Sunday, June 19, 2011

WE'RE NOT WHO PEOPLE SAY WE ARE

I’m not who people say I am—
& you’re not who people say you are, either.

People say I’m a poet, writer, artist—
I write, all right
& sometimes what I write is poems—
better to say I’m a so-called poet
so-called writer, so-called artist—
I create works of literature, visual art, music
sometimes, not all that often—
but I sleep, too—but don’t call me a sleeper—
& I eat, drink, shit, piss—
but don’t call me eater, drinker, shitter, pisser—
when I know what to do that might be truly useful
I try to undermine the tyrants who rule us
but I’m no revolutionary or insurgent or anarchist
& certainly not a liberal or conservative!—
sometimes I’m trying to be a good citizen, that’s all—
people call me an ass-hole sometimes, or a fool—
&, sure, sometimes I do things I later regret
out of ignorance or shame
& attempting to be thought more than I am—
I’m trying to eliminate such behavior
but I’m in no position to issue guarantees—
I’ve loaded trucks, operated machines
planted seeds, murdered weeds
ordered eggs at the counter of a diner
sung with joy
dragged my desolate self
from one place where I had no business to another—
I’m a unique being—
however much
I share physically & culturally with others
& what I do & how, or refrain from, or fail to do
has unique consequences—
it’s like that for you, too—
these labels people lay on me—
it’s laziness or stupid programming
or cruelty—a way to keep me intimidated & rule me—
same for the labels people lay on you—
same for the labels I lay on myself
& the labels you’re laying on yourself—
sure, it’s a crushing weight having to figure out
what the hell you’re going to do next—
not being able just to cruise along
as tho everything’s been decided—
having to realize that the atmosphere & Earth’s crust
& the Sun & Milky Way & the other galaxies
have absolutely no consideration for your well-being—
& how deluded & difficult others are—
some are crocodiles or like crocodiles
& you look like a hamburger to them!—
but, don’t sweat it, you’ll be dead soon enough—
if you have to call me anything, call me by my name—
it’s just a name, but it doesn’t mean anything but
whoever the hell & whatever the hell I am—
now—even more than in the past or future—
& it’s like that for you, & your name, too.

                                                                         (Eric Chaet)

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