Dear Dirty America


Aladdin’s Lamp

Aladdin’s Lamp
September 14
01:08 2013


(originally posted at 100 Peculiarly Useful So-Called Poems)

At night, downtown is lit up, active
cars on the grid at cross-purposes—
clubs, drinking, laughter, mating
mutual lust or, without trust, for cash—
drugs change hands, likewise—

it’s the nucleus, apparently
like Washington, D.C. or Manhattan
or, say, Silicon Valley, or Langley
or the office of the commander of drones
in Tampa, according to journalists—
you have to take their reports provisionally, tho—
they’re frequently deceived—

& there’s other activity, farther out—
fewer headlights, roads, lit windows—
someone’s dreams are all too pertinent
& cast the dreamer up onto shore, distressed—

Aladdin’s working at a table with a little lamp
with fierce purpose, tho unwilling to surrender to rage—
or ardently fishing for purpose & a method
maybe pacing, scarcely able to contain himself—
yes, it could be herself—& very welcome!—
if she’s not just trying to get in among the male lords—
struggling as much against infantile compulsions
as against indoctrination & decades of habits—

so that all won’t always be as now
& every attempt at sanity, justice, & kindness
won’t always be conquered
by mafias of wolves demanding everyone
contribute their lives & the efforts of their lives
to their wars against their reflections in mirrors.

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.

[book illustration by Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1821-1888)]

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