Still Yours

Parenting, it’s a role fraught with challenges,

Endeavouring to raise the kids proper, being provider, teacher and entertainer while swerving judgment from others,

Might seem overwhelming in the beginning, rookies’ heads be spinning,

But as the lil’ ones grow and blossom you’ll realize such a role was rewarding,

Ain’t no official guide, no so-called right way, everyone got their own ways,

Different paths taken to the same endgame where their respective offspring turn out ok,

Having expectations ain’t new, surely every parent’s got ‘em,

How they take it when the young’uns grow up different, here’s where the plot thickens.

You’re familiar with the pattern, seen it all before,

Kid’s born, mom and dad dictating which way they should go,

For the most part ain’t nothing set in stone, just mere high hopes,

As long as the kid grows up honourable and can get by on their own,

Could start as expectations for their academic performance,

Then beyond the school gates, into the path of life, maybe even who they’ll call husband or wife,

Nurture that which lights their fire, encourage ‘em to mingle, don’t keep ‘em sheltered,

No harm exploring the mysterious beyond, as long as they exercise caution,

Expose ‘em to new things and experiences, they’ll surely thank you for it,

Teach ‘em right from wrong but also let ‘em grow up well-rounded,

Sooner or later they’ll find their purpose and life’s work,

Might take away from what you’d planned out for ‘em, on some level your concern is warranted,

Hate to break it to some of y’all, but while you’re free to guide ‘em in their youth,

You may face resistance from ‘em once they cross over to young adulthood,

Ain’t right to rob ‘em of their passion, rip the carpet from under ‘em,

Can’t meddle, either, in matters of their ride or die and co-pilot,

Life will dish out challenges, might find your kids among the sources,

But breaking rules and pushing envelopes aren’t always acts of insolence,

Rather than dismiss ‘em why not try to understand ‘em?

As long as they’re adding to the betterment of the planet surely they’re entitled to it.

The long and short of it is this, pay attention and drink it in,

The actions of others are beyond your control, as are the little ones’ dreams,

Dare to throw a spanner in the works watch how quickly they’ll hate and despise,

Beware the individual suppressed, it’s a different type of anger and spite,

Accept that outside forces will mould ‘em, too, you can’t protect them forever,

They’ll tread their own path, beyond your set perimeters, it doesn’t mean they’re disrespecting,

If they ain’t providing fodder for the evening news, wretched and acting the fool,

Let their true selves thrive in full bloom, pursue what they were born to do,

Have faith in ‘em to do right, to leave the roost and fly high,

Let ‘em take the hits necessary to achieve their own victories, no need to keep that chopper hovering constantly,

If you’d done your job proper then you should trust that they got this in the bag,

That they’ll take on the world and triumph, proudly represent Mom and Dad,

Blood is thicker than water, ain’t nothing changing if you played your cards right,

They’ll still count on you if ever they stumble or need good old-fashioned advice,

They’re still yours, now and forever, always,

Let ‘em find their way, wherever it is, have their back anyway.

You Played Yourself 9: Celebrity Interview

This is it, another turkey ready for bastin’ and roastin’,

Dream jobs in the scrapheap thanks to L’s of the self-inflicted variety,

Losing your gig ‘cuz of leaked dick picks nothing short of idiotic,

But let’s take a look at one poor fool who only had one job to do,

Sent up north for an interview, an exclusive, too, for good measure,

The envy of your peers and rivals, scored a win for your beloved Network,

She’s the hottest star in world of pop music, but don’t call her a comeback queen,

Been around for years, recharged her batteries before returning to the scene,

So off you went, hopped on the plane, travelled to an opposing timezone,

Touched down ready to rumble, got yourself comfortable,

Then the interview started, here’s your moment, go out there and get it,

But just like that it was mission failure, a glaring omission brought about your undoing,

Admitted to her you didn’t listen to her album, of course she was gonna be offended,

How you gonna rock up to a professional setting woefully under-prepped for it?

Just like that she’s storming out the room, ain’t nothing you can do about it,

Your golden moment crashed and burned like the Hindenburg, no excuses can soften it,

Gob off all you want ‘bout missed e-mails, ain’t nobody buying that shit,

You done played around IG during that special assignment, surely the real pros would’ve checked their e-mails for anything last-minute,

At the very least you’d gather background info of your subject, immerse yourself in their latest projects,

You’ve been on the job long enough, your lame excuses don’t carry much water,

It’s a long trip back down under, prepare to face the music,

Enjoy that two-week suspension, your dumb ass surely has earned it,

Take the L on the chin, Bro, it’s the least you can do to salvage that rep,

But while you’re at it hang your head down in shame, Dude you played yourself!

