Old Stomping Grounds

That letter dropped in the mail, got me another summons,

Been ten years since the last, a return to the courthouse loomin’,

Same ol’ setting, in The ‘Riff, been a second home for a decade,

Had worked here previously, just down the road, hence the sense of familiarity,

Making my way, memories flooding back, the good and the bad,

Ten years a slave for the taxman but made me some serious bank,

Got me through tertiary, funded several trips abroad,

Wasn’t an exciting gig but on some days low-key kinda missing it,

Same sentiments thinking ‘bout the rest, of former stomping grounds from yesteryear,

The ‘Riff, Abbotsford, Ol’ Ash and the CBD, the site of many a good memory,

Back when troubles seemed far away like Sir Paul sang about, feeling free and on top as though among the clouds,

Forgive the cliché, but they were the best of times,

Better work-life-balance, far less worries, had me some friends, felt like the prime of life,

Before society began to hate over trivialities and differences, no fear of being canned,

Life aged in the late twenties and early thirties, couldn’t get better than that,

Old enough to do your own thing, young enough, still, to feel optimistic, seemed like the party was never-ending.

Forgive the cliché, but as they say, time brings about change,

Nothing lasts forever, we’re onto the next phase,

Off went that cushy gig at The ‘Riff, with it any semblance of steady employment,

Visits to Abbotsford and Ol’ Ash dwindling, the CBD the new place for hanging,

For working and training, too, socialising and the rest,

Then the decade turned, that all-powerful bug put the world to the test,

Brace yourself, here comes the crash, the glory era on the floor in smithereens,

So begins the next chapter, can’t say it’s all too appealing.

The world put on hold but somehow kept on turning,

Locked down for a year or two to keep the beast from spreading,

Yearning for normalcy upon release, of what had once been,

Sadly, it was never happening, gotta keep on moving,

Lost that gig in the city, extended absence was the cause,

Back on the road alone, friendships can only put up with for so long extended periods without contact, of feeling hazed, frozen out and ignored,

Of all the different crafts to be mastered, losing people just had to be it,

Everyone goes away, in the end, but the man in the mirror played his part in it,

And with ‘em went the good times once enjoyed with ‘em,

I guess it’s a fresh page we’re writing but goddamn, why didn’t they serve a fucking warning?

Back at The ‘Riff, in the present, after being away for some time,

Traipsing through familiar ground, towards the courthouse, nostalgia roaring back to mind,

Many changes made, physically, can’t expect it to stay the same,

Modernized to keep up with times, refurbished buildings, maybe a few knockdown-rebuilds,

Some hit hard by that mass lockdown, they just couldn’t keep up,

Adjust or be left behind, some chose the latter and got ate up,

Feeling a sense of melancholy over what had once been, was it real or just a dream?

But in truth time has an expiry, can’t hold on to ‘em for eternity,

The ‘Riff is history, Ol’ Ash and Abbotsford in the rear-view mirror,

Might still drop by the CBD, but for a whole new other purpose,

No more training, sparring and teaching, the best damn gig ever,

All good things come to an end, pain and change the only fucking constants,

But what’s it they say? Be like water and go with the flow?

The stubborn and fearful end up drownin’ while those that flow stay afloat,

Time to put it into practice, set a target and go for it,

Never know what you can get, like Forrest said, life’s a box of chocolates,

Can’t forget the past, they’re set in stone, look back on them fondly,

As you continue on the road ahead, go create bigger and better memories.

The Final Level pt. 4

It was all drawing to a close, still some last minute business but done with assessments and taking notes,

Bade farewell to peers and teachers alike, a fun day at the junior campus the prize,

A makeshift carnival the order of the day, inner children coming out to play,

Wasn’t feeling it at all, sadly, the previous weeks and months had taken their toll,

Treated like an outsider by the population so two middle fingers towards the fuckers,

The formal was up next, wore a white suit just like I did in year ten,

Sat on the sidelines watching the others, couples dancing, friends reminiscing, got me wondering if in ten years they’ll still be together?

