Author: Gary Beck


Earth Links

Gary Beck/Earth Links



Independence Day
may have meant
more in the 1780’s,
liberty just won,
a new nation
not yet as corrupt,
as the old world,
new citizens hopeful
the eloquent promise
of new government
would bring freedom.



Eruptions of violence
sweep the nation
reminding us
the American Dream
has frayed dangerously,
setting neighbor against neighbor
for mortal offenses,
real or imagined,
only shocking
those still insulated
from the pressure of poverty,
resentment of inequality
propelling many
to turn to crime
in the ongoing frustration
of not having enough.


Flight Risk

The birds of Bryant Park
do not live in cages,
though almost as confined
in midtown Manhattan,
since they don’t migrate
thanks to climate change,
excess concrete
smothering habitat.

They subsist on crumbs,
lunchtime leftovers
from local workers,
as there’s no regular
avian food supply
in this well-funded park,
that forbids feeding birds
because enterprising rats
claim their share of food.

The birds of Bryant Park
have a strange life cycle,
completely unnatural
despite genetic urge
ro reproduce in Spring
when food is abundant,
left by park visitors.

The sparrows and pigeons
dominate the food chain.
Sparrows fast, aggressive,
pigeons big, aggressive,
so warblers, catbirds,
other forest birds
without lodgings elsewhere,
can no longer compete
in the struggle for life.

But for several months
food is plentiful
for domineering birds
who reproduce like wild,
nourishing their young
with food snatched from beaks
of those who can’t resist.

Then the weather changes.
It becomes colder.
People eat lunch indoors.
The food supply is gone.
Hunger becomes constant
and birds begin to die.
The young and weak go first,
unable to survive
lack of food, the cold.

When winter arrives
no one eats in the park.
More and more birds perish,
fragile city dwellers
unable to move on
to benevolent clime.
Only enough survive
to repeat the cycle
when Spring returns.

In the richest city,
in the richest country,
the death of a few birds
is never noticed,
citizens too busy
accumulating goods
to care about creatures
that don’t affect their lives.

In an undeclared war
we assault nature
with powerful weapons
of mass destruction,
devastating the Earth
without consent
of other life forms
who share the planet,
condemned to death
by a selfish species.


Tourist Attraction

Physicists speculate
about various theories,
chaos theory,
string theory,
too esoteric
for liberal arts grads,
barely aware
of scientist’s efforts
to communicate
with intelligent life
in the universe,
sending messages,
polite invitations,
never mentioning
to the unwary public
that future visitors
may not be as benevolent
as we pretend to be.



Thousands of spectators
attend the Olympic games,
billions watch on tv,
the internet, smart phones.
Every four years
the athletes are bigger,
stronger, faster,
break previous records,
yet it often seems
all that matters
is coming in first,
the honor of competing
completely forgotten
in the pursuit of gold.


'Earth Links' is an unpublished collection that contrasts the work of nature with the work of Man, often revealing our flagrant madness.