I live with kings
who tower above,
with fancy robes
And unstained gloves.
They always seem so….
I walk beside them.
Only two feet tall,
but when they run
I always fall.
My feet are just too...
They carry crowns
of gems and gold.
I’m not worthy,
or so I’m told,
to dream about something so…
Still, I’m here,
And I’ll still smile.
Laugh it off.
Stay for a while.
I don’t think they realize I’m so…
Sometimes I wonder
If it’s true
If the crowns they wear
are something new?
Or are they just…
Like my crown too.
Oh thank gods.
I dropped it
I smeared it
I didn't get chosen
I sit here with a beautiful absence
I can do it a different way
Because I know now what the consequences are
I know that I can live through them
Failure is an “I told you so”, that hollows deep within.
Failure is a bad mistake that seems to never end.
Failure is a conscious thought you have no power to change.
Failure is an emotion that could drive your brain insane,
Failure is an embarrassment of something you could not exceed.
Failure is the end of a chapter that ends no matter how you plead.
Failure is used to describe, “I gave it my all.”
Failure is what you SHOULD NOT settle with if you feel you are about to fall.
There was nothing I could do.
They'd given up and got swept along with the blues.
I tried so hard to get them to crack a smile.
Laugh, sing, play... live for a while.
They must have discovered the real kingdom, and then set sail.
My attempts to keep them here were stable... I failed.
The Failure Feels
Failure feels like a hard, cold hospital bed with those thin sheets that make you colder.
Failure feels like when your little sister calls you on the hospital pay phone, and tells you you are no longer going to be a part of her life.
Failure feels like sleeping for two days in the hospital after that call, and it costs $20,000.
That’s $10,000 per night for two bad dreams. In case anyone’s counting. But they’re not. It’s only the sallow faces of your little sister and her fiance, holding flowers and walking into the ward, not sure where not to look.
Failure is when you tell the art group therapy leader that you coudn’t draw clouds and flowers, because it was too much effort and you’re not interested in trying anymore.
Failure feels like giving up, but no one stops you when you get up to leave early.
Failure feels like buying into the American health care system. That it could help me, on any level, other than to bankrupt me. It’s a bullshit operation and I leave forgetting two different personal items.
Failure is when you text your little sister to tell her you’ve been released, and she doesn’t respond.
Failure is going back to work and not giving an appropriate amount of notice because two weeks is too long.
Failure is leaving two voicemails with the guy you were seeing and him never returning those calls.
Failure feels like considering all of this, and realizing this all took place over the span of two days. And it’s only January 2nd. Welcome to 2020.
Failure will start to feel familiar.
Failure isn’t an F
Failure feels like the step taken
That sends you over the edge
Slipping toward the green of the trees
Failure feels like waking up
Next to bloodied streets
Pills in the pocket
Without a drop of water to take them
Failure feels like hands around the throat
Eyes burned into the brain
As life slips away
While the lungs turn to ice
Failure feels like looking at an old photo
Guilt for not picking up the phone
Because he was dying and you were gone
You were busy and he was falling
Empty-handed and alone
Failure feels like watching tv
All of the youth dying
The cities burning
The rich thriving
Failure feels like a pen
Repeating instead of correcting
Mistakes of the past
Permanence lasting too long
Failure feels like an empty cup
Some say it's still full of air
But the liquor is gone
We live in terror of the word.
If you fail at something simple,
There's no hope to go on.
If you fail at something hard,
That's no better.
Learn from your mistakes,
How can you when it hurts
Like a knife into your chest
That twists with every breath?
You put it there yourself
Because you failed.
It's more than a letter on a page,
It's more than a simple "no."
It's a feeling of such darkness
That's completely self imposed.
Why is it all so hard
Now that you've failed?
We live in terror of the word
And terror of the pain,
Like standing in the fire,
Like drowning in the sea.
And then we'll say we're terrible
Incapable of anything.
All because we failed
At just one simple thing.
Your stomache is filled with butterflies as you wait, until, suddenly, the butterflies drop to the bottom of your stomache, twisting themselves into a stone. Your hands start to shake slightly as you close your eyes and breathy deeply, telling yourself it will be okay.
You can feel the tears behind your eyes and the twisted feeling of empty weight in your stomache, knowing that it is not okay, that it will never be okay, because you will always fail-
No, it's okay, it's okay, I'll do better next time. You tell yourself desperatly, but you are starting to have trouble breathing.
You try to push off the troubles just as the tears start to well up in your eyes, even though the word failure echoes trough your brain for the next ten minutes at the very least.
Your body shakes slightly and someone asks if you are okay. You just smile and nod, and the person looks away, not beleiving you, but not pushing it.
For a second you wonder if you should have told them what was wrong, but your worries are so silly, and you deserved to fail. You feel like you do not deserve help. You are scared, and shaking harder now, but you just drown out your worries once again.
You are mostly fine for the day, but a little irritated and snappy (which only makes you feel more guilty). At last you finally get to your room where you can lock the door and jump onto your bed, barrying your head in your pillow and finally screaming and letting the tears out, never loud enough to be heard.
You mutter and murmur you worries, but no one comes in to ask if your okay, which is a releif since you hate lying so much. Of course, that never stops you from lying anyways.
You grab out some music, and eventaully calm down, but you will always know that you are a faulure, a nothing, a mistake.
What does failure feel like?
If failure had a face he would be a man. Perhaps short and fat, or tall and lanky. Perhaps his skin would be pearly white or mud brown. If failure had a face I would recognize him in a line up no matter how he looked that day.
I met failure on the second day of primary school, the day I brought back that English test. Changed a 3 into a 5 and hoped nobody would notice. They did of course. I didn't have the smarts back then to use the same color pen.
I met failure at the gasoline station when I was 16, carrying five boxes of cereal, four candy bars, three packets of milk, two packs of cigarettes, and one pregnancy test.
I met failure when he was a short man with black hair and puffy face, he wore the same green t-shirt every day with a self-made jackson pollock painting of ketchup and mustard on the front. When he lived in a run-down apartment clothes and papers and matches and lighters skittered around the floor. A mattress on the ground, no sheets, no pillows. I ate pizza with him and got high on what was supposed to be weed but barely made the effort. We sat on the sofa so long the outline of my back is still imprinted on it like the signature I never intended to leave. We drank cheap whiskey and smoked cigarettes and talked about living the high life and laughed at the sheep that went to school to chase careers. Couldn’t they see how happy we were rotting on that couch?
I met failure when he was beautifully alluring, his voice husky and soft, his eyes bright and glowing. All dilated pupils and runny nose. We spent years together in club bathrooms. White-hot power shot straight up the nose. Coursed through our veins and made us wonder. Is this what it felt like to be a god? He told me how easy it is to take, to lie, to steal. That if they left it in the open they deserved to be taught a lesson. We would be that lesson. And we were. Until we weren’t.
I saw failure everywhere I went since I was a little girl. I saw him in my promises, in my mother's tears, in my father's rage, in my desires and my ambitions. I saw him at that hospital.
When I broke up with failure he raged for hours, made me sob until the tears felt painful against my swollen cheeks, until the gasps I made were not for air but for release - release from him. He held me by the hair, tight grip in my golden locks pulling me up and slamming me into the wall again and again and again.
If failure had a face he would no doubt be a man. Golden curls and swollen face, brittle bones, and sunken eyes. His face would look like mine.