Bad Day: Step Up

It was a bolt from the blue that shocked the entire system,

Trouble was brewin’ but still you never saw it coming,

Looking back now on those good ol’ days, the contrast is heartbreaking,

It was laughs and good times galore, signs of a rock-solid unit,

The guardians loved one another, you and the sibs their little tribe of miscreants,

Experienced highs and lows like everyone, got back on track after every single one,

Fractured unions now a frequent occurrence but had faith Mom and Pops won’t be one of them,

Then cracks started forming on the surface, smiles rare as diamonds, as time went on and on the future seemed less certain,

Fast forward to the present Mom was glued to the tube while you were messing with the sibs,

Pops wasn’t home, still out on a work trip,

Seemed like good old-fashioned normalcy, a typical Sunday evening,

Then came the berg that sunk the vessel beneath the ocean.

Shouldn’t have been unexpected, been sailing over rough seas lately,

More than a few storms, took ‘em longer to get back on course,

Even what was trivial served as kindling for raging fires,

Old remedies failed to extinguish ‘em, their once undeniable chemistry nothing short of dire,

Still felt like a gut punch from Tyson, nobody likes to lose a parent,

You and the sibs been drifting due to changing interests, nothing like sorrow to get you reunited,

All the while you wonder, as their first-born, how the one you once looked up to, who clothed, provided for and raised you, could up and leave just like that, without a farewell hug at that?

Just a simple text message, talk about insincere, so much for precious memories from the past twenty years,

On the subject of familial breakdowns, night after night prayed you’d never join the club,

But life had other plans for ya, shit is totally fucked up.

You were thrust the unofficial role of co-pilot, Ma can only do so much on her own,

Fresh out of teens, still unsure of your life’s goals, forced into a new role, spat into a world that devours even the bold,

Work turns out to be your safe haven, a distraction from your current situation,

Away from the anguish and bitterness in equal measures, reminders of unwanted changes,

The daily commute serves as a time of reflection, though not in a way that begets enlightenment,

Rather to purge the heart and mind of inner pain and sadness, why did it have to come to this?

Got you contemplating the dark side, embrace many a broken soul’s vices,

But deep down you knew better, for all their faults they didn’t raise a fool and delinquent,

Still, the inner anger got you thinking foolish temptations,

Must be draining to go through pain alone while the world remains happily oblivious,

Misery loves company but strength of mind ain’t having it,

Gotta stay on the straight and narrow, new responsibilities require you to do so.

The fake smiles mask internal tears, got you wondering how many years before the pain subsides if at all, after all, this was one of your worse fears,

Happy fam snatched away just like that, what happened to their chemistry from the past?

Been caught in storms before, no one makes it out bone-dry,

Time and time again they made it to the other side, sometimes different brollies were required, but damn it they got out of them alive,

Then you have the mental gymnastics nothing short of soul-sapping,

You resent ‘em for blowing it, for taking away from you a complete support system,

Takes two to tango, the handiwork’s barely one-sided, but to the one that played deserter the blame is compounded,

Bitter feelings are inevitable, can’t believe he walked away,

Feeling angry, scared and betrayed, will life ever be the same?

Should’ve been here to show the way, act as your guide through life,

But now he ain’t and you don’t know why, just that he left y’all high and dry,

Fangs are out for her, too, for making mountains out of mole hills,

On his case constantly for even the most useless things, who wants to put up with that shit?

Juxtaposed against the love that offspring naturally feel for their parents,

Can try to deny it but can’t simply just forget about it,

The sacrifices made for you and your sibs, through grown eyes you recognize all of this,

Couldn’t get to where you are present had they not hustled hard for it,

As far as parenting you couldn’t ask for better, they raised you and the sibs proper,

Insulated y’all from all manner of harm and danger, guided y’all through your problems,

In many ways you kids were privileged and for that you ought to stay grateful for it,

When all’s said and done they still deserve their flowers, recent occurrences can’t and won’t erase ‘em,

So now you’re left in this conundrum, though the betrayal cuts deep,

Opposing feelings on extreme ends of the scale, haunts you damn near every night before you sleep.

