Archives for category: Self-Portrait Poetry

IMAGE: “The Baker” by Leah Saulnier, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Friedman is a student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Queens University at Charlotte. He lives with his lovely wife and 2 bat-shit crazy dogs near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. To help pay the bills, he works as a medical writer, preparing drug regulatory and scientific documents. His poems have appeared (or are slated to appear) in Golden Walkman Magazine, Camel Saloon, Eunoia Review, and Stray Branch.

IMAGE: “Young Man with a Fountain Pen” by Diego Rivera (1914).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Diaz is a 26-year-old bike tech and part-time editor at American Mustard who lives in Lakewood, California. He received his BA in Literature and Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach, and is currently pursuing his MFA there. His work has been featured by Cadence Collective, Birds Thumb, and has a chapbook entitled Loogie Papers that was published by Tiny Splendor Press in 2012. David loves concerts, poetry readings, book releases, drive-in movies, and is addicted to Los Angeles.

by Jay Passer

alive despite torture device
man with options for hire
rewinds news feed

super victim
with baccalaureate in
opiated weaponry

thoughts scripted for distortion
open heart carved from
treasure chest

mirror shard reflecting
sacral svadhisthana
some beer bellied bespectacle

four seam fastball for a brain
wolf in need of a

IMAGE: “Self-Portrait” (Blue Period) by Pablo Picasso (1901).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jay Passer‘s work has been published in print and online since 1988.  He is the author of numerous chapbooks, the most recent being At the End of the Street (corrupt press, 2012).


 IMAGE: “Portrait of Jeanne Chaine” by Odilon Redon (1903).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clara Hsu practices the art of multi-dimensional being: mother, musician, purveyor of Clarion Music Center (1982-2005), traveler, translator, and poet. Since 2009, she has co-hosted the monthly San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast TV Show with John Rhodes. In 2013, she cofounded Poetry Hotel Press with Jack Foley. Clara has been published internationally. Her newest book of poetry, The First to Escape, is available on and at readings.

by Ann Menebroker 

Here’s the deal: a selfie in words.
The mind, a perfect drone, some 2000 feet up in the air,
is looking down. You are here
it says.
All around it are word-squatters, thought-whores
basically heading your way.
And there, in the center, is a miniature red
balloon with your name on it.
A buffalo nickel in a pickle jar.
Sadie Thompson yelling for deliverance.
Helen Keller writing in your hand.
Pardon all the little blunders.
Bring it down. Land the goddamned thing!

IMAGE: “Storm Below” by Jim Darling, available at C.A.V.E. Gallery (Venice, CA).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann Menebroker never wrote a poem in her place of birth, Washington D.C. She continues to write them in her California environment, however.  Putting aside the usual, where she’s been published, how many books, all of that, she  prefers to say that on June 22, 2014, she read with three wonderful long time Sacramento friends, to a full house, and with a grateful heart.  The reading was introduced as “Tough Old Broads’ Poetry.”

Author portrait by Henry Denander.

painted into a corner
by Paul Sands

I paint myself inspired, intense,
dismayed but remain just a fat old man
who can’t get laid
such a contrary slut
bathing myself in the corporate filth
served in Styrofoam cups

the master of diversion

ooh look
the circus is in town

maybe now is my chance
to pull up and over and run away
with a tired old sawdust queen
sold as seen

amidst this arid contemplation
of sequins and tights
I move aside for the mirrored blue
lights that attend the latest
mess of bent manufacture
and twisted necks

retune the radio
and make of it the best I can

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Words that were written whilst seeing an ugly reflection in the glass of a fast food eatery and old eyes staring back from a rear view mirror.

IMAGE: “Canasta” by Ed Paschke (1983).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Sands was born in 1962 and raised close to the River Trent in Nottingham, United Kingdom. He attended comprehensive school in Selston and worked from the age of 16 in the IT industry, between playing in noisy beat combos, for 27 years until downsized and outsourced in 2006. After dallying with photography, he now lives and attempts to work in Lincolnshire. He self-published his first collection of poetry, Ego…Ergo in June 2012. The summer of 2013 saw him publish a second collection entitled Scratch.

Jasper Johns's Figure 8 (1959).
by Loukia M. Janavaras

“Do you think I expected
my life to turn out this way?”
A man in my dream asked me that once
a long time ago
his leg was half-sawed off
length-wise, red gaping wound
right down the front
and of course I suspect
the answer was no.
I want to find him now
whoever he is
get back into that dream
and say no
no, I did not expect
my life to turn out this way
because in Jungian terms
that man is me.
No, I did not expect
to return home and find
my love’s eyes turned to marble
at the end of just another day
no, I did not expect to continue to live
after that, and love again
and move half a world away
and lose and keep moving
in patterns of figure eights
lopsided infinity
maimed by the blades
bringing me back
to that question, that dream
that lost chance to say no
before waking.

