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Posts Tagged ‘failure’

I suspected I shouldn’t

open the oven door

ten minutes before

the timer went off.

Is it a sin if you don’t

know the rule?

The cake looked perfect,

when I checked,

but ten minutes later

the puff of white had fallen,

fallen like Lucifer,

fallen into a dense sponge

from which it would never

again rise. Oh angel food cake,

victim of my impatience,

we ate you anyway,

served you with strawberry fluff,

and you, like a true angel,

stayed sweet. It was no fault

of your own that you fell.

How often am I responsible

for the so called failures

of others? How often

do I, in my excitement,

cause more harm than good?

Praise the fallen angel food cake,

that still, though compact,

offered itself to the birthday.

Praise what is good

that insists on its own goodness,

despite adverse circumstance.

Let me remember

the graceful botch,

the redeemable flop,

the crumb yet moist, so tasty.

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What wants to happen?

            —Joi Sharp

 

 

Today it is the tow truck

that leads me back to myself.

For though I call the driver

and though I receive

a text that says he is coming

and though I have paid

my AAA bill on time, the tow

truck does not arrive.

Though I did everything right.

Though the same actions have worked before.

Still the world has not turned out

the way I expected, the way

I want it to. The car

is still stranded. The tow truck

is still not here. Oh failure,

how clearly it shows my attachment

to outcome. How clearly it

shows me the world is in charge.

I look for more doors to knock on,

try to plan more ways to control.

Meanwhile, I am the door.

Meanwhile, this chance

to let go.

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One More Rejection

 

 

in the cathedral of failure—

learning to bow to our weakest self

and rise emptier, more full of song

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One More Lesson

 

 

 

while pouring tea for failure,

I forgot to add the tea—

we drink the hot water together and laugh

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Self-forgiveness is not the first impulse.

In fact, I curse. Run my hands through my hair,

 

tug at my scalp. Sigh. Again. My shoulders fall slack

in the place where my wings would be.

 

In my gut, the seed of apology starts to root.

Perhaps that is what changes things,

 

what allows me to let failure look me in the face,

let it trace my cheeks, the barest caress.

 

It never asks me to be beautiful. It never

expects nor wants perfection. It touches me so tenderly,

 

is it any wonder that soon the apology

spills from my lips like the clearest stream,

 

and I stand in the cold clear rush of it.

The whole world looks different from here.

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Should We Tell Her?

 

 

 

Somewhere in my heart

there is a tiny woman

with a crimson scarf

and hair pulled back

who is balancing

on a tightrope—

she has not yet learned

that it is okay

for her to fall,

that the net

will always catch her,

so she keeps doing

the same boring walk

back and forth

thinking how brave

and how proficient

she is at staying

on the rope,

never learning

she could also

jump and swing

and leap and twirl and fall

and get back up.

 

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Dear poetry friends,

 

I’ve been dabbling in storytelling, both written and oral, and this month Edible Southwest, an elegant gourmet magazine, picked up a story of mine in their annual storytelling issue. It’s a story of when things go wrong around holiday meals … and how sometimes, that allows for things to go right …

You can check it out here: The Lesson of the Daughter-in-Law

 

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That’s what cars are for,

said the master whistler, when I told him

I could not whistle.

I auditioned for him

with my one-note draft,

and he said, Yeah, I

can work with that,

which I took to mean

that I could work with that.

Eventually, he said,

you’ll arrive at a tone.

And so I whistled

four hours as I drove north,

starting with Moon River,

Skylark, and Paris in Springtime,

then, demoralized

by lack of progress,

turned on the eighties station

and created a breeze

to accompany INXS, Howard Jones,

Prince and Tone Loc.

The difference between

what I heard in my head

and what came from my lips—

so much beauty

missing. And just

before arriving at my own

front door, I had somehow

begun a gusty rendition

of When the Saints Go Marching In,

and thought to myself,

yeah, I think I might

be getting it, but five

verses later laughed

at my longing for success.

When I opened the door

of the car, I felt the wind

meet my face. I let it

carry the almost notes

and decided tomorrow

I’d try some Moondance

and Fever before Hot Cross Buns,

knowing how it takes

a lot of wind

before one’s ship comes in.

 

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building a cup tower,

then laughing as they all come down,

inviting myself

to imagine the word Dixie

on all these towers I’ve built

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After hoping and trying

and failing and hoping

and trying and failing

and hoping and trying

and failing the mind

perhaps will finally say

I don’t know what comes next

and, startled by the sweet

clarity of this, the body

raises both arms, though

the mind didn’t tell it to—

yes, the arms rise weightless

and open, as if there is nothing

they aren’t ready to embrace,

as if the world as it is

might come rushing in.

 

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