by Eric Chaet

ming dragon

A man
is fighting
a dragon
could be
a woman
fighting the dragon
I don’t dare
move in too close
to see:
darting, feinting
roaring, lunging
could be
a boy or girl
fighting the dragon
like in some child’s fairy tale.

But it’s no fairy tale—that much, I’m sure of.
And it’s a human being—I’m sure of that, too—
no other great ape wears clothes.

Doesn’t seem like a fair contest:

That dragon’s bigger than Albuquerque!
bigger than Athens! bigger than Singapore!
bigger than Dubai! bigger than Ecuador! than Senegal!
as tho it’s made up of, I don’t know,
tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of persons
under a huge costume
like Chinese New Year when fire-crackers go off.

A person
against a dragon full of other persons:

And the dragon has trillions, hundreds of trillions
of dollars, yen, euros, yuan, rubles, rupies, pounds
stocks, bonds, derivatives, titles to real estate
that dragon is loaded!—
blackmail revenues, too
from London, Vegas, D.C., Beijing, Delhi, Tokyo
Moscow, Seoul, Sydney, Sao Paulo, the Big Apple—
& the contracts on billions of mortgages
on little homes & farms between the metropols—
& silos & warehouses full of grain
& ranches of cattle & slaughterhouses—
battalions of troops, missiles, satellites, submarines
regiments of spies, provocateurs, assassins, publicists
dupes, patsies, & telecommunications networks—
& the person has zero
just the clothes the person is wearing
oh, maybe a few bucks in leaking pockets
or a credit card with access
to more than he or she dares use
or he or she will be trapped once & for all
enthralled, enslaved
helot, peasant, terminal rat-racer—
so you can tell it’s a person not some other great ape.

The dragon has hundreds of thousands of dim-wits
(some may yet brighten up
some have probably been in the dark too long)
serving as arms, legs, gastro-intestinal tract, etc.
maybe a few dozen shrewd but narrow, shallow people
with generations of experience manipulating outcomes
serving as brains—
I mean experience consolidating industries
banking & shipping, trading drugs & slaves
sugar & oil
issuing & redeeming
arranging wars, elections, & subsidies
setting prices, minting coins, printing paper money
reiterating orthodoxies of religion or economics
organizing countries & markets
revolutions & restorations
international flows, commodities & credits
favors & punishments
public relations, mind control—
excuse me, I meant:
entertainment, journalism, education, advertising.

Poor little person just seems so worn out
mainly just dodging & trying to block
big dragon’s awkward but so overwhelming—

you can see that the person just wants to give up
& cry like a baby.

Suddenly, I know what the person is thinking:
is there some way I can become part of the dragon?
Can I make myself agreeable to the dragon?
Some service I can offer?
But would I be betraying all the other people?

(The other people haven’t always been so good to me!)

Maybe, I can back away & dragon will forget me
& I can live on whatever
dragon doesn’t incinerate or swallow?
But isn’t that cowardice?
Isn’t that betraying the other people—
who haven’t always been so good to me!—
or even myself?

Wait a minute! Did the dragon stumble?!
Could it be there’s internal squabbling
inside that dragon’s head?
Not cells all perfectly aligned for domination?
Could it be
that dragon’s arms, legs, & gastro-intestinal tract
aren’t perfectly coordinated, totally invincible?

Maybe the person will survive & be stronger for the battle
when the dragon collapses from exhaustion & purposelessness
& more capable of dealing with whatever dragon emerges next?

Meanwhile, you’ve got to admit:
that dragon has still not eliminated that person!



Ming Dynasty
artist unknown



paladin series

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