Wounded But Not Broken

You’ll see ‘em in the news, pass ‘em sittin’ on their patios, some got their heads in the clouds,

Creaky vessels, long-retired, once were warriors once were proud,

Gawked at like old relics propped up in the Museum of Natural History,

With varying degrees of admiration but from others scorn or pity,

Talking ‘bout former gladiators made a living through their physicality,

Fighting, tackling, climbing, lifting, stacking muscle for serious preening,

Not for the faint-hearted, it takes a special type of insanity,

Success not guaranteed and broken dreams are many, the summit’s reserved for the bold and gutsy,

But there’s hell to pay for putting the body through the ringer, in twilight years the the fallout become apparent,

The tools of the trade – strength, power and dexterity – become a distant memory,

Like ageing structures the joints once firm and dependable rendered rusted and creaky,

The consequences run deep, it’s a horror show down below,

The unlucky ones barely recognizable, often left forgotten and broke,

Check out some examples, the once garrulous icon rendered mute and shuffling,

Some of his peers, other former battlers, trapped in a haze from which they are defenseless,

The former master of the iron now immobile, hard to believe they once called him king,

Former living marble statues damaged, years of shooting up fucked up major vital organs,

Prime years seemed endless, their aura unconquerable, invincible, almost mythological,

But time remains undefeated, even B-Hop succumbed to it, save your breath ‘cuz Ponce ain’t found no fountain,

But hold onto those tears, keep the violins in their cases,

They had a dream and damn it they achieved it, peaks and valleys encountered but still they emerged triumphant,

That much must be celebrated, their hustle and fortitude respected,

Post-retirement struggles vary across warhorses but united over satisfaction and contentment,

Might make minor adjustments if they can re-run it, but for the most part wouldn’t change any bit of it,

Dangers lurked in their chosen adventures, certainly compared to other vocations,

They knew it from jump and accepted ‘em, fuck the naysayers calling ‘em reckless,

Your judgment is unwarranted, don’t talk down on what you don’t know,

The sacrifices were more than worth it, can’t stay drowning in sorrows,

The past is gone, legacies set in stone, save your gasps for horror films,

Like ‘em, loathe ‘em, admire ‘em or revile ‘em, in the end they did the damn thing.

You Played Yourself pt. 6: Only Fools

There you go, hunched over that computer,

Locked and loaded waiting to hear from her, the highlight of your hours,

Met her on IG, shit’s so 2020’s, pics and vids got you hot and bothered, snagged you hook, line and sinker,

Liked and commented on damn near all her posts, even slid into her DM’s,

Left you on read again and again but your needy self wasn’t having it,

Then it caught your eye, a link in her bio, signed up for it pronto,

It’ll cost money and your dignity, lust and obsession obliterating reason,

Likened yourself to her savior, the one helping to keep her in business,

Burning a hole in your pocket but gotta live up to your calling,

As long as she’s churning out content you remain her willing customer, to hell with the real world and real people, got you a girlfriend even if she’s virtual,

In your mind she’s yours alone despite other gawkers in the ranks,

Y’all vying for her attention but she’s only looking to make bank,

Mad flexing that simp game just to please, feeding her lines topped with extra cheese,

Got you thinking you’re hitting homers but you know not the tricks up her sleeve,

Here she’s responding to you but don’t get carried away,

She don’t want no date, just hawking incentives for your extra pay,

Give an individual power you’ll see their true character,

Stroke the wrong ego then the mask will slip away quickly,

She was sweetness personified but excessive praises flicked a switch,

The pettiness is out along with that toxic celebrity mentality,

No more Miss Nice Girl, get ready to have your world upturned,

Your lovesick platitudes countered with haughty derision, can’t underestimate the chilling power of words,

Treat her like a goddess she’ll treat you like a peasant, just another disposable source of income,

So she turns it up a notch to reward you for your pandering,

Demanding that you prove your devotion through tasks base and humiliating,

At her command you’re acting the fool and debasing yourself in public,

Her taunts cut deep, call it the fallout of your simping,

Gave her your balls on a silver platter for the sake of some phantom relationship,

Sooner or later it’ll hit you, you’ll never have her and you’ll never hit it,

Once you’re used up, cleaned-up and finessed, talk about hard medicine,

You ain’t no alpha or nobleman or king, just a sucker and object of pity,

She’s doing what she can to get by and survive, you chose to be her patsy,

She’s hustling hard like the masses by any means possible,

It’s worked for her with flying colors, for all her faults you can’t stay mad at her,

Don’t hate the player, Bro, you chose to fall victim to the game,

Save your tears once you crash, it’ll only add to the shame,

Lead with your mind next time, keep your dick and ego on the shelf,

Hate to say it, Homie, you’re going out sad, yes, YOU PLAYED YOURSELF.

