art by ferrari silverpowder
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 three 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 & Tremors (Winter Goose Publishing). 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.
Downy Woodpecker (dendrocopos pubescens)
The Downy Woodpecker
is a surprise resident
of midtown Manhattan,
because some blankety-blank developer
his natural habitat.
So he packed his beak
and shoved off for the big city
with his wife, but no kids,
and they must have leased a nest
somewhere near my terrace,
for they visited daily.
They were a snazzy couple,
similarly dressed in black and white,
except he sported a bright red cap.
My wife appreciated them
and provided them with suet,
which they ate in winter, spring and fall.
Then Mrs. Downy disappeared,
perhaps a victim of divorce,
or dead from unknown cause.
Mr. Downy still flies in for suet
three or four times daily,
but faces a constant battle.
Not much larger than a sparrow
and not as rugged,
he confronts a flock of sparrows,
hooligans who have forgotten
his unique occupation,
as nature's only working bird.
The Downy eats destructive bugs
from infested city trees,
but gets no respect from sparrows,
who claim the food source for themselves
and bully and chase the weaker birds,
imitating the way of man.
The sparrows are just like people,
consuming as if there is no tomorrow,
demanding larger and larger portions,
while the Downy loses his share
and is forced to search elsewhere
and may never be seen again.