Three Acts

Act 1

It’s night time across the city, midnight rolling in a hurry,
On the base of a skyscraper, the tallest of its kind, a lone figure arrives,
The cape and full-body suit a smooth, silky black, face shielded by a similarly-coloured mask,
Anonymity is key, gotta hide that identity from the pesky powers that be,
Twice a week without fail, come sunshine and rain, been at it for some time now, the nerves won’t even attack now,
A small crowd gathers, where once they’d resembled a mosh pit,
One too many reruns later many had seen enough but for some the act remained hot stuff,
The one they’d come to see prepares, undergoes a vigorous warm-up routine,
The act will be over within seconds, such preparation seems extreme,
But tonight’s a treat for the fans, the ones that had stuck around through thick and thin,
For this is the last show, a retirement party of sorts, a fond farewell and a well-earned reward,
Limbs loose and ready, body warm and primed for the main event,
Approached the base of the building, five breaths deep breathing,
Then it was blast off, scurrying up that structure sleek as a panther,
Much to the awe of onlookers, still thrilled at this daredevil’s superpowers,
No special gloves and shoes or harnesses here, just literally scaling the windows and walls,
Looking skyward all the way, unbothered by the altitude at all,
Hit the rooftop in less than two, shimmied up the antenna too,
Now at the city’s highest peak, the view was grand and majestic,
Eerie silence up near the clouds, the hustle and bustle of the world below rendered silent and resembling a stream of lights and fire ants aglow,
It was time for the second part, the death defying one,
Better make it memorable, it’ll be the final one,
Strength gathered, dexterity and balance takes over, hand standing atop that antenna now, toes pointed upwards like a dancer,
Then without warning pushes off the perch, a somersault preceding a free-fall towards the gutter,
Audience holds its breath though they know how it ends, a wrong move still guarantees certain death,
Their hero’s right foot makes contact with the building’s wall once past the twentieth floor,
Sliding down all the way as though on vertical ice skates preventing a less desirable fate,
Touched down back to the starting point, the short show is complete,
The audience breaks into their final applause, the eyes of some welling with tears.
Not much emotion from the star, from behind the mask the eyes remain unchanged,
‘That’s it, I’m done,’ the voice utters in a near-whisper, walking away from the scene forever.

Act 2

It’s half-past-five, so ends another day of hard grind,
He ambles out his building, head down, headed towards the train station,
Air pods locked in, blasting some tune articulating loneliness and depression,
Somehow without being corny, extra gold stars for the musical artist,
He drifts away from the land of tall buildings, inching towards a main road,
Lining up the sidewalk, various cafes and convenience stores,
Outside one of which, a small group of men are loitering,
Smoking ciggies, clinking various energy drinks, warming up for a night of partying,
He sees them up ahead, from behind his sunglasses the eyes widen,
More than a few of ‘em look familiar, the realisation hits like a hook from Tyson,
Transported back in time, to when he was young, insecure and nervous,
Courtesy of the chumps from up ahead, day by day they were terrorising,
Not much in the way of beatings, thankfully, though they sometimes rained bombs,
Mostly through picking on and hazing, wounds psychological hurt just as much as physical,
Felt that juvenile urge to turn tail and split but quickly he catches his grip,
Been more than twenty since they’d clapped eyes on one another, surely they would’ve totally forgotten,
He stands up tall and proud, adjusts his shades then begins his trek,
Soon he’ll be scot-free, just need to casually stroll past ‘em,
He inches closer, their voices and laughter grow louder, one of them catches his eye,
He returns the gaze behind his shades, as though burning holes into this guy,
His hostility goes undetected by the target, soon he’s walked past them,
On and on he walks as they continue their little talks,
Their voices fade behind him, now lost among the sound of the streets,
“Some class reunion that was,” says he, the station visible in the distance.

Act 3

Lunchtime almost over, time to head back to the building,
Knock off the last three hours before home time comes knocking,
Had gone outdoors to unwind, at a park nearby, passed some establishments on the way back, that’s when he caught my eye,
Enjoying his own mid-day meal, seated outdoors by the sidewalk, playing with his phone while all but oblivious to the world,
Hadn’t seen him for quite some time, figured we could chat for a while,
“Hey, Bro, how’re you doing?” the greeting roused him from cyberspace, immediately he stood then we shared a brotherly embrace,
“Been a long time,” said he, “how’s things with you?”
From there chopped it up in a hurry, his precious break was almost over, too,
Asked him if he was still going to the club, a shared space of ours,
He said it’s been a while before dropping a mini bombshell on us,
“I’m thinking about quitting,” he said, “what about you? Are you still going?”
But before I could respond the world started spinning,
My boy vanished without a trace, as did the setting we were standing in,
Until it was straight-up noir like many an Instagram post in mid-2020,
Followed by a buzzing sound, a white light suddenly greeted me…

The Next Morning

The phone alarm was squealing, it was morning already,
Yawning as I sat upright, pondering the meaning behind that dream from last night,
Three unrelated tales, each with differing points of view,
Finding myself stumped for answers, well, what say you?

Young Turks: Constant Companion

Sit down, close your eyes, take a trip down Memory Lane,

From the rubble, what did you mine that made those eyes rain?

