Dear Dirty America


Getting Out Of Bed

September 14
18:43 2012
In the morning, the one who has lost hope
loses him or herself in routine or half-hearted diversions.The laborer puts on his or her clothes & face
gathers perseverance, & navigates among the rest
to do as he or she is instructed
whether it’s sane or crazy, useful, futile, or counterproductive.

The entrepreneur assesses his or her resources & obstacles.

The rentier checks the scores of his or her investments
or, if someone else is doing that for him or her
spends the money he or she has accumulated
whether by force, diligence & service, fraud, luck, or favoritism
investing again wisely or unwisely, or consuming wisely or unwisely.

The sage & the ones who imitate sages
gather & organize information
& avoid offending whoever pays them
unless they are wise or unwise heroes or heroines
who will be destroyed or who will emerge in triumph.

Officers check their tactics against their strategies
& soldiers grumble about the arrogance & ignorance
of those who deploy them
& check their weapons & ammunition
& pit their courage against their monstrous enemy, fear.

The trader checks prevailing prices & his or her merchandise.

The farmer checks the sky, prices, the condition of the soil
& whatever weeds, worms, insects, rodents, birds, & fungi
are of a size his or her vision is capable of perceiving—
& the herdsmen check on those called their livestock.

So-called livestock & pets check on their supply of food & water.

Politicians & other performers & salesmen & saleswomen
consider audience, media channels, travel routes, rivals, & pitches.

Those who serve their fellows, formally or informally
whoever they consider their fellows
paid or unpaid, appreciated, unappreciated, or despised—
true servants, & those whose so-called service is a delusion
or whose service alternates between being real & being a delusion—
pick up their burden & balance it with as much grace as they can muster.

The untamed animals on the periphery of so-called civilization
& living in & among the people, too
consider the people, other animals, weather
& the stage of the growth of plants for the year
& competitors for nutrients, their partners, their young or elders
who is dominant & how, & who is subservient & how.

Protists express their genes without thinking
& react to turbulences, concentrations of nutrients or toxins
& others like themselves, with whom they trade plasmids & viruses.

All over the world, it’s day or night, summer or winter.

Humanity & you & I have emerged from an only partially knowable past
& head into an even less knowable future.

Youths are full of hope or despair—& their elders, likewise—
dealing with what they’ve been born into
& the consequences of what they have done so far
lifted & dropped on tides of technological innovation & obsolescence
& tribal & cultural traditions & fashions, somnolence & psychosis
& blatant or subtle seizures of power & rebellions & sullen resistances
understanding, misunderstanding, understood, misunderstood
prospects now dimmer, now brighter
re-evaluating what seemed til recently a sure foundation
& re-evaluating what seemed til recently superfluous, junk, history—
every body & every thing & the relations among them.

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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