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Self Portrait

When I was ten
my nephew died
hit by a car on a residential street
and on my way home from school
in the hazy light of early spring
that I’ve come to associate
with death and rebirth
my mind had such a limited reach
I had no experience to cry
so I filed it away
alongside the toys and the vivid imagination
i used to fill the lonely time
even though the house was full.

You don’t slow down
you just
roll with the pictures
just
taking in the messages that
people say in front of you.
Building a self portrait
from the face in the shop windows
and the one of the man in the moon
comparing and circling
and claiming who you’re not
instead of claiming who you are.

When I was fifteen
I stole a record from a store
my brother and cousin were with me
and they stopped me outside.
Embarrassed to the core I went home
my parents couldn’t understand
the reason why
there was no reason
I used to be an A student
but I was falling before my own eyes
with no reason.

School was tossed aside
I wandered the streets all day
showing up at peoples houses
unannounced
just to quit hearing myself speak.
Until the school let my parents know
that I’d been gone much of the year so far
so I took an overdose
of what turned out to be
harmless over the counter speed.

The counselor met with me
and as part of the examination
filmed me with a video camera
as I answered each
intensely personal question.
I squirmed, I struggled within myself
I saw the person others saw
without the inner voice
to know the turmoil
I looked away and I looked again
and saw myself for the first time there.

You don’t slow down
you just
roll with the pictures
just
listening to the messages that
people say in front of you
building a self portrait
from the face in the mirror
and the one of the man in the film.
Seeing that they were one in the same
cuts that feeling of seperation.

Actions and memories
they go by so fast
you end up acquiring
a comet by its tail
I have no illusions of
love and its glow
death and its aftermath
I will exist and will blissfully keep trying
one picture at a time
to build a self portrait
to look in the mirror
and know within and without
the pressure is equal
and nothing seperates them but skin.

Self Portrait

bill bell

Everett, United States

  • Artist
    Notes
  • Artwork Comments 18

Artist's Description

an oldie but goodie

Artwork Comments

  • Skypilot
  • bill bell
  • Susan Vinson
  • bill bell
  • Hathor
  • bill bell
  • Trenchtownrock
  • bill bell
  • Andrew  Bailey
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  • lianne
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  • JaneSolomon
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  • JRGarland
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  • umbra
  • bill bell
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