Never was one to get caught up in workplace politics,

Never wanted to be there, either, but that paycheck is a powerful incentive,

Got along well with fellow workers in general even if we’re treading different tracks,

A team environment encourages camaraderie as long as you don’t slack,

But in that type of setting you’re also bound to clash with others,

Really not much to say, each individual’s an acquired taste,

For every three friends made, two more might not vibe with ya,

One of life’s unfortunate truths, suck it up and get on with it,

Such was the case a few years back, a fellow worker and I did we clash,

For reasons that’ll get eyes rollin’, old gal forever fixin’ for a killin’,

Couldn’t care less so long as she minded her own business, her problems with different races a heavy burden, gotta bear that shit alone, narrow mind and all,

All about that W.A.P, not like Meg and Cardi, the one between ‘01 and ‘73,

Worked together for the Public Service a few years back, stayed in our respective lanes for the most part,

But when paths intertwined there was a stand-off of sorts, shit never popped off but did remind her in subtle terms the translucence of that fake granny demeanour,

Been asked at first contact my proficiency in English, Bitch, what language do you think I’m speaking?

Seen her do it to others, got nothing but backlash for all her troubles,

Never was going to win any popularity contests but fuck it, gotta wear that false sense of patriotism,

Sure as hell got triggered when this young whipper snapper corrected her on her ignorance regarding different cultures,

Welcome to the present era, Madam, the days of Curtin and co are gone, can’t turn back the clock, so grow the fuck up and quit hating.

Data entry our key responsibility, sometimes scanning and mail sorting, it was straightforward and uncomplicated, the pay was lit and the hours convenient,

Clocked in four to five hours a day, sometimes double during peak periods,

It was a different era, before folks lodged their taxes through mediums electronical,

Always did pride myself as a rather handy typist, a youth spent gaming and writing endless reports for school assignments prepped me for this,

Fingers running rampant on the keyboard, churning out a million figures per minute, but alas, your boy’s heavy-handed, and for fellow workers there were glaring consequences,

Hitting those keys like Travis Barker destroys kits, disturbing the peace most likely, but the neighbours seem cool with it,

Oblivious to the symphony I’m creating, earphones plugged in and in the zone, but for you-know-who this maestro was a merchant of chaos,

Came to a head one day, felt a tap on the shoulder, wasn’t too crazy about the interruption but her request I accommodated,

Agreed to cool these hands, for a while it was weightlessness on that keyboard, could only keep it up for so long, before they knew it the drummer boy came marching home,

Asked for a second time, did she, this time with a hint of irritation, give an early-twenty-something-year-old some sass it shall be reciprocated,

Made glorious music on those keys, damn near broke those precious tabs, those within the vicinity shifting, they knew a collision course was at hand,

Could have doubled as the fireworks on NYE, perhaps the opening sequence from Saving Private Ryan, really went to town on those keys,

‘Take that you backwards old crone’, none of this shit was my problem,

Finally, belatedly, she saw the writing on the proverbial wall, collected her gear then fled to the other side, away from the machine gun fire,

‘Bye, Felicia,’ thought I, smug satisfaction etched across my mug,

Looking back through a grown man’s eyes it was immature and kind of petty, but any chance to razz a prejudiced old bitty is a once-in-a-blue-moon-opportunity.

The Final Level pt. 1

They say all good things come to an end, cliché been used to death,

Surely at the forefront in the minds of young’uns when that time rolls ‘round again,

Thirteen years you climbed up the rungs of the system, saw off every challenger, no rematches needed,

Thirteen years led to the final level, where the big boss lurks in the distance, answers to three little letters, we’ll get to ‘em later,

For now a brief recap of the past six weeks, that cherished intermission over summer,

Last remnants of adolescence and of a carefree existence,

Drove interstate to visit extended fam, behind the wheel still under supervision,

Red P’s in the horizon but taking it step by step no need to be rushing,

For the first and final time, the summer break came with some homework,

Mounting responsibilities, the kid gloves are off,

No more coasting on easy mode, gonna have to start giving more and more fucks,

Welcome back to class, Cowboy, the final level underway, demanding nothing less than your absolute best, better bring your A-game.

Ain’t much changed since ‘02, perhaps a new student or two, another switched schools,

Same teachers for each subject, the levelling up might as well had never happened,

One unwelcome change, though, those assignments made a quantum leap in difficulty,

Also in quantity, soon enough juggling five different ones simultaneously,

No rest for the weary, shit is true in more ways than one, free days are numbered, better ration ‘em like diamonds,

And even then you ought to be studying, tests and exams at every turn,

Teachers sure to guilt you on the regular, having a life beyond revision means you’re slacking,

Matters of scholastics and grades are important to be certain but there’s also social standing,

Two ways to make one’s self known among the populace, the good and the bad,

To align with all the big players or be the proverbial punching bag,

Never was interested in the former so you slowly became the latter, refused to conform and blend in so now they’re endlessly trolling,

Hazed and dunked on but whatever, you won’t be stuck with ‘em forever, but feigning indifference will only amplify their actions,

Slowly but surely that stone face will break down, as you’re about to find out, it sure does get lonely when that support system dries out,

