Saturday, June 04, 2011

Eric Chaet: Sort of an Elegy for Osama Bin Laden

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I always resent obituaries
of people I should have been made aware of
while they were alive
& I might have yoked my efforts
to change what humans are doing
with theirs
for everyone’s but especially for my own benefit
everyone’s, that is, except those who have sold me out
to gain at my expense—
& sold out everyone who wouldn’t or couldn’t
contribute to their so-called success
which is a substantial proportion of humanity
so damn sad—
Osama would have killed me
I’m an American & a Jew—
he didn’t accept the responsibility of distinguishing
between those who were oppressing & those being oppressed
by those whose oppression was always nearly killing him—
you know what I’m tallking about
you who often can hardly go on—
how many janitors died in the World Trade Center?—
Lenin was like that, Hitler, too—
these are people with qualities I admire at least as much
as the qualities of those whose insight is
that humanity won’t change very fast
not enough in their lifetimes
only glacierly, evolutionally, only as it must
& not necessarily for the better
who therefore choose not to rebel
against what’s generally being done
who keep their unacknowledging distance from rebels
& whose discipline is
to pour their efforts into that which profits them
to the best of their understanding
of what profit is, what loss—
in this life-time—
who will sacrifice the truth to get ahead or stay ahead
per what they imagine is ahead or behind—
who will sacrifice the weak to the predations of the strong
& the not-too-clever
to the parasitism of the cunning—
who don’t concern themselves with history
or what preceded history
or with the future beyond this game & this season
or at most with the few dozen seasons
in which they’ll suffer more or less & enjoy more or less
& be treated well or badly—
I’ve always admired great rebels—
Crazy Horse & Geronimo, Che Guevara & Zapata
(even Hitler, damn his personality & deeds
but not his soul
likewise Napoleon, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Kissinger)
Tom Paine, Sam Adams, George Washington
Elijah, Spartacus, the Maccabees, Jesus & his band
those who risked their lives in the main squares
of Beijing & Cairo
to whatever degree they knew what they were doing
William Blake & Walt Whitman
Phil & Daniel Berrigan—
hi, Daniel!—thanks for the $50!
the communards of Paris, the demonstrating Blacks of Dixie
& the Whites who risked their careers joining them
the resisters of the Warsaw Ghetto
Sun Yatsen & Mao
puritans like Cromwell, Marx, & Osama—
to whatever degree they were enlightened or not—
more than those who led lives
of relatively successful fitting in
even if their tools are neatly arranged
along the walls of garages
a sight that always moves me to admiration
like Bach’s Toccata & Fugue—
even if they got rich
providing hardware or software to millions
who used the hardware & software to gain the same old
bolstering of egos & comforts
& protection from the needy
only faster & with different protocols—
even Edison or Ford—
certainly more than those
who killed them & slandered their memories—
however much I steer my course otherwise
as well or poorly as I’ve managed to steer so far
as I struggle to gain control of the hands
that struggle to gain control of the wheel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome article.

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