“Self Portrait at 21”



I woke up this morning

And when I looked out of my bed

I thought,

“why is there a canvas

with a  unicorn

sitting on my dresser?”

I hit the snooze button

until I couldn’t fall asleep again


I’d like to believe

there’s a deeper rhythm to mornings

Some image in the back of my mind

of the earth spinning

or the universe spinning around the earth


There is a moment every morning

where I don’t yet know who I am


But then I remember

The series of events,

     some probably fictional,

that led me to waking up alone

     in bed in Manhattan


And feeling the weight of the

four months I spent being

wheeled around in a red cart

when I was four, I had a

giant splinter stuck in my right

or maybe left foot, something stops me.



I’m searching for some poetic meaning

Some sudden revelation that reveals

      the straight line


But this morning, Bruce Springsteen

singing about twenty-somethings

in New Jersey 30 years ago

making big life decisions is

making this hard to do.


To try to reveal oneself is perhaps

     too self conscious of a direction


What can I reveal?


The hidden love for various young women?

The wants and desires for a life of meaning?


This probably reveals more about

how much Bruce Springsteen I’ve

been listening to and less about

who I actually am.




When I was 18, I drove to Ohio for the

                    first time

I remember driving through the Pennsylvania


        and thinking

        there will never be a better morning than this

And thinking back on all the mornings

        I was probably right

There was something in the air

I was sitting next to my greatest friend in the world

and we were moving towards something


My grandma once told me that the

        greatest part of every vacation

        was the feeling you got the moment

        before you left your house

In that moment, everything to come still lies before you

        open and full of potential


I’d like to think that every morning

        could be like this

Nothing but the road ahead


But, sometimes there is no road



I’m writing this at a table full of people

  writing self portraits

But it occurs to me that we’re all

        Looking at a page

        And not at ourselves


Perhaps we’ve set out wrong


Perhaps the city skyline

        outside my window

        says more about who I am

        than my words every could


The weight of concrete

        and the sun burning far away

At night, the city light


I am more than a result of all that surrounds me


But I’m still waiting

        for the world to take its

        weight off my shoulder


Self-Portrait at twenty-one

        I’m almost twenty-two