from 'Blossoms of Decay'

Gary Beck


Summer ended,

the last butterfly

does not migrate,

lands on sheltered tree,

expires, a brief life

without knowledge

of good or evil

that only touched

those who noticed.


For thousands of years

there wasn't enough time,

or favorable conditions

for romantic relationships,

survival determined mating.

When class distinctions emerged

marriages were contracted

to preserve property rights,

or to increase one's power

after a formal process

of negotiation

that resulted in union

that left a bartered bride

without bargaining rights.

Women were chattel

whose primary function

was to provide an heir

to their master's domains.

This condition lasted

for millennia,

until democracy

began to undermine

unjust practices.

Gradually women were freed

and exercised their own choice

and reveled in equality.

Then too many discovered

the most painful way possible

when they were murdered by lovers,

that their method of selection

was not as efficient

as in days of old,

when controlling parents

arranged marriages.


Elementary schools use

a standard curriculum,

reading, writing, arithmetic,

respect for the Founding Fathers,

a capsule of social studies,

a dose of appreciation

for the arts, tortuously applied,

a dreary conglomeration

of outmoded ideas, once designed

to prepare youth for factory work,

but the factories are gone.

It is a testament to youth

that many survive exposure

to a crippling environment

overseen by the ignorant,

where the facile are rewarded

and the bullies go unpunished,

both combining in painful ways

to stifle those who are less able

to endure an odious system,

dispensing with math and science.

Remarkable accomplishments

by exceptional youngsters

lead to vital positions

that sustain society,

while the inner core is rotting.

Corporate greed has run amok

as lawyers circle like vultures,

waiting to litigate the corpse.

The military is despised,

despite protecting liberty.

Jobs and prospects are dwindling.

The pillars of a nation

are rapidly crumbling

and schools of salvation

may no longer save us.

© 2010 Gary Beck. All rights reserved.



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 chapbook 'Remembrance' was published by Origami Condom Press, 'The Conquest of Somalia' was published by Cervena Barva Press, 'The Dance of Hate' was published by Calliope Nerve Media and 'Mutilated Girls' is being published by Bedouin Press. A collection of his poetry, 'Days of Destruction' was published by Skive Press. Another collection 'Expectations' is being published by Rogue Scholars Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

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