Five poems by Gary Beck

No Warning

Strong winds blow harder and harder.
City dwellers huddle in doorways
sheltered from flying debris.
Snow begins to fall
faster and faster.
Traffic slows,
comes to a standstill.
The snow gets deeper.
Emergency services slow down
unprepared for a blizzard.
People bring out skis and sleds
enjoying winter despite its wrath.
But the snow keeps falling.
Police and ambulances stop responding.
The ailing struggle to the hospitals.
Some don’t make it.
It continues to snow.
Even the skiers stop.
It gets colder and colder.
Another day goes by.
Drifts are four feet high.
Fires break out.
The Fire Department can’t respond.
The snow keeps fires from spreading.
Suddenly the power fails
leaving the city blacked out.
The elderly begin to die.
Everyone sits in darkness
wondering if they’ll see light again.

 

The Road to…

Tensions rise across the globe
as state and non -state actors
devise more violent schemes
to threaten their enemies,
undermine those who can resist,
intimidate the weaker,
and terrorize the helpless.
During these troubled times
the American ship of state
guided by an ignoramus
who knows little, respects nothing,
burdens us with growing debt,
erodes the middle class,
fraying our institutions,
until the hope of the future
is dangerously imperiled.

 

Going Downhill

Our country is fortunate
with an ego-filled ignoramus,
a Mussolini type
rather than a Hitler,
who may aggravate many
with bombast and petty spite
but we’ll probably survive
the worst he can do
another sad indicator
of the degeneracy
of the Presidency

 

So Proudly We Once Hailed

It has been a long time
since I expected
democracy.
After all
the rich buy anything they want
including politicians,
leaving my poor country
oppressed
by the corrupt and evil
not allowing
even the illusion
of freedom.

 

Dollars at Work

The bombs and missiles fall
on Syria, Iraq,
Afghanistan, other lands,
sent by America
whether to quell enemies
or consume war materials
that must be replaced
profitably
to perpetuate
capitalism
and those who gain by it,
regardless of the suffering
inflicted on everyone else.

..

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. He has 14 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order (Winter Goose Publishing). Conditioned Response (Nazar Look), Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications), Blossoms of Decay, Expectations and Blunt Force (Wordcatcher Publishing). His  novels include Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor and Crumbling Ramparts (Gnome on Pig Productions), Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). Acts of Defiance  (Wordcatcher Publishing). His short story collections include A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications), Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). The Republic of Dreams and other essays (Gnome on Pig Productions). Feast or Famine and other one act-plays will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of magazines. He lives in New York City.

Five poems from ‘Earth Links’, by Gary Beck

Love of the Streets

I listened to my Granma
all through my childhood.
She say all the time:
“All we got is each other.”
Mama died of a overdose.
Never knew Daddy.
Don’t even know if Mama did.
Granma always say:
“You gotta get education.”
The kids I grew up with,
they’re now 12, 13 years old.
They run errands for the gang.
They got new sneakers, new jackets,
IPADs, money in their pockets.
Some have girlfriends.
Granma tell me be good.
Stay out of trouble.
But I want what my friends got.
How do I stop wanting?

 

Weary Cinder

The eternal war
between man and nature
started
sometime after hunting/gathering
could no longer feed
a static people
huddled in cities
for protection against migrants.

A regular food supply,
became necessary
to support growing populations
proliferating
with perverse construction,
mud, wood, stone,
innovative materials
wrested, extracted
at Nature’s expense.

Not overly abusive
when our numbers were few,
we multiplied,
made more demands
on mother Nature’s bounty,
initiating serious conflict
that expanded with progress,
glass, iron, steel,
building incessantly,
unregulated growth
clearing forests, jungles,
spreading waste
on land, sea, air,
as urban replaced rural.

And the priests of pollution
cast their garbage
upon the earth
so battered by deforestation,
so congested by concrete,
that our suffering planet
could barely respire.

Then the legions of greed
continued to devour
the fruits of the earth,
rampantly destroy
the ailing earth,
urgently in need
of critical care.

Emergency alerts
sounded long ago,
ignored,
as were calls to action
to preserve the habitat
of a supposed rational species
unable to move to another eden
where we’d depredate
another solar system,
after dooming our own.

Mother Nature strikes back
as often and as hard
as weakening resources allow,
inflicting casualties
on man, the ravager.
As animal, vegetable life
is eliminated
by the exploiters,
the ravenous consumers,
we are condemned,
without hope of appeal,
to capital punishment
for horrendous crimes
against the land of our birth.

