SELF-PORTRAIT:  All Our Faces and A Few Stray Thoughts

Works 1974-1992

© 1998 Emma Beane – Library of Congress



 I experienced a final breakdown in 1982 and now pace the bridge between the sane and the insane.

My adaptation has resulted from playing the serious comic, tapping the absurd, influenced by the sadistic, and calling on the ludicrous.  My gentler nature comes through in a few works, but over all, I remain the cynic.  As further explanation of the works contained herein, I reference Robert Francis in his work, The Satirical Rogue on Poetry* – “What is a poet, after all, but someone to whom life has given a black eye? … Poets, of course, also write poems.  But without the black eye no writer of poems is ever quite the poet.”

This world knows nothing of indulging the sinister heart.

*The Satirical Rogue On Poetry by Robert Francis c 1968 The University of Massachusetts Press


The Immortals

Whereupon he rose
and ate the fabled fruit
from the font

and the grape from the vine

And he spat the seeds
aside the path
and birds did eat them
and replenished their spirit

And giving thanks,
they in their turn
sang his praises


Within each Man
there dwells a devil

He may be its slave,
or Master it –



are the deadliest weapon
we humans have ever invented

Yet some throw them around
like toys

Daggers to the heart
cutting the life line –



Pay no more costs upon my soul
It’s near been rent from my carcass

I can wage the war
tread the waters
murky depths –



Through the years
many have watched
while others play their stupid
mind games
and love games
and war games
and hate
and deceive
and kill
And have cried –

and yet the games continue
As I also cry –



Don’t let my innocent look deceive you
I’m not really, you know –

But it’s nice that some people
may misread me;
there’s always a need for scratching posts
I’ll sit back
and just watch
and listen
while you have your fun –

but the last laugh is always mine



charmingly –

Now come into my lair


He had cooperated with chance –


Break Down

and barrel

The monkeys played
in the bathroom


Questions better left unasked,

Dreams too uneasy to tell –

Fate’s brushed my doorstep


The Thorn

Within every sadness
there is a lesson.

if we will only take time
to learn it –


Are you steadfast to your promises?

If you say something today,
will you say the same tomorrow?

or shift as slime …


Another Fuck-It Poem

In the crust of an old wound –

Hands, hot as hell

And the stench
that goes with
burning flesh


I want you coming after me with all your gusto –


I feel too dangerously close
to self-defacement, effacement.
for anyone’s good … 

May I not die of it



If I could hate,
you’d be my first victim

As it is
I can only feel sad
that you knew me so little.

If only we hadn’t
known each other so long –

I might excuse you



you must understand –

I will only be in need of you
But need is still the same
Believe me
when I say

Love for Ever


My Wildest Dream

In my sadness
I see your loveliness
recall my loneliness
Oh loneliest nights
– memories unmade
touches unfound
so Love
leave not.
Need is at your side
sighs you shall hear,
fear when not near.

I confide my soul to you
love motions
pangs at heartache

Notions of time emollient
– abundance be to us
as one


Wonders Of Dawn

Light at the edge of the forest

In it I see only the
drops of dew
as they reflect the early
morning’s light

Visions in the droplets
of a peace unattainable
Momentarily achieved

Fleetingly vanished by the Sun



Time is a measure of hours
It’s only a measure of hours –
Hours wasted, maybe hours spent
As precious as dollars

Time in man is a measure of change

Days are merely minutes
On the hands
Off the clock


Lunacy’s Way

I’m a ship upon the ocean,
I’m asail on every wave
But I feel so misdirected,
guided only by the stars
And I need your hands’ assurance
to be steadfast on my course

There is little remorse
It could be worse


To incorporate an error so completely
that it becomes only a facet.


I Didn’t Love Him Anyway

I can’t really explain –
I just like the way we move together,
how well we laugh,

Our inadequacies there are mine.
I’m afraid to abandon myself,
to give myself completely,
for fear you won’t accept my
gifts totally.

And so I hold back,
hoping to avoid the pain,
more shamed by each rejection.


Growing Pains

I sometimes do
now feel
I hate

to rise to the coming day

Temperaments flare
Weapons clash
Battles wont


Truth Comes To Light

You once told me I was moody –

Thought I could deny it.
But day to day,
I see I feel
more strongly than I should.



Shutter the windows
and chain the doors

Light the lamps
and go out no more 

Come tomorrow
this day be done
By my hand
let fate be sung


Rag Doll

I support you,
you prop me up.

my back against some wall

My face hardened
My body limp
my heart exposed to
your knife’s whim


Handle With Care

My callous soul
is my heart’s only shield –

My speech an only defense –

To offense!


Two Coins

The fox
is cunning,
a trickster.

But lacking in vision –

The cat
is perceptive,
a genius.

