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

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