So ends another day, mask on while slogging through work,

Shelved it upon arriving home, life with fam now seems rather awkward,

Before the hard part hit you, that would be the hours before bed,

Hearing sibs and mother crying, their means of purging, the sound reverberates around your head,

Trying to stay strong for their sake, takes every ounce of your being,

Nodding off, finally, a brief respite from grief and uncertainty,

Times are tough right now, Kid, but soldier on and you’ll be fine,

It’s ok to feel sad or mad, to ask and wonder why,

Life took a different turn, certainly one that’s mind-boggling,

Just know you aren’t to blame for it, not all unions go the distance,

Keep a strong front if you must, the younger sibs need someone to hold onto,

Even Momma’s struggling hard, she, too, needs a rock to cling to,

Break down if you must, let the tears fall, don’t keep it bottled up,

On your lonesome, too, if you don’t want them to see you broken and torn up,

Remember that winners never quit and quitters never win, don’t let nothing break you,

He taught you that long ago and it will always ring true,

Speaking of lessons, you can still learn from ‘em, too,

How not to communicate with your significant other, the one with whom you vowed to live happily ever after,

Not to sweat the small stuff, match your emotions with the matter,

Getting hot over the irrelevant, such behaviour does not serve to flatter,

To never quit on one another, they were supposed to be in it together,

For every problem there’s a solution, might take some effort but eventually you’ll find it,

But if the fairytale ends, if somehow it didn’t last, surely there’s better ways to part that ain’t cold, abrupt and crass,

Though you’d rather forget this particular chapter, do file it for reference later,

There’s not telling where life might take you, might find yourself in situations similar,

Until then just carry on, though it’s hard, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,

Step up and thrive where they’d stumbled, you still have a bright future.

Cutting A Man Loose

Afternoon strolls, always a favorite pastime of mine,

Sunnies on, head up, no chitchat, nothing to break my strides,

Saw him from the corner of my eye, out and about on his lonesome,

A significant figure from my past, been almost twenty since we saw each other last,

Had to do a double take, surely these eyes must be tricking,

Not much ‘bout him changed, save for some subtle signs of ageing,

Some greys here and there, lines near the eyes, hadn’t seen him since graduation,

That’s more than twenty years, I wonder if he remembers who I am?

Only one way to find out, gonna run up on this dude,

It’s now or never, excuse the attitude, hope he won’t think I’m crude.

“Hey, Bud. Remember me?”

A smile spread across his features, this surely was a random encounter,

“Hey, how’ve you been? So good to see you,”

“Ain’t nothing changed, Brother, seems like the same for you too,”

We walked for a while, exchanging war stories from our lives,

Sat down on a bench eventually, chopped it up ‘til the sun started disappearing,

Seemed like old times once more, but then it occurred to me,

Something different about him now, of the type rather sad and melancholy,

Change is inevitable, no one is spared,

It’ll do its work as the time passes, better go with it or be left in the ashes,

But it ain’t always sunshine and rainbows, the good and the bad come together,

Enhancing some aspect of our lives while deteriorating others,

In his case he seemed to have it all, working his dream job and generally having a ball,

But his demeanour seemed unfamiliar, at least from the kid that I’d known before.

He was positivity personified during years past,

Up for fun and laughs at the drop of a hat, couldn’t get cooler than that,

In the present he seems bitter, not talking so much as ranting,

Harbouring bitterness and hatred in seemingly equal measures,

Seemingly contemptuous at what once set his soul aflame,

Sure, we acquire knowledge and changed interests along the way, from birth ‘til death we rarely stay the same,

The contrast, still, of the past and the present was kind of sad and disturbing,

‘Is this really the same dude? Or just someone with more than a passing resemblance?’

Still, we continued to converse, most of it spent reminiscing on the past,

Every once in a while bursting into fits of belly laughs.

Time flew, soon it was time to get going,

Agreed to meet up again but such sentiments seem to mean nothing,

Life gets busy after all, we keep moving different directions,

We may cross paths again but fat chance of that happening,

Probably for the best, what I’d learned about him left me kinda depressed,

What happened to my friend? From sunshine to cloud the dude fell off the deep end,

Once upon a time could talk to him about anything,

At times found myself tip-toeing ‘round eggshells during our little reunion,

Was tempted to ask him what brought about this transformation,

But better to leave the proverbial can closed, don’t want to clean up the contents,

If this is it then perhaps it’s best to wish him well, even if we’re strangers once more,

Hold on tight to memories of when we were small, teammates and brothers of sorts.