Away from the classroom and playground politics, still no place like home, always did serve as a sanctuary, but would come to learn gradually that safe spaces aren’t immune to hostility.T

In My Own Space

First set foot in the gym as a weedy 15-year old,

Part of school sport, at that point never lifted before,

Travelled by bus with fellow signees and a couple of teachers,

Can’t forget first impressions when we made it to our final destination,

Seemed like a jungle of steel parts designed to pump one into jacked-ness,

Posters on the walls of honey-glazed folks, looking ripped and yoked, hard work does pay off,

Heaved and lifted what I could, no structure, it was all experimental,

Worked the mirror muscles, mainly, but in the end felt indestructible,

Was a chubby kid previously before graduating to skinny teen,

Little did I know that day life’s path was laid before me,

Years later still at it, can’t believe it’s been almost a quarter century,

Still no expert, though, forever a student, learned plenty along the way, the decline in gym etiquette included.

Ain’t trained in a public space for years and years now,

The bedroom, two dumbbells and a punching bag’s sufficient anyhow,

The body can work wonders when the mind is determined, sets, tempo and reps manipulated, if jailbirds can get swole sans fancy equipment then surely a homebody is more than capable,

Home’s where the heart is, so they say, when it comes to grinding sure seems that way,

Got very little say in a public space where rules are scrapped day by day,

Fools be leaving benches unwiped, nasty sweat patches glistening under gym lights,

Failing to re-rack what they’d been using, in their wake potential tripping hazards,

Others hogging equipment like they own ‘em, oblivious to the queue forming around them,

Not far from them, in front of the mirror, egotists glued to their phones when they really should be hustling,

Not just taking pictures or recording sessions, talking ‘bout full on scrolling and possible cyber chatting, priorities out of order but that’s how they’re rolling,

Gone are the days of heads down and popping, nothing but blood, sweat and tears,

If you ain’t here for business then what the hell are you doing here?

Then there are the rats side-eyeing and engaged in some not-so-subtle sightseeing,

Shit is predatory and a violation, but another special group must be mentioned,

Those calling out bad behaviour but not always for reasons legit,

Hurling accusations of perving upon unsuspecting strangers just going about their business,

Spreading that shit online, hoping that their targets be named and shamed,

Pretty serious labelling there, you see why many opt to live like hermits? 

On top of sharing space with the inconsiderate, high chance now of baseless finger-pointing,

So I stay put in here, my own sanctuary, sure beats blowing money on those hectic fees.

Can’t stress this enough, no one’s lumping them under the same umbrella,

The majority still in it for the right reasons, striving for self-improvement and lending a hand where it’s needed,

Respect, overall, still rules above all, camaraderie built within these walls, countless friendships and relationships are born,

Sadly there exists the foolish few ruining it for all, is it really too much to pick your shit up off the floor?

To get rid of distractions until after the session, surely your health is more important,

It’s no internet café, club or social space, shut up and run you some miles and lift you some weights, gotta lock in and stay on course, you’ve barely worked up a lather, ain’t wobbly like a newborn colt,

Might as well rock up with blinders on in case those eyes stray towards the forbidden,

Folks from both genders flaunting their assets but get offended when others be checking ‘em,

Talk about simultaneously self-promoting like they’re hoping to be spotted then crying victim when that secret objective is completed,

A glance ain’t always intentional, and if you’d put in the work they’re sure to be inspired by ya,

You’re hawking your junk all over social media so what’s the difference if they notice ya?

But if those eyes linger for too long and they’re sending not-so-subtle-signals, could be a sign of some nasty intentions in which case they deserve to be reported,

The long and short of it, the gym’s a shared space and there are rules in place,

Disrespecting where you’re visiting, fuck outta here with your self-righteousness and sense of entitlement,

Go hard or go home, it’s a time honoured rule around here, leave your ego out of it, hard work trumps clout-chasing, stay in your lane and make you those gains.

Stop The Cap

It’s the social media age where everybody’s an expert,

‘Influencing’ the new sought after calling, the cheat code for easy access to vocations once elusive,

Modelling or fitness, travel experts, dancers and actors, perhaps a combination,

Screw the qualifications, just slap it on that ‘about me’ section,

Among the posers, braggarts and performers looking to get IG and Tik Tok famous, some branding themselves lifestyle and relationship experts looking to sell you something,

‘Be an alpha version of yourself,’ says they, a better you just a follow away,

Hawking ‘courses’ to the masses teaching ‘em to live like bosses,

But a serious relationship doesn’t seem a part of the syllabus, at least not for most of ‘em,

Why stick to one in the face of endless options? FOMO and YOLO come together at the expense of true love and commitment,

But differences apply when it comes to opposing genders, as you’ll find out a little later,

So strap yourselves in, get ready to set sail, the forecast points to wild and choppy waters.

