Poetry Dispatch No. 39 | December 16, 2005
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 children’s toys,
five minutes after they tire of them.
I live among capitalists, the stranded, & children.
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.