Integrity

by Eric Chaet

To maintain integrity versus the attacks
of tyrants & tyrannical oligarchies
& commercial, political, & professional bureaucracies
& the never-ending attempts of nearly everyone
to prove how exceptional & wonderful they are
is heroic—

but not the greatest heroism—
which requires risking that integrity
not just defending it, which is always necessary—
but choosing & engaging in battles
however much the struggle of defense
is exhausting—

& the greatest heroism
is prevailing
tho those who compete for absolutely any victory
without integrity
by slander, fraud, violence
have every advantage—
& expanding the domain of integrity
in the very midst
of the deluded
& the selfish & greedy
& those whose lust is for power & domination
& those who feel themselves drowning
& who would embrace & take you down with them—
whom you must escape
if they won’t allow you
& if you aren’t capable
of helping them right themselves
within the brief period of possibility
before they—& if you allow it, you, too—drown.

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