No-one Has Ever

by Eric Chaet

No-one has ever achieved what I’m trying to do
not even the heroes who have inspired me so far
& I’m old, tired, poor
& despite my efforts, few are even aware
of my attempts or of what I’m managed to accomplish.

My worst enemies
aren’t even those whose exploitation I’d disrupt—
but the normal behavior
of all their victims
trying to make the best of it
& resisting seeing or hearing anything
that would disrupt their routines—
holding onto whatever they have & getting a bit more
while avoiding conflict with anyone or anything stronger—
whenever they encounter me—
I’d disrupt their efforts & supply lines, it’s true—
to their advantage, I believe, but only in the long run
if I don’t fail—
& the self-defeating programming implanted within me
by others like them, my teachers & parents & pals
when I was an infant, adolescent, younger contender—
& the usual competing species
& the shelf-life of my cells
& winter & gravity
& the completely innocent delusions
of the arrogant incumbents
& the insurgents who don’t believe they can afford reason
during the war for supremacy they imagine they can win.

I understand, now
that I must do a lot I haven’t done yet
or been capable of doing
& that I’ll have to do almost all of it
completely on my own—
no-one even aware I’m doing it
or that I’ve done it, if I manage—
& that whatever help I get will be far from ideal
& less than the obstacles
everyone has thrown up in their paths
however advantaged or disadvantaged they are to date
& however righteous or wicked
or wise or foolish
or informed or ignorant
their intentions
however cunning or stupid their plans
however well or poorly organized
& even the greatest self-discipline
only a slight advantage
in the struggle for resources & the esteem of others—
whether you’re trying to do what no-one has ever done
or just trying to get even or yours or ahead or to the top.

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