Good Time: The Turning Point

New Year came and went, then it was straight back to business,

Went by too quick, that holiday period, daily life prefers a peculiar brand of slowness,

Ten years-plus an outcast, cynical and jaded,

Middle-finger salute to society all but permanent but low-key wanting some type of connection,

Logged onto FB one night, found me an old friend, he was with me in the trenches during the warzone that was lunch and recess,

Both of us deemed nerds, copped our fair share for it,

Me more so than him, that once-cheery kid grew up the polar opposite,

Back to the present he accepted my friend request, DM’d me after a few days,

Hadn’t seen or heard from him since graduation, his circumstances changed in strange ways,

After a few days he spilled his guts, tales of woe and heartbreak,

Thought she was the one so he upped sticks for her, before she tore his heart out then hurled it into the incinerator,

This mind back then wouldn’t allow sympathy, he’s just paying the price of vulnerability,

Welcome to society, where so many are fucking slimy, to trust is an act of self-sabotage, really,

Why’s he even dumping onto me this shit? This type of info one would keep a secret,

How’s he trusting a homie after more than ten years of distance?

Been keeping it in for too long, the contents within bubbling, pressure busts pipes, sooner or later there’ll be an explosion,

Somehow found myself compelled to help, this must be what they call compassion,

Channelling my inner optimist long dormant before I got to replying,

Encouraged him to soldier on, do away with plans foolish and drastic,

His luck could turn in a minute, in the end it’ll be worth it,

Regurgitated every cliché used by every motivational speaker ever,

Somehow it worked, though, found that out a few short months later,

Sure enough he met someone, in the present he’s still with her,

Two little ones to cap it off glad his happy ending came along.

In return he turned me onto anime again, been some time since I’d watched a series,

Then came a new beginning, at Pops’ insistence and urgings,

Began a new discipline, nothing like others that I’d tried,

Boxed and wore a karate gi in the past, but this seemed to throw every rule through the glass,

Squared on, everything from the centre, hard striking forbidden,

A fresh challenge but one that I took on, kept at it going forward,  

Seemed to be the turning point, felt a metamorphosis of sorts,

Befriended some fellow practitioners, for the longest time didn’t feel awkward,

Holed in my fortress for so long but dared to believe that leopards can change their spots,

Have I found a home away from home? Some semblance of acceptance?

All signs pointed to that direction, slowly but surely toppled the fences.

Finally embarked on a mission for qualification for that role I’d long been coveting,

Several months of fun and lessons, not to mention further friendships,

Can’t say I was a natural, but I’ll say I did ok with it,

It was fun while it lasted, been done for a while but thankful for the experience,

Later reunited face to face with that old buddy, the catalyst for this trajectory,

Not much changed physically, other than he’s aged markedly,

Got to know his co-pilot and the rest of their crew,

Still running with ‘em to this day, counting ‘em in my inner circle too,

Had long felt stagnant at work but seemed to embrace it once more,

Positive vibes permeating all aspects, have I found some secret key to what they call happiness?

Christmas with the extended fam sure was a blast,

Trip to Kosciuszko the icing on the cake, thus ending a year full of blessings in its wake,

Been a great one, I have to say, one of the best I’d ever had,

Still look back on it wistfully but to have lived it once I’m still glad,

Began as a surly recluse, all but anti-social and pissed at the system,

Wasted a great deal of young adulthood for it, always playing victim,

Picking at scabs from long ago, would have healed sooner had I not kept on doing so,

The lone sufferer the man in the mirror, time to get moving, better late than never,

Many moons prior, the Mayans predicted this to be the end,

For yours truly such was the case in some ways, finally emerged from a long hibernation,

Out from the darkness of the shadows to the brighter lights, it was a glorious reunion,

Old self has finally come to pass, in its place an older, wiser and all-round better version.

