Author: Gary Beck


Double Envelopment

Gary Beck/Double Envelopment



A child asked me:

“Why do some people have so much

and some so little?”

I searched for words of comfort,

but found none.

I considered explanations,

greed, capitalism,

inherited wealth,

but they wouldn’t mean anything

to a child.

The best I could manage,

“It’s always been that way,”

brought a cry of despair:

“It’s not fair!”

In an anguished voice

at the shock of inequality,

in a woeful lament

that redress of grievances

would not be answered.



Urban Sight

The creaky, old homeless woman,

ravaged by unmet demands

pulls her cart of broken dreams

as she trudges unkind streets

that do not welcome outcasts,

concrete without compassion

for relics of once normal lives.




I carry the delivery bag

and no one looks at me.

They ignore the delivery boy

and I can’t tell them

I’m a man, not a boy.

I hate my boss

who talks down to me,

because I’m an immigrant.

I hate the people who tip me

as much as those who don’t.

They are all the same,

despising me.

I try not to think of the old days

when I walked with Shining Path,

carried an AK-47...

No one laughed at me then.

Now I am a delivery boy

and must eat my pride.



The Way

In the ongoing war

between capital and labor

that surely started in the caves

if not sooner,

labor almost always lost,

except for a brief time

in 1940s America,

when unions exerted

temporary strength

that compelled concurrence

from begrudging bosses.


Then capital developed

international mobility

and no longer needed

American workers

who gave their best

on the assembly lines,

but cost too much

and made too many demands

to be treated with care.


So the lords of profit

closed their factories,

abandoned the workers

who made them rich

and built in third world countries

where labor was cheap

and not empowered.


The decline of the blue collar class

eroded the foundation of the nation

built on sweat and muscle,

now replaced by hi-tech

service jobs for the underclass,


to the Information Age.


So the Land of Promise,
the hope of the mass of humanity,

now resembles other lands

where the rich rule,

their servants prosper

while the rest of us

struggle to survive.




When a man lives on the street

he is a true citizen

of the disadvantaged world.

Nairobi, Calcutta, New York…

Did I say New York?

How can the richest city

ignore the abandoned

begging on street corners,

cardboard signs held low

the flags of disenfranchisement.

As the limousines drive by

the occupants do not notice

outcasts of despair.


Double Envelopment is an unpublished poetry collection in response to harsh conditions affecting many of our people, who only want a better future for their children.