Holding Back The Years: Self-Worth

It’s often said you can’t love another unless you love yourself first,

Being kind to others be child’s play while an inside job requires hard work,

Expectations, everybody’s got ‘em, ain’t no crime not to live up to ‘em,

We’re only human, we win and we falter, fuck ‘em if they’re blind to your genuine efforts,

No two people are the same, differences extend to capabilities, save for rarities and extreme anomalies,

Gifts and natural talents, everybody’s got ‘em, for some immediately apparent, others may search far and wide for it,

But there has to be a balance, hence the existence of weaknesses,

Folks be mad-flexing on the surface, ain’t nobody buyin’ it, behind the scenes secrets heavily guarded,

With dedication they can be corrected, life’s about perpetual growth and learning,

You’ll stumble and fall, too, but you gotta trust the process,

It’s an exercise in futility, tying self-worth to what you can and can’t do,

Why let mistakes and failures totally consume you?

Setbacks are a pain, that much is understandable, but will you take steps towards redemption or chip away and crumble?

Realize, too, there’s always someone better in some aspects, but that don’t mean you’re useless and pathetic,

They may have a greater aptitude for it or perhaps a greater level of experience,

You won’t always have the answers but no shame in admitting temporary ignorance,

And you may dominate in other areas, rout the competition with your abilities,

They’ll look up to you like their idol, yet you’re hung up on perceived deficiencies,

Meanwhile you’re neglecting what you’re blessed with, gotta nurture ‘em or lose ‘em,

What you take for granted you’ll part ways with, don’t let your assets become your losses,

Continue to learn and grow, become a jack of many trades,

Master the ones that matter, but missteps need not end in shame,

You must be brave enough to own ‘em, only then will you be forgiven, then make a conscious effort never to repeat ‘em,

Perfection’s an illusion, to master all things, literally, is an impossibility,

If the key to your self-esteem is their approval, that’s some next-level insanity,

Reclaim your self-worth from the hands of others, they don’t deserve such power,

You’re limited edition, never forget it, fuck ‘em and their expectations,

Twenty four hours in a day, each one nudging you towards the end,

They’re gone forever once elapsed, will you waste ‘em warring with yourself?

Throw off the shackles they’ve placed upon you and the ones self-inflicted,

Live a life that makes you proud first and foremost, only then will you be truly living.

She ain’t your rival, Bro

There you go again, daydreaming, same old subjects that the mind’s regurgitating,

Comparing notes, mental inventories of various conquests, fame and former glories,

Not sure if you made the grade, the competition’s rather stiff,

Eyes may roll and heads may shake when they learn with whom you’re competing with,

No this ain’t no classroom shit, this is proper grown-up shit, somehow your missus is your secret competition,

Yeah that’s right, kinda strange ain’t it? First let’s take a history lesson,

Seemed innocuous, that chance encounter, love found between polar opposites,

She was gifted, photogenic, talented, that combination payin’ dividends,

Him from shakier foundations but defied the cynics, haters and the party poopers,

Chance encounter on the subway after hours, protected her from pesky would-be predators,

Got to talking, kept her company ‘til her ride arrived to come collect her,

Exchanged numbers, ain’t missed a chance to steal those precious conversations,

Year and a half together ‘fore he sucked it up and asked her for her hand in marriage,

Lived happily ever after, that one can’t be disputed,

But behind the laughs and tender moments a flame threatens to blow a gasket,

Her earning power, life achievements, public image, they be dwarfin’ all of his,

Got him paranoid that they be judging why she’s the one supporting him,

No he ain’t no hype man, slacker or hangers-on, certainly not some trophy husband,

Dude more than earns his keep, time ain’t dimmed that heart, ethos and the work ethic,

But he can’t outshine her nor outwork her, got him running on that hamster wheel,

Legs churning, hiding to nothing, in his mind he’s still inadequate,

But it don’t have to be that way, step off and count your blessings, bro,

She chose you from a line of suitors, surely you are someone special,

Why focus on perceived deficiencies than what you’re bringin’ to the table?

She’d have dropped your ass if you were useless and certainly if you’re unstable,

Part ways with this toxicity, ain’t nothing noble with going on like this,

Dudes be turning good gals off when they stay petty, childish, immature and jealous,

She’s your wife and not your rival, treating her as such will lead to your unraveling,

In the mirror lies your competition, it’s clichéd but the truth lies there among the drivel,

Fuck what others say ‘cuz if you play it right she’ll always choose to be with you,

That’s the long and short of it and it’s really all that matters, too.