“Missing Something” (Read Directions First Maybe)

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Missing Something

Yellow-black burn
spilled into linoleum dim, overswarming
with olfactory buzz
the warm hum of being eight
and baking on my own.

My mother tromped from bedroom telephone
to bemoan the oven floor puddled
with goo that still dripped
stalactite-like
from tube pan liner, a reverse lava swirling thick
amarillo onto the glowing U
of heating element.

So elemental, it seemed to her, that the eggs
in a sponge cake (her favorite) must be separated, whites beaten
into stiff peaks
as the recipe I had not read through
required,
and that the lining of a tube pan, especially
when incorrectly positioned, could not, like first base fumbling,
hold
a running batter.

So, I learned, or was taught–for
I’m not sure I’ve learned it yet–that life
is not simply a stir-in
of the sequential–that you can’t,
in other words, just pour a bunch of stuff
into a bowl and expect
to eat cake–

But how could it be? Magic,
my burning cheeks were certain, was supposed
to work my way,
just as in every story–
except perhaps The Little Match Girl,
Bambi, Charlotte’s Web….

Okay.
But there should at least,
I was sure, be a third wish, a silver lining
to re-capture the remiss, cloak consequence
with iridescence, not
leak.

****************************

A reading of the poem, if interested:

*****************************
I am posting the above for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt hosted by Stu McPherson, about ‘missing’.  I did another poem earlier today about missing my brain, and worms, but decided that even a failed cake was a bit more savory.

For those who don’t know, a tube pan is a pan with an inner liner and tube that fits into a bottomless frame.  It should ideally be used for very thick batters (like fruit cake), or very puffy batters (like angel food cake or sponge cake).  Or my problem may be have been that I put the pieces together backwards!

Have a nice weekend.  And if you get a chance, check out my books! Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, orNose Dive. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

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31 Comments on ““Missing Something” (Read Directions First Maybe)”

  1. brian miller Says:

    life
    is not simply a stir-in
    of the sequential–that you can’t,
    in other words, just pour a bunch of stuff
    into a bowl and expect
    to eat cake–…nice….and true….and a cake is def not as easy as it looks either…i have jacked a few up in my day….lol…


  2. I love cakes in poetry – even if they’ve gone wonky! I really like the metaphor here Karin.


  3. Love this cake offering K ~ I have baked one like this over the years ~


  4. This was really nice. I loved the way you told this.


  5. I am really curious now about the one with your brain and worms–but then, that’s me. This one is really very wise, which I think is so hard to do looking back–we tend to misinterpret so much more than interpret our childhoods. But you have gotten the important thing out of this–in the passage brian quotes–and that we are not always the heroines of the fairy tale, and in some fairy tales, that’s just as well. The only cakes I can make are sheet cakes–well, and that one with blackberry wine that you cook in a bundt pan(close relative to the tube, but no leaking.).

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha – the wormy one may be better–I read an early version to my husband who thought it awfully grim! But maybe I’ll modify into some Rosetti-ish format! Unfortunately, I should, if I do not want an agonizing next week, spend every waking hour this weekend on job work. Which probably means I’ll do the Rosetti poem.

  6. Mary Says:

    Making cakes from scratch seems altogether too complicated for me…all the moreso after reading your poem.

  7. Yousei Hime Says:

    How lovely to hear your read. I wonder if this is the first time I’ve listened to one, for it can’t be your first posting with sound. I enjoyed the sound and the poem very much. Quite nostalgic with a touch of magic.

  8. grammalynn Says:

    Crumbs are just as yummy The cake whole does not need be

    Sent from my iPhone

  9. Lázaro Rojas Says:

    I always seem to expect to eat cake after I mix and stir. Always comes out horribly tasting. :-/


  10. I especially like you saying you can’t ‘pour a bunch of stuff / into a bowl and expect / to eat cake–’ and ‘cloak consequence / with iridescence’ ~ wow ~ wonderful words ~ love the burning cheeks too … ah … memories 🙂


  11. smiles…you can learn some important lessons for life when baking… brought back some own memories as well…once baked a cake and put salt instead of sugar in…ugh…

  12. David King Says:

    Quite a few potential metaphors for life are hiding in this write. A treat of a poem.

  13. Miriam E. Says:

    “I’m not sure I’ve learned it yet–that life
    is not simply a stir-in
    of the sequential–that you can’t,
    in other words, just pour a bunch of stuff
    into a bowl and expect
    to eat cake–”
    wonderfully said, Karin.
    … and hey, even a runny cake is a good cake – after all, it’s cake! doesn’t matter which texture it has… 😉
    wonderful poem.

  14. poemsofhateandhope Says:

    Some great nostalgia in this Karin… something almost iconic about the child learning to bake…maybe because its at the same time the child starts to learn about life- and as you so eloquently put- cant just ‘pour in a bunch of stuff’…..and life becomes structured, complex…but maybe that’s where we miss a trick…in that experimentation, that ‘pouring in’….i miss that innocence I had when i was a child- now im just scared…ha ha :)….great work Karin

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Stu. I thought it was a lovely prompt and took it in this different direction mainly I think because I’ve written a lot of missing you poems this year, it being the year of death of my father. I was going to write about missing my brain but that felt a little grim! k.

  15. janehewey Says:

    reading your above comments… i for one would like to read a poem about you missing your brain. I thought this one wonderful. It took me back to many attempts in the kitchen. I like what stu said, we are learning so much about life when we learn to cook. i learned: I used to give up way too easily. Now I’m more aligned with my tough-girl soul, and do some fastidious baking… I made my own wedding cakes. I think that is another story, though. very effective poem k., taking readers on journeys to the past. loved it.

  16. ladynyo Says:

    I love this….very evocative of my own childhood where I tried…tried….to do the same thing.

    It seems that life certainly SHOULD be a stir in…and the results???

    Perfect! As is your poem.

    Lady Nyo

  17. kkkkaty Says:

    You have a knack for metaphors…insightful..and I like that someone else also put the two pieces together backwards ;_)


  18. So, I learned, or was taught–for
    I’m not sure I’ve learned it yet–that life
    is not simply a stir-in
    of the sequential–that you can’t,
    in other words, just pour a bunch of stuff
    into a bowl and expect
    to eat cake– Love this. You took a childhood experience and spun it into wisdom for all of us.

  19. Nia Ceridwyn Says:

    I adore the double meaning here: “the lining of a tube pan, especially when incorrectly positioned, could not, like first base fumbling, hold a running batter.”

  20. vb holmes Says:

    “… be a third wish, a silver lining
    to re-capture the remiss, cloak consequence
    with iridescence, not
    leak.” Like the down-to-earth realism of the last two words–

  21. Sabio Lantz Says:

    Ah, what is the saying, “Luck comes to those who prepare” or “Magic Cooking occurs only for those who have practiced” or ….
    People overestimate their intuition — intuition is only the result of hard, conscious, work. Blind intuition just makes for funny stories!

    Funny story! Poor Mom, she tried.


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