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 

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