Impure Intentions

She was out for a walk, alone with her thoughts,

Five years retired already, been quite the journey, two years a widow now, unfortunately,

Heard from the kids every now and then, grandkids loved her when they visited,

Too long between reunions but life gets busy thanks to higher costs of living,

Melancholy comes knocking every now and then, but for the most part life’s a breeze,

Simple living and optimism, both have been the key,

On this day, her peace ‘bout to be shattered in ways cringey than clear and present danger,

The dude ran towards her, gave her quite a fright, expecting a thug or purse-snatcher but he wasn’t that type,

He asked her how she was doing, if she was feeling blue,

Wrapped himself around her, minus her consent, before a response can come through,

“It’ll be alright,” said he, “you will be ok,”

“You looked like you needed cheering, have a lovely day,”

His mate stands not far away, phone pointed towards ‘em,

Soon to be uploaded into cyberspace without their subject’s permission,

Off they run feeling heroic while she’s left to pick up the pieces,

To say she’s weirded out and mortified would be an understatement.

Not too far away, dude on the sidewalk wasting,

Reviewing his current situation, the culmination of bad breaks and his own poor decisions,

Living off of others’ generosity and donations,

For the most part mere shrapnel but it’s better than nothing,

One day was approached by a total stranger, cash in her hand, ready for a big contribution, but for reasons rather sad,

She dropped the dough as intended but her phone was pointed at his face,

“Enjoy your money, Sir,” said she, “hope you have a lovely day,”

He’ll be eating well tonight while making the rounds online,

Without his knowledge or consent, her generosity was tainted,

Helping the needy is cool, but social media clout’s her main objective,

Chasing praises from the masses, the dopamine fix is highly addictive,

But for every five likes there are far more of the opposite, consider the plan backfired,

Critics are letting her have it, she still doesn’t know it, but she’ll find out in a little while.

Good deeds with hidden motives, we’re seeing ‘em more often

Helping the downtrodden but we see you acting the paparazzi on ‘em,

It’s an empty gesture if you’re just doing it for clout,

Your audience ain’t cheering or admiring, they’re mocking and laughing out loud,

If you did it out of kindness then you wouldn’t need any witnesses,

You’re just fishing for compliments and backslaps from friends and so-called followers,

Putting it on blast reeks of fakeness and arrogance, how translucent can you get?

Using the less fortunate for your own selfish intentions? You’re a special breed of scum bucket,

And in other cases you’re just playing the space invader, running up on ‘em like whatever,

How’d you like it if you were hassled for no apparent reason? You’d think they were a right little nuisance,

Better cut that out sooner rather than later, you’re doing yourself no favors,

You’re considered a major irritant across social media, how does that label work for ya?

Indulge your ego elsewhere through different means, your actions aren’t appreciated here,

Better you walked on by than using and abusing ‘em, let the real altruists tend to them.

Three Acts

Act 1

It’s night time across the city, midnight rolling in a hurry,
On the base of a skyscraper, the tallest of its kind, a lone figure arrives,
The cape and full-body suit a smooth, silky black, face shielded by a similarly-coloured mask,
Anonymity is key, gotta hide that identity from the pesky powers that be,
Twice a week without fail, come sunshine and rain, been at it for some time now, the nerves won’t even attack now,
A small crowd gathers, where once they’d resembled a mosh pit,
One too many reruns later many had seen enough but for some the act remained hot stuff,
The one they’d come to see prepares, undergoes a vigorous warm-up routine,
The act will be over within seconds, such preparation seems extreme,
But tonight’s a treat for the fans, the ones that had stuck around through thick and thin,
For this is the last show, a retirement party of sorts, a fond farewell and a well-earned reward,
Limbs loose and ready, body warm and primed for the main event,
Approached the base of the building, five breaths deep breathing,
Then it was blast off, scurrying up that structure sleek as a panther,
Much to the awe of onlookers, still thrilled at this daredevil’s superpowers,
No special gloves and shoes or harnesses here, just literally scaling the windows and walls,
Looking skyward all the way, unbothered by the altitude at all,
Hit the rooftop in less than two, shimmied up the antenna too,
Now at the city’s highest peak, the view was grand and majestic,
Eerie silence up near the clouds, the hustle and bustle of the world below rendered silent and resembling a stream of lights and fire ants aglow,
It was time for the second part, the death defying one,
Better make it memorable, it’ll be the final one,
Strength gathered, dexterity and balance takes over, hand standing atop that antenna now, toes pointed upwards like a dancer,
Then without warning pushes off the perch, a somersault preceding a free-fall towards the gutter,
Audience holds its breath though they know how it ends, a wrong move still guarantees certain death,
Their hero’s right foot makes contact with the building’s wall once past the twentieth floor,
Sliding down all the way as though on vertical ice skates preventing a less desirable fate,
Touched down back to the starting point, the short show is complete,
The audience breaks into their final applause, the eyes of some welling with tears.
Not much emotion from the star, from behind the mask the eyes remain unchanged,
‘That’s it, I’m done,’ the voice utters in a near-whisper, walking away from the scene forever.

