Keeping Up

by Eric Chaet

I’m keeping up with those who are keeping up
& those who can’t keep up any longer
& those who never managed to keep up—
I’m pushing my body & attention beyond saturation
potentiating & long-term potentiating my synapses
per preferred experiences
making my memories relatively permanent
adapting to or resisting others’ insistence
that I change my beliefs & behavior
as seems appropriate to who I have become at the moment
I take it a life at a time
I’m keeping up with the lucky & unlucky
with the victimized & those who have victimized them
purposely or unconsciously per their prejudices
with the cunning & the simple
I’m cunning & simple, myself
I’m keeping up with those who began with advantages
& those who began with disadvantages
& those who encountered windfalls & challenges
soon after or eventually
I’m keeping up with those whose illusions
kept them from mobilization
my illusions kept me from mobilization
or who imagined they were entitled
to what people only get
by force, fraud, or successful competition
or rare strokes of luck
based on misunderstanding or carelessness
I’m keeping up with the specialists
whether efficient or inefficient
& with the great pirates
who make use of the specialists
as tho they were appliances, slaves, or stupid
I’m keeping up those you’ve never heard of
& those you keep hearing about, like it or not
with those whose lives are history
& with those who are living now
& those whose lives are yet to come—
I’m going beyond who I’ve been & where I’ve come from
but so is everyone else, willingly or not—
whether in war-zones
or places where law & order prevails
however just or unjust the law
however sane or insane the order
I’m sorting & organizing & eliminating friction
in every direction & dimension as fast as I’m able
without exhausting my cells & organs or equipment
or the patience of those with whom I’m interacting
whether I want to interact with them or not
whether they want to interact with me or not
I hope, I intend—
I try to go as fast & far as possible
without exceeding my capacity
& I try to increase my capacity—
for this precious time being & the immediate future
I’m creating what I hope will sustain me a while yet
& I’m creating what I hope will outlast
this temple to greed & pretense about the glorious past
which is all full of holes for rent
for the frightened to duck into & hide in til they die
& outlast my hopes & fears, & my pride & shame
in what I’ve managed to do or failed to do so far—
I’m trying to transform humanity’s terrible trap
the trap I’m in with everyone else
which almost everyone almost always
is trying to maintain
keeping up as best they can with what they need to do
or feel or imagine they need to do—
I’m trying to keep up with them & who I’ve been
&, without failing to keep up for even an instant
to go beyond what has been possible til now.

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cosmonaut series


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