Dear Dirty America


To Be Great

To Be Great
February 19
15:24 2018


(originally posted at The 100 So-Called Poems)

What if you were to say to me, “You’re great!”

In my younger days, I yearned
to be told, “You’re great!”

But, now, who are you?
How do you know more than I, or even as well as I
if I’m great or not great?

And what does it mean, to be great?

It’s true, Beethoven was great at writing symphonies.
No one ever wrote such great symphonies before or since—
or, if they did, word of it hasn’t reached me.
It’s quite possible.

What’s truly great may not seem so to those who witness it.
They may not notice, they may not comprehend,
or they may nervously laugh it off, or denigrate it—
so as not to feel less than someone else.

Even so, an earthworm is at least as great
as any of Beethoven’s symphonies.
Certainly, the planet, Uranus, is as great.
A pear is as great, or a dandelion, or duck.
So, then, what is great?

And as great as Beethoven’s symphonies are
(I listen to them again & again)
or an earthworm, Uranus, a pear, or a duck—
still, most people suffer
& most people put on poses
because they can’t bear who they are.

I know that, some rare times, what I have done
I have done in the greatest way possible—
but how great is the deed?—
when most people suffer
& most people put on poses
because they can’t bear who they are.



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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