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  • Gary Beck

Transitions: Gary Beck

The idea that it is so easy for whatever we have built to crumble, if it is indeed made of wood, stone, brick, steel, and glass, rather than on more lasting materials. The notion that we vote to protect our privilege and don't challenge institutions once the plaster is applied to the edifice. These are some of the themes that Gary Beck addresses, cleanly and without varnish, in the four poems below.

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 & Tremors (Winter Goose Publishing). 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 Work of Hands

When disaster strikes a city

Susa, San Francisco,

any complex human hive,

resources for survival

are determined by wealth.

If there are insufficient funds

to rush in food, water, medicine,

emergency housing

for a displaced population,

continued existence

of the metropolis

is seriously impaired.

We who have built great centers

of wood, stone, brick, steel, glass,

of property and privilege,

are reluctant to recognize

that all our construction

is a fragile creation

easily blown away

by natural or man-made

forces of destruction.

Presidential Election

Americans went to the polls,

many idealistically,

hoping for something better

than rule by the wealthy,

and though one candidate

may be preferable,

both spent a billion dollars,


for the highest office

in a land of growing poverty,

that cannot afford

a secure future

for most of its children,

while politicians,

the privileged,

live in comfort.

Aristo Myopia

The privileged,

mostly sheltered from disaster,

natural, man-made,

are too comfortable

to see the threat

to continued safety

if the system collapses.

Foreign investments,

offshore bank accounts,

delude the owners

into false security,

too ignorant to know

after Rome fell

civilization dissolved,

there was no refuge

for the wealthy

in the barbarian world.


Disaster swept the land,

millions huddling in darkness

trying to ward off the cold,

while football games go on

in the very cities

where people are suffering,

yet the cries of indignation

are insufficient to halt

sports entertainment.


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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