Act 2

It’s half-past-five, so ends another day of hard grind,
He ambles out his building, head down, headed towards the train station,
Air pods locked in, blasting some tune articulating loneliness and depression,
Somehow without being corny, extra gold stars for the musical artist,
He drifts away from the land of tall buildings, inching towards a main road,
Lining up the sidewalk, various cafes and convenience stores,
Outside one of which, a small group of men are loitering,
Smoking ciggies, clinking various energy drinks, warming up for a night of partying,
He sees them up ahead, from behind his sunglasses the eyes widen,
More than a few of ‘em look familiar, the realisation hits like a hook from Tyson,
Transported back in time, to when he was young, insecure and nervous,
Courtesy of the chumps from up ahead, day by day they were terrorising,
Not much in the way of beatings, thankfully, though they sometimes rained bombs,
Mostly through picking on and hazing, wounds psychological hurt just as much as physical,
Felt that juvenile urge to turn tail and split but quickly he catches his grip,
Been more than twenty since they’d clapped eyes on one another, surely they would’ve totally forgotten,
He stands up tall and proud, adjusts his shades then begins his trek,
Soon he’ll be scot-free, just need to casually stroll past ‘em,
He inches closer, their voices and laughter grow louder, one of them catches his eye,
He returns the gaze behind his shades, as though burning holes into this guy,
His hostility goes undetected by the target, soon he’s walked past them,
On and on he walks as they continue their little talks,
Their voices fade behind him, now lost among the sound of the streets,
“Some class reunion that was,” says he, the station visible in the distance.

Act 3

Lunchtime almost over, time to head back to the building,
Knock off the last three hours before home time comes knocking,
Had gone outdoors to unwind, at a park nearby, passed some establishments on the way back, that’s when he caught my eye,
Enjoying his own mid-day meal, seated outdoors by the sidewalk, playing with his phone while all but oblivious to the world,
Hadn’t seen him for quite some time, figured we could chat for a while,
“Hey, Bro, how’re you doing?” the greeting roused him from cyberspace, immediately he stood then we shared a brotherly embrace,
“Been a long time,” said he, “how’s things with you?”
From there chopped it up in a hurry, his precious break was almost over, too,
Asked him if he was still going to the club, a shared space of ours,
He said it’s been a while before dropping a mini bombshell on us,
“I’m thinking about quitting,” he said, “what about you? Are you still going?”
But before I could respond the world started spinning,
My boy vanished without a trace, as did the setting we were standing in,
Until it was straight-up noir like many an Instagram post in mid-2020,
Followed by a buzzing sound, a white light suddenly greeted me…

The Next Morning

The phone alarm was squealing, it was morning already,
Yawning as I sat upright, pondering the meaning behind that dream from last night,
Three unrelated tales, each with differing points of view,
Finding myself stumped for answers, well, what say you?

Young Turks: Constant Companion

Sit down, close your eyes, take a trip down Memory Lane,

From the rubble, what did you mine that made those eyes rain?

No doubt it was fun times of endless cheer and sunshine,

The world stood still for all the right reasons, the glow perpetuating across the four seasons,

Seems so far away, in its place endless bouts of boredom and apathy, dotted by depression and anxiety,

Recapturing what you once had proving to be mission impossible, they say keep going but in your mind you seem unable,

You rage at the unfairness, at feeling empty and cheated,

The passing of time claimed another, got you yearning for reasons to keep going.

