Dear Dirty America


Years Slip Away

Years Slip Away
May 02
17:43 2021

(originally posted at So-Called Poems)

The years seem to slip away like a tide that carries us

as tho we are helpless to make use of them–

like the years of childhood when others sheltered us

& tended to our illnesses & injuries–

however much or little they understood or cared

for the fulfillment of our potentials–

distracted by their own frustrations & sense of helplessness–


but now our hopes have coalesced–oh, not entirely–

we never fully understand our situations

or what we hope to achieve by transforming them–

our hopes only intermittently coalesce

& never entirely, comprehensively–


but, at least once, our hopes coalesced

& we made efforts based on those hopes–

maybe several times, maybe only once–

maybe fitful or maybe sustained efforts–

or sometimes fitful, sometimes sustained efforts–


we made moves based on our coalesced hopes–

to transcend the trap history laid for us–

to make a different history, a different future–

than the history others seem determined to enforce

than the future others seem to insist be like the present

or even worse–out of spite & anger & greed–


& our struggles–for shelter, health, respect, & self-respect

& for money, damn it–

our struggles just to sustain ourselves

have absorbed our energies & days & years–

we have to compete with other people & species, too

& with the harsh adversity of the physical world–

oh, it’s beautiful & thrilling

but gravity, winter, age, & extreme storms are no joke–

misunderstandings that wreck love are no joke–

coercive organizations or geopolitical tyrants

or selfish family members, or neighborhood psychopaths

or our own delusions & selfish behavior

grown out of now, but the effects never canceled–

times when our hopes are fossils from the past are no joke–


the years slip away like a tide that carries us

because we haven’t changed the world

in the way that we began to change it–


because we live in the results of what preceded us

not in the results of what we’ve done & will yet do

& the results of what those whose vision & efforts overlap ours

have done & will yet do–


all we have to go on is a sense of hurt & void & indignation

& less than complete information from the past

& from the present in all directions–concentric spheres–

& what a few heroes & heroines we know of

have done–& they will do no more–

& the people around us have already discounted what they have done

so that they needn’t judge themselves by such demanding standards–


& because those who pretend to be more certain than they can be

have given faith a bad name–

so that we are reluctant to claim it for our own.



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 by Roberto Nickson from Pexels]


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