i refuse to keep squeezing myself
into market research-sized boxes
clean cut shapes for a clean cut world
i've done it so many times
in spite of the mystery and depth
i feel pulsing beneath the tidy surface
safer to ignore it, to close the door
stay dutiful, diligent, disembodied
lest the illusion of control disappear

god how i've suffocated there
unable to breathe, even as money arrives
just as the Experts said it would
why don't i feel alive? is this all there is?
surely i'll feel whole at six figures? ... seven?
i ask, as i take yet another step, prodded by fear
down the predictable path, away from myself
away from the wink of playful possibility
laying dormant beneath my Personal Brand

going forward, my humanity is non-negotiable
if that's a deal breaker for "the market"
then sure, maybe i'm not cut out for this
but I have a hunch, an unshakeable sense
the world is starving, malnourished to its core
the clean cut-ness leaves us empty, never satiating
our need to see each other, to be seen
to give ourselves fully, to enjoy the gifts of others
this, i believe, is the beating heart of business

if i'm wrong about that, no worries
because i refuse to be laid to rest
in a market research-sized coffin