Awake (an anti-establishment tirade)

Say nothing
Eyes lowered
Keep to yourself
Belong to no one
Participate enough to not be invisible
But not to be truly seen
Cards to your chest
Not afraid but aware
Wary
Awake.

These are not your people
If having people is a marker you crave
These are not your confidantes
Or your comrades
But your coworkers
Your competition
Whether directly
Or in vagaries of their own imagination
As often the case may be
You yourself do not need to be better
Or to rise to match them
Hat in ring and fistfuls of knifes
To throw at their backs
Your only competition is yourself
The self you were yesterday
To be better than before
You do not need to be anything
But yourself
Different
Aloof.
Awake.

This place is not your destiny
Not your final chapter
The penultimate prior to
Easing into an ill-deserved retirement
This is not your end
Just a temporary plateau
To tolerate
Before you find your place
The frustration, the anger,
The passive or active aggression
Pouring through typed words
On a screen
The constant evaluation
And supervision
And observation
Of every tiny faux pas crime you commit.

This is not what you were meant for
After over two decades of esteemed education
Pounding the mantra of genius
Hard-wiring your brain to accepting no less
Than perfect
For your entire existence
Before you were propelled into the working world
To dip your toes into harsh reality
Disguised within a paycheck
That lulls you to a comatose splendour of malaise
With its security of regularity.

Remember this as you don your uniform
Sign in to your system
And bow your head to
Slumber through another day
At the office
Remember this
Because sometimes,
Sometimes it is easier
To forget
Easier to sleep
Than to stay
Awake.

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