News & History

by Eric Chaet

I read & watch & listen to the “news”
& study history, too
all people, all time, other species, too
while maintaining body, shelter, tools, & deals I’ve made—
I sift thru what potentates & reporters do & say
historians, too, only understand some of what they notice
what they notice isn’t the world, or eternity
but only like a robin’s or rabbit’s bit of yard—
& too specialized to be of use—
heavy on Europe or America or armies or finance—
except by stitching this to that & taking into account
the prejudices of their times & places
& their own particular experience & lack of experience.

It’s lifting weight—for strength & stamina—
not just biceps, not just heart—
& learning especially what others do
who are so very unlike me—
as well as those whose clumsinesses & fears
& recurrent coping mechanisms & errors are like mine.

Some are never mentioned, or only as statistics
or used as props for the fantasies
of someone advancing his or her career by featuring them—
others have disproportionate authority
their commands obeyed, however briefly & ineffectively—
this one rises then falls, & over there, someone else.

I’m in command, too—of myself
to the extent that I am in command of myself
not manipulated or tossed this way & that
by what I know or don’t know or feel.

I sift, & occasionally how I proceed shifts—
I become more capable & stronger—
always remembering my remaining time
which may end any instant
is growing shorter, not longer.


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