IMAGE: “Figure 8” by Jasper Johns (1959).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, Loukia M. Janavaras lived in Athens, Greece, for 11 years and currently lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In 2010, she received an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition for The Neighbor in the Memoirs/Personal Essay category. In 2012, her work appeared in a range of publications, including The Creative Writer, Gloom Cupboard, Wilderness House Literary Review, Turbulence, The Newtowner, Pyrta, Riverbabble, Decades Review, Torrid Literature Journal, Down in the Dirt, Eskimo Pie, Shadow Road Quarterly, and Eunoia Review.

Portraits of a Poet and her Dæmons (Excerpt)
by Jennifer Lynn Krohn


She wears thick veils and stumbles
on the curb. Her pockets are filled
with stones she throws
whenever she catches her reflection
in a storefront window
or a public bathroom mirror.

Do not leave out any pages,
any love letters or journals,
any certificates or diplomas;
she’ll put both your dreams
and achievements to the match.

The room fills with green smoke.
Fall to the floor, gasp oxygen,
but she’ll grab your arm,
hold you up as you inhale
hot ash and carbon dioxide.
She is both smotherer and arsonist.

IMAGE: “Standing Veiled Woman” by Odilon Redon (1885).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jennifer Lynn Krohn was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she currently lives with her husband. She earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico, and currently teaches English at Central New Mexico Community College and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Jennifer has published work in The Saranac Review, Río Grande Review, Prick of the Spindle, In the Garden of the Crow, Versus Literary Journal, and Gingerbread Literary Magazine.

by Jacque Stukowski

Mirror oh dear mirror,
what have you to say today?

Is my wavy hair of brownish red really filled with oh so much grey?

Mirror oh brutally honest mirror,
Is that really me I see?

Has my face really aged beyond
the youthful sparkle in my eyes?
Has the darkness inside me stolen my infectious smile once again?

Mirror oh cracked mirror,
Oh what distortions you now display!

From the jagged slice that highlights the softness of my lips,
or the long triangular angle jutting downward, towards the curvature of my hips.

Mirror oh blood-stained mirror,
How much more I love this new
me you now reflect!

Like stained-glass panels,
you refract the different parts of me, highlighting features that I may
have never even seen.

Mirror oh fragmented mirror,
What can I say? I like this
Picasso like mixed up version your glass reflects my way.

Mirror oh broken mirror,
all it took was my fist to smash.

For now through your cracks
I can see, the me I’ve longed to see.
Deep blue eye here,
highlighted curl there,
Oh and don’t forget those ruby lips!!

Mirror oh portrait of me mirror,
Oh how I’m mixed up so.
Like a Picasso woman within all your shards of glass. You’ve shown me that there still is beauty on the outward parts of me. All it took was little a bit of creativity for me to see . . .

IMAGE: “Woman with hat” by Pablo Picasso (1962).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacque Stukowski‘s blog God[isms] is her personal space to vent and share stories of growth through life’s ups and downs living with BP and ADHD. It’s a place where her writing and photos collide with spirituality, a dash of 12 steps, and a sprinkle of the daily trials of being a Christian wife, mother of two boys, and a full-time graphic designer. She frequently uses metaphors and symbolism to connect the reader to real life things in nature to convey the message she’s writing about. Her poetry has appeared in the Silver Birch Press May Poetry Anthology (June 2014) and Half New Year Poetry Collection (July 2014).

by Beth Copeland

She gazed in the mirror as a young girl
at her rosy, apple-cheeked twin,
staring until her face shifted into
a silver-haired woman’s.

A trick of light refracted
from a sheet of mercury glass.
Still, it was a forecast—
the sharp, sunken cheeks

she would someday glimpse,
a woman staring back
in a shop window, a stranger
from another lifetime.

Mirror, mirror

From another lifetime
in a shop window, a stranger,
a woman staring back.
She would someday glimpse

the sharp, sunken cheeks.
Still, it was a forecast
from a sheet of mercury glass,
a trick of light refracted.

A silver-haired woman
staring until her face shifted into
the rosy, apple-cheeked twin
she saw in the mirror as a young girl.

IMAGE: “Portrait of a Lady” by Gustav Klimt (1917).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Witch” is a mirror poem. The first three stanzas establish the self-portrait of a young woman (me) imagining what she will look like when she’s old. The fourth stanza, “Mirror, mirror,” separates the future from the past and also functions like a hinge on a compact mirror. Stanzas 5-7 are reflections, with the lines of stanzas 1-3 written backward. Finally, we return to the young, “apple-cheeked” woman we saw at the beginning of the poem. The reference to an apple is an allusion to the witch who gave Snow White a poison apple and also looked in the mirror and asked, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth Copeland lived in Japan, India, and North Carolina as a child. Her book Traveling Through Glass received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award and her second poetry collection Transcendental Telemarketer was released by BlazeVOX books in 2012. Her poems have been widely published in literary journals and have received awards from Atlanta Review, North American Review, The North Carolina Poetry Society, and Peregrine. Two of her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is an English instructor at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She lives in a log cabin in the country with her husband, Phil Rech.