Questions at the mirror

Sometimes it is valuable to just write and leave the editing to a minimum. This is the idea behind the words below. They were in response to a prompt from Kellie Elmore. Her blog, Magic in the Backyard, offers a writing prompt each Friday. The task was to look in the mirror and write what you see. 

Your eyes squint almost shut and your hair, what happened to your hair? And the smile, where is the smile? It looks rather forced. Is there a snake oil salesman in this house? Did I just wake up and met a stranger? Does age move so fast? Or was I simply forgetful? Maybe I did not believe in time? Maybe I denied reality or believed in immortality? And why did I not grow up here inside? Face and hands, why did you go on ahead without me? Why leave me standing on youth’s threshold while you traveled the deserts of the world where the moisture is taken from the skin and the dirt in the cracks on this face appear as if someone was trying to sculpt a new face from the old? Is this the way the world takes back this body we borrow?  Mirror, is this what you mean by showing me this stranger? Is this the way the body keeps us alive and shows us that we need to find a new home before it’s too late? Maybe I can live in these words forever.


10 responses to “Questions at the mirror

  1. “Why leave me standing on youth’s threshold and travel the deserts of the world where the moisture is taken out of the skin and the cracks in the dirt appear on this face as if someone was trying to sculpt a new face from the old?”

    wow…this is a beautiful piece of prose friend. I admire your courage and your willingness to partake in my prompt this week. I feel it may be a bit much for some but, you took the bull by the horns (so to speak) and came clean with your thoughts. I love this and am honored to have it included in FWF!

    I will be sharing this post on my Facebook Fan Page here:

    Thank you and I hope you will come back next week…or maybe even write for some of my past prompts? They are always open, no deadline so you can submit to any at anytime! 🙂


  2. Well said, Kris. I can certainly relate to the body out-aging the person inside it. I look in the mirror and see my grandpa, but still feel like the kid he taught to drive.
    I’ve been reading Kellie’s blog for several months, and I can assure you, you will enjoy it. She is a terrific writer, and her Free Write Fridays are always fun.
    Here’s my FWF offering for this week:

  3. Michael, Charles, Re, and Kellie,
    Thank you so much for your generous comments. Being a former journalist, sometimes my writing is more apt to register a response when under a deadline or an impromptu ”prompt,” rather than when I have too much time to stew over it. Countless are the number of poems I have overcooked, made inedible and discarded to the dogs. I’m trying to learn that al dente is tastier and healthier. The less my internal critic gets on his soapbox the better. There seems to be a fine line between inspiration and perspiration. That being said, I do see places in this piece that need honing, yet I am reluctant to tamper with it since I feel it belongs to Kellie. Without her particular prompt, it would never have existed. So, thanks again, Kellie, your blog is lovely. You are a true servant of the greater community of writers on the Web, for which I and many others are grateful, and a heck of a writer in your own right.
    Blessings to all, Kris

    • Kris, first off, thank you for the kind comment in regards to my blog. I am thrilled to know that people enjoy my prompts and are able to find some inspiration in them. Secondly, I too agree with the whole idea of “stewing over” a piece too much. I myself am a firm believer that the first draft on a blank canvas is what was meant to be there. That being said, I rarely edit…which comes back to bite me sometimes but most of the time I am content with my first run. So, most of what you read from me is just how it came out. Now, I must add that I tend to write only when the words are free flowing, un-forced and just seem to make their way onto the page without much effort or “honing”, otherwise I just will not write at all. This may be why it works for me lol! I know, I ramble alot, forgive me. I just wanted to really make the point that this is an outstanding piece in my opinion and to make any changes would have to be out of your own gut instinct to do so, because for me…it’s perfect. Raw. Real…and exactly what the whole prompt was about in the first place. 🙂 Nicely done, once again.
      Thanks for sharing this on Twitter by the way!


    • I like artist self-portraits on canvas and poets should not be denied this form of expression, though there is the danger in this form that it can easily devolve into banality or simple narcissism. I think I avoided that pitfall. Thanks for noticing that last line.
      I would like to read your poem. I’ll look for it on your blog.

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