Dear Dirty America



July 10
10:17 2016


(originally posted at The 100 So-Called Poems)

Shoveling snow, mowing grass, pulling weeds
clearing the gutters, taking out the garbage
unstopping drains & cleaning toilets—
always assembling the tools
& cleaning up afterward & replacing them
where they can be easily found next time—
washing dishes & clothes, making beds
sweeping & dusting
tending to the machines—
checking gauges, monitoring costs
& humidity & temperature—& mood—
budgeting, paying bills
alert for opportunities near & far
to gain what you’ll need & to influence outcomes—
buying groceries & preparing meals
bathing & learning what the body needs
& attending to anomalies before it’s too late—
dealing with people who unfairly
suspect, blame, or accuse you
tending to the injuries & sorrows & hopes & schemes
of those with whom you share your days—
eating enough calories—
fending off the seductions of marketers of poisons—
to maintain basal metabolism
& enough to become competitive by competing
making reasonable inferences
from experience & from others’ ideas—
their new ideas & the same old ideas
that come at you again & again
evaluating them & your own ideas
where & how much they are in accord or variance—
acquiring understanding & equipment, & developing skills—
pruning the database of memory & belief
& integrating what’s left
so as not abandon yourself to becoming a cog
in the unjust mechanism
(tho others may praise you for relieving their anxiety)—
the transformation of which is the purpose
you have set & keep setting for yourself.

Sorting it all out
prioritizing, enacting, persevering
adjustment, completion, recycling, renewal—
start again & again—
character versus impersonal fate
& normal madness, & others’ attempts
to use you for a substrate to their advantage—
& your own cherished illusions-to-date—
without becoming paralyzed
by reason, efficient calculation, history.



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.

[header photo of Thoreau cabin replica courtesy of RhythmicQuietude, Wikimedia Commons]


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