By Gary Beck

Let them enter into your gates
for comfort from the new mother,
and father who won't abandon
the lost boys and girls, playing cool,
acting tough, trying to conceal
the desperate loss of hope, the fear
that they may be without value,
to the world that's based on profit.

The winds from Washington D.C.
are blowing in state capitals,
and funneled to the big cities,
where citizens of confusion,
disciples of the lottery,
are conditioned to evasion
of thankless chores to do what's right
that never seem to earn rewards.

Across this land of bitterness,
divided by have nots and haves,
a growing sense of failure cries
to lock kids up or shoot them down.
A democratic decision
that was made without much wisdom
to let kids kill each other off
and put survivors behind bars.

The gates of welcome opened wide
for victims of our kind neglect,
the kids we chose to throw away
because it costs too much to care.
What sins we make them suffer for,
these babies born to stand alone.
What price they pay to learn their crimes,
offspring from schools of violence.

The citizens of our country
demand more prisons for our kids.
Fund them, build them, staff them, run them,
then everyone will make money.
For those who dream philosophy
we'll teach them true economics:
there's no profit in prevention,
nor in rehabilitation.

It matters not how bad the drugs
that leave kids lifeless in the streets,
as long as dealers make their loot
and neighbors help them ply their trade.
We close our eyes to all the needs
that don't put cash in some pockets
and the harm that's done to our youth
doesn't count, because they don't vote.


My poetry has appeared in dozens of literary magazines. I am a theater director of the classics and new plays. My translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles, as well as my own plays, have been extensively produced off-Broadway. I am an award-winning writer/director of social issue video documentaries.


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