 

Corrosive

The pulse and throb
of the derelict city,
aberration the way.
The wary search
…..for order
erodes each day,
…..inequality
consuming liberty
aided and abetted
by unregulated desire
…..for acquisition.
The many offerings
…..of civilization,
lead us into temptation
until we no longer control
our pock-marked destiny.

 

Namesake

Patience Darlington,
a head-strong woman,
adopted a flower,
Impatience,
symbol
of her impatience
that inflicted
everyone she knew.

 

Urban Dissatisfaction

City dwellers
complain more
than rural dwellers,
having many more choices
then country folk.
The heat, the cold,
traffic congestion,
deafening noise
from construction,
combine to encourage
grumbling, cursing
at circumstances
beyond their control.

.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. He has 14 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in CitiesAssault on NatureSongs of a ClerkCivilized Ways,DisplaysPerceptionsFault LinesTremorsPerturbations and Rude Awakenings (Winter Goose Publishing) The Remission of Order,Contusions and Desperate Seeker will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance(Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications). Blossoms of DecayExpectations and Blunt Force(Wordcatcher Publishing). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor and Crumbling Ramparts (Gnome on Pigs Productions). As part of the continuing series, ‘Stand to Arms Marines’, Gnome on Pigs Productions will publish the third book in the series, Raise High the WallsSudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). Acts of Defianceand Flare Up will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing.  Extreme Change will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His short story collections include, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing).Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. The Republic of Dreams and other essays will be published by Gnome on Pigs Productions. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in many literary magazines. He lives in New York City.

Five Poems from ‘Severance’, by Gary Beck

School Days

The elevator was out again,
so I couldn’t get downstairs in time
and the school bus never waits.
The bus driver hates picking up
homeless kids at the welfare hotel.
I tried to tell him the first day
that I really wanted to go to school
even though the teacher ignored me
and the nasty kids teased me
about my shabby clothes.
But anyplace is better
than staying in the cold room all day,
with Mom nodding out on the bed,
her boyfriend looking at me with hard eyes,
and the big rats moving around
like they pay rent.
Once a month the social worker comes
and asks all kinds of questions.
When I asked: ‘What I do to deserve this?’
all she said was: ‘Things’ll get better, someday.’

 

Urban Nightmare

In the city of broken dreams,
on avenues of empty shops,
the gaping spaces do not beg
for customers to return,
departed employees, owners
subtracted from the economy
without hope of restoration,
victims of the loss of jobs, homes,
when their prosperity
submerged into poverty.

 

Nomadic

Winter winds blow across the park.
Employees, students, shoppers
decide to eat indoors.
The trash bins are empty.
The homeless have departed
in search of sustenance,
a never ending quest
to stave off hunger.
The outcasts of society
flock to city parks
in good weather,
desperate for tranquility
found momentarily
in a green enclave,
a brief oasis
before moving on
in the desert of cities.

 

Manifest Destiny

Our remaining factories
are often run by robots,
as the lords of profit
always try to make
more and more
and increasingly explore
how to substitute
mechanicals for people,
the obvious goal
advanced androids,
so pestiferous humans
can be replaced.

 

Throwaways

Officials of our city,
elected and appointed,
have no compassion
for homeless youth.
Thousands of youngsters daily
are subtracted from the future
already too poorly equipped
to compete for tomorrows.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars
are spent each day
to incarcerate innocent children
in welfare hotels, welfare motels,
drugs, violence, prostitution,
rampant in learning academies,
where the older
teach the younger
criminal ways
in the absence of
positive role models.

As poverty advances
in the war against well-being
and more and more Americans
are callously detached
from a nurturing system
we once called civilization,
abandonment is the threnody
discarding so many
without emergency efforts
to salvage the children.

And all the while
elected and appointed officials
have homes of comfort,
as the children of despair
nod out in school,
exhausted from turmoil nights
when unregulated chaos
ransacks the halls of horror
where children are confined.

..

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 12 published chapbooks and 2 accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors and Perturbations (Winter Goose Publishing) Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance(Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications). Blossoms of Decay (Wordcatcher Publishing). Blunt Force and Expectations will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor(Gnome on Pigs Productions) and Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). State of Rage will be published by Rainy Day Reads Publishing, Crumbling Ramparts by Gnome on Pigs Productions. His short story collections include, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications) and. Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

The Conquest of Iraq by Gary Beck

The last shot fired,

the guns are silent,

the wounded carried to safety,

the dead stored in body bags

ripening for the return home.

