Fault Lines: Lost in the Land of Plenty, Bureaucratic Priorities, The Counting of the Homeless


Lost in the Land of Plenty


I live in a welfare hotel

and when the electricity

gets shut off again

in the room provided

by Homeless Services,

without the heater,

even with blankets,

it’s freezing cold.


I hurry to dress

so I won’t miss the bus

that will take me to school,

even though I hate it,

’cause they call me names

and make me sit in the back

with the other homeless kids.


But I’ll try to ignore

how the teacher treats us,

how the other kids treat us,

because I’ll be warm.


Bureaucratic Priorities


The mayor of New York proposed

a basic five-year action plan

to end chronic homelessness,

which so far has managed

to put more families on the street.

The city spends our tax money

while innocent children suffer

terrible horrors on the street,

exposed to crime and violence

and the city keeps counting,

instead of finding solutions

for children cruelly abandoned

by the richest city in the world. 



The Counting of the Homeless


Instead of offering

sufficient services

to address the problems

of a specific group

removed from the normal haunts

of alienating society,

whether from dysfunction,

or dire calamity

such as fire, or loss of job,

the money expended

in counting the homeless

should be used

to provide shelter.

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 and 'The Conquest of Somalia' was published by Cervena Barva Press. A collection of his poetry 'Days of Destruction' has been published in 2009 by Skive Press and 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. He currently lives in New York City, where he's busy writing. His poetry and short stories have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines.