Unveilings Review by  Poetry Editor HEZEKIAH, Fleas on the Dog

 WHY I LIKE IT: Poetry Editor HEZEKIAH writes… Gary’s ‘Unveilings’ are as riveting as reflective, revealing as recondites. We get our share of poetry on this sweeping, suffering-sickness scourge saga, But Beck’s Covid Chronicles are both engaging and amusing, (I, in particularly, present as not a bad looking man–when not even armed on a heist–in the Age of Plague: Ball cap, mask, sunglasses. And the money, not to mention the money I’ve saved on face powders, rogue, lipstick and chondrolaryngoplasty–you can’t get a closer shave than trimming of a little trachea of the top.) ‘Pandemic,’ “I walk plague streets / hat low on head, / mask tight on face, / sunglasses hiding eyes, / A complete disguise.” ‘Transmission,’ “I don’t know how I got it. / I took all the precautions,” . . . “I can’t give it to / whoever gave it to me, / but I’ll pass it on . . .” Beck take a break from Coronas after 19 or so and move on to global warnings and “whiteout” “. . . a testament to the narrow minded.” . . . “unable to connect / local to global.” Upbraiding the weather lady, “Unless she’s a recording, / a sleekly designed android” . . . “while I succumbing to illusion / as alienation subtracts me / from the community of Man.” In spite of himself, Beck is infectious, how ever afflicted by endemic visits and enviro-conflicts. In ‘Presence’ he exhibits a theatrical passion for the supernatural, bless his soul, the ghost of Enrico Caruso no less–go Figaro…

Pandemic 

 

I walk plague streets 

hat low on head, 

mask tight on face, 

sunglasses hiding eyes, 

A complete disguise. 

 

I scrupulously maintain 

six foot distancing, 

but strangers come closer 

intruding in my space, 

willing to deliver 

contagious disease. 

 

I do not warn off 

dangerous incursions 

provoking paranoia 

tempting me to draw 

my chastising pistol. 

 

Transmission 

 

I don’t know how I got it. 

I took all the precautions, 

wore a mask, distanced, 

but I still got it. 

yet don’t look too bad. 

So when I go out 

no one knows I’ve got Covid. 

If I give it to someone 

they won’t know where they got it. 

I can’t give it to 

whoever gave it to me, 

but I’ll pass it on 

so someone else gets sick. 

 

Time Out of Joint 

 

Once everyone believed 

the world was flat. 

Most listened to science 

and agreed it was round. 

Some still believe it’s flat, 

a testament to the narrow minded. 

Many do not believe 

in climate change, 

denying the wildfires, 

hurricanes, tornados, 

other natural disasters, 

have nothing to do 

with global warming, 

ignoring the scientists. 

These same deniers 

accept daily weather changes, 

one day warm, next cold, 

as condition normal, 

unable to connect 

local to global. 

 

Snow Storm 

 

The snow keeps falling 

faster and faster. 

I can no longer see the building 

just across the street. 

I sit in internet cave 

coddled with electric comforts. 

The weather man keeps telling us 

it’s a big blizzard. 

We need no PhD 

to tell us that. 

The whiteout is complete. 

I sit in internet cave 

in total isolation, 

insulated from reality 

by the white blanket 

covering the outer world. 

For a few moments I wonder 

has everything disappeared? 

Am I left alone 

in the indifferent universe? 

Then the smug voice 

of the overpaid newscaster 

reminds me life goes on… 

Unless she’s a recording, 

a sleekly designed android 

meant to convince us 

existence continues, 

while I succumbing to illusion 

as alienation subtracts me 

from the community of Man. 

 

Presence 

 

Theatre professionals once knew 

that every theatre has a ghost, 

that’s why we have a ghost light, 

so the ghost can find his way 

through a darkened theatre. 

All my theatres had a ghost, 

always benevolent, 

never intrusive, 

a positive presence. 

 

My theatres were constructed 

in non-theater environments, 

adapted to odd spaces. 

The oddest and best 

was on Broadway and 42nd Street, 

the Old Knickerbocker hotel 

that was one of the poshest 

in the early 1900’s, 

until it closed in 1921. 

 

We had 10,000 square feet 

on the 12th floor. 

It was my first theatre, 

not someone else’s venue 

and after the first night’s rehearsal 

I sat alone, enjoying the place, 

when soft, beautiful singing filled the room. 

I recognized an aria 

that I heard before 

and assumed it came from another floor. 

 

I was curious the next day, 

learned no one was above or below. 

I heard a different aria that night 

and tried to trace the source, 

but couldn’t find it. 

 

The next night I had company, 

my stage manager, 

and production manager, 

who also heard the wondrous song. 

We did some research and learned 

Enrico Caruso had his suite 

in the space we occupied 

and sang the national anthem 

from his window at the end 

of World War I. 

 

My first theatre. My first ghost. 

And what a ghost! 

He sang to us many times 

and we never told others, 

for who believes in ghosts anymore? 

THE POET SPEAKS: Most of my poetry in recent years has been issue poetry, often concerned with the growing problems of a confused and divided society, with economic inequality a recurring theme. My influences are many, Grey, Whitman, Elliot, the French Symbolists, Lermantov, e.e. cummings, the list goes on and on. Poetry is a unique form of communication for me that can dazzle the senses when I read. I write in many formats, fiction, drama, essay, but poetry allows my most direct approach to readers, for immediate impact of deeper understanding. 

AUTHOR BIO: 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 original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include 32 poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 5 books of plays. Published poetry books include: Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings, The Remission of Order, Contusions, Desperate Seeker and Learning Curve (Winter Goose Publishing). Earth Links, Too Harsh For Pastels, Severance, Redemption Value, Fractional Disorder, Disruptions, Ignition Point, Resonance and Turbulence (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Double Envelopment). Motifs (Adelaide Books). His novels include Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). State of Rage, Wavelength, Protective Agency, Obsess, Flawed Connections and Still Obsessed (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Call to Valor). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing). Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Essays of Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). The Big Match and other one act plays (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume 1 and Plays of Aristophanes translated, then directed by Gary Beck, Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume II and Four Plays by Moliere translated then directed by Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume III). Gary lives in New York City

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