Dear Dirty America


Internal Exile

April 18
21:31 2013

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

It’s not necessary in America
to arrest those who would interfere
with the smooth workings
of the extraction of wealth by the investor class
& their millions of hirelings
who never say a word that would get them expelled
from their cars, houses, & expectations—
no arrest is necessary, no trial, no internment
no transportation to an archipelago of camps
no need to lock them up with foreign insurgents
in the secret prisons
or in the prisons everyone is aware of
but has become tired of considering or talking about—
no need to put them to work in slave labor gangs
tho I’ve heard that some of that is happening again, too—
no, we go directly from expulsion from comfort
& either delusion or pretense
from the halfway-heaven halfway-hell middle class
the treacherous courtesy & commute
the orbit between tyrant & prisoner—
straight to internal exile—
where whatever credentials you may have earned
are now invalid & irrelevant—
you’re either an investor or one of their vassals
or you’re not—
a performance star—stage, page, or screen
or manager & parlayer of others’ assets—
an IT, medicine, education, science star
or politics or commentary star
or you’re not—
a cop or judge or prison guard—or prisoner
or you’re not—
the only choice you’re left with is virtue
or spinning out of control into psychosis
or pretending to be smarter than everyone else
like a prisoner cheerfully babbling in a dungeon—
& if you choose virtue
you have always to be careful
to whom & how you mention it—
the very word is taboo—
no one will make a deal with you—
that’s the arrest, trial, & punishment all-in-one—
you have to provide for yourself
& no one will pay you for anything—
& if you force them to pay attention
they will intimidate you
if you’re not past being intimidated—
if you haven’t perfected virtue, that is
if, like me, you never, while you live, succeed—
the tyrants & their millions of traitor-vassals
pretend that it is possible to succeed
once & forever
in this life
& that their privileges at everyone else’s expense
are their reward for success—
that you object is why you have been sentenced
to internal exile & tense poverty
til your last heart beat & breath—
& the possibility
that what you use every cell of your resourcefulness to do—
antithesis of cruelty—
won’t be futile.

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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