Everyone knows a cheater, their reputations precede them,

Clinging to ‘em like a bad smell, following them straight into hell,

Infidelity once committed is mighty hard to remedy,

The bond you once had virtually irreparable, such betrayal damn near unforgivable,

Hell hath no fury like a partner scorned, they’ll be crowin’ from their platform like Foghorn Leghorn,

The deed once an act of shame but becoming all-too commonplace, different day another victim, despite known consequences,

Yet ‘coaches’ and dating ‘experts’, even so-called ‘writers’ are giving the green light to their naïve followers,

Though the motives for such actions differ across the genders,

In both cases boredom with your other is somehow an acceptable excuse,

Definitely if one feels too superior, it’s a privilege they are free to abuse,

Shit becomes addictive, it’s an extreme sport of sorts, the ever-present thrill of getting caught somehow overpowering guilty thoughts,

Talk about living among sociopaths and the narcissistic,

It’s the world we’re living in where hurting those that love us most becomes an act all too exciting,

‘Send the fucking asteroid,’ no doubt many are thinking it, the decay’s gone too deep, worms and other vermin preparing to feast.

Though both sides have boredom with their others and the thrill of the action as common motivating factors, others all but exclusive to both sides must also be taken into consideration,

Males taught they have the right to fuck with others on the side,

Emotions left out of it, just a meaningless encounter, she needn’t know what he gets up to on the sly,

Females can and should hook with others to strengthen existing unions, good for the self-esteem which in turn make them better partners,

A victimless crime as long as they’re never ever caught, cheating out of love, that’s what they’re being taught,

But here’s the kicker for both sides, their other halves aren’t allowed similar pleasures,

‘Kick ‘em to the gutter and find you another’, say their respective teachers, suddenly infidelity redefined as an evil act of folly,

Guys being taught that she cheats out of emotional fulfilment and a sudden lack of interest but when he does it’s just for kicks so the missus needn’t overthink it,

Hers is an act of betrayal, a total heart ripper, ‘she’s for the streets’, they’re being told, ‘you deserve better, King, to hell with that hoe,’

Meanwhile, for the female’s side, if he cheats he’s the devil personified,

Whereas she does it to expand her horizons and/or because he left her wanting and dissatisfied,

‘You deserve better, Queen,’ they’re being told, ‘kick him to the curb, ain’t worth wasting tears for that turd,’

Fuck that for a sick joke, how does one side get a free pass for a disrespectful act?

Nobody likes a coward, near-impossible to piece together broken glass once it’s shattered.

To the proponents of such behaviour, gotta ask y’all a simple question,

If you ain’t looking to take a relationship serious then why not continue on your lonesome?

Stay independent if you’re looking just to hit and quit, no one waiting at home to concern yourself with, you never wanted strings attached so why not remain detached?

And if there’s trouble in paradise, surely it’s better to work through ‘em together, or part ways if the union has run its course or issues are irreconcilable,

Aren’t discipline and self-respect hallmarks of a true, so-called ‘alpha’?

In addition to leadership qualities, integrity and an ability to keep one’s self together?

Being a slave to one’s urges and nether regions, it’s a sign of weakness if you really think about it,

That be some beta simp shit, the short term gratification delaying inevitable destruction,

And you’re big mad while reminding your disciples that having the tables turned is unjustifiable?

Pot, meet kettle, if anyone deserves a taste of it better look in the mirror,

You of all people should’ve known that not all have it in ‘em to be committed,

And for the record, no one’s giving them a pass, on the totem pole they’re in the lower rung with the rats,

If both parties agree to an open door policy, spreading the wealth to the like-minded and interested, that’s their own damn business,

To each their own, but don’t assume such an arrangement will get everybody’s vote,

Some still believe in exclusivity and loyalty, ‘til death do them part,

One should be so lucky to find someone that goes all in, it takes a real piece of work to discard ‘em over cheaper thrills.

So cut the crap, ‘Coach’, misleading and deceiving your poor ‘stans’,

Declining common sense and social media, they kinda go hand in hand,

Go ahead, encourage them to be liars, weasels and degenerates,

Presumably you’re right beside ‘em in the trenches, a not so happy ending is where y’all are headed,

Think a mountainous conquest is impressive? Maybe to your homies at the club but a real one ain’t having it,

Don’t nobody want to get with the village bicycle, a tunnel that been ran through many times over,

A fool bossed by the appendage from where he urinates, you sure you ain’t carrying nasties up to and including AIDS?

Such a life might seem a dream at first but it will quickly take its toll, too many bodies to keep track off, begging for more of your time, it’ll mess the body and the mind,

Then you get all up in your feelings when your other half turns the tables? You reap what you sow, Farmer, gotta face the consequences,

And if ever in the future you decide you want to change direction and give that family tree some extra branches,

Putting your best foot forward but all the good ones aren’t buying it,

Can’t turn back the clock and neither can your minions, you can try to keep it a secret but a past victim of your philandering is sure to expose it,

This game you’re playing has an age limit, at some point you will hit the wall,

There’ll come a day where no one will be checking for ya but alas, a fulfilled and stable life might be out of reach for ya,

You may successfully make amends and reinvent yourself, but it’ll be a mighty tough stain to erase,

‘Once a snake, always a snake,’ they say, still on the hunt for future prey,

So take a break from the moment and take a look forward, think about that for a second, does it sound at all appealing?

If not better change your ways, stop ripping hearts, bad things come to they who take others for granted, better wise up and stop the cap.