Wisdom From The Damaged

You’ve probably seen ‘em all before, the ones trapped in their own prisons,

Judged, hazed, sneered at and taunted, disqualified from counselling the masses,

By and large dubbed hypocrites, of calling the proverbial kettle, accused of throwing stones, you know all the idioms,

One can’t warn against the deed when they’re deep in it themselves, the height of hypocrisy they’re calling it, not to mention fakeness,

But it goes deeper below the surface, damn near close to the abyss,

Let’s hear from ‘em both, just might give you a new perspective.

Looking in a mirror can scarcely believe it’s the dude that came up in circumstances conducive to life away from activities no-good,

They called me the ‘Golden Child’, the apple of Mom and Pops’ eye,

Expected to carry on a legacy that would elevate their name beyond the sky,

That all changed on one fateful day, a simple encounter sealed my fate,

Crossed paths with him in college, from there became brothers from different mothers,

Became family with his crew but was on a collision course with trouble,

A good time can’t be had unless chemically-enhanced, that’s the way that they be rollin’,

Resistance was futile, the world felled by the might of one big hit,

Crossed over in the worst way, plummeted deep into the pit,

Ex-communicated by fam, friends were lost, opportunities dried, the habit came at a cost,

Initially felt abandoned but I guess it’s well-deserved, many times I’d cried wolf, further chances would’ve been absurd,

Fast-forward to the present, been evicted more times than I can count,

Grog, pills and crystal’s all that’s keeping me afloat, at least until I’m drowned,

They assume I came up Struggle Street, the reality is stranger than fiction,

A privileged kid-turned-junkie, threw it away over one bad decision,

“Don’t do what I did,” I’m telling ‘em on the daily, “take one glance if you don’t believe me,”

“Sallow features and self-hatred are where you’re headed, trust me it ain’t worth it,”

They laugh and judge and truthfully I get it, but if words can carry weight then mine must surely be gargantuan,

Nothing like experience to add credence to the warnings, for that alone they ought to take me serious,

I ain’t preaching to be uppity, to project a false sense of righteousness,

Coming from a place of atonement and regret, have to believe that there’s hope for me yet,

But it’s been many years and counting, a change of course seems unlikely.

All judgements welcomed, would rather honesty than false platitudes and pity.

They call me a slacker and a bum but trust that this puppy got dreams,

But there’s fault within the wiring though ambition’s bursting through the seams,

They ask me if I’m fine and I tell ‘em life’s good, not because it’s truth but rather so they don’t intrude,

Various demons in the way and I’m ill-equipped to fight ‘em, try as I might the war’s just never-ending,

They say to just do it, believe me I take that shit to heart,

But in the face of crucial steps all ambition gets blown apart,

Too proud to call for reinforcements, at times fear and pride merge into a toxic mix that tastes so sick but somehow I keep coming for another serve,

Some say I can do it, others say forget it, guess which of the sentiments register? Guess which goes in one ear and out the other?

So for now I’m telling ‘em to get what’s theirs, haters and doubters be damned,

Sure they raise eyebrows but if they knew they’d get moving fast,

Also to seek help when needed, they needn’t have to suffer,

To let ‘em in, the ones they trust, there’s much more strength in numbers

“Why don’t you do the same, you chump?” they’re likely saying, “who the fuck made you the boss?”

“You ain’t even doing shit, you ain’t following your own gospel, so how you sitting there crowing from atop your horse?”

“It’s ‘cuz I know how that shit feels,” I’d say to ‘em, “you really don’t want none of this,”

“I’ll get it done, just need a sec, just need to silence the noise inside my head”,

Life becomes rosy once those goals and dreams are accomplished,

Defy what’s stopping you, pay no mind to all the rubbish.

So there you have it, two different voices, their wisdom viewed with cynicism,

It’s understandable, how dare they don’t practice what it is they’re preaching,

But stop and think about it, they have a head start over many a so-called expert,

Living it counts, doesn’t it? Who better to warn the masses than ones who’d borne the brunt of it?

Why write ‘em off when instead you can sit and listen?

Might learn you something, be smarter for it, maybe get you to make changes you never knew you needed.

