top of page

"Inadequacy" and "Attic Alcove" by Beth Mulcahy

A note from the publisher: our web server is terrible, and the formatting of Beth's first poem, "Inadequacy". is very important. It displays beautifully on the desktop and tablet versions of the website, but the mobile site got all smooshed. So, to see this poem in all of its glory, please view this page on a desktop/tablet, or click below to download a PDF version. Thank you!

Beth Mulcahy - _Inadequacy_
Download PDF • 44KB


My old friend, it’s good to see you again, in spite of it all. Will you sit down? There’s something
I need to say, so this drink, it’s on me. Hearts break all the time, I know, but there’s this little
cup of inadequacy that fills up a little more each time, so one has to pour it out before it overflows and completely floods out any belief in oneself. Al those heartbreakers,
they were wrong, you see. I couldn’t see it before but I can see it now: it was
not I who wasn’t enough in some way or too much in another - the lacking
was theirs. In all those times my heart was broken, my failing sense of
self was abundantly revealed anew, in every possible way, in all
the reasons why it just wasn’t going to work. For the ones
with political aspirations, I was too unconventional
and for the free spirits, much too normal, and for
the artists, well I just didn’t get it;
I was far too needy for
the independent,
too fickle for the loyal,
too restless for the settled,
too distracted for the devoted,
and for the musicians, my mind was not
open enough, but for the philosophers, so open
that it was closed, and for the predator my body was ok
but not compared to the model he was with before, and for
the brains, I was just not smart enough, for those wallowing in
their own drowning, I was not messed up enough to really understand,
even if I wanted to and for the up and coming, I was too unstable, for the cheerful,
far too moody, for the glass half empties, too optimistic and too flaky for the irritable,
too responsible for hippies, too driven for the old fashioned and insufficiently ambitious
for overachievers and on and on the drips of doubt filled up my cup of inadequacy but now
I’m pouring it into yours so drink up, old friend and you will see it really was you and not me.

Attic Alcove

august crickets

fill this silence

sticker stars

fill the darkness

generated breezes

break stale heat

hunger pains

pierce my numb


voids danger

and I wonder

when your voice

will melt

this heart


Beth Mulcahy lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids and loyal Havanese dog sidekick. Beth works for a company that provides technology to people without natural speech. She writes poetry, fiction, memoir, and dreams about visiting Scotland. Her work has appeared in various journals and she has been nominated for a Pushcart prize. Check out her latest publications at


bottom of page