To The Artist Afraid of Self-Portraits

I am sorry. I did not know.

When I told you
    I saw the soul of an angel
    between your brush strokes, I was unaware
    you had already painted yourself
    into a dark corner.

I could never have imagined
    your distaste for acrylic reflections.

Watching you work
    I believed every image
    sprang forth from careful consideration.

How could I have known that
    you were afraid
    of tainting paints
    with your sullen hues?

Everything you fear
    about the nature of mirrors is
    but a reflection of me, because
    in you, I see a masterpiece.

I beg you:

    Do not hold the brush so tightly.
    Do not cover unfinished canvas
        like a scar, in search of better.
    Do not hold hostage the color in your eyes
        in exchange for what you believe
        others wish to see.

Share yourself,
    your thoughts,
    your love,
    your envy,
    your pain –

    the fresco
        adorning the roof
        of your mouth
        when you refuse to
        speak your name.

Share yourself,
    your soul

    for empty eyes of the world
        to see. Share yourself.

Share your light –
    even if it never reaches me.
Written and read during the workshop at last night’s Commonwealth Slam.
Check out my first full length poetry collection Before I Leave. On sale now!


Wrap your most delicate things in newspapers and old towels. Cradle them in cardboard labeled ‘fragile’ and 'handle with care’ and then handle with care, because things like determination and Grandma’s dishes break easily.

–How to Move, Megan Rickman

Saw this performed live last night at Commonwealth Slam; exactly what I needed to hear. Megan is an amazing human being.