‘Expectations’ was the last book published by Rogue Scholars Press and subsequently didn’t get any promotional or sales assistance. I will be seeking another publisher to reissue the collection.

Hazards of the Road

A butterfly lay on the side of the road
still fluttering as we drove by.
One who sped before us downed the butterfly
one before that got the rabbit
then the dog, the deer, the skunk,
before that the Indians, mountains,
then gave the land a final shot
ripping up everything,
so we could rush 55 MPH
zapping anything that moves
on the pitiless highway
to a motel of dreams.


Arise from refuge bed,
throw off the covers of darkness,
join the totalitarian morning
and sing your surrender.
Pledge not to question your leaders
as long as you are fed.
Righteously tend your church
While your neighbor is the sacrifice.
Consign your children to corruption
on the playing fields of schoolyards.
Never wonder why few resist deceptions,
reject false prophets,
deny available temptations.
Cars, clothes, culture, delusions,
subsistence crusts for millions.
We defuse the artist’s rage with money,
sate the politician’s virtue with privilege,
for these rewards maintain our innocence.
We destroy those who will not worship
 the golden calf.


Serena, withered
sits among swollen grape vines
bursting purple spurts of potency
dreaming of a back seat
in another life
when a migrant hand
plucked the ripeness of her breast
a ravenous traveler
lusting a land of opulence.
Serena turned into a pair of shears
rusting in an orchard.

Once again the talented editor/publisher of Calliope Nerve Magazine arraned for a review by a very fine poet, Felino A. Soriano.

Poetry by Gary Beck, 104 pp
Rogue Scholars Press

Reviewed by Felino A. Soriano

Expectations, when one delves into the definitional, subjective splays of this word combining anticipation with the collocated virtue of hope, the reader involved with Gary Beck’s poems, can ascertain then, not simply a topographical realization of interpersonal revelation, but too, an involvement with Beck’s environmental occurrences—those of valid imagination that sketches various tableaus with wondrous imagery and essential dexterity. 

This collection begins existentially:

Abandoned in the desert
I dream rescues,
while the smiting sand
strips the shimmering flesh
from my rejected bones.
Where is the guide?
Wagon master of the soul’s journey
fording rivers,
repelling ambushes,
then leaving me behind,
a companion to the voyage
who turned the wheel
harder than anyone,
but questioned the road.

Abandoned, pg. 17

Pondering the evidence of atmospheric whereabouts appears to be a meandering theme throughout this collection.  Understanding Beck’s advanced poetic abilities, posits an immediate understanding of his use of philosophical language, employed to devour clichés, although thematic episodes may be relatable to various readers:

Fission and fusion are conspiring
in covert collaborations
with entangling alliances,
to test the short term tenants
of White House, White Hall, Kremlin,
with abodes well endowed with powerful polemics,
that don’t inform the public,
that unauthorized splitting
of misunderstood atoms
may be punishable by
despite timely intervention of
Habeas Corpus,
Geneva convention,
International inspection,

Prisoners are Entitled, pg. 33

Beck’s ability to transpose reason and automatic displays of dismantling quotidian occurrences is an indigenous gift found in each of the poems finding existence in this collection; he understands language’s various methods of coercing emotional realization of compatibility with the images he creates.

Discovery interacts with sketches of moments serenading physical embodiment:

Mumbles in the parlor
playthings of children fumble together
parental eyes elsewhere
moment of touch and blush.
Footsteps on the creaky sentry staircase
rush to mend disarray
nervous smile from couch to chair,
enter the destroyer of delight.
Social chatter of a passing age
grumbles of what used to be
exit with admonitions.
Shy look from couch to chair
insurance pause, quick move,
young hands touch and hold,
parents worry in a distant room,
young flesh meets, encourages.

pg. 62

Overall, Expectations represents some of Beck’s finest work.  As a prolific and widely published poet, he becomes, through metaphysical understanding, embodiment of poet and philosopher, and with his constructs of beautiful and entrancing language, this collection should become symbolic and ascertained as his premiere work of poetic creation.

Felino A. Soriano

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