exposing the cloak of success

Achievement’s a cloak like the emperor’s new clothes

that eventually show their nude.

My success has been my calling card, through

a life of critique and rude.

My cloak was stitched with A-grades, degrees,

a career of mastering challenge.

I wore my cloak with scholarly pride, to dinner

and breakfast and lunch.

My achievement cloak hid all of my sins,

and a body that could not connect,

because feeling something might propel me back

to the blows around my neck.

My cloak brought me work, and sometimes awards

to frame and prove I was good.

Titles, money, power and glory – isn’t that how

success is understood?

Work became my pride and joy, stressy badges

to sew to my cloak.

Not knowing that what I fed myself, others,

would eventually make me choke.

‘Cos when success was robbed from me, and

I lost my believed esteem,

the cloak that fell from my puny self

exposed my bare-bodied screams.

Without my cloak I was shrivelled, a slug

on a rainy path at night,

without form or spine, or plausible goal,

I writhed with shame and spite.

My success had always defined me, gave me

light in a room of dark.

Without external validation, where the hell

would I find my spark.

I’ve been searching my soul for the answer to that

for the last six or so years.

In a cycle, I’m temped by the lure of success, and

a salary to stamp out my fears.

When that eludes, I seek something else

to fill the void of the cloak,

but without its defending, hiding role

I find I’m emotionally broke.

Yet once the cloak is exposed as fake

it’s hard to believe it was once real.

My journey now is to create a new life

out of fabric with a softer feel.

I’m facing each day with authentic intent,

Yet the urge is still there, I reckon.

Is my cloak hung up on the hook of beyond,

or does its shield have an unbearable beckon?

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