Dear Dirty America

DDA

Success After All

May 12
18:17 2013
ERIC CHAET

(please visit 100 Peculiarly Useful So-Called Poems for more)

To fail in life, in competition
for honors, wealth, power, pleasure
is bound to be bitter
tho you were mainly trying to transform the competition
not win it
& your rivals were fully invested in winning
but to gather your self & not be bitter anyway
to enjoy being alive & the world—
a flying bird, dawn, a meal, breath, water, a friendly voice
your own striding, a tune, rhythm
the Moon, tho it seems to have no use
& the deeds heroes have left for your use
generally acknowledged tho misunderstood
or as generally disregarded as what you’ve done so far—
tho the competition & misjudgment
are such a vital part of the world—
& to keep competing
not retreat into consolations refined
as tho endlessly, tho an end is imminent
in order to change the misjudgment
however much it’s a long shot
however much you’ve been disappointed
to use your experience
& not to comfort yourself
because what you’ve been doing & saying
is right
which is true in a way
but also just an abstraction without any traction
to continue when others assume you’re beat
or retired or dead already
when everyone—
except those you’re still trying to reach & work with!—
has raced ahead of you
in competition you refused to make your priority—
you only needed rations to persist—
to get over your weariness, sourness, self-pity
even tho you don’t know any more than you ever did
how to do what has never been done
ever, as far as you know
& thereby change everything
not just to stick with your principles to the end
& die virtuous, integrity intact
but to apply what you know & must yet learn
& use all the energy that disregards you
to disassemble & reassemble & re-aim
the engines, armies, corporations, logistic chains
& bureaucracies & part-true ideologies & base customs
that have captivated people’s hearts & minds & hands
& are enforced by deluded or resentful technicians
which everyone must make themselves components of
or be ground down—
to succeed—
not the success of those who betray everyone
to get whatever they hope to get or die trying
to really succeed—
not once & for all—but again & again
like breathing in & out & sleeping & waking—
to be the seed in an ocean of dirt & the seed’s extension
pushing its heavy way up & breaking thru the surface
into the sublimity of breezes & nourishing light
where gears shift, & production begins
of fruits that produce seeds in their turn
tho delicious & delightful themselves, tho eaten.

Eric Chaet, born Chicago, 1945, South Side, beaten, denigrated, sinking, swimming—servant of a refractory nation and species, sweating laborer in factories and warehouses, wearing jacket and tie in offices and classrooms—“so-called poems” published and posted around the world, sporadically, for decades—author of People I Met Hitchhiking On USA Highways (read a review) and How To Change the World Forever For Better—perpetual polymath student, synthesizer of specialists’ insights and methods, solo consultant regarding space exploration and accidents involving obsolete industrial machinery—album of songs Solid and Sound—hitchhiked back and forth between the Pacific and Atlantic, sleeping out for years and subsisting on water and sunflower seeds, stapling a series of 1500 posters he made to utility poles, inciting whoever saw them to seize the responsibility for their own lives—governing without coalition or means of or inclination to coerce or confiscate, from below, approximately invisible.

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