Stop The Cap

It’s the social media age where everybody’s an expert,

‘Influencing’ the new sought after calling, the cheat code for easy access to vocations once elusive,

Modelling or fitness, travel experts, dancers and actors, perhaps a combination,

Screw the qualifications, just slap it on that ‘about me’ section,

Among the posers, braggarts and performers looking to get IG and Tik Tok famous, some branding themselves lifestyle and relationship experts looking to sell you something,

‘Be an alpha version of yourself,’ says they, a better you just a follow away,

Hawking ‘courses’ to the masses teaching ‘em to live like bosses,

But a serious relationship doesn’t seem a part of the syllabus, at least not for most of ‘em,

Why stick to one in the face of endless options? FOMO and YOLO come together at the expense of true love and commitment,

But differences apply when it comes to opposing genders, as you’ll find out a little later,

So strap yourselves in, get ready to set sail, the forecast points to wild and choppy waters.

Everyone knows a cheater, their reputations precede them,

Clinging to ‘em like a bad smell, following them straight into hell,

Infidelity once committed is mighty hard to remedy,

The bond you once had virtually irreparable, such betrayal damn near unforgivable,

Hell hath no fury like a partner scorned, they’ll be crowin’ from their platform like Foghorn Leghorn,

The deed once an act of shame but becoming all-too commonplace, different day another victim, despite known consequences,

Yet ‘coaches’ and dating ‘experts’, even so-called ‘writers’ are giving the green light to their naïve followers,

Though the motives for such actions differ across the genders,

In both cases boredom with your other is somehow an acceptable excuse,

Definitely if one feels too superior, it’s a privilege they are free to abuse,

Shit becomes addictive, it’s an extreme sport of sorts, the ever-present thrill of getting caught somehow overpowering guilty thoughts,

Talk about living among sociopaths and the narcissistic,

It’s the world we’re living in where hurting those that love us most becomes an act all too exciting,

‘Send the fucking asteroid,’ no doubt many are thinking it, the decay’s gone too deep, worms and other vermin preparing to feast.

Though both sides have boredom with their others and the thrill of the action as common motivating factors, others all but exclusive to both sides must also be taken into consideration,

Males taught they have the right to fuck with others on the side,

Emotions left out of it, just a meaningless encounter, she needn’t know what he gets up to on the sly,

Females can and should hook with others to strengthen existing unions, good for the self-esteem which in turn make them better partners,

A victimless crime as long as they’re never ever caught, cheating out of love, that’s what they’re being taught,

But here’s the kicker for both sides, their other halves aren’t allowed similar pleasures,

‘Kick ‘em to the gutter and find you another’, say their respective teachers, suddenly infidelity redefined as an evil act of folly,

Guys being taught that she cheats out of emotional fulfilment and a sudden lack of interest but when he does it’s just for kicks so the missus needn’t overthink it,

Hers is an act of betrayal, a total heart ripper, ‘she’s for the streets’, they’re being told, ‘you deserve better, King, to hell with that hoe,’

Meanwhile, for the female’s side, if he cheats he’s the devil personified,

Whereas she does it to expand her horizons and/or because he left her wanting and dissatisfied,

‘You deserve better, Queen,’ they’re being told, ‘kick him to the curb, ain’t worth wasting tears for that turd,’

Fuck that for a sick joke, how does one side get a free pass for a disrespectful act?

Nobody likes a coward, near-impossible to piece together broken glass once it’s shattered.

To the proponents of such behaviour, gotta ask y’all a simple question,

If you ain’t looking to take a relationship serious then why not continue on your lonesome?

Stay independent if you’re looking just to hit and quit, no one waiting at home to concern yourself with, you never wanted strings attached so why not remain detached?

And if there’s trouble in paradise, surely it’s better to work through ‘em together, or part ways if the union has run its course or issues are irreconcilable,

Aren’t discipline and self-respect hallmarks of a true, so-called ‘alpha’?

In addition to leadership qualities, integrity and an ability to keep one’s self together?

Being a slave to one’s urges and nether regions, it’s a sign of weakness if you really think about it,

That be some beta simp shit, the short term gratification delaying inevitable destruction,

And you’re big mad while reminding your disciples that having the tables turned is unjustifiable?

Pot, meet kettle, if anyone deserves a taste of it better look in the mirror,

You of all people should’ve known that not all have it in ‘em to be committed,

And for the record, no one’s giving them a pass, on the totem pole they’re in the lower rung with the rats,

If both parties agree to an open door policy, spreading the wealth to the like-minded and interested, that’s their own damn business,

To each their own, but don’t assume such an arrangement will get everybody’s vote,

Some still believe in exclusivity and loyalty, ‘til death do them part,

One should be so lucky to find someone that goes all in, it takes a real piece of work to discard ‘em over cheaper thrills.

So cut the crap, ‘Coach’, misleading and deceiving your poor ‘stans’,

Declining common sense and social media, they kinda go hand in hand,

Go ahead, encourage them to be liars, weasels and degenerates,

Presumably you’re right beside ‘em in the trenches, a not so happy ending is where y’all are headed,

Think a mountainous conquest is impressive? Maybe to your homies at the club but a real one ain’t having it,

Don’t nobody want to get with the village bicycle, a tunnel that been ran through many times over,

A fool bossed by the appendage from where he urinates, you sure you ain’t carrying nasties up to and including AIDS?

