Another form of hustling

For the longest time, the hustle life’s been lionised,

The tireless worker with eyes on the prize, iron will and iron mind,

Good things come to they who work their asses off, the magnitude of achievements only as good as given efforts,

No rest for the weary and sleep is for the dead, slackers can only live in prayer if they wish to get ahead,

No respect for the ones sitting on their hands waiting for the grim reaper,

Out on the pitch and barely scoring, wouldn’t even cut it for second or third-stringers,

Can’t conquer new worlds if you don’t venture out to sea,

But easy to judge, too, from afar without knowing the full story,

Are you familiar with ‘em? Or just judging the cover sitting on the shelf?

Why not pick it up and leaf through a few chapters? Might learn you a little something.

Illnesses of the mind on the rise, been many years now and counting,

Possible aftertaste from society’s definition of true hustling,

On the subject of dreams the masses are wont to dismiss others’ as bulldust,

Is it any wonder why too many are closed books and apprehensive to the concept of trust?

Depression and anxiety spreading like the plague, insecurities and jealousy more than tripled,

Felt by all at some point or another but for many more such symptoms are everlasting,

Chase and conquer’s where it’s at, be it work, play and even relationships,

Staying in’s for losers and the cowards, days are made for seizing,

Dare to stumble and you’re written off and starting again’s a folly, rest and self-care exercises in sloth and vanity, that’s what they be saying on the daily,

Not all plans go accordingly, won’t always reach success in one go,

Multiple attempts might be necessary, just need to go with the flow,   

But where there’s passion there’s a way, just gotta find the right one,

But if possibilities yield nada then a fresh start never hurt anyone,

The ones that y’all judging could be such persons, taking new directions after the previous turned out to be failures,

Sitting, planning and plotting, that’s another type of hustling, perceived lack of actions could mask a mind working twenty-four-seven,

Then there are those taking a load off to catch their breath, gather their bearings and their senses before taking the next step,

Others in deep meditation, floundering against the haze in order to gain clarity,

Can’t do that on the move, clearly, bet y’all would sneer and call ‘em lazy,

Then there are those at war within themselves, the assailant unseen and persistent,

Faith in their abilities non-existent, the lingering scars are insurmountable obstacles,

Or maybe they’re on the straight and narrow but choosing to operate within the shadows,

Why does it only count when they’re crowing from rooftops? The silent achievers, too, more than earned their props.

Good on you for thinking that you’re killing it, but who are you to label ‘em?

Who permitted you to sneer at all others? Some might be thriving without your knowledge,

That work ethic sky high, enough to put yours to shame,

There’s always someone better, Friend, regardless of age, gender, background or race,

Hustling harder than you ever could dream about, eating up most of their twenty-fours,

Seeds sowed before the fruit’s grown, the resulting harvest maybe even greater than yours,

So what if they cultivate from their hiding place? Away from shiny tall buildings that you call a working place?

Better check yourself, fast, before what comes to light makes you look a total ass,

Think before you judge, there’s more than meets the eye,

That so-called fool that’s wasting their life could very well be serious hustlers in disguise.

Mirror Match

To anyone that was a fan of fighting games in their youth,

Passing many hours mashing buttons, innocent fun though the content’s uncouth,

Mirror matches were an eventual occurrence, when characters faced off against themselves,

Worth thinking ‘bout the scenario in real life, namely battles in the mind,

Close to a real-life mirror match as can possibly be,

Something sinister ‘bout an assailant felt within the self only,

External rivals come and go, temporary problems at best,

Different story when you’re gaslit from within, ain’t no way to run from yourself.

Too many fucks given or not enough, maybe oscillating between them both,

Insidious and vindictive, impeding the achievement of goals and personal growth,

Carried on for so long with nary a belief in one’s self,

Head clogged and hazy by the clouds of doubt and loathing, it’s a special type of hell,

Uncertain when the seed was planted but damn it the tree’s sprouting,

Different gardeners did their part, should’ve kept them out from the start,

Sleepwalking but never dreaming, had little faith they could be achieved,

Probably fuck it up irreversibly, all roads pointed to that direction constantly,

Any semblance of happiness and joy short-lived, pain seemed everlasting,

Maybe that’s just how the script was written, but fuck it why won’t they change the channel?

The praises from the masses for good deeds falling on deaf ears,

Goals achieved written off as mere flukes, been like this for years and years,

Maybe since childhood for your boy if you can believe, ain’t paused to reflect upon it, might’ve started when an inevitable death became common knowledge,

Warning signs of sorts reserved for the masses, ‘Stay out’ and ‘Keep away,’ best they keep their distance,

Give ‘em a challenge or proposition, watch how quick they go a different direction,

Predetermined assumptions of the outcome being the main reason,

Ain’t fishing for no pity party, this is just straight facts,

Nothing hurts more than accusations of the former, do yourself and them a favour and try to understand them,

Maybe some can relate, maybe others can’t, if you’re among the latter better consider yourself blessed,

But where one area’s lacking another’s been strengthened,

Might not hold themselves to a high standard but guaranteed that iron will’s been tempered,

Still plugging along and trying, could have caved in from the beginning,

Defied the darker forces tricking ‘em into the ultimate submission,

Takes lots of courage and even self-belief to get up from a beating,

Some days worse than others but damn it, they’re still standing,

Maybe they’ll find their calling, even if better late than never,

One foot forward all the way, the odds don’t even matter,

Such voices may be hard to silence, some days the noise is deafening,

Battle through it anyway, be defiant and not a victim.

