And these are my failings:
a wild smile always leads my mind
to the kiss hiding behind it
and sometimes to plot
the shortest route there.

Did I say sometimes? I lie a bit, too.
And I tend to zone out to small-talk
like there aren’t already enough
idle words in the world. I often wonder –
where do they go, those wasted words
once they’re spoken?

And I can’t warm to people,
despite how I try. I’m lying again –
I don’t try at all. I’d much rather hide
with Lana or Bruce, in track pants, alone,
drinking vodka;

ignoring that night
in my fourteenth year
when my father got drunk,
made me drive his ute home –
the soft bump and loud bark,
the crimson accusation,
coagulating on his tyre
next morning.

– Ryan Stone


Written for National Poetry Month 2016 @ The Music In It – Failures

First published in Poppy Road Review, May 2016.


62 thoughts on “Self-portrait

  1. “Introverts dislike small talk but we are fluent in the language of ideas and dreams”
    Ryan, my friend, the reflection in the mirror never leaves, does it?

    And the art is just magnificent!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. as much as i like people, and love to observe them, and deeply interact with a few, small talk is hard and feels disingenuous to me. i’d rather have a long talk with just a couple and go deep into something, than move around the room, working and chattering about nothing. though it may sound counterintuitive, i think that introverts have a keen understanding of people, they watch and listen and pick up cues, that others might miss, because they are very present. great poem, ryan.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I am not a lover of small talk either, probably because I am not good at it!
    I loved this poem and the self-portrait Ryan. Thanks for sharing yourself with us, especially the story of the dog, it must have been awful for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ryan, I’m deeply moved by your poem. What you’ve accomplished in four stanzas is amazing. (I hesitate to include this, it was shared with me some years ago, be grateful for all your failures, it’s what gives life and depth to all great art.) Enjoy the rest of your weekend. ~ Mia

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ryan, this is a powerful and moving write. Leaves a bitter taste, because I feel as if this (like the last one) isn’t fictional. At any rate, I grew up with an alcoholic and verbally abusive father. It killed my childhood, but at least gave me eyes for what I wouldn’t have been able to see or know without.
    Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

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