Dear Dirty America

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Old Grey Hat

October 21
11:00 2012

ERIC CHAET

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

I found this battered old grey hat
on a street in Wichita—
picked it up & put it on my head.
It was the middle of the winter, middle of the night—
I had a bad case of loneliness
frostbite & that kind of fright
you get when you drift into another strange city
on a highway you’ve been hitching on too long.

I don’t know how a thing like this
can cheer a battered old grey soul
but it picked my spirit right up off the sidewalk.
It was the middle of the winter
middle of the night—
I had a bad case of neither young or old
no one to get angry at, & no one to hold—
like you get when you refuse to be
lost & worthless as people take you to be
’cause they’ve forgot what they were meant to be
& you won’t be any less than.

I found this battered old grey hat
on a street in Wichita—
I picked it up & put it on my head.
It was the middle of the winter
middle of the night—
I was accusing me of loneliness
afraid that they were right—
but now I wear this old grey hat
to light the way I’ve just begun to get sight of.

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, <http://www.ericchaet.wordpress.com>.

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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