Someone Tells Me I Need More Education

by Eric Chaet

Someone who imagines I’m beaten
tells me I need more education.

But I’ve already studied as much as anyone alive
in schools & on my own
well guided, unguided, misguided
excited, sometimes, at all I was coming to understand—
other times groping—afraid I was wasting my life-time
accusing myself of cowardice
afraid to make my move with what I already knew.

Maybe I knew more than most people
or maybe everyone knew as much, only different things
but certainly no one knew more—
but they were doing what they were doing
more confidently, apparently—
or else they were hiding their doubts from everyone
putting on a show on the outside, & dying inside.

The person who imagines I’m beaten is mistaken—
I’m more comfortable with my uncertainty than ever.

The person who tells me I need more education
doesn’t mean I need more education
but that I need to satisfy someone in a position to advance me
that I have learned to think like he does or she does—
like, for instance, the one who tells me I need more education.

While I live
I won’t stop studying & noticing & piecing together—
educating myself has always been my primary occupation.

I only need, while I go on learning
to apply what I couldn’t believe I knew all along
that most of what is done would be better left undone
& what little that would be of real use
can only be done once that is admitted—
I only need to re-evaluate everything I do
& extract a new skill set from the atmosphere & earth
& shape & launch a new, integrated set of behaviors
beyond my timidity
in the giant face of indifference, mockery, & indignation.

Since I realized I exist & that I have to make my way
among others who are in agreement that what is false is true
I have achieved no prominence, no wealth
no power or authority to allocate the resources of any group.

I’m only still alive—
that’s something, not automatic, tho—
still isolated, doubtful, skeptical, anxious.

Being happy is best, but it’s brief, like storms.
There’s a quiet joy beneath tedium & conflict
but there’s suffering, too, chronic or acute.

But suffering doesn’t prove anyone needs more education
only that the world wasn’t made
for someone to be successful & happy, now & from now on—
successes & happiness build exponentially & likewise fade.

I’m as uncertain what to do as ever
only more confident that it’s not because I need more education
or to think like whoever tells me I need more education
& means that I need to think & be more like they are.

Still, I have to do what someone might not appreciate.
Still, I have to do what I haven’t done yet.
That no one else has done it yet, either, is irrelevant.
And I don’t have forever.


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