked to skip — days that were very difficult. Days that inflicted great pain—not always physically, but the pain that comes with deep emotional wounds. However, the same journey that has brought such pain has also been interwoven with great joys. And it is the combination of the two that have shaped me into the person I am today. Someone with deep faith, strong loyalties, persistent courage, and a passionate and compassionate loving soul. I would not change a thing.

    inflictions and joys ~
    both, in combination, seen
    in my reflection

    2014-04-07
    P. Wanken

  225. MMC

    Once a Pleasure Seeker . . . .

    you are the child dashing to the playground swings
    couldn’t get enough of that swooping feel
    you are the teen first in the roller coaster line
    couldn’t get enough of that swooping feel
    you are the mother tossing her daughter in the air
    couldn’t get enough of that swooping feel
    you are the wife waltzing on the ballroom floor
    couldn’t get enough of that swooping feel
    you are the woman poised at the bungee jump
    couldn’t get enough of that swooping feel

    maybe someday you’ll do wheelies in your chair
    still can’t get enough of that swooping feel

  226. Brian Slusher

    51

    At this odd speed, at this odd age
    I travel to work through Monday rain
    and propped on the shoulder of the road
    a memorial wreath, synthetic flowers
    faded to match the gray of the day
    with a huge L crowning it, so I riffle through
    possible names: Lester, Lisa, Lane, and this
    is who I am, a man who enjoys naming
    the dead and soon the letter has lofted
    into luscious reveries, and I’m mouthing
    letters to my departed brother, saying
    thanks for the raincoat you left behind
    and do you get to drum with Keith Moon?
    And I’m the kind of guy who sings as
    he cries, or cries while he sings, and waves
    at passing motorists and wishes them
    fifty-one-hundred second-chances.

  227. MaryAnn1067

    Under Glass

    An oblong within an oval, the
    reflection of the portrait seen
    in a looking glass
    through the crack of the door,
    changing as the light changes

    first, silvery at dawn, the
    features indistinct, only slowly
    becoming clear, the eyes a
    challenge bordered by flesh

    the hair growing to flames as
    noon approaches and the bells
    ring out, red-haired Una,
    framed for all time, held

    captive behind the glass, such a
    fine specimen, her gaze direct,
    eyes the slateblue of her roof after rain

  228. Gabrielle Freeman

    Self-portrait

    A room rimmed in mellifluous windows,
    soft-focus views of a loose landscape,
    a liminal space, a central seat
    of every fleshy fabric rounded,
    malleable, facing out. Lamps lit low
    with electric light or flames flicking black
    at their tips. It is I at the edge,
    in the mist of a blurred boundary,
    in the midst of my ritual, my
    interstitial figure. The sea seeps in,
    scallops its silhouette up to, over
    my toes. My hands handle air like words.
    I can never know my own face.

    Thanks for reading! Check out the complete post on my writing process site http://www.ladyrandom.com.

  229. Nanamaxtwo

    Self Portrait

    Nose elongated as the last lifted bottle,
    neck condensed like a beer mug,
    eyes vague as an erased
    pencil sketch of a cloudy night,
    hands, high-veined as if to prove
    I’m alive, shake in their reach
    to touch the face in the mirror
    that could be mine
    as if remembering my appearance matters
    to me, even less to you.

  230. JayGee2711

    In One Grey Hair

    In one grey hair, my grandmother,
    late summer, gathering dill in her garden,
    slanting sun and warm earth,
    trees whispering her children’s names.

    Julie Germain

  231. mandygirl238

    I’m growing old
    But I don’t mind
    Smoothing out rough edges
    I’m one of a kind.

    Crow’s feet and laugh lines
    Etched on my face
    Laughter and joy but pain
    While finding my place.

    Jagged pieces, broken shards
    life like stained glass art
    Beautiful when the light shines
    From deep in my heart.

  232. James Von Hendy

    Eye Exam

    My eye sees itself on the screen as something else,
    An alien sun perhaps, orange and ocular,
    Fronting empty space, red vessels flaring
    Outward from an eccentric cup of yellow heat
    That is the star’s deep engine burning into light,

    Or rather it’s a red sea swimming into view,
    Focusing photons on that nervy bundle to feed
    The hungry creature who lurks in its bone-dark
    Cavern, the I who consumes the endless feast
    As if it were a black hole at the center of all things.

    1. pilk00

      I know exactly what you mean having been to retina specialists a couple times recently. You’ve done a marvelous job with a marvelous image!

  233. Angie5804

    I stay behind the camera lens
    Where I am more comfortable
    Capturing other faces
    Of those who are a part of me

    I see myself in my mother’s smile
    And in the freckles of my daughters
    I hear myself in the laughter of my sons

    My love is reflected in the gentle way
    My husband’s arm drapes around my shoulder
    On the occasions of the self-timer

    My sense of belonging is revealed in
    The presence of my daughter-in-law
    And kindness comes with my mother-in-law

    All the memories that shaped me
    Are there with my brothers
    And their wives bring a feminine touch

    My brothers-in-law show my hospitality
    The nieces and nephews remind me
    Of my younger self
    My grandchildren are my hope for the future

    There are more, not related by blood
    Who show me my place in the world
    For all these who are a part of me
    I am grateful, I am me

  234. geetakshi

    Multi-hued Reflections

    A drop of water reflects
    prisms of beauty,
    hazy colours that blend into each other to the point of dissolution;
    They melt off the skin of my hand
    leaving it cold to touch,
    with a slight sheen,
    similar to the light in those eyes staring back at me;
    I wipe away the drops of water from
    my face,
    erasing colours from the mirror is harder,
    Break as they do into
    countless relativities,
    slightly touching the stark face
    staring back at itself.

    ©Geetakshi Arora
    April 7, 2014

  235. stargypsy

    Who Am I?

    Depending on who you
    ask I am all sorts of people

    I see myself as a creative
    free spirit open to life and
    what the Universe has
    to offer.

    Others will say I am
    shy, complex, closed
    except to the few close
    friends.

    While some say I am
    spontaneous, flighty
    and unpredictable.

    All true and more…
    yet…
    I do have a serious side
    that thankfully stays
    in hiding most days now

    My life…
    My soul…
    is now free
    few restrictions to
    bind me
    And…
    many opportunities
    to let me fly

    Copyright © 2014 Annie – Original Poetry
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Annie

  236. J.lynn Sheridan

    Portrait on English Parchment
    after Gertrude Stein

    Blue on gray curtained marbled melons
    Baring questions Flaring passions Peeking

    Seeking Curtains drawing Rain Rain Raindrops
    in sallow crooked creases

    Sweep wheat away stray wheat in blue on gray
    streaks Wind away

    Fair peaches freckled peaches
    greet oblique kiwi, breathe kiwi breathe

    Two Rose hips Smack laugh Lemon laugh-
    boutique Batik in antique ink.

    Complete.

  237. Janet Rice Carnahan

    Because . . . oh, why not!

    AT NIGHT I FLY

    There once was a woman named Janet,
    Who never actually planned it!
    Inspired to lift off and fly,
    Among the stars so high,
    Poets decided she was Janet Planet!

    :)

  238. shellcook

    Filaments in the dark, can’t explain it.
    Won’t disclaim it.
    Brilliant feathers on the floor,
    there be Angels at my door.
    Heart wide open, eyes alight, no longer wishing
    to take flight.

    This question of ‘me’ has stumped me so
    over as many years as I have seen.
    That I quite cannot answer this question of yours.
    Who am I?
    I never know.

    Perhaps I will find the answer
    tomorrow.

  239. Janet Rice Carnahan

    AMUSEMENT PARK IN MY HEART – a self portrait

    Born on the merry-go-round of life,
    Not expecting so many dips, turns or strife!

    Like following a roller coaster track,
    Hurling me faster, higher, pushing me further back!

    Holding onto anything strong and stable,
    Until I myself was finally able,

    To avoid becoming dizzy and hide,
    Falling off into some scarier ride,

    Or climb into some moving cave train,
    Staying dry from sudden rain,

    As a kid, Kiddie Land, a great deal,
    Each delight, a very real squeal!

    Popcorn, salt water taffy and cotton candy,
    So tasty, wonderful and dandy!

    Yet, among the Ferris wheel and log water ride,
    I must confess I’d never confide,

    Nothing was as it appeared,
    More than met the eye, I feared.

    Joy was present and expressed,
    Yet structure demanded our very best!

    Sticking to form,
    We all had to conform,

    Maturity meant we were done,
    With any wild, spontaneous fun!

    The underlining intent not funny,
    We must adhere to the money.

    Harshness stripped us of our start,
    In this great amusement park in my heart!

    Swallowing us up like a long forgotten art,
    Until we agreed to play our part!

    I miss that wonderful joy to this day,
    When myself knew how to play!

    Putting all the old form aside,
    I keep recreating me, nothing to hide,

    I learned to take the sky ride up high,
    Touching the sky by asking why!

    Still, when lighthearted fun invites me to dance,
    I realize now . . .

    Just give it a chance!

  240. Emma Hine

    WHO AM I?

