Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guest Poet: Gary Beck

Songs of a Clerk


While I am eroding at my job
the aging secretary glares at me
from her perch behind forever desk,
where she faithfully guards the time
of her oppressive employer.
She is another conspirator
to the assault on my senses
in this office degradation.


Unsweet change of jobs,
the same dull shuffle
of senseless papers.
Sixty stories high
I watch the birds
circling Central Park,
a stolen moment
staring hungrily, yearning.
Then the droning voice,
the overseer of dreary clerks
sends me back
to endless piles of paper.

On the Wheel

Another office day,
somehow more human.
Is it from a woman
passioning me happy?
Is it from contentment,
a good night of writing?
I do not know.
But it is Friday
and the day does not go fast enough.
If I can only last.
Soon a weekend’s freedom,
time to renew my strength
and hope to endure
another week at work.


I sing of a woman
a stranger no longer,
known to my flesh,
touched by my feelings.
Our time so short
I fear she will not come again
and I weave a dark strand
from the tangle of her hair.
I awakened in the morning,
but she was not there.
Her yesterday smell, faint on the pillow
hungered my remembrance.
When last we parted,
I intent on office prison,
held her, not close enough.
Now I punish my neglect.


Beasts of burden
for exploiting bosses,
impatient of our arrival,
filled with urgency
more imminent than hate,
until our work is done,
coincidental with other workers,
whose only thought is home.

© Gary Beck 2011

Gary Beck has been a tennis pro, ditch digger, salvage diver, and art dealer, but has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. His chapbook 'Remembrance' was published by Origami Condom Press, 'The Conquest of Somalia' by Cervena Barva Press, 'The Dance of Hate' by Calliope Nerve Media, 'Material Questions' by Silkworms Ink, 'Dispossessed' by Medulla Press and 'Mutilated Girls is being published by Heavy Hands Ink. A collection of poetry 'Days of Destruction' was published by Skive Press, and 'Expectations' 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.
Poems from 'Songs of a Clerk' have appeared in: Istanbul Literary Review, Agency Magazine, Fiction Press, Kyoto Journal, Poetry Life and Times, Rattlesnake Review, Written Word Literary Magazine, Pegasus Magazine, MadSwirl, YaSou!, Words Words Words, Juice Magazine, Struggle Magazine, Flutter Poetry Journal, Iddie, Strange Road, Halfway Down the Stairs, Poetry Monthly, Calliope Nerve and many more.


  1. Very much enjoyed 'Is it from a woman / passioning me happy?'
    Conveys the treadmill of the daily round very well indeed.

  2. Gary, your poems are great. You need a vacation, it's obvious. :)

  3. vivid imagery, haunting feelings, a powerful voice-- well-done!


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