Then came graduation, finally got my flowers for my efforts,

Couldn’t give two shits about it, just wanted to go home and be done with it,

Slim and pale in that photo, school blazer, tie and trousers fitting loosely,

Could’ve doubled as an alternative rocker and just as cynical and angsty,

The showdown is on, the final boss out there still smouldering,

Fourth term the battleground, time to put to test thirteen years of grinding.

Term three break no picnic, it was heads down and studying,

Eat, sleep and revise twenty-four-seven, weekends temporarily non-existent,

Expecting torture but truthfully found it strangely enjoyable,

Reading notes on my lonesome while the radio’s playing, quite the soothing experience,

Day one of testing finally arrived, initial confrontation with that final boss,

My specialty up first, feeling confident compared to most,

Still in the days of handwriting, putting pen to paper, of battling dominant hand cramping,

Regurgitating notes memorized onto paper, trying to sound coherent while the mind and heart are racing,

Day after day knocking ‘em over like bowling pins, strangely felt on top of things,

That strict routine paying dividends, felt that hitting the nineties was possible,

First week done and dusted, confidence rather high,

But the beast still lives, might have in store for me a big surprise,

Second and third weeks came and went, time away from the arena spent in my little room,

Took breaks when I could, not for long, Rocky soundtrack helping to set the mood,

That bus pass been gathering dust fast, P-plates ensure I can commute on my lonesome,

Still feeling strangely relaxed, pre-examination jitters had long passed,

The final week arrived, at last, two more hurdles before freedom,

‘Not long to go, Kiddo, go out guns blazing.’

Took care of the first before the second and last,

The final school exam ever, 13 years went by so fast,

Entered that great hall one last time, accompanied by the final group of peers and teachers I’d ever see,

Nothing but dry eyes here, won’t be exchanging hugs and kisses with ‘em, just want to get this over with, hop in my ride then leave ‘em,

Took a seat not far from the door, Rocky soundtrack pumping through my mind once more,

Plenty of writing will be involved, guaranteed that hand will be sore,

Pen to paper, jotting down responses while the hours are ticking,

Finished with half an hour to spare, finally, the final level completed,

Sat down in silence in a state of semi-meditation, taking in this winning feeling,

Dismissal arrived once three hours had elapsed, gathered my things then walked out the back,

Straight to the parking lot, two now-former classmates bade me farewell,

Grudgingly waved back, saw them off with a glare, hopped in my ride then drove off out of there,

Arrived home early, relief washes over, school’s out forever,

No blaze of glory as previously envisioned, student life ending without celebration,

The kid gloves are off, real life is about to begin,

Which way will you go? How far will you reach? Choice is yours, Kid, it’s yours for the taking.


Snail mail came knocking weeks later, moment of truth finally arrived,

Waiting for this a long time, let’s check out that UAI,

Fell short of the desired mark but still a passing grade,

Felt let down in way but a pass is still ok,

The next step is clearer, but that’s not to say it’s set in stone,

Still adrift at sea, sailing to nowhere on a dingy boat,

Much to their annoyance, their first-born seemingly on a hiding to nothing,

Failed to plan, planned to fail, thirteen years of schooling with nothing to show for it,

Then the Tax Office came calling, the work front taken care of,

As for further studying, signed up for a Cert IV TAFE course,

Seemingly back on track, feeling on top of the world,

Could only get better from here, sadly it just wasn’t to be,

Cut off from that nice-paying job, back to square one once more,

Good times, they never last, got me feeling gutted and ripped off,

Need to press on anyway, hoping for something better ‘round the corner,

In the distance a storm is brewing, thunderclouds are gathering.


