Different Experiences

by Eric Chaet

We start where we start, & experience what we experience.
We learn from those around us, purposely or unconsciously.
We may be encouraged, healthy, & confident when young
or we may be misunderstood, marginalized, timid, sad.

Those in whose care we found ourselves
may, themselves, have needed care—
or they may have been unusually capable & generous.
They may have shared useful insights & skills
& pointed us in directions that suited our natures.
They may have introduced us to other helpful people.

We may be part of this or that victimized group
& scarcely aware of other group’s victimization.
Or we may be part of a group of victimizers—
joining in—or oblivious to crimes we benefit from.
We may never put ourselves in the place of victims.

Our imaginations may be stunted or overwrought.
It’s sweet, when our imaginations operate in harmony
with the rest of our thoughts & our physical functions.

We may start out on defense or offense—
world’s to conquer, or ways to fend off attack.

We may learn, by luck, & then deliberately
&, so, become capable of freeing ourselves
to choose to continue as we began or not—
or we may never learn, never see the choice.

Or, seeing the choice, we may not have the strength
& enough remaining time to transform our fates.

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