No doubt it was fun times of endless cheer and sunshine,

The world stood still for all the right reasons, the glow perpetuating across the four seasons,

Seems so far away, in its place endless bouts of boredom and apathy, dotted by depression and anxiety,

Recapturing what you once had proving to be mission impossible, they say keep going but in your mind you seem unable,

You rage at the unfairness, at feeling empty and cheated,

The passing of time claimed another, got you yearning for reasons to keep going.

Everything is temporary, one of life’s little tragedies,

Often revealed the hard way, what we have can and will fade,

Livelihoods and possessions, good times and the people in it,

Our very lives, too, while we’re at it, losses happen at any given moment,

But there remains two seemingly endless constants, though you might not want to hear ‘em,

That of change and suffering, both often come together,

Even while the world sparkles some form of pain is lurking,

Think about the stresses that come with planning for events that’ll have your crew buzzing,

Might seem like child’s play compared to the lot forced onto others but surely could tempt one to scrap plans for something different,

The game of love’s a beautiful thing but can’t play without risking hurt and heartbreak,

No telling how long, or if you’ll ever, find that special soulmate,

And if you do then further challenges await, bound to leave you drained,

Exchanging ‘I do’s’ then raising children, neither are straightforward,

From the legal wrangling to fixing up assets before having and raising successful children,

Big life changes for the fortunate but come with their own sets of hurdles,

Cheers to you if you find your life’s purpose but the road to success ain’t smooth,

Guaranteed there’ll be sticks and stones to stumble over with every next move,

Might be forced to up sticks, so to speak, running in place gets you nowhere,

Defy what you obey to the point of dogma, almost certainly requires an upgrade of your character,   

Peaks and valleys that may break one’s soul, might convince you it ain’t worth it after all,

But quitting’s never rewarded, where there’s passion there’s another direction,

Go with the flow and keep your eyes on the prize, you’re a lot more resilient than you’d ever realised.

Time waits for no one, camp for too long you’ll be left behind,

Changes happen unannounced, sadly at the expense of those golden times,

Now it makes sense, why many try to extend the moment,

While fear paralyses others, they’re missing opportunities in the process,

But moments won’t last, soon you’ll lose your grip, better decide now, Friend, which one is it,

Find what’s worth suffering for, ain’t about dopamine fixes anymore,

Ignore your cravings for a minute, happiness is but a limited source,

Focus on what you’ll fight for over and over, for better or for worse,

In the end that’s what it boils down to, suffering for your art and passion,

A reflection on life’s brutal truth, spots of happiness dotting over endless suffering,

Actors and athletes, artists and authors, frontliners, teachers and even your friendly nine-to-fiver,

See ‘em bleeding, sweating, grinding to to be the best in their field, shit is painful but awe-inspiring,

And when the world turns they adjust accordingly, no time to cry about what’s beyond control,

They who quit and go home weren’t worthy, gotta fight to achieve total victory,

They say change is good but it’s never easy, what you love now might have to be confined into history,

Evolve or die, Friend, accept the brutal truth over comforting lies,

Only the strong survive, something to ponder over along the journey,

It don’t stop ‘til the casket drops, Tupac nailed it quite succinctly.

Everyone Has A Plan…

It’s an average day, you’re just chilling with the homies,

Smoked some blunts, chugged some beers, nothing out the ordinary,

Conversations random, whatever a mind impaired can conjure up,

Adversarial situations were somehow brought up,

That’s when you piped up, on your feet and head up proud

Like a silverback gorilla, practically thumping that chest out loud,

‘Nothing can bring me down,’ says you ‘I’ll take on all comers,’

‘Any snag I’ll get out of it, any challenge I’ll overcome ‘em,’

‘That’s my mentality, Fools, I’m always ready,’

‘Bring ‘em all on, give me your worst, I’m here come and get me!”

On one fine day the universe complied, that diagnosis struck you like lightning,

So much for your tough talk, the sickness knocked you down and squirming,

Forced you to dig deep, many times had your hand on the white towel,

Ready to throw it in before that will to win granted that second wind,

Bet you didn’t see it coming, did ya? Took you completely unawares,

Got more than you bargained for though you claimed to be prepared.

Iron Mike was right, everyone got a plan until they get punched,

Same can be said of expectations and reality, life won’t always play fairly,

They say true selves emerge during tough times, easy to boast while the sun shines,

To blow smoke up your ass while blue skies hover above green grass,

To write a script where you call the shots, but plans go awry more often than not,

Is it fight or flight should the shit hit the lights? Let’s see how you’ll respond,

Nothing wrong with expectations, self-confidence is an asset,

Such a mindset will always breed a winner,

So long as it’s within reason, life won’t always bend to your will,

It can be your ally or an antagonist, teaching you valuable lessons in the midst of it,

Exposing where you’re right and what needs more work,

Don’t be scared to fail or to get that ass broke, use it as a means for new growth,

So heed the moral lesson, Son, believe in yourself but don’t fall for your own hype,

Losses can and will happen, you my friend are no different,

Better to keep both feet on the ground, they that live in the clouds have further to fall should the winds blow their safety net, fear not, young warrior, there’s hope for you yet.