The End Of...

Gary Beck

 

I often ask myself

if the citizens of Athens, 

Rome, Great Britain

noticed the decay 

of government institutions, 

loss of military might,

the erosion of resolve

to inflict their will

on competitors,

squandering resources

that sustained the state. 

 

And if they observed

the decline of wealth

that threatened the empire,

what could be done

when the tide of history

turned against the rulers

who relentlessly devoured

weaker neighbors, the vulnerable,

and could no longer maintain

ruthless dominance, 

necessary funding 

for the army, navy, 

administrators

who exploited the many 

to benefit the few. 

 

And when power crumbled 

that enslaved cities, 

countries, peoples,

there was no regret

when occupiers departed, 

no matter what chaos left behind, 

as the rulers marched or sailed away,

having thoroughly destroyed 

previous governance, boundaries, 

so tribes, sects, ethnic groups, 

in the absence of old masters

required new masters, 

for they did not know freedom, 

democracy a concept 

beyond their experience

and rarely did improvements

emerge from the new order, 

demonstrating cultural values,

better home born oppressors

than foreign tyrants. 

 


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions & Fault Lines (Winter Goose Publishing). Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living will be published by Thurston Howl Publications. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections(Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Sudden Conflicts will be published by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. 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. He currently lives in New York City.