Impure Intentions

She was out for a walk, alone with her thoughts,

Five years retired already, been quite the journey, two years a widow now, unfortunately,

Heard from the kids every now and then, grandkids loved her when they visited,

Too long between reunions but life gets busy thanks to higher costs of living,

Melancholy comes knocking every now and then, but for the most part life’s a breeze,

Simple living and optimism, both have been the key,

On this day, her peace ‘bout to be shattered in ways cringey than clear and present danger,

The dude ran towards her, gave her quite a fright, expecting a thug or purse-snatcher but he wasn’t that type,

He asked her how she was doing, if she was feeling blue,

Wrapped himself around her, minus her consent, before a response can come through,

“It’ll be alright,” said he, “you will be ok,”

“You looked like you needed cheering, have a lovely day,”

His mate stands not far away, phone pointed towards ‘em,

Soon to be uploaded into cyberspace without their subject’s permission,

Off they run feeling heroic while she’s left to pick up the pieces,

To say she’s weirded out and mortified would be an understatement.

Not too far away, dude on the sidewalk wasting,

Reviewing his current situation, the culmination of bad breaks and his own poor decisions,

Living off of others’ generosity and donations,

For the most part mere shrapnel but it’s better than nothing,

One day was approached by a total stranger, cash in her hand, ready for a big contribution, but for reasons rather sad,

She dropped the dough as intended but her phone was pointed at his face,

“Enjoy your money, Sir,” said she, “hope you have a lovely day,”

He’ll be eating well tonight while making the rounds online,

Without his knowledge or consent, her generosity was tainted,

Helping the needy is cool, but social media clout’s her main objective,

Chasing praises from the masses, the dopamine fix is highly addictive,

But for every five likes there are far more of the opposite, consider the plan backfired,

Critics are letting her have it, she still doesn’t know it, but she’ll find out in a little while.

Good deeds with hidden motives, we’re seeing ‘em more often

Helping the downtrodden but we see you acting the paparazzi on ‘em,

It’s an empty gesture if you’re just doing it for clout,

Your audience ain’t cheering or admiring, they’re mocking and laughing out loud,

If you did it out of kindness then you wouldn’t need any witnesses,

You’re just fishing for compliments and backslaps from friends and so-called followers,

Putting it on blast reeks of fakeness and arrogance, how translucent can you get?

Using the less fortunate for your own selfish intentions? You’re a special breed of scum bucket,

And in other cases you’re just playing the space invader, running up on ‘em like whatever,

How’d you like it if you were hassled for no apparent reason? You’d think they were a right little nuisance,

Better cut that out sooner rather than later, you’re doing yourself no favors,

You’re considered a major irritant across social media, how does that label work for ya?

Indulge your ego elsewhere through different means, your actions aren’t appreciated here,

Better you walked on by than using and abusing ‘em, let the real altruists tend to them.

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.

Relief from battle

There you go, strutting ‘round the block with pep, chest proud, chin up with a spring in your step,

Seen the way you interact with others, both at work and at play,

Power and combativeness appears to be the name of your game,

A conqueror and intimidator just like Alexander, swaggering like Charlemagne,

Ruthless as The Prince, the Macchiavellian kind, certainly you ain’t the retreating type,

When it comes to unions the other better submit to ya,

Pushing back’s no option, there can only be one leader,

It’s a weakling that can’t handle ya, wilting against the heat,

They were never worthy if they’re quick to admit defeat.

At least that’s how you present yourself, not sure if it’s real or a mask,

Flying solo, mostly, you just can’t find that perfect match.

‘The world must be crazy, because surely it ain’t me’,

‘They just can’t handle this smouldering alpha energy,’

Easy there, Tiger, seems you judge ‘em too soon,

Might fancy yourself the Don, but let’s weigh up pros and cons,

It helps to be assertive, a closed mouth don’t get fed, can feel that energy coursing ‘round through ya, it’d fill would-be antagonists with dread,

They that take the lead have the final say, they that take the initiative win the day,

Fortune favors the bold, gotta grab opportunities on both horns,

But in some aspects a liability, gotta know when to take that mask off,

Too much heat and not enough cool, something’s bound to pop off,

They that seek relationships of any kind ain’t looking for no fight,

Different day a new battle, don’t need additional from friends and lovers, just want relief from the war after working hours,

Who’s checking to go home to further battles after waging some throughout the day?

Better to live alone than be with one looking to engage,

Makes sense to adopt such traits when negotiating, competing or at the workplace,

But if this is you twenty-four-seven you better keep an eye on your family and friends,

Guaranteed more than a few are low-key hating, maybe cooking your just desserts,

Ain’t no bragging matter, not even Julius would’ve flexed ‘bout that stabbing,

Better loosen up fast if you want relationships to last, might consider yourself top class but in truth they see you an insecure ass.

Flip the script to gain some perspective, what if the roles were reversed?