There you go, hitting another milestone,

From rocking and rolling then crawling, now you’re levelling up to walking,

Previously done under supervision, guided by Ma or Pa’s hands or some wheelie contraption,

Time to try it unassisted, took five steps before tripping, dusted yourself off before continuing, gotta keep the momentum going,

That tiny body packed with determination and perseverance, sadly both may fade with age,

You see, Kiddo, some grow up mastering the art of quitting, giving in to fear and useless opinions,

How the hell does it happen? Sure is mind-boggling,

Not lumping ‘em all in the same box, but it gets them, seemingly, more often than not,

Not trying to scare ya, Kid, you’re still too young to get any of this,

But as long as we’re here might as well give it to you straight before you go on with the rest of your day.

Here’s you; just over a year old, still travelling through life’s early morning,

But peep at those four or five years older than you wishing they were bigger,

Grown-ups have all the freedom, they’re thinking, no bedtimes, schoolwork or pushy parents,

But the future will say otherwise, when you yourself are older you’ll realize,

Youthful fantasies turning out to be fallacies, now you’re dealing with real responsibilities,

Least of all your actions, the ripple effects could mean the difference between peace and catastrophe,

You’ll have learned to deal with scrapes to the knee, it’ll be a flesh wound, literally, compared to life’s other maladies,

Think that being the runt in the litter is a downer? Grown-ups definitely have it rougher,

Choices could mean life or death, ain’t nobody coming to save you from them, either,

Truth is, that once unquenchable curiosity could be blunted, as is that once mighty sense of adventure

For now your peers fear monsters hiding under the bed, later on the voices of doubt within their heads,

Where they were once carefree they’re more aware of their surroundings which could act as breeding grounds for overthinking, got ‘em skittish like creatures looking out for predators,

Even others’ opinions become serious business, never was a barrier between others among youngsters,

But in the grown world they’re using ‘em as weapons of mass destruction, of hazing and other methods potentially dangerous,

While the kiddies a few years ahead of you are pretending to be superheroes and all-conquering beings, their parents’ peers are ramping up the narcissism or giving in to insecurities,

Even the act of selfie-taking a whole new battleground, filters needed to gain some sort of advantage,

Social media a curse and a blessing, depending on how you use it,

Always cognizant of others, looking for strengths and weaknesses, for some it dictates their every movement when they should be staying in their lane and minding their own business,

So they end up moving cautiously, the fear of losing got them chained,

Growing up doesn’t equal total freedom, they get misty-eyed recalling their early years for a reason.

Just some thoughts that came to mind, watching you try and try again,

Setbacks inconsequential, keeping at it until you’ve mastered it, moving on if it’s mission impossible,

No tears from those eyes when it’s the latter unless you scrape a limb, time to find another option, conquer new worlds while you’re at it, it really is that simple,

Contrast that to Mom and Pops’ peers, too many of them throw in the towel too easily,

Don’t come at the writer, Folks, not all are under the same brolly,

But is it not uncommon to watch one fold by way of rage-quitting?

Whether it’s some personal project gone awry or even their own relationships?

Sure, they’re bigger, stronger and smarter but are they really braver?

You might think so since they can handle scenarios that have you hollering but in the face of failure, the unknown, their own image and others’ opinions they’re more or less cowering,

But what you and your fellow kiddos need to realize is that time, once an ally, has become an adversary,

The further along the journey, you see, the greater the knowledge of one’s immortality, some feel empowered while others feel expendable,

One false move can end it all, literally and figuratively,

Some outcomes reversible but in other situations game over,

That’s why they proceed with caution, can’t blame youth on reckless decisions,

Mom and Pops aren’t around no more to rescue them, what happens next is all up to them,

But it really shouldn’t stop ‘em from living,

From trying new things, taking up new hobbies, meeting others dancing to a different tune, maybe shoot for the stars, the sky and the moon,

Can’t jump off the pier without first assessing the depth of that water,

But waiting for too long has its costs, time squandered is time forever lost.

