Dear Dirty America


Versus Futility

August 05
11:30 2012

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

Some see
how what nearly everyone is doing comes to nothing
& leaves a trail of destruction & suffering, too—
& break the spell
under which nearly everyone does nearly everything—
for themselves & anyone who will listen—
but that often leaves them naked
mid the competition for everything
without motivation or fuel.

You read or hear about
the early death of geniuses—
& plenty of others who have broken the spell
but found nothing to replace it
die without fanfare
in rooms, or on the street
or fodder
in some deluded, confident commander’s war
in youth, or later on in life.

Beyond breaking the spell
is something that isn’t futile.
For you, it may be black & gray & white
step by step, analytical, combinatoric
or colorful, fluid, intuitive, amazing.

To capture it, or allow yourself to be captured by it
requires patient consideration again & again
when, without the spell you’ve been depending on
you’d panic.

Most people will let you know they think you foolish
or even psychotic—
I looked “psychotic” up, it means divorced from reality—
but you can be divorced from what’s truly real
or only from what people under the spell imagine is real
& spend their lives futilely hustling to align themselves with.

Intentionally or otherwise
people will try to talk you out of what you’re realizing
glimpse by glimpse
& building a conscious course of refraining & acting—
because they care for you
or because you make them uncomfortable, frighten them
or both.

As much as anyone engaged in futile hustling
you’ll need to be efficient—only toward other ends—
ends you have to question & decide about
again & again
emerging from what’s always been expected of you
& what you always, til now & now & now, imagined
however long you lived within the spell.

Working consciously
you’re creating—& I don’t just mean a work of art—
tho works of art which aren’t part of the spell are nutritious—
what doesn’t yet exist.

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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