Might meet your mirror image sooner or later, perhaps at some place after work,

Imagine living life unable to switch off, eggshells that you’re walking on, waiting for the next fight, could come from the one you call your ride or die,

Doesn’t sound appealing, does it? Not many would be up for it,

They ain’t weak or scared for swerving ya, wanting a life of peace ain’t cowardice,

Chill the temperature down a notch, the heat is intense,

Why treat loved ones like your rivals? Shit just don’t make any sense,

Need to let off steam then why not against real fighters?

A boxing gym’s a good starting point, go on and trade hands, maybe engage in conversation with those of opposing opinions,

That should sate your appetite for confrontations, your craving for debates,

Before you head on home and hang the mask up, tomorrow’s a new day.

Ms. Monroe’s Quote

You’ve all seen that quote from one, Marilyn Monroe,

A mantra for many, for reasons both right and wrong,

Sooner or later identities are crafted, life’s work influenced by one’s past experiences,

The road travelled reflected in a series of acquisitions,

Ain’t no one’s perfect, every one of us got flaws and weaknesses to compliment strengths and advantages, a wider gap for some than it is for others,

To put one’s self out there is daunting, the fear of rejection is ever-present,

Though it comes with the territory one wouldn’t seek the experience willingly,

May you find those that vibe with you, ride or die with you,

Bring out your full potential, but you must return the favour,

Others aren’t faring any better due to defects in their character,

In ways that turn off the population, in ways anti-social,

Conceit, a short fuse or not-so-pleasant views, can suck the energy out the room, the types best left avoided ‘lest they kill the mood,

Some of ‘em are aware and try to grow from it accordingly,

While others remain in denial, their egos be leaving ‘em blinded.

Which brings us back to Ms Monroe and what she was saying,

Endorsed by most when it comes to courting and choosing;

“If you can’t handle me at my worst then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best”,

Often a justification when screening potential partners, even when choosing friends,

On the surface it makes sense, why deny your true self just to please the rest?

Faking it ain’t making it in this regard, they never deserved you if they ain’t checking for who you truly are,

But the sentiment has its limits, not immune from being distorted,

Peep at ‘em, twisting the meaning to justify their actions,

But there’s no honour in manipulation, no glory in disloyalty,

No one likes an egotist, let alone a raging narcissist,

Abusers are cowards in disguise, projecting pain and feelings of inferiority to their so-called one and only, whom they’re supposed to love tenderly,

Shallowness ain’t a virtue, neither is rudeness and being a prick,

Plenty of fish but no one’s looking to snag a bitch or a dick,

How dare you expect ‘em to bend to your messed-up ways,

How dare you treat ‘em badly then expect ‘em to stay,

If your love is true then you’d make an effort to change, if not they’ll bounce and you’ll have no one to blame,

Takes two to tango to make it work, a one-sided union ain’t it,

Complement and respect one another, even in friendships,

Be willing to call out one another for bad behaviour, we all mess up from time to time,

Accountability is key, don’t ever let that shit slide.

By all means let the real ones embrace you, imperfections and all,

But it won’t mean shit if only you’re permitted to have flaws,

Don’t play dumb with ‘em, you won’t get away with it,

No one decent and self-respecting would tolerate being treated like shit,

You reap only what you sow, whether it’s for what you’re hustling or the energy you draw,

Continue to be a source of toxicity, boomerang effect will leave you in a tizzy,

Make a change or forever be left wondering why you’re repelling ‘em,

Never too late but only if you really want it, being deplorable’s no option, how soon will you grow from it?

If Tomorrow Never Comes: The ‘R’ Card

Can’t forget about that day from the year 2013,

Just another work day, rostered on the afternoon shift,

Hopped into the car, time to get the show rolling,

Unaware of the forced absence that was looming,

Ronan Keating on the radio as I approached a roundabout,

A frequent setting for many an accident, never would’ve guessed that I’d ever be joining ‘em,

Ran through it once the coast was clear, then out came another vehicle from left-field,

‘Why’s this fool speeding? I’m already in this roundabout crossing,’

Better brace yourself, Kiddo, this stretch of road ‘bout to claim another victim,

Tried to pass through quickly while the other guy slammed the brakes belatedly,

Struck my left side without much force, thankfully, but left a dent that was rather unsightly,

His front lights trashed and bumper hanging off the grill, gonna cost him plenty just to get ‘em fixed, 

Could see him gesticulating from his windscreen, safe to say shit’s about to get real,

Feral eyes on point while ranting incoherently, if he wants smoke I’m ready to unleash my inner Bruce Lee,

Gently pulled over to the side of the road, got out and waited for him,

He pulled up behind me then climbed out his vehicle, ears steaming as he stomped towards my direction,

A few cross words exchanged, accusations galore,

Didn’t come to blows though the temptation to swing was rather strong,

Cooled down after a while, left him to dial triple-zero,

Then chilled next to our respective banged-up rides, awaiting the po-po.

