America My Love, Sixth Refrain


I met plenty of overachievers
Sweet believers
In endless toils and labors

Folding fists up to the sky
Trying to rise rise rise
Up to the top
Not knowing when
Best, like the rest, falls
Top topples hardest of all

Grinding away best
Within wide bindings
Society sounded so
Clinging to dean’s lists
4.0’s, no conflicts or rows

Beating the brain bloody
Blow by blow
Pounding the effort
To be astounding
Into each core
Success distributing dopamine

Sniffing school up
Like it were lines of coke
Not minding the constant comedowns
Emanating on flitting failure

Learned of a student
On endless adderal grind
Getting to A’s through sleepless nights
In a haze through Tireless working days

Powering on for some straight indicator
Of something done with brilliance
Pushing for a sign of any success
Bleeding for grace under duress

Left the easy life and
Flew far from the nest
To meet life like it were a test

Talked only when he could
Met folk only when he should
Smoothed substance and word
Out in measures of legitimacy
In cover letter caliber

Staring at
Calibri typed word
When Times were New Roman
Thinking sheep bleat rebellions
Before refraining

Hand raised abstain
From black staining
Resumes leading to training
Leading to daily creating
Unfolding of molds that
Straightened lives out
In line like white teeth

It was not about
Living far out
Beyond the pale
Compounding out
Wasted time with Hippies
In upstate NYC
It was the endless churn
The constant mental burn
To touch the sky
Fire filling the peripheries
Burning out sight of the ground

And I could say something
Snappy about Icarus and the sun
But when the fall’s real
The burnout steals the satisfaction

Reveling in perfection
Misdirected feels fun for a while
But the failure’s too human
For Schadenfreude

~Austin R Ryan

On the eastside of what west lies


Pardon me
For my sentimentality
Not a shade off from
Some form of
Emotional brutality

I feel far enough
That sad songs
Sing relevance

I wanted to move in a way
I used to
And I wanted to be in the skin
I felt comfortable in

I’ve stretched my arms
And bore my abdomen

But I only feel hungry

I’ve made my bold step
Right here at the gates of civilization
I’ve brandished my meticulous mind
On the details of book learning

Pardon me
For not feeling gratitude
Not a hue off from
Some need for
Inescapable rectitude

I’ve stitched it together all wrong
And wondered if it was because
you never taught me to sow

I’ve filled my ears with urgency

I’ve lost my hands holding on
To things I never needed
And I cannot think of how to communicate
Without using sign language

I am marking the page each day
Out of numerous hopes of vanity

I never wrote for you
And still I hold you to read me

I am perpetual
In my fear of pink and baby blue
I am flippant
In my wanting the broken shower back
I am certain
In that those trees will bear the weight I tried to keep from your shoulders

I never wanted to be carried

So I placed myself on high
And all day and all night
I can only imagine
The confrontation that would
Set my effervescent isolation
Right

I looked at my phone
Thought to set the record straight
But I wanted to be alone today
So I turned it into a shovel
And I told myself
That if I kept digging
I’d break new ground.

~Austin R Ryan