Dear Dirty America


Day Before Thanksgiving, 2002

Day Before Thanksgiving, 2002
November 25
17:20 2014


(originally posted at 100 So-Called Poems)

Day before Thanksgiving, 2002
aged 57:
Sun came out & the river was at the same time
metallic & full of movement—scales—
not like musical scales, more like fish scales—
come to think of it, a lot like musical scales
major, minor, 3rds, 5ths, chords, trills, octaves
not quite silver or gold
some alloy of walleye & carp, I suppose—
& the trees had conveniently ditched their leaves
for clarity of the vision.

So late in life, I finally figure out
what the Dutch Republic was & when
& how it related to Spain & the Holy Roman Empire
Moors & Caliphs
Venice, Genoa, Florence
the Crusades & Columbus
Rumi & Maimonides
Pizarro, Cortez, Aztecs, Incas
Descartes & Cervantes
expulsion of the Muslims & Jews
Amsterdam’s pickled herring
the Baltic timber & grain trade
Bruegel, Spinoza, Rembrandt, & Locke
& the Reformation, &, of course
the English Revolution, & the American
& the French—& the Ottoman Empire
& the Russian Revolution, & the various
counter-revolutions & reprisals blatant or sly
& results of conflicting power assertions, & resistance:
no one gets everything as they’d wish.

By which time, distinct flakes of snow
stream horizontally, from across the river
from the big dark cloud of dirty wool
(they imported rough English woolen cloth
into Flanders & Holland
finished, dyed, & sold it
especially to the French)
that had gathered itself along the western horizon
behind the toy-like silo & the freight cars rattling south
like there’s no engine, caboose, or tomorrow—

& Sarah called laughing to report that she had just learned
never to shop for groceries the day before Thanksgiving:
the place was packed & the people all crabby.



Anthem for Humanity


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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