Such a life might seem a dream at first but it will quickly take its toll, too many bodies to keep track off, begging for more of your time, it’ll mess the body and the mind,

Then you get all up in your feelings when your other half turns the tables? You reap what you sow, Farmer, gotta face the consequences,

And if ever in the future you decide you want to change direction and give that family tree some extra branches,

Putting your best foot forward but all the good ones aren’t buying it,

Can’t turn back the clock and neither can your minions, you can try to keep it a secret but a past victim of your philandering is sure to expose it,

This game you’re playing has an age limit, at some point you will hit the wall,

There’ll come a day where no one will be checking for ya but alas, a fulfilled and stable life might be out of reach for ya,

You may successfully make amends and reinvent yourself, but it’ll be a mighty tough stain to erase,

‘Once a snake, always a snake,’ they say, still on the hunt for future prey,

So take a break from the moment and take a look forward, think about that for a second, does it sound at all appealing?

If not better change your ways, stop ripping hearts, bad things come to they who take others for granted, better wise up and stop the cap.

How Not To Debate

The titans enter the arena, muscles twitching, nostrils flaring,

Chomping at the bit for a killing, just kidding, this ain’t no gladiatorial meeting,

One could be forgiven for the comparison, debates and discussions in a public space are quick to become warzones,

Daring to poke holes in one’s safe zone will elicit enough vitriol to melt the ozone,

Ever see folks from different strokes in a public setting, be it face to face or online, talking ‘bout any subject with extra spice, watch how quickly civility melts into catastrophe,

It’s shocking, really, how quickly Jekyll replaces Hyde at the flick of a switch,

Judging any and all outsiders, never budging an inch, before falling to pieces when they’re offered a challenge.

Picture this, two or more folks engaged in conversation,

Inevitably touch up on subjects contentious, explosions are imminent,

At first remaining dormant, participants dropping their respective pearls,

Can and should stay at this pace but often things will take a turn,

The heat turned up slightly, rebuttals galore,

Clap backs of the provocative type then brought to the fore,

Then it’s all-out war, healthy discussion replaced with shrieking and shouting,

Metaphorically exchanging haymakers like Ali and Frazier,

Pre-schoolers display more restraint and civility, adults can and should know better,

Personal attacks and phantom accusations, go-to strategies for petulant children,

Big guns brought out to score points, sob stories to tip the odds in their favor,

Is this still a healthy debate or another case of victimhood flexing?

Then they’re calling for the other to be silenced as their built-in Ministry of Truth is crumbling, not-so-subtle way of surrendering, talk about pathetic,

At the best of times can end in one of two ways; with both sides seeing eye-to-eye or agreeing to disagree,

But types like these? Not a chance, more often than not ending in a rage quit.

Not too long ago, in an average setting, people from all walks can come together,

Chop it up and exchange ideas, keeping it fair and professional,

Can end on good terms whether or not they find a common ground, nowadays you don’t see much of that around,

Often times becoming personally invested, enough to call for the opposition to be silenced,

Are they that big a threat to your very existence? Each individual’s entitled to their own opinion, who are you to harangue and control them?

And rebuttals of ‘fake news’, ‘bias’ and ‘prejudice’ in the face of their legitimate counter-arguments speak volumes of your ignorance,

Interactions with the others should be an exercise in expanding one’s views and horizons,

One needn’t leave the hill on which they’re dying but it would do ‘em a world of good to learn about and understand another’s visions,

It can strengthen one’s own convictions, in the process they become well-rounded,

Only they with real strength of character can take in additional information without ever feeling offended,

One’s stances influenced by what they see and hear anyway, all but overpowering the foundations on which they’d been raised, life’s ups and downs in conjunction with what they consuming being the building blocks of it,

Knowledge is power, though, the ones tasked with informing the masses misusing and manipulating, looking to misinform and divide as they toy with emotions,

Real ones check all facts first before jumping to conclusions, the gullible fall for it without questioning, while a narrow mind twists it to suit only where they’re invested,

Back to the combatants, why spill your personal history and so-called ways in which you’re hindered whenever you’re cornered, seek help for those 99 problems, playing victim ain’t no solid argument,

Can only lean on alibis and excuses for so long before the act wears thin, real strength and bucking the odds is what creates heroes and legends,

It was never about winning or losing, merely a means to learn off of one another,

It’s ironic in a way, on the surface seems a conflict but in reality teamwork comes into play.

Again, must reiterate, it won’t always play out this way,

There remains those that have a handle on their emotions, unlike the overgrown children,

But such is the world we’re in, running on emotions over reason,

They say variety’s the spice of life yet many are threatened by differing flavours,

What works for you might not for another, can’t make that proverbial horse drink the damn water,

Ain’t no real debate if your sole purpose is to force yours upon them, if your arguments are rooted in dogma long since hardened, time to overhaul your default setting,

Newsflash, Fool, trying to cajole, strong-arm, intimidate and shame ‘em into whatever cause for which you’re crusading will only turn ‘em off of what you’re endorsing,

Nothing good comes out of coercion, you’re no better than a megalomaniac dictator lording over their citizens,

It’s a discussion and not a scuffle, no need to get aggressive and personal,

Then you call for the other to be censored? Take a trip back in time, how do such actions benefit a given population?

Drop your two cents and let them do the same, that’s the name of the game,

No one really loses when you both walk away enlightened, it was never really a competition,

Keep that in mind next time you join the fray, there’s a right and wrong way,

More to the point, leave ‘em alone if you don’t fuck with them, no need to light fires where they’re not needed.

