Dear Dirty America


Predecessors & Challenges

November 18
21:33 2012

Boethius: Consolation of philosophy

I love my predecessors—
prophets, guides, serious & inspiring artists—
they shine out among the charlatans & mere imitators—
Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekial, Elijah, & especially Jesus
& Lao Tzu, Bach & Beethoven, Van Gogh, Woody Guthrie, Blake,
Whitman, Dostoyevsky, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Melville, Shakespeare—
Nietzsche, too, tho he was seriously wrong in some ways
but nobody’s perfect—you have to think for yourself—
& the really good & serious politicians, too
Tom Paine & George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, Spartacus—
Marx, too—he didn’t know what Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, or Mao would do—
but he was right about the oppression of capitalists—
tho some capitalists, like some rare artists
must be exceptional champions of all humanity, too—
probably not the ones popularly considered so
due to foundation publicists’ choreography efforts—
but my challenges & little glimmers of opportunities now
are beyond their experience, analysis, even their inspiration—
as figuring out my budget is beyond the great gifts
of whoever invented & refined arithmetic & algebra.

It’s up to me & my experience
& beyond my experience til now, too
how to respond to what is happening
& how also to interpose my own initiatives
of use at least to myself, & to others, too, when possible
& to keep those initiatives alive, tho under constant attack—
commercial & political, & individual rivalries, too
& computerized bureaucracies run amok—
how to keep them nurtured & growing, like infants
among confused & brainwashed teachers & little bullies & tyrants
& those who would drag them down into terminal lamentation—
til they’re strong enough to fight alongside me
& whoever shows up to carry on—
without killing, if possible, merely deluded foot soldiers of puppeteers—
to make the situation saner & more just
in alliance with all relatively wise, brave, & kind people
who have done what they have done unacknowledged by history
& who are now doing what they are doing everywhere
tho in the minority, & submerged
approximately everyone rushing past them
to score what property & capital they can
to get free of oppressive want & the way the poor are treated—
or to be imagined more enlightened or powerful than they actually are—
the wise, brave, & kind as unacknowledged as I am & what I am doing
working to be of service to me, as I am working to be of service to them.

Just as I use, now, what others have done for me
like a handful of sunflower seeds to sustain me a little while
on the long journey I can’t see the end of—
Death, I can see—but Death isn’t the end of it—
so you will be using this, as you move beyond
where what I am doing now is of much use to you.

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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