    I am not
    looking for another to define me
    I am not
    wishing for better friendships
    I am not
    hiding in the shadows
    I am not
    showing off in the spotlight
    I am not
    that insecure little girl
    I am not
    who I used to be.

    I am still
    sometimes lacking in patience
    I am still
    sometimes too critical of those I love
    I am still
    sometimes unhappy
    I am still
    a mixed up web of emotions
    I am still
    sometimes who I don’t want to be.

    I am
    defined by my reactions
    I am
    defined by my limits
    I am
    defined by my capacity
    I am
    defined by my children
    One,
    Two,
    Three.
    I am me
    a wife, a mother
    striving to do better, yet
    being the best I can be.

  241. Michelle Hed

    I Am

    You know me not
    from my surface
    one look, what would you see?
    Aging strands no longer hidden,
    you would think old.
    You might get no further
    brushing me off.
    Did I mention we prematurely gray in my family?

    I doubt you’ll see my blemishes and flaws
    for you will never be as close to me as my mirror
    but I wonder what else do YOU see?
    You might see short,
    you might see fat
    but would you ever see my smile?
    My slender fingers, artist hands?
    My dark chocolate eyes?
    So dark my own sister thought they were black.

    I’m not old, I’m not a grandmother,
    I am short and I have plenty of pounds
    but do not think me lazy
    for I walk, I kayak, I ski …
    for I volunteer, I work, I do…
    So similar to that old saying
    about books and covers,
    do not judge me by my surface,
    please come, get to know me
    I am so much more.

  242. Liliuokalani

    For the Sunset Gentleman

    Two tracks crack
    ground thunder,
    so Lake opens her arms
    flaking with ice
    to embrace his spectacles,
    sinking silver minnows
    wriggled loose by bubbles,
    his closing breaths –
    sacred song of struggle –

    I’ll float by you,
    where sonar will not enter,
    holding my breath
    I’ll cradle your expression
    that nods in slow motion
    when geese take flight.

  243. ina

    Dissection

    Spongy pink lung loaves;
    Gall bladder filled with rue.
    Left carotid roaring like
    a Harley hog, all speed, no
    staying power. Coronaries wrapped
    like the trunk of the elephant god
    around the heart, a disciple of St.
    Francis.
    Tongue of lime,
    mouth of plum and copper.
    Brain rattling in an ivory bowl,
    stabbed to release jingles
    and dreams of space.
    Thigh muscles worm ridden with
    the belief in Martian vacations,
    hoping against their bones.
    Toenails intact, one hangnail,
    painted sparkling blue.
    Died with her eyes wide open.

    Ina Roy-Faderman

  244. Misky

    Self-Portrait

    I am neither tall nor short,
    having lost my height to age.
    I am neither slim nor fat,
    having slowed my pace a bit.
    I am neither here nor there,
    up nor down or anywhere,
    but invisible, I’m not.

  245. feywriter

    Self

    I close my eyes
    see myself as I want to be
    long hair, flowing skirt,
    barefoot, free, comfortable

    sitting in a bay window
    of my ideal writing room
    books line the walls
    a cushy chair and spacious desk
    where I work my craft

    freedom and money to travel
    write to the sound of the waves
    taking within me inspiration
    from the places and people I meet

    uncaring what others think
    believing in myself, in magic
    connecting with the muse
    this is the me I want to be

    by Mary W. Jensen

  246. Michelle Murrish

    Where did I go?
    By Michelle Murrish

    When did I become not enough for me?
    I used to be the star of my own show,
    The headliner of my life,
    But have been recast as a stagehand
    One who tries not to be seen
    While getting things done

    Where did the me go who loved the camera?
    I used to ham it up for an audience
    Cheese for any camera; I lived life deliciously.
    I’ve seemed to have lost life’s filling
    And am surviving on the crumbs of those
    Who aren’t afraid to fail

    Do you think she’ll come back if I ask?
    If part of the solution is seeing the problem
    Then I should be half way there
    To the person I want to be with the help of who I was
    I think I saw her in the mirror today
    Just hidden by age, experiences and twenty pounds

      1. Michelle Murrish

        Thanks, I’m working on a website now actually. I’ve finally gotten brave enough to start sharing my poems. Thanks so much for the encouragement that it’s not a horrible idea

  247. Janet Rice Carnahan

    ENDLESS CANVAS, ENDLESS PATH

    Moving as a colorful brush
    through time’s eternal canvas
    no hidden corners missed
    no cave or cavern, too deep
    trusting the fire
    in one’s soul
    a tireless goal!

    Just a journey
    winding its way
    the unknown
    to the known
    until the knower itself
    becomes aware of all it knows
    once again tossed to the fire
    only to tire!

    When the old
    must be discarded
    nothing left guarded,
    a rainbow of colors,
    back into the black and white,
    darkest, starless night,
    into the morning’s brilliant light,
    until fright,
    has no more meaning.

    The barest of the vulnerable self
    whispering, “yes” after realizing
    fear is not real
    yet to heal
    creating and recreating
    invites in the greater evolution
    revealing who we have always been
    and more . . .

    Love at our very core!

  248. Joseph Harker

    Just a fun little experiment; might do another one later.

    SELF-PORTRAIT AS LINES FROM SONGS I SANG BEFORE WE TRASHED THE KARAOKE BAR
    (a cento)

    I’m a lot like you: I feel quicker than
    a ray of light, free at the break of dawn.
    Just a city boy trying to remember
    everyone’s a super hero
    living in a lonely world: but you see,
    it’s not me. I feel left out: I’m the epitome
    of Public Enemy, and I don’t want to die.
    Everybody wants a thrill,
    a natural obsession for temptation,
    so I need no sympathy. I can’t
    live a lie. Believe in me: I’m worse
    at what I do best, run for cover when
    I need it, scrambling in the summer sky.
    Every moment gets better, but
    last night I just walked away. Something
    to hide: it makes me smile, and
    the embers never fade. Lucky I have
    strong legs like my mother because
    I’m easy come, easy go,
    walking out that door and gone. I’m
    working hard to get my fill:
    a hundred thousand things to see
    just to prove the world was here, waiting
    for the time when we’re ashes
    on the ground. A rainbow yesterday
    used to be so impossible, and I’ve gone
    and thrown it all away.

    (featuring: Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, Depeche Mode, “Policy of Truth”, TLC, “Waterfalls”, Madonna, “Ray of Light”, Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”, Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Aladdin, “A Whole New World”, Weezer, “El Scorcho”, Shakira, “Suerte”, Nena, “99 Red Balloons”, Smashing Pumpkins, “Tonight, Tonight”, Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Cranberries, “Zombie”, The Strokes, “Last Night”)

  249. barton smock

    -the bridge-

    let me not pray for the man who, when young, had ambition and traveled the short distance to heaven in hopes of capturing on film for the last time in its environment

    god’s bed.

    who returned home obsessed with becoming consumed by the inexact art of self-portraiture and was soon so beautifully trapped by aging that he grew his hair to his waist

    where it was set on fire as he stood to bow before the accumulation of sight and sight’s potential.

  250. rachelgrace

    acceptance

    The vice of changes tricked me
    The void stared back at me as I tempted myself to jump
    Looking at me from a hole in the barren
    Oozing sympathy for my self
    Feigning integrity I fought against the strange as it beckoned me further
    The void stared back at me with my movements
    Percolating ideas I fought
    Falling instead

  251. emsytraut

    April 2014 PAD Challenge Day 7
    Prompt: “self portrait”

    IN THE MIRROR

    A pretty face with freckles and hair falling in a natural frame
    There’s more behind the mirror

    Soft skin and bright eyes that shine when full lips smile
    There’s more behind the mirror

    The chill in the outside air has brought about a natural glow in rosy cheeks
    There’s more behind the mirror

    Again apparently from cold weather eyes water and a single tear falls down both face and framed reflection
    There’s more behind the mirror

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      Like the revelations about what is there and the implication that there is still more behind the mirror! We are all so multi-layered as your poem portrays! Good job!

  252. lidywilks

    Untitled

    You say that I’m pretty
    and how we’re made for each other.
    I ask what you see exactly,
    when all I see are the bold strokes
    of madness, without the fly away hair,
    eyes that tunnel out everything
    within sight for something deemed
    much better of my time and a zombie-ful soul.
    You answer how you know that too,
    but that’s only the sum of my parts
    I wish to see. Regardless you’ll still
    love me anyways and with your love
    you’ll reflect the real me.

    by Lidy Wilks

  253. poetrycurator

    Here is my Self-Portrait Haiku for day 7

    Transplant

    Middle-aged woman
    Uprooted like a flower
    To the Sunshine State

    By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014

  254. KS20x1

    In My Seventh Life
    by Kelley Stephens
    http://www.kelleystephens20.wordpress.com

    I.

    I self destruct through others
    I am a mess that keeps on spilling
    I am a record that has two B sides; born dysfunctional
    I am staring, melted like snow
    I am his imperfect tone
    II.

    I don’t let go…ever
    I am her sunglasses on your nightstand in a vacant
    apartment where another finds them
    I am the smell in your sheets; too sweet and sticky she can’t
    wash clean
    I am letters, phone calls, emails, three a.m. poetry sessions
    begging
    I am the short side of the wishbone; broken, crippled

    III.

