How do you visualize your “self”—is it a body part, an onscreen character you watch during a every uncomfortable scene in a rom com, a color, the smell of a rusty swing set and cut grass, the TV screen your eyes make of the world and framed by your hair? Perhaps the latter is only my projection of self lost in the world around me. Is your self the one you recognize in photographs, in the mirror, in the weight of your body as you wake in the morning?
Create a metaphor of your self and follow it as it moves about the world. Do you empathize with your self—perhaps want to pick it up and cuddle it like a stray kitten? Or are you embarrassed by it? Is your self the pair of underwear you only wear when all others are in the laundry hamper? Or do you glorify in your self? Is it a jewel sparkling beneath your skin, a peacock giving a hundred side glances to all newcomers to the scene, a stallion outracing all your competitors whether they know they should be running or not?
This prompt was inspired by a poem shared on Twitter by the amazing poet Emilia Phillips (author of Landscape of Sex and Violence). I wanted to give credit to Emilia Phillips for sharing the poem especially since I found her notations interesting.
And here is the entire poem.
For a second prompt, use the line but fill in the ending: “i thought that i was a ____” to begin the poem and to end it. Think of the two lines as mirroring each other. What do they reflect? Be sure to credit Justin Phillip Reed (“After Justin Phillip Reed” after your poem’s title”).
Another possible prompt is simply to use that same line “i thought that i was a long hand” as a ghostline. Play with the idea of self as ghost (or how about the concept of ghost line itself?) What moves through your self, what does your self pass through in turn? If your self is a line, what does it intersect with, what is it parallel to? Where is it heading? Regardless of how you play with these concepts, still give credit to the poet though.
For a fourth prompt, use the following words in a poem: “angling,” “rigid,” “war-sharp,” “slashing,” “gauze,” “smudged,” “histories,” “contours,” “plexiglas,” and “wring.”
As always, please share any poems written from the prompt (however tenuously). I would love to read your poems! And once published, please send a link so that I can promote your work!