What Does the F Stand For?

by Sarah Rohrs

Failure is a word you look up in the dictionary, just like you
look into someone's eyes quite young and realize
jubilation is always triumphed in error. Because it's
never over really. Even monks singing to flowers
know that. Even the church mouse still aches. Praise fall
from grace and cracks that let the light in. Too cynical
for words today the chalk screeches mid-way through
a red mark, and the book is too heavy to carry home
from the pew. Relief in the end even if it's too late
to tell the whole story. How it happened. The split,
then the waiting for night to be over, for sadness to
lose its silent wail, and for itching fingers crawling along
sweaty sheets to find a way back to those open
windows in back seats barreling along a lone highway,
corn leaves curled up and glistening, hiding jewels,
for a taste of tomorrow, with King yelling from a
podium to masses a call for redemption, and Seeger
pounding those hammers in a Redwood forest - a song
about you and yourself as lover here, all over.

Audio reading by Victor D. Sandiego

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Sarah Rohrs is a newspaper reporter refugee who now uses her note-taking skills at political and church meetings convened to fight backward political strides in immigration and poverty. She moved to Salem, Oregon to escape the San Francisco Bay Area's housing madness. She enrolls in the occasional poem-a-day class, takes lots of photos on her magic Coolpix, and volunteers at Head Start.

Comments

By Sandra Anfang on Jan 22, 2015 17:21 (UTC)

I love this poem, Sarah. I especially appreciate the climactic ending, with King and Seeger, and the very last line.

By Michael on Jan 25, 2015 07:08 (UTC)

Fine poetry, Sarah.
I just read an item the other day, I think in the New Yorker, on how photography functions as poetry. What do you see as the relationship between these two art forms?

By Patricia Brody on Jan 30, 2015 22:27 (UTC)

Beautiful poem Sarah. Did you know I once lived in San Francisco off Haight and also
in the Castro Market area, when Harvey Milk had a photo shop there, and George Moscone
was mayor.

I love the poem's ending and the way your poems carry the reader on a spiritual arc from a
particular place then up out into the universe.

I too love the last line, phenomenally good!

By Sarah Rohrs on Feb 07, 2015 09:36 (UTC)

Thank you, all for reading/listening to my poem. Sande, this is a Poem A Day poem from July, I think. Grateful we are in that class together. Patricia, I didn't know you lived in SF when Harvey Milk was mayor. Those must have been interesting times. Michael, I think poetry and photography are closely related, though one is mainly technological and the other, perhaps, more organic - less reliant on gadgetry. Even so, photography captures moments as a poem does, recording things at a certain time and place. You can always go back and tinker around with images and poems, but there is that first hit that I always try to capture - what drew me to something in the first place. Poetry can be called an art of witness and photography can surely do that, too.