    I‘ll never decide to know anything about everything
    I am again and again
    I am a risk in stilettos tripping over lemons in a warmer
    season
    I am the wrapper on your floor
    I am that tight breath of air

    IV.

    When the walls breathe you will think of me in flashes
    I am what you left on the back of my throat; hither
    I am the impatient calm
    I am the salted back seat type; bloody lonely
    I am dog and tail, circles and looping figure eight infinities

    V.

    I’ve successfully stopped myself from crying seven times
    this morning …yes I kept count.
    I am the new girls rules book
    I am the flat earth burning
    I am the closest scalding irons burn
    I am the flooded damn-damn-damn-it broke wide the fuck
    open.

    VI.

    I was the temperature of fingertips on his collarbone; the soft
    padded stillness
    I am no headboard, all bed-sheet and too tall for the ceiling
    fan.
    I am learned white grace; a ghost lurking in a small hallway;
    rushing back and forth
    I am the choir that sings his exaltation’s
    I am not metaphorically his fantasy

    VII.

    I am everything; simultaneously; and all at once.

  255. Louise

    i to I

    i feel frightened
    scared beyond belief
    heaped in a pile
    of stunted grief

    I am confidence
    I am joy
    I am straightforward
    without ploy

    i feel anger
    welling up inside
    raging to burst forth
    like the incoming tide

    I am peace
    I am the dove
    carrying this message
    to all with love

    I know the struggle
    that goes on within
    will some day subside
    to the uplifted twin

    1. elledoubleyoo

      I love this. Have you read Will Grayson, Will Grayson? In the questions about the choices the two authors made, one of the authors talks about how his “will grayson” used lowercase i because he sees himself as a lowercase person. I love how you show we have both lowercase and capital people within the same person. :)

      1. Louise

        Thank you. No I haven’t read Will Grayson, Will grayson. But will soon do so, put it on hold at the library. And yes I see the human experience as a continuous challenge to become the higher case (more compassionate spiritual based) individual. (:o)

  256. elledoubleyoo

    Whew, first day back to work so the real challenge starts now! So far 7 for 7! Here’s today’s:

    Self Portrait 2014

    For four decades I’ve hated:
    the turned-up end of my nose,
    thanks to an offhand comment to my mother
    (don’t let her out in the rain, dear, or she’ll drown);

    the muddy color of my hair, uncertain of its name–
    the brunettes call it blond, the blondes call it brown,
    my father called it “dishwater” as if that’s a word
    anyone wants to hear about their features;

    the round rosiness of my face and form
    that depicts “midwestern stock,”
    an unfortunate phrase that brings to mind
    corn-fed cattle on bland landscapes.

    But at age 40 (let’s be honest, 41) I’ve learned:
    that snub nose and rounded cheeks
    make people question my age but not my brain,
    that garnet dye suits my coloring and brings out my eyes,

    that this soft form may not be en vogue and certainly not in Vogue
    but it has weathered blizzards, earthquakes, loss, and love
    and while it may not be a temple,
    it’s always a home.

    1. ina

      Random comment – having coal black hair myself I’ve always had serious “dishwater” hair envy – it’s always full of many different strands of color, subtle and complex. Sadly, I married a guy who also happens to have coal black hair after dating blonds for years, so I’ll never have a child with “dishwater” hair

  257. KellyDelValle

    Two today, although self analysis makes me anxious.

    Said it Better
    My mind has a tendency to wander and
    although I’ve grown out of using words like
    gallivanting and concupiscence
    in an effort to impress,
    I wonder –
    each second, minute, hour,
    if someone else has already said what I meant…
    and if they’ve said it better.

    School Days
    “What are those supposed to be?”
    Asks a laugh-
    Pointing a critical chortle
    At the smudged drawings
    That peek from beneath embarrassed hands.

    “They’re only scribbles… ”
    Replies a blush-
    (But really she had done her best.)

    1. KellyDelValle

      Oops. Said It Better is missing a line.

      My mind has a tendency to wander and
      although I’ve grown out of using words like
      gallivanting and concupiscence
      in an effort to impress
      (despite having had to look them up),
      I wonder –
      each second, minute, hour,
      if someone else has already said what I meant…
      and if they’ve said it better.

  258. DanielAri

    “My dance”

    ”Bees need to dance. Bees, they really do like to dance.” —Scooter Cascadia

    My light T-shirt darkened with sweat; my clear
    dome of pate beaded and waterfalling
    as full as the drums continue to speak;
    my joints surfing up the sound wave, bobbing
    until my making-a-spectacle fear

    rattles away; my skull weight unhinging
    until my mouth opens to gulp more sky
    to feed every inner fire I’m fanning;
    my wholeness falling and bouncing spirals,
    paroxysms burst from forty-six years;

    my trembling body lost to back story,
    joined parts everything but gone (says the lamb,
    “I am!”) until even why asking why
    shakes to unshoulder into the doumbek
    pop, the rattlle surging, live-and-dying

    earthquakes of the spine, ecstasies in time—
    sound takes the meat, and who’s singing the hymn?

  259. Shennon

    Looking in the mirror, I smile
    It’s how I greet everyone I encounter
    It’s one of the easiest and most natural
    expressions on my face.

    I try to see what others see
    But believe I fail miserably.

    A thin top lip – pulled tight, it’s flat
    A fuller bottom lip containing
    two deep vertical lines
    becomes bow shaped.

    A row of even top teeth
    peer out between these lips
    Made straight from six years of braces
    Disgustingly stained by six years of braces.

    My lips will not tolerate lipstick
    Though I’d love to wear it
    Even with lip liner, it bleeds
    into the many creases around my mouth.
    In theatre productions I use
    incessant powder to minimalize
    the effects of a crying Joker.

    A selfie is something I never take
    I believe my smile looks forced, or fake.

    However, these lips have recited
    both poetry and prose.
    They’ve shared informative and
    entertaining speeches.
    They’ve taught French and Spanish
    to many classrooms of students.
    These lips gave tentative kisses
    on first dates.
    They kissed away untold numbers
    of tears shed by my children.
    But most importantly,
    MY LIPS SMILE.

    I’ve had strangers stop me
    to compliment my smile
    I’ve been referred to as
    “the lady who always smiles”

    It’s what I do
    It’s who I am
    As natural as breathing
    A smile spreads across my face

    Though I can’t see the beauty
    When the corners of my mouth uplift
    I was told by someone, just last week
    That my smile is my gift.

    –ShennonDoah

  260. madeline40

    Two Self-portraits

    Dorianna sits lonely
    and forlorn in my attic.
    Her wrinkles deepen
    her liver spots multiply and enlarge
    her hair grows dirty white, straggling
    down to cover her sagging breasts
    that splay over her bloated belly.
    The joints of her hands swollen,
    stiff, grow more immobile
    by the day.

    All the while I live downstairs.
    My face clear, almost devoid of age,
    my figure svelte and supple,
    my legs always yearning
    to keep moving.
    Here I sit tapping my fingers
    quickly on the keyboard
    to keep up with my racing mind.
    I wonder when
    Dorianna and I will meet.

  261. jakkels

    No poet am I, but one who scribbles things
    an ink stained dragon softly sings
    I feed him images, emotions, poems and books
    Critically, through my eyes he looks
    He feeds on music, movies, life,
    On science and silence , even strife
    And now and then he commands me write
    And words and images invest the page
    He has no patience, prose takes an age
    Poetry then commands the pen
    It matters not who reads or when
    poetry lives in the dragon within.

  262. smdnyc

    Passport Photo

    It’s passport renewal time and
    your skin keeps flecking off no
    matter how expensive the cream and
    your eyes are red from a bad night’s sleep

    (a stress dream about having to write an
    in-depth reportage in French),
    and your hair is in an adolescent phase
    (again) because you’ve changed your

    mind (again) to grow it out.
    Still, the photo with white backdrop,
    without smile or eyeglasses, must be done
    in case it’s finally time to get the fuck out of New York,

    make the escape to another country where no one could
    ever know how beautiful you once were
    that summer you didn’t wear a bra and you rode
    your bike everywhere, wearing the same skirt

    practically every day, the summer you sat for hours
    at an outdoor cafe where your friend worked
    and you made love to some really gorgeous men,
    and you smoked cigarettes and you wrote short stories

    that tried but failed to hold on to the moment, a moment
    you knew even then was worth holding on to, which is
    to say, no one could tell from this passport photo how
    not beautiful you are anymore.

    But nothing lasts forever and now there are lines
    cupping either side of your mouth, a mouth that’s

    always been lopsided but is more so now (everything,
    in a way, is “more so” now). You don’t like the
    lines but hating them goes against your politics.
    You’ve got better things to worry about,

    like being kinder to yourself and to others. Still,
    standing in front of a white backdrop with
    your eyeglasses off, and the resultant 2X2
    photo of your old face staring back at you

    could startle even the least vain. Not long ago
    a man you foolishly dated called you “sexually
    relevant.” You didn’t know whether to
    thank the baby Jesus that someone thought

    of you as such, or if the phrase wasn’t
    sending chills through your calcified bones.
    Compliments of any kind can get really confusing
    as you pass forty. I mean, to be called “sexually relevant”

    is somehow akin to a door prize, totally un-sexy,
    like a clinical approach of what you are to certain men,
    stripped of feeling like a passport photo. He said he
    saw how men looked at you. He liked that.