You need not worry about that for a while, still getting to know the world around you with a smile,

But as you get older please don’t neglect your inner child,

The pluck you’re displaying now, trying to take your steps,

Hope you hold onto it for life, use it to overcome life’s many tests,

Whatever it is you aim for, chase after it with all your might,

Success may prove elusive but if it matters you will keep up the fight,

In a few short years you might join your older peers wishing they were bigger,

To be too cool for school and rules, no one can tell them where to go and what to do,

Before you know it you’ll be there, too, one of the grown-ups you once looked up to,

The next generation are where you were at, make sure you keep those youthful fantasies intact,

Live life to the full, be bold and take chances, never mind others’ opinions, to hell with the haters, why concern yourself with the languishing and envious?

Keep trying or find something else, keep it simple, be good and soldier on forward,

They say life’s a rollercoaster, full of twists and turns,

Ride it for as long as you can, got plenty of years to burn,

Seeing that ever-smiling face of yours, only looking forward to the future,

Take it with you, Kid, never stop believing there’s always good around the corner.

Poisoned Chalice

Chalice in hand, held by unsteady fingers,

Contents bubbling, smell is sickening, guaranteed to make a killing,

Tipped then forced down your gullet, by your hand at your command,

Down goes the poison and now your insides are corroded,

Yet you’re sitting, waiting, for they that vexed you to meet their maker,

Though you’re the one that swallowed it, the world around you quickly fading,

The script been flipped, they were supposed to take the punishment,

Should’ve listened to Buddha in matters of holding onto anger,

You think you’ve got ‘em poisoned but in the end it’s you that ends up suffering,

Bearing that weight to spite and remind them that they are bottom-feeding, no-good, foul little cretins while those joints of yours are straining,

To hell with lifting your feet up, you’re thinking, keep it pressed against their necks,

Choke the life out of ‘em, metaphorically, make sure they never forget,

Do tell, Dear Friend, why hold onto wounds from the past?

How do you expect to heal when you keep picking at the scabs?

You think they’re fretting over sins? They’ve likely moved on from that shit,

Forged new lives, perhaps redeemed themselves, it’s been and done and buried deep,

Maybe they never cared, if your description of them’s accurate then they must be sociopathic,

Those types never give a thought to the chaos they create, they’re a special breed indeed,

Why not go another direction? Turn that anger into kindness?

Forgive then let go instead, finally, belatedly, take your foot off their necks.

You’re likely aghast, wondering why show them any mercy? It’s akin to condoning what they did, miss you with that shit,

You’ve got it wrong, though, no one’s asking you to let it slide,

But are such folks worth the effort required to carry hatred with you all your life?

You got to this point intact but choose to stay mad at ‘em,

You’re not hurting ‘em or beating ‘em, if anything just empowering ‘em by choosing to stay their victim,

Forgive them, Friend, drop the load and catch your breath,

Your time on earth is limited, why waste it caught up in these feelings?

Gotta keep your eyes on the road, the only way is forward,

Can’t look at the rearview for too long ‘lest you get into an accident,

So go ahead, let them go and set yourself free,

Life will be so much better, you’ll see.

The Block

Been here before, numerous times, at this point lost count,

Call it a speed bump, call it a trap, length of time spent here vary across the map,

The bane of many a writer, y’all know what it’s all about,

Once again traipsin’ around The Block, driven berserk by the ticking of the clock,

Charged out the gates armed with ideas, stacks of lines and chapters waiting to be written,

On a roll of sorts before Humpty Dumpty had a fall, just can’t make sense of it at all,

Reviewing the battle plan once more, looking for different avenues to cross, hopefully to then piece it all together, to make art from out the rubble,

Alas, it’s no use, dead ends in all directions, no telling how long we’re stuck,

Escape will take patience and, perhaps, a heavy dose of luck,

Thus opens a new fork in the road, no turning back from either option,

To wave the proverbial flag and walk or to grit those teeth and soldier on,

Really comes down to your dedication with this art that you’re creating,

Got something important to say? Maybe bills to pay?