One Call Away: False Dawn

One year post-upper secondary education,

From behind school gates, out into the real world, been quite the transition,

Barely any feeling-out process, overwhelmed being the new default setting, pressure mounting from both internal and external sources, fucking up’s not an option and too old now for excuses,

Grades achieved are useless, those academic accolades meaningless,

The real world don’t give a fuck, Amigo, it’s deadly serious business,

To find my place in the world, it’s easier said than done,

What to study and where to work, a gap year sounds fun, a paradox of choice that don’t come easy to some,

‘Rents been both a blessing and a curse, their brand of motivation not-so-low-key pressuring with expectations,

Nevertheless the love and support remains, gotta give credit where it’s due,

Helped me land my first gig and tertiary education too,

TAFE the first step to that coveted uni degree, just a detour of sorts, couldn’t get to the kingdom via the HSC,

Accepted into a government gig in early July, didn’t take up too much time,

Four hours a day with solid pay, finally made it to paradise,

Last two years were forgettable, the previous one in particular, this must be my reward, the spoils must surely go to the victor,

Toughed out that rough start, here’s the happy ending, finally hit the open road, Mom and Dad, look at me I made it!

But what goes up must come down, turned out to be a temporary high,

Job turned out to be a temp, three months later I was waving good-bye,

Felt like several steps backwards, in a game of snakes and ladders got bit by the largest serpent,

Plummeted back to the start, like the last three months had never happened,

Nevertheless added that experience to the CV, but searching for new lodgings won’t be easy,

Will I find a role as straightforward and convenient? And with handsome rewards, too, for good measure?

That’ll allow the education of yours truly to run smoothly? They say one grows through adversity but surely I’d earned the right to be choosy?

Ain’t never been a big spender, got plenty of money in the bank,

Enough to tide me over while the near future looks dank,

Then there’s the rumblings behind the scenes, not gonna air out dirty laundry,

But a civil war appeared imminent, thankfully there was safety between siblings,

Stuck together for now though uneasily but at least we remained intact,

Concerns growing louder over how much longer it’ll last,

Christmas came and went in a hurry as did the party at NYE,

So there you have it, a year divided into three, an awkward start and inglorious finish, sandwiched a trip to the mountain peak,

Hoping for better days in the next one, the train rolls on,

Little did we know then, a derailment was on course…

You Played Yourself 9: The Slap

Here we go, the biggest night of your career, third time’s a charm, hopefully, the big prize dodged you twice already,

Past few years been a rough ride, box-office bombs and shit ‘bout your personal life, least of which the entanglement with the wife,

2022 was supposed to be a return to form, a redemption of sorts for you to reclaim the throne,

Then things got underway, at first played out as expected, ‘til the court jester took centre stage, what followed no one saw coming,

Cracked a joke that involved the missus, initially had you laughing but damn, she was steaming,

Off you strode up onto the stage, the smile long gone, smacked that fool in the chops before casually walking off,

Then cursed him out loud, twice, ‘Keep my wife’s name out your fuckin’ mouth’, nice,

Got him lost for words while everyone present turned to stone, not long after they declared you the winner, got you all emotional, the tears they did roll,

So you’re going home a winner, but it’s a lot more complicated, Brother,

You made a damn fool of yourself, they’re talking ‘bout it all over, in tones that hardly serve to flatter,

No award’s gonna undo the damage, way to throw your brand away,

Career now on life support, never know if or when they’ll pull the chord,

You played yourself.

Felt the need to defend your wife’s honour, well that part is understandable,

Not sure if his verbal missiles were directly even aimed at her, could’ve only been about the film that he’d mentioned,

Nevertheless you could’ve and should’ve handled it better, what got into ya?

You were laughing just seconds ago, come on, Bro, why flip the switch to aggro?

Did she tell you to sort him out right there and then? Her non-reaction’s kinda telling,

Could’ve stopped you from making the front pages but sat there just keeping her quiet,

Could’ve handled it like a grown adult would, taken him aside then chew him for being so rude,

Tell him he’s out of pocket for that bullshit, that the missus wasn’t having it,

Way to provide your critics with extra ammunition, the ones saying she has your balls in a death grip,

Owns your heart and soul like a female mantis, day by day manipulating,

They’re saying, also, that you were just trying to act all hard and macho,

Still competing with the slain rapper that she still diggin’, gotta bury the notion that you’re soft like napkins, that you, too, can somehow be masculine,

Not gonna touch them August jokes, that’s for another post, but they’re still out there, Friend, branding you the second letter of the Greek alphabet,

And of course the C and S words rhyming with buck and shrimp, only gets worse from here, better get a grip,

They might take that prize from you, that ‘nice cool guy’ rep in a shambles,

Probably won’t be invited next year or to the one right after, ‘cuz you got caught up in your feelings like a sucker,

Throwing hands to combat temporary emotions, such behavior’s unbecoming of a responsible adult,

Count your lucky stars he ain’t pressing charges, could’ve had five-o on your ass after that career revival,

As for your fellow winners and attendees way to ruin their night,

Stole their thunder and made it all ‘bout you, if you’re punished, well, it kinda serves you right,

Time will tell if this’ll blow over, hopefully it won’t be a career-killer,

In any case, congrats on the win, Sir, third time turned out to be a charm,

Just a damn shame that in the end you’d done less good and plenty of harm,

You played yourself.