    Be grateful for your mother’s DNA, the good
    cheekbones at least, even though your nose (her nose?)
    —such that it is—careens leftward, is narrow and fierce,
    just begging to be (wherever you end up)

    a lively conversation piece.

  263. Ravyne

    A Self-Portrait

    I am purple of body and pink of face
    my fingertips are keyboard-worn
    and my feet are slippered-numb
    I have Medusal hair from a chemo trip
    eyes of a sky-blue sunset
    from insomnia-driven nights
    and breasts from my mother’s genes:
    singing silos fallen —
    There is nothing perfect about me
    perhaps only Picasso could do me justice
    he would understand how askew I am
    and still leave me smiling

    Copyright 2014
    Lori Carlson

  264. lovewriter

    Mirror, Mirror

    A crooked line, three quarters of an inch
    puckered and maroon
    at the base of my throat
    stitches from a surgeon’s sew craft
    still visible
    soon to be my next scar

    If I’m lucky, it will fade to white
    like the other scars on my neck
    or it will be puckered pink
    or tan or other close shade
    like the other ones from surgeries and invasive needles
    standing out from the network of
    faded stretch marks covering my fleshy belly

    Not a drop of ink yet
    I am the Tattooed Lady

  265. lovewriter

    Mirror, Mirror

    A crooked line, three quarters of an inch
    puckered and maroon
    at the base of my throat
    stitches from a surgeon’s sew craft
    still visible
    soon to be my next scar

    If I’m lucky, it will fade to white
    like the other scars on my neck
    or it will be puckered pink
    or tan or other close shade
    like the others from surgeries and invasive needles
    standing out from the network of
    faded stretch marks covering my fleshy belly

    Not a drop of ink yet
    I am the Tattooed Lady

  266. laurie kolp

    Mirrored

    I’m modeling clay molded her way.
    When I look in the mirror, Mom’s what I see,
    parentheses surrounding taut lips
    (lacking importance, of course; hands on hips).

    When I look in the mirror, Mom’s what I see
    staring back at me as if to say,
    (lacking importance, of course; hands on hips)
    “Take care of your skin, you’re starting to age.”

    Staring back at her as if to say–
    parentheses surrounding taut lips–
    “I’ll take care of my skin, I’m starting to age.
    I’m modeling clay molded your way.”

  267. RamblinRose

    The silver streaks are overtaking the blond highlights
    Of shoulder length hair,
    Well earned wrinkles replace the smoothness of youth
    Softened by tears and fears overcome

    Blue eyes dancing next to laugh lines
    Deeply etched by joy and sorrow
    Reading glasses perched on my head as much as my nose
    Leaving creases on both

    That furrow plowed by years of concentration, and maybe frustration
    Now relaxed from experience
    With the knowledge I don’t need to know everything
    Some answers are better left unknown

  268. elysebrownell

    Next to
    Elyse Brownell

    I imagine she wasn’t sitting at the train station
    for very long by the way she was sitting:

    back straight, purse to her side, long auburn hair
    falling to her breasts, nylons beneath her pencil skirt,

    she is resting her back against the wall
    holding herself up, creating an extension,

    but it’s what she is holding:
    a pen, resting on her thumb
    cradled by her pointer and middle
    fingers, tapping its slim body on her knee cap,

    and it’s what she is doing: thinking, always thinking
    about what to write next, see next, say next, do next,
    talk about next, listen next, sit next, kiss next, hold next,

    she may never be present,
    always thinking about what comes after,
    what resides in the next,
    what will happen

    she hears the train coming,
    and caps her pen, and pulls down her skirt,
    as she stands up, collects her purse,

    her persons, leaving part of her in the tunnel,
    lingering, hovering.

  269. Ashley Robinson

    Is This What You Had in Mind?

    I practiced my smile

    enough times so that

    my teeth to gum ratio

    made me look

    pretty instead of

    like a backwoods

    simpleton

    Those pesky pounds

    have taken up residence

    on the

    dainty foundation

    that you spent years

    trying

    and trying

    and trying

    to build

    but I have learned to

    adapt and adorn

    this body so that

    every inch of myself

    feels like home.

    I offered my skin

    as a canvas

    knowing that you would

    die – again –

    if you saw me wearing

    my permanent stories.

    I cut my hair

    Sometimes

    I don’t wear makeup

    I tend to choose

    comfortable shoes

    But I always

    without fail

    and usually

    without much thought

    correct my smile

    to reflect the shine

    that you expected

    and demanded

    from me.

    Because that is what

    you wanted.

    And no matter how

    deep I settle into

    the comfortable

    nooks and crannies

    of myself

    I will always

    wonder

    if this

    this body

    this hair

    this smile

    is what

    you wanted.

  270. taylor graham

    SELF-PORTRAIT WITH CRITTERS

    That’s Loki in the foreground, ears
    pricked, shepherd-eyes focused on Blink,
    black kitten who sits atop a bar-stool
    ready to pounce on anything
    that moves; inflict pain on mouse, lizard,
    armadillo if it happened to amble
    through. The kitten spent his morning
    at the window, feinting at the bushtit’s
    frantic wing-beats against glass,
    attacking its own image.

    I’m the shadow disappearing in pantry,
    to sprinkle DE – diatomaceous-
    earth as white as snow, as the sugar
    that ants will march and die for,
    exoskeletons shredded by microscopic
    swords of fossils from a lakebed
    dried up ages ago. Then I’ll be gone
    to carry hay to the sheep, as the bushtit
    hurls itself lovelorn against its mirror.
    Longings and hunger keep us fed.

  271. Daniel Paicopulos

    Self Portrait

    There is a gardener in the man,
    scattering his seeds,
    nurturing his spot of earth,
    feeding more than a few needs.

    There is a cook in him now,
    comfort foods his best,
    mostly vegan, sometimes not,
    depending on the fest.

    There is a husband in him too,
    way past youthful fears,
    he’s never won an argument,
    not one in forty-five years.

    There is a Marine somewhere inside,
    one who fought beyond our borders,
    though he approaches seventy,
    he’s still home, awaiting orders.

    There is a man of many words,
    a writer, mostly a poet,
    he sometimes likes his product,
    that is, when he gets to it.

    1. dhaivid3

      “Sweet Lord!” is the first thought that comes to mind!
      Ha ha. Laughing here. Well done. I like, like, like geek-style poems. I aspire, oh, I aspire…

  272. Dennis W

    I like to see beauty

    I like to see beauty each day
    alone and with no end to find
    and no mind to who she may be
    and with only now as her bind.

    For here is where we will amuse
    as a pair lost in our time
    that will mime the beginning of life
    with hills we want to climb.

    I like to see beauty each day.

  273. MyPoeticHeart

    Self Portrait

    Looking in the mirror on a given day
    Who I see is me and her in several ways
    She is what shrinks call my inner child
    Who gave her life, sacrificing it all, for me.
    She chose her own name many years ago
    I am sad sometimes because I didn’t know.

    For years and years I could not understand
    Why daddy and mommy treated me bad
    Years and years we were living in fear.
    The bad names, beatings and ugly abuse
    Who I am matters to me so much
    We lived with the pain and events so sad.

    My inner child wasn’t afraid or so I thought
    She was never that – an inner child
    Both so distraught
    For such a long time I wanted her dead
    Out of my thoughts out of my head
    Trouble she was and I always got grounded.

    Pointing fingers at that mirror at times
    Venomous thoughts, attempted suicide too
    One way or another I would be rid of you.
    So many tears with false accusations
    I would swear it wasn’t this person accused
    Then late at night once again this body abused.

    Years passed by and we buried it all,
    No more time to talk as denial set in
    I joined the military to get away from the bad
    Truly in my heart and my mind I gone it was
    No more troublemaker in my life
    Those ugly memories gone, what a relief.

    For me, my self portrait includes both of us
    Life was not always if ever at peace
    Until the day I discovered and admitted the truth
    The portrait of Us it is who we are,
    Sisters for life, making time to recover.

  274. dhaivid3

    Poem title: Paint Me

    Paint ME a portrait
    as black as the night;
    Paint eyes in my head
    as bright starry lights.

    Paint me a figure
    no one can compare;
    paint on me the feet
    that skip with no care.

    Paint me so perfect –
    or just as you see –
    (but please do remember
    you’re painting for me!).

    Ha ha!

    Heart full of valour?
    Yes, paint that in too.
    Just leave out the heartache
    that makes me feel blue.

    Paint out the sorrows –
    those furrow my brow.
    Paint me making a way
    someday, somehow!

    Paint me with laughter,
    a smile on YOUR face,
    The limbs of a princess.
    My movements? Pure grace!

    Paint rays of sunshine!
    Paint IN some true love.
    Paint me being carried
    on wings of a dove.

