The Next Moment

by Eric Chaet

I live right in the middle of everything:
between Venus & Mars, the arctic & Amazon.
I have more money & freedom than some, less than others,
more skills & understanding than some, less than others.
I live between birth & death, history & the future.

On the one hand: elementary natural forces—
on the other: the market, political machinations,
traditions, & widely-held beliefs.

People don’t call me much, but I have a phone.
Some people have heard of me, but not many.
Some pay attention to what I say, but not many,
& not often, or for long.

I’m not without power—
but people with far more power than I
trigger events that sweep me along like tsunamis.

I live in the era of capitalist revolutionaries:
they innovate & organize, squeeze all possible profit
out of the labor & materials they synchronize—
these are no shrinking violets!—
then use the profits to innovate again—
leaving all they previously created obsolete
& any who can’t keep up
stranded by the side of the road
with a lot of fancy, odd-shaped appliances
that have little application
to their current needs or hopes—
like kids’ toys, 5 minutes after they tire of them.

I live among capitalists, the stranded, & kids.

People don’t notice me—I’m one of them—
right in the middle of everything.

After the time of hunting & gathering
& improvising a language—
while the tribe moves on;
& after the time when the peasants—
with their tools, land, & animals
& confessors, plagues, & lords—
were sure where they belonged;
& after the cities, factories, nations, & wars—
I continue into whatever the future is going to be.

I’m for liberty, but justice, too.
I’m for justice, but liberty, too.
Yes! I say. No! I also say.

I’m not altogether confident, or without hope, either.
The next moment is a mystery to me.

I not only don’t know what I’m going to do:
it’s not even clear to me what I hope to accomplish.


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