I Was Born Weak
by Eric Chaet
I was born weak.
My parents were ill-matched, unhappy, poor
ill-prepared for the challenges of their time & place
they had little understanding
of how to better themselves
or prepare me to better myself
& most of my neighbors, schoolmates, & teachers
were equally flummoxed
& either frankly desperate
or deceiving themselves
in order to feel better
&, so, proud
& even more unable, therefore
to improve their situations
& held me in contempt
to the extent that I didn’t, likewise
pose as more capable & successful than I was—
& whether I ever manage to achieve
what I am ever more capable of conceiving
I mean changing the situation
that relegates so many to holocausts
or entire chronic lives of dissatisfaction
& inefficient struggle only dimly comprehended
if faced at all—
which is a long-shot!—
most of them will die
considering me weak, a fool, a loser.
No use worrying about their opinion of me
except as it shapes their behavior—
unhelpful, competitive, obstructive
even downright dangerous.
Yet I continue to believe I am serving
others like myself
as best I’m able—
& I keep making myself more capable—
&, so, hope for their mutually-advantageous cooperation.
Do I call this a poem?
No, I call it a so-called poem—
precisely to avoid getting into
whether or not it’s a poem—
which would be a relatively trivial argument, no?
Also posted online
@ Beyond the Pale
(Ireland & France)