by Eric Chaet

I guess power is being able to improve the situation
or at least being able to keep it from getting worse
or at least from killing you.

You need to improve lesser or greater situations
or keep them from getting worse, or killing you—
situations that require lesser or greater power.

Those famous for being powerful
are often the causes of situations getting worse—
or, if they are famous for being good & powerful
it seems they were unable to keep
the terrible things that happened afterward, from happening
however many speeches they gave, battles they won
or laws they passed or patients they cured for a while—
so, how powerful is that?

There must always & everywhere have been people
at least capable of realizing that they were in situations
that were getting worse & would eventually kill them—
situations peculiar to themselves
or situations involving everyone in their time & place—
that they were unable to fix—
& able to continue to know, without deluding themselves—
in the midst of others’ feverish delusions
& words & deeds to prove imagined or pretended power.

To allow yourself to know
that you can’t fix the situation—
not join in, while nearly everyone is pretending
that they’re handling situations peculiar to themselves
& the situation involving everyone, including them—
situations they aren’t powerful enough to improve
or keep from getting worse, then killing them—
if you have to pretend so people won’t hurt you
at least not believing your own pretense—
that’s a kind of least, but real power.

But there is a greater real power—
I don’t suppose it has ever yet been achieved:
free of the pretense that you are already powerful enough
to improve the situation
you are not yet capable of improving
or even of keeping it from getting worse
& eventually killing you—
using the energy pretending would otherwise absorb
& the time otherwise spent pretending—
becoming capable of, & then
not merely peripherally or temporarily
improving the situation
that is the consequence of people’s delusions
& pretense that they are more powerful than they are—
of what they say & do to maintain the delusions & pretense.


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