Dear Dirty America

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I Was Born Weak

I Was Born Weak
April 18
14:35 2014

ERIC CHAET

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

I was born weak.
My parents were ill-matched, unhappy, poor
ill-prepared for the challenges of their time & place
they had little understanding
of how to better themselves
or prepare me to better myself
& most of my neighbors, schoolmates, & teachers
were equally flummoxed
& either frankly desperate
or deceiving themselves
in order to feel better
&, so, proud
& even more unable, therefore
to improve their situations
& held me in contempt
to the extent that I didn’t, likewise
pose as more capable & successful than I was—
& whether I ever manage to achieve
what I am ever more capable of conceiving
or not—
I mean changing the situation
that relegates so many to holocausts
or entire chronic lives of dissatisfaction
& inefficient struggle only dimly comprehended
if faced at all—
which is a long-shot!—
most of them will die
considering me weak, a fool, a loser.

No use worrying about their opinion of me
except as it shapes their behavior—
unhelpful, competitive, obstructive
even downright dangerous.

Yet I continue to believe I am serving
others like myself
as best I’m able—
& I keep making myself more capable—
&, so, hope for their mutually-advantageous cooperation.

Do I call this a poem?
No, I call it a so-called poem—
precisely to avoid getting into
whether or not it’s a poem—
which would be a relatively trivial argument, no?

SEE ALSO

Satyagraha

Anthem for Humanity

Dragon

We get used to

 

 

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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