Tuesday, March 24, 2020

for all my dead brothers
hope left on the
last bus out of
i poured one out for
all my dead brothers
lost in whatever damn
war we're fighting
the hole in the wall
bar doesn't have any
sense of joy tonight
i asked joey what's
going on tonight
he motioned over
to the end of the bar
big john was crying
in his beer
he never thought
she'd actually get
on that bus
a history of blood clots
the endless misery
pain dances down
my spine, resting
in my lower legs
sleep is impossible
walking is a chore
and of course,
sitting too long
isn't the best thing
for someone with
a history of blood
most of my days are
spent between ice on
my back and walking
between every few
videos on youtube
the mind does its
best to keep me
occupied from
some days, failure
is like breathing
i never had many friends
i used to listen
to jim morrison
when i was a
teenager on a
regular basis
he went pretty
good with the
marijuana i was
smoking at the
i'd save
for any trips
on acid
i enjoyed
the feeling
of dr. benway
looking to
destroy me
and bukowski
always showed
up on the nights
the bottles won
the war

to find love at your age
the soft curves
of the last woman
you ever loved
she never wanted
anything serious
and you never
expected to find
love at your age
don't allow the
brain to destroy
it again
savor the moment
each smile, each
each quiet night
wrapped in loving
the false hope
this endless charade
push pull give take
the promise that someone
is out there just for you
the false hope that there
is gold at the end of the
enough failure and that
hope ends up as a bullet
and love is the ability
to pull the trigger
J.J. Campbell

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Arms once raised in ‘Heil’, 
now carry coffee cups 
in a time of consumption 
before resumption 
of Information Age war 
when tanks are a memory. 

Now swift airstrikes 
initiate missile attacks, 
conserve the lives 
of democratic troops 
reluctant to be squandered 
without meaningful purpose, 
yet loyally obeying 
incomprehensible orders 
to fight limited battles 
with confusing enemies 
in Iraq, Afghanistan. 

While the fading hegamon 
still bestrides much of the globe, 
the only sovereign power 
willing to confront extremism, 
as long as it doesn’t offend 
the peace loving people of Islam 
who never seem to deplore 
the brutal violence carried out  
in the name of the prophet. 

The decadent West, 
whose wanton females 
shamelessly bare their flesh 
to the eyes of men, 
tempting them to sin, 
are the true enemy. 

to reject calls to Jihad 
are righteously ignored. 
How else can evildoers 
be redeemed for wrongful ways, 
if they don’t accept the true faith, 
the only road to salvation? 

Someone coined the phrase, 
‘Win the hearts and minds of the people’, 
a strategic fantasy of our leaders, 
who never understood 
the will of the enemy 
is stronger than theirs, 
who know without doubt 
that sooner or later 
we will abandon our allies, 
leave our trucks behind, 
withdraw our troops, 
proclaiming victory. 

This pronouncement 
meant to disguise defeat 
by a primitive foe 
that had no jet fighters, 
hi-tech missiles, 
just an unconquerable will 
that refused to crumble, 
despite devastating assaults, 
emerging victorious 
over the oppressors. 

While another great enterprise 
by the bastion of democracy 
failed ignominiously, 
every setback a further erosion 
of the spirit of America, 
besieged on all sides 
by friends and foes alike. 

Gary Beck

Holiday IV 
We celebrate the Fourth of July. 
The French celebrate Bastille Day. 
I forget what the Russians celebrate. 
Potemkin Day? Karl Marx Day? May Day? 
But does anyone remember 
why we celebrate these holidays? We all seem far removed 
from revolutionary change 
and except for the usual 1%, 
we all want more material comforts 
and most of us are unwilling 
to cut off the heads 
of the aristos, 
substituting fireworks, 
patriotic music, 
for the Guillotine.  

Gary Beck

Deceptive Words 
The President addressed the nation, 
explained why once again 
we’re going to war in a foreign land 
that does not threaten us, 
but is inexorably linked 
to the war against terror. 

I wonder if he understands 
in a declining nation, 
once the policeman of the world, 
limited resources 
are insufficient 
to stem the barbarian hordes 
clamoring for the blood 
of civilized Westerners. 

So our leader spoke loudly, 
despite carrying a shrinking stick, 
paid for with the taxes of the people 
who continue to get poorer, 
while the wealthy profit 
from ongoing wars. 

And leader after leader 
gave us war after war 
consuming our youth, 
devouring our treasure, 
while a resentful world 
measured our decline, 
waiting for the tide of history 
to dwindle us to impotence, 
so aggressive nations 
can conquer other lands 
we no longer protect 

We squandered our resources 
in consuming interventions 
that left us destitute, 
barely able to resist 
envious competitors. 

The tragic fall 
of a great empire 
was caused by overreach, 
led by the greedy few 
reaping obese profits 
at the expense of the people, 
who foolishly believed arrogant leaders. 

Gary Beck

Park Entertainment 
A Broadway show 
comes to Bryant Park, 
a musical, of course, 
safer then serious drama, 
or controversial comedy. 
The actors sing, dance, 
highly skilled, 
but their voices lack 
warmth, emotion, 
the vital qualities 
that make music move us. 
Yet this is a free show 
and I can’t help wondering 
why people pay 
$125, or more, a seat 
for impersonal entertainment. 

Gary Beck

National News 
The media tell us 
the economy is improving 
and the well-to-do, 
the comfortable 
believe them. 
Yet the poor 
struggling to survive, 
the middle-class 
of diminishing income, 
no longer accept  
reassuring pronouncements 
that things are improving. 

Gary Beck

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...