Author: Gary Beck



Gary Beck/Unillumined


City Fixture

The homeless sit

on unrelenting streets

cardboard signs

advertising need.

Passersby seldom notice

the invisable men

hulking on concrete nests.



Learning Gap

The pace of life

changes incrementally.

the more we advance technically

the faster it moves.

In the middle ages

we knew how to make candles

and we had light,

dim perhaps,

but it banished darkness.

In the Information Age

we tell the A.I.

to put on the light,

without the faintest idea

how light works.

In another generation

we will be so advanced

that we ask A.I. for everything,

make nothing,

so when collapse occurs

we will be helpless

to prevent the fall.



Urban Nightmare

I walk decaying streets

of a crumbling city

submerging slowly

from the weight of wealth

crushing the superfluous

who do not serve the 1%.

Ghost shops everywhere

have signs ‘for rent’,

as small business people

can no longer afford

excessive rents, on-line competition

for goods and services.

In a caring society

there would be help

for the homeless,

the poverty population,

the struggling working class,

who do their duty

that sustains the system

with jobs, taxes, trade.

Instead, new buildings for the rich

devour fragile greenery,

until Mother Nature gasps for breath

future respiration in doubt.



Divided We Fall

The American Empire,

though we never called it that,

reached its peak

at the end of World War II

when we occupied

much of the world,

influenced the rest,

a military and industrial titan,

so strong, yet we needed an enemy

to keep the empire on a war footing,

to maintain sway as the dollar ruled.


Then the oligarchs decided

their interests didn’t coincide

with the needs

of the American people.

They amassed more and more wealth,

spread it across the globe

and they were international.

They outsourced, downsized,

went offshore, hired robots,

anything for more profit.


And as the sinews of the nation,

the blue collar class

began to disappear,

we stopped making things

and bought from abroad,

which didn’t benefit the people.


Then the melting pot cracked

and no one assimilated.

Divisiveness grew rampant

and our President

fueled the flames of dissension.

Compromise evaporated.


We stand on the precipice

of fatal collapse.

and are no longer sure

if we can heal our wounds,

survive endemic decay,

fostered by the uncaring rich.



Perverse Times

A child speaks to the world

about the threats of climate change.

President Trump mocks her.

The Treasury Secretary,

Trump’s satellite,

a sterile bean counter,

insults her.

Other voices of ignorance

deride her.

She asks not for herself,

but for our only habitat

and its survival.

The madness we inflict

on our wounded environment

is further revealed

as so many scorn

the voice of a child,

crying in the wilderness.



Seasonal Occurrences

The first day of Fall,

another seasonal change.

Yet the day feels like summer.

People walk the city streets

in short sleeve shirts,

most of us oblivious

to the threats of war,

Iran, China, Tau Ceti,

whoever can be used

to manipulate the people

that war always distracts

from the wrongdoing

of the owners of the country,

completely unconcerned

with the well-being

of the rest of us,

who go about our business

on a bright, sunny day

while we’re being betrayed.



Fantasia Number 1

All the Billionaires

should each give five million dollars

to set up a foundation

that will provide housing,

support services

to homeless families with children,

homeless veterans,

so those who served the nation,

innocent children

will be saved

from needless suffering.



Blinded By Gold

The wealthy squander resources

in the pursuit of status,

building enormous mansions

striving to outdo their peers,

buying extravagant mega-yachts,

bigger, with more amenities

than their rivals,

so possessed by wanting

they have lost sight

of simple virtues.



Call to…

In the 1920s

after the disaster of World War I,

the German people were desperate

and while the wealthy

and well-to-do reveled,

the poor and needy seethed

with rage and frustration.

Fascist rallies

and extravagant promises

persuaded many to support

National Socialism

that vowed to revive Germany,

that led to

World War II,

the Holocaust.

If there are parallels today

with propaganda rallies,

pledges of imprisonment for some

and abuse of power

approved by many,

we can only hope

for a historical coincidence.




We go from home to work,

school, shop, recreate

without recognizing

the terrible peril

that faces our land.

We have become urbanized,

easy to control,

totally dependent

on power, food supply, water,

easily discontinued

leaving us helpless,

existence improbable

except for small groups

outside the cities

now become death traps

for millions,

who cannot survive

without the necessities

that allow continuation.


Unillumined, an unpublished collection that looks at problems, issues, and disagreements facing our world and some of the things that may console us.