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by Gary Beck



Madness Reigns


We send our children to school

never expecting

a troubled youth

will go on a rampage,

open fire,


precious offspring.


We go to a rock concert

never expecting

a troubled man

will find a vantage point,

open fire,


innocent concertgoers.


Throughout our troubled land

we gather in public places

never expecting

a demented individual

will open fire,

murder people

who dared to get together.



a line, (a short blue one)





I saw a news item

about Afghanistan

on tv

showing a poor family

that sold its children

to get something to eat.


I found myself thinking

what I would do

if my family was starving,

but quickly realized

there was a world of difference

between my country,

however declined and divided,

the land of opportunity,

at least for some,

where I could get a service job,

become a delivery boy,

find some way to make a few bucks’


Steal? It would have to be for food.

I wouldn’t know how to sell anything else.

Sell drugs? Where would I get it?

Sell my body? That made me laugh.

This desiccated old thing?

But that’s crazy thinking.

There’s always a food bank.


Afghanistan is different

than the good old U.S.A.

There really are families

without resources, starving,

who decided, however callous

it might seem to others,

to sell their children

so they could eat.       


No matter how hard I tried

I couldn’t picture their way of life

well enough to conclude

if what they did was right or wrong.

I can only believe

no matter what happened

I’d never sell my children.




a line, (a short blue one)



Voting Rites


Election day, U.S.A.,

and almost no protests,

rioting, violence,

making some of us remember

we’re not Russia or China

and we still have

some democracy

and we can cast our ballots

for the candidate of choice,

if there is a choice

to maintain the fabric

of a free society.



a line, (a short blue one)





When most wars start

aggressors don’t expect

a disastrous end.

Persia, Athens, Rome,

Germany, Japan,

sent destruction

beyond their borders,

then suffered

total defeat,

mass casualties

less important

than loss of power

for eager warmongers

whose dreams of conquest

were harshly shattered.



a line, (a blue one)


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