Prompt #1 – Self Portrait

Submissions due 6/9/12

Selected poems to be published 7/1/12

Who are you?  No seriously, why are you here?

What are you? Have you ever thought about it?

This month we want your answers to these questions.  Pull out an old diary, your family tree, a mirror.  Sit down, take a good look and write to us about it.

Submissions may be dark and dreary, a tad morose or morbid.  On the other hand, we do have an appreciation for the sarcastic or silly and will accept pieces on the humorous side.

Please review our submission guidelines and send us your best self portrait.

I loafe and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,

Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,

 I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,

Hoping to cease not till death.

~Walt Witman, Song of Myself

i am a levy of the levites

& last week

a fanatic jew in the heights

called me a halfbreed

because my mother was a christian

i am a levy of the levites

& last week a rabbi

thought i was kidding

when i told him

i was interested in judaism

god i think yr sense

of humor is sad

& perhaps you are also

feeling something

like an outlaw

~d.a. levy, sitting on a bench near TSQuare


I’d planned to be Heathcliff’s Cathy,

Lady Brett, Nicole or Dominique or Scarlett O’Hara.

I hadn’t planned to be folding up the laundry

In uncombed hair and last night’s smudged mascara,

An expert on buying Fritos, cleaning the cat box,

Finding lost sneakers, playing hide and seek.

And other things unknown to Heathcliff’s

Cathy, Scarlett, Lady Brett, and Dominique.

Why am I never running through the heather?

Why am I never used by Howard Roark?

Why am I never going to Pamplona

Instead of Philadelphia and Newark?

~Judith Viorst, Anti-heroine

It’s a miracle, I tell you, this middle-aged woman scanning the cans on the grocery store shelf. Hidden in the works of a mysterious clock are her many deaths, and yet the whole world is piled up before her on a banquet table again today. The timer, broken. The sunset smeared across the horizon in the girlish cursive of the ocean, Forever, For You.

And still she can offer only her body as proof:

The way it moves a little slow every day.  And the cells, ticking away.  A crow pecking at a sweater.  The last hour waiting patiently on a tray for her somewhere in the future. The spoon slipping quietly into the beautiful soup.

~Laura Kasichke, Near Misses


My eyes are vague blue, like the sky, and change all the time; they are indiscriminate but fleeting, entirely specific and disloyal, so that no one trusts me.  I am always looking away. Or again at something after it has given me up.  It makes me restless and that makes me unhappy, but I cannot keep them still.  If only I had grey, green, black, brown, yellow eyes; I would stay at home and do something.  It’s not that I’m curious.  On the contrary, I am bored but it’s my duty to be attentive, I am needed by things as the sky must be above the earth.  And lately, so great has _their_ anxiety become, I can spare myself little sleep.

~Frank O-Hara, Meditations In An Emergency


                      I will Never get used to Anger.                          I LOve my ANGER.

                                   Open the Door!

                                                             I’ll fill the house with It

                                                             with enough left over for the

                                                                                              nuns & priests.

                                                                                                                         Anger is a HURRICANE,


down the river.

         It’s a superstore of chocolates & pizza,        silk coats

                                                             for every party, pedicures each night. Anger is

               failing e v e r y thing one month

                                                             then Acing the next.

                     It’s a crowd of cantors at 6 A.M. Mass.

                                                             It’s perfumed nuns in low cut dresses

                                                             winking at priests.

                    It’s Kafka & Bankers & idiot savants,

                                                 Mussolini & Mozart, Warhol & Tevye,

                    & a h u g e Ice Cream Sundae painted by Van Gogh

                                     Anger is

s t r o l l i n g t h r o u g h a s t o r e, taking what you want withoutstoppingtopay.

                    It’s sleeping in the desert,

                                     coyotes to sooth you, then wailing in the forest

                                                                                     with a chorus of black crows.

Anger is resentment,

                irritation, aggravation, exasperation,

                                                                         vexation, indignation, animosity, wrath &

                                                                                                                                     bitterness. Infuriated,

                                                                                                                                                             it’s ire, mad, temper,



             stew,           huff, tiff, miff,



                         rage, passion, fit…. Anger is Shit, Piss, Fuck,

                                                                               Asskisser, Cocksucker,

                                                                                                 Cunt, Dick, Putz,

                                                                         Asshole,Dildo,    Puzzy,Suck,WhOre!

– Joan Cusack Handler, Pagent of Rages


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