the f word

such an unassuming                          word, that
such an unassuming mind-bending word
such an unassuming mind-bending word that permeates my psyche
claws into those ¿forgotten? cobwebbed corners of             my soul
and whispers to me
that failure
will rub me raw to my underskin
visible I will be in-in-inner under attire
visible I will be-be-beneath
    shining shellac of
        nonchalantly self-critical
            calculated (im)perfection
a perfect surface marred only by long-since-healed failures
buffing compound of
    theoretical distance,
        time &
            wry-dry humor
bringing failure flush to the grain,
            a perfect blemish
to be admired for its presence,
            not its rawness
in complacent wood

I play “A Brave New World” on the piano
plunging deeply into melody
    until an errant note
        and then another
            and another
and melody is an un-resurrect-able
            muddly mess

I stomp uncooperative fingers
on sticky keys
in feigned playfulness
poking fun at my failure
but actually because
to admit that I tried my best
and it was not good enough,
            to shepherd through an already thrice-marred melody,
requires too much presence and humility, all publicly
for lazy Sunday afternoon piano jaunts

and then I wonder
if to replay a song with tender care
            (irregardless of suave lyrical expression)
is too much…
what isn’t?

I tell one of my favorite professors
that I want to do an independent study with her
(because I want her to like me)
(and also hold my scared hand)
(and also think I’m special)

and then, I actually do want to do that independent study
maybe on Quaker feminist theology?
or philosophical definitions of consent?
or the political theory of sexuality?

but it is too much
and if I start to read about this, and then that, and then the other thing
I might turn out to actually like a few/some/all of them
and invest precious time
            (otherwise spent haunting internet grooves worn threadbare by overuse)

and then not get my independent study approved
because my thinking is undisciplined
or I’ve bitten off more than I could chew
            (as per us…ual)
or it was just a bad idea

and then I will have gotten excited about a null set
which will make me feel stupid
and in the meantime, I already feel stupid about never trying in the first place

I apply to something
to which I’m not absolutely sure I’ll be accepted
            (receiving frabjiously joyful caloos and calays of chortling praise)
strictly                                       semi-annually,
I wonder what life without semi-nepotism would look like

probably harder,
but then again, maybe easier
for when both rewards and disappointments rise in magnitude
those prepared most pragmatically for failure
will also reach the highest heights

can’t think of an end to thi poe

either it’s not ready
or I’m not ready

or it’s time to press publish
before I fail to 


One Comment Add yours

  1. says:

    Hi Savannah,

    I like the poem. Keep writing. And I like the idea of your playing the piano. Try the melody again, quietly, for yourself. Never mind an audience every time. And I like the idea of your studying Quaker feminist theology. It’s already a part of your life. Look at your mother and aunts.

    Carry on!

    My love,


    —————————————–From: “the savannahbug alights” To: Cc: Sent: Fri, 12 Feb 2016 23:11:51 +0000 Subject: [New post] FRacAso = faI_Lure

    savannah rose posted: “I. such an unassuming word, that such an unassuming mind-bending word such an unassuming mind-bending word that permeates my psyche claws into those ¿forgotten? cobwebbed corners of my soul and whispers to me that fail”


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