2022

January

On the other side, Betty White ascended up the sky,
Kicked off a year of passings of the high profile kind,
‘16 was the warm-up, ‘22 said ‘hold my beer’,
Bob Saget, Meatloaf, Sid Poitier, Warnie and Gil Gottfried,
Rod Marsh, Estelle Harris, Andy Symonds, Ray Liotta,
Pages turning on the calendar, piling up with goners,
James Caan, Archie Roach, Judith Durham, ONJ and Pele,
Gorbachev, Shinzo Abe, Queen Lizzie’s passed away,
Dame Angie, Robbie Coltrane, Coolio, Twitch and Kirstie Alley,
Lord knows many missed, ink staying fresh on the obituaries,
Looks like covid’s here to stay, cases kicked off more than 30k,
Omnicron crowned the king, no longer just a passing thing,
Spare a thought for Charlise Mutten, you deserved better, Little Girl,
Peep at American Samoa, where that tsunami done unfurled,
Andy O’Keefe arrested once more, Novak banished from these shores,
Ash and Rafa crowned the champs, while in Ukraine brews a pending war.

February

Australia claimed the Ashes, Whoopi threw a massive fit,
Winter Olympics in Beijing, Zhu Yi, Eileen Gu and Chloe Kim,
Valieva felled by a doping test, Norway proved heads and shoulders above the rest,
Back home that Religious Discrimination Bill kicked off nationwide unrest,
Koalas deemed endangered, still reeling from the fires before ‘rona,
Guess who’s back? That’d be Jarryd, retrial for that motherfucker,
Then the contents bubbled over, a new nightmare been unleashed,
Russia done invaded Ukraine, will there be a World War 3?

March

Kyiv under fire, Russians bringing in the pain,
Can’t call it a surprise, Putin is both mad and vile,
But just when all seemed lost, that the blue and yellow would count the cost,
The Megalomaniac’s plans hit a snag, didn’t count on victims fighting back,
Meanwhile here at home, floods done stormed the east coast,
NSW and QLD copped a drenching, before you know it VIC is swimming,
Kim Kitching left the building, mean girls bore the brunt of the finger pointing,
Plane crash in China while back home an infant dubbed the youngest victim of ‘rona,
Ash called it a career, SA got a new premier,
The Oscars making headlines once more, The Slap Heard ‘Round The World made it so,
Cue mass cuck and simp jokes, ‘comedian’ now among the riskiest roles.

April

Will and Chris got the world tripping, back home at the Easter show another young life taken,
An election been announced, time to head to the polls,
While in New York a deranged fool shot up subway folks,
Didn’t fit the narrative, media couldn’t run with it,
While the best new show in Hollywood is playing, that of Johnny, Amber and their mudslinging,
The latter branded dirty in the sickest way, the former never should’ve been cancelled,
No real winners in this writer’s opinion, both were foul and quite repugnant.

May

Finally, belatedly, the first female main event in boxing,
Taylor beat Serrano, sure was fun and exciting,
Philippines has a new President, so much for those history lessons,
Voted in the son of the dictator, what the fuck were y’all thinking!?
Then there was that all-conquering organisation catering to folks of a certain tone,
Burned, Looted and Murdered their way to the fore, placed the mainstream in a chokehold,
Turned out they were lying and swindling, finessed many fools,
Sympathy in short supply to those that backed them over lies,
Shootings in Buffalo and Orange County, ‘Murica motherfuckers!
Sweden and Finland joining NATO, must be awkward for Putin’s supporters,
Australia has a new PM, ScoMo never stood a chance,
Another school shooting, this time in Uvalde, Texas, Yanks and guns an unholy alliance,
Johnny all but exonerated, woe to those that got him cancelled,
How do you like them apples, Amber? The shit stains linger forever.

June

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, her last hurrah of sorts,
Australia qualifies for the big show, cheers to that Wiggles fan in goal,
Vivid back at last, inflation left its mark,
Upped that minimum wage but taxpayers be copping it hard,
Memo to Ms. Wilkinson, loose lips sink ships, way to jeopardise Britt’s case,
Now your job’s on life support while the case been delayed,
Earthquake in Afghanistan, Golden State crowned the champs,
Roe V Wade overturned, triggering Bedlam across the land.

July

Floods raging on the east coast, taking lives, taking homes,
BoJo called it quits, scandal after scandal left him in the skids,
Unrest in Sri Lanka, bullets shredded Shushou Abe,
Nick Kyrgios on a roll, Elon fumbled taking twitter,
Webb’s first deep field sure was something majestic,
Comm Games kicking off, Aussies burdened with expectations.

August

Comm games came and went, Australia won as expected,
Emma, Kyle and Cody, media spinning bullshit stories,
Earthquake in the Philippines, Pelosi in Taiwan,
CCP seeing red, in their eyes that’s disrespect,
Al-Quaeda took a hit, Al-Zawahiri bombed out,
Twenty years after 9/11, sweet revenge without a doubt
Paul Green checking out, Salman Rushdie hacked to ribbons,
Writers and comedians under threat, offended radicals sure are dangerous,
Cancel Culture came for Andrew Tate, ScoMo busted for power grabbing,
Whispering Jack has cancer, luckily ducked the grim reaper.

September

Chris Dawson found guilty, sure did take them long enough,
UK has a new PM, answered to the name Liz Truss,
Serena hangs her raquet, Fed will follow soon after,
Tragedy in Buxton, the driver being the lone survivor,
Queen of England passed away, ended that 70-year reign,
Hers are big shoes to be certain, King Charles awaiting coronation,
Black Little Mermaid, Mahsa Amini kicked off mass protests,
Word to first-world whingers, this is what it means to be oppressed,
Geelong beats Sydney, Optus hacker running rampant,
Italy has a new PM, female, conservative and right-leaning,
Storms in the Phillippines, happens damn near every year,
Hurricanes in Florida, TV coverage looking kinda biblical.