    Paint IN forgiveness
    (this sometimes I lack),
    but do keep my colour
    and paint me all black.

    1. MyPoeticHeart

      I hope it is alright for me to comment.

      Your poem touched places of recognition. It brought me a smile.
      Thank you, you express yourself very well.

  275. mfitts847@gmail.com

    In the looking glass I see
    A chameleon staring back at me
    A soul that has weatherd many storms
    Constantly changing, taking new form

    Adapting and growing with every step
    The same, yet different from when we first met
    Freedom from guilt and shame of the past
    Forgiven and righteous at last… at last

    What does this self-portrait tell of me
    Unchained from the past, now that I am free
    I’ve become a vessel of mercy and grace
    My heart ever changing along with my face

  276. CLShaffer

    Self-Portrait at 43 by C. Lynn Shaffer

    I feel about spiders much the same way
    I feel about God: I see the usefulness
    but I’m not convinced. Dogs can smile,
    so there’s that, and my daughter at eight
    uses the word ubiquitous and changes
    clothes four times a day, so maybe I’ll weigh
    the God thing a bit more heavily.

    I feel squirmy and weird when I refer to myself
    as woman, like I did when I started
    my period and my mother cooed, doe-eyed,
    assessing my chest, the shirt just beginning to swell.
    Poet is a crown I’ve finally won
    that wobbles atop my big hair like gelatin
    while I wave and walk in heels, forcing a smile.

    When I am stressed, I seek the apocalypse
    on screen and in print and secretly believe
    I would excel without mirrors, bills,
    and hairstyles, though my ability to be monogamous
    would get me nowhere. I might possibly be special
    and regularly attempt to leave my body or levitate.
    I once tried to crush the esophagus

    of a woman who skipped in a Christmas line
    using only the power of my mind.
    I fully expect any of those things could happen.
    It’s also likely that eventually, while napping,
    I’ll dream the word that could save the world
    but won’t bother to write it down. I have hurled
    rocks into the Grand Canyon. My favorite color’s green.

  277. Lindy™

    Penned

    I’ve never been captured
    in oil on canvas
    nor my face sketched
    scribbled
    with pencil on paper
    No artist considered me
    that way, I suppose

    I am illustrated with words
    in any medium
    on any surface

    Written on the wind
    with my fingertips
    Blown away
    vanishing in thin air
    Sometimes in rhyme
    or a beat on the go
    but mostly I just ebb and flow
    and continue to grow

    I twist and turn my thoughts
    into the minds of the dreamers
    who will remember me faceless
    and without a voice
    tumbling down the pages
    of a book…or books

    Colorless
    but light and dark
    still rough around the edges
    and the details fuzzy
    merging into the background of life
    at the end

    I am what I create.

  278. Nancy Posey

    Mirror Reverse

    My brush and watercolors cannot capture
    me on this canvas, a butterfly pinned, wings
    spread, forever still, unmoving, taking years
    to crumble. Each time I look in the mirror,
    trying to catch my eye the way a stranger
    might, I disappear as soon as I look away.
    That clever metaphor my mirror image
    appears only to me. What hadn’t I thought
    of it before? Perhaps Gaugin or Frida Kahlo
    pieced their own puzzles, putting eyes
    and ears where they belonged, setting
    everything right. I’d rather believe them
    content to paint themselves just as they saw.

  279. pomodoro

    APPETITE: A Tritina

    Fueled as I am by a steady diet of words in life,
    I esteem a crusty baguette to eat
    and a good bottle of Bordeaux. Well!

    I do my best at the table, and on the page, to behave well
    but I like things that leave crumbs across my life,
    romp across white linen, strut their stuff as I eat.

    I always feel contentedly spry, wry and free after I eat
    Or write so whether I hold a pen or a fork, it ends well.
    I’m infatuated and seduced by a good bottle, a good meal, the good words of life.

    Life is too short not to eat well.
    add food stains

  280. Lori D. Laird

    Pictures of Me

    I’m a daughter first.
    My parents can be proud.
    I don’t disgrace.
    But do tend to be loud.
    Was raised to vocalize.
    To stand up for my beliefs.
    So while I don’t get arrested
    I have caused some grief.

    I’m a mother second.
    My children are my life.
    I haven’t been the greatest mother.
    But who doesn’t encounter strife
    from raising two growing boys.
    It was worth it though.
    My children are grown.
    That’s the way life should go.

    I’m a wife third.
    Though not the worst I could be better.
    He deserves more than me.
    But he won’t unsign that letter.
    I give all I can.
    Don’t expect too much.
    Get less in return.
    But that’s what’s in my sacked lunch.

    Next I’m a friend.
    Gone when I feel I impose.
    But always there when needed.
    Ignore the gentle breeze as it blows.
    Don’t ask for more than what’s offered.
    Don’t overstep the boundaries that are set.
    Sometimes I lack of desire.
    But I’m happy with what I get.

    The most important part of me
    comes from not of myself.
    She’s my son’s daughter.
    A most magical elf.
    Her giggles heal my savage soul.
    Her smiles fill me with joy.
    Her sparkling eyes carry my intelligence.
    I’m so glad I had my youngest boy.

    This is who I am.
    Maybe there’s more.
    But I have to stay guarded.
    Life has, one too many times, slammed the door
    in my face and on my heart.
    But I’m as happy as can be.
    Because no one expects anything else
    except me to be this tarnished me.

    © LDL 04/07/14

    1. dhaivid3

      Ooh my, touching, everything, everything (just fill in all the positive words out there). Comprehensive, beautiful, in short, everything.

      The end reminds me of one of my quotes: “People are dissappointed when they find that I am fallible; I for my part am elated.”

  281. Andrea Heiberg

    Adeste Fideles

    I am this Dane
    who dares
    whisper that
    O Come All Ye Faithful
    goes
    with an Italian in Canada
    performed by Enya
    probably in Ireland
    to the extent that
    brings tears to my eyes
    right here
    in Denmark.

  282. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 7 Self-Portrait Poem

    Rain Gutters Clogging

    If I could sigh
    more deeply, I would.

    I’d let it fill me
    till my lungs
    could hold no more.

    Maybe then
    I’d absorb
    the dampness of spring,
    know a bird’s song,
    or feel a squirrel’s desire
    to scamper and run.

    I’d wipe these tears
    and stand,
    just stand.

    For that could be
    a crocus rising,
    and you might smile
    again.

  283. Elizabeth Koch

    not a day for mirrors

    there are some days
    we shouldn’t have to look
    today is one of those days
    but here I stand anyway
    lip trembling
    the tear will fall
    but not until I look away

  284. tobysgirl

    Too sensitive
    Angry and absolute
    Inconsistent and fearful
    Righteous and indignant
    Caring and distant
    Animals are fine, people, not so much
    Sometimes I am purple, sometimes pink or brown
    Never black
    Dahlias, snap dragons and hollyhocks make me smile
    And frogs make me laugh
    Love paper and the helpless and quiet
    Hate fracking and extremely rich men who make rules
    Wish I was a better friend, lover, child, mother
    My to-do list never ends as my dusty house can attest
    Prone to explosive swearing followed by extreme regret and sometimes groveling
    My edges are sharp, though worn
    And I am framed in guilt for every sin, mine or not.

  285. De Jackson

    type

    she is sans
    -serif, stories told,

    often italicized,
           never bold.

    she is indigo ink
    -ling, pressed
    to onion skin;

    peel back amper
    -sand, ellipses,
    black clacked again.

    she is letters unkerned
    and lines leaded long,

    always shifting control
    and commanding a song.

    she is lowercase space
    -barred and doored,
         no time flat.

    no need to return,
    this is just where she’s
                       @.

    .

  286. CristinaMRNorcross

    Today I Am Emily
    Who Are You?

    Living many lives
    in many countries
    can lead to a certain
    Transcendental Homelessness.

    My accent is neutral,
    but I can put on a pretty good
    South London inflection –
    and don’t get me started on
    my former, Long Island accent.

    Where I am from
    is the here and now.
    Cast no spells –
    I will not transform into
    frog or princess.

    You don’t know who I am.

    Chameleon poet –
    I wander in and out of words,
    weaving stones with nylon thread.
    I slip through fingers
    like a fish out of water,
    which I always seem to be –
    neither here nor there,
    I try to be everywhere.

    Always observing –
    always the people watcher
    at the café table
    sipping wine –
    wondering what
    life I could create
    for the young woman in green tights
    or the man in the sweater with holes,
    weaving from side to side
    down the street.