Everything is temporary, one of life’s little tragedies,

Often revealed the hard way, what we have can and will fade,

Livelihoods and possessions, good times and the people in it,

Our very lives, too, while we’re at it, losses happen at any given moment,

But there remains two seemingly endless constants, though you might not want to hear ‘em,

That of change and suffering, both often come together,

Even while the world sparkles some form of pain is lurking,

Think about the stresses that come with planning for events that’ll have your crew buzzing,

Might seem like child’s play compared to the lot forced onto others but surely could tempt one to scrap plans for something different,

The game of love’s a beautiful thing but can’t play without risking hurt and heartbreak,

No telling how long, or if you’ll ever, find that special soulmate,

And if you do then further challenges await, bound to leave you drained,

Exchanging ‘I do’s’ then raising children, neither are straightforward,

From the legal wrangling to fixing up assets before having and raising successful children,

Big life changes for the fortunate but come with their own sets of hurdles,

Cheers to you if you find your life’s purpose but the road to success ain’t smooth,

Guaranteed there’ll be sticks and stones to stumble over with every next move,

Might be forced to up sticks, so to speak, running in place gets you nowhere,

Defy what you obey to the point of dogma, almost certainly requires an upgrade of your character,   

Peaks and valleys that may break one’s soul, might convince you it ain’t worth it after all,

But quitting’s never rewarded, where there’s passion there’s another direction,

Go with the flow and keep your eyes on the prize, you’re a lot more resilient than you’d ever realised.

Time waits for no one, camp for too long you’ll be left behind,

Changes happen unannounced, sadly at the expense of those golden times,

Now it makes sense, why many try to extend the moment,

While fear paralyses others, they’re missing opportunities in the process,

But moments won’t last, soon you’ll lose your grip, better decide now, Friend, which one is it,

Find what’s worth suffering for, ain’t about dopamine fixes anymore,

Ignore your cravings for a minute, happiness is but a limited source,

Focus on what you’ll fight for over and over, for better or for worse,

In the end that’s what it boils down to, suffering for your art and passion,

A reflection on life’s brutal truth, spots of happiness dotting over endless suffering,

Actors and athletes, artists and authors, frontliners, teachers and even your friendly nine-to-fiver,

See ‘em bleeding, sweating, grinding to to be the best in their field, shit is painful but awe-inspiring,

And when the world turns they adjust accordingly, no time to cry about what’s beyond control,

They who quit and go home weren’t worthy, gotta fight to achieve total victory,

They say change is good but it’s never easy, what you love now might have to be confined into history,

Evolve or die, Friend, accept the brutal truth over comforting lies,

Only the strong survive, something to ponder over along the journey,

It don’t stop ‘til the casket drops, Tupac nailed it quite succinctly.

Everyone Has A Plan…

It’s an average day, you’re just chilling with the homies,

Smoked some blunts, chugged some beers, nothing out the ordinary,

Conversations random, whatever a mind impaired can conjure up,

Adversarial situations were somehow brought up,

That’s when you piped up, on your feet and head up proud

Like a silverback gorilla, practically thumping that chest out loud,

‘Nothing can bring me down,’ says you ‘I’ll take on all comers,’

‘Any snag I’ll get out of it, any challenge I’ll overcome ‘em,’

‘That’s my mentality, Fools, I’m always ready,’

‘Bring ‘em all on, give me your worst, I’m here come and get me!”

On one fine day the universe complied, that diagnosis struck you like lightning,

So much for your tough talk, the sickness knocked you down and squirming,

Forced you to dig deep, many times had your hand on the white towel,

Ready to throw it in before that will to win granted that second wind,

Bet you didn’t see it coming, did ya? Took you completely unawares,

Got more than you bargained for though you claimed to be prepared.

Iron Mike was right, everyone got a plan until they get punched,

Same can be said of expectations and reality, life won’t always play fairly,

They say true selves emerge during tough times, easy to boast while the sun shines,

To blow smoke up your ass while blue skies hover above green grass,

To write a script where you call the shots, but plans go awry more often than not,

Is it fight or flight should the shit hit the lights? Let’s see how you’ll respond,

Nothing wrong with expectations, self-confidence is an asset,

Such a mindset will always breed a winner,

So long as it’s within reason, life won’t always bend to your will,

It can be your ally or an antagonist, teaching you valuable lessons in the midst of it,

Exposing where you’re right and what needs more work,

Don’t be scared to fail or to get that ass broke, use it as a means for new growth,

So heed the moral lesson, Son, believe in yourself but don’t fall for your own hype,

Losses can and will happen, you my friend are no different,

Better to keep both feet on the ground, they that live in the clouds have further to fall should the winds blow their safety net, fear not, young warrior, there’s hope for you yet.

