The Mirrors of Our Words, a response poem

(a response to this piece by natalie aka potterfan97 of mywordpool)


The Mirrors of Our Words

The mirrors of our words
reflect only each other
and us.

We search for the meanings
of things in the names
that we call them,

in the names of the things
that we call to
in our sleep.

All we reflect on is our selves.
All we reflect is on our selves
like stains on a sheet.

We pull words from a pool
like pebbles to hold in our hands
for a time and toss back.

We pile each other on with
well-meaning mounds
of meaning.

We bury each other
in the masks
of things.

We stand before ourselves, reflecting
holes of what we can say about
the whole of who we are not.

In a world of mirrors
these reflections are all that we have;
this reflex is all that we own.

And sometimes
we stare at our own open mouths
and hear screams.

We hear sudden intakes of breath.
We hear gaping grunts of exertion,
sudden exhalations from chests

hammered by invisible fists,
or the slow outlet of air
that signs a state of awe.

And sometimes our lips are sewn shut.
And sometimes our throats are torn out.

And sometimes our vocal chords are rip-
chords that we can or will not pull.

And sometimes our teeth are clenched and
the breath hisses through them like piss on a fire.

And sometimes our nostrils flare and
the white-eyed starer stares back.

And sometimes these
holes in our faces
are just that.

And sometimes we’re all
starving reflections of each other
opening our mouths and saying,


(natalie is a poet of immense talents who never ceases to amaze me and in this case in particular (along with this absolute cracker of a poem) has finally convinced me to muster up the courage to post a series of pieces relating to my struggles with the Dreaded About Page and the general terror of Speaking About Myself.  Apparently I have to work out what and who I am NOT first, and perhaps unfortunately, you all will now be dragged through the muck that is my little House of Mirrors of a Mind.  Stay tuned…things could get ugly………-er)

25 thoughts on “The Mirrors of Our Words, a response poem

  1. Our vocal chords are rip chords… So many fantastic lines in this JCC, I ABSOLUTELY adore it, how often our images alter in our reflection, depending on what’s going on in our heads – and is that you in the mirror?


    • Well, dunno what you’re about but I’m about five foot seven and a half…give or take.
      It’s funny but that’s often how I think of this whole “About” thing. That funny play on the meaning of about. As though we are actually little constellations or groupings of planetoids orbiting and revolving and evolving about….what?
      Thanks for this.


  2. “We stand before ourselves, reflecting
    holes of what we can say about
    the whole of who we are not.”

    This line was KILLER. I’m going to print out this poem and hang it on my wall of words (yes, that’s a real thing). I am so honored to have semi-provoked this 😉

    I always look forward to roaming through this House of Mirrors. Your reflections are so like mine.



    • Thanks J, and that may happen yet, but I was considering using this and what will follow on a “Not About Me” page as this is more about what goes on when I think “About Me” than actually what is “About Me.” If that makes any sense. And I suppose there might be some folks out there somewhere who really do want to know all the typical biographical stuff, so I my break down and do that too. But Hey! Maybe I’ll label That page “Not About Me” as the whole point of all this is to question the validity of any such definitions of self.
      But this is an evolving thing so we’ll just have to see where this all ends up….


  3. Dramatic and moving–what I like best here is the pace, which not only doesn’t flag but also accelerates through to the end in the “And sometimes…” lines.


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