Wasting Your Time

There you go again, struttin’, braggin’, hypin’ yourself again,

Crisping in your ego jacuzzi, self-love taken to extremes,

Flexin’ ‘bout your life’s achievements like they’re the stuff of myths and legends,

Convince yourself every morning that you’re the alpha, still, among fellow humans,

Keeping an eye out, too, on the others like an enemy sniper,

Your level of hustle dictated, seemingly, by peers’ everyday movements,

Donning on that costume when in a face-to-face environment,

Chest proud, shoulders back, eyes up, simple tells you’d rehearsed over and over,

Selling yourself as a chess master, always several steps ahead,

They ought to tremble at the inventory of worlds that you’d conquered,

Joke’s on you, though, as you’ll realise sooner or later,

Get your head from out the clouds and peep at the outliers,

The ones lurking in the shadows away from the population,

Folks like you call ‘em scared and tentative, silenced by intimidation,

You’re dead wrong for believing they’re scared to compete with others,

Not all waste time searching for new people to one-up and get one over,

Some prefer to compete only with the individual within the mirror,

To overcome obstacles no bigger than whom they were just days and weeks before,

No need to feel threatened by the achievements of others, such a mindset is reserved for fools and suckers,

You liken yourself to a warrior, one to be feared, envied and admired,

Hate to say it but they see through the bullshit, you’re just a weenie drowning in insecurities,

Enslaved yourself to your peers, most of whom are just minding their own business,

Letting ‘em live inside your head, rent-free, talk about a wretched existence,

Think about that the next time you prance and preen,

Relying on others to measure yourself against, the rewards are limited indeed.

The Right Direction

Traipsin’ through the park in random directions,

The mind’s doing likewise, thoughts touchin’ upon different subjects,

It’s a nice summer afternoon, the holiday season imminent,

Yours truly ain’t even started buying those Christmas presents yet,

The mind’s speeding train suddenly derailed by the presence of a stranger,

Wearing a loaded backpack, clutching the image of one of the city’s landmarks,

Slightly annoyed at being snapped out of my trance, but this fella needed assistance, might as well give this dude a chance,

Language barrier cancelled a verbal exchange, showed me the picture in his hand in order to communicate,

Clear as day that he was looking to get to this place,

Poor guy had lost his bearings, turned to the kindness of strangers to help him somehow,

So lost was I in my thoughts I hadn’t quite returned to the here and now,

Lived in this city for most of my life, certainly familiar with its icons and sights,

Yet I’m lost at sea with this traveler, home had suddenly become unfamiliar,

Pointed to some random direction, where I believed he should go,

Laid out that path for him, it wasn’t quite the yellow brick road,

Nevertheless he was satisfied, thanked me in his native tongue,

Then off he went, happily, into the afternoon sun,

‘Hope he makes it there,’ thought I, resuming my walk,

Headed towards the exits, out to the street, almost time to head home.

Making the call

New job started, pay was good and hardly complicated,

How long it’ll last up to chance, working life’s taken a turn for the nomadic,

Woke up anxiously then put on my best suit,

Headed out the door, braved the road, caught the train, fuelled by oatmeal, eggs and fruit,

From the station traipsed towards the building, a giant among skyscrapers,

Collected my lanyard from the receptionist, headed off for the elevator,

That’s when she appeared, dressed nice and smart,

Glanced at her, eyes didn’t linger, we exchanged not a single word,

The lift doors opened, like a gentleman let her in first,

She complied with a smile, could’ve sent pulses racing for miles,

Then in rushed behind me a sudden train of humanity,

The rat race had started early, victims running on that wheel already,

We ended up side by side, crammed towards the back wall,

Shoved my way through when the doors opened at my floor,

Stole her gaze once more upon departing, before the elevator closed,

Emboldened by positive first impressions, hoping we’ll meet for a proper ‘hello.’