October

Panthers make it back to back, mass shooting in Thailand,
Medibank and Optus hacked, bigwigs felt their customers’ wrath,
Lidia Thorpe lost her post, that bikie boyfriend undisclosed,
Promised to bring fire and chaos, undone by her taste in blokes,
Liz Truss makes history but not for reasons flattering,
One month, over and out, shortest term in history,
Rishi Sunak the new PM, Kanye West done played himself,
While Down Under Cassius Turvey sadly met his end.

November

Halloween crush in South Korea, Brazilian general election,
Elon Musk bought twitter, chaos ensued shortly after,
Isis brides were brought home, Western Sydney feeling jacked,
They went abroad to side with killers, why in hell would they bring ‘em back?
US midterm election chaos, Donnie back for another round,
Embarrassed himself as usual, Trump ship once again ran aground,
Hackers turning up the heat, kicking off mass anxiety,
Black Panther Wakanda Forever, Chadwick Boseman sorely missed,
Poland bombed, turned out accidental, MH17 bombers guilty,
East coast still be floodin’, earthquake got Indonesia shakin’,
FIFA World Cup in Qatar, controversial from the start,
Danny Lim beaten up, coppers once again look like thugs,
ScoMo censured, Kanye drowning himself deeper,
Lockdown protests in China, talk about going backwards.

December

Chris Dawson gets 24, Higgins trial goes up in flames,
Australia lost to Argentina, Lionel Messi still got game,
Eruptions in Hawaii and Indonesia, more headaches for Donnie Trump,
Back at home the interest rates are still on the up and up,
Umar Patek released from jail, the ultimate act of disrespect,
Sex ban in Indonesia, Brittany Griner bailed from Russia,
Meg and Harry’s documentary, not-so-well-received, predictably,
So much for mending bridges, the final insult to the family,
Cop killers in Chincilla, A-League chaos in Victoria,
Spinach packets contaminated, even Popeye won’t be checkin’ it,
Argentina wins the World Cup, Lionel Messi dubbed the GOAT,
Civil unrest in Peru, Trump charged for riots at the Capitol,
Ruddy the US Ambassador, Penny Wong in China,
Zelenskyy rollin’ into DC, youth crimes in QLD,
Comanche won the yacht race, heatwaves in the east and south,
Warner’s double century, don’t ask ya boy what that’s about,
Twitter beef between Andrew and Greta before an arrest for the former,
Pele bade farewell, Viv Westwood and Barbara Walters, sure was a year of departures for the rich and influential.

That’s about the size of it, been quite the year, hasn’t it?
Great for some, a downer for others but that’s the way it goes regardless of the numbers on the calendar,
Everyone got different experiences but we’re all headed towards one destination,
Now we’re here, coming from multiple directions, it’s time to draft those resolutions,
Ensure it’s one you can commit to, even better if for life, take it one step at a time, baby steps and you’ll be alright,
Farewell, 2022, for better or worse it’s in the history books,
Bring on 2023, go and get yours, wish y’all the best, let’s see what awaits us ‘round the corner.

Postscript:

2012 I started this journey when the Mayans predicted that the world would crumble into memory,
Unaware that this was the first step to a whole new beginning, apprehensive at first but quickly hit the ground running,
While folks were wildin’ out on Gangnam Style and trying to track down that twisted warlord Kony,
Yours Truly was learning a new art that would change life’s trajectory, Pops was the catalyst but ultimately I’m the author of this story,
Nervous as hell in the beginning but damn near quickly felt some strange sense of belonging,
Days of being stateless coming to a warmly welcomed conclusion,
Doors flung open, suddenly, a bright new chapter written, never too long in the tooth for new experiences, the universe might be onto something.

Life been good in general but for the longest time felt distrustful and isolated,
Everyone got their demons born out of missteps or circumstances accidental or intentional though the world and others can and will add to it,
Once a young’un with a sunny disposition, had my moments but overall looking towards a bright future,
Years between 15 and 27 begat various tests of the mettle, good days and fond memories preventing total capitulation,
At first glance had it all but upstairs it was messy in the attic, fuck the world and all the phonies in it, the shadows is where I feel comfortable,
Then one day out the blue Pops decided he wanted to learn kung fu, gotta admit I was intrigued, for the first time ever wanted to go to school,
This fine art unlike any previously studied, required little of brute force and more that was focused and penetrating,
Relaxation is key, tall order for one accustomed to relying on strength,
Feeling like a fish out of water but overall welcomed the challenge,
Firm friendships an additional bonus, the lifelong drifter finally found a home,
Do I dare knock down these walls? Been up for so long they’re riddled with moss,
Fuck it, take a chance, let ‘em into your world, isolation seems absurd,
And so I permit ‘em, many more after that, so long as they’re decent, ‘twas a wise decision dare I say it,
2012 closed on a high, the world remained intact, but the Mayans weren’t off the mark,
Experienced a rebirth like I’d been brought to the light after years lingering in the dark.

That was the life for the next eight years, far from perfect to be sure,
Even under the warm sun perfection remains an illusion,
Old me would’ve handled it differently, stumbling and tripping en route to a messy victory,
Through ways bitter and manic rather than methods rooted in coolness and maturity,
Did this strange art play a part? The need for a relaxed state surely left its mark,
No hothead can master it, practicing then teaching it triggering opportunities for continual self-improvement,
Taming the beasts within gaslighting and mocking almost daily, the host body realizing, finally, that there’s good in almost everybody,
Friendships formed for the first time in years, some of ‘em becoming second fam,
Ten years earlier never would have conceived of it, script was flipped but for that I’m glad,
The positives extending to the daily grind, making bearable the morning and afternoon commute,
That nine-to-five damn near flew, the clock moves quicker when there’s something to look forward to,
Even in ’18 when the health went south, kept up the hustle ‘til the struggle escalated,
Can’t keep a good man down when he’s fuelled by hope and determination,
’19 came and went, felt like happy days were here to stay,
But what comes up must come down, damn cliché we must learn the hardest way.

