Saturday, August 27, 2022

Three Poems by Gary Beck

Wounded Land

Children leave the school
single file,
hands over heads, 
intently watched
by armed cops
looking for a shooter
concealed with the innocent,
tensions so high
one accidental move
might make an intense cop
open fire.


When I was a young girl
my family went to New Smyrna Beach,
a small, sleepy Florida beach town
for much of the long winter.
I walked the beach
collecting sea shells.
Sometimes I found a conch,
brought it to my ear,
listened to the eerie sound
of the ocean
and didn't return it to the sea.
Now that I am old
my grandchildren and I 
still visit New Smyrna Beach
that now teems with tourists.
We walk the beach
but there are no shells.
When I tell them that once
there were flocks of shorebirds
they pretend to listen,
but their thumbs are busy
texting their friends.

Forgotten Flights

Old Grey Wing keeps telling us
of the pelicans of old
as we try to nest on the little island,
forced to fly when humans come
interrupting his tale of our fathers.
Sometimes the humans come
after dark, forcing us to fly
in the dangerous night,
some too tired at first light
to hunt for fish.
We try not to notice
those who make their last flight
and we try to ignore
old Grey Wing's tales
of flights of hundreds
in great Pelican V's,
filling the skies,
not like today
when the most we see
are flights of 8 or 9
that can't agree on a leader.

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 Moliers, 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 35 poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 7 books of plays.  Gary lives in New York City.

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