Maybe you’re just passing time through creating, normal life will go unaffected,

If real life depends on it, if the message is worth spreading you’ll find a way to push through,

Been here before, why stop now? Think back to why you’d started, the cliché rings true,

If not then drop it, walk away then begin anew, maybe come back to it later, once time and wisdom brought about with it some answers,

Find a way or an excuse, the rest is up to you,

How bad do you want it? Will you leave or stay stuck in this place? Rise above or be consumed by it? Find a way or walk away? Better ask yourself some questions.

The Final Level part 3

Chapter three, we’ve finally made it, the final level inching closer towards completion,

Barely holding onto that proverbial rope, it’s cracked and fraying while palms are bleeding,

Prepping for that final boss, taking care of its minions first,

Trials, assessments and exams galore, a carefree life exists no more,

Outside those gates, learning the inner workings behind the driver’s seat,

Been at it for one year already, locked on towards those red Ps,

Life at home base remains stable, though chipping on the surface,

Unsure if it’s wear and tear or a slow-paced crumbling,

Tensions mounting, taking a wee bit longer to resolve, at times those glory years feel like mere hallucinations, might as well had never happened at all,

Can’t forget that day, another explosive row between them three, retreated to the sanctuary, teens shed tears only under the veil of privacy,

Feeling the heat from some of the relos, nothing like pressure to create diamonds,

It also busts pipes, bet they didn’t know it, that’s how your guy here be feeling it,

There’s also the retreat, lasted two days and one night in an idyllic setting to ‘find ourselves’, that’s the bullshit they’re preaching,

Didn’t quite go as planned, yours truly got a revelation instead, any semblance of acceptance pretty much gone and fucking dead,

Couldn’t even shower in peace, the trolls were frothing and let loose,

No deadly kinky prison shit in here, but literal mudslinging was put to malicious use,

Way to convince a guy that he’s alone, fuck it, so be it,

Won’t rattle y’alls cages anymore, I’ll gladly go off on my lonesome,

Can’t lie, some friendly folks remained, well-meaning and approachable, unlike the snakes that went right for the jugular,

Treated them in kind but stopped short of letting them in, never know if wolves are lurking within, gotta be wary of whom I be trustin’,

Don’t bother asking ‘bout girls, dating or anything of the sort, no time for any of that, not while tests, gen pop and expectations are on riding my back,

Not that they’re checking for your boy and the feeling was mutual, at this rate will probably fly the skies without a co-pilot, off to the great unknown alone,

Every waking moment between classes spent in the library, a refuge from the bullies and the politics,

Finding a safe haven between shelves, can’t remember the categories but one of them was music,

Flicking through pages until the chiming of the bell, before another onslaught of assessments and unwanted interactions, life on campus a special kind of hell,

Speaking of, they say there’s a place reserved for those that take matters into their own hands,

Never did plan on turning towards a permanent solution, but to say I ain’t ever thought about it would be lyin’ about it.


Took a trip down memory lane one day, flicking through that photo album,

So many fond memories, some of ‘em forgotten,

Stumbled upon one from kindergarten years, featured two cute little kids,

One of ‘em yours truly, you being the other, ain’t seen you in years and years,

How we came to share a snap, kind of a funny story, that,

Never were buddies, nor did we interact, boys and girls tend to stick to their own, just a matter of fact,

Parents’ Day was the catalyst, school putting together a celebration, kiddies dancing with one another, that’s how we wound up partners,

Recollections of that day hazy, been more than thirty, feels like a lifetime,

So many highs and lows since, it lies buried deep beneath layers of grime,

This artefact remains the only proof of its occurrence and also our shared existence,

Which, by that time, had become numbered, year’s end brought with it drastic changes,

Both of us destined to leave The Islands, this boy and his fam first cab off the ranks,

Bound for the Land Down Under, a better life lay ahead, so promised the parents,

Heard from the grapevine that you and your folks were bound for the Land Of Opportunity, traveling to opposite sides of the globe,

Never crossed paths again, our time in one anothers’ stories ended,

Can’t lie, looking at this picture kinda makes me wonder where you’re at,

If you yourself possess a keepsake, also how life had turned out for you,

Are you still up there in the States? Maybe moved overseas? Maybe returned to the Philippines?