Not The First, Not The Last

The setting was idyllic, young love’s a beautiful thing,

Crossed paths at uni, since then inseparable, day by day googly-eyed at one another,

If the love is real then consider yourselves lucky, passed the game of love already,

While others are breaking up and making up, distinguishing the real from the fake, riding on that rollercoaster of emotions ubiquitous within the game,

Y’all can sit back and smirk at ‘em, but the tectonic plates were awakening,

Slowly began to shift, the resulting shake left one of you blindsided,

It was a bolt from the blue, struck you while you were gearing up for mid-terms,

A Dear John letter that pulled no punches, sent via text message for good measure,

It sure was unexpected, but has a right time ever existed?

One month of bliss had come to this, all that time and commitment wasted,

Hit him back for an explanation, clinging onto faint hopes of reconciliation,

For half an hour y’all went at it, you even wished him all the best, ‘til he’d had enough and bailed, left you glassy-eyed on read.

Keep your chin up, Girl, it ain’t the end of the world,

Happy endings ain’t guaranteed, might have to go through different suitors ‘til it’s achieved,

One and done’s an exception for the most part, could take time to find they that deserve the keys to your heart,

The dude quit on you, and by cowardly means, too, so don’t even get hung up over that fool,

Take all the time needed to get over him, shed all the tears required,

But do make an effort to move on, like the proverbial phoenix you must rise from the fire,

How can you find the so-called one otherwise? Can’t attract the new unless you de-clutter,

A brighter future lies ahead, you need only to turn the page and start a new chapter,

Now you’ve loved and lost, others would say you’re a better person for it,

A learning experience or the start of the fall, on which path will you be treading?

Stateless On Campus

Born overseas but moved to the Land of Oz at six,

Confused and bewildered but over time found my feet,

Language barrier was a problem, cultural clashes were inevitable,

The resourcefulness of children underrated, to go with the flow seems second-nature,

Fast-forward ten years, ya boy well and truly made himself at home,

Sadly at the expense of the identity forged in the South East Asian nation he came from,

Learned some valuable lessons along the way, the good and the bad,

That folks are generally welcoming but others preferred you’d stayed in your own land,

‘I come from The Land Down Under’ but not all were offering vegemite sandwiches,

Even fellow transplanted compatriots weren’t above hazing and pettiness,

Such was the case in high school, a setting that was equal parts jail and something kinda tribal,

Your place within the hierarchy seemingly beyond control, affecting how you’ll win and influence people.

Can’t forget those days, a mixture of highs and lows,

Idyllic beyond school gates, it was a stable life at home,

Befriended mostly denizens born and bred, fairer-skinned and speaking with perfect Aussie accents,

Some on the strine side if not borderline bogan but such is life in Sydney’s wild wild west,

Wasn’t well-received by aforementioned fellow transplanted folks,

Up in arms over why I ain’t riding with my own,

The dude did try but was met with the stink-eye,

Tenuous grasp of the mother tongue had y’all branding him ‘acting white’,

While others griped I was too traditional, too similar to those from the motherland,

Better to move on now than tear my hair out to the last strand,

Am a hip hop head now but back then was a punk, alternative and heavy metal fan,

Perfect genres to voice out anger but deemed counter-cultural said the kababayans,

Can only bang against bricks for so long before that skull be cracking,

Friends and allies don’t come easy but thankfully found some that were willing,

But just ‘cuz you’re accepted don’t mean that you belong,

To others born and bred this outsider was a disturbance to them all,  

Wearing that bullshit on their sleeves, you know exactly what I mean,

‘Cat and dog eater’, ‘skin tone same as poop’, ‘Flip’ and ‘Gook’, jokes ‘bout small appendages, too,

Should’ve cracked the fuckers with minds stuck in an era before ‘73,

Would’ve meant suspension if not expulsion, at the time I’d sooner hang than self-destruct for their amusement,

Can’t lie, though, a generous serving of punches would’ve been well-deserved,

Smack ‘em til their faces broken, maybe a few limbs and ribs, too, for good measure,

Dunked on by both sides over identity politics, how the fuck did it come to this?

Seems the universe saw it fit to assign me the role of the picked-on-kid,

Stateless on campus, marooned on Point Nemo,

Ain’t nobody worth trusting so the struggle was mine alone,

Friends came and went, had to fend for myself sooner or later,

Such was the case by high school graduation, frowning in that picture for a reason.

But fuck it, it’s in the past where it belongs, no point crying ‘bout it now,

Gotta move on to level up, it’s been done and dusted about,

Might as well forgive and let go, but for the target it’s hard to forget,

Great insults last a long time, should there be a reunion these eyes will serve to remind them.