Poetry: Gary Beck

Gary Beck
To Arms

My favorite revolution,
the French, July 14th, 1789,
when the have nots
toppled the haves,
class distinction so great
that separation of heads
from privileged bodies,
and cleansing blood trails
fooled the people
for a few years
that they were free.
Most accepted
the Napoleonic order,
at least while he was winning,
followed by numerous regime changes,
most of them unstable,
except for brief moments of glory
in one of the few countries
that make America seem sensible.

Exposure to Stimuli

Those nurtured by television
want the same things,
material goods
paraded before us
day and night
on larger and larger screens
with better and better pictures,
tantalizing us
with objects of desire
that some can afford,
others steal, sell drugs, murder
to get what they want,
violent enactments
on a smaller scale
then government actions,
though less destructive,
except to individuals
caught in the brutal swirl
of criminal acts,
that burst upon them
shattering brief illusion
of stability,
the mandatory state
that allows continuation
of civilization.

The Rise of Cities

I no longer sing
of nature’s grandeur,
by too many cities.
The engineers
who build our destiny
moved us off the land,
confined us in small spaces,
jostling each other
until we no longer remember
hunting, gathering,
subsistence farming,
simpler existence,
more dangerous,
not as complex,
lacking internet connections
we delusively believe
binds us together.

Last Resort

I sit on a grimy bench
at the unemployment office.
After interminable wait
my number is called.
The interviewer sits
behind a plastic shield
to protect him
from importunity.

He, she, it
is impersonal,
to my sufferings.
A robot is preferable
to this inhumanity.

The genderless clerk
silently accuses me
of slacking,
does not care
my job went overseas.

Nothing is left but service jobs,
even if I could get one,
competition is fierce,
I can’t afford rent, food,
healthcare a dream of the past.

I request an extension
answer the questions
as best I can,
trying to conceal
my desperation.

If I do not get benefits
I’ll be on the street.
I do not know how I’ll survive
the rigors of homelessness.

Nautical Change

Ships were not invented
for pleasure,
but to carry
from place to
that otherwise
would not arrive,
and only after prosperity
did casual sailing
became sport.

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, The Remission of Order and Contusions (Winter Goose Publishing). Conditioned Response(Nazar Look), Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications), Blossoms of Decay, Expectations, Blunt Force and Ttansitions(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, Flare Up, Still Defiant and Flare Up (Wordcatcher Publishing). His short story collections include A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications), Now I Accuse and other stories (Win ter 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.

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