Married and had you a bunch of kids? Flying solo like many today are wont to do? Wherever you are, hope it all worked out well for you,

Maybe we’d crossed paths by accident over the years, this kid grew up to be quite a traveller, maybe you’d taken a similar path, it’s just one of many possibilities,

But at the end of the day it’s all speculation, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t simping or wishing and hoping,

We were six at the time, too early to be thinking about romance, barely even got to talking, though the classmates did their share of trolling,

About how we’d grow old together, apparently dance partners make good life partners,

Despite the lack of an emotional connection or signs of affection holding hands is enough for a happily ever after,

I wonder if you remember that or even noticed, kinda amusing now just thinking about it,

Kids say the darndest things, always jumping straight to conclusions,

Just to let you know, I’m doing alright, got up to this point mostly intact, been some challenges along the way but everyone goes through that,

Taking it all one step at a time, it’s really the best that we can do, take your time, pay others no mind, it’s your own path, how it goes only you determine that,

Anyway, just the musings of a man taking a trip back in time, come to think of it, what do you suppose our fellow peers are up to?

Just something to reflect over during whatever downtime we can spare, which, in adulthood, is just so damn rare.

Dear Shorty

Dear Shorty, this is your inner-self talking, addressing you and others in our position,

You’re down about something, same old thing, trivial at first glance,

Takes one to know it first-hand, the lucky ones won’t understand,

Day after day waking and hoping you’d climbed a few rungs,

Plucked from the land of the vertically-challenged, from the jerks and their ceaseless trolling,

Sure, you’re in the mid-teens, still some years before those plates freeze,

Sadly, the genetics have the final say, but you’re counting on miracles anyway,

A genetic rebellion remains unlikely, gotta face facts, Buddy,

Ain’t no way will you play in the NBA, but keep that chin up, Son, everything will be ok.

Height, it’s a touchy subject, especially among dudes,

In matters of courting, a potential deal-breaker, it’s an unfortunate truth,

‘He’s a ten’, some are saying, ‘shame that he’s too short,’

God help you if you’re standing under six, can’t pass that trait over to her future kids,

Not much you can do about it, though, it’s beyond your control,

Pounds can melt, muscles gained, degrees earned and promotional ladders climbed,

But unless you come from a line of living skyscrapers you’ll remain a tiny little cabin,

Sorry to break it to ya, Mate, but neither of yours fit the description,

Ditto their folks and so on, a break in the pattern ain’t happening,

It sucks to be you, life is unfair, bet that’s what you’re thinking.

But while the frustration’s kinda understandable, you’re looking the fool by playing victim,

Can’t do nothing about it so why not instead aim to be more productive,

What you lack in height you can make up for in character and intelligence,

Carve your own glorious future, learn to win over others, watch that lack of height fade into irrelevance,

Peep at fellow manlets thriving like they’re big men on campus, got the girl, making bank, popular among peers, living like kings,

What were their excuses? Nothing, they rose above perceived limitations, defined their mission and their purpose then chipped away, moving mountains,

People are entitled to their preferences, you’re not made for everyone,

Doesn’t permit you to force or beg for their affections, people have a right to their standards,

Though there are the malicious and shallow, judging strictly on appearances and dimensions,

Won’t get anywhere with ‘em, they never deserved your time and energy anyway,

Kick them to the curb, make room for those that choose you,

The ones that’ll take you for all of you, those are your type of people.

The passing of time brings with it upgrades in technology,

Can now defy your genetics through science and manipulation,

Limb lengthening surgeries, once reserved for those imbalanced, becoming commonplace though no less pricey, will this cure your insecurities?

