Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Danger Zone

City people

grow lax and casual

provided with amenities

to get from place to place

and frequently don’t notice

hazards of the streets,

cracks, potholes, construction,

red light jumpers,

many tuned out

listening to IPODS,

many texting,

all at imminent risk

from unexpected dangers.


In 1980

Bryant Park was a cesspool

of illegal drugs,

junkies, dealers, muggers,

prostitutes, criminals,

concealed from the public

behind tall bushes

surrounding the park.

Only the unwary entered.

But if you time traveled

to 2018

you’d find a neat pocket jewel

that pleases all users

and you’d never know

the woes besetting the people,

the erosion of democracy,

the declining middle class,

the disappearance of jobs,

a growing poverty population,

on a warm, spring day

in Bryant Park.


The temperature is almost 100F.

Some people are sniveling,

complain bitterly about the heat.

But it’s not the Sahara

and for one day, city folk

could stop griping.

Oases are everywhere.

Water is plentiful

and the odds are probable

that few will die

from one hot day.


All the protests we believe in

meant to improve the system

rarely change things for the better,

just allow us a means of complaint

as we passionately object

to a succession of abuses

by the lords of profit,

who do  not care

about the rest of us.


The last week of summer,

hot, hazy, still full of life.

The birds are singing.

They may or may not know

winter is coming

and many will not see spring.

Soon the land will go to sleep

with no guarantee

it will wake up again,

just the thoughtless assumption

that life continues

despite the ravages of man.

Gary Beck

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn't earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. 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 and his published books include 31 poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 4 books of plays. Published poetry books include:  Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings, The Remission of Order, Contusions, Desperate Seeker and Learning Curve (Winter Goose Publishing). Earth Links, Too Harsh For Pastels, Severance, Redemption Value, Fractional Disorder, Disruptions, Ignition Point and Resonance (Cyberwit Publishing Forthcoming: Turbulence). Forthcoming: ‘Motifs’ (Adelaide Books). His novels include Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). State of Rage, Wavelength, Protective Agency, Obsess and Flawed Connections (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Still Obsessed and). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing). Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Essays of Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). The Big Match and other one act plays (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume 1 and Plays of Aristophanes translated, then directed by Gary Beck and Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume II (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Four Plays by Moliere translated then directed by Gary Beck and Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume III). 

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