World shut down by an all-conquering virus to kick off the 2020’s,
Whole world in lockdown to the detriment of businesses and economies,
Took its toll on everyone, peoples’ true forms revealed one by one,
Saw the very worst of humanity, different day but ever-widening divisions, waging war over differences, friendships once solid now they’re crumbling,
A return to the Academy looking less likely but still within the realm of plausibility,
Counting down the days mentally but overpowered by the bitterness of reality,
Being immuno-compromised in these strange times, living with folks vulnerable forcing one to be more cautious,
Stockdale Paradox came to life, will I be back in time for Christmas?
Two years later still adrift and floundering, another lesson in the folly of misguided optimism,
Finally snagged by the beast in mid ’22, for one week knocked out by an extreme flu,
Had me a dream that seemed so strange, jolted me awake and more or less sealed my fate,
It was time to move on, so ends the glorious spell, we can try and try but the story won’t always end well.

Out from the safe zone, walking on, alone,
Came full circle in unplanned ways, felt like the train been derailed,
Perhaps it’s for the better but somehow feels the opposite,
One of life’s harshest lessons came to life, that they’re never permanent, these fun times,
Pain and change are what keeps the wheels turning, can’t have one without the other,
Can’t cry over spilt milk, wipe that shit then move on forward,
Can’t lie, though, the demons are roosting, day by day the wrong layers are peeling,
Fading into the shadows, Scorpion’s MK9 victory pose, maybe this was my place all along,
Heart frosting, sun setting, colours fading, might as well be flat-lining,
Could have regressed to old ways had it not been for a silver lining,
Ain’t no reset back to day one, friends met along the way still here,
Interactions further and fewer in between but somehow the bond remains pristine,
Cheer up, Young Man, not all who wander are lost,
Something worthwhile might be ‘round the corner, hard to predict the future,
Some days wondering if I can even stomach it as long as we’re keeping it one hundred,
Might as well keep going while the heart’s still beating, didn’t get this far just to pack it in,
If pride is the sole motivator then so be it, go with the flow and resist overthinking,
Opportunities may pop up unexpected like the one previously encountered during the year that we were supposed to meet our makers according to those from an ancient civilisation,
It’s been quite a ride, just want to let y’all know that you’re appreciated,
Showed love to this jaded wanderer, eight years of memories and life lessons in equal measure,
Sing it loud like Elsa, gotta ‘let it go’, holding on for too long will rip those palms open,
Barely reached the midpoint, still plenty of chapters waiting to be written,
Once again, from the top, right fist, left palm and bow,
We’ll meet again someday, but it’s a fond farewell for now.

Secrets They Keep

At a glance they seemed so happy, cool calm and collected,

The life of the party, open and friendly, arms spread for everybody,

Life seemed perfect if the social media feed’s to be believed,

Came as a surprise when it transpired, that they’d acted as their own judge, jury and executioner,

Unbecoming of one so vibrant and energetic, but to really know ‘em paints a different story,

Folks like ‘em ain’t checked on the regular for they don’t fit a certain identity,

When in reality it’s they who smile the most that suffer immeasurably, compelled to keep the lights on for everybody as they know about the darkness intimately.

On the surface they had it all, money, house, friends and a loving family,

Admired and envied by many, the embodiment of contentment and stability,

Makes you wonder about others like ‘em that have all the advantages,

What chips away at ‘em ‘til they become another statistic,

Easy to pass judgement when you’re outside looking in,

But you gotta look beyond appearances to find what’s actually behind the shutters,

‘Everyone’s fighting battles that you know nothing about’, one of life’s realest clichés,

At an age of needless comparison, personal achievements ain’t all that one is flexing,

Some scars visible compared to others while the clear-skinned cop haughty derision,

Disqualified from expressing any form of suffering since they’re supposedly privileged,

Smiles and joviality might conceal voices tormenting on the daily, at worst gaslighting and convincing ‘em they’re better off charred then scattered or festering six-feet under,

Might be concealing traumatic experiences, destructive choices made under shady influences,

Everyone makes mistakes and demons don’t discriminate, not a single soul is safe,

Can never tell when they will strike, better protect yourself at all times.

The judgment quadrupled for those with dependants,

Spouses and little ones rooting for ‘em, should’ve been their motivation to scale countless mountains,

Yet it’s a tale as old as time, partner and kids losing one guardian or lover,

What could have possessed ‘em to take permanent solutions for temporary problems?

Easy to accuse ‘em of selfishness for leaving their loved ones stranded in the wilderness,

Surely those priceless treasures should’ve stopped ‘em from ending it,

Not to make excuses for ‘em but unless you’ve dragged the same baggage they’re carrying you have no right to be pointing fingers,

Bet you don’t know the conflicts and dramas threatening the family unit,

That they end their days disunited and on the verge of implosion,

On top of internal chains that strangle and choke, can only take so much of life’s blows,

Craving for peace and rest that they could never find, by their own hand they’re out of sight but not of mind,

Might have felt it’s for the better, that their very presence was a needless burden,

Deadweight for those that don’t deserve to bear their cross, sweet relief and victory for all but it comes at a hefty cost,

Cold comfort for those left behind, nobody likes to feel incomplete,

Inner demons finally extinguished, permanently, but those left behind are picking up the pieces.