Guaranteed that bank account will suffer, procedure and airfares must be covered, more likely than not gotta head to another land, in the care of total strangers,

Prepare to have those legs broken, bits and pieces put in ya, designed to stretch those bones longer,

A lengthy recovery period awaits ya, any of that leave your stomach churning?

Sure you’ll be taller, but a price must be paid, long term effects could be debilitating, will you risk it just to be accepted by others?

Be your own authentic self, work on yourself daily,

Short king or victim, the choice is yours, clear as day which way is appealing,

Why get caught up in where you’re lacking, you still have much going for ya,

Go all-in with the cards you’re dealt, come out your shell and make friends, never know what or whom you’ll get,

Work at it daily and watch yourself evolve, grow in ways you never thought, your stature won’t matter anymore,

The world is still yours, King, but you gotta earn it if you want it,

Go fourth and conquer, one day you’ll be a giant among men.

Killed With Kindness

Another hard day of grinding, the type Johnny and Paulie sang about,

Tired as a dog, just want to sleep like a log, but first gotta hit the road,

No mood for bullshit, just want to get by with no hassles,

‘Not today, Bud’, the universe had other ideas,

Fifteen minutes from home, fair bit of traffic, crossed that double-lane roundabout,

Some dude from the outer lane, don’t remember the make and model of his vehicle, just that it was a silver colour,

Slams into my passenger door, trying to turn right from the outside,

No way that’s happening without causing an accident,

Aimed to go home without incident, now additional chores need attending, to top it off my ride’s dented, got me mad as hell and fuming,

Pulled over to the side, ready to spew fire and brimstone,

Fists ready if need be, he’s about to cop it tenfold,

Stomped over to him as he exits his vehicle, came out with his hands up, these are the first words from out his mouth;

“I’m sorry, it was my fault, I’ll give you my details then call the cops,”

Just like that, all thoughts of vitriol and ass-whuppings extinguished, took down his details before asking if he’s injured,

Cops showed up, asked for both sides of the story, made notes of what’s necessary before dismissing us in a hurry,

The other player and me, shook hands and wished each other well, off he drove unaware that earlier yours truly thought of giving him hell,

Kind of amazing, the power of calmness and a few kind words,

Never thought it’d work, use it before resorting to violence, it’d make for a far better world,

Next time you get on the wrong foot, try to kill ‘em with kindness, let’s see what happens,

But if the desired effect ain’t happening, by all means, get ready to throw down like nobody’s business, you have a right to defend yourself if they swing first, just don’t go overboard with it.

The Final Level pt. 2

HSC, three little letters inspiring horror and fear,

13 years of schooling led to this, can’t believe it’s almost here,

Been ups and downs over the years, sometimes sun, sometimes rain,

Kinda fitting that the final level would dish out the most pain,

That workload ever-increasing, showing no signs of ceasing,

Low-key feeling the pressure from the relos to pass with flying colors, it’s boom or bust the way they’re talking about it,

Like it’s do or die, that a piece of paper determines one’s fate,

No wonder some check out early when they fail to make the grade,

Time to get serious, though, need to start thinking about life on the other side,

This here’s the training ground, Kid, out there it’s real life,

Uni, TAFE or the workforce, the choice is yours to make, better make moves now, they’ll soon push you out the gate,

But let’s get back to the tale, shall we? Still plenty to unpack here,

Never had true allies in this place, just some guys that knew your name,

And even then, within their circle, found yourself constantly on the outs,

Left you high and dry when jerks came knocking, seemed to join in the hazing and finger pointing, until eventually you were left deserted,  

No safety in numbers, going it alone has consequences, what’s a boy to do?

Here’s a taste of real life, Dude, fend for yourself, that’s what grown folks do,

Home remains where the heart is, but even solid foundations chip now and then,

Got too much on that plate to take notice, hopeful, somehow, the structure won’t go collapsin’.