Relief from battle

There you go, strutting ‘round the block with pep, chest proud, chin up with a spring in your step,

Seen the way you interact with others, both at work and at play,

Power and combativeness appears to be the name of your game,

A conqueror and intimidator just like Alexander, swaggering like Charlemagne,

Ruthless as The Prince, the Macchiavellian kind, certainly you ain’t the retreating type,

When it comes to unions the other better submit to ya,

Pushing back’s no option, there can only be one leader,

It’s a weakling that can’t handle ya, wilting against the heat,

They were never worthy if they’re quick to admit defeat.

At least that’s how you present yourself, not sure if it’s real or a mask,

Flying solo, mostly, you just can’t find that perfect match.

‘The world must be crazy, because surely it ain’t me’,

‘They just can’t handle this smouldering alpha energy,’

Easy there, Tiger, seems you judge ‘em too soon,

Might fancy yourself the Don, but let’s weigh up pros and cons,

It helps to be assertive, a closed mouth don’t get fed, can feel that energy coursing ‘round through ya, it’d fill would-be antagonists with dread,

They that take the lead have the final say, they that take the initiative win the day,

Fortune favors the bold, gotta grab opportunities on both horns,

But in some aspects a liability, gotta know when to take that mask off,

Too much heat and not enough cool, something’s bound to pop off,

They that seek relationships of any kind ain’t looking for no fight,

Different day a new battle, don’t need additional from friends and lovers, just want relief from the war after working hours,

Who’s checking to go home to further battles after waging some throughout the day?

Better to live alone than be with one looking to engage,

Makes sense to adopt such traits when negotiating, competing or at the workplace,

But if this is you twenty-four-seven you better keep an eye on your family and friends,

Guaranteed more than a few are low-key hating, maybe cooking your just desserts,

Ain’t no bragging matter, not even Julius would’ve flexed ‘bout that stabbing,

Better loosen up fast if you want relationships to last, might consider yourself top class but in truth they see you an insecure ass.

Flip the script to gain some perspective, what if the roles were reversed?

Might meet your mirror image sooner or later, perhaps at some place after work,

Imagine living life unable to switch off, eggshells that you’re walking on, waiting for the next fight, could come from the one you call your ride or die,

Doesn’t sound appealing, does it? Not many would be up for it,

They ain’t weak or scared for swerving ya, wanting a life of peace ain’t cowardice,

Chill the temperature down a notch, the heat is intense,

Why treat loved ones like your rivals? Shit just don’t make any sense,

Need to let off steam then why not against real fighters?

A boxing gym’s a good starting point, go on and trade hands, maybe engage in conversation with those of opposing opinions,

That should sate your appetite for confrontations, your craving for debates,

Before you head on home and hang the mask up, tomorrow’s a new day.

Ms. Monroe’s Quote

You’ve all seen that quote from one, Marilyn Monroe,

A mantra for many, for reasons both right and wrong,

Sooner or later identities are crafted, life’s work influenced by one’s past experiences,

The road travelled reflected in a series of acquisitions,

Ain’t no one’s perfect, every one of us got flaws and weaknesses to compliment strengths and advantages, a wider gap for some than it is for others,

To put one’s self out there is daunting, the fear of rejection is ever-present,

Though it comes with the territory one wouldn’t seek the experience willingly,

May you find those that vibe with you, ride or die with you,

Bring out your full potential, but you must return the favour,

Others aren’t faring any better due to defects in their character,

In ways that turn off the population, in ways anti-social,

Conceit, a short fuse or not-so-pleasant views, can suck the energy out the room, the types best left avoided ‘lest they kill the mood,

Some of ‘em are aware and try to grow from it accordingly,

While others remain in denial, their egos be leaving ‘em blinded.

Which brings us back to Ms Monroe and what she was saying,

Endorsed by most when it comes to courting and choosing;

“If you can’t handle me at my worst then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”,

Often a justification when screening potential partners, even when choosing friends,

On the surface it makes sense, why deny your true self just to please the rest?

