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Gary Beck  (email)


About the Poet:

Gary Beck’s poetry has appeared in dozens of literary magazines. His recent fiction has been published in numerous literary magazines. His chapbook 'The Conquest of Somalia' will be published by Cervena Barva Press. His plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes, and Sophocles have been produced Off-Broadway.





Into the blindness of man-child birth, hurled

as fast as fingers grasp the waiting world,

fugitive from womb’s protective haven,

without omen bird; eagle, hawk, raven,

to signify prophecies of promise

of empires, glories, visions, not to miss

wisdom, step-child of imagination,

eclipsed by vanities of ovation.

Springs into life clutching clots of birth blood

senses awakening in rampant flood

that delivered a victim to exile,

who is forced to survive the first trial

with gore, howl-cries that torrent elation

from the awed birth-magic of creation.



Central Park Zoo


Indoor cages, the winter cells

of pacing felons,

condemned for life,

for being caught, or born.

No friends outside to plan a break.

“Daddy. Daddy. Buy me peanuts for the elephant.”

Snarl, screech, whine,

flip, leap, flap,

waiting for the keeper’s careless moment,

waiting for the moment that never comes.

“Don’t put your hands there, honey. He might bite you.”

They watch the man things pass from cage to cage,

gaping, laughing, teasing with idiot sounds,

passing yokels at a sideshow entertainment,

diversion from tortured creation.

“Do you want hot dogs and popcorn, kids?”

The monkey house of human convolutions,

doomed to acrobatics and lice picking.

No parole board to review this case.

Lions, tigers, panthers, eat exiles meat,

flung by lordly keepers,

while blood of distant jungles

screams for stalk and kill.

“He likes me, daddy. I just know he does.”

Bewildered bears not fooled by rocks and pools.

Cafeteria, dreariest cage of all.

Smaller animals sleeping, or scurrying,

without the aura of fierce beasts,

penitentiaried by man’s cunning.

“Daddy. Buy me a balloon.”

The hippos in their bathtubs,

the elephants of entertaining trunks,

yak, camel, bison, elk, moaning and shitting,

patchworks of fantasy, or fading beauty.

“Daddy. Why can’t we take him home with us?”





People not having (nomore) conversations

mitt Gott,

(praps they tooka one a dem pleasure boats to the Bahamas,

an you knows what happens ta them.)


Psych men swear

they got answers,


who’s got questions?


(if they wore eerie masks

and threwmysteriouspowders

in to fire.)

but depressing is repressing

and we got fears enough,

without paying

(ahellof a lot)

for them to find more,

zo –

not having good advice

to give gratis

and the post office stopping

my soliciting cash thru gov’t mails,

(zom noive!)

I remain,


Yr, hmbl. obdt. servt.



Laughing Town


If I would go traveling down

the rock-strewn path to laughing town,

that lies within the mountain’s shade,

that falls upon a sunless glade,

where boys of youthful hunger mass

to watch the lithesome virgins pass

that flirting place, the township’s square,

filled with folk from the summer fair.

If I would go traveling down

the steep-sloped path to laughing town,

I’d surely find a maiden there,

who shyly strolls the township square,

with blushes turning cheeks to wine,

if her dreamful gaze should meet mine.

If I would go traveling down

forbidding paths to laughing town,

some wondrous things of rare delight

would surely pass before my sight,

but I didn’t go  traveling down

torturous paths to laughing town.





Anyone who does not fear

the sudden attack of terror

has not been exposed

to the instant shock,

the paralyzing dread

of the unexpected assault.

The intent of terror

by dedicated haters

who have opted to destroy,

rather than build,

is the fracturing of stability

in organized society.

Advanced civilizations

require order

to maintain and develop

complex structures.

Terror disrupts

more than tornado, earthquake, hurricane,

which at least remind us

we are vulnerable to nature.

Terror neither educates, nor illuminates,

but merely destroys the targets

of envy, fear and hatred

from the dispossessed,

who have renounced their humanity.





I mourn the days to come

when I will no longer see

a flock of Robins,

that will be eradicated,

like other inconveniences

by remorseless man.



Ode to Hope


Although we cannot right

all the ills of this world

and suffering will go on

despite our best efforts,

there is still a hope

that on brightest days

we will see tomorrows.



Aging Vessel


My brittle skeleton

is trapped in the prison

of my festering flesh

and keeps my soul an inmate,

clinging to my splintering bones



Democracy (To Ted Weiss)


One of the burdens of democracy

is the confusion it creates

for its citizenry,

who don't recognize the fragility

of an arbitrary system.


The drone who runs his motor boat

on a still lake,

exercising his right to pollute

with oil, gas, other man-made toxins,

until nothing but a motor boat survives.


The rustic man who slaughters sparrows

in a murderous spree to save the bluebirds,

already doomed to loss of habitat

by mindless, but profitable construction,

without regard to consequence.


The protesters against globalization

who may or may not be sincere,

but shriek their passionate objections

louder than the serfs of eld

resisting feudalism.


O wonderful democracy

that nurtures slick exploiters

who clamor for a meritocracy

in a consumer based society

that is exhausting merit.



Suffer the Children (To Arla Beck)


I do not sleep well at night

and lie contorted in my bed

tormented by the thoughts I dread,

and have been helpless to prevent,

man's crimes against humanity.


The children of the Holocaust,

torn from their helpless mothers' arms,

were rushed to the oven by the gingerbread man

and no savior came along

to save them from extermination.


The children of the Hutu and Tutsi,

torn from their helpless mother's arms,

were starved, stabbed, speared, shot, savagely slain.

Their tiny skeletons litter the jungle

and do not reveal their tribe.


The children of American slums

are seldom torn from their mother's arms,

but are abused by uncles, brothers, boyfriends,

who torture them day and night

until the world is no longer right.