Invisible Career

by Eric Chaet

This is the career, then
that I must protect, cultivate, & perfect
however little it’s acknowledged
& tho it is I, via parallel efforts
who must fund it, again & again —
& which almost no one almost ever
makes the slightest adjustment to —

as tho I am a mere passenger
a not especially welcome immigrant —
as tho I am the irresponsible one —

not those whose irresponsibility
is taking whatever they can get
from whoever can’t prevent it
& celebrating such victories —
their own & others’ similar victories.

Whatever my circumstances or feelings
& whatever anyone says, thinks, or does
I must perform successfully —
no general, president, or CEO
bears greater responsibility —
no one must organize & operate more efficiently —

what I’ve done til now
is only what I’ve done til now —

for those in need
who make themselves capable
or will, in time, make themselves capable
of making use of what I do —

as I struggle to make use
of the similar efforts of others
of all times & places
doing what they do & did
however great or slight or fragmentary —

in the midst of oppression from rampaging tyrants
& those preserving established tyranny
& pressure from those insisting
I’m their peer — or less —

& that I refrain from behavior
that forces them to realize the suffering
they mask with what they’ve been taught to buy
& to remember what is possible
beyond their coping routines & pretensions.

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