    This is who I am.
    I am nobody –
    I am known.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  287. Domino

    Self Portrait

    Hair that ruffles in every breeze
    Eyes that see beauty everywhere
    Nose that smells the flowers
    Mouth that smiles frequently
    Lips that kiss, tongue that tastes
    Ears that hear the lovely world
    Neck that turns to see one in trouble
    Hands that help as much as they can
    Feet that walk the walk
    I don’t need a mirror to see
    A self that is happy

    Diana Terrill Clark

  288. Lady S Poetic Thickness

    Undiscovered Treasure

    I freely admit
    I am difficult to handle
    Inside me
    There are suitcases
    Each one containing
    An issue or struggle
    Something I have been through
    Leaving me
    Scarred

    Many have come
    Speaking words of triumph
    Love everlasting
    Only to bail
    Before the ship of us
    Sank to the bottom
    Saving themselves
    As I grabbed
    Yet another suitcase

    I have been denied
    Real love
    Unconditional love
    The kind that sees past
    All of my imperfections
    Focusing on my heart
    Knowing inside of me
    Beneath all the junk
    An undiscovered treasure awaits

    ©Sheila Moseley
    Lady S-Poetic Thickness

  289. Monique

    Reflections, Projections, Choices, and Alternatives

    I look at myself as through a prism
    And see different versions of me
    Reflections of myself in other people
    Projections of insecurities and ideals
    Choices of futures unseen
    Alternatives that come from the consequences of “what if”
    But none of them are the real me
    They are mere possibilities
    Just reflections
    Just projections
    Just choices
    Just alternatives

  290. De Jackson

    Desert Mermaid

    She wears pieces of ocean
    on her wrists, twists her
    hair into restless knots.
    She plots getaways with
    clacking hands, wandered
    heart. She brushes her toes
    the color of fins, begins
    breathing bubbles, air,
    phrase. She communes
    with the moon, pockets
    stars. She’s waged wander
    ing wars, etched indigo
    deep into skin to find her
    way home, and back
       again.

    Some days she’s got a Lake
    ache where her soul should
                 be.

    She breathes in breeze,
       and
          dreams
         of sea.

    .

  291. Jerry Walraven

    “The view from here”

    Like the bits of dandelion fluff I chase,
    I am ephemeral,
    floating free on a spinning chunk of rock,
    careening across the galaxy.
    Insignificant
    yet joyous
    to share this view
    with you.

  292. Mr. Take The Lead

    I Am-
    Daniel R. Simmons,
    You can’t see me,
    But can feel me
    I’m that quickened you felt in your heart
    The moment that gave you, your start
    I’m endless possibilities
    I’m the reason you dream
    With me you can achieve anything
    I push you through pain
    I push you through tears
    I laugh at fear
    I’ve been with you for years
    I send you to bed at 2 in the morning and wake you up at five
    I push you past the sky
    With me your drive never dies
    I refuse to let you quit
    I’m that voice that screams “one more!” in the gym where you lift
    I create opportunities
    I guide you through adversity
    I’m the life you’ve always wanted
    The ultimate freedom of mind
    I am easy summer days on the beach
    I’m everything you’ve ever wanted right within reach
    I am passion,
    I am determination,
    I am MOTIVATION!

  293. DanielAri

    FIENDISHLY HANDOME

    and prone to sincerity and sarcasm,
    he sinks into a photo album left by
    his mother. One photo in particular
    as the sofa curls around his heavy
    body. He looks forever into the flat,
    faded, never-ending gaze of a boy,
    a boy who seems to have traveled
    out of time to steal his face. He’s
    holding a big green squirtgun inside
    a small yellow backyard with a look
    that says, “I will wet you, and only
    you, until I am long past empty and
    dry just because I love you so much.”

    —FangO 

  294. GarrinJost

    Relfectious surface of no image
    Bleeding back what’s pouring in
    Staining light that loses nothing
    Working teeth of cotton gin
    Moving towards an amber solace
    Poem through and critter caught
    Arching back into another
    Self-sustaining morning thought
    Ever-woken by the silence
    Still entranced by push and pull
    Seeing not what hearing grants me
    Bellows open, oven full
    If and when my time precedes me
    Oft and never used to change
    I can see myself more clearly
    Once the letters are arranged

  295. dextrousdigits

    I AM

    A black silk night with a crack in the wall
    that lets in shivers of sunlight.

    Hands that untie knotted muscles,
    weave yarn, write word paintings,
    hold open a book in bed
    until if falls on my face. .

    A bee flitting from one fragrant flower’s
    private center to the next,
    hunting for sweet ideas.

    A berry pie dripping sweet purple
    down your chin and on your T-shirt.
    A multigrain bread hot out of the oven
    slathered with butter.
    Fresh picked spices, chopped onions,
    recipes, music and chatter sprinkled around a kitchen.

    A fluffy kitten unrolling balls of yarn,
    chasing anything that hops,
    playing with pencils between all four paws,
    purring when petted.

    A blended-over-ice Margarita sipped
    while on a lounge chair on the beach
    after boogying on the waves and
    walking along the beach picking up husks of previous inhabitants.

    Feet that dance to drummers beat,
    hang dangling in a cold stream,
    quietly tiptoe across the bedroom,
    yet when pain flairs up, limp like grandma.

    A beating heart that cries for a child
    who can’t read or will never sore,
    people mauled and swallowed by corporate dinosaurs
    infirm whose active brain is imprisoned in a lifeless body .
    .
    A flower garden of rainbow color
    yet under my leaves and on the ground
    you will find black creepy insects.

  296. annabyrne77@gmail.com

    hand to the log strikes to burn
    a trinity of wood
    burst of heat and hope and light
    making something good

    from this nest a spark flares off
    into a little sky
    a tiny candle, brief and bright
    who’s glint begins to die

    what am i but this? i know
    a fall towards ash and flame
    however dark the night will be
    illuminated all the same

    –Anna Byrne

  297. SuziBwritin

    SELF-PORTRAIT

    See her sitting there
    Feverishly pounding the keyboard
    Pouring out her worries, cares
    thrills, disappointments, successes,
    dreams, aspirations, poems,
    novels and narratives

    Snoring next to her on a puffy quilt
    the two rat terriers dream of
    a long walk with new sniffs
    and treats for after

    The shiny tenor and alto saxes stand at attention
    waiting to turn her breath
    into sounds as sweet as birdsong
    (at least to her ears)
    The harp beckons, “Come strum”
    and her favorite musician tempts her
    with new gigs and opportunities

    At the doorway
    her lover and best friend beckons,
    “Let’s ride our bikes like the wind”

    Her ninety-six-year-old adopted mother calls,
    “Let’s go shopping and get some lunch”

    While on her face, the light from the window
    where spring is pouring in
    makes her almost pretty

  298. dextrousdigits

    I am
    Hands , hands, hands
    Legs, legs

    all the other organs
    in my body
    work to fuel the energy
    for my hands to
    touch
    write
    clap
    dig
    cook craft create
    And my legs to get me where my hands can work
    and my feet can dance.

  299. starrynight3

    Selfie

    I would load the palette
    Reds, yellows, oranges,
    Lots of turquoise.
    Smear the canvas with
    Thick impasto brushstrokes,
    Then throw that one away,
    Replace it with a color study
    Along the lines of Rothko.
    I would run my fingers over the pillow of color
    Strip naked, stretch my yearning body
    Upon it. I would spread a gigantic tarp
    On the floor of the garage and run
    Rampant pouring cans and cans of paint
    On it. I would fling it, drip it, and shake it.
    I would rub charcoal around my eyes,
    Lines of paint across my cheeks and up
    My arms. I would lie apples and oranges
    Outlined in black in a Cezanne still life.
    I would cut one of those apples, slice it
    Wide open before carving my ear
    Off completely, just to tell you
    This is me.

  300. Poetess

    I Am Now

    In the stillness
    Deafening sound
    In dubious death
    Somehow found

    “A perfect package”
    That baby girl
    Saving so much
    Carrying the world

    My shadow
    I longed to know
    She preceded me
    I let her go

    The secret other
    That no one told
    I kept her close
    Hiding unwhole

    Who am I?
    She said one day
    A lost memory lost
    Consuming her way

    Blurring her path
    She slipped and tripped
    Brushing herself off
    Innocence skipped

    I never knew
    I saw her face
    In the mirror
    Reflecting my grace

    Confronted and passed
    Catching up to now
    Untangling the tether
    Of her being somehow

    The final act
    Dissolved and gone
    Her stage no more
    The curtain drawn

    Spotlight presenting
    Taking a bow
    Picture-perfect
    “I am” now

  301. Azma

    CHANGING FACES

    I looked into the mirror one day
    and decided to make a self portrait
    I looked a lot different from yesterday
    its not that my hair was made that way
    My brow is so relaxed and free
    Yesterday it looked like a stubborn crease
    My smile is such a refreshing beauty
    A while ago my lips looked depressingly wormy
    So slender and sharp! a gem of a nose!
    Whatever happened to that wrinkly hose?
    Did I have to get into that fight so badly?
    Was there a need to turn downright ugly?

    -Azma Sheikh

  302. Eibhlin

    SELFIE

    Ultimate lie, or simple delusion?
    Intend to inspire, or to lead to confusion?
    Some will see greatness, others illusion
    in artistically modified me.

  303. Taylor Emily Copeland

    The blonde one

    She writes in cursive and print
    in the same sentence.
    She is scared of the number thirty.
    She keeps hidden under a pink shroud.
    She stays fueled by caffeine,
    by a foolish belief in love.
    She gathers words as a necessity,
    as a source of healing,
    as an extended hand.
    She almost left this world twice.
    She will only disappoint you.

