Poems by Gary Beck





Summer ended,

the last butterfly

does not migrate,

lands on sheltered tree,

expires, a brief life

without knowledge

of good or evil,

only touching

those who noticed.


In My Lifetime

When I was young

I walked the shores

of oceans, seas.

The water was clear

if I didn’t go too deep

and I could see the bottom

as marine life went on,

eating and being eaten.

The sands were clean

when the tides changed

delivering sea shells,

sand crabs, jetsam,

bright green sea weed,

to waiting shorebirds.

I no longer walk the shores,

but from chair of confinement

I see the brown ocean

tainted beyond redemption

by the spigots of oil.

The fish and birds are fewer,

declining faster,

ably assisted by man

covering the shores and seas

with hospital waste, toxins,

other imaginable filth.

I watch the lonely sandpiper

scurry along the sterile sand

yearning for the flock,

the flock that has departed

like many other creatures

that once shared the earth.


Summer Camp

I sent my son to summer camp

for a new experience

far from gritty, city streets,

so he could breath clean air,

discover nature’s beauty,

learn self-reliance.

I did not know that far away

a boy went to another camp

with the blessing of his parents,

a Taliban training camp,

in the tribal area

of unruly Pakistan.

The Taliban curriculum

was divided into sections

bomb making most attended,

reconnaissance, ambushes,

firing machine guns

all led to graduation.

The boys returned home

when summer was over,

bringing skills they could use

for the rest of their lives.

I hope my son

never meets his fellow camper.


The Nature of Cities

The city,

monstrous creation,


substituting artifice

for natural existence,

while planners claim

safety, commerce, comforts,

group interaction,

are civilized ways.

We have constructed

sites of oppression,

except for the privileged.

Many huddle together

in poverty, squalor,

never understanding

they are descendents

of unfit nomads

left by the wayside

in tribal trek.

(Note: The above poems are from his latest collection, Blossoms of Decay)

About the author:

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 1 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 Blossoms of Decay (Wordcatcher Publishing) among others.  His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions) and Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers).  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.