They arrived fifteen minutes later, both coppers Caucasian,

I don’t mention that for provocation but I do have my reasons,

Anyway, we got to talking, they wanted our version of events, they asked the other dude first, the reason I can’t fathom,

Off he goes ranting ‘bout how he beat me into that concrete circle on the street, practically spitting before dragging proceedings into places ignorant and cringy,

“See the way guys like him are driving?” he’s raging, “they drive differently from us,”

Playing THAT card huh, Buddy? Took all my strength not to cuss,

Thought he had the complexion for the connection but any privileges he thinks he’s entitled to ‘bout to be shattered,

But the reaction from the coppers truly was something quite disturbing,

Shared similarities to the culprit, yes I mean their skin tone, they seemed to look at one another, I don’t like where this is going,

Had to collect myself, can’t show no emotions, the odds stacked against me now, time to tip the scales in my favour,

Calmly told my side of the story, how I’d been at the crossing first,

How our old, angry and bearded friend flew from out of nowhere, it was pure human error so not gonna judge him by his colour,

Having heard both sides, coppers ordered us to our respective quarters, to call our insurance companies and let ‘em sort through the rubble,

Bad news for the other driver, took the low road and he ain’t even covered,

Way to play yourself, Mister, total costs are gonna give you ulcers,

Dialled my insurance folks, informed them of what happened,

Hoping I’d get off easy, that they’d proclaim me not guilty,

Sure enough they said that they’d handle it, sadly gotta get that car towed then repaired,

Gonna be without wheels for a while, going out and about gonna be real interesting.

Two Blokes With Carrying Poles

Just a typical morning in an apartment block at UP’s Diliman campus,

Where Mom and Pops graduated, their alma mater, not far from the bustling city of Manila,

Lived in a building at the end of a long driveway, beyond our front door a small, paved walkway,

Overlooked by a tall, forbidding gate, behind it a dirt road where street kids liked to play,

Every day without fail, even during weekends come sun, wind and rain,

The peddlers are on time, always, going about their trade without fail,

During the mornings it’s the puto vendor, an old-timer in his 60s or 70s,

Skin brown and leathery, voice rendered gravelly, likely, from years of smoking ciggies,

A wide sombrero atop that dome, two baskets’ worth of confections hanging off his carrying pole,

Slung across his shoulders, he’s out there looking like a walking scarecrow,

Traipsing up and down the walkway, lined with small gardens and flowers in buckets,

Some on hanging baskets, adding color to the greyness,

“Puto! I have puto! Who wants puto!” he’s calling just as the block is waking,

Not many seem eager, it’s still nine-thirty in the morning,

Some kids and their parents come out to greet him, clearly early risers,

Might have already had their breakfast so might as well get ‘em some desserts,

No alarm clock needed while he’s grinding, that early morning call as loud as a rooster crowing,

The gruff exterior hid a gentle nature, naturally kids and their parents take a liking to him,

Then off he goes, hanging ‘round that walkway, in case other families are waking,

Admiring front gardens in the process, put away the side-eye he’s just chilling.

Behind that aforementioned gate, a dirt road spreads behind the complex,

Barrels and old construction equipment lie abandoned beneath the building, a gated stone home staring directly across it,

A shanty town lines the end of the road, chaos reigns as street kids and stray animals are mingling,

Rough play the order of the day, this well-off city boy willingly joined the fray,

Differences in social standings inconsequential, just out there running, tackling and enjoying it,

Once mid-day arrives it happens, that near-mythical being appears from out of nowhere,

Two tins of his precious cargo dangled from a carrying pole slung across his shoulders,

That would be taho, that sweet, sweet Filipino dessert,

Tofu, arnibal and sago pearls, comfort food for the general population,

‘Taho!!! Taho!!!’ he’s calling from atop his lungs and heart, the voice nowhere as hoarse as his puto-selling counterpart, they’re running several decades apart,

Playtime is halted, suddenly, kids rush towards him, excitedly,

Can only look on in amazement, he’s like a real-life version of the pied piper,

Felt like the odd one out, couldn’t have any said the parents,

Street snacks ain’t safe for eating, there’s no telling what could be in it,

So back to the apartment I go, lunchtime’s right ‘round the corner, rough play with the lads will just have to resume a little later.

Been more than 30 years, time sure does fly quickly,

Never knew their names yet they still exist vividly within my memory,

Still think about ‘em up to now, after all this time,

Certainly one of ‘em’s already crossed over to the other side,

Similar thoughts ‘bout those kids with whom I used to play,

Had they found a way out or stayed stuck in place?

For the record, Dear Reader, that apartment complex is still standing,

Nestled among trees within Mom and Pops’ alma mater,

Through a child’s eyes the ‘hood seemed so much larger,

Such thoughts come easily when one’s universe is confined to one area,

In a grown man’s shoes it seems shrunken, like homes had downsized and roads narrowed,

At times got me feeling like Gulliver returning to his old suburb,

Just a piece of my childhood that I’m sharing with y’all, a window into a time long gone,

Took two different vendors to pry it open, the ones loudly selling what they’re bearing on their carrying poles.

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?