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Poems from "Too Harsh for Pastels"
by Gary Beck


Art is Wealth


Before there were art schools

crammed with curricula

to entice, allure, attract,

aesthetic aspirers

who wanted to make pictures

in a middle class sort of way,

going to college,

getting a degree.

When the first artists

daubed on cave walls

they convinced the tribe

they were not evil-doers.

And artistic impulses endured.

As we built cities,

adorned them with sculpture,

rediscovered, reinvented

painting on walls,

reestablishing harmony,

until a deviant

painted on board

that could be carried away,

making art a commodity

easily transported.



a line, (a blue one)


Ode to My Land


The dwindling lines

between rich and poor

are not drawn on maps, but we know

where we belong.

Periodic intrusions

into protected enclaves

are not frequent enough

to disturb the wealthy,

whose extreme comforts

are always protected

by the legions of democracy.

The privileged,

indifferent to the sufferings

caused by deprivation,

unequal distribution of wealth,

feast in mansions of pleasure

while many go hungry,

but are so tranquilized by tv

that we lack the spirit,

except for individual rampages,

to redress grievances.



a line, (a blue one)


The Elective Process


Our elected officials

are well fed, well dressed,

reasonably secure

in well-paid positions

as long as they obey

mandates of their masters,

whose funds buy the votes

that put them in office

to legislate the laws

that protect the assets

of their employers,

while naïve citizens

await the help they expect

from servants of the people

who betray them every day,

the democratic way.



a line, (a blue one)




Death is all around us

from the tiniest insect

perishing daily

in the crush of life,

to the largest mammals

hunted to near extinction

for tusks, meat, trophies,

and mankind is nature’s star,

killing more than other creatures,

inventing endless variations

to slaughter other creatures,

indifferent to fatalities

unless death comes to loved ones.



a line, (a blue one)




The hirelings of the rich

guard portals of prosperity

in service to their masters

to prevent unwanted entry.

Elected official stooges

vote negatively regularly

against benefits for the needy,

food stamps rejected for the hungry,

subsidies for agribusiness,

taxes on the wealthy rejected,

unemployment extensions rejected,

capitalism at its finest,

those who have, get more,

those who don’t have, get less,

enactments symptomatic

of a perverted system

rewarding few,

punishing many.


a line, (a blue one)


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