Faking it ain’t making it in this regard, they never deserved you if they ain’t checking for who you truly are,

But the sentiment has its limits, not immune from being distorted,

Peep at ‘em, twisting the meaning to justify their actions,

But there’s no honour in manipulation, no glory in disloyalty,

No one likes an egotist, let alone a raging narcissist,

Abusers are cowards in disguise, projecting pain and feelings of inferiority to their so-called one and only, whom they’re supposed to love tenderly,

Shallowness ain’t a virtue, neither is rudeness and being a prick,

Plenty of fish but no one’s looking to snag a bitch or a dick,

How dare you expect ‘em to bend to your messed-up ways,

How dare you treat ‘em badly then expect ‘em to stay,

If your love is true then you’d make an effort to change, if not they’ll bounce and you’ll have no one to blame,

Takes two to tango to make it work, a one-sided union ain’t it,

Complement and respect one another, even in friendships,

Be willing to call out one another for bad behaviour, we all mess up from time to time,

Accountability is key, don’t ever let that shit slide.

By all means let the real ones embrace you, imperfections and all,

But it won’t mean shit if only you’re permitted to have flaws,

Don’t play dumb with ‘em, you won’t get away with it,

No one decent and self-respecting would tolerate being treated like shit,

You reap only what you sow, whether it’s for what you’re hustling or the energy you draw,

Continue to be a source of toxicity, boomerang effect will leave you in a tizzy,

Make a change or forever be left wondering why you’re repelling ‘em,

Never too late but only if you really want it, being deplorable’s no option, how soon will you grow from it?

If Tomorrow Never Comes: The ‘R’ Card

Can’t forget about that day from the year 2013,

Just another work day, rostered on the afternoon shift,

Hopped into the car, time to get the show rolling,

Unaware of the forced absence that was looming,

Ronan Keating on the radio as I approached a roundabout,

A frequent setting for many an accident, never would’ve guessed that I’d ever be joining ‘em,

Ran through it once the coast was clear, then out came another vehicle from left-field,

‘Why’s this fool speeding? I’m already in this roundabout crossing,’

Better brace yourself, Kiddo, this stretch of road ‘bout to claim another victim,

Tried to pass through quickly while the other guy slammed the brakes belatedly,

Struck my left side without much force, thankfully, but left a dent that was rather unsightly,

His front lights trashed and bumper hanging off the grill, gonna cost him plenty just to get ‘em fixed, 

Could see him gesticulating from his windscreen, safe to say shit’s about to get real,

Feral eyes on point while ranting incoherently, if he wants smoke I’m ready to unleash my inner Bruce Lee,

Gently pulled over to the side of the road, got out and waited for him,

He pulled up behind me then climbed out his vehicle, ears steaming as he stomped towards my direction,

A few cross words exchanged, accusations galore,

Didn’t come to blows though the temptation to swing was rather strong,

Cooled down after a while, left him to dial triple-zero,

Then chilled next to our respective banged-up rides, awaiting the po-po.

They arrived fifteen minutes later, both coppers Caucasian,

I don’t mention that for provocation but I do have my reasons,

Anyway, we got to talking, they wanted our version of events, they asked the other dude first, the reason I can’t fathom,

Off he goes ranting ‘bout how he beat me into that concrete circle on the street, practically spitting before dragging proceedings into places ignorant and cringy,

“See the way guys like him are driving?” he’s raging, “they drive differently from us,”

Playing THAT card huh, Buddy? Took all my strength not to cuss,

Thought he had the complexion for the connection but any privileges he thinks he’s entitled to ‘bout to be shattered,

But the reaction from the coppers truly was something quite disturbing,

Shared similarities to the culprit, yes I mean their skin tone, they seemed to look at one another, I don’t like where this is going,

Had to collect myself, can’t show no emotions, the odds stacked against me now, time to tip the scales in my favour,

Calmly told my side of the story, how I’d been at the crossing first,

How our old, angry and bearded friend flew from out of nowhere, it was pure human error so not gonna judge him by his colour,

Having heard both sides, coppers ordered us to our respective quarters, to call our insurance companies and let ‘em sort through the rubble,

Bad news for the other driver, took the low road and he ain’t even covered,

Way to play yourself, Mister, total costs are gonna give you ulcers,

Dialled my insurance folks, informed them of what happened,

Hoping I’d get off easy, that they’d proclaim me not guilty,

Sure enough they said that they’d handle it, sadly gotta get that car towed then repaired,

Gonna be without wheels for a while, going out and about gonna be real interesting.