I wake up every morning
to the sight of a massive hourglass
on a shelf over my bed.
I watch the sands sift through the neck
grain by grain
counting down breaths
and heartbeats
and opportunities to create.
Then I drag myself out of bed to start the circus.

When I was young, 
I was told to follow my dreams.
That I could do anything I set my mind to,
but I never did get the hang of being Batman
because my parents stubbornly refused to die
and most of the family money was tied up in property-
specifically the one we lived on.

What they mean when they say “Follow your dreams” is
“Follow your dreams if your dreams are realistic.”
Even then, realistic is another layer of doublespeak
whose translation lands somewhere between
the rock of profitable and the hard place called exploitable.
Because how many cowboys and princesses could the world actually use?

How soon do we tell the next generation the truth?
That they can be whatever they want to be
so long as there is mitigated risk
and a market for growth
and a long enough ramp to get you to the next round of funding
and opportunities to go public
and diversified revenue streams
because the shareholders expect at least a five percent return
at the end of the quarter.

When do we tell them they are teeth in a mouth
that is in a constant state of chewing and swallowing and shitting
and so long as the entire mouth is in working order
each individual tooth is more or less expendable?

When do we tell them they are blades in a combine machine
reaping, reaping, reaping through a field of projected infinite growth,
because growth is apparently the only thing
in the universe that isn't bound
by the laws of matter and energy.

Because no matter how many forests we chop down
or how much plastic we drop in the ocean,
there will always be room for unchecked growth.
And when every inch of this planet is burning neon bright
with Golden Arches and blinking Nike swooshes,
we'll blast off into motherfucking space
and look back at that glowing disco ball behind us
and wonder why the blue planet doesn't look so blue anymore.

When are we going to tell they next generation
that they are to be guided by empty stomach and throbbing gonad,
that they are to drown out the voices in the heads and hearts
wondering aloud if this is truly the best way to live?

When do we perform that about-face reversing the mantra
we've repeated like an actress trying to get her lines just right-
“Money isn't everything”
I guess it's technically not a lie when money isn't everything- 
because what are you going to do with liquid money anyways?
You need to diversify with property
and bonds
and a healthy portfolio of companies in strong industries.

These are the important things in life,
things they should teach in high school.
Why should I bother with math
when I carry a calculator in my pocket?
And don't get me started on the arts.
I mean, what's the point?
All art really is
is a bunch of weirdos with green hair
staring at a shit-smeared wall nodding pensively-
as if it means something.
Because what good has art done for me today?
I can't eat those cherry reds and lemon yellows splattered across the canvas.
And I sure as hell can't fuck  those beautiful marble goddess
with their perfect limbs stretched out in beckoning,
so what's the point?
Why do you want me to think?
Thinking isn't growth and there's damn sure no money in it.

We need to jump start the next generation on The Way It Is™ 
because otherwise they will dream
and imagine and create and have their hearts broken over and over again
until one day they're laying in bed
staring up at an hourglass counting down
breaths and heartbeats and opportunities to create
and they'll heave a heavy sigh before getting up and starting the circus.