  304. georgiana

    Self Portrait

    Most often I think of myself as
    Times New Roman, 12 point font.
    With occasional italics or bold
    But I’m not an underline type.
    As for the exterior
    I’m more of a shadows person,
    I even walk behind my dogs

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t
    Know how to Shine
    With the glow of hard work
    Or the brilliance of joy
    Or the polish of Uptown.
    I’m a chameleon,
    Just tell me what you want me to be.

  305. creilley

    SELF PORTRAIT

    A stroke of ocher
    And I smell the earth, loamy and cool.

    A daub of blue,
    And I have eyes to look up at his brush.

    I cannot free myself from this frame,
    I am glued to this canvas,
    wearing his face,
    hooked and wired to his wall.

    He brushes past me
    And I hate him.

    Once the cool fresh paint
    felt wonderful, creative and new.

    As the pink and red slash of my mouth
    huffs in indignation, he ignores me
    the pliable flesh he created
    hardening into insoluble form
    never to change again.

    I used to envy him,
    Strutting to and fro beyond my frame.

    He painted me a broken form
    only to emphasize his unique wholeness.

    Now when his creased and worn face
    searches mine, like a father seeking truth
    in the eyes of his son, I know that I have won
    For I am the only one with a chance at immortality.

  306. mfitts847@gmail.com

    If These Walls Could Talk

    If these walls could talk
    What would they say
    Would they speak kindly of me
    Or would you be dismayed

    Would they sing of my praises
    Or would they confess
    That my actions speak other
    Than what I profess

    If these walls could talk
    What would they tell
    That a saint and a sinner
    Yes both of these dwell

    Would they speak of the saint
    With hallelujah’d amens
    If the sinner stayed the night
    Time and time again

    If these walls could talk
    Would they gossip about me
    Am I living proof
    There is more than you see

    If these walls could talk
    Would they prove what I claim
    Or in judgement pass verdict
    My real life’s not the same

    Is renovation needed
    In the house where I dwell
    So if these walls could talk
    They’d be certain to tell

    The life behind closed doors
    Where I reside
    If shown to the world
    Would clearly coincide

    So I give you my life Lord
    With this giant request
    I might live up to the saint
    Let this sinner pass each test

    Because these walls will come down
    On judgement day
    And you know me
    Inside and out anyway

    I pray to live firmly
    In what I believe
    So my words and my actions
    Do not deceive

    The sheep that have fallen
    By a wayward brook
    When looked to my example
    Find Your Shephard’s hook

  307. Carl Palmer

    Retired

    At the restaurant a cell phone rings.
    Those around the table jump
    as if receiving an electric shock,
    reach for their pockets
    like some saloon gun slinger
    hollered, Draw!
    I continue to eat, untethered.

  308. Richard Fenwick

    Self Portrait of a Middle Aged Man

    For an hour today, while the cat
    re-inspected this room, trying
    to find something new to slap,
    I lay flat on a couch whose springs
    have given in to age, my hands
    behind my head, elbows pointed
    east and west, the geometry
    of sunrise to sunset, watching
    as the hummingbirds hovered
    and drank from the outside feeder,
    trying to recall a chapter I read
    last night. How strange, I thought,
    that I could not recall one image or
    passage, though I want to tell you
    there may have been a reedy raft,
    or logs caught in the ebbing tide
    of all the downstream years
    we share. No, it may have been
    the chapter where our protagonist
    considers his lofty denouement,
    wiping paint from his hands –
    perhaps a shade of gray – then
    stands still, near a valance, amazed
    at how the how the canvas shines.

  309. Scribbling Sue

    SELF PORTRAIT SONNET
    (apologies to William Shakespeare)

    I shan’t compare me to a summer’s day.
    Weather affects me and when I arrived,
    sweet smiling April, with rain in her eyes,
    caught me, claimed me in her changeable way.
    I rode a horse before I was born, my
    mother’s obsession, her passion passed on.
    Reading and writing, these also I love,
    children – my angels, my two special sons.

    Patient and placid, some say that of me,
    with my face that the years fashioned; too in
    love with a laugh, good at hiding my tears,
    plagued by self-doubt – but enough of all this!
    I look in the mirror. Who do I see?
    A middle-aged woman, and not really me.

    © Suzanne Lalor
    7th April 2014

  310. poetbeta154

    Selfie

    Thank god when I was in college cellphones
    Hadn’t gotten to the point they are the day after
    Mickie Rooney died. The internet hadn’t become
    A desperate teen sending naked picture prank.

    There were four years of the seventies where I
    Was hitting the bottle and crawling on floors.
    If i had to look in a mirror I’d say I’m a child of
    Heavy metal Saturdays, of long hair glam jams.

    In high school there was an end to nirvana, not
    Quite a beatle but he beat Garcia to the tie dyed
    Shores of the transcendent or righteousness
    Depending on who you ask for directions man or gps.

    I’m more Thundercats than pokemon, more Super
    Mario than Halo, more Silver Spoons than Monk
    More Bob Barker than Drew Carey but I’ve seen them
    Come and go, and im only in my mid-life crisis, so.

  311. Connie Peters

    Hidden

    The mirrored image I observe today
    Would probably be painted in pastels
    With walnut colored hair messed up like hay
    My many flaws, I know them, oh, so well

    But outside me is just an opaque screen
    Impossible to see what lies within
    I’m often sabotaged by what is seen
    What makes me tick here underneath my skin

    Outside I may be quivering with fear
    Inside exploding with bright hopes and dreams
    Sunshine and roses, fun, laughter and cheer
    Compassion and grand altruistic schemes

    And when the clock strikes the final Midnight
    What once was hidden will be in plain sight

  312. TomNeal

    Selfie

    I am (by scripture told) a lowercase
    Reflection of uppercase Principle,
    and Life, and Truth, and Mind, Spirit and Soul,
    and Love that embraces the uni verse–
    If this in fact is true,
    Then I must resemble you!

  313. veronica_gurlie

    When You Look At Me, This is What You See

    I’m just this sexy sitting girl,
    who sometimes rub her right butt cheek,
    while talking.
    and too proud to lean on you, if she’s tired,
    and too cool, to get too fired up,
    like this lost little animal,
    whose is curled up inside herself,
    who swears, she will stop breathing,
    if she doesn’t get out the closet,
    or just out the box, stuffed with pieces of her blue poems,
    and precious little dreams,
    and timeless deep cries,
    all, that have taken, all of her heart,
    and just left her, with no kind of love,
    to just give to herself.

  314. Connie Peters

    An Average Girl

    An average girl in height and looks
    One others easily ignore
    A quiet soul with something more

    A fetish for the pen and books
    Has many projects on the list
    To read and write, she can’t resist.

    A hope to employ maids and cooks
    Repelled by cleaning and the like
    She’d rather swim or take a hike

    Grew up midst forests, hills and brooks
    A country gal amongst her kin
    She treasures what she learned within

    She aims to win by hooks or crooks
    No—more like God’s amazing grace
    In Him is where she finds her place

    1. SuziBwritin

      haha…yes yes yes and yes…let’s hire a maid and a cook so we can get on with the real purpose of it all. This is so colorful it made me jealous “grew up midst forests hills and brooks” but the lines that really tugged me were the first three. Loved it!

  315. Pengame30

    “Live and let live”

    I’d rather not be bothered
    I appear before you but just act as if I don’t
    Whether sitting across from me on the train,
    or randomly seated next to me on a plane, I encourage you.
    Act like I don’t have a name.
    My prior yearn to be heard is no longer of any concern
    I reached out to be received by no-one, now it’s your turn
    Now that I take comfort in my retreat
    Don’t grasp for a glance that you’ll never get from me
    Keeping to myself. That’s my motto
    Getting me to pay attention to you is impossible.
    You have a better chance of winning a scratch off,
    or maybe even lotto.

    Written By: Sean Drew

  316. diedre Knight

    Seasonal Soul
    Sculptured by the gentle streams, flowing ever on
    Through temperamental winds that scream
    where rivers used to run
    Sun has kissed the lines that crease
    the smoothness of my skin
    though secrets, sweet, are thus released
    there’s so much more within
    Believe in me, my eyes beseech
    Enduring strength and mettle
    Nestled in a summer stream
    I am but a pebble.

    diedre Knight

  317. rferrier

    Self-Portrait

    Mother of one
    (always thought it would be more)

    Working mom
    (always thought I’d stay home)

    Divorcee
    (never thought THAT would be me)

    Avid baker
    (baking for sanity)

    Runner in withdrawal
    (i always hated exercise
    until running helped me clear my mind,
    regain composure,
    during my divorce)

    it’s funny how everything you thought, at 16, would define your grown-up life
    looks nothing like what you life really is
    at 37.

  318. veronica_gurlie

    This poem was suppose to be posted in this challenge. Something happened at website, where it showed me this challenge but when I refreshed it was posted under the old challenge. I wrote this for this one. please use this poem for this challenge. Thank you:0).