Battles differ across individuals, though there might be shared symptoms among others,

Some have jumped ship over lesser storms while others persevere to buck the odds,

‘They should just open up about it,’ says you, ‘suck it up,’ snarl the others,

Given the type of world we’re in it’s no wonder they’re reluctant to draw the curtains,

A world crawling with snakes and fakes, many keeping the fangs retracted ‘til it’s too late,

Many treat relationships as disposable, are loyalty, respect and compassion no longer considered noble?

Who the fuck do you trust in that type of environment? Where misunderstanding and judging seem all too common,

No wonder many suppress and keep their secrets, lest it be used maliciously against them,

Let ‘em in your dreams you’re likely to hear muffled laughter, see rolling eyes,

Prefer to keep ‘em private, watch them say outright you ain’t doing shit with your life,

Folks be quick to think the worse, only become believers when you’ve won, then act like they were with you in the trenches, no end to their shamelessness,

Not that their opinions ever mattered, in the end it’s you against you,

Hustle at your own pace, make moves that suit you, climb ‘til you reach the mountain peak, that’s all you have to do.

Why attack, ostracize and haze over useless petty shit? Why not be kinder and understand? It won’t cost a damn thing,

Not all will be your mirror image, not all will look, act, talk and live like ya, are you so threatened that you feel the perpetual need to erase ‘em?

Go your own way, run with those that matter, fuck anyone that don’t vibe with ya, why place ‘em above ya?

Heed the words of Mr. Lee, underneath the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family,

About time we acted like it, make this world brighter, lift up one another,

To understand rather than label one another, to let go of grudges at the end of every sunset,

Time is limited, better spend it wisely, what good comes out of hate and needless conflict? Just broken spirits and squandered potential,

Before you judge, label and condemn, why not sit down with ‘em?

Provide a safe space for ‘em to shelter from oncoming shells,

You just might empower ‘em to soldier on, abandon plans to end it all,

What an entry that’ll be for your legacy, proof that goodness still exists in society,

Enough monsters about, seen and unseen, time to buck that trend,

Be a light for those in the darkness, throw a rope to those who are drowning, you just might gain a true friend, it’ll be worth it in the end.

You Played Yourself: Knives Out

Here we go, first class in Food Tech,

That’s cooking class to the uninitiated, a new world opens in eighth grade,

Students split into groups, assigned a stove each,

Complete with tools and equipment necessary to whip up a simple meal,

Ain’t no Masterchef shit here, gotta start with basics first,

Excitable teens quickly presenting challenges for teacher,

For the most part they’re diligent, some more experienced than others,

The temptation to trigger a food fight must be all-consuming,

Thought the class needed laughs so you did the next best thing,

Pinned a knife between your right armpit, stumblin’ like a stabbing victim,

Had your groupmates giggling while others shook their noggins,

Teacher wasn’t buying it, boy did he see red,

Ordered you to see him after class, better get ready for he’s about to whup your ass,

Slapped you with after school detention, the price of your clowning,

Come home time while others are charging out the gates, you’re sitting in a room ruing your mistake,

Good luck explaining to your folks why you came home so late,

‘Til then, sit back and relax, still got hours on your sentence,

There’s no other way around it, Dude you played yourself.

Hours In The Day

Rise and shine, your big day has arrived,

A new day’s breaking, time for that grand entrance, your bio clock’s off and running,

Mom and Pops, they sure were smitten, in their eyes your presence is a blessing,

Though they might be thinking opposites when you’re trolling with their sleeping patterns!

But all jokes aside know that you are loved, that they’ll walk through fire for ya,

To make sure you’re healthy, nourished and a very happy camper,

The significance of what they’re doing doesn’t quite register, but hours from now it will,

Before they know it you’re communicating clearly, moving independently, growing exponentially on the daily, seemingly.

The day progresses, the sun rises further,

Morning at its peak and you’re raring to go, practically bouncing off walls,

Once an infant, now a child, some degree of independence and strength,

Plays right into your favour, those energy levels seem never ending,

Earlier just an infant now a living advertisement of the human body’s capabilities,

Running, crawling, jumping, rolling, throwing, catching, occasionally crying when ya trip then scrape that knee,

Gonna have to start school eventually, it sucks but if it’s any consolation, might seem scary at first but for Ma and Pops also kinda nerve-wracking,

But soon you’ll make friends, find your tribe for life if you’re fortunate,

Might as well be siblings from different parents, doing damn near everything together,

As the minutes turn you’re getting bigger, a growing awareness of the journey ahead of you,

Though the main priority is living a life carefree as young’uns are wont to do,

Besides keeping those grades up and your room tidy, responsibilities confined to fun times with friends and family,

What was exciting hours prior now seems beneath you, you find yourself wishing to be bigger,

Just like your guardians, free from any rules it seems, free to do as they please,

But you’re not privy to their hustling on the daily to keep you happy and healthy,

Some nights coming home drained, yet still making time with you to play,

Checking to make sure you’re head of the class, put you back in line when you’re acting like an ass,

Listen when they tell you never to take these hours for granted,

You’ll find out soon enough, how much clout such advice been carrying.

Closer to midday now, the past few hours have been most kind,

Crossing into teens, a taste of the world once beyond your reach, soon you’ll see, the big ones ain’t driving down Easy Street,

Slapped with more and more responsibilities, life’s no longer loose and carefree,

Those grades a new battleground, better be diligent or you’ll be found out,

Assessments and exams carrying extra heft, outside class you’re likely to make as many enemies as friends,

Some folks be wolves in sheep’s clothing, fading innocence giving way to ruthlessness,

There’s your early taste of politics and manipulation, flexing and comparisons, big folk games that’ll make your head shake,

Popular among the teens, it only gets worse from here, unfortunately,

What your folks done taught and brought you up with in the morning can and will be challenged, will you evolve or remain defiant?

