Dear Dirty America



September 19
10:44 2017


(first published at The 100 So-Called Poems)

What I present to humanity must be generous
else it’s part of the problem, not of the solution.

I see that I have slipped into the usual nursing of grudges.

If I wait til I’m treated decently by everyone
I’ll never deliver what I have to give
that will help those
who don’t take from whoever can’t prevent it
& who must find ways to survive & thrive
& likewise deliver, generously.

My generosity must not be based on pretending
that there is less cruelty & obliviousness than there is—
but, still, it must be generous—
else what I present to humanity
will be part of the problem, not of the solution.

And why shouldn’t I be generous
however much or often strangers
or people who should know me by now
slight me, or take advantage of me, or slander me
or demonstrate in what little regard they hold me?

Haven’t I been created & loosed into a world
however much that world isn’t made to my specifications?

Isn’t the cosmos mine, my galaxy, my solar system
my planet with its atmosphere, waters, minerals
its plants & animals, its kind, humble humans
& the occasional great & kind acts of prodigies—
Beethoven’s symphonies & Woody Guthrie’s songs
Chaplin’s pantomimes, Coltrane’s sax explorations
Tom Paine’s courage, & Gandhi’s
the organizational genius of McCormick, Edison, Bezos
the discoveries of Newton, Gauss, Mendel, Mendeleev
Matthew’s Gospel, the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching?

Haven’t I been, some times, nurtured & loved?
Don’t I, some times, grow, & thrill to the momentum?

Haven’t I awakened to another day
surrounded by miracles at every scale in all directions—
as well as the opportunity to improve the situation?



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.

[Sunrise postcard Pub. by Standard Souvenirs & Novelties, Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.; sourced in the Boston Public Library; Wikimedia Commons]


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