    Really Flawed

    I’m not so perfect, I will tell you,
    see my crooked smile,
    I have gone to bed, with my makeup smeared,
    knowing I look creepy, and crazy,
    I’ve staggered in streets,
    with other peoples, ego masturbating funk,
    floating from my cracks,
    and I have drunk too much, self-pity ejaculations,
    I tell you, I’ve been marked, by some damn ugly shame,
    I have just woke up, and wondered,
    how did I NOT, kill myself,
    when I cut off my own life support,
    by loving me, the worse that I can.

  319. J. Brannock

    Picture of Me

    Seeing my image posted
    out-of-reach
    unless you suddenly pull
    the emergency stop
    riding on the bus
    I call my life
    wanted mostly for the things that slip through
    the cracks of my days
    brilliant sunlight shattering hopes
    of desired oblivion
    fuming
    and
    roasting
    and
    consuming
    thoughts of rest
    with injustice
    attached to the body I live in
    shaped not by how I know I look
    but how others
    see me
    in pictures only.

  320. donaldillich

    Self-Portrait as a Ghost

    It vanished just when you had it in your hands.
    Dressed in black sneakers and a polo shirt,
    it floated near the poetry books, opening them
    one by one, reading out loud its favorite verses.

    It rattled its iron chains, for effect, its heart
    not into the undead scare requirements.
    What it would like is a feel of warmth, a touch
    that would be more than just cold materials,

    a bucket of ice or frozen fingers reaching
    from below. That seemed impossible, though.
    It tried to lead you to buried treasure, hidden
    in a basement filled with snakes and spiders.

    It sung the last death song it heard that day
    when it was consumed. You hummed along,
    hoping that if you duplicated its music, you’d
    find the key to talking to it alone, before it flees

    into the cracks of the walls, the secret door. It
    doesn’t want conversation, feels darkness in words,
    language that can be assembled to order doom,
    lines and paragraphs that reach against the light.

  321. elishevasmom

    Self-Image

    First came me
    this inner self
    sprouted from the core
    invisible to all
    but me.

    Next was myself
    a part of me that had
    permutations and boundaries–
    an interface that put a face
    on me.

    Then came I–who
    gave cohesion
    to me and myself–
    creating the complete
    she that others see.

    And on the seventh day
    she rested.

    Ellen Evans

  322. Linda Goin

    At my age

    I don’t worry about makeup,
    making up, or marrying a muse.
    I’ve shoved all those messes
    aside to make room for moderate
    movements, sighs, and a scum
    I can’t erase from the tub.
    Soon I’ll be in the company
    of statues, paralyzed by time.

    But age hasn’t mellowed my greed.
    It pants for more clocks set
    to the past. It’s about spring
    or fall, and I’m decay with that.
    It was a mistake to plant
    more flowers since the tree died.
    Nothing blocks the sun now,
    and the yard is peppered with ash.

  323. alana sherman

    “They” say that every person in your dreams is you, some aspect of self.
    In the same way, every poem you write is a self-portrait. I poem, therefore I am!

    Day 7 Self Portrait

    Reading in Moonlight

    It is lovely
    to sit in the wicker chair.
    All afternoon I dawdle
    on the lawn under a tree,

    snooze, my book dropping
    open at odd pages.
    I don’t want to move
    as crickets chirr

    and swallows hunt in fading
    sunlight. Then, because one must
    always be mindful—
    make the most of time passing—

    as the moon rises I read.
    Just one more line I tell myself.
    My eyes are no longer strong
    and in the gathering shadows

    the words are difficult to see.
    The moon sets.
    The sun comes up.
    When will I finish reading?

    and yes, another…

    I Am Building

    I am
    building a rocket
    in my yard. Neighbors
    watch astonished and shake their
    heads. Every day I add some
    lights or fins. When it’s painted silver
    and the numbers are stenciled on, I will
    “wave” the wings and take off for the moon.

    alana

  324. Mary B. Mansfield

    Something light-hearted for now, will (hopefully!) be back with a more serious attempt later.

    I’m not comfortable in photographs,
    Self-portraits even more so.
    They always end up looking like
    Bad knock-offs of Picasso!

  325. Nancy Posey

    Self Portrait

    I find myself so easily in groups shots,
    posed with the family by age or height,
    or rowed up on bleachers in cap and gown,
    names listed below, top to bottom, left
    to right. Those early crayon drawings
    of myself beside the line-drawn house,
    the nonexistent apple tree–clearly me,
    the circle head, girl hair, triangle skirt,
    stick fingers, flat feet. Now I flounder
    trying to see myself with honest eyes,
    wanting instead to hide the flaws.
    I’m sure that after the unfortunate
    incident with the ear, Van Gogh turned
    to show his best side, the one still whole.
    Which way could I turn to show the me
    I might put to canvas for others to see?

  326. Clark Buffington

    Identity

    A soldier in time long past
    that shaped and changed a child into a man

    A broken body of pain and limitations
    that grew a mind and soul of patience and acceptance

    The husband that learned he was not alone
    as he traveled life’s path with his best friend

    Father of two boys that he’s grown with
    as they journey into adulthood

    A man that knows enough to know
    he never knows enough and keeps trying

      1. Clark Buffington

        Dear PressOn I would like to thank you and say that the time you invest and reading and replying to so many of these poems is priceless and leaves many a smiling poet in your wake!

  327. danieletu

    The Faces of Eve

    You speak of mental illness
    Your stigma tattooed
    On my brain

    It puzzles me

    Focus children on individuality
    Condemn adults to group think

    © Danièle Turcotte, April 7, 2014

  328. Liliuokalani

    The Forest, A Self Portrait
    (Composition with Seven Figures and A Head)

    They say Alberto Giacometti
    sculpted his faces
    thin as clam shells,
    or parentheses;
    couldn’t shape them
    slight enough
    to stretch
    – real –
    chiseling off debris,
    bronze,
    etcetera,
    diminishing
    what he didn’t see,
    dismissing
    pieces
    not part of the subject,
    until what remains
    cracks,

    unable to contain
    the spirit of the thing.

  329. jclenhardt

    Changing

    You see me often,
    and as though through
    a kaleidoscope mirror;
    always turning,
    always shaking.
    You see me
    in fragments,
    in pieces of colors
    I am, and am not
    yet. Painted
    on the fragility
    of glass, you asked,
    then broken, I said,
    was more true,
    then anything
    you could ever have
    had, or hoped
    to keep of me.
    Because I was never flat,
    but always, always, changing.

  330. Andrew Kreider

    Self portrait

    There are five of us in this well-lit room
    sweating out our three final credit hours
    I would have done Gender and Geography
    except hell-it’s-Ellen was in that class

    If anyone could draw a damning portrait
    of me it would be her. I never even knew
    what gynesic poststructuralist critique was
    before our one date last fall. OK, not a date.

    The paper taped to my board shrinks
    as my charcoal pencil approaches
    Five swift strokes of black and my
    shoulders and back are there, hulking

    like an offensive lineman carrying a
    watermelon. I give the figure pencil legs
    and spider arms that meet somewhere behind
    the melon. I hate hands. Feet too – he doesn’t get any.

    If challenged, I will claim this is a deliberate choice
    to illustrate the theme of loss in modern society
    Finally the head. I draw a clock face with roman
    numerals, ticking the minutes to graduation.

  331. writinglife16

    Who do I say I am

    It’s not who you say
    I am that defines me.
    It is what I believe
    That does that.

    Who do I say that I am?
    I am a book addict and
    a professional student.
    An old cat lady in training.

    But I am also an observer.
    Sitting on the shores of life
    with my feet in the waters of time.
    Afraid to fully jump in.

  332. Amy

    Looking Glass

    I was slight when I first sat in front of the glass;
    turned the world over in my mind and wound up
    on the other side, wishing to un-see what I’d seen.

    That slightness gave way to hips and dismay,
    to cherry red lips that held the weight of
    forced smiles; the kind that never reach the eyes.

    I thought I was forgoing choice
    along with sustenance; that I could separate
    like so many shorn strands in favor of refinement.

    But even the Elmer’s glue I so hastily used
    to piece tiny tired bones together eroded;
    I felt the shards of memory crack on cold tile.

    I was the loved one, indeed. I was the apple
    of a fruitful tree. Round and rusted red
    in afternoon light, I hated the mealy flesh within.

    Am I real? Was I ever more than just a method?
    I touch a finger to cool glass; she stares back,
    callous as she ever was. She’s been unpacked

    and beaten black with ink and still she stands.
    It used to taste of steely blood, this freedom
    I accepted long ago without ever meaning to.

    Someday, maybe I’ll look back at all the words
    I let my pen say for me, never painting with tears
    or yielding to fear, but pitching silent prayers

    to the ceiling, lower now than it was.
    For now, I’d much rather steal glimpses of
    the goddess, raking fingers through her hair.

  333. veronica_gurlie

    My Face On This Day

    This is my face, and it’s not coming off,
    so don’t try to take it off,
    I know sometime, it can look too hard,
    and give you some chills, like it’s cold dark glass,
    and I know my mouth, got this fake creamy cheese,
    and my eyes can sing, some gloomy song,
    I know today, it just turns you off,
    but this face still has feelings,
    and some really good poetry,
    and some really good reason, for being,
    other than to get an applause,
    or to remind me, of the time I’ve lost.