Dear Dirty America



January 10
23:44 2013

Yahts in the Vrboska on the island of Hvar, by Joakim Westerlund

(originally posted at 100 Peculiarly Useful So Called Poems)

If, before I die, I should gain great wealth & renown
& park my giant yacht among the others
& attend festivities among others likewise invited
wearing expensive outfits & honoring one another—
if the president should pin a medal on me
or even if I should be elected president—
if professional commentators should continually
speak of me in glowing terms
as tho I’m a philanthropist, & efficient, too—
if I should master this or that skill set
medical or electronic or programming or financial
or mathematical or musical, or this or that game—
if it should be generally conceded
that I am the greatest master of all times
at the techniques I have dedicated myself to mastering—
if I should win bet after bet
& the dividends rain in on me as on no one else—
if I should be a universally acclaimed celebrity
& no one can approach me without an appointment
& without honing their presentation down to a brief summary
so as not to waste my precious time—
if all the other members of the elect should agree
& all the commoners & those wasting away should also agree
that I’m the most successful person of my time or of all times—
but there is as much suffering as when I began
& as much injustice as when I began
& the elect & excluded keep living out illusions
conventional illusions nearly everyone agrees are just plain facts
or particular illusions closer to what’s so than what most people think
but still pretty far from the truth—
illusions nursed in their secret hearts
while they respond conventionally to conventional cues—
& if those attempting to be righteous are punished
& the weak & relatively innocent are food for the ferocious & cunning—
then I will have achieved nothing worth mentioning.

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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