decided he couldn't
and drifted for awhile.
Found a place with cerulean collars and rolled-up sleeves
that suits oceanic egos and tidal intellects,
where straight-shooters trump straight-laced in most hands.
Twelve hours is a long time to do anything,
and you tell each other you've earned the chip on your shoulder.
And truly, you have.
Hard time in the Brick:
Trails of paperwork, training that missed the point,
and clean faces with brown noses garnering all the praise.
So maybe you lowered your own expectations and,
with them, your integrity.
Perhaps the third grade spelling bee is not reason enough
to abandon posture, balance, and civility.
Sweat does not interpose between God and man,
Nor does toil replace virtue.
They are the curse, not the salve.