With God-given insight –


I Wonder

A cat –

On an island
in the street.


Blinding lights –

why did I get so far from home.


An Exercise in Free Association –




I Pray

Were there not another day
And some other way, I pray

Though there be no path to walk –
There is little left to talk
Nor to evidence of love,
Place your hand into this glove:
No shelter left unfound
no clock unwound


It Was Portland OR

We could thieve
from gardens at night
and sleep in the hay
come daytime

fair flight among
the terns,
gulls giving pace
from past

Cower no more,
headliner –
spindle thrust
between us

governed by balanced equations
elation abound



Beyond sorrow –

 beyond frustration,
dreams unravel,
flows drawing

Love is as the tide,

Its ebb and flow
ensuring stasis


The Arts

In opposition to a long-run
dry season

Fluid motion sketches
my pad

Parchment –


If I Could

if I could,
I’d be anything –

the moon
or the sun,
rain –
a dog.

Turn around – 

I’m a bird
a kite
anything that flies.
a volcano,



Excess Baggage

Some uncover day I left
flutter by night –
Longing tenderness,
feelings only tension,
never to mention

Friday came alas –
I speak easy now again

Interpret me not,
knotted head too often,
face values unread

Leaden heart beats not,
but pounds unbearable weight

excess baggage


The Trail Is Going Cold (1986)

Against the strains of daily living, I strive to surpass all opposition and obstacles, perpetrators of unrest. It has been ordained that I appear to lead a struggling existence.  I refuse to be the victim, as I was in my youth. I suppose that makes me the assailant. Be that as it may, this is my choice. A vigilante, as it were?

I now run in the night, drawing unto me strength of wisdom. Do I think I know how to use it? I am questioned quite often. It may be that I am wrong. But, as Blake wrote, one is to plunge and reflect. I identify with the madmen.

Now I find myself making choices I had once found regrettable, without a flinch. I am as you find me.

Callous soul, callused heart.





– these conditions
I profess
to have obtained,
having been conferred
by One in my behalf,
to withstand conditions of stress
prevailing in the environment,
to alter that environment,

and to persist in my obstinacy –



prevalent attitude
of indifference
gets you tedium

capacity for life
brings you promise,
adventure, and a
need to run

trouble, some call it,
I call it danger
I weary of it.
There is no other possibility
for me

Worry –
we must.
Come to harm –
we should not.
Leave a trail of sorrow –
we should not

Bewildering temperance



I’ve been waiting
so long,
here at our table.
An unopen invitation
to lovers’ advances,
their embraces

I never open invitation –
the risks are too great to bear,
every heart I ever tried to break –

I reluctantly leave you,
we have not exchanged words,
nothing has changed hands


To Live Without a Dream

I’m looking for inspiration
in this unseeking world.
I happened again upon your face
I sifted through memories,
drifting into thought,
hazard a guess or two,
believe there’s hope for me
though it not be you
There’ll come another.

I’ll dream again,
carry a foolish whim
to the finish


On The Avenue

Should we seek each other out?
May it be that we would ever find
one another?
Once again.
Once again,
I come to a crossroads.
Once again,
I decide a course.

Once again,
I stray from the path.
I find myself liking the things I see.
I find myself wanting the things I see.
I am thriving on independence.

Am I failing of course?


This exists,
only at the cost of all your other dreams


My Back to Innocence

Whatever the future holds
may it not be unkind –
You know I’ve suffered.
You know I’ve paid
all I have to spend.
Send some word.
send a dream.
aw Hell!

You know I’ve seen
how often I’ve asked
only to know some peace,
some measure of freedom,
a sign of change,
an affectation of love,
a revelation of truth

But all I know
is resentment.
teaching impatience.
all I distrust.
I want nothing,
I fear what gifts enfold.
I’ve lost my innocence.
I ask nothing.
I receive less.

As I toss,
I know no peace,
I expect no peace,
I fear no loss –


Self-Portrait 1986

I’m an outcast
I’m a survivor
I’m an actress
I’ve a role to play
I’m convincing
I’m a charlatan
I conceal myself
in search of another
in need of each other
Or am I a chameleon
changing my colors
Or shall I be
what you would have me be
As if corralled
though I still have a choice
but have I the desire
of a need for change
shall I accept my fate
shall I make my fate
wielding weapons
not against myself
not alone
without compromise
ruled not by the heart
without emotion
nor lack of love


Lyrical Sense

They would lie in their own blood –
I would draw blood with my dagger –

They would poison their words
as I choke on mine

surely someone’s been down this road
surely there’s a path
some map
a chart
a notebook perhaps?

It sounds so simple in a song –


… and the gods laughed –
and laughed –
and laugh

 . . . . .