Ma and Pa can only do so much, the world and your surroundings will do their part, where temptations were once of the sweet and sugary type, perhaps a few white lies, might now involve escapades and substances of the harmful, trouble-making type,

Thinking ‘bout the opposite gender, where once they repulsed and repelled, they’ve all but taken over your mind, thoughts of the sweet and nasty kind,

Years behind those gates under the teachers’ care won’t last forever, gotta plan for life outside sooner or later,

To jumpstart what could well be your life’s work or get you a degree first?

Make use of your newfound freedom to venture beyond that comfort zone, see what else the world has to offer,

Go get what you’re worth, have no fear of failure, start over as many times as necessary, the world is your oyster.

Past the midpoint, here comes the afternoon sky,

Drifting further from morning and closer towards night,

Earlier on lived for the material, to fly high your main ambition,

More pals and hangers-on than you can count, living for the present was what life’s all about,

And now it’s sunset and all your treasures are in storage collecting dust,

That circle reduced in circumference, whatever bubble you’d created long gone bust,

No need to be ashamed, it’s part of the journey, look at you now, reinvented through maturity,

Equipped to make moves on your own, Mom and Pops can take a backseat,

Their roles now that of support system than guardian, up to you to dance to your own beat,

Perhaps you’d found someone to call your partner for life, had you some little ones to carry on your legacy,

Maybe you’re flying with no co-pilot, marching to beats suited only to your rhythm,

Those aforementioned little ones the closest that you’ll get to turning back time,

Been there and done that already, you’re more than qualified to be their guide,

Do your job right you can live through ‘em vicariously, maybe turn ‘em onto what lit your world up bright and sparkly,

Hustling day in, day out as your folks once did, lessons they drummed finally sinking in,

Sadly, they might check out at any time, but if they’d raised you right you’ll continue to thrive,

Looking back on earlier hours wistfully, the world seemed pure under the sun’s full bloom,

But nothing gold can stay, so said Mr. Frost, as the sun’s sinking you feel yourself turning grey,

Day’s more or less half-over, minutes ticking by quicker,

They should have told you earlier the more you acquire the shorter your hours,

Never too long in the tooth to learn something new, stay curious if you want to slow down,

Keep in touch with whom you were earlier, they’ll never let you down.

The sun finally sets, blue skies and white clouds melting into dark night,

Been a long day of triumphs and trials, you’d come a long way since sunshine,

The young ones on their own time zone, perhaps got little ones of their own,

Clock’s turned back again, just like that, for you and for them,

The day’s almost over but your time ain’t over yet,

Will you push on and keep rocking or call it a day then set off for bed?

Time may have ravaged you physically, actions once effortless now require some doing,

Others, still, might be trapped in a fog, left a shell of an individual once lively and strong,

Can’t play like you did in the morning, those joints done took a beating, but anything’s possible, still, as long as that spirit’s willing,

Barring life’s intervention these are your second set of golden years,

You’d paid your dues, that ticker’s still good, might as well go out in a blaze of glory,

Never stop learning or growing, not until St. Pete comes calling,

Stay hungry, curious and willing as you’d been in the morning,

Break the rules, defy the cynics and doomsayers, you needn’t be confined to your rocker,

Be of service while you’re able, that belt has room for extra notches,

Give ‘em miles to recall once you’re finally laid to rest, it’ll be genuine tears shed for a life well-led,

Fly high now, knowing that you did all that,

Your day ends, more new ones begin, the cycle continues like it always has.

Bank’s Closed

They say you can’t lead a horse to water then force it to drink,

Such a saying done forced yours truly to sit down and think,

Better to teach one to fish than catch it for ‘em every day, to take them under your wing until they can spread theirs then fly away,

But resistance is a possibility and in this case it’s kinda scary,

When they ain’t open to learning ‘cuz a free ride’s appealing,

When there’s zero progress because they couldn’t care less,

When the entitlement is such that they’d rather you do the rest,

To hunt and gather day after day to get them a good feed, shoulder the heavy loads until those joints creak,

Give them an inch and they’ll give you a mile, such sentiments rings true,

Tired of pulling their own weight, for all the hard yakka they’re turning to you.

Seemed like a dream when we’d finally reconnected,

Residing in different parts of the ocean, low-key forgot that the other party existed,

One big happy fam again it seemed, the honeymoon period seemed never-ending,

Should’ve done this sooner, the lateness now yours truly is regretting,

The turning point seemed innocuous but should have braced for impact,

Looking back should have severed ties there and then, that’s a sad fact,

You asked your boy for a hefty favour, even through drastic means,

Even if it meant a potential run-in with the authorities,

Opened the floodgates, others rushed in with so-called favours,

Quickly became clear that one man alone bore their expectations,

That’s to be the payroll, no ifs or buts, time and time again,

No problem too big, let him foot the bills, dude be living the life and they all want a slice,

Promised to reimburse but ain’t nothing guaranteed, funny how when it’s time to collect they suddenly disappear,

They think he got it figured out, that he’s swimming in green,

Such sentiments couldn’t be more wrong, let’s make some things clear.

They say you shouldn’t judge someone by where they came up,

No two origin stories are the same, to make assumptions would be insane,

Applies, too, to those they say got all the breaks,

Ain’t just dudes from the ‘hood slapped with labels insensitive and crude,

Some folks seem blessed many times over, the ones that fortune smiled upon,

But they, too, aren’t immune to struggles, bad luck strikes ‘em now and then,

You’d think they can escape any trap unscathed but that’s where you’re mistaken,

Could fumble the bag at any time, perhaps burn priceless bridges while they’re at it,

Health could slide at any moment, not to mention the all-conquering rising costs of living,

Hate to break it to you but that money pit ain’t as bottomless as you think,

More to the point it ain’t yours to abuse, no one believes a liar crying ‘wolf.’

Got your back should you ever run into strife,

By that we’re talking ‘bout the catastrophic type, those that require an army by your side,

Yes, your daily struggles dwarf those of the ones that you’re begging from again,

But it would be a stretch to suggest that yours are situations that are life and death,

If anything you embellish the truth just to get that loot so you can live large on someone else’s funds, read that again and tell me it ain’t fucked up,

We’re giving you plenty yearly so what’s your damn hurry?

Please don’t say you’d burned right through the last damn bags already,

Never needed handouts prior, did this renewed connection change things?

Live within your means if you want to live like kings and queens,

It’s strange how you remain invisible unless you need some bread,

Was contact initiated purely to keep those ever-expanding bellies fed?

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way,

If this is a game your boy ain’t gonna play,

You ain’t keeping me boxed up in case of emergencies only,

Trapped in a lamp like your very own genie,

Got my own problems like the rest of ‘em, can’t take on too many external burdens,

Take responsibility for your own and face ‘em, like you did back when we were virtual strangers.

Hate to sound callous but should you reach the end of this rope your boy ain’t hanging on ‘til his palms rip, he’s letting that shit go,

Got no use for leeches that try to drain, life itself’s already a pain,

Those that ride with you should be ones that revitalise and empower you,

Flip the script and see how you like it, you really don’t want such problems,

Folks you know made it on their own, why not follow their examples?

You descended from hard-workers and survivors, why not use them as a personal reference?

You’re still better off than others where you’re at yet you’re ducking responsibilities like a brat,

Get up from your knees and hustle, keep moving and moving ‘til the wheels fall,

The view atop that mountain will be sweeter than if you got there on someone else’s time and effort,

That’s enough ranting for today, ain’t nothing personal unless you make it so,

Really hope we can stay on course, but if not it’ll be your fault, Sorry but this bank’s closed.

In An Alternative Universe

For most of my life been a loner, no platoon with this soldier,
Took my lumps but I’m still standing, got this far let’s keep moving,
Felt freedom in solitude on good days, thinking ‘fuck the world’ during bad,
Perhaps the latter’s exaggerated, I don’t carry hate and malice like that,
Not without friends and family, very much love them dearly,
Just would rather business be privy to no one but me,
Yet life’s very axis turned upon your arrival, in ways unanticipated,
Irrevocably it seemed, the impact damn near broke The Richter.

Never really was one for companionship, never bought into the concept,
Came out the womb alone, will leave this world the same, decided that it’s destiny, certain that it was fate,
Neither scared nor aloof, it ain’t like that at all,
Life in the shadows is where I’m home, different strokes for different folks,
Wasn’t one to catch feelings, hasn’t happened often,
They say it’s hubris and I hate to make excuses, this game ain’t for the faint-hearted,
People showing true colours too late, it’s quite exhausting weeding out snakes,
Folks would sooner destroy than uplift one another, who wants to be around such behaviour?
As Trent and Johnny sang, everyone goes away in the end,
It’s a big bad world out there, more often than not we crash and burn in the end.

Crossed paths one day, looks like we caught the same wave,
Going our own ways in life, our paths done intertwined in time,
Somehow got to talking, somehow formed a connection,
Awkward in the beginning but thank God we pushed through it,
Your boy made like Prince Akeem after the first kiss, like him gave no shits that the neighbours were pissed,
Many chapters later asked the magic question while on bended knee, then came the ceremony, time crawled and zoomed simultaneously,
How on earth did we get here? All of this seems a dream,
But that’s life, I guess, no such thing as guarantees.

I’d need additional digits to count the ways you leave me awed and amazed,
Could wax lyrical day and night, page after page,
The world’s a brighter place thanks to your very presence in it,
You’re supportive yet assertive, keeping it real and unfiltered,
Not afraid to speak up when I mess up, unoffended when roles are inverted,
Disagreements are inevitable, life will throw challenges, but we’ll get through ‘em all together,
You’re my safe space when times get tough, I’m glad to be the same for ya,
Can’t imagine a life now where I’d never ever met ya,
Previously hard-pressed to trust one another, viewed the world as grey and monochrome,
Your love and warmth done thawed the ice within this individual, jaded and cold,
Every day an opportunity for further self-improvement, to be the type that you deserve,
Love and respect can’t be bought or cajoled, they can only be earned,
Likewise it’s a treat to watch you grow and evolve, to help you achieve your goals,
I’ll keep it one hundred with you, pick you up when you fall, both sides
putting in work,
I savour your warm hugs, hope you love kisses to your forehead and crown,
You’re my ride or die for life through all the ups and the downs.

But this is just pure fantasy, we ain’t even met yet,
Chances are fifty-fifty, a sure bet’s non-existent,
An encounter might occur sooner or later, perhaps it already has,
But neither party had a clue, life don’t offer cues,
The song won’t last forever, gotta step up and join the dance,
Even if you go alone, leave it on the floor until you’re called home,
Would be glorious if these musings become reality, but no such thing as absolute certainty,
But if not then no point getting mad, maybe it was the master plan.

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.