Crossed paths with her two days later, ‘twas the end of the grind,

From different departments keeping similar hours, happily found some common ground,

‘Hi’, said I, ‘nice to see you again,’

She seemed to remember me, thankfully, ‘fancy running into you here,’ said she,

Yours truly on the way to catch trains, her to the bus terminal,

Three-to-five minute walk from the building, no time for lengthy conversation,

Introduced ourselves to one another, formally, made small talk before parting,

‘Nice to meet you, have a good evening, see you tomorrow’, that sort of thing.

Rode home feeling chuffed, glad to have made a friend, maybe,

Contact finally achieved, still counts as a minor victory.

Ran into her again the next morning, waiting outside the building,

Fifteen minutes early, expanded last night’s small-talking,

‘Twas just a coincidence, I promise, ain’t nobody stalking,

Perhaps it’s a sign of two kindred spirits?

Starting time arrived rather quickly, covered plenty of ground already,

Promised to meet for lunch break, off we went to our respective workplaces,

Turned up bang on time outside that noon, she was already waiting,

For a good five minutes it turns out, but really who’s counting?

Got half an hour to kill, went to the mall across the street,

Off to the food court, got some grub, sat down to swap life stories,

Conversation flowed like a smooth stream, but so did the minutes on the clock,

Walked back towards the building, side by side, just in the nick of time.

Met her again at five-past-five, again walked her to the station,

Day by day met her between working hours, a pair of desk jockeys sharing a daily ritual,

Started at mere friendship, ain’t nobody catching feelings,

Then one day the heart started trolling, ceased to be platonic,

For one party anyway, that would be yours truly,

Her interactions with others exposing chinks in the proverbial armoury,

The working day consumed by thoughts of her, running on high rotation,

All but melting like Olaf before her, internally, that smile a bright light on a barren wasteland, truly,

‘We’re just friends’ that’s all there is to it, don’t even have each other’s numbers,

That would be a start, just gotta ask her permission,

Simple as that, seems straightforward, so why do we turn simple things into complicated puzzles?

Ran through the gamut of feelings, whether pleasure or torture,

Thankfully she’s none the wiser, my straight-face game as impenetrable as ever,

Counting my blessings, daily, that an angel entered my life, willingly,

Perhaps someday in the long run I’ll strike it lucky,

She ain’t mentioned a co-pilot in her life, she ain’t someone else’s wife,

Gotta keep the big guns holstered, resist the temptation, play it cool and collected,

Gonna ask to exchange numbers first, seems like a harmless gesture,

It’s what friends do, should make plans to hang outside of work,

Set the date to ask her the next day, nerves won at the last minute,

Then aimed for the one after, but turned out she was absent,

The weekend followed, can’t believe my mind’s consumed with planning for this,

It ain’t rocket science or a rescue mission, boy do I feel desperate and pathetic,

How to ask her a simple question without coming off creepy?

The mind continues overthinking, the cause of many an individual’s great follies,

“Just be straight with her, stop fretting about it, the more you think about it, the more you’re liable to make a mess of it,”

Easier said than done, love does things to people,

Even the strong rendered helpless against its influence.

Come Monday morning, ‘it’s now or never,’ whispered that inner voice,

At lunch time the moment of truth arrived, time for the bomb to be deployed,

“Eyes up, chest out, exude an air of confidence,”

“Get it over with, Brother, you’d wracked your brains too long for this,”

Sat opposite her as she munched away, hoping her eyes won’t catch my nervous gaze,

Finally mustered the strength and audacity required to get the mission underway,

Asked her for her number, to keep in touch during off-hours,

And maybe hang out too as pals, ripped the bandaid off without second thoughts,

Braced for impact, as though trapped in a falling jet, fire streaming from the engine before hitting earth in a massive explosion,

Heart beating fast, can feel the sweat coming, how will she react?

Thankfully she agreed, removed a pen and notepad from her bag,

Scribbled on it that paper the precious digits, handed it to me shortly after,

Just like that put me at ease while euphoria took over,

The hard part’s over now, continued eating while conversing,

All the while keeping the contents within from bursting, could barely keep the lid on it.

Kept that precious piece of paper close like a rare and sacred text,

Got me acting like Gollum, can’t believe it feels like life itself depends on it,

Shot her a text a few days afterward,

Nothing too serious, just a simple greeting to get the ball rolling,

Objective completed, now we play the waiting game,

That ELO song come to life, the one about telephone lines,

Hopefully it won’t end in vain.