Saturday, September 6, 2014



Alien City

Urban chaos devours
hope for stability
in confused exiles
from the unsheltering earth,
transplanted,
attempting survival
in a foreign clime,
unwelcomed,
urgent to adapt
before harsh conditions
crush fragile roots.



Rain Delay

I sit indoors
     restless,
          depressed,
waiting
            for
                the
                    rain
             to stop,
so I can go to the park
for a concert.

Someone else
         sits indoors,
               tense,
               frustrated,
hoping
           for
               the
                   rain
           to start,
so he can save his crop
from drought.

The Invasion of Afghanistan
American leaders
do not understand
when we conquer a country,
replace the government
with one we assert
is more democratic,
we no longer have
anything to sell
that benefits their people,
because we don't make things
that anyone wants to buy.

The claim of harboring terrorists
became a viable motive
for a massive attack
on conspiring tribesmen
scheming to bring suicide bombers
to New York City, Cleveland, Modesto,
and most of us went along
eager for out troops
to end threats far away,
so we would continue to enjoy
society's abundance,
at least those of us
who could afford abundance.

And the righteous calls
to save helpless victims
of human rights abuse
filled some of us with virtue,
so we approved destruction
of civilians, women, children,
like invaders before us,
but we proclaimed benevolence
seeking to free the oppressed
from fundamentalist masters,
while back at home
millions of children were hungry.

Our national treasure,
young men and women
willing to go in harm's way
at the orders of our government,
do not know why they're offered
on the altar of death,
believing they bring democracy
to deprived peoples craving
the benefits of America
that no longer benefit Americans,
who lost jobs, homes,
the promise of the dream,
a better life for their children.

The trillions spent on ill-chosen wars
beggared us at home,
except the oligarchs
who swell with profit
from every war,
yet will not share a portion
of ill-gotten gains
with needy fellow citizens
who do not want Van Goghs, Warhols,
mega-yachts, the finest beluga,
merely comforts of their fathers,
opportunities for their children,
now forced into the service sector.

In the mountains of Afghanistan
the sons of the fathers
who defeated the Russians,
the grandsons of the grandfathers
who defeated the British,
laugh at the Americans
who bravely fight and die,
but once again as in Vietnam
cannot hope to win
a limited, restricted war
against a determined enemy
who know the day will come
when out troops will depart.

Then, once again, the tribes
clans, sects, ethnic groups,
will be free to kill each other,
unless we've so weakened the country
that expansionist Iran moves in
promising righteous religious rule,
claiming to unify Islam
in the struggle against the West,
the aging, disorganized alliance
reeling from economic chaos,
except for the wealthy,
feasting while the people go hungry.

So globalism succeeded
where hegemony failed
and an aging America,
a confused superpower
that can no longer compel
cooperation, obedience
exporting democracy
to less fortunate nations,
a policy that deludes
our well-meaning citizens,
duped by the lords of profit
into belief in our virtue.

As more huddle in shelters,
sleep in cars,
hulk on a friend's couch,
huddle in grubby apartments,
move back in with parents,
hope for the future dimming,
except for the oligarchs
always allowed to flourish,
no longer dependent on our people,
profiting from laborers abroad
who expect less, demand less
than American workers,
no longer necessary
in the absence of industry.

Our once proud workforce
whose output supplied the world
has been callously abandoned
in a consumer society
unknowingly conditioned
by servants of the lords of profit
to frequency of replacement,
until they were replaced
by hungry foreign workers
eager to toil for less
than Western counterparts,
fatally tainted by the virus
of equal opportunity.

Where Tourists Never Go
Drug gangs submerged
into the population
convincing those without hope,
brains, guts, ambition
to get far, far away
from public housing ghettos,
poverty neighborhoods,
failed communities,
overrun, captured, possessed
by ministers of evil
indifferently trashing
the lives around them.



Plague
Persistent inclinations
to oppressively bully
the weaker, vulnerable,
are symptoms of disease
in a corrupted body,
a carrier, polluted host,
untreated infecting others
with debilitation, illness
halting healthy development,
depleting potential
due to negligent parents,
dysfunctional system.

Gary Beck