Dear Dirty America


People, the World, & Life

July 06
19:27 2012

(originally posted at 100 Peculiarly Useful So-Called Poems)

People are often stupid
& cruel in petty ways
or in extraordinarily terrible ways
but don’t despise humanity, human
people also do wonderful things
small & great—
&, likewise, the world—
yes, it doesn’t care if you live or die
& there are pathogens, parasites
& predators of all sorts—
storms, droughts, floods—
cascades of adversities
just because you happen to be
in the same place & time
as certain elements, molecules, forces—
but don’t despise the world
you get to live in a while—
there are wonderful possibilities—
tho sometimes you’re overwhelmed
& wish you didn’t have to go thru with it—
still, go thru with it while you can
it’s brief enough—
don’t despise your life
or blame humanity or the world or life
or fate or God or this or that enemy—
even if some enemy has really dealt you a blow—
fight, but don’t blame—
don’t fight with blame in your heart—
your enemies don’t know what they’re doing
however cleverly they express
this or that variety of cynicism
which is a weed threatening every spring’s planting
that they imagine proves how smart they are:
but don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Do what you can with what you have
& change what you can for the better—
you will find you can hardly improve anything
that you’re inept, given the circumstances—
& that will give you some understanding
of why the others are behaving so unsatisfactorily.

What’s the best you can do now
if you concentrate & persevere?—
do that, if you can—
& be glad for whatever awesome miracles
little or large
you happen to be part of
or happen to fall to you
& for whatever little you actually earn—
don’t just get what you can
by merging into the hierarchies
built on great misunderstandings & injustices—
that way, you’d contribute
to the suffering & despair of billions
who give up on humanity, the world, life.

And forgive my speaking as tho I’m an authority—
this is what I’m telling myself:
if you find it useful, good, use it.

Eric Chaet, The Turnaround Artist, born Chicago, USA, 1945, raised on rough South Side, pre-computer factory, office, & warehouse jobs. Some teaching, some independent self-taught technical consulting. 1974, Old Buzzard of No-Man’s Land, poems, Toronto, Canada. 1977, Solid and Sound, vinyl LP of songs, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA.  Mid-80s to mid-90s, silkscreened, hitchhiked, & stapled 1500 cloth posters to utility poles along American highways.  1990, How To Change the World Forever For Better, brief prose philosophy, Greenleaf, Wisconsin, USA; 2nd edition, 1994.  2001, People I Met Hitchhiking On USA Highways, mostly narrative prose, De Pere, Wisconsin, USA.  Lives in Wisconsin, industrialized dairy farms & cows, remnant cheese & paper factories & factory hands & outlaw mammals & birds, post-construction boom, reactionary politics & obsolete machinery, a smattering of professionals & millionaires.  Poems published, over 50 years in many USA states, plus Brazil, Cuba, Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Nepal, India, China, Singapore, Korea, & Taiwan, often in translation. 

You can contact him at the Leave a Reply box on each page of his website, 100 Peculiarly Useful So-Called Poems, <>.

Find Chaet’s book, People I Met Hitchhiking USA Highwaysand read a review written hereSee also, There’s still a little breath in the old American RevolutionOn Job Creationand Stalin.

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