We Get Used To
(originally posted at 100 Peculiarly Useful So-Called Poems)
We get used to the strangest things
to birth & death & the world
breathing in & out
drinking, eating, & elimination
falling asleep, dreams, & waking up
birds, trees, grass, sky-scrapers
a small group of distant people
making decisions we don’t like that affect us
to passing among strangers
to schools & hospitals
solids, liquids, gases, glass windows
flies, mosquitoes, sneezing, coughing
female & male, young & old
milk, coffee, cheese, gasoline, bread
to prevailing prices & wages
to the lack of love
& the varieties of the antitheses of love
or we get used to love, & it evaporates!
We get used to the stories we’re told
about long-ago founders of religions & nations
to the narrow range of controversy
among those who seize power
seriously defined for us by commentators & historians
tho those who seize power
are generally normally or abnormally crazy
& their leadership leads to or maintains great suffering.
We get used to the celebration of celebrities
& to the anonymity of those ruled
by Roman, Chinese, & British emperors & kings
& by the ruling classes of empires
& financial & military elites.
We get used to Roman-style buildings in Washington D.C.
to talk of democracy, justice, brotherhood, God
to languages & to eating other beings
to the sun & stars & clouds & the blue sky
gravity & momentum
living in construction zones
the constant competition for wealth, security, status.
We get used to handles & valves
hinges & doors, wheels & axles
to all of Edison’s inventions
to internal combustion engines & mass-produced appliances.
We get used to the victims of oppression & folly.
We get used to the products we buy again & again
processed from plants & minerals from everywhere
& to the benefits of millions laboring for us.
We get used to airplanes roaring by overhead
& roads & highways full of cars & trucks
& to walking & driving.
We get used to using credit cards
& receiving & paying bills
to taxes & lack of control over how they’re spent
& to our chronic ailments & resentments.
We get used to what we have been told
& what we have decided
to not knowing what’s really happening & indecision
the results of contested elections
war, constant preparation for war.
We get used to failure & consolations
to becoming part of what we were trying to overcome
in order not to be starved to death
by those who were used to being part
of what we were trying to overcome.
Maybe we notice before we die
& manage to get free—usually not
but even if we get free
it’s in the midst of those used to neither being free
nor imagining not being used to defeat
who are used to rationalization of situations
into which they’ve been filed by default.
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.
Find Chaet’s book, People I Met Hitchhiking USA Highways, and read a review written here. See also, There’s still a little breath in the old American Revolution, On Job Creation, and Stalin.