 

Only chaos remains

unresolved by war

of an arrogant intruder

proclaiming lofty ideals

not practiced at home,

on a hostile regime

not a direct threat

expanded to a menace,

an imminent danger.

 

Asserting might makes right

we toppled a totalitarian regime

leaving a disrupted country

leaderless, lawless,

a state of total anarchy,

looters  pillaging with impunity,

feudists settling old scores,

sectarian violence

across a divided land

consumed by hatred

preferring murder

to tolerance,

 

And the pretext for invasion,

weapons of mass destruction

never discovered.

Yet no apologies,

reparations,

prompt withdrawal

of an occupying army

that crushed native levies

like colonizers of old,

who at least established order.

 

The prodigious cost

in blood and treasure

devastated the loser,

but bankrupted the winner

and the people at home

who did or did not support

the extravagant adventure

of excellent warriors,

incapable state builders,

paid for the inept aftermath

of military success

with loss of homes, jobs.

 

Burdened with national debt

our children can’t repay,

the weakened remnants

of an industrial economy

now unindustrious,

replaced by hi-tech for few,

service jobs for many,

abusers of the system

escaping unpunished,

despite betrayal

of the American dream.

Poor Plan by Gary Beck

The American hope,
a stable Afghanistan
after years of training,
wasted billions,
remains a fantasy.
Afghan security forces
dangerously riddled
with unreliable soldiers,
erratic police officers,
suddenly turn weapons
on unsuspecting allies
in a pattern of attacks
that deepens distrust,
shatters cooperation.
If our soldiers
can’t trust Afghans
they won’t achieve
even limited goals,
so the Pentagon
should advise the president
once again we’ve overreached.

..

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction(Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions & Fault Lines (Winter Goose Publishing). Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living will be published by Thurston Howl Publications. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Sudden Conflicts will be published by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

The March of History by Gary Beck

Long before democracy

mankind dreamed a better life

despite normal oppression

by despots, kings, tsars, chiefs,

consuming their people

in wars, slavery, taxation,

until minimum subsistence

was all that remained

to those without choice.

The American promise

that motivated citizens

to sacrifice themselves,

their families, fortunes, future

in the hope of liberty,

successfully exploited many

for the benefit of the few.

Public Debt by Gary Beck

The sons and daughters

of the oligarchs

should resurrect

democracy,

stolen by their parents

for personal gain,

exercise of power,

excessive indulgence,

showering their offspring

with rampant privilege

arbitrarily denied

to most of the people,

whose desperate needs

could surely be eased

if intelligent children

recognize the faults

of selfish parents

forgetting obligations

to the nation.

Street People IV by Gary Beck

An ancient white man,

filthy beard concealing

filthier face,

pulls a child’s red wagon

piled high with treasure

instead of leading a burro

through a ghost town,

wends his odiferous way

through midtown Manhattan,

passing tourists, shoppers, workers

intent on transacting the day

while he slips between them,

aromatic emanation

insuring anonymity,

not daring to express

arthritic hopes

to survive another night.

Street People III by Gary Beck

A middle-aged Hispanic man

down on his luck,

clothing fraying away

from winter assault,

refusing to give in

to harsh conditions

hustles cans for redemption,

five cents apiece,

a curious non-synergy

between expenditure of energy,

return on investment,

stops at corner garbage can

near outdoor restaurant

with prosperous people

drinking, dining, flirting,

never noticing the tattered man

rummaging through trash

for his next meal.

Street People II by Gary Beck

An old chinese woman,

face inscrutable

from suffering, isolation

in an alien land,

plods uncomforting streets

pushing her shopping cart

bulging with coke cans,

a night’s supper

if exchange is fortuitous,

passes a sports bar

temporary occupants

crowded together outside

drinking, smoking, cursing, flirting,

none noticing rapid transit

of the invisible woman.

From: Desperate Seeker
‘Desperate Seeker’ is a poetry collection that uncovers the anger, fear and horror that resounds in the powerful struggle of existence.
 
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing). Perceptions, Displays, Fault Lines and Tremors will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response will be published by